17 September 2009


Training yesterday in the Ramada Hotel, near Maidstone. Effective complaint handling for a group of children's services managers from Kent County Council. It's not a course I've done very often, and the case study is still really unfamiliar to me, and horribly complicated. I always feel a bit inadequate, since the participants all know much more about the subject than I do. So I end up flattering them shamelessly. Which works. I had brilliant feedback, maybe the best ever, and a fantastic quote for our publicity: something like "Not over-theoretical but grounded in reality and experience". Which is exactly our USP.

I'll really miss the training sessions, probably more than any other part of the job. To my surprise, it turns out I really love being the centre of attention, having a room full of people looking at me, hanging on my every word, occasionally laughing when I want them to. It makes it easy to understand the addiction and madness of stand-up comics: the buzz of it is like a drug but it can disappear so quickly that there's always a huge vulnerability. It also makes me annoyed with people who think it's easy to engage an audience. It isn't - it takes practice and "reality and experience". I remember the destruction of Johnny Vaughan's comic talent on The Big Breakfast where he was furnished with an audience of runners and technicians who laughed at everything he said as if their jobs depended on it. It ruined a real talent. He never developed connection and timing. The comparison is stretched, but comedians can't improve if they never face a hostile audience. I've been training for about three years, and I'm still learning how to do it.

I've one more session booked, the first of the ones I'm intending to do as free-lance. It's on 5 October, and it's in Slough. How can I possibly get through that day without mentioning David Brent? I won't take my guitar.

1 comment :

Clive said...

Should have(and still could) become a schoolteacher - after 35 years the novelty wears off