Bobby is nearing his 7th birthday. I suppose if we were to think about him in human terms he is nearing my age. And, chasing cars aside, there's one thing he loves to do most. He loves to chase swallows. Give him a field and low-flying birds and he's gone, solid gone.
When he was young it was as though he could sprint forever, turning and wheeling as the swallows dipped and weaved and teased him. Sad to say, this summer, whilst he still looks sleek and athletic, he's become something of a jogger. The only thing that remains in perpetual motion is his tail. Instead of chasing he's started to stand and stare – ever upwards – ever barking. “Come here” he shouts. “Come on, I'll have you. No, not you, the other one. Yes, you. Get a move on. Oh, no, I meant that one. Yes, no, the other one, this one, no that one. Aagh. Bastard swallows.”
But I'm Getting Older
Lately I've been touring the country running a course that is basically a seven hour stand-up routine titled “One Old Fat Man and His Flipchart”. The notices have been great and I really enjoy doing it.
But, oh lord, the words. So many. I say more on one course than I'd normally say in a whole month. They fall out of me way ahead of my brain's ability to properly process or censor them, tumbling away over the heads of the audience, bouncing off the far wall and colliding with the next breathless paragraph.
By the end of the day I'm utterly spent. Broken down. Knackered. Twenty years ago I was best known for a trademark, carefully-crafted, actorly pause; trainees would lean forward expectantly. Now when I pause it's more likely that my brain has frozen-up mid sentence, its memory spent, my eyes rolling wildly as I buffer or reboot. It came as no surprise to me that, when I staggered back to my hotel on Tuesday, the receptionist took one look at me and said “you look like you need an upgrade.”