Saturday, 13 October 2012

Venue Owners

Sometimes  I do wonder about venue owners.
Sometimes it seems to be impossible that they can actually make a living.
Sometimes it seems that they are hell bent on financial suicide!
I was recently booked to do a hen night in a northern town (the location has absolutely no bearing on the situation). I turned up with my full PA system in the back of the car (as is usual) to find that they had a huge sound system installed in the venue and a DJ booked to work it. The system included double CD decks, double cordless microphones and, at either side of the stage, a stack of speakers from floor to ceiling, at least 20 feet high.
To my mind this was great news and I expected the sound quality to be perfect and ideally configured for the room. How wrong I was on so many levels.
The venue owner (note I said owner, not manager) constantly instructed the DJ to turn the sound down all night until, finally, at the start of the second half, it was so low as to be virtually inaudible to the audience.
What sort of moronic venue owner deliberately sabotages his own event?
His control freakery was such that he did everything he possibly could to ruin what should have been a great night and a credit to the venue. He charged the girls £7.50 a ticket and I would not be surprised if he was flooded with complaints and demands for their money back. Additionally, he was so tight he refused us free drinks even though our fee was abnormally low.
On top of his disruptive attitude I was instructed to keep the swearing to an absolute minimum so I only used the 'f' word once. That provoked a complaint, ironically from one of the most vocal, foul mouthed, disruptive women in the audience.
On reflection I think one of the issues was that the venue owner was either an ex-act of some kind or was a frustrated performer. I have come across this professional jealously before and it always manifests itself in some form of  'I could have done that better' nit picking

Saturday, 8 September 2012

My purpose in life

Booking a drag act you should expect several things. Hopefully you will be entertained with an array of glamorous frocks; there should also be an opportunity to get involved, sing, dance, heckle. What you should not expect at a drag show is to be able to sit on the front row and not be included into the show

I was recently working a hen night up north. Me and two male strippers has spent many hours driving to one of the more remote areas of the north west.
As is my wont, straight after my introductory mime numbers, I started working  round the audience with a live microphone finding out about our punters. I had spotted this young girl seated in the front row paying more attention to her phone than to me so I stopped mid-gag and pointedly walked over to her. Often I will berate someone for using their phone to chat or text but this time I decided to use my current favourite put-down.
I looked her square in the eye and said 'You are looking lovely tonight. I can see you have made an effort. You have even had a shave but can you keep your legs together as it is distracting me' This was made even more cutting as the girl had thighs the size of tree trunks and was wearing a completely unsuitable micro mini skirt in ripped denim. She was patently unable to keep her knees within hailing distance of each other.

She welled up and I thought she was going to cry.
For the rest of the evening she looked daggers at me.

This might have been the end of things if, at the end of the show, her mother took me to one side and tried to explain her daughter's reaction.
'She has only just turned 18' she said
'And?' I said
'Up until recently she was a virgin'
'What does that have to do with anything?' I asked
Before she could explain her daughter returned and I never did find out how her age and late viginity explained her tears

Usually I don't consider it a good show unless I have at least upset one member of the audience.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Random ramblings

As I stumble around the country entertaining the great unwashed things happen (or don't happen) which I think are sometimes worth recording.
 A few weeks ago I was booked to do a hen night.
It was in a beautiful location but was sparsely attended, mainly because the organisers were unversed in the best way to get slappers to buy tickets!
As a result it was painfully obvious when one person decided to behave badly. She was going to be trouble right from the beginning; first off she wanted to get up and dance as soon as the music came on an hour before the show. This would have been no problem at all except she didn't like all the music playing and tried to change the track on my PA system, thus ruining the scheduling of the evening. I had to run out of my dressing room with half a face on to rectify the situation.
Then when I came onstage to start the performance she kept trying to climb on the stage.
Eventually, especially when the strippers came on, she had to be forcibly sat on to prevent her storming the stage.

This weekend I was out in the wilds of Norfolk when I came upon yet another symptom of too much alcohol.
I had a nice packed house and the crowd were enjoying themselves. Towards the back were a couple of older women who, quiet at first, gradually got more raucous and demanding of attention.
One of them, a short dumpy woman with spiky hair, I called a lesbian (due to her appearance). It got a laugh so, every time she demanded attention, I called her various permutations of being a dyke.
At the end of the night, finally nearing her alcohol capacity, she got all emotional and complained to the manager that I had called her a dyke when she wasn't one. I volunteered to talk to her to smooth things over.
We were talking and she was apologising for being so drunk and emotional when her husband came over and said that if I hadn't apologised he was 'going to take things further'. I was all I could do not to laugh out loud. Silly old sod!

At the same venue I was told a story in the interval about one of the girls in a group to the side of the stage. This often happens and, be warned, these tales will always be repeated on stage that night.
So it was that I related to this packed audience the tale of one of the girls who, having read 50 Shades of Grey with her boyfriend, decided to try out some of the tamer stuff in the book. Thus it was that she found herself handcuffed to the bed by her partner when her mother walked in! Awkward!

Some publicans really deserve to fail in business.
Last night were were in a pub performing on a hen night organised by the local Ann Summers rep. As with these nights the Ann Summers rep does all the organising, pays the performers and does all the promotion. All the venue has to do is provide the room.
As the venue doesn't have to pay for anything it is accepted practise that the acts and Ann Summers reps get free drinks for the night as a thank you for bringing in dozens of customers and bar takings.
Last night the manager/owner made the silly mistake of refusing to give us free drinks and made us all pay for them. He will never get another hen night booking again and has lost the potential for all that increased bar takings. On top of that he had to endure the humiliation of my referring to his tightness on stage!
This was the same occasion when we had a very drunk bride-to-be sat in the front row. Apparently the party had been drinking for 16 hours, egged on by the bride's alcoholic sister.
Several times she had to be forcibly restrained and placed back in her seat. She fell over innumerable times and must have woken the following day covered in bruises, if not broken bones.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bad organisation

I feel the need for a rant!
I have just got in from a gig. It was a long way away so I wanted it to be good
As usual I travelled with my full PA system in the car - so often I have been told that the venue 'has a great sound system' only to arrive and find I was expected to perform to a soundtrack generated from a £20 Argos Beatbox (you think I jest? It has happened countless times).
So, I arrived at the venue. I had been told I was wanted onstage at 8pm but it turned out I wasn't needed til 8.45 - no great issue.
When I talked to the Manager of the venue I said I needed to be sure that the DJ had a CD deck and a cordless microphone. 'Yes', he said, 'he has both for you to use'
Then, when the organiser of the event arrived I ask the same question and, again, was reassured that both items would be available for my use.
I launched into my act and, sure enough, there was a great CD deck which produced great quality sound.
Then came the moment when I needed a microphone and the DJ handed me a cord mike on the end of 6ft of cable! 'No,' I said, 'I need the radio mike' 'We don't have one' he said. Whereupon I exploded.
I had my own mike in the car. I could have used it if need be. I refused to carry on, introduced the stripper and walked out to get my microphone.
Why the hell didn't someone tell me after I had asked two separate people if I needed it? Looking back it was no surprise, then, that they hadn't sold enough tickets to cover their costs if that was the level of organisation.