About the only festival tradition I can still nail better than the youngsters is the drugs, and even those were more fun when sex for dessert was still an option.
Respectable, obese, ageing, balding, beardy comics should not go trawling for a shag among lithe and bouncy twentysomethings disporting themselves in a state of intoxication; it just looks creepy. It’s far more dignified to find a quiet but accessible corner, knock back two Rohypnols, and hope for the best...
Anyway, I digress. I went to Oppikoppi, though I shouldn’t have. But I’d only been twice before, back in the 90s. So when they asked for comics keen to fill sets this year, I said yes partly out of nostalgia.
And yea verily, it came to pass as I had expected it to. Once you hit middle age, your body is no longer a monarchy ruled by your brain; it’s a loose collection of republics, each with their own agenda, and ever-ready to complain to headquarters.
By Saturday morning, as I levered myself out of my tent after two nights on an inflatable mattress that wasn’t, I was clasping handfuls of the red earth of Northam in a fist raised to the sky, vowing that as God was my witness – as Gaaaahd was my witness – I would never do Oppikoppi again... Unless some kind sponsor hooked me up with an RV.
Because apart from the indignity of a Voltaren shot in the backside for my gout, the cuts and scratches from camping among thornbush, a light sunburn, dust-induced bronchitis and rhinitis for a month afterwards and a week of stiffness from muscles completely unused to walking up and down a bloody hill five times a day, I had a fabulous time.
The comedy was very well received, and I managed to perform in eight of the nine comedy sets. I also remained conscious and comparatively sober for seven of them, without repeating any material. Although I’m told some of the material in that blackout eighth set may be unrepeatable...
The only ugly moment was when some utterly self-centred woman took exception to something John Vlismas said to her sister, and threw a drink at him on her behalf. I was incandescent with rage.
Not on John’s behalf – I don’t do behalves – but because I was standing right next to him, and the utterly self-centred woman caught me in her inundation too. I call her an utterly self-centred woman because (a) I was entirely innocent of any inappropriateness towards her sister, (b) I could have had my iPhone in the pants she drenched, and (c) the phrase I’d prefer to use is misogynistic and offensive, even when applied to someone being demonstrably both stupid and bitchy.
It’s the ultimate coward’s attack, isn’t it? Toss a drink, run away. If the guy goes after you, even if it’s just to discuss the new iPhone you’re going to buy him, he’s a vicious abusing bully. So I left it. “I’ll call her names in public later,” I consoled myself. “But I hope she goes home with crabs.”
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