I spent the first half-hour of snowboarding in a mood. The snow was too cold to lie in comfortably, unlike the other days. I’d been expecting it to be just as painfully hot so I’d left my hat behind and now my head was cold. Why did I have to do these exercises, why don’t you understand that if I’m concentrating on swinging my arm around, I can’t concentrate on my feet and I will crash. But then we were allowed to pretty much just go, swooping and turning all the way down to the lift and I brightened up because I was really getting this and it was looking smooth and I was aware that I was light-years ahead of Helen, quite a bit ahead of Sam and even a little beyond Cherry, who has a habit of leaning too far into the mountain on her toe edge and falling. Suddenly I was enjoying it. At one point, I was sitting in the snow, with Sam above me, the instructor working with the other two a little below us and a skier swooped past and waved frantically. It may have been Sam’s boyfriend. But he was a familiar shape and size and I felt like the wave had been aimed at me rather than her and I’m convinced that it was Ed Byrne, recognising my plaits, because there’s no other way to recognise me under goggles and ski jacket and big pink trousers. Indeed, Helen, on Wednesday night, after spending two days with me, had turned to me just before the gala and asked uncertainly if I was having snowboarding lessons because she had an idea that I might be in her group. I also don’t know anyone else who skis, so that narrows the suspects down a bit.
And then as we were about to get the chairlift back to the very top to finish with the red run, I spotted someone I definitely recognised. Of course, without a mad shirt and hair that looks like it’s been electrocuted, in a normal blue ski jacket, Milton Jones doesn’t look at all like he does on stage but it was definitely him, standing with who I presumed were his wife and daughter, all three of them apparently watching for someone else to come down the slope and join them. Just looking unbelievably normal.
We finished off on the red run. I had the giggles. Cherry and I stopped just above a steep bit to wait for Helen and the instructor to join us, messing around and I got her to take some photos of me, attempting to look like I was actually snowboarding rather than just standing on a ledge giggling. I lost control of the board and it wandered off tail first. Great photos. Good run down. And then I ran out of steam on the runway because it’s quite flat and you need to keep up momentum so Helen who’d taken off her board, towed me the last little bit
I took my board back, came home, got changed and ate and then went to take my boots back and settle in for the Early Edition. Helen was there, so I sat with her and dozed in a nice leather sofa while I waited for it to begin. It was hosted by Marcus Brigstocke and Andre Vincent and featured Ed Byrne (with ferocious sunburn) and Phill Jupitus as guests.
They talked about the news. It was fun. Marcus had come straight from the mountain and was still in his snowboarding kit. Andre was in a pinstriped suit jacket. Phill was in his usual scruffy stuff. Ed was in his skiing stuff but had taken his boots off and wandered on stage in his socks.
The gala was MCd be Craig Campbell with Rufus Hound, who couldn’t be bothered to do two different lots of material Thursday and Friday, ran out of time and decided to end it with “To be continued tomorrow”, since we’d established it was exactly the same people coming to all the shows. Phill Jupitus who hadn’t been planning on being on the big stage. Andrew Maxwell, who repeated the story about the naked sauna for the hundredth time (basically, there’s a law in Austria that in a mixed sauna, men must be naked. There is a man called Gunther at the Strass sauna whose job it is to make sure the men are naked. Maxwell tells this story at every show he does here.). Marcus Brigstocke, always good and Tim Minchin who got two standing ovations. He comes to the late show every night without fail and he’s remarkably calm about letting fans talk to him and have photos and I’ve pretty much ceased to notice him, I’m getting so used to him being around.
The late show was MCd by Andre Vincent. Tiernan Douieb was on, then Terry Alderton. I couldn’t see exactly what was going on because of a pillar in the way but at one point, everyone gathered in close in a huddle in the middle of the audience and then chairs started getting hurled on the stage. I don’t get him and I don’t like him. Why are people cheering? Why are they standing up yelling “More!” What is he doing that’s any funnier than a drunk orangutan? Cherry, who likes him, has tried to explain but I just Don’t Get It. The second half was Andi Osho, who is great and a poppet, and Benny Boot who tried to do different material to the other night and was just as fumbling and chaotic and lost and funny. I managed to grab Andi, Tiernan and Rufus Hound, who was in the audience, and got them all to sign my t-shirt before we went home.