Sam Freeman

Storytelling | Theatre | Arts Marketing

Prestogigaphobia – The fear of gigging in Preston

Guess what this blog post is about…

Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m heading back to Preston to see how I get on at Beat The Frog. Me and Preston have not had a good relationship since we first met nearly a year ago. Well actually it started long ago when I decided not to go to the University of Central Lancaster and instead go and live in York, it was a tough choice at the time, in the last year it’s seemed incredibly wise.

The first time I was in Preston (in what I’ll now refer to as “the modern era”), it was for a conference. I arrived very early on a dark windy rainy day and as the rain pounded down soaking me from head to toe, i crept through industrial estates, climbed over walls, sneaked through gaps in the the barbed wire and arrived at the hotel across the wasteland for a conference about pricing in the arts. Not a great start.

The last time was for my first experience of Beat the Frog, gig #2 as it happens and was equally horrendous, my set was greeted with silence, awkward silence, a man at the back of the room saying “not this shit” and me leaving the stage sharpish. It was terrible.

So why am I doing it again. Well for a few reasons:

#1 – The last time I was there it was gig #2 and was early in my stand up life, all i need is a slight improvement on that last gig to find satisfaction. I took it too seriously, didn’t relax before I went on, assumed that the audience would go with me and didn’t work hard enough. Next time, a beer before I go on and a more chilled out vibe.

#2 – I’m slightly scared of this gig, and unless I face my fears and what I’m scared of I’ll be held back by it. Big changes start with small steps, and this is a small step that’s not going to hurt me too badly.

#3 – Preston can’t be a fully bad place. I did my first gig and got a hard audience. I can’t write off a place because of one night – there must be nice people there – it’s a northern city, I love northern cities, the people, the friendliness – I want to see it in Preston.

I still feel nervous though, I’ve run my material but it’s not seeming to flow – two weeks of not performing takes it away from you a bit – I wonder what happens if I fail to find the right vibe, or the right flow or if words and improvisational cleverness fails me… ARGH! What to do. I guess if it goes well then great, if it doesn’t then, well fuck it, nowt I can do but learn from it.

I’ll update you all about how Preston goes after the gig. Night all!



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