I'm usually quite the chipper, confident and upbeat chap, especially in recent years since my work's been going well, and even more so in the last year or so since we got rid of the unpleasant neighbours downstairs. So it's a shame to find that, in the run up to my birthday, I've been feeling a tiny bit depressed. Only a very tiny bit and it'll soon clear up. (This is as nothing to my birthday in 2004 when I went to Jonathan Ross's house, which is let's face it a fun thing, to film an interview with him to show at the following weekend's comic festival I was organising for which he was one of the star attractions. Oh it's a long story, but it was a dreadful time, lost me lots of money, and made me very depressed at the end of what had been a very very hard year. This is nothing like that)*. And, as with all such moods that pass over me, it comes from without not within, and has come from a perfect storm of little things.
Money is, inevitably, the first thing. And October is often a crunch month for my cashflow as I wait for the money from August's Edinburgh Fringe to come in and suffer the tiny blip that comes from having had no other work than Edinburgh during August. In past years this settlement comes in the last week of October (except, famously, in 2010 when I was left waiting longer, the fear of which hangs over me this year). So I know all will be in there soon, but right now I've got the collywobbles of the odd unpaid bill over the last few days. For example my tax bill is due. It always comes at this time of year and, one week after they've sent the bill for the whole lot, they send a scary letter chasing you. They get paid every time, in the end, when I get my Edinburgh money, but somehow they never remember that bit.
On top of that it's just small things making me feel down. One was Sunday morning's confrontation outside the house. At 9am Sunday Heather sees, through the kitchen window, some young men trying the door of my car and then trying to "bounce" it out of its parking space. I run out to remonstrate and, it turns out, they're scaffolders trying to reverse their truck into the driveway and can't get in past my car, even though I'm parked in a legitimate and clearly marked parking space. I move my car, reluctantly, and complain to their employer by email. He apologises the next day, which is all good. But of course that hanging over us for a day left a feeling of very slight trepidation and ennui.
Then I wrote a blog which I, cheekily and insensitively, entitled "Which Doctor Who turns out to be a Savile-like paedo?". I quickly renamed it, and I think the questions I ask, the fears I raise, and the links I've included are all valid. However when I posted a link to it on the Doctor Who forum Gallifrey Base, it got a very negative response and was removed by the moderators within half an hour, with my right to respond also being removed. That made me feel a bit like a guilty schoolboy.
Added to that there is my adsense adverts, which have been withdrawn from my websites and the money from them withdrawn because it appears I've clicked on my own adverts, which you're not supposed to do. Mea culpa there, I was inspecting them to see who advertised on my sites, but may have done it a bit often. So that slap on the wrists made me feel a little guilty.
Other tiny niggles include a cheque I was paid by a venue I played last week which was made out to the wrong name (Scottish Falsetto Socks instead of UT Productions). I got them to amend it and initial it, and paid it in on Saturday, but I remain concerned that it might not go through. At, of course, a time when I really need it to go through.
And I seem to have lost the cable that connects the video camera to the computer, which is a pain because it's most likely I lost it in Copenhagen (which is the last place I used it). Yesterday afternoon I recorded the music for and filmed a nifty ad for the new Socks calendar, to the tune of Late Night Double Feature Picture Show from the Rocky Horror Show, then found I couldn't get it off the camera onto the computer. So I went and re-filmed it on my new camera, the little digital snap camera as used in Adelaide. But, as I found in Adelaide, for some reason I can only get the photos off the camera, not the video clip. So this frustrating piece is filmed but unrecordable. I may have to film it using the webcam on the laptop, something I've never done before and which I don't predict will look good. That was Monday night's time-wasting distraction, all done when I really had better work to be getting on with.
And there's Saturday's Socks & Sitcom Trials shows in Manchester which I fear may not be as well publicised and well prepared, respectively, as other shows, with the financial and feel-good implications that will bring.
And, having written that all down, already I feel better. I'm sure by lunchtime I'll have forgotten I was even feeling this way. Mudda, fadda, kindly disregard this letter.
* This also doesn't compare to my 18th birthday when I got locked out of our student flat and had to climb in through a downstairs window in the middle of the night. Or my 19th birthday when my mate Steve and I were at a comic convention without a room to stay in so we slept in a multistorey car park. And I see from my diary I spent last year's Big Birthday on my own in a hotel room in Dublin feeling sorry for myself. And 2003's was a bad one too, involving the Sitcom Trials team recording a show on Commonwealth Radio while I was consumed by an uncharacteristically fuming rage. I conclude from this that I get a bit down around the time of my birthday, which coincides regularly with storms, winds, the nights drawing in and the encroachment of winter. And I'm always broke. I see here in my diary from October 2009 I had a corporate job caricaturing in Amsterdam and embarrassingly had to get the client to pay my hotel bill in advance cos my cards were all maxed. Plus ca change.
UPDATE No 1: That cheque made out originally to the wrong name is showing up on my bank statement, which bodes well.
UPDATE No 2: I've ordered a new Firewire cable from Amazon. It costs an exorbitant £1.36 to which I think I can stretch.
UPDATE No 3: I just received a royalty cheque. For £2.50. Hooray for Chalkface (some illustrations I did 10 years ago that bring me in ever-decreasingly royalty cheques every autumn). Mustn't grumble.
UPDATE No 4: Had an unexpected call about a possible project. Though I haven't worked out if I'll make any money from it. it's a creatively exciting though. So suddenly all roses.