I gigged in Swindon yesterday. I've gigged there twice before. The last time I did it was just over a year ago and I sort of got mugged by a gang of 11 year old children. It was the most pathetic mugging of all time as they didn't get anything and one of them, although holding a Stanley Knife, was wearing a Spongebob hat.
Although I've been there twice I have never looked around the town. I've never been there long enough. It's always turn up, do the gig, get mugged by children and leave. Yesterday was different because I had to get there a couple of hours early. If I got there any later than 5.30 my train fare would go up from £36 to £107. No. I don't get it either. I have travelled all over this country of ours (if you're reading this in the UK) and I have been to some right landfills but I think Swindon might just be the new champion. I think Swindon might just be....The Worst Place in Britain.
Fuck you, Portsmouth. Roll over, Nottingham. Close but no cigar, Leicester. Swindon has arrived and has taken the crown from all of you. It's like Wetherspoon's had built a city inside an Aldi in a big skip of the dead. Within 15 minutes of being there I saw three arguments, one bottle chucking and two seperate groups of police running like the clappers. Every building I passed was a theme pub or a boarded up shop. Pretty much everyone in the centre of the town wore track suits and baseball caps (how the FUCK did baseball caps catch on over here?). Mind you, the area all around the Library was very quiet. Barely anyone there. Make of that what you will. I was very worried about the gig.
It was in the Wyvern Theatre which was a really nice venue, surprisingly. The only problem was that you had to climb up loads of steps to get to it. I don't mind climbing steps, I'm not that lazy, it's just when I got to the top I discovered that I now had a better view of Swindon. No-one wants that.
The venue was a lot bigger than I was expecting and the staff were very friendly despite me initially wanting to kill one of them. One of the stage managers showed me to the Green Room where I could hang out and relax before the show. I could have relaxed if he hadn't joined me, sat beside me and started playing an unplugged bass guitar. It was more annoying than one and a half Cordens (that's now a standardised measurement of annoyance). Worse still, he was playing SLAP BASS, surely the worst musical form ever created. It was what Level 42 did, for fuck's sake. I was in a place that scared me with a Mark King wannabe. I wasn't happy.
Turned out that the Slap Bass man was really nice once he put down his Devil's Instrument. And the gig was lovely. That REALLY shocked me. It was over three quarters full and the audience were great even though they all seem to be related to each other and fucking each other. I suppose living in Swindon that incest would be the least of your problems.
So, it all turned out well. Well, it did until I started my three hour journey home. Any other comedians feel like shooting themselves in the hair during those long, lonely, boring, scary, drunk train journey's home?