Altitude 2012: 27th March

I was such a zombie on Tuesday. I didn’t bother with breakfast. We went up the Penkenbahn again, we were taken to the blue run again and we did some more exercises, designed to get us used to controlling the board. I was beginning to get comfortable with the thing, beginning to gain confidence and starting to turn a little bit. The instructor tried getting us to touch our legs as we turned but the moment I tried thinking about hands and knees instead of concentrating on feet, I crashed. I was exempted from this exercise, much to my delight, on the basis that I didn’t need to do it because I was already getting the hang of the turns. We were joined by a new girl, Helen. She was having four days as well but had only arrived the day before. I never did get to the bottom of exactly what had happened but I gathered she’d been delayed somehow on her journey over to Austria by Ed Byrne, who had apparently missed his flight. It was still hot on the slope. I’d come in just a t-shirt under my jacket, which I was only wearing because I wanted the pockets and the feeling of protection – I imagine falling down a hill with bare skin is painful.

After the lesson, I came home, didn’t bother going to the Early Edition – a kind of live panel show featuring the day’s newspapers – and slept instead before heading out to the Gala, where the eight of us joined up again. Tuesday’s gala was MCd by Rufus Hound and featured Marcus Brigstocke, Terry Alderton, Milton Jones, Kevin Bridges and Tim Minchin. Marcus was great – he talked a lot about snowboarding and me and Cherry killed ourselves laughing because we very much understood what he meant about snowboarders disappearing over the side of the mountain – not in search of fresh snow but because they’re on their toe edge, they can’t turn or stop and they have no choice but to follow that trajectory. I know it doesn’t sound funny. As they say, you have to be there. I didn’t like Terry Alderton. He danced on stage in a stupid way, he didn’t seem to tell jokes, he didn’t seem to know what he was doing and when he didn’t know what else to do, he turned his back on the audience and talked to himself ala Gollum and Smeagol. He threw imaginary darts at an imaginary board to guess how old the woman was in the front row, he chased a member of the audience out, he mandhandled others… I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t see much that was funny and I decided instantly this wasn’t for me.

After the interval, Milton came on. Immediately removed the imaginary darts from the imaginery board with the solemn and reproving remark “Those darts could be dangerous.” He did his usual crazy-mad one-liners, mocked Alderton’s Gollum/Smeagol thing and nearly killed the audience. I liked Kevin Bridges as well. And then it was Minchin. He was the headliner, a lot of people had come just for him, he’s hugely hyped – and I liked him! He’s very clever, he talks on stage just as he does in real life – sort of quiet and mumbled and a bit confused but he’s very good at the music!

Off we went to the late show again. Carl Donnelly MCing, with Pete Johansson, Ben Norris, Ian Stone and Abandoman. Minchin was in the audience again and a couple of comedians turned up in the interval to watch and giggle.

I was pleased to see Ben Norris, because I’ve never seen him as a comedian before. I’d already seen and liked Carl Donnelly, Pete Johansson and Ian Stone. Abandoman are very clever but I’m not a huge fan, largely because at Altitude 2010, I saw them at every show I went to for the first three days and there’s a certain similarity in their various songs. Brendon Burns interrupted them to play a game with them – he does a three minute routine, they make up a rap about it, and any other comedians in the room who think this game looks fun, come and join in. That was good fun. Brendon’s very into wrestling so he got them rapping about Edwardian Heckling at Wrestling. Phill Jupitus, who was also lurking, came and joined in. All very good. But another late night.

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