What an extraordinary few days I have had. Last year I went to see Robin Ince‘s Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People and came away thinking – ‘I want to do that’. It is a mixture of humour and music – not a god-bashathon, just a celebration of the alternative things that make this a world of wonder and delight. My only criticism was the clear absence of references to hedgehogs, so I wrote to Robin Ince and told him that he needed hedgehogs in the show. He wrote back saying, ‘yes, we probably do’.

That was months ago … but it was loitering in the back of my mind – was it a booking? So a little nearer the time I wrote again and he responded immediately – would I like to do the 10th (opening night) … and then came a period of time where I recognised the truism ‘be careful what you wish for’. I have never been more nervous before an event.

The day came – I was so scared – there were people I had heard on the radio sitting nonchalantly in the Bloomsbury Theatre’s Green Room – all chatting as if it was the most normal thing in the world, to step onto a stage in front of 500 people and make them happy … I sat in a corner and trembled. But they were so kind – and I did it – and it was okay (though some of the others were just knock out – Robin Ince is a live wire, Grace Petrie and angry and passionate star and George Egg – well, who else would knock up pancakes in a stove made from an ironing board, 3 Gideon’s Bibles and two irons?)

And maybe it would have all ended there … but no … Robin invited me back for two more nights – including the very last night of the show, ever (this, the 6th year) is to be the last. To top that, I got a complimentary ticket for Zoe – so she was able to record the show and take a photo – to prove to me it was not all a dream. Listening to the difference between my first and last performance I am so please with the improvement – I was lucky enough to get some wise and clever people to listen to the first outing and give gentle positive criticism. And I also ignored the advice I was given to never try something new on a big stage … so here it is, have a listen: Nine Hedgehogs

I hope it brings you a little Christmas cheer. Thank you Zoe for your great skill at recording where you are not supposed to!

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