» Graeme's Tour Diary
(from UK Tour C&G April 2007)
THE MAN IN THE BLOG
Many thanks to Graeme Garden for kindly providing the following "Officially Amazing" tour diary / blog at the suggestion of the Saucy Gibbon website (http://www.the-goodies.co.uk ) to share with the members of both fan clubs.
Wednesday 21st March
The tour has been going very nicely so far. Torquay was a disappointingly small turnout, but it was a big theatre in an out-of-season holiday town, and the response was nonetheless warm. We've had much fuller audiences at the other gigs, and apart from a few minor technical hitches (one night Tim's microphone made noises like a rocket attack and he had to rely on vocal power alone for a while) the shows have gone well and been very happily received.
Tim and I are especially pleased, and relieved, that Teddy and Freddy seem to be amusing the audiences in a very gratifying way. We always enjoyed playing the characters, and it's great fun to be doing them again.
Frank and Matt have been looking after us and running the shows with their customary cheerful efficiency and are, as always, a pleasure to be with.
All the best to the members and a big thank you to all those who are turning out to support us. We're looking forward to the rest of the tour and will try to keep you up to date with news on the road.
Goody wishes to one and all
Tuesday 27th March
The show DVD had been playing up a little as if it had a scratch, so on Tuesday 20th I was recording for a Radio show on Scottish humour at the studio where we had shot Bill's links and edited the show disc. So while I was there I got a couple of fresh DVDs burned from the master, and then found Matt had bought a new DVD player too, so fingers crossed all should now be OK.
On Thursday 22nd we travelled to Lincoln through snow and sleet, held up on the last lap by an overturned lorry at a roundabout.
The discs were fine but we were plagued by sound problems with the mikes – Tim had to rely on his theatrical vocal projection for one section! There was a reasonable crowd for a Thursday, and very appreciative, even when I forgot to do the Teddy and Freddy sketch, our two old professors from Broaden Your Mind. I got to the cue but carried on with my next bit – I saw Tim get to his feet but thought, silly old fool, he's trying to come in at the wrong place! Then at the end of my bit he reminded me, so I went back and introduced the T&F characters, and the audience seemed amused at me talking about these absent-minded old twits!
On Friday we had lunch with my sister and husband who live near Lincoln, and after a quick look round Lincoln Cathedral we played to an almost full house that evening.
On Saturday we had a good house at High Wycombe, and as always a nice bunch of folk at the Stage Door after.
Lisa told us about someone who'd got in touch to say that, in 1977, her mother went into labour whilst watching the Goodies ("Alternative Roots") and refused to go to the hospital until the episode had finished, resulting in the baby almost being born in the ambulance. All turned out well and on Sunday in Nottingham she was in the audience, with the baby and the baby's husband!
It was great to see Andrew Pixley and his wife Julie after the show, when he gave us each a copy of SFX magazine with his Goodies piece in it.
Emails have been arriving from my son John who is in New York with Scissor Sisters for Elton John's big 60th birthday party and concert. He's having a whale of a time!
Monday, and a beautiful drive through the Derbyshire Dales brought us to Tim's home town of Buxton and its fine Opera House. A large and enthusiastic audience made us feel very welcome. We heard some familiar laughs in the auditorium and then saw some familiar faces at the Stage Door afterwards!
A couple of days off now before we head for Tunbridge Wells…
Friday 30th March
A cold wet day in Tunbridge Wells, but a very comfortable hotel to relax in before the show. Not a full house but another appreciative audience. The show went pretty smoothly after our days off. In Pets' Corner the Sahara Rabbit developed a bit of attitude and grabbed my shoulder with his little paws and refused to be thrown away. He dropped to the floor just behind me. I must have words.
At one point I accidentally hit my microphone while Tim was talking and it made a bang like a gunshot, which had him hiding behind the lectern. A nice group of supporters at the stage door included Carrie (the Minx) and her friend Rosemarie. Hugs and autographs were duly supplied.
Saturday: A very jolly audience at Basingstoke, and they kept up their enthusiasm right to the end! Lots of books and records to be signed at the Stage Door afterwards. The Guardian printed my Q&A with a very peculiar choice of photo! We later heard that the Guardian critic was in the audience.
Sunday in Southend-on-Sea, and despite an apparent lack of any posters outside the theatre or anywhere else, we had a very good sized and appreciative audience. We knew Clair, Kate and Helen were in again when one or two loud laughs scared the rest of the audience. Also at one point puppet Bill took on a life of his own and lunged at Tim and terrified him! We met Tim's agent after the show in the bar, where we signed more autographs than anywhere else so far I think. Among the folk we met after the show was Olga who had been a faithful fan way back in the ISIRTA radio days and who was there with her daughter.
We spent the night in a good old-fashioned boarding house by the sea. I didn't expect much sleep after a car in the car-park played an amazing medley of alarm tones, and kept going off at regular intervals until midnight. Luckily it then shut up. Next morning we had a proper fry-up breakfast shoulder to shoulder with holidaymakers in the tiny dining room then hit the road. Two days off, then Hull beckons.
Tuesday 10th April
Hard to believe we're almost on the last lap, although it also feels as if we've been on the road forever!
Weds April 3rd in Hull.
The show went well with a good sized crowd. The audience was very appreciative though discriminating as, to start with, they didn't just laugh at everything and anything, but by the end were really into it all and cheering away for the finale.
A fair number waiting at the stage door, including a slightly scary ageing punk who kept getting things signed for his 3 yr-old niece, who liked Bill, and his Mum who liked Ken Dodd.
Thursday and it must be Bradford.
The show tonight went very well with a reasonable number in a big hall. There seemed to be a few members from the website at the stage door after, including Jess and her lovely Mum.
Tim and I went for an Indian meal with an old mate from Cambridge Footlights days which was fun.
Friday and another jolly show in Birmingham.
The Stage Door crowd included 'Edna' and once again Clair, Kate and Helen, who presented us with Easter Eggs. Mine was inscribed 'Ungelievagle G nius' as the 'e' had dropped off.
Saw an article in the Scotsman in which I seemed to laugh a lot while being horrible about Bill! Don't believe all you read in the papers!
Saturday April 7th. Tim and I have very fond memories of the Civic Theatre
Darlington where we opened 'The Unvarnished Truth' nearly 30 years ago. It was a pleasure to play there again.
We went for a meal with Frank and Matt after the show, so while they packed the bus we had time for a long chat with the Giddies who had turned up.
As I was checking out of the hotel in Darlington on Sunday morning, a middle-aged couple got into the lift. As it went down the chap smiled primly to me and said, rather quickly:
"Are you farting all this morning?"
A bit taken aback I said "Pardon?"
"Are you farting all this morning?"
He slowed down and spoke more clearly:
" 'Ave you far to go this morning?"
So that was a relief!
Easter Sunday, Edinburgh. We'd always had doubts about doing Edinburgh, a huge venue so soon after doing a month at the Fringe. And sure enough the audience was sparse and most of the folks were scattered around the back of the stalls and balcony. It was hard work, but there were enough enthusiastic souls to keep the energy going. It was hard work for us, but we could tell the audience were determined to enjoy themselves, and it paid off in the end. Panties and roses were thrown on stage at the final bow!
Afterwards we met a couple of Australian lasses who were friends of Karen in Rockhampton, who's coming over for the Croydon show. They phoned her up in Oz and she spoke to us and the Giddies who were there. She was so excited none of us understood a word of what she said, plus it was very early morning for her! I believe she has posted her account of it!
Time off now, of a sort - I have to record a bit for Holby and we have a meeting for I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, then back on the boards at Croydon.
Wednesday 18th April
Tuesday April 10th: Holby was fun, just the one scene and only time for a quick hello to Ade Edmondson.
Wednesday and a meeting with Jon Naismith, Tim and Barry to talk about new Clue ideas, and plans for the Clue Stage Tour in September.
Thursday's Croydon show in the presence of President Lisa of GROK! During my wasp story a whole row of latecomers filed in, so I was able to say "As we look deep into the bush, we see a family of Bellamies. moving into row B!"
After the show Peter Logan, one of our original Special Effects team came round with his family to say hello. He lent us some of his priceless photos of work on location, some of which Tim is going to scan for the website.
On Friday Andrew Kay our Producer turned up from Australia en route to Zurich via Derby! It was nice to see him, and have a jolly chat. Jess and Peej were at the show and Liv from Australia was with them, with her mum, and brother Tim. All the ladies got hugs.
The local Fire Service was on an exercise outside the Assembly Rooms and the firemen wanted to pose for a photo with us. Jess did the honours with the camera but [FLASH!]
"Oh no," said Jess, "the reflective strip on your helmets has flared the picture."
So the firemen took their helmets off.
"Oh no," said Jess, "the reflective strip on your jackets has flared the picture."
So the firemen took their jackets off.
"Oh no," said Jess, "the reflective strip on your trousers has flared the picture."
But the firemen had all run away.
Saturday and a cheerful audience in Dartford. Afterwards we met up at last with Karen from Rockhampton who we had spoken to on the phone from Edinburgh. She and her husband had also been at the Croydon show, straight off the plane, so too tired to say hello after! Hugs photos etc etc.
A fantastic sunny Sunday in Eastbourne, but not a great show in the evening. The huge 1800 seat Congress Theatre was rather thinly populated, which took some of the zing out of the atmosphere. Tim had a couple of friends in the audience; it's a shame he couldn't have drummed up about a thousand more. As usual a nice bunch of fans at the stage door afterwards cheered us up, and a nice chap called Adrian apologised on behalf of Eastbourne for the poor turnout.
Monday April 16th in Oxford - the Sold Out signs were out for the first time! It's a 600-seater, but they told us they could have sold out another night as well. The show went really well, probably the best of the tour, which was nice as my wife Emma and several friends were in the audience! A big crowd at the stage door afterwards, and we said goodbye to Lisa who is off back to the States soon.
Only one more show left, tomorrow at Northampton. After that I'll be back to sum up the experience. Thanks for reading.
Thursday 26th April
TOUR DIARY – FINAL ENTRY.
Wednesday April 18th and the final gig in Northampton. Again a good audience but rather dwarfed by the big booming auditorium. However we were as always delighted to see the fans who came to the Stage Door for a chat and a signature. Home on Thursday, and the tour was over. Fond farewells to Frank and Matt, who had done a brilliant job looking after us and the show. We certainly hope to work with them again some day, and we will keep in touch. I just hope they found their way back without my Satnav, that had done sterling work throughout the trip. (In fact I've heard from Frank, who is now off on a tour down under with Topol doing "Fiddler on the Roof".)
Since then I've been busy catching up with paperwork and domestic business, recording The Unbelievable Truth, while Timbo has whisked away to Portugal to play golf in the rain. Next week we start the new Clue season, so life returns to what passes for normal.
The tour was tiring but great fun. We had splendidly responsive audiences wherever we went, and it was nice to have the chance to meet and greet – and thank – the many fans who came to see us personally. It was also good to be able to put faces to some of the
names we'd seen on the websites!
So thanks and au revoir to Peej, Kirstyn, Jess and her Mum, Carrie (the Minx), Rosemarie, Andrew Pixley and his wife Julie, Clair, Kate, Helen the lady in red, Edna & Steve, Adrian, Alison Bean, Euan, Callum, TC Raymond, Peter Logan our special effects man and our original ISIRTA fan Olga. Also present were the pseudonymous Kinggodzillak, artyclarty, bradda, ernest, binky_bittock, and bozzly & his son.
Particular mention must be made of Seema Bakewell who went into labour in 1977 laughing at 'Alternative Roots' and refused to leave home until the programme finished; she came to the Nottingham show with her baby Ayesha and the baby's husband.
And a special thank you to those who travelled around the world to be with us: Karen and her husband from Rockhampton, Liv from Adelaide and her Mum and brother Tim, and of course not forgetting President Lisa from the USA. I'm sure there are many other names I should have mentioned, but thanks to you all, and we really appreciate your support and enthusiasm.
Here's to the next time!