Monday, 12 July 2010

high wonders

the first time i did winnipeg was 2003
two years before i'd done just toronto
where i met keir cutler and a few others
and as toronto ended i had this sense of something big brewing in the west
out on those prairies which filled alot of the map and which i knew next to nothing about
and where i had no idea what it was that was so good out there
apart from a sense it was bigger than what i'd just been through
which in itself was amazing
me in toronto in 2001
just after i moved to scotland
my first proper hour show
to audiences mad for it
who'd never seen anything like it
and i'd get like 5 curtain calls a night
and a dazed amazement from the audience
and half way through my first show
[where i'd foolishly let the technicians sort me a bunch of lighting cues
all of which i missed]
i had this glorious epiphany
this life-changing rush
that i should have been doing this years ago
that the hour show was the only way to go
that today was being ok to good but tomorrow
i would do it so so much better
and yes
tomorrow was just plain fabulous
and my first canadian fringe experience was having these long and wildly intense hours belting through the english language faster than anyone had ever seen
where each day i threw a poem out of the show and it never got any shorter
and i had barely any pattery banter between poems
i simply drew back the elastic band to its tightest possible point and then
let fly again
at them
at them
at them
o happy day
its not like i sold out
or made a bunch of cash
i did just OK in terms of numbers
but the experience was mind-blowing for me
and life was never the same again
so, at the end of that fest i had this inkling of something even more marvelous brewing in the west
that i wasn't going to
and two years later i got there
i did toronto again
which went great and then i very stupidly got on a bus to winnipeg
which is 36 horrible hours living out of A'n'W
with a busload of Hutterites who seemed to have never seen the outside world before and where the only book i had was the Holy Sinner by Thomas Mann [great novel] which definitely got the homespun Hutterites curious
and i finally staggered rickety off the bus into a fringe site where i had no billet and was rather hopelessly confused and stayed in a hostel and then got billeted and all the water tasted of sulphur and the festival started and
whooooo ...
i accelerated on the high down slope of the rollercoaster
my audiences were crazy for it
i had a fabulous hour each time
and the numbers went 70
sellout 100
with a five star review every day for four days and utterly electrified audiences
who, well, i'm not sure they
understood anything i was
double-dixie-ten-time saying
but they did look
wildly affected by the blast of words
the force of it
the rush of ideas
o happy day

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