To Amsterdam in Holland I go and from where I write this post. Did you know that the Dutch are the tallest people on earth and so I imagine that my forebears must have fled Holland for England many years ago, for fear of being trampled on I imagine. I flew here (sorry, Greta but it was £100 45 minute journey against a £400 4 hour train) and so far I have conversed with two Dutch men and have not seen eye to eye with either of them. Speaking to a ticket guard at Schiphol station, it was more my eye to his navel.
This is a little unsettling and I hope will not be a recurring theme. I need to connect with the good people of Holland since it is they who I will be delivering my first Ted talk to tomorrow.
I don’t need to learn my stand-up. I just do it. By which I mean, that I can use different words and inferences without it losing any of its punch or meaning. But a TED talk is a different prospect entirely. A TED talk needs to have resonance and therefore I need to learn what I written precisely if it is to be worth listening to. And even though it is only 12 minutes or so, learning something exactly for a man of my years is proving to be a stretch. Much practise has been employed with Tessa being the beneficiary of many more walks than she is used to as I plod about various parks talking to myself; making various changes and trying to get it down.
As regular readers will know, Nikki was due to accompany me on this trip but then family life and various other stuff intervened and so I am flying solo now.
I have had much time to prepare and over the months, my talk has gone through so many incarnations and Nikki of course read early drafts but only yesterday, heard it for the first time.
She listened intently. And had notes.
Which I begrudgingly conceded were worthy and so further changes were made.
Last night in bed, I was sleeping fitfully. At 5am I opened my machine and even with the light on low, it was enough to stir Nikki. But in the throes of the ‘change’, it takes very little these days.
‘What are you doing?’ Nikki asked softly.
‘I am changing the ending.’ I replied.
This is not the response I was looking for and more doubts creep in.
The next morning, Tessa finally puts her paw down and refuses yet another walk. Amazing what a dog can convey with just her eyes.
Really. This speech again.
Anyway, I am here now. On a train now out of Amsterdam bound for the town of Breda. I had an aunt called Breda who I loved very much and I hope I might like this Breda equally.
At least I don’t need to be funny, I assure myself.
But this is not much help because the thousands of hours I have been on stage being listened to, I have been cushioned by laughter. And lots of it. I am not boasting but I would venture that I have garnered a laugh-out-loud at least every minute. So to now stand on a stage now in front of giants who are not laughing at all…
‘It’ll be fine I tell myself.’
Tom and Harry are bound for America tomorrow to begin a new film called Cherry and this evening, the whole family are convening at our house for a send-off meal.
I call Nikki to add my voice to the well wishes.
‘How’s Holland?’ Nikki asks.
‘Tall.’ I reply.
Nikki laughs and I do too.
It’ll be fine and you can see for yourselves when it goes on-line.