To gig or not to gig, that is the question

“In which year was Prince Harry born?”

Richard Asplin, Grey Horse Pub Quiz 19th Oct 2021

Blimey. Apparently I could clean up in the Lake District.

By which, I hope it’s clear, I don’t mean they are in need of waste disposal staff. I was just chatting (it’s post quiz now, 10.50pm and I’m finishing my pint) to a guest of one of the teams. She has come down to visit friends in the “south” and they have decided, to show her a “good time,” to bring her to the Grey Horse pub quiz. They don’t have anyone like me in the Lake District apparently. I could do the rounds of the countryside pubs and “clean up.”

Is this a thing? Am I missing, now Covid is gone, a business opportunity? Shall I go online tomorrow and see if there are “pub quiz” agencies? Maybe I will…

In the meantime, it was a top night. 8 teams, all shouty and lively. My 4min “name the celebrity lego figurine” round was a hoot. The music round was pitched juuuuuuust right, with its mix of Chuck Berry, Spice Girls, Sim & Garfunkel and Louie Bega’s Mambo Number Five. Lots of thanks and handshake. Must remember to pick up my salary before the tills shut.

So I’m on my usual buzzy high from being in the spotlight. I am very comfortable up there. The gags, adlibs, put-downs and asides come very quickly and I almost always pitch them at just the right side of, let’s face it, “cheeky.”

So that’s tonight done. Home soon for shower and bed. Tomorrow I am on the last few days of my holiday. Wednesday to Sunday. 5 days to make the most of…something. I don’t know. Before the world kicks its throttle once more and I’m back on the treadmill.

I did, cheekily, push my new gig at the end of the night.

As promised earlier, I plucked up the testicles last week and took a long walk over Kingston bridge and met the owner of The Forresters. A nice country-ish pub in Hampton who are looking to bring in more of a weekday crowd. An hour of chit-chat and CV and I have agreed I will run a quiz for them every OTHER Monday, starting Nov 1st. Will need to pop by to sort speakers and space and such before then. But ghood to have another spot and another £150 in the pocket every month.

Didn’t go to the gym today, and had no excuse not to. Which frustrates me, given the plans I had for my 2 weeks off. Just wanted to find out if there were other Learning Manager Jobs in the world (one can always do with a £15k pay rise one is not going to get at one’s current role) and then, after an exhausting trawl through Indeed, Reed, Monster (horrible website) and LinkedIn, I have a handful of opportunities. Do I go for them? Well yes. Because I can no longer live hand to mouth with the escalating cost of London living and no sign of a cost-of-living bump on the horizon.

Some of this thought has been solidified by my weekend, hanging out with, let’s face it, “grown ups.”

My weekend with Alex in her gorgeous rented top floor rooftop apartment in the poshest of the posh parts of Bath was a little glimpse into how “the other half” live. Lovely women in their 40s-50s talking about second homes, third homes, rental properties, listed buildings and seemingly endless incomes to “do places up” or “get people in” has made me feel somewhat like a teenager at the grown-up table, ordering fish-fingers and fried eggs while others enjoy seabass and brie. Gave me lots to think about, but nary have I ever felt such an under-achiever. Claire tells me often how I am “under-valued” in what I do. But my job is comfy cosy and not a stretch and too easy to stick with. But at 48 and 46/52ths, perhaps I have waited too long to take my career seriously. Too much time as a 20-30-40 something believing things would just “work out.”

So I have found a dozen “learning & development manager” roles in London that require glittering CVs and dazzling “covering letters” and it seems churlish to think that, for a 15k pay rise, they aren’t worth taking a punt at.

Or I could move to the Lake District and clean up on the Pub quiz circuit…

Anyhoo. The weekend. Marvellous fun (darrrrrling) with Alex. As I say, I threw myself on a train to Bath and we enjoyed excellent dining, hilarious chat, the company of Alex’s tremendous sister and her too-politely-charming-for-words friends. They all seemed twice my age and double my income and IQ, so as ever I sat somewhat like a nephew at the kids table while conversation moved around property and profit. I had nothing to add. So I went for “charming and funny” which is my wheelhouse. I believe I was a hit. In that they all said “hope to see you again soon” and appeared to mean it. But who knows. Perhaps, as ever, I was tiring and “punny” and will go down as “Alex’s slightly overbearing friend.” Wouldn’t be the first time.

Saturday night was, in an oddly retro way, Strictly Come Dancing. Which, if memory is going all on the blink, I haven’t seen since I watched it with Helen and Luthfa, my previous partners. Claire is not a fan and – frankly – it isn’t something I’ve missed. Odd that. The things that were once “must see” TV (Big Brother, Changing Rooms, Ground Force) have just faded away from my life. But there is a guilty wriggling pleasure in the re-visit which I had on Saturday night in Alex’s sumptuous lounge.

Ahhh, Strictly Come Dancing. What a thing. Astonishing how quickly one becomes an expert. Yelling at the screen about frames and arms and feet and length and grace. As if we had ANY IDEA what we were talking about. But jolly wine-fuelled fun none the less. Oh and Greg Wise got voted off, which according to Alex, is a good thing.

Ah well, pint is empty and ashtray is full so we’re done. I’ll pick you up in the morning. Good night.

And goodnight x

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