I had an odd moment yesterday where I realised that one of the most significant things about being 30 is not the fact that you are 30 but the fact that all your peers from school are as well. All those snotty nosed kids from Primary School, for example, they're all adults now. There's a great comedian called Joe Rogan who does a bit about how this all implies that we're f#cked. All those kids you knew, they're in control now. Sh#t, we're f#cked!
What interests me is the fact that the kids your friends are having now are the ones who will look after you in the old people's home one day. Or maybe not. They'll have probably got rid of old people's homes by then. We'll probably just get our brains hooked up into the net and have our old bodies disposed of as a renewable energy resource. Like in that film.
The journey home is plesant enough apart from the fact that I've killed loads of flies. I've a good mind to post up a picture of all the dead flies that I've squashed as my car hit them at 70mph on the motorway coming home. That'd be a bit of a petty thing to do though wouldn't it? 104 of them I've killed. Not that I counted them afterwards. That'd be really dull of me. I'm just guessing 104. It might be less, there's two squash marks very close to each other that might be one which bounced on impact.
Glad I'm not a Buddist who worries about killing flies. I'd be off to Budda Hell* for sure.
* They don't have a hell I don't think. Still, Budda Hell sounds a bit like Bluddy Hell doesn't it? That's why I wrote it. Ace.
The odd thing is that I'm actually quite a sentimental old sod and right at the end when I did "the soppy bit" I felt a little tear in my eye. "Ah - that's hayfever, I'm not really welling up," more laughs. Brilliant. I'm brilliant.
Oh no I'm not. Ruined.
I've got another "Beat The Frog" coming up soon on the 21st of May. I'm going to crack it this time. No question about that. I've got a good feeling that this year I really will Beat The Frog and last longer than five minutes without getting gonged.
The modern art material I've got will be going right at the end of my set I think. The "Knock Knock Joke" will be taken out completely. Talking of which, I got a call yesterday off the bloke who was setting up that documentary for ITV. I didn't pass "the test of the screen" and they've decided not to use me. Given that it's never been part of my plan to do what sounded a bit like a reality TV show that's not a problem. On the positive side though, the bloke who contacted me seemed like a jolly good chap and I've got a feeling we might end up working on something in the future. Time will tell.
Also, he's said he'll send the footage they shot in my flat of me telling the story of The Knock Knock Joke. I'll pop it up on my YouTube account if it's any good.
Earlier today I was driving down various different motorways and A-roads towards a lovely area in The Cotswolds. My girlfriend acted as 'Sat-Nav' giving me directions as I went along. She did it really well and we managed to avoid the stereotype couple arguing about our map reading skills. My attitude is simple: I'm sh#t with maps so if we do make a mistake it's not nearly as bad as the one I would have made. In the back of the car I've got the only thing I need, three clean shirts I washed yesterday night. One of them has the correct collar for a "dickie bow tie" and the other two are back up shirts. You know, in the unlikely event something goes wrong.
The Hotel we're in is lovely. Parts of the building were built in the 1400's. This means some of the doors are quite low* but it's got a real sense of character to it. Brilliant.
We unpack in our room and I check round to see if there's an iron anywhere. The answer is no. My shirt really need ironing, best to sort it out now rather than tomorrow on the morning of the wedding. I am going to be Best Man after all. I want people laughing at my speech, not my shirt.
"Ah, yes, now, let me think. We do have an iron somewhere. Which room are you in?" says the slightly stern woman who runs the place with her husband.
"Right, I'll just go and have a look, if I find it, I'll bring it round for you".
My internal monologue fumes as I stride off back to my room, getting a little stressed about things; "F#ck's sake. 'If I find it'? That's insane. This is supposed to be a hotel. Not some blud-"
CRUNCH - !
"B#stard!", I shout, as I try and work out who decided to tw#t me over the head as I went out of the door. It's all very well to retain door frames built in the 1400's but what, I ask you, is wrong with making them a little higher up?
She brings the iron to my room reasonably promptly and I get to work ironing my nice shirt. It's not the easiest job in the world but I'm making reasonable, slow, progress. Then, to my horror, I paint a nice thick brown stain onto the shirt. Brown, not like trees or chocolate. Brown, like sh#t. It's come from the bottom of the iron. Some sort of brown stuff has melted onto the bottom of this iron at some point only to now smear all over my shirt.
I have a choice to make.
A) Throw the f#cking iron out of the window.
I take the latter. My girlfriend tries to get the shirt wet and remove the stain. She manages but as we're looking at it a second time it becomes clear that all three shirts have blue ink on them. Presumably this blue has come from the black linen cufflinks I left in the posh shirt by accident when I washed it.
When I came in the room I had a shirt that need to be ironed. Now I have a useless damp rag in my hands.
Going to M&S first thing tomorrow will be another exciting addition to an already very busy day.
*I wonder at what speed the human race is increasing in size? I'd guess that on average we go up by about an inch a generation. There must be proper studies into this somewhere. I remember as a kid I was considered tall, nowadays I'm normal height and there's other people who are much taller. I wonder why we're getting taller? It's these sorts of important questions which you will not find answered on this blog. Unless some clever clogs goes and whacks something in the comments section.
The compare tonight was a chap called Mick Ferry, he was very good but it's always a bit of a dissapointment not to see Toby in action. I don't think there is a better compare than Toby Foster. He's got this incredible energy and enthusiasm onstage. It's awesome to behold. Again, I think it's a case of being a bit spoilt by the embarrasment of riches that The Lescar provides. You sort of get used to the idea that every compare will be as good as Toby and, obviously, they're not.
While I was there I had a very entertaining conversation with a comedian who wasn't performing that night but had popped along with Mick Ferry. He gave me little bits of advice about my own comedy career and then told me an unrepeatable story about some "crackheads" he knows.
some of the bits of advice he gave me that I intend to follow is, don't worry about keeping it short and sweet. In terms of how much material you do; better to do a fantastic five than a tedious ten. Also, dry mouth, get some water and take it up on stage with you. I got a serious case of dry mouth at The Comedy Balloon yesterday and apparently this isn't uncommon. Water on stage it is then.
We turned up a little late, finding a parking space turned out to be a total nightmare. There were a seven acts on, in front of about 30 or so people. The layout of the room was a bit odd in that it was quite long, almost like a corridor. The standard of the acts was mixed but there were some great moments in there. It reminded me a little of one of my favourite clubs of old, one that has, in my mind, passed into legend; The Zumeba!
I got up and did my stuff in the second half. I get the feeling I over ran a little bit but I'm not too sure. I did the modern art stuff and it was, as you'd expect, the weakest part of my set. The b#msex joke didn't work too well either, it got a laugh but I think it was an awkward one. I think I'm going to drop it given that it has only ever worked once, even if that one time was a real m#therf#cking roar. I'm not sure, I might try it one last time and then decide its fate.
My modern art material was under-rehearsed when I performed it tonight really. I've chiseled it down a bit now and present the final version of it here for your thoughts. . .
All good art comes from a place deep inside you.
Like urine... hence the term "p#ss artist".
There is of course another thing that comes from deep within you...
And that's sh#t.
This explains modern art.
Currently shit in a metaphorical sense
I predict it will soon be actual, literal, sh#t.
And I don't mean like a little plate of sh#t with perhaps a side clump of cress
No, extra effort like that would ruin the artistic asthetic.
I don't mean a long sh#t with little glasses on it and a shirt.
A little poo person with tiny arms made of matchsticks.
... that'd be mad.
In order to work intellectually it'd have to be pure poo poo.
Untouched by human hand .
The only traditional contribution an artist will make will be the title.
"This one here? The one that's all black? It's called 'Ten pints of Guinness'
Over here in this bucket? 'Dodgy kebab'.
This one? Ah, my favourite; 'Revenge of The Sweetcorn'.
This one? This one's called 'Stockport'".
I think it's on the way to being a little bit like my Gandhi stuff but, unlike that, I'm determined to give it a good shot at acceptance as a stand up bit. Obviously "Stockport" can be replaced with any local periphery town. I'm not going to try this material at my next gong night though.
Any thoughts pop them in the comments section... a part of the blog which about 10% of the readership actually bother to look at. Shame really as there was a great link to a pretty amusing comedy video posted in there yesterday. The link is here. Thanks to Gavin.
*For a good account of why small rooms can be scary read this review here.
Furthermore though, one of the tennents of NLP* is that the human mind cannot subconsciously process a negative thought. So even if this woman really thought she was making it clear that the person she was on about wasn't rude, the simple act of doing so implied the opposite on a subconscious level.
Still lets be fair, if you were introduced to someone with only that piece of information you'd be suspicious would you? Here's Lisa, I'm going to leave you alone in a room with her for a bit and, I must be clear, she isn't rude, ok? What would you think of Lisa? What would you expect?
I can't think how this woman preceeded that sentence and retained her integrity.
I'm ringing to complain about the stripper you sent for my son's stag do, "I mean, I must be clear, she wasn't rude".
I'm ringing about your daughter, she didn't turn up to school today, there was a girl who signed in during registration this morning but "I mean, I must be clear, she wasn't Rude". It was one of her friends impersonating her.
I'm over analysing it, of course. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly I can't help but be intrigued by an incomplete story and secondly I thought it'd make for a good blog entry.
*NLP - a pseudoscience. Not in fact proven. Important only because people think it is. How ironic.
One of them said: "yeah, the kemo hasn't been as effective as we would have hoped so ..."
I didn't stand around to listen to the conversation but she was projecting it quite loudly across the shop we were in. I'd have thought that sort of conversation would be better left until later and not had on the shop floor of, I think, Marks & Spencers. I presume she was talking about someone else's kemotherapy. Very odd.
The other snatch of conversation I heard was this: "and you'll never guess what he said, he said, 'I'm not paying your television licence as well'. I couldn't believe it..."
Now that's really odd. I've no idea what was going on there. Both of these conversations were broadcast by large middle aged women. I wonder what they would both think if they knew that their words were then written down by me on my little mobile phone notepad and then copied out here for all to see? They'd probably pull the sort of expression that the American woman who posed for today's Monday Dog pulled. I think she thought I was chatting her up*. It's an odd line though isn't it?
"I want to take a picture of you and your dog for my blog in England, is that okay?"
The consequence is this:
What I love about this picture is that the dog is clearly interested in something other than what's going on. It's a true celebrity. As you may have guessed this picture was taken on my recent trip to Amsterdam.
*I wasn't. I really wasn't. She was nice but I only had eyes for her dog. Not in a sexual way. It's not a sexual thing. I've got a girlfriend. She's here. She's real. She writes a blog. Can't fake that can you? No you can't. Well, obviously, you could. You could occasionally write a blog and pretend you were your own girlfriend. Write it with your sticky left hand in the middle of the night. But that would be weird. You're weird for thinking it. Very weird.
I think I could eventually be quite good as a stand up comedian but it's going to take a while before anyone else notices. In the meantime I need to earn a living and keep servicing my first love; radio. Fortunately I'm now able to post the fact that I'm going to be doing some weekend work on The Bay in Lancaster. I'll also be doing a bit of cover work as and when they need me. The Bay is where my radio career started, pretty much*, and I'm geniunely pleased to be back there. The boss of the station has a real clear idea of where the station is headed and I think it's got a great sound to it.
Modern art, it's a bit like sh#t isn't it?
My stand up really needs some work.
* It's the first place I worked on a regular basis that wasn't Oak FM. If you think Hallam FM were a bit spicy with me you've got no idea how bonkers the radio world can be. Actually, here's a good point for me to thank all the people who are making a point of posting nice things in the entry I wrote about my last day there. Thankyou for your nice words.
We're going back on the saturday in order to keep costs down. All in, I'd guess the weekend has cost about £200. Not a bad pricetag. That's accomodation and beer and so forth included.
I'm reading "The Sandman" to myself. I've never really gotten into this comic book. I'm reading one of the later ones. Neil Gaimen is a talented writer, no doubt about that. He's also a prolific blogger. To me that's a sign of good character. Anyone who blogs must be pretty okay, right?
I read a recent article by some media mumbler who said that in the future people won't trust other people if they don't write a blog. I wonder if that's true? I certainly warmed to Richard Herring thanks to his blog "Warming Up" which has apparently been nominated as "Arts and Entertainment Blog of The Year for ask.com". I hope it wins. It's the inspiration for this blog.
Once I arrive back in England I get that insane sense of patriotism which always infects me on returning to my homeland. They use normal money. They speak English. Lovely.
It's late, my fellow stags have fallen asleep. I'm bored. I'm also unusually hungry. What should I do? I'll ask at the bar if they've got any food. Something nice. "There's a cake shop just down the road". Brilliant. Off I go. Door opens and I'm out into this terrifying city. I stride off towards the shop. Suddenly I'm struck by an overwhelming sense of paranoia. Terrified by the concept of being mugged.
"F#ck, f#ck, where's the place we were staying? It was behind me a minute ago."
I'm lost. I can't be lost. I'm lost. I've only been out for about two minutes. I'm lost!
Right, I'll get one of these taxis, "hello mate, I'm not far from where I'm staying but I'm totally lost, could you do me a favour and get me to here:" I place my keycard in his hand, it has the name of the place I was staying. He's Turkish and doesn't speak much english but he sort of rolls his eyes and says "ok".
Off goes the taxi, into the night.
We've been going for about five minutes now and suddenly I think to myself "oh my god I'm being kidnapped". Obviously that can't be true. He's just taking his time because he wants a bit of a taxi fare off the stupid lost Englishman. That's all. Then I start thinking about the murder of Theo Van Gogh. I read a book about it recently called Murder in Amsterdam[link to video about this fantastic book]. Perhaps this bloke is a member of the Hofstad terrorist network*. Oh my god, I'm going to get cut up into bits as part of some ritual killing. An example to Tony Blair and his Government. No, stop, you're just getting paranoid.
We've been going for twenty minutes. A grim silence has descended on the cab. My mouth has gone dry. I tell the bloke I want to get out of his cab. I am infact considering opening the door and jumping out. We're in a normal looking area but I don't recognise any of it. Just buildings and shops. He pulls up outside a terrifying dark alleyway. "Here we are" he says.
I'm out of the cab like a shot, I throw 20 Euros at him and say "take my money I'm off". He beeps his horn and I stop running. "You forgot your change" he shouts. I pop back and snatch it off him. "You know where you are?" he says. I run off. Away from the dark alleyway and towards the well lit buildings.
"Hello, is that the Police? Yes, I think I've just been kidnapped. Or, I thought I was. Or. I'm lost."
"You've been kidnapped?"
"Erm, no, actually probably not. I'm not sure. I'm lost and scared."
"Are you been smoking?"
"No, I'm just really tired."
The police are on their way. I'm in Amsterdam, in some street, which I've just told to the operator. I'm slightly less terrified. The "atmosphere" of the Coffee shops has worn off a little bit. I'm out of the scary area where we went for our stag weekend and this relaxes me considerably. I almost feel a little sheepish when the police arrive.
"I'm lost, I don't know where I am, sorry for all the fuss," I explain to the slightly comical police officers. One of them is a short squat woman and the other is a tall man with a nice blond moustache. They both look very European. "You're in Amsterdam" adds the woman, looking quite pleased with herself. "Where are you staying?" asks the man and I show him my key card. He says, "ah yes, it's just here" and points me again towards the forbidding dark alleyway. "Right, it's just I don't know where I am, I-", my pitiful sentence is interrupted by the woman: "you're in Amsterdam" she says, again, as if I didn't hear her the last time.
They escort me down the dark alleyway and there's the place I'm staying: "The Flying Pig". It's got all the right qualities to it but it looks totally different to the place I left just fifteen minutes ago. I wave the police goodbye, thanking them and apologising to them. They dissapear into the darkness. I pop my keycard in and the f#cking thing doesn't work. I'm outside the wrong place. I try again and again and again. Suddenly the paranoia kicks in again. I'm down a dark alleyway outside a hostel that won't let me in.
I look at my keycard and notice there are two addresses on there. It's a chain of hostels. I'm outside the wrong one. One is in the north part of the city, one is in the south. F#cking hell. F#ck!
I can't think straight anymore. I call a mate and he talks me through the process of getting a taxi to a pub where he meets me and walks me home. My head is in bits.
It's not the tough-guy laddish story most people would come back from a stag weekend in Amsterdam with is it?
* A little knowledge is a terrible thing. Most people, I imagine, would never have heard of the Hofstad Terror network. Yet here was I worrying that I'd been abducted by them. Absurd.
I'm in shock, my mate has just explained to me how he was propositioned in the toilets. Madness. We're off on a weekend of nonsense to Amsterdam and the wackyness has kicked off already. I had to go and investigate, I found the toilet, or at least the one I thought he was talking about, and went in. Couldn't see anyone. Went into one of the cubicles to do my business and saw the above scrawl written on the doorway.
Now, here's what I don't get about things like this. Is that a genuine person who likes sucking -ahem- things or is it just some ars# who has written up their mate's phone number as a sort of hilarious prank?
I don't want to call the number and find out because firstly I don't need anything sucking and secondly I'd hate to be part of someone else's elaborate practical joke. That's why I'm blogging it. There's a pretty big readership here at the moment, I'm sure at least one person will know if these things are real or not. Have you ever rang a number like that? Have you ever written up someone else's number as a wacky practical joke?
I'm betting the comments section will remain empty.
Roll on Amsterdam.
So, I locked up the building on my own as usual and got in my car and drove off home.
I don't feel sad about it particularly just a little surprised at how harsh people can be. I genuinely feel that I gave Hallam FM some great output and I know I gave it some good audience figures I imagine that sort of thing should just be a reward in itself.
I like to think that I managed to connect with a few people who listened to Hallam FM at the time and I hope they won't forget that. I won't. You never know, perhaps it'll be possible for you to listen to my show again at some point. I hope so.
"Them scales are 8lbs out mate".
I'm in the gym and the cleaner has just pointed out that I'm not as fat as I think I am. Oddly though I don't quite believe him. I feel fatter than usual. Granted, I'm working out five times a week at the moment but it's still possible I've put weight on. I've not really been keeping a close eye on what I'm eating. I do feel fat. And I look fat. Not a good combination when you've got weight watchers the next day.
I'm pulling faces in the gym mirror to see if I really do look fat. Perhaps it's the fault of my beard. Perhaps I've let it get to long and bushy. I noticed earlier on in the gym that Carl out of Neighbours now has a beard. The television I saw it on didn't have any sound on it but from the pictures I guessed that his beard was indicative of him letting his life slide a bit. They always do that in films and on the telly, someone's life is on the slide so they grow a beard. My beard has to fight to survive. I keep thinking I should shave it off but then I remember it can grant the illusion of a chin.
My stress rash has exploded across my body. I think it's because I'm working out so much. The athlete's foot is back as well, with avengance.
I hope I've not put any weight on at weight watchers.
Here's a fantastic video made by my mate who writes Phlegm:
Dogs love driving round in cars. This one is having a little look out of the car and seeing what's what. It looks to me like it's deep in thought. Pondering the mysteries of being a dog I'll wager. They're very clever things, dogs. They know it's only a matter of time until they can take over. Once us humans go and f#ck things up dogs will have their chance. They won't f#ck about either. They'll take things forward to the next level. That's probably what this dog is thinking about. Or should I say plotting. yes, that's right. It's plotting. Plotting your demise. Hoorah for dogs!
I got a great email off a mate recently in response to an old post I put up about the Borat film. I thought it might interest readers of this blog so I'm reproducing it here:
To which I replied:
To which he replied:
Very well argued sir, you make a compelling case.
I still disagree with you on Borat (as i found the nude wrestling to be f#cking hilarious) but I concede that everything you say about Brasseye is certainly true.
With that in mind I'm off to put my Brasseye DVD on.
All of this makes for a nice link into the fantastic cookdandbombd.co.uk website where there is a very rare interview with Chris Morris. It's a bootleg of a talk he did at a University for some students. Go see, go see.
Once that's sorted I need to make sure everyone knows what they're doing as far as my mate's stag do goes. We're pootling off to Amsterdam. I'm not a big fan of going abroad but it's not my stag do so there we are. I'm sure it'll make for a few interesting blog entries when I return. It'll also provide some good material for the forthcoming best man speech.
As well as that I need to sort out some new promo shots for a station I'm working at on the weekends. I'm not a fan of promo shots. It's very hard to pose for a presenter picture without feeling like a total twonk. It's even harder to pose for one without looking like a total twonk.
Many people thought that my aversion to promo shots at Hallam FM was down to my fear that I'd be recognised and hassled in real life, due to the "controversial nature" of the show. That was k#ck on two levels. Firstly, the show was not controversial. It was just a conversation between friends. It'd get heated, but then don't you and your friends engage in debates? I know I do.
Secondly I'm a bit old fashioned in my thoughts on radio. I feel that a radio presenter is a voice and not a face. The face can f#ck up a voice. I've got a good voice but my face is quite ordinary. It always seems a shame to me to f#ck up the voice with my cheesy face.
Also I'm not a fan of having my photo taken. Most people aren't. Imagine having it then projected about as a marketing tool. Arrgh. Not fun.
That said it's part of the job nowadays so I'll pose for a picture tomorrow and send it over to them via email.
"It would be like a dull thudding noise, the mortar. You'd hear it like a sack of potatos falling. Then everyone would start rushing round and you'd have to go to your nearest cover point. Like they'd have some sandbags and stuff to absorb the blast".
It all sounded so very human. I couldn't quite get my head round it and am still digesting the story. She spoke about how obviously complex it all is now the invasion has happened. I got the impression that like me she thinks it was a bad idea to go over but now they're there it's tricky to just pull out.
It was an odd syncronicity in that I recently hit on a really good idea for a peace protest involving YouTube which I eventually decided to shelve for later. It's a great idea and would be really powerful but too simplistic for this particular war. Just pulling the troops out now would be stupid.
If they declare war on Iran I'll use it then.
Like it'll make any f#cking difference.
Urrgh. Makes me sick.
"Oh we're going to be sat right near the engine here".
"Well we'll move then, there's loads of room in the other one," he replies.
She then retorts in an irritated tone; "no, stop making such a fuss".
Brilliant. She took him one way and then slapped him down. What amazed me is that he didn't reply to her. He just carried on and they sat down and that was that. Amazing.
Later on during the journeyI overheard a different couple talking very energetically about Tony Blair, who I gather did something for Comic Relief. There was a very clear set up with these two. They were both blokes and I gathered from their conversation that they knew each other from way back. One was clearly the "alpha male", he was banging on about his kids and his wife and how much "f#cking m#ney" he could earn. The other guy was a bit slight. He just agreed with the alpha. Anyway they were banging on about how some people had criticised Blair for taking part in the Comic Relief thing:
"F#ck 'em, he was raising a blo#dy h#ll of a lot of money for charity. As far as I'm concerned that makes him a bl#ody good bloke".
"Yeah. And people forget don't they? He's a family man".
"Go anywhere else in the world and just look at it: it's a f#cking mess. It is, it's a f#cking mess".
"This country is a little country and it's very, very wealthy".
This was all they had to say on the matter and silence followed until I got off at my stop. All I could think about was how lucky I was not to have to live in his head.
*I'm guessing they were married here. Perhaps they weren't. Could be all sorts of extra nonsense to their story which I am unaware of. Probably were married though.
It's called Oak Tree. It was first exhibited at the Tate Modern in the early 70's. Part of the piece is the explanation which is printed on paper next to it. Here:
The text reads like this:
Q. To begin with, could you describe this work?
A. Yes, of course. What I've done is change a glass of water into a full-grown oak tree without altering the accidents of the glass of water.
Q. The accidents?
A. Yes. The colour, feel, weight, size ...
Q. Do you mean that the glass of water is a symbol of an oak tree?
A. No. It's not a symbol. I've changed the physical substance of the glass of water into that of an oak tree.
Q. It looks like a glass of water.
A. Of course it does. I didn't change its appearance. But it's not a glass of water, it's an oak tree.
Q. Can you prove what you've claimed to have done?
A. Well, yes and no. I claim to have maintained the physical form of the glass of water and, as you can see, I have. However, as one normally looks for evidence of physical change in terms of altered form, no such proof exists.
Q. Haven't you simply called this glass of water an oak tree?
A. Absolutely not. It is not a glass of water anymore. I have changed its actual substance. It would no longer be accurate to call it a glass of water. One could call it anything one wished but that would not alter the fact that it is an oak tree.
Q. Isn't this just a case of the emperor's new clothes?
A. No. With the emperor's new clothes people claimed to see something that wasn't there because they felt they should. I would be very surprised if anyone told me they saw an oak tree.
Q. Was it difficult to effect the change?
A. No effort at all. But it took me years of work before I realised I could do it.
Q. When precisely did the glass of water become an oak tree?
A. When I put the water in the glass.
Q. Does this happen every time you fill a glass with water?
A. No, of course not. Only when I intend to change it into an oak tree.
Q. Then intention causes the change?
A. I would say it precipitates the change.
Q. You don't know how you do it?
A. It contradicts what I feel I know about cause and effect.
Q. It seems to me that you are claiming to have worked a miracle. Isn't that the case?
A. I'm flattered that you think so.
Q. But aren't you the only person who can do something like this?
A. How could I know?
Q. Could you teach others to do it?
A. No, it's not something one can teach.
Q. Do you consider that changing the glass of water into an oak tree constitutes an art work?
Q. What precisely is the art work? The glass of water?
A. There is no glass of water anymore.
Q. The process of change?
A. There is no process involved in the change.
Q. The oak tree?
A. Yes. The oak tree.
Q. But the oak tree only exists in the mind.
A. No. The actual oak tree is physically present but in the form of the glass of water. As the glass of water was a particular glass of water, the oak tree is also a particular oak tree. To conceive the category 'oak tree' or to picture a particular oak tree is not to understand and experience what appears to be a glass of water as an oak tree. Just as it is imperceivable it also inconceivable.
Q. Did the particular oak tree exist somewhere else before it took the form of a glass of water?
A. No. This particular oak tree did not exist previously. I should also point out that it does not and will not ever have any other form than that of a glass of water.
Q. How long will it continue to be an oak tree?
A. Until I change it.What f#cking tedious nonsense. I didn't get much further than the first 10 lines or so. It's b#llcks. Everyone knows it's b#llocks. In what way does it do anything but a discredit to the word "art" when you go in a gallery and see a pair of dangly b#llocks hanging there? Infuriating.
The only positive is that it made me feel quite affectionate towards my old "modern art bit" which I've so far not used as part of my stand up set. It's here. Maybe I should pull it out of the bowels of my mind and give it a good airing when I do my next performance. Not long now. Smaller venue this time though. No gong either!
I feel a little bit like a philistine now, so to make amends here's some good art:
Most of the stuff there was good. Well done everybody.
*Not his real name, just an amusing name which is explained by this YouTube video.
** That term now seems pleasantly anachronistic.
If not, it's hard to explain the deal really. One of the practical upshots of it is this; today I went jogging. I've been exercising every morning as part of my "hour of power" and today I couldn't make it in the the gym so I pulled on my trainers and sports gear and ran out into the cold unhealthy morning. Now, to start with, your hour of power involves walking and doing various breathing exercises while you listen on your headphones to Tony's inspiring words. You're encouraged to get grateful and then visualise success. As I was doing this I walked to the bottom of a proper Sheffield hill. One of those ones where you'd benefit from a ladder.
"Ha, I jog for ages in the gym, this hill will be a great start to my exercise session once Tony tells me to unleash the power!" I thought to myself.
"Right, it's time to start your incantations and exercise," said Tony and off I went, like a rocket.
"Everyday in every way, I'm getting stronger and stronger" I chanted "all I need is within me now, all I need is within me now".
Unfortunately it was about four minutes until I was totally f#cked. The cold air on my lungs and the sharp hill being the two things I remember most clearly. Still with Tony's optimistic chanting ringing in my ears and the mighty music playing underneath I literally clutched my own heart and came to a total standstill.
Lesson learned: gym jogging is a piece of p#ss compared to the real thing.
It's a video of a bloke with down syndrome who has started off a rap career. I can't work out how I feel about it.
One thing I do know is that it's a manifestation of why the internet is so great. Without the web you would not be able to see this video, there's no way a TV station would go with the story unless they ran it as a bloody "novelty story" at the end of the news. It's worth more than that.
There's no way he'd be able to gain a fan club either. But he is; he's got his own website here and his own myspace here.
However the comments on the video are mixed, some good and some bad, some are downright cruel. What I like about it is that I genuinely find the fact it's happened at all an inspiration. People believe in him, he's making it happen and it's got a place in the world, I think. Then again, on the other hand, some people are saying that it's actually unpleasant, tragic and exploitative. I don't honestly know, I've no knowledge of down syndrome or the bloke involved. I know his parents work in the music business. He's living a dream which many kids would f#cking kill for. I don't know.
All I can say is that it really made me think.
I've been exercising a lot recently, as part of my commitment to lifestyle guru Tony Robbins. Each morning* I'm getting up and doing my "hour of power". It's giving me quite a boost during the day. However, he's all up for 5 times a week exercise! I'd only been doing 3 days a week previously.
Also I've programmed my mobile phone so that every four hours it reminds me to drink a pint of water. I was listening to some wacky new age bloke on a podcast recently and he was arguing that all illnesses are caused by water deficiencies. Obviously that's rubbish but it did make me think that I should drink more of Good Old Adam's Ale. It's working a treat. I feel very alive and awake. That's a good thing as I've got quite a few important meetings this week.
*Ha - 12 o'clock, I'm a nightworker.
I watched some stupid programme today where a woman was interviewing the bloated face of Al Gore, she was saying things like "you're such a heroic figure, why don't you run for President?". He was looking all bashful and saying "well I haven't ruled it out". No, it's part of the plan you d#ckhead. We all know that, don't patronise us. You're a politician, you're therefore scum. Politicians are parasites who sit on the top of ever citizen's bank account. Draining our cash out for no good reason. So there. Now, f#ck off.
I still wake up screaming at the memory of the post I put up here once where I plugged Al Gore's stupid f#cking factually innacurate film**. Amazing. Here's a pretty much word for word recollection of a conversation I had with my girlfriend around that time:
Lady: "I saw that film you posted on your blog, pretty scary"
Tramp: "Yeah, although you've got to remember that Al Gore is a politician and if there's one thing they're known for the world over it's lies".
Why didn't I post those thoughts up here? Too busy farting about I expect.
Here's an anti-global warming video which The Liberal Democrats actually tried to ban in Parliament:
Here's a great bit from an episode of Penn and Teller's Bullsh#t:
Loads of these enviromentalists all signing a petittion to ban water.
Well done everbody.
*Irony overdose is possible. Many comedians in the 90's were affected quite badly by overdosing on irony. Some of them have still never fully recovered.
**Bit like my overexcited pre-plugging of The Borat film. It's amazing I have any readers left, never mind putting on more. What's that about incidently? I've got a good old whack of extra readers in the past few months and it seems to keep rising. It's hard to say why. Hey ho, if you're a new reader, welcome along.
Also, what about all those weird people out there who are into eating their own crap and stuff? If they leave the toilet as they'd wish to see it I'm not sure I want to use it, thanks.
Signs like this annoy me because they lack clarity. Just put something like "leave the toilet in a tidy state, you dirty b#stard" and be done with it. Why flannel about and put "as you'd wish to find it"? Stupid.
The idea it's tapping into of course is the old, "treat others as you yourself would like to be treated". Again, logically flawed. I like having sex with my girlfriend. Without going into the mechanics of it, I'd be horrified if she tried to do what I do to her to me. It wouldn't work, we'd end up doing ourselves a mischief. It's sloppy thinking at its worst.
Here's some Hawkwind:
I watched the documentary on them recently and was horrified that they didn't have any Dave Brock interviews in there. Something obviously went very wrong behind the scenes.
The question is, what does it say? There's so many different stories which it might tell. I'd be interested to hear any theories in the comments section. There was a time when things like that would have upset or annoyed me to see but nowadays it just seems amusing. There's an almost crude heroism to it. I'd love to know the truth behind it. How old was the person who did it? One thing we can reasonably guess at is that it was probably a bloke. It's unlikely that a woman would waste their time like that. I once read that the reason men are compelled to do stupid things like that is because we know, subconsciously, that we'll never give birth. This drives us on to do things which will leave a lasting impression on the world. You know, like writing "Tesco is gay" on signs in the backs of carparks.
It's such a wonderfully impotent gesture.
Man, I f#cking love that sign! I really was buzzing off it for the rest of the day. It put me in a great mood and now, writing about it and looking at it I'm getting all excited again. It's a work of artistic expression as far as I'm concerned. Stupidity and impotence expressed in three concise words in the middle of a carpark.
People are going to think I wrote it myself now. I wish I had. Actually, no I don't. It'd ruin the purity of the whole thing.
I remember as a kid planting an apple tree in my back garden. Well, planting an apple. We left it there and totally forgot about it until my Dad noticed it had turned into a little tree. It lasted for a few years before we had to uproot it. It would have been a structural threat to the house if it had carried on. Shame.
I've been consuming these great Adam Curtis documentaries recently... the latest one is called The Century Of The Self and this is the first part of it:
It totally blew me away, there's four parts to it in total. I strongly suggest you watch all four. I came to it after I followed up a reference to a bloke called Wilhelm Reich who Pat Mills talked about in the interview I'm writing up for Redeye magazine at the moment. Reich is an esoteric thinker who seems to be in the zeitgueist at the moment.
Go see his wikipedia entry: HERE.
Sexist jokes aren't usually funny. This one made me laugh. There's no morality in humour. You laugh first and ask questions later. I think my reaction to this joke though reveals my discomfort with women fighting our wars for us. I've never liked the idea of women being put into direct combat on my behalf. Other blokes going over and knocking heads together, that's one thing but women? Seems wrong. Seems very wrong.
"Women aren't special or precious," says my sister as I expound my views on women serving in the armed forces, "no more than men are". My sister's very good on gender politics and she's usually right but this time I can't agree with her. I think women are special and precious and that's precisely why they shouldn't be endangered. If you want 100 babies, you need at least 100 women and you need only one bloke. Therefore women are more important than men. Men are far more expendable. 100 blokes and only one woman, you're only getting one baby per year at the most.
So, why the f#ck do we send women out to fight our wars for us? It irritates me everytime I'm confronted with the reality of it.
"Women and children first," that's what people shout in an emergency. Yet ours seems to use that as a rallying cry for those we send to war. That's seriously f#cked up! Surely a society that sends those two groups off to fight their battles is one that has totally lost its way? How do Tony Blair and his mates look themselves in the mirror knowing that we've got our women and teenagers dying in some foreign country on their behalf?
You know what the worst thing about it is though? I was talking recently to a group of mates about the fact that if in real life I was ever to meet Tony Blair and discuss the matter I'd probably end up agreeing with him. That's frustrating. He'd outsmart me and win me over conversationally with his jedi mind tricks. I'd lose the argument (one that he'll have had a hundred times) and feel like a fool. Then as the dust cleared, over the ext few days I'd realise I'd been had. Just because you lose an argument doesn't mean to say you were wrong. It just means you were outwitted.
Arrgh. I'm in a bad mood today.
When I was 17 I lost my virginity discovered drugs and went to my first funeral. Last year, I went to a fancy dress party.
Me: "No, love, I'm sorry. I think I've lost it."
"Ha, listen to me! I sounded like a computer just then didn't I? Ha ha. Have you got a clubcard? Oh dear. Listen to me eh?"
"It's like those self service machines down there isn't it?"
"Yeah, I'm turning into one of them luv, it's all automatic now."
"I hate those machines, they're sinister. I don't like using them. I like human conversation."
"I'll tell you what, those machines over there are good though. You see them, down that side? They're new. What you do is you pour all your cash into it. In change. Then it gives you a little bit of paper saying how much change you had and you can pay with that. It'd be good for a bloke like yourself that wouldn't it?"
"Yeah, it would. I often have change. Mmm. That's interesting. I'll have a look at them thanks."
The conversation resonates in my mind as I drive away. How profound a statement, "I feel like one of those machines". That really is the way things are going. We're turning ourselves into machines. Not because of some big f#cking conspiracy or anything but actually because we prefer it. Human experiences are awkward and uncomfortable, machines, binary code and numbers are a lot easier. I've mentioned before how much it f#cks me up that people will queue in preference for the self service 'tills. In preference to a human! Madness. Total madness. It tells us something very profound about humanity, in my opinion. It really bugs me as I'm driving home.
Then I get to thinking; I've heard recently that some of the bigger supermarkets are actually giving cashiers script prompts for their banter with customers. The idea is that they engage you in a conversation and then sell you on a new "special offer" or whatever. I can't say for certain but I get the feeling that might have been why she suddenly started talking about the change machine to me. It's new in the place, they want people to use it. Why not make them promote it in conversation? Or am I just being paranoid?
The fact that's possible though, that she might have had that conversation with me because it's part of a script written for her by someone else is unsettling. Conversational spam. Corporate bullsh#t interrupting normal human interactions.
My head hurts.
In theory I've added a new bit to the sidebar of this blog. It's a YouTube display where you'll see some of the videos I've put up. I'm experimenting with it at the moment. I was tempted to make it show various dog videos but in the end decided I should stick to some of my own videos and then post some of my favourite YouTube dog videos in an entry. Like this one. Here's my favourite YouTube dog videos in order.
This is a great video which is only slightly ruined by the fact there's a cat in it.
I like this video because it's in German. That's the great thing about dogs, they're all over the place! They speak all different languages. Brilliant.
Dogs love swimming, or mine did anyway. He'd literally pull you into any water if he could see it. That's why this video is at number 3.
This is an awesome video, what's odd about it is that my dog used to do exactly the same thing if you put a broom near it. What's the deal with Black Labradors and brooms? Brilliant video.
I feel like I've posted this one before but, it's one of my favourites so... there we are. Great video. Dogs are able to inspire. Like this one.
So exciting was the fact that my lady got tickets she ended up on IRN, the news provider for almost all the commercial radio stations in the country. Chances are, if you heard a local radio news story with a woman getting excited about having tickets, it was probably her you were listening to. Although she mentioned her ticket victory she didn't mention her national news exposure on her blog here.
I've been on IRN once as well. During the fake chatshow guests scandal of '99*. It was the beginning of the end for TV host Vanessa Feltz! To start the story I need to give you a bit of background. As a student me and a few of my mates used to go down to Norwich and sit in the audience of The Vanessa show. As part of that we'd ocassionally act as plants in the audience. What would happen would be that we'd ask a question, a stupid one, of the guests who were onstage. Every question we asked we'd get a fiver. The more outrageous the question the better.
My mate was really good at it and ended up onscreen frequently.
Fast forward to Youth FM in the year 1998 and I'm interviewing Vanessa Feltz. I ask her a question about the plants in the audience and she flips the f#ck out. I say things like "woo- Vanessa's getting heavy on me, things are getting ugly now". She ends the interview and Anglia television are calling to threaten legal action.
Then The Mirror who were involved in Youth FM get the story and it all goes quiet. Exactly a year later the whole thing breaks and there's more to it than I thought; fake guests and so forth. It cost the credibility of daytime TV chatshows considerably in the insane media frenzy that followed, rather like this whole phone scandal thing. Not that daytime chat shows ever really had any credibility.
Anyway, I was there in the first article in The Mirror. But I was called Rick Margerrison because Oak FM had made me change my name**. I can't tell you how glad I am that I didn't need to keep that going. Rick? Madness.
However, the practical upshot of all this is that I was on IRN one day at the end talking about being a plant in the audience of Vanessa. It was very exciting and as usual I have no record of any of it.
*What? What the f#ck. That's such a stupid way of putting it. I sound like Grandpa off the Simpsons.
** Good god. Don't even get me started on that stupid story.
This one however was a f#cking belter. Loads of little bits of fun in there and it hugely benefits from the absence of Billie Piper. Don't misunderstand me here, I thought she was good at the time but now she's gone I can sort of see how she was holding it back a bit. More the character she played than anything else. 'Rose' came with too much baggage for another romp to make sense.
I also really like the fact that it's good but it doesn't compromise what it is. I read recently somewhere that James Bond may as well just be Die Hard these days as it's not clung to the identity that it originally had. Now I wasn't too impressed by the last Bond film, in fact I've never been a fan of the character but I can see what people are talking about. The only thing that worries me is this obsession with The Doctor kissing his companions. That's not something the Doctor ever did in the past and I don't think it's a good idea. It makes it all a bit Hollyoaks as far as I'm concerned.
There used to be really strong rules about that sort of thing in the past. I remember once at a meeting of The Doctor Who appreciation society we had a writer in who ranted away about how unfair he thought it was that he'd been forced to drop a scene where The Doctor kissed an assistant on the cheek. I found myself disagreeing with him at the time and I still do.
So there we are, I'm getting old.
Talking of getting old, if you remember Space Invaders you will f#cking love this video:
That's my helpful way of starting a conversation with someone when I'm driving over to their house via the motorway. I've gotten sick of always ending up on a replacement bus service instead of a train so have started using my new car, a bit.
As a consequence I've spent a lot of my time getting totally lost on motorways. This is in-f#cking-furiating! No one wants to let you out when you're lost and trying to change lanes. Why should they? They're obviously very busy and in an incredible rush. It's important they get there ahead of time. C#nts.
It has led to some interesting conversations with my girlfriend and my Dad, both of whom seem to irrationally get the brunt of the blame when I'm lost: "I'm probably going to die in a horrible accident," or "I may as well sack this off and drive back to Sheffield then".
Stupid words spat out by an impotent fool driving down a motorway, apparently in the middle of nowhere.
I'm sorely tempted to get one of those Sat Nav things but really shouldn't need one. I'll buy one if the comedy thing picks up and I end up driving to obscure locations to make strangers laugh at what a c#nt Jamie Oliver is. Otherwise I'm going to have to settle with my old fashioned road sense.
On top of that, you know what it's like don't you? Motorways are a nightmare aren't they? You know what it's like, you're driving along and there's some old codger infront of you, and they insist on going at 70mph! You flash your lights at them don't you? You beep your horn and sit on their boot. But still they stubbornly refuse to speed up. You know when that happens, do me a favour next time, pack it in you tw#t. That's me infront of you, going at 70mph!
Why? Because that's the f#cking speed limit!