Working with an agency is often one of those times when you are literally at the mercy of the gods. A dark, cold November night back in 2012 was a real indication of this, as I had been hired to perform at a young lady’s 21st Birthday celebration in Grantham, Nottinghamshire.
I had a sense of uncertainty when I made contact with the client (the young lady’s father) three weeks before the date of the booking. He requested that I arrive 30 minutes early, and to call his mobile upon my arrival. He wanted to meet me out in the street to pay in cash and instructed me to wait outside in an alleyway between two houses. I remember feeling a little uncomfortable with this but he followed up by telling me he would like to introduce me to the guests (15 young ladies) before I entered his house.
I pulled on up the back street and called the client's phone. He came out to meet me and gave me an envelope of cash and asked me to wait outside his house for a few moments. It was extremely cold that night and my hands were quickly becoming numb with the minus temperatures. I stood outside the house covered in complete in darkness; the only light I could see was coming through the keyhole of his side entrance door.
Inside, I could hear the music pounding and the sound of laughter and giggles, I remember feeling quite nervous, which was unusual for a walk around type gig. After around five minutes, the door opened ever so slightly and I could see the father stood with his hand on the handle. He requested for silence so he could give a speech, a few seconds passed and the music was turned down low. He began to talk about his daughter and how she makes him happy. What would have made me happy was letting me inside as I was now bloody freezing, but I had to wait until he had introduced me.
Five minutes passed and he was still rattling on about his daughter, but was now relaying a story from her 18th birthday where they had hired a magician. He then said a few words that resonated with me that I’ll never forget. In fact, I still wonder why the hell he decided to choose these words, but the idiot did and what followed was one of those awkward moments that really take you through a range of emotions:
“So now she’s a little bit older, and more mature, I thought it was only right to give her and you girls a bit of a treat. Something a little more mature, that you will no doubt get you really excited.”
What the actual fuck? Read that again and picture me stood freezing outside armed with billets and pens.
It was at that moment that one of the girls screamed:
“Oh my god we’re getting a stripper!!!”
The rest of the girls' enthusiasm was instant, cheers and whoops followed by a chant of:
“Get him in! Get him in!”
The father tried to calm the girls down but they were too far gone, they were hysterical. I was even considering whipping my magic wand out and having a go at stripping, but reality soon took hold. The girls finally calmed down when he screamed that the entertainment wasn’t a stripper; you can imagine the instant deflation of atmosphere. You could literally feel it, like a huge balloon been popped, followed by silence.
At that point, he followed up his ‘introduction speech’ with this fantastic line:
“He’s not a stripper - he’s stood behind the door, and I’ll let him introduce himself.”
The door flung open and the light shone out revealing my cold, pale chubby red face. All the girls were squashed together trying to get a look at who was out there. I took a step inside and their collective look of disappointment was bordering on disgust. There was no sexy, oiled, tanned hunk - just me with my cold, dead hands wishing I was somewhere else.
I introduced myself and a large portion of them just walked away and back to their drinks. It was a difficult gig, but one I find quite funny now.