Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Modern Life Is Goodish... The Last Episode Of The Series...

So the final episode of the series goes out tonight (and also Wednesday and Saturday nights) on Dave. Tonight's show - as with all the Tuesdays - is at 10pm. (And 11pm on Dave Ja Vu)

The feedback on the show has been incredible and I'm very grateful to everyone who's got behind it. Thanks.

I had a nice message this morning from Mike Ericsson, the winner of the mailing-list competition I ran to coincide with episode four. He's now the proud owner of the jumper that featured in that episode. Not sure he'll get much use out of it mind.

If you're on the mailing lis, you'll know that the answer to the final show's competition is in tonight's show...

I get a lot of tweets from people during the shows and I try my hardest to reply to as much as I can. For the last few weeks I've ended up bumping into a Twitter-limit. If you tweet too much the system eventually - like a good barman - decides that you've had enough and refuses to serve you any more.

But as tonight's is the last in the series, someone from the channel has had a word with Twitter and I'm told that for one night only, they're bumping my limit up to stop me running out. So if you fancy joining me online during the show - you know where I'll be.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Final Competition Prize

I think this week's Mailing List Competition was the busiest yet. I picked a winner this morning... and it's ace to see that it made them very happy:

The fifth episode goes out one more time on Saturday night (at 11pm) before the sixth and final episode airs for the first time on Tuesday. I'll do another competition for the mailing list to go with that episode... and this week, the prize will be one of these slim volumes:

As some of you know, I ask the competition question in an email that I send to my mailing list on a Monday... so you'll have to be on the list before then if you want to be in the competition. Subscribing - and unsubscribing - is easy... you just put your details in here...

Join - or leave - the mailing list here:
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                                                                      ... and then click on a link in the email you'll receive.


Oh... a lot of people have been in touch to say that they joined the series part way through and they want to know if there's a way of catching up with the earlier episodes. I'm pleased to say that a repeat run of the series for later this year is now looking very likely... so while there isn't a way to catch up now... there will hopefully be a way to catch up soon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Next Year's Tour... A Map And Some Gaps.

The feedback on episode 5 of Modern Life Is Goodish was incredible last night. There are things I'd like to mention (at one point a lot of people paused and ran to their kitchen) but if I went into any detail about it here I think I'd end up generating spoilers for people who will (hopefully) be watching the repeat tonight at 10.40pm... so maybe I'll save that for another day.

I am getting a lot of questions about my next tour, so I figured it was worth answering some of the frequently asked questions here.

It's become very apparent that a list of venues in date order isn't always the best way for people to search for their local gig. I've had a lot of emails from people who've scrolled through and not seen a gig local to them, even though there is one. Often in their home town. But even so, I figured a map might be more helpful for some. Each star represents a show on the tour. You can scroll the map around, zoom in if you like and, if you click the top right hand corner, you can go full screen too.

It does become obvious that there are a few gap, the furthest into the south west that the tour goes is Yeovil and, while there's a show in Aberdeen, there's nothing else in Scotland.

These gaps are the source of the most frequently asked questions I'm asked... with people asking me if I'd consider doing a show here or why there isn't a show there. Often people ask these questions with an attitude that suggests I have deliberately sought to avoid the area out of disdain for the locality. Which seems to fundamentally misunderstand what a tour involves. My experience of every town I play is lovely. I often don't find out what the town is like - I don't spend my time there sitting in the town centre by the bins - I spend my time there in a venue. The people I meet in a town are the people who wanted to come and see my show. And that makes everywhere lovely. Touring is a very affirming experience.

But there is an explanation for the gaps. The reason is that I don't book venues, they book me. Sometimes it might be that they tried to book the show but didn't have dates that worked. Sometimes it might be that a venue didn't have the right technical set up for one of my shows. And sometimes it might be that they didn't want the show or thought it wouldn't sell. Venues tend to know their own market so I have complete respect for that.

But that's the reason. If I'm playing somewhere it's because they booked me. If I'm not... it's because they didn't. Like most performers, I'm a gun for hire... I go where the work is.

There are two places on this particular tour where venues did want the show but it hasn't worked out for another reason. Those venues are in Glasgow and in Oxford. In both cases I've said no to doing the show there because the venues concerned charge punters booking fees etc that I think are unreasonable

They're both venues that are run by The Ambassadors Theatre Group. At every other venue on the tour, I think the booking fees are between 50p and £3 but somehow in an ATG venue it works out at an extra £6 to £9 per ticket.

I'm not the only performer to take exception to them. As you can see here, Sarah Millican refuses to play ATG venues while this story tells you how Jason Manford felt when he discovered the cost of his tickets in Oxford.

I am sorry not to be playing those venues. But it's a simple choice to make. I don't think the charges are fair. So I don't want to condone them by playing there. I had been trying to avoid making a stink about it - and would still like to do so - but I've been asked the question about Glasgow so many times in the last ten days and always answered honestly and so it makes sense to put something here that I can point people towards when next I'm asked. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

That Hat Has Taken Its Rightful Place...

This won't make a lot of sense to you unless you've been watching Modern Life Is Goodish and following this blog and/or my mailing list... but for those that have, here's some confirmation that one of the prizes from the mailing list competitions has arrived and is now in its rightful place:

Yep, unlucky Dee Traynor now has the original Shitting Hat! Ian Salt has the Gorscreen and the jumper from episode four is on its way to Ireland to Mike Ericsson as I type.

If you're on the mailing list you'll know that this week's competition is for two tickets to the next tour. Oddly, two or three people have already emailed in answers to that question. I say "oddly" because the point of the question each week is that it relates to the upcoming show. If you watch the show, you'll see the answer. But instead, they've taken guesses. Which are a little wide of the mark.

Anyway... the fifth episode is on Dave, tonight at 10pm. I hope you can catch it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Next week... knitwear!

So I've just been to the post office to send the Gorscreen Frame to the winner of the first Modern Life Is Goodish competition that I previously blogged about here. Congratulations to Ian Salt. I have no idea what possible use it will be to him... but it's his. Or at least it will be in a day or two.

If you're on my mailing list, then you'll know that this week I decided to give away a hat. Yes. That hat. I think that during Tuesday night's show the hashtag #ShittingHat was, albeit briefly, a Twitter trending topic but I didn't see it myself so I can't confirm it.

But on Wednesday morning, as I looked back at the number of people who sent me pictures of their shitting hats... and the number of tweets from people saying they were going to get one, I started to wonder if it was possible this show had done for, um, Shitting Hats, what Delia once did for cranberries. (Probably not)

And, perhaps most disturbingly, this...
Anyway... the winner of the original hat will be picked tomorrow and, as the competitions seem to be going down well, I think I'll keep running them as and when there is something in the show that can be given away. Next week, there is. It'll be a pullover. I can't say more than that without it being a spoiler. But you'll know it when you see it.

If you want to be in with a chance of winning the pullover... you'll need to be on my mailing list before Monday - which is when I'll email the question and all the details. You can subscribe here... it will send an email with a link that you need to click on to confirm your subscription... and, um, that's it.

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Of course, I'm incentivised to get people on to my mailing list because I use it to let people know about what I'm up to... but that seems reasonable to me because if I'm giving away one-off items from the series, I'd rather they went to people who are interested in what I'm up to.

Of course I'll email you to let you know about a new book or about updates to the tour and so on... but I also give the mailing list advance notice on free tickets for recordings and cheaper new material nights and things like that. So hopefully, it works for everyone...