Socks backstage selfie at Dancehouse in Manchester. When I put it on Facebook, Mum's first question was why the room was empty. She thought we hadn't sold any tickets. It was, of course, before the (sellout) crowd came in. The Socks were on the bill of Chortle's Fast Fringe, doing a three minutes slot, alongside some of the finest comic talents on the circuit. Honoured to be asked.
And look at how honoured we were! Only the joint biggest names on the flaming flyer! How's that? Like we said, honoured and flattered to be asked, and it was a cracking gig. A three minute slot that gets video'd and used to promote our Manchester show in July and our Edinburgh show in August.
It was also the highest miles-to-gig-minutes ratio travelling I have ever done.
Satnav thought, and I was hoping it'd be right, that Manchester was just 3 and a quarter hours away. I've been there a million times, that's about how far it is. Only tonight, a Friday, someone had decided to close a stretch of the M5 and a stretch of the M6. Precisely the two roads I was hoping to use. So it was that it took me 5 hours to get to the gig. And another 5 hours to get home. 10 hours driving, to perform for 3 minutes. Definitely a record.
The following day, Saturday, I then had a day's work caricaturing in the street in Blaenavon, up the Welsh valleys. After which I had to head straight to Felixstowe in order to be ready for a Sunday during which I'd be doing a day of Comic Art Masterclasses. 4 and a half hours there, 4 and a half hours back the next day.
Luckily for me, I'd be getting more of a rest the next day, Monday, when all I had to do was wake up at 4am and set off at 5am, then I could have an hour's snooze on the one hour flight to Newcastle before doing three days of classes in Hexham. I got to the airport at 5.45 to read this message...
Cancelled. Okay, but they were offering me the chance to transfer my flight for free. So when was the next flight to Newcastle..?
8pm Wednesday night? Not so useful. So I cancelled my flights, got a refund of the flights, and the car parking (minus a fiver - they charged me a fiver for not cancelling my parking in advance! I know) and set off on the long drive to Hexham. I arrived in Hexham at 3pm, just in time to have missed my first day of schools. Luckily they were able to reschedule my schools, so I'll be here until Thursday instead. Oh sure, I was looking forward to Thursday being my first day off for a week, but that's okay.
It's not as if I have to go to Romsey in Hampshire for a day of schools on Friday, then to Norwich for schools on Saturday, then Derby for a matinee Socks Preview on Sunday...
Did I mention I arrange these travel schedules single handedly. It's a gift.
Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres. After a morning or an afternoon every pupil goes away with a photocopied comic containing a strip by every single one of them, and an individual caricature by Kev F. Please email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video