The feedback on episode 5 of Modern Life Is Goodish was incredible last night. There are things I'd like to mention (at one point a lot of people paused and ran to their kitchen) but if I went into any detail about it here I think I'd end up generating spoilers for people who will (hopefully) be watching the repeat tonight at 10.40pm... so maybe I'll save that for another day.
I am getting a lot of questions about my next tour, so I figured it was worth answering some of the frequently asked questions here.
It's become very apparent that a list of venues in date order isn't always the best way for people to search for their local gig. I've had a lot of emails from people who've scrolled through and not seen a gig local to them, even though there is one. Often in their home town. But even so, I figured a map might be more helpful for some. Each star represents a show on the tour. You can scroll the map around, zoom in if you like and, if you click the top right hand corner, you can go full screen too.
It does become obvious that there are a few gap, the furthest into the south west that the tour goes is Yeovil and, while there's a show in Aberdeen, there's nothing else in Scotland.
These gaps are the source of the most frequently asked questions I'm asked... with people asking me if I'd consider doing a show here or why there isn't a show there. Often people ask these questions with an attitude that suggests I have deliberately sought to avoid the area out of disdain for the locality. Which seems to fundamentally misunderstand what a tour involves. My experience of every town I play is lovely. I often don't find out what the town is like - I don't spend my time there sitting in the town centre by the bins - I spend my time there in a venue. The people I meet in a town are the people who wanted to come and see my show. And that makes everywhere lovely. Touring is a very affirming experience.
But there is an explanation for the gaps. The reason is that I don't book venues, they book me. Sometimes it might be that they tried to book the show but didn't have dates that worked. Sometimes it might be that a venue didn't have the right technical set up for one of my shows. And sometimes it might be that they didn't want the show or thought it wouldn't sell. Venues tend to know their own market so I have complete respect for that.
But that's the reason. If I'm playing somewhere it's because they booked me. If I'm not... it's because they didn't. Like most performers, I'm a gun for hire... I go where the work is.
There are two places on this particular tour where venues did want the show but it hasn't worked out for another reason. Those venues are in Glasgow and in Oxford.
In both cases I've said no to doing the show there because the venues concerned charge punters booking fees etc that I think are unreasonable
They're both venues that are run by The Ambassadors Theatre
Group. At every other venue on the tour, I think the booking fees are between 50p and £3 but somehow in an ATG venue it works out at an extra £6 to
£9 per ticket.
I'm not the only
performer to take exception to them. As you can see here, Sarah Millican refuses to play ATG
venues while this story tells you how Jason
Manford felt when he discovered the cost of his tickets in Oxford.
I am sorry not to be playing those venues. But it's a simple choice to make. I don't think the charges are fair. So I don't want to condone them by playing there. I had been trying to avoid making a stink about it - and would still like to do so - but I've been asked the question about Glasgow so many times in the last ten days and always answered honestly and so it makes sense to put something here that I can point people towards when next I'm asked.