At 6.45pm I check in to The Thistle Hotel in Exeter. Night has fallen. I meet the affable Arthur Smith at the hotel and we get a taxi to the venue. The event starts at 7.30pm Arthur is Master of Cermonies and carries the night with ease. I know all the performers from one place or another Ian Shaw, the jazz singer I know from Jazz 606 a tv series that I presented some years ago. Andi Osho I know from The Saturday Club which I Mc’d for a year.
Aurthur I know from Grumpy Old Men, the first series which I did a few years ago and from radio four where I see him alot. Actually we’ve known each other for getting on fifteen years now because we first met when he Mc’d a little known tv show called First Exposure. The event tonight is part of Variety Lives, a new concept headed by the impressive duo Mike McCarthy and Warren Lakin. The audience pours in and I do two fifteen minute
sets. It’s a gorgeous gig. Bloody gorgeous.
Thinking I might fall down with tiredness (just look at the last two days) I immediately go back to the hotel while the others stay at the theatre for an after drinks. I should have brought some books though. Actually i had books with me but didn’t have time to sort out a sales system. Back in the dressing room Arthur says “hey Lemn, have a look at this.” He’s a brilliant comedian and good spirited man. He takes out a copy of his new book, due out in May The Autobiography of Arthur Smith and finds in it my name Lemn Sissay. I am chuffed to bits.
With applause ringing in my ears (and pride) I dive into the cab and back to the hotel.