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Blog: I Was Going Down To Balham

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On Friday night I undertook some field testing of a new method of prop transport for Hey Hey 16K i.e. I put all the props in a rucksack instead of our usual great big JJB Sports Bag. This worked well, with the only item unable to fit being my collapsible hula hoop, which I tied on using an old guitar strap. I thus looked rather fabulous, striding out of Balham Station with my pink and silver sparkly hoop lashed to my back with a rainbow strap.

For LO! I was down south for the Balham Free Fringe, a weekend-long fundraiser for the PBH Free Fringe, all happening at The Bedford pub. I arrived to find Mr S Hewitt already halfway through his first pint and, after joining him in that position, we went upstairs to find the organiser, Mr C Coltrane, very pleased to see us. For LO! part of the deal with doing the gig was that we agreed to help out with some of the WORK, which in our case meant dashing around setting up chairs then sitting in on shows to mind the door and hold the collection bucket at the end. I also got to ANNOUNCE the act for the show I was in - it's the sort of thing both Steve and I always seem to end up doing at gigs ANYWAY, so we were very happy to pitch in!

Some lovely PALS had told us they were coming and Steve and I had assumed that they would be the whole audience, as Mr R Herring was playing at the same time as us and we thought everyone would go to see him instead. As I went up to our room I saw a MASSIVE queue for his show, and said "Ho! Is that for us?" "No", came the reply, "Your queue's upstairs!"

And there WAS a queue - all right, not as long, but still, it was a LOT more than we expected. Steve and I said we were fine to let people come in while we were setting up, which led to PANIC as LOADS came in while I was unable to find a vital PROP. It turned out that it was in one of the many many pockets of the rucksack (the JJB sports bag has NO pockets), so all was well, and we were ready to begin.

It was a job of WORK to do the show, for LO! we couldn't get any windows open so it was VERY hot in the room even BEFORE it filled up with people and only became more so once we commenced hula hooping/dancing/titting around. I was VERY sweaty! Also we got a bit put off by the fact that a group of Very Drunk Men had come in - I know this is the sort of thing that Club Comedians have to deal with on Friday nights, but we are not club comedians so found it hard! ALSO I could see Richard Herring watching us from the room next door before going down to do his own set! EEK!

Happily things calmed down a bit - the drunk men (noisily) left after 15 minutes, as did a few other people who couldn't stand EITHER the heat OR us, and I think we lost about 10 stone between us with our Mighty Movements! However, it got more and more fun as it went along and when people left at the end there were many smiles, not least for us, and a LOT of CDs and badges got given away!

Chris The Organiser had suggested that Steve and I do ANOTHER show soon after finishing the first one, to drag in the people coming out of Richard Herring's show, but I had regretfully decline his offer in the grounds that it would KILL me. Sure enough a five minute walk around the corner to The Duke Of Devonshire to see the aforesaid PALS afterwards nearly DID ME IN, and it took a little bit of rehydration to get me talking again!

So, all was well that ended well and now there's just one more show to go - at The Croydon Comedy Festival on Thursday - and then it is full steam ahead for Edinburgh. YOINKS!

posted 27/7/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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