Gig no: 53
Where? Downstairs at the King’s Head, Crouch End
Why? It’s the most established Open Mic night in London. And last time I was there, I was SHITE.
Who Held My Hand? Not a bringer.
What Happened? Last time I did this venue, Crouch End collectively vomited in the streets at how bad I was. I owe it to North London
Oh, and the Tube Tamer app is run by a MANIAC. I get sent round the whole of the Northern Hemisphere on an array of buses, am bored shitless and use up most of my phone battery before I find Crouch End Hill. I still arrive early as I’m THAT SAD, buy an extortionate pint and find a quiet corner to time my 5 minutes under my breath until it’s time to go downstairs.
I get nervous at this venue. It’s a funny shape. The audience are on three sides, very close and there’s no raised stage. It’s intimate but very exposed at the same time.
I’m on first which doesn’t make things better. The MC, Howard Smith, tells the audience how esteemed the gig is, how the late Robin Williams played here, how EVERYONE played here and now a bunch of newbie-could-be-shit-nobodies are about to piss on their memory. He doesn’t quite put it like that but I am shaking on my bench and my mouth is dry.
Lately, however, I’m beginning to find more of my stride. It’s partly that I’m really comfortable with certain material and am easing up on how I deliver it and how I introduce myself. My opening word at all gigs seems to be: “Evening.” Don’t know why, I just started doing it and it’s stuck. It gets a nice response from the audience to as they instantly echo the greeting and we’re straight into it. “Let’s get political and talk about fetishes.” It’s always a nice start – unexpected, bit cheeky. I stick to cartoons and Mr Men. It’s tight material, fun to do and gets a good response as it’s so different.
Last time here, I was quiet, meek and DULL. I bored myself whilst I was actually talking. Tonight, I take my time, determined not to rush or try too hard and unbelievably, I lose my nerves pretty much straight away. I adore talking directly to people, making sure the connection is completely live and completely for them. That may sound poncey but it’s a long time coming as mostly you haven’t got time to think of that, you’re so nervous and judging yourself.
I do a tight 5 and come off to a big cheer. As I find my bench, a guy in the front row turns round and gives me a thumbs up. In the interval, Howard Smith comes over to say well done for starting the night off strong and with energy.
I am walking on air through the vomit-free streets of Crouch End. Or at least, any vomit that is there, is nothing to do with me.
What I Learned:
- I can open a night.
- Even in Crouch End.
- Tube Tamer Journey Planner is a c*nt.