Tuesday, 17 May 2011

34: Concentration

I've tried to write pesky blog number 34 for quite some time now, and I keep getting distracted by the tiniest of things - such is the wafer thin level of concentration in my noggin.

As all of these little notes are dedicated to things that I hate, I had previously tried to write about about a dozen little things but kept going off track somewhat and deciding that I hated something else even more. Then I'd eat a bakewell slice, have a nap and play Portal 2 for a bit.

My first idea was to talk about people who wear glasses when they don't need them. I have - despite many warnings from my mother about various teenage activities that would limit my vision - 20/20 vision. I know. I'm as stunned as you, to be honest.

I know a lot of people that rock a pair of glasses, and in many ways I am jealous of their awesome face furniture. Glasses are cool, no doubt about it. But I have been led to believe by the lady in the laser eye surgery commercial that it's possibly slightly preferable to have working eyes. After all, she looks so happy. After just two hours!

I'm not sure if people who wear glasses get as annoyed about this as me, but the only people who wear glasses without prescription lenses in them tend to be girls that think they're alternative because they once bought a fairisle knit cardigan from the Cancer Research shop and guys who have stupid hair and pretend to read Dostoyevsky on the tube. Cunts.

Then there's Radio 1.

As a former BBC employee I used to be limited in what I say about Radio 1, however as I'm now as free as a bird let me speak out on a couple of subjects:

1: It's not a "music festival" if all of the bands that are playing have essentially been chosen because they represent 80% of your daytime playlist.
2: I'm not that happy at you fuckers spending the license fee (that could be dedicated to you know, actually saving local radio) on putting on said "festival" and then mentioning it in every link for six weeks before and after the so-called event.
3: Fearne Cotton is the worst presenter in the world.
4: Greg James is the second worst.

Of course, this isn't as annoying as the new opening credits for the Simpsons.

Why change it? Yes, it jumped the shark ages ago (series 10, "The Principal and the Pauper") but I could still watch old episodes and bask in their timeless humour (something that Family Guy will never be able to do). Now there's an opening credits that tries to make minor characters important (the fucking one eyebrowed baby? Fuck you), has Sherri and Terri playing on Nintendo DSs and somehow manages to make a programme that is now in HD and better animated than ever look as cheap as a Primark wedding dress.

Not to mention that all new episodes of the Simpsons seem to follow the same formula:

Homer does something dumb
This leads to them going to a different place
Episode takes place in different place (Ireland, Italy, Africa, the Midwest)
Mild racism and minor wackiness ensues.

Don't even get me started on bicycle seats.

Riding a bike is fun, right? So why should the seat make me feel like I've been violated by an angry bear that is wearing that spiked sheathed from the film Seven?

Also, women who go out walking at a slow pace whilst wearing leggings, anoraks and carrying a bottle of water: That is NOT proper exercise. Try running. Or walking further than the small loop near your house with two of your friends talking about Emmerdale. Get out of my cycle lane.

I forget what this was about. Oh yes. Concentration, that's it.

Nope, I've got nothing.

But I will enjoy a bakewell slice.


Monday, 18 April 2011

33: Brainache

I'd love to paint the image that I'm some kind of happy-go-lucky comedian that people tend to hope that all of my breed are; spending my downtime whistling showtunes or getting into scrapes like a heavily tattooed Norman Wisdom. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

I've not done any kind of survey amongst comedians, but I'm fairly sure that the majority - even if it's only 51% of us - are mentally ill in some way. Either keeping to themselves (as I have no doubt my Mother wishes I did) or like me, being a big old show pony about it.

I'm not proud of being bipolar, I don't view it as a selling point or anything like that. I mean, how could it be one? Imagine my agent ringing people up trying to get gigs for me purely based on that:

JON: Fancy booking Jim for a gig?
PROMOTER: Not seen him before, what's he like?
JON: He can be quite funny and full of energy...
PROMOTER: Excellent...
JON: Or sometimes he just sits in the corner of a green room, rocking backwards and forwards whilst sobbing uncontrollably.
PROMOTER: There's a call on the other line...

I have my condition under control, with medicine and positive thinking. The fact that I have my dream job of course helps - but that doesn't mean that I'm not prone to bad days. I am. Today was one, for no real reason. Let me talk you through it.

9am: Got up. Ate chocolate weetabix - a cereal guaranteed to get you off to a bad start as there is clearly NO FUCKING CHOCOLATE IN IT.
9.15am: Tire of the day. Have a massive wee and go back to sleep.
1pm: Wake up. Check emails. Send some texts. Go back to sleep.
5pm: Wake up. Remember I need my prescription. Get dressed, collect it, visit my parents, feel vaguely human, come home.
9pm: Start writing this. Goal: Do something productive with my day.

I've got a tattoo on my arm of a power switch. I had this done to symbolise that I never switch off - fuck it, I'll take a gig in Azerbaijan at the drop of a hat if I have to. Even if it's a Mirth Control one and I have to drive people back to London afterwards.

(Non comedians: Just trust me, that last bit is funny. Do what my mum does and laugh, pretending you get it. Thanks)

Of course, the power switch does also say, apparently, that I'm permanently turned on. That's regrettable. Thank fuck it's funny.

Point is that I don't like having days off. If I sit at home I have time to think and worry and panic and fret. That's all I've done today. I've worried about all of the following:

1: My weight
2: My appearance
3: Money, or rather my lack of it
4: Edinburgh
5: My career
6: My daughter
7: My lack of friends
8: My teeth
9: The environment
10: The crack in my car windscreen
11: My fines at Blockbuster
12: Bills
13: Whether I've had too much sleep
14: If my neighbours might try to kill me
15: The economy
16: What to eat
17: My heart
18: My liver
19: Whether my penis is too brown (it is freakishly brown)
20: My website
21: Whether I worry too much

When I got to number 21, I started the list again in a different order. That is what the inside of my brain looks like, a constant ticker whirring by listing everything in the world that I can worry about. If I'm having a bad day like today, I can't convince myself to do anything other than worry. I can't even play videogames to distract me, because I worry that I'm playing too many videogames.

The way out of this is of course to face my worries and do something about them. If I don't like my body, I could go out for a run. If I'm worried about money I could put a load of my stuff on eBay. If I'm worried about my car windscreen I could call Autoglass as I'm led to believe that they are able to both repair and replace.

I don't do any of those things though. I sit and mope and can't drag myself out of the gloomy pit that I've made. I don't like being this way, I just can't get out of it on a bad day.

I may have been addicted to a lot of things, and they've all done me a lot of harm. I do have an addiction still though - an addiction to being onstage. If I didn't have comedy I don't know what I'd do.

It's interesting that I NEVER have a bad day if I'm working. No matter how bad the gig is, I'd rather be doing that than sitting at home on my own. I spend most normal days writing to get better at what I do - god knows I've got a long way to go yet. I may spend a lot of time sitting on the M1 or M6 but at least that means that I'm on my way to a gig. 20, 200 or 2,000 people - it doesn't matter. I have the greatest job in the world and it's ironic that making a few people happy makes me more happy on the inside than they'll ever know.

There's no real point to this little rant, no punchline at the end, nothing that I want it to achieve other than pull me out the funk that I've been in all day today.

Just bear in mind next time you see me onstage that if I make you giggle even in the tiniest way that you're helping keep me on the straight and narrow. If you look at my daft tattoos and grin then that makes me happy.

For every day I have like today, stupid little brainache day, I have a dozen great days. I see the world, I meet great people, I ignore my stupid brain and have a blast entertaining as many people as I can. You'll note that I didn't worry today at all today about having a purpose in life. As silly and frivolous as mine is, if I am forced to be a jester for the rest of my life than I'll die a happy man.

I know it's surprising. Who'd have thought that a man who listens to loud music, has a ton of tattoos and wears a lot of black t-shirts could be such a fucking emo?

If you take anything away from this posting, take this: If you ever see me away from my comfort zone of being in a comedy club and I'm moping, quiet and miserable: Slap me around the head with a large fish and remind me that I'm one lucky fucker who, most of the time, adores life and everyone in it.

No punchline, as I said. So I'll give you a sentence and you write your own joke around it. I'm off to try and enjoy chocolate weetabix again.

Here goes:

It turned out it was swarfega!


Sunday, 3 April 2011

32: Saturday Night Out

Tonight, as I walked back to my car after performing in Birmingham, some youth chose to punch me in the face. I was more stunned than hurt - his clumsy pugilism merely vaguely bruised my forehead so I doubt that the cowardly fuck will be troubling the highest echelons of boxing at any point soon.

I have no idea why he decided to attempt to give me a pasting. He walked out of a bar across the road from where I was working, strode up to me, said nothing and lamped me. It did lead to a very awkward moment where he expected me to go down and I just stared at him and said "ouch". He then considered hitting me again, panicked and buggered off. A very odd moment in my life.

This happened just off Broad Street, a place that pretty much resembles my idea of hell on earth. Hundreds of drunken revellers being as pissed as it is possible to be without sleeping on a bench every night, all trying to have loud conversations with people over booming R'n'B music in the vain hope that they can possibly go home and have awkward sex.

This is, of course, a Saturday night out.

I've been working at the same venue for the last couple of nights and I was astonished upon leaving last night just how short girls dresses are. I must stress - I was shocked. Not "pleasantly surprised". Genuinely shocked. Where do they get these dresses from? Hang on.

(Goes to look)

Ah, Lipsy.

Anyway, I should be pleased about this as a heterosexual man. Women wearing less should be a cause for celebration, surely? No. It just reminds me that I'm getting old and that I've got a seven year old daughter who'll probably be out and about doing the same thing in about ten years. Maybe that's why that dude punched me - he must be a parent of a girl and the sight of so much flesh panicked him. Poor little guy.

I've noted that on these Saturday nights out that there are three distinct groups that form pretty much all of the so-called revellers in bars and clubs.


Masses of girls together, usually wearing as little as possible. At least one will be crying, one will hate all of the others and half will not be wearing their heels by 11pm.


A load of lads hanging out together, spending a lot of time proving they can drink more than the others and staring at the uncovered backsides of the girls that are out and about. From my experience this weekend they seem to all look EXACTLY the same: Very short hair, polo shirt, shit tribal tattoo. Hey, fellers? Just because your polo shirt is from Lyle and Scott it doesn't mean that you've managed to escape your social class.


Jesus, these are the worst. A group of four or more couples, where all the women are friends (NEVER the men) and the guys are forced to sit next to each other and pretend to like the others. They like to remind you that they're all attached and happy and that they don't NEED to be out on a Saturday night, but they choose to be because if they stayed at home watching television they'd worry that they were missing something. Nope. If you stayed in when you were single you didn't miss anything, you miss even less when you're attached and merely spend a fortune trying to relive your youth which you only see through the rose-tinted spectacles of booze and drugs back in the day.

Of course, I say all of this whilst hiding a guilty secret.


I have never enjoyed a Saturday night out.

When I say "never enjoyed" I don't mean that I've been on hundreds of nights out and they've all sucked. I mean that I don't think I've ever had a Saturday night out. Not with dancing and fun and conversation and the sort of epic adventures that drinkers and revellers enjoy. The kind of weekends that prompted Pete Tong to tell us all that they started on Thursday and have idiots text into Radio 1 talking about how they were going to "large it". Cunts.

I digress. My point is that I quit drinking aged 20. Prior to that I'd never liked clubs and bars. I now work in comedy clubs every Saturday night. I still don't drink, have precious little time to socialise and after gigs people seem more scared of me than wanting to hang out.

Anyway, if you're reading this you're probably thinking that you've had loads of great Saturday nights out. I will not deny this. I will merely remain annoyed and jealous about it. Trouble is, I don't think I can fix my aversion to Saturday nights out now. As:

a) I'm likely to be working every Saturday night until the end of time and convincing people that Monday is my Saturday doesn't really work.
b) I'm nearly 33 for fucks sake. That train has sailed.
c) Large groups of people are always suspicious of little me, drinking coke while they get hammered.

And most importantly of all:

d) It seems that I have a face that people like to smack.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

31: Not Being a Proper Boy

I am 32 years old, nearly 33. In my life I have watched football, been drunk, done drugs, touched ladies on their rude parts and generally been a bit of a tearaway from time to time. Yet my family don't treat my escapades as (formerly) youthful exuberance, the actions of a bit of a lad in the prime of his life, oh no. They react in a different way.

My mother simply refuses to believe that I've ever done anything untoward, as she's my mum and she likes to presume that the sun shines out of my posterior. When I told her that I used to be an alcoholic she merely shook her head and went "naah, not my boy" and made me another cup of tea with too many sugars in it (and with a plate of assorted biscuits on the side).

My father accepted the alcoholism confession with a much more direct answer:

ME: Hey dad, I used to drink a lot.
DAD: When?
ME: I my teens, mainly. Like, all the time.
DAD: Ah, explains a lot. I just thought you were a twat.

However, on the few occasions that I've dared tell jokes about my surreal and downright wrong sex life he has stared at me with a look of "yeah, right", rolled his eyes and carried on. No matter what confessions I tell my parents (and my sister) they just seem to wash over them now. And having thought about this recently, I know why my fanciful stories of regret and wrongness are so difficult for my family to swallow.

You see, as a child I was never a proper boy.

I don't mean that I didn't have the required bits or anything like that, it's just that I was a RUBBISH boy. I'm still useless now, and I think it's too late for me to become a proper one.

Let me stress what I mean: This has nothing to do with sexuality or manliness, it's to do with those things that make you a boy or a bit of a lad when you grow up. I was never the sort of child to have scraped knees and muddy clothes (indeed my mother reminds me that I even hated finger painting at school because it got my hands dirty). Let me give you my life history:

Age 0: Born by caesarean section because it was too much physical effort to be born via conventional means and I wanted the extra attention. As I'm whisked away in foil my Dad sees me before my Mother and presumes that I'm a baked potato. Apparently I was emo even before birth and tried to hang myself with my umbilical cord. The Smiths were not even formed at this point.

Age 3: My sister is born. I surreptitiously eye her toys.

Age 5: Start school. First day is dictated by the few moments that I stop crying for long enough to be able to read a book quietly in the corner. One memorable day someone tells me that the toilets in our school are haunted, so I eventually wet myself. That day I was wearing bright yellow trousers. This was not the choice of my mother, but rather mine - and a foolish choice in which to disguise urinary mishaps (but a good colour to stand out from the crowd, it would seem).

Age 6: Discover something called "football" after watching Dundee United play Gothenberg on TV. Turns out that most children wanted to play the sport rather than watch it. I tried for a while but was so bad at it that in the end I would sit at the side of the pitch and provide commentary whilst eating my dairylea sandwiches.

Age 7: Have a massive tantrum when I'm not allowed to wear my favourite bottle green cords to school. Later in the year, parents decide to buy me my first football shirt so I can be like the other lads. Instead of choosing England, Leicester or even Liverpool, I choose West Ham because "their kit is the nicest colour".

Age 8: Too frightened to learn to ride a bike, I spend most of my nights after school running after my friends on their BMXs. I become very good at running, but still look like a pissed giraffe when doing so. I eventually get bought a bike (with no stabilizers) and regrettably have to learn. I fall off one day and cry so much that I'm sick all over my teddy bears (George, Nim and Little Gordon).

Age 9: First swimming lesson. Fall into the swimming pool and nearly drown. Upon being rescued I sob uncontrollably until the teachers give up hope and just read me the last rites and offer me a noose to end it all as soon as possible. Once the crying ends I realise that my skin is ablaze (not literally) and that I'm allergic to chlorine. My 7 year old daughter can swim now and constantly mocks me for this and my dedication to drowning the very second I come into contact with her paddling pool.

Age 11: Move school. Our new school field has trees in that we have expressly forbidden to climb. I stick to this rule, and when mocked for never climbing said tree I run and tell some teachers. Result: I am saved from climbing the tree, which I would not be able to do as a fully grown adult, let alone as a stick thin non-adventurous child. Also, all the other kids are banned from climbing the tree. I receive special attention from the teachers for this, and coincidentally also receive a different type of special attention from the kids too.

Age 12: Discover the Smiths. Uh-oh.

Age 13: Quite like girls. The standard way of showing this amongst my chums is as follows:

1: Pull hair of said girl.
2: Hit said girl.
3: Run off.
4: Repeat until they give you a kiss reeking of marmite and pickled onion monster munch.

My method is slightly different.

1: Admire girl from afar.
2: Send her anonymous notes quoting Smiths lyrics.
3: Realise she knows you sent the notes.
4: Ask parents if you can change schools.

Age 14: Discover booze. Not in the usual way, behind a skip in a park, pretending to be wankered on half a sip of Diamond White. Oh no. Much better to get drunk in my room listening to Morrissey, Nirvana and Joy Division and then really nail home this image of teenage angst by playing Turrican on the Commodore Amiga.

Age 15: First touch the lady bits of a girl. Slightly repulsed by it and have nightmares about losing my hand in an octopus for the next month.

Age 17: Sleep with a girl. Did not lose my virginity in the way most lads do (at a party, pissed) but instead lose it by candlelight to a girl 4 years older than me (who looks 4 years younger than me) whilst drunk on wine and listening to a mixtape that I made her. And one point she paused coitus to stop the tape (midway through a song from the Cure) and put on a Mary J Blige CD. I could not reach orgasm.

Age 18: Experiment with drugs. Not with my friends, sat around in a circle giggling at nothing at all whilst high on weed, oh no. But take large amounts of LSD in order to (and I actually wrote this phrase in my diary) "unlock my deeper consciousness" and be able to write more "heartfelt, yearning and personal stories". Jesus.

Age 20: Quit drinking and drugs just at the point when I should be being sociable at university and doing these things.

Age 25: After being married and divorced, briefly date a lapdancer hoping it will earn me some man-points. It doesn't: I find myself far too eager to give advice on what music she should dance to and find myself terrified that she'll one die run off with Peter Stringfellow.

Age 27: Start doing comedy. Not because I think I'm funny, but because I want to be less shy. Least rock and roll reason to fall into a career EVER.

Age 30: Start getting properly tattooed. My Dad lives in hope that one day I'll have a bit of tribal or the City badge etched into my skin. He rolls his eyes at Princess Peach et al and just lets me get on with it.

I had a conversation with my daughter the other week where she told me what the boys at her school were like (noisy, dirty, smelly and very active) and she - without even blinking - looked at me and said "but I know you weren't like that at school, Daddy". How did she know? I had to ask her. She shrugged and said "I just know. You're a proper Daddy but not a proper boy".

Enraged by this (but not showing it) I decided to take her to a chilly adventure playground and leap about the climbing frames with her. She dashed all around, demonstrating monkey-like agility all over the place while I gamely tried to keep up (I made it look like I was letting her win, I wasn't). Eventually I tripped and fell, hurting my ankle. I made Amelia come and sit next to me on a swing while I tried to not scream in agony. As we sat there swinging, Amelia soon got bored and stood up. She patted me on the shoulder and said the following:

"You just sit there Daddy. The swings are much more your thing."

So I did. Damn her little perceptive mind.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

30: Snow



I open my door and stride into the cool winter air. I'm prepared for a tricky journey - being a plucky BBC employee I've seen the weather reports and instead of lying in bed all afternoon catching up on my sleep I'm leaving early for my gig in central London. Plan is pretty much this:

1: Drive the two hours to London
2: Possibly see some snow showers
3: Not worry about #2 because I'm a mighty human in a car
4: Get to London
5: Find a pub
6: Watch Leicester City beat Ipswich Town on TV in said pub entirely populated by chirpy cockneys eating Pie and Mash
7: Do gig and make much mirth
8: Go home, finished for Christmas and happy with my lot.

As I leave there is a light dusting of snow. I smile to myself, thinking about how Christmassy it looks. Bless.


Journey so far is a piece of piss. Nobody on the road as people are warned off the road by what I wittily call "scaremongering". It's only some snow. And besides, I'm on the M1 already and smashing it down to London. I think about how I'll show off to my London based comedy chums, listening to them talking of struggling on the tube when I've travelled 120 miles - like a green room version of the Four Yorkshiremen Monty Python sketch.

At this point I am planning my dinner. I reckon Mexican, somewhere near Embankment.


It's snowing a little bit, but is clearly no match for my mighty iron steed. Brrrrrrm.


The snow has stopped. Stupid fucking weather forecasts. Although I am buoyed by knowing I'll be well early, clever little monkey that I am.


Quite need a wee, but pass the services knowing that Toddington has a Marks and Spencer and they do wasabi peas. Besides, I know I'll be there in 15 minutes or so.


How come it's so cloudy and foggy and that all of a sudden?


Fuck me, it's snowing like a bastard.


Ah, it's slowing down. Besides, the roads seem fine.

15.10 - JUNCTION 14, M1

Probably no point getting off here now, traffic is sluggish but it's bound to be a little congested. I laugh at the saps queuing to leave the M1. MORE MOTORWAY FOR ME, FUCKERS!


More snow.


More snow than backstage at a Motley Crue concert. In Switzerland. Midwinter.

15.13 - AS ABOVE

A car in front makes a bold move and drives forwards, then sideways, then into a barrier. I laugh in the style of a man who is mildly aware that he's fucked. Still have over four and three quarter hours to showtime. Pride myself on leaving early enough, although do briefly think I may miss City's scintillating start in Ipswich. Everything is bound to clear up soon.

15.20 - TWO FEET ON

I have spent the previous seven minutes getting excited every minute when the car in front moves a couple of centimetres. Have decided that the man in the car in front is a twat for the following reasons:

A: He has a personalised plate. Not a good one, like J1MMY or something like that. One so obscure that only he knows that it refers to the time he was born and the initials of his dog or some shit.
B: He's driving a car with too much torque, so it's struggling to get the power down on the snow. I have no idea what this means, but I've watched Top Gear.


Now swearing at the radio. Thanks to the weather I'm having to listen to Blackburn vs West Ham. Laugh briefly when the commentator describes Avril Grant as having a hang-dog expression. His face is the actual dictionary definition of the phrase.


Start inventing new swearwords for the people in Four Wheel Drives who seem to think its acceptable to drive on the hard shoulder merely because they have bigger wheels. And secretly regret buying a tiny little Ford Fiesta and giving a flying fuck about fuel economy. The best words I've invented thus far are "festwich", "clinth" and "banzunt".


Brief sense of excitement of hitting 8mph for three seconds is ruined by looking in my rearview mirror and realising that I have moved absolutely clinthing nowhere.


Start going through the cartoon cycle of despair. I've pretty much exhausted anger, I'm now onto wanting to weep. On the verge of tears until I watch a man climb out of his stationary car and walk to the hard shoulder to urinate. He steps onto what he thinks is a grass verge and vanishes up to his waist in snow. I laugh so hard that I stall the car and he definitely notices.


Match kicks off in 20 minutes. Have a feeling I may miss it.


Gig kicks off in 165 minutes. Have a feeling I may miss it.


Small surge in movement makes me foolishly think that I can get to Luton then get a train to London. Because of course the UK is well known for its reliable railway network that can cope with any small problem and is in no way ever delayed because of a wet leaf here and there, let alone a fucking blizzard of biblical proportions.


Cancel gig. Worry about the money I won't be earning that I may have already spent on tattoos, cake and hats.

17.35 - NO CHANGE

Realise that even with the gig cancelled I'm still not going anywhere. Wonder if I have a junior hacksaw to cut through the barrier and do a U-turn. Google Maps tells me that, with traffic, I'm over 90 minutes from the next junction. Which is three miles away. Fuck my life.


Man in front with private plate gets stuck. I watch him for a bit and then get out and push him as he accelerates. He moves on and I shout "I AM THOR! STRONGEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE!" as a white van driver stares at me, agog.


Listening to 606 as City are already two down. Can only tolerate it for two minutes at a time before I either want to punch the listeners or Robbie Savage in the face.




Get deeply annoyed that the kids in the car next to me are watching a DVD. Try to keep pace with them to watch it over their shoulders but am blocked by a pie van. It was Toy Story 3 as well.


Remember how much I need to urinate. Consider sneaking onto the hard shoulder to relieve myself but then look at temperature gauge and realise that if I do so my penis will actually shrink back up inside me like a too-wide bellybutton.


Everyone else has started using the hard shoulder as a lane and I no longer care about my strict adherence to the highway code. I'd drive over a sweet old lollipop lady if it got me to that fucking junction a minute sooner.






The traffic seems to be sorting itself into wheat and chaff. Chaff being the people choosing to stay on the M1, wheat being people like me who are leaving the M1 with no plan at all. Note that the other side of the M1 is equally fucked. I had not thought about that. Arses.


Start singing "Take on Me" by A-Ha in celebration at getting to 15mph. Realise I have no plan at all. I can go to Bedford or Milton Keynes. I reason that the easy road layout of Milton Keynes would be the best option to get me to the A5 and my steady route home.


Whoever designed this place was fucking mental.


Seriously, how could you pick out landmarks in this place? Even if the entire concrete monstrosity wasn't covered in bastard fucking snow?


Somehow a single lane A-road is better gritted, salted and cleared than a major motorway. Although the Little Chef is closed and an Olympic Breakfast would be awesome right now.

21.00 - STILL THE A5

Hit a bump in the snow. A bit of wee comes out.

21.15 - DAVENTRY

The snow just fucks off. Seriously. Vanishes. Like I'm playing a bad video game.


Throw myself on the mercy of my mum and dad. Beg for food, shelter and somewhere to have a wee.


Piss like a racehorse.


Relax on sofa. Try not to think about what I could have done with the 8 and a bit hours I've spent in the car. Deeply troubled by the lack of snow in Leicestershire. After my day I want to build a snowman just so I can punch it in its stupid fucking carroty face.


Monday, 13 December 2010

29: "Sexy" Mrs Claus

I don't want the first thing to think when you read this that I dislike Christmas in any way. I mean, I don't love it. I don't own any Christmas decorations - but that is mainly down to the fact that I'd have to put them up and then take them down, and I'm too lazy to do that. I'm so lazy that I tidied my lounge for the first time in about a year today and found the following things that I never knew I had:

1: A cigar. Cuban, I believe.
2: A copy of "Dead Snow" on Blu-Ray.
3: A small, neat pile of Ikea catalogues.
4: A hand-made ceramic snail.

But I do like Christmas. I enjoy giving presents to my family and friends, I enjoy Christmas dinner and I enjoy my early Christmas with my daughter (we have our present opening time on Christmas Eve, as she is under the impression that I have Santa's phone number and I text him every year). That's about it. I don't enjoy the crowds in the shops, the special menus in restaurants, the Christmas music on the radio or Egg Nog, whatever the fuck that is.

As a comedian we have the joy of performing in clubs in front of many a Christmas party during December, and I know that this is a subject of some consternation for many comics. It doesn't really bother me - this December I've had some beautiful gigs in front of Xmas party crowds that have outweighed the shoddy one that springs to mind that I hated every minute of.

I was in Putney this past Saturday at the Comedy Tree, a venue that I must have performed at around ten times this year. I like it there and had a great time this weekend, despite feeling like death and having a pain in my jaw so bad that I felt that someone was constantly hitting me in the face with a spade. Above the comedy club however is the Wahoo bar, a place that if I believed in Hell would resemble it somewhat.

At the beginning of any Saturday evening there it is full of sports fans watching the big screens and drinking quietly. At some point during the evening - I suspect at around 9.30 to 10pm - the mood of the venue changes. It becomes awash with crop-headed wannabe south London gangsters, all sovereign rings and attitude, and middle class girls from Putney, Wimbledon and Kingston who want to shock their parents by fucking one of these knuckle-scrapers to prove how terribly "urban" they are. It's a horrible sight, the air crackling with static electricity as G-Star jeans rub against Ugg Boots to the sound of Tinie Tempah.

I usually exit the gig through the fire door so I can avoid having to see how the youth of today chooses to mate, but this past weekend it was blocked and I had to step through the club to leave the building. And there, I saw three of them.

"Sexy" Mrs Claus.

You'll note my use of inverted commas around the word "sexy", because I imagine the only people who consider such an outfit sexy are the deeply deluded women that choose to wear them. Two were already hideous, one was actually quite attractive (although seeing the drinking venue and outfit she had chosen, I doubt we would have too much in common) but the costume she was wearing merely made you pity her.

As I left the bar and reached my car, I saw another two women dressed in similar garb. Then on my drive through London (taking in Chelsea and Kilburn, amongst other places) I saw dozens more. I genuinely lost count, although they may have been because a taxi driver cut me up and I was calling him a cuntbubble. A word I have genuinely never used before.

If you're not familiar with what a "Sexy" Mrs Claus outfit looks like then let me enlighten you (it's safer at this time of year than going to Primark or Ann Summers to find out for yourself):

A Santa hat, obviously. This part of the outfit is fine.
A very short red velour skirt, trimmed with white fur.
A red bra, again trimmed with fur.
If not the above two garments, then some kind of micro dress in the same vein.
Red stockings or long socks.

I hasten to add to the mix here that I was, the last time I checked, definitely a red-blooded male. I like girls. Without divulging too much of my personal predilections, I'm not adverse to girls dressing up. There's a list of outfits that I consider sexy and that I can share with you now:

Princess Leia.
Chun Li.
Snow White. (watch the Rammstein video)
Silk Spectre. (from Watchmen)
Empowered. (another comic book character)
Felicia. (the last two both from "Darkstalkers", the video game)
Bayonetta. (Shut up, I'm a nerd)

I should really, ageing pervert that I am, applaud the decision for these hardy young ladies to expose themselves to the cruel winter air in order for us to gaze upon their bodies and be filled with Christmas cheer. But I can't. Firstly, here's a phrase I have never, EVER heard another man say:

"Phwooooar. I'd love it if she dressed up like Mrs Santa Claus."


It isn't sexy. Not in the slightest. When I worked in an office the only girl who would dress like for the Christmas party eventually left to start a career in pornography, specialising in DVDA.

(Dad, if you're reading this, that's a sexual practice. Not where you get your driving license from)

Also, when deciding what men may or may not find sexy, here's a tip. If Ann Summers sell it, it's probably not sexy.

Sorry, I just went to check the Agent Provacateur website to see if they sold anything like that. And they don't, it's just that I got distracted for a very long time indeed.

Anyway, you're probably reading this and wondering why I'm so bitter about this seemingly tedious and pointless issue. I'll tell you why.

Because once I dated a girl who thought that a relevant Christmas present for me would be dressing up in such a fashion so we could do the sex. That was it. I bought her LOADS of stuff. She bought me nothing. No video games, no DVDs, nothing. Not even a pair of socks. She bought herself some cheap lingerie and allowed me to have sex with her.

Merry Fucking Christmas, Mr Smallman.

It was during said intercourse that I really thought hard about why what she was wearing was so wrong. I mean, think about it. She is dressed up as Mrs Santa Claus. She is literally the wife of Santa Claus. I have no beef with ol' Saint Nick. I happen to like him. I like him enough to ensure that I NEVER smash the living heck out of his wife. Because I respect the man who brought me presents and that my daughter still believes in.

Also, if she is representing Mrs Claus then also consider this: If we take the modern representation of Santa Claus as starting in the 1950s at the latest (Coca Cola blah blah blah) then she needed to have been 16 then. So, 16 in 1950 makes her 76 now. And until Helen Mirren is 76 it is impossible to be 76 and sexy, man or woman, animal vegetable or mineral.

But, I hear you say: What if she's his second, third, even fourth wife? Then I put this to you: If she usually dresses like that around the North Pole then she's nothing but a money grabbing hussey. I bet when Santa is out on his rounds she's in the middle of a train-pulling orgy with the elves, and when Santa is resting she's probably constructed some kind of hoist arrangement in which to abuse the reindeer.

I know that you now think that I think about things too much, and you'd be right. But I got that outfit worn for me for Christmas once and it's scarred me forever. If you struggle to understand then let me utter the phrase used by many in Vietnam to quieten down questioning:

You weren't there man. You weren't there.


Wednesday, 26 May 2010

28: That Tosspot in the Hat

Before I begin here, I should let you know that this little rant is not the sweary modernisation of a Dr Seuss story. This concerns my second of two gigs in Nottingham on Tuesday, at the Canalhouse.

One of my favourite songs is "Thou Shalt Always Kill" by Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. Fantastic wordplay, such passion and anger AND a sense of humour. It also features two elements that I really like - the pleading for people to spell the word "pheonix" correctly (as I have just done) and one line that I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs as I drove home last night. And I quote:

"Thou shalt not attend an open mic and leave before it's done just because you've finished your shitty little poem or song you self-righteous prick"

Of course, I wasn't taking part in a poetry slam or anything like that. I still can't get my head round the fact that poetry doesn't have to rhyme. If we had limerick slams I'd be well up for that. And of course, I wasn't strumming a guitar singing songs about unspeakably sensitive I am. I can't even play the ukelele.

No, I was performing stand-up comedy - which has been my full time employment for the past year and a bit - headlining a show in front of what I suspected could be quite a nice audience. A bit studenty, but seemingly up for it. Pleasant.

When I arrived a small new act competition was in full swing. The first two guys were decent enough, the second in particular being very talented indeed. Twas performer number three though who will forever be known as "the tosspot in the hat".

Let me describe what this miscreant looked like. Oddly, I'd pegged him as a cock before he'd even begun - and this was merely as he sat in the audience. The first thing to note about him was the hat perched atop his head. As I write this I am wearing a hat. I have no beef with hats. But this student urchin was wearing a fucking straw trilby.

Take that in for a second.

A straw trilby.

He had curly hair and looked to me like he was auditioning to be a lead singer in a tribute act to someone like The Kooks or Razorlight or the View or any of those so called "indie" bands that have their clothes supplied by Topman and spend more time doing their hair than, you know, writing songs and being anything less than run of the mill shite.

He was also committing one of my pet fashion crimes. Shorts with a long sleeved button up shirt. I hate that. It isn't "preppy", you don't look like you're about to take in the Boat Race, you just look like a fucktard who can't make his mind up if he's in the office or on the beach. And hey, just because you've seen the emaciated models in the aforementioned Topman dress like that it doesn't mean it's viable. THEY'RE TRYING TO SELL YOU THEIR SHITTY CLOTHES, DUMMY!

Anyway, our chum wandered up onstage to do his two minutes.

Issue One: He began his set by telling us his name (which I genuinely forget) and then said that most people only know him by his nickname. It was Tatchy or Blotchy or Scratchy or some such shit. The sort of name that only features in sentences uttered by middle class cocks at university who think that "[INSERT NAME HERE] is totally wacky, we had this random night where he drank five pints blah blah blah heeeee hawwwwww".

That last noise was a donkey.

Issue Two: When he wandered up onstage, the back two rows exploded in some kind of ticker tape parade for him, akin to the reaction for Argentina in 1978 when they won the world cup. The back rows consisted of my least favourite type of students - orange girls with massive hair who seem to think that Peaches Geldof is a style icon, rather than a vapid, pustulating axe-wound in the already gangrenous, fetid corpse that is celebrity. Sprinkled amongst this appalling dressed valley of mongs was the occasional bloke, all dressed in a similar manner to the aforementioned tosspot. So much bad hair in such a small space.

I must stress that the rest of the audience was lovely.

Issue Three: I love most comedians, whether they be old or new. But I do despise some johnny-come-lately accident at the clothes show thinking that comedy is "easy" because he makes his retarded friends laugh with crude jokes and by tapping girls on the head with his semi-erect elongated acorn of a penis. Here's the thing - try and be funny. Don't wander up onto the stage and reel off a list of swears that you know mixed in with other peoples gags, you fucking cretin.

Issue Four: This is the big issue. Don't lose a new act competition and then in the break decide to decamp - with all your cronies - to the back of the room and talk all the way through the closing act (ie me) despite being warned by the organiser, bar staff, MC and so on. Also, when I threaten to kill you from the stage I'm not kidding.


Should this person ever have the audacity to perform at a gig with me ever again, one of two things will occur:

ONE: I'll be MC and in charge of prepping the room for his arrival onstage. When people speak in hushed tones of the legendarily downbeat introductions for new acts provided by Malcolm Hardee in his heyday, they will pale into insignificance compared to what I have planned. It'll go something like this:

"This next act is the best type of new act, one with no gags who believes he'll be on E4 in six months times. He's wearing a hat and that is the limit of his personality. I can assure you no laughs in the next five minutes. You'll want to pull your own eyes out with a rusty spoon rather than gaze upon his face again, and replace your cotton buds with drill bits in order to ensure you can never hear such dross again. But don't take my word for it. Judge for yourself. Feel free to mill about while he's onstage, talk to your friends or do anything to keep you from losing your enthusiasm for life if this tosser is the future of comedy.

Oh, but before I bring him onstage, I need to share something with you. I went to the office of births, deaths and marriages today and found out that I'm actually an orphan..."

TWO: I'll be performing a set and he'll be doing an open spot, sat nervously at the gig with none of his friends around him. And i'll think back to when I had to do that, too scared to speak to the other acts, stomach churning in terror before my slot comes up, panicking that I'll die on my arse in from of people who do this for a living. Upon seeing that fear I'll go up to him and quietly reassure him. Because this business is hard, he'll need all the help he can get. I'll put an arm round his shoulder and with my own panful memories burning behind my eyes I'll put everything behind me and try to impart some knowledge into him and have him go on and give it his best shot. He'll look at me and realise that respect in this industry is the way forwards, take my words on board and go up there more pumped up than he ever could be.

And then after he's died on his arse, I'll take more solace in his broken spirit than I would from kicking his fucking teeth in.