I'm Thrifty And I'm Proud

Streatham/Brixton Double

Streatham should be called Free Parking Town. When I first moved to London I lived in Streatham Hill before I’d passed my licence. That’s years of free parking that went wasted. It’s a regret I will take to my grave. It’s a good one for London gigs or if you’re flying from Gatwick rather than airport parking. Park in Streatham Hill, get the train to Clapham Junction change for Gatwick.

I was doing the Hideaway make sure you approach the gig by turning left off Streatham High Road. There’s a bit of free parking on Streatham High Road but I don’t have the ability to Parallel Park with that volume of traffic behind me I just can’t park under pressure. Turn left on Gleneldon Road. Don’t drive right up to the gig because it’s one way at the end of the road so you won’t be able to turn around if you can’t find free parking and you’ll be stuck going the wrong way on Streatham High Road which is like swimming in dangerous currents.

Then on to Brixton Hootenanny which is surrounded by free parking and residential streets a joy to park I actually took a while to choose. I went Morval Road given the choice I’d always go residential.

Topcliffe

I got to Topcliffe there was plenty of parking at the pub. You could probably leave your car in the middle of the road and it would have gone unnoticed because Topcliffe consists of a pub, a small shop and absolutely nothing else.

No choice of cheap food. Luckily I’d had a lie in then a big lunch consisting of a packed lunch I’d bought with me, my advice for any young comedian? Tupperware! Cut down on your overheads. So Sat in the pub where the gig is. I planned to do my standard one coffee to justify being there till dinner. Nightmare it was £2:50 a coffee. It was a small cup on a pretentious bit of slate with a small biscuit. You’re just paying for slate. I was going to nick it in case I needed to do any repairs on my roof. Another vital bit of advice this is twofold, I told the manager I was one of the comedians for the comedy night. So they know why I’m sat in the pub all day and I don’t feel pressured to buy anything while they watch me charging every bit of electrical equipment I have with me. Sub vital tip always position next to a plug socket. Which will mean that when you’re choosing where to sit you will look like you’re looking for a mouse?

No offer of free food or even a free drink. But after he’d told me how many tickets they’d sold I didn’t feel I could ask. So I stretched out a coffee and did the 5-7 early bird special. I had a soup then fish and chips the cheaper and more filling of meals.

During the interval the first act Andrew Ryan had just left to drive home. The promoter of the gig the lovely man that is Neil Jollie announced the sacred words “last time there was food” Less than 20 seconds later Andrew Ryan walked back in the room and said “Is there going to be food” He then waited around for 15 minutes on the off chance there was going to be food. A pleasure to see. Sure enough we got a plate of sandwiches. I forced a few down to be double sure I wouldn’t be hungry on the long drive home.

Brighton

Brighton arguably the hardest place to park in Britain, this is the big one. I’ve had an epic battle with Brighton over the years. It’s been one of the fiercest rivalries; it’s been the sporting equivalent of Ali V Frasier, Man Utd V Aresnal circa Keane, Vieira. You know when you park in Brighton there is going to be fireworks. I’ve suffered some heavy defeats.

The worst without a doubt was when my wife was pregnant and this was to be the last weekend she could come away with me for a long time. So it was supposed to be special weekend away together we were going to go to a seafood restaurant we liked. I was going to actually pay to park for two hours (that’s how big this was) then move the car.
So I parked outside the hotel at night. So I needed to move the car in the morning. The restaurant was literally two streets down. Not even a five minute walk.
I drove towards it, it turned out to be a one way street then I ended up in a one way system that lead me into town. I thought I might as well park in town now then move the car. Got into town and there was a demonstration going on and I got stuck in gridlocked traffic surrounded by horses. What was less than a 5 minute walk ended up being two hours sat in a car and having to pay £5 an hour in an NCP. I got so angry I punched the ticket machine as we parked. We ate our meal in the restaurant in complete silence and my wife didn’t come to the gig. She went for a walk because she couldn’t bare to be in my company anymore that day.

But now thanks to Brighton resident Eddy Brimson here it is. Anywhere off Lewes road I’ve found DE MONFORT ROAD and AGNES STREET. Free Parking 15 walk to the gig. Still a bit of an extreme sport trying to find a space but when you do. That’s you for the weekend. Have that Brighton I have finally defeated you!

Bristol

Bristol, is a parking hell hole. I once found parking on the high street just down from the gig. It was a tight spot right outside a restaurant. I took so many attempts to Parallel Park that there was at least three tables in the window restaurant watching. Even some of the waiters stopped to watch. I gave up drove round the block couldn’t find anywhere to park came back to the same spot to try again. When I finally got it in I got out the car and walked away I couldn’t look back I knew there was people that had stopped eating to watch me park.

At the gig always good to see the promoter Steve has got a multi pack of bottled water bought from a supermarket rather than having to go to the bar a buy drinks. Why all promoters don’t do this I will never know.

Doncaster

Nice easy one I parked right at the door of the venue. There’s a parking bay right there. The only problem with this which I’ve talked about on stage, since the smoking ban whenever you park outside any venue or pub you’ve got to do it in front of a group of people smoking. There is nothing worse than trying to Parallel Park in front of a group of men smoking. When you’re on your fourth attempt you can see them going to get the rest of their friends. It doesn’t feel good parking your car to a sarcastic round of applause from a group of strangers you’ve then got to do a gig in front of.

Then when you leave you have to get in your car in front of an audience who just saw you. You get to hear live reviews while I’m trying to find my keys that I must have because I just used them to open the door. You can feel them judging you I always just want to shout out the window, “Yeah it’s a Skoda! What of it. I got it on the scrapage scheme. Skoda’s are really just VWs. (That’s the Skoda mantra)

I tend to drive off and pull over down the road to sort out the sat nav and put a podcast on. (Usually Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast or The Frank Skinner Show if you’re interested)

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