Me in Brighton. Time flying.
It was on the Thursday night, during my third Comic Art Masterclass of the day in St Peter Port Guernsey, that I realised I was getting a cold. That feeling you get at the roof of your mouth, like the ceiling between your pallette and your nose is getting thinner (is that just me?). The meal that evening, where I was sat just 4 places along from Clare Balding and at the far end of the table from Terry Waite, saw the cold progressing.
The next day, Friday, went from drained to fraught as I flew back from Guernsey, trying my damnedest not to infect everyone else on our propellor driven plane. Then, having landed in Bristol and got home just before 1pm, the plan was simple. Hev and I were staying in a hotel in Brighton, I had a gig in Croydon. We'd drive to Brighton (3.5 hrs), I'd drop Hev off then nip up to Croydon for my 7.30 gig (1 hr away) then back to Brighton, all ready for two days of shows at Komedia.
Croydon Spread Eagle, our name in lights
As the traffic ground slower and slower and satnav's ETA went up and up it was clear that this wasn't going to happen. And not only was my cold getting increasingly draining, but I may have forgotten to mention that Hev is much much more unwell than me. She went to the Doctor the previous week, suffering kidney pains and other symptoms akin to those that saw her hospitalised a year ago. The Doctor fobbed her off having found nothing. So she went back to see the Practice Nurse on Monday and, much more sensibly, got prescribed a course of antibiotics. I'm happy to report that, at time of writig a week later, these have been having the desired effect and she's feeling a lot better. But on Friday May 12th, the course was only just starting and she was feeling very very unwell, in great need of a lot of rest.
What she didn't need was to be stuck in a car with me for 5 hours. What she really didn't need was for us to change our plans so that, instead of going to Brighton first, she came with me to Croydon and sat at the back watching the Socks Do Shakespeare.
It was a great Socks Do Shakespeare gig, now you ask, and a near sellout, so all good there. We finally got to our hotel in Brighton at about 10.30. Did I say hotel? It's a guest house, with a very friendly hostess Marina, but my god a lot of details to explain when all we wanted was to go to bed. They don't have keys, they have codes on the doors. They don't have breakfast, they have vouchers for nearby cafes. Oy vey. Whatever, we got parked on a free spot in front of the building, so that's good.
Saturday we did some lovely Brighton-seeing, then I did a cracking Socks Do Shakespeare gig at Komedia, then it was off to Stephen & Nick's for the most delightfull dinner. Between us, Stephen, Nick & I got through 5 bottles of wine. I failed to take any photos of us of course, the only photos I took being of Stephen's brilliant bookcase devoted to books with double-entendre titles. Best bookcase anywhere ever.
Sunday was hard. Hev was suffering very badly from the effects of the antibiotics, and we started the day by checking out of the guest house and being charged for two days parking, which we'd thought was free, at £12 a day. We were both too drained by illness to argue, only working out afterwards that, arriving at 10.30 Friday night & leaving at 10.30 Sunday morning, we should only have been charged for one day's worth of parking anyway. This is the sort of bad mood thing that starts a day off badly, and as it progressed Hev got nightmarishly bad. She became hypersensitive to sound, which was very badly timed with us being on Brighton seafront as a drum band started up. We ducked into the boat museum to get away from it, only to find that it acted as an amplifier for the noise. We escaped to the beach to get away from the noise, only then realising that Brighton beach is made of noise. Its entire surface is pebbles, so every step anyone makes is piercing to hypersensitive ears. Add to this the whizz of low-flying frisbees (I fear I traumatised a child by flinging his frisbee back at him when it missed us by inches) and the thud of boot against football, and the beach very quickly proved to be somewhere else we needed to escape.
We found respite by having a snooze in the car, in the quiet of a car park. Then I went off to do my Socks gig (both of these being afternoon shows) while Hev stuck to the quieter streets. Then we headed off home and had a much smoother drive back than the drive up had been.
I then had 4 days in schools, two in Wiltshire (a 2 hour drive turning into a 3 hour one on Tuesday, but I've had worse) and two in Kings Heath. It's fun and it pays the bills, all the time monitoring the progress of my cold, from the dizzying stage (over in a day really) to the nose-blowing. My god, the nose-blowing. I have expelled my own body weight in snot, and 8 days later it's still coming.
As I posted on Facebook, I know the Doctor Who episode I'll write. It's called Bogey.
- Opening scene is on a golf course
- Lead character's a big fan of Casablanca
- Chase scene uses one of those hand-operated railroad carts
- The Doctor whistles "Hitler has only got one ball"
- Guest appearance by Dick and Dom
What did I say? Writes itself.
Bringing us to Friday, and a drive to Leeds. Because I don't do nearly enough driving, and why get a new car if you're not intending putting 5000 miles on the clock within its first month and a half? Friday night, the Socks played to a full house at the Carriageworks in Leeds, and took a record breaking ninety quid in merchandise (having taken delivery of the brand new Socks Richard III comic at last, courtesy of our new printer Stuart Gould, and having dropped the price of the Shakespeare t shirts slightly).
Saturday night we were home in time to watch Doctor Who on only an hours delay, and Sunday is very nearly a day of rest. Very nearly. I'm about to drive off to Merseyside for 2 days at a school in Southport. And on the horizon we have the Socks playing Aberdeen on Friday and Inverness the week after. And somehow I'll be artworking that whole Milton Keynes 50 comic during all this time.
Yes, I work out this schedule all by myself, thanks for asking.
UPDATE: Chronology of a cold
Weds 10 May - On plane to Guernsey, woman sneezing
Thu 11 May - By evening I feel cold beginning in roof of mouth
Fri 12 May - Sneezing, nose blowing, irritable. Drive to Croydon, perform, & to Brighton
Sat 13 May - Sluggish, heavy nose blowing. Play Brighton & do dinner party
Sun 14 May - Weary, heavy nose blowing. Play Brighton & drive home
Mon 15 May - Feeling OK, heavy nose blowing, day in Trowbridge school
Tues 16 May - Feeling OK, heavy nose blowing, day in Salisbury school
Weds 17 May - Feeling OK but upset tum & heavy nose blowing, day in Kings Heath school
Thu 18 May - Upset tum better, heavy nose blowing & chapped nostrils, Kings Heath school
Fri 19 May - Still nose blowing, drive to Leeds and play gig
Sat 20 May - Still nose blowing, drive home from Leeds
Sun 21 May - Still nose blowing, drive to Southport
Mon 22 May - Feeling fine, still nose blowing, day in Southport school, artwork at night
Tues 23 May - Feeling exhausted, still nose blowing, Southport school then drive home
Weds 24 May - Feeling very weary, day in Bristol school, early night
Thurs 25 May - Might actually be free of cold. Day off, only slight nose blowing.
Fri 26 May - Fly and drive to Aberdeen, cold gone I think
Sat 27 May - On plane back from Edinburgh, woman sneezing. Stay tuned...
May 12 - Croydon Spread Eagle
May 13 (4.30pm) & May 14 (5.30pm) Komedia Brighton
May 19 - Carriageworks Leeds
May 26 - Aberdeen May Fest
June 2 - Eden Ct Inverness
June 15 - Crescent Arts, Belfast
June 20 - Grassington Festival, Yorks
June 23 - Hertford Comedy Festival
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe
August 15 - 17 Camden Fringe
Comic Art Masterclasses coming up in 2017:
Jun 4 - Martlets Hall Burgess Hill
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 - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.