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Friday, October 29, 2010

Stand up Sit down

I am a professional stand up comedian sit down fan. I go to them all. Where as my cooler compatriots might prefer to go to a musical gig and stand up while getting elbowed by ravers and cider splashed down their legs, while noisy music is pumped into their fragile little ears, I’m happier sitting in a chair in a room full of other people sitting in chairs while a professional funny man (not woman, women aren’t funny. Except me.) makes me laugh for a few hours.

15 minutes of laughter is 40 calories burned, I’ll have you know, so I see it as a form of compulsory exercise. A gin and tonic is 44 calories. If I drink two gin and tonics while watching a two hour show, I’m basically in negative equity. So, yeah. It’s my favourite past time and autumn is the season when all the modern day jesters get their skates on and tour the country, so that we all buy each other their DVD’s for Christmas.

But imagine the catastrophe I face: my favourite hobby has been cursed. It’s a pandemic, it’s a tragedy and it’s a waste of money. I fall asleep.

Yes, that’s right, I fall asleep. No matter how much I love the man on stage, and I’m a fan of many, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open until the end.

It starts off well. I’m all ears, laughing and chortling my way through their observations and mannerisms. But as the night wears on, tiredness creeps over me and my eyes get heavy. I nod off. Then, because my stupid little brain knows it is not in bed, I am suddenly awake, my head jerked upright, a jolt running through me. I look like a tool.

Lee Evans. Fell asleep. Dylan Moran. Fell asleep. Russell Kane - legend. Fell asleep. Mickey Flanagan – very, very nearly fell asleep and had to keep pinching myself and fidgeting to fight it. Al Murray. Fell asleep.

So I started changing the formula, in the hopes it was something I was doing wrong and could change. I thought perhaps it was the wine, so I switched wine for gin. Still fell asleep. I thought maybe it was because comedy rooms get very hot and stuffy. So I wore less clothes. Still fell asleep. I thought it could be because I was sitting too far from the front, the squinting tired my brain and sent me to sleep. So I ensured front row seats. Still fell asleep, this time to the detriment of the confidence of the man on stage. Nothing like a front row snooze to give him the message he’s not funny.

A bad workman blames his tools. My tools – the wine, the clothing, the seating arrangements, are just fine where they are. What I needed was better entertainment and last night I found my trump card.

For, last night we saw the travesty-he’s-not-more-famous-but-he-will-be-soon Alun Cochrane. I drank wine. I got quite hot. I stayed awake.

Take your Perrier award. Take your ‘as seen on Michael McIntyre’s comedy roadshow’. Take your DVD released just in time for Christmas, because a real test of your comedy mettle is whether or not Kim Willis, avid fan and comedy enthusiast, can get to the end in tact. Alun, if you could let your cohorts know your secret, then I won’t be spending £20 for a snooze next time I sit down at a stand up.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Facebook is in dire need, if you ask opinionated me, of some structure, some ground rules, some god damn etiquette.

It’s driving me doolally. Sure, it is a great means to stay connected to your friends (your actual friends, not people you didn’t even like when you were six) in a glossy, aren’t-we-all-beautiful-now sort of way that plain old photo-less email never really achieved.

It is also a good way to skim through other people’s holiday pictures at leisure, without them heaving an album the size of a car out at a dinner party and forcing you to look at mind numbingly boring pictures of distant aunts you don’t know and boring buildings you’ll never see, while feigning interest for their benefit.

Remember the days? ‘Here’s Pete in front of the Taj Mahal,’ they said, pointing to a picture of Pete in front of the Taj Mahal. Good, I see it. I’m bored.

These days there is no need to give the holiday maker / bride / new mum your thoughts on every one of their oft fuzzy and out of focus collection of memories. Facebook whets the nosy appetite at speed. Click click click and the album’s done.

For the first time in history, we have a forum where 60 year olds are mixing with 16 year olds. 158 million people have a facebook account. Apparently that’s one in 14 people on Earth. Crazy. It has grown with such speed that no one had a chance to set the protocol. Do we tag our boss in the Christmas party pics? Do we LOL at our granny’s friend request? LOL makes me want to slit my wrists. Our beautiful English language is slipping through the adolescent sieve of abbreviations and acronyms.

Today's gripe is with Facebook attention seeking. Namely, status updates of this ilk:

Jane is having a bad day :(

God I hate emoticons. And if you’re having a bad day, get off Facebook and make it better, don’t fish for compliments and reassurance.

Jane knows who her friends are.

Do you? If you’ve fallen out with someone, why not just remove the perpetrator from your friendship list instead of making a song and dance about it? After all it is called a friendship list, not a not friendship list. Remove. Get on with day.

Jane misses her ickle bickle boyf and can’t wait to cuddle him and snuggle and kiss and -

Excuse me while I vomit all over my keyboard.

Jane needs a holiday.

Do it Jane. I hear Afghanistan is lovely at this time of year.

Status updates have become a vehicle for nonsensical whining, self promotion, cheesy emoticons, claptrap and poppycock. That’s right, I’ve got a thesaurus and I’m not afraid to use it. The irony of the fact this blog is a convoluted, protracted status update is not lost on me. I'm LMAO.

Jane is no longer listed as in a relationship.

Oh no! What happened to your ickle bickle little fella? Oh, there he is. Running for the hills.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make My Day

I’ve just had my day made. Possibly even my week. Life on the whole has just got a lot better and I’m pretty sure the sun’s come out from behind the clouds and the house just cleaned itself.

Because Nicola arrived at work this morning with very exciting news. ‘Have you seen your blog?’ she asked, her teeth pearly white, her hair even shinier than usual. I think I saw a halo.

‘No,’ I said, a little disgruntled. I didn’t much like my last blog and have been trying to think of something new to write for ages. Something to go at the top, so that the blog about me bragging about someone who hardly anyone has heard of can slip off the radar.

I’m not a fan of celebrities and so to find myself bragging about meeting one didn’t sit comfortably in my soul. My happy place is writing about what disgruntles me. Faux Pas. Etiquette. Hospitality. Grammar. Wine. How much wine? At least one bottle. These are the important things in life, not ruddy celebrity name dropping.

Bragging about Sublime, I wasn’t the sort of person I’d hang out with. In fact my favourite celebrity moment was when my friends and I found ourselves in the way of the talentless and irritating Radio 1 DJ Colin Murray, doing a piece to camera at a festival. My best mate, brilliantly, effortlessly, danced up to the camera and said: ‘Colin Murray’s a tosser!’

Hilarious. It was her finest moment. He did a bemused retake. She got an ovation from adoring friends. I don’t know what it is about celebrities that make us all go ga ga. Gareth had to take a photograph of Derren Brown, the mind man, the other day, and I hoped Gareth might bring him home for show and tell. And fondle.

Anyway, forget about Sublime. Forget about Gareth failing to deliver Derren the magical mind man Brown to my doorstep. I’ve got a better story to tell.

‘You’ve got a comment!’ Nicola declared, her dulcet tones serenading my ears like a lullaby.

And so I did.

And thus, I’m floating on air. I have a new fan. AND her husband.

3000 miles away, somewhere in America, lives Heather, who has stumbled upon my blog and likes it.

Hello Heather. I love you.

So now it’s not just my mum. I have a new reader. Heather, 3000 miles away. And she has inspired me. I’m going to up my game. Goodbye celeb name droppings. Hello a weekly diatribe on the impolite, the illogical, the meaningless. The other day I got really annoyed because the scissors were made for right handed people and I’m left handed.

This is the stuff of legends. Heather, you’re in for a treat.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Subliminal Partying

When Isabelle invited me to a Sublime gig as a birthday present, I jumped at the idea. OK, so I hadn’t listened to Sublime for a few years – perhaps since I last smoked pot, but that didn’t matter. I remembered them fondly. They were ska, but stoner ska.

So I drove to London, my vast back catalogue of Sublime CD’s strewn across the passenger seat as I reacquainted myself with the band. Uh-oh. Not as many chilled out stoner songs as I remembered, and quite a few more shouty shout shout. The kind of music that gets all my friends to the mosh pit and me fainting from the heat somewhere near the back.

We arrived at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and formed an orderly queue. Two queues. One, we were told, was for the seated. The other, our queue, for the standing. The moshers. Us. Me. A fish out of water. An alien in New York. An alien in Shepherd’s Bush.

We got to the front and handed over our tickets. ‘You’re in the wrong queue,’ said the 6ft by 6ft bouncer. ‘You’ve got seated tickets.’

Isabelle and I turned to each other, one of us hiding our disappointment, the other hiding our glee. ‘I’m so sorry!’ said Isabelle. ‘Oh shucks,’ I said, shaking my head in mock misfortune. ‘Nevermind.’

We were still rock and roll. But we were rock and roll with seats. We stood, we danced, but we also had somewhere to put our bags and didn’t get beer thrown on us by the crowds above. Accuse me of fuddy duddyness. I don’t care. I was so comfortable.

From my view point, I found myself mesmerised by one of the bouncers. He was huge and, unlike the others, who had formed a ring of defense along the foot of the stage, this one had positioned himself on stage.

The other bouncers at least got some action – crowd surfers were taken away by their cuffs, screaming girls were handed water. They talked into their ear pieces and perfected the burly and menacing look they’d no doubt practiced in front of the mirror.

But this guy? He seemed to be almost enjoying himself. I swear I saw him nod his head at one point. I’d wager he was even listening to the music. I liked him. The other bouncers looked like jobsworths. This guy I just wanted to cuddle.

Apres the gig, Isabelle and I met up with some friends and, being a smug little thing, I declared that my sister’s nightclub, Ginglik, was just down the road and we were all on the guest list. Probably.

After two more hours dancing and drinking, we called it a night. It was 1.30am and we had to be on form the next day too. We left Ginglik and made our way back to my sister’s flat where we were bunking up for the night.

My sister and her boyfriend, Colin, were in north London at a gig, so Colin had left us his key.

Thirty minutes of jamming the key in the lock later, we had to agree that Colin had given us the wrong key. What to do? It was 2am, we couldn’t get hold of Tammi or Colin, it was a bit cold and we were a bit tired.

‘Right,’ I said, taking affirmative action. ‘There’s a hotel over there. We can sit in the bar and have a nice cup of tea while we wait for someone to help us.’

As we approached, the doorman held his hand out to stop us. ‘You staying here tonight?’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Room 101.’

He didn’t blink. Just opened the door and guided us through.

As we made our way to the bar, who should I spot but the cuddly bouncer fella – the one who had mesmerised me with his head bobbing policy.

‘Hey, were you on stage with Sublime earlier?’ I asked him, running up to him. ‘I watched you all night!’

‘I sure was, I’m here with the band,’ he says, turning to reveal the lead singer just behind him.

The next two hours went by in a blur. I remember getting my longed-for cuddle with Kimo. That was his name. A bit like mine, but with an O, I told him. 'So now you won’t forget my name will you?' I said. He did.

I remember running up and down the corridors of the hotel trying to locate the Jack Daniels vending machines, telling Rome Ramirez, the lead singer of Sublime, that he shouldn’t have to pay £14 for a miniature bottle of whiskey, and then proceeding to kick the vending machine in the hopes one would just fall into our laps. He loved it. ‘You English girls are crazy!’ he said.

That’s right Rome, you should have seen me earlier when I got a bit tired during your set and had a little sit down.
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Friday, October 1, 2010

What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. It is true. Today I feel like a drunk spider. The web is a right old mess.

It all started when my boyfriend got called on a job on the day of one of our very best friend’s wedding. We called to tell them that we couldn’t go to their wedding. Well, I could have gone, but I only knew the bride and groom and wasn’t sure they’d be up for hanging out as a trio on their day of betrothal.

And so, we hit them with the news. They were understandably devastated, because Gareth and I are, let’s face it, an asset to any party.

And then Gareth said it. He said the words that are now haunting us.

‘We didn’t get you a present from your John Lewis list. We went off-list. What we got you instead is incredible.’

Even as he said it, I looked at him in astonishment, my head shaking. Don’t set us up to fail, man! Gareth looked back at me, his face already saying ‘I don’t know why I said that’ while his mouth reaffirmed it.

Now, let’s break it down. The first part is true, we hadn’t got our act together in time to get one of the presents they had actually asked for. Being arrogant types, we’d instead opted to go off-list and decide for them what they wanted from us.

But we hadn’t yet got round to making that idea a reality. Thanks to Gareth’s desperate attempt to let them down gently (good cop, bad cop in one swift move: Can’t come to your wedding, got you an amazing gift. You still like me now, don’t you?) we now had to come up with something pretty spectacular.

As it happened, Gareth was back in time from his job and we made it to their wedding – of course, our ‘brilliant gift’ was left behind because it was ‘too big to carry’.

They went on their honeymoon and we, well, we sort of forgot about it. But it was okay, because they were on their honeymoon and we had weeks to sort out something spectacular.

We now have 11 hours until they arrive at our house for dinner. I’m not saying they’ll arrive and start looking over our shoulder for the gift we promised, but having only remembered one hour ago that we are without incredible gift, we are at a loss as to our plan.

‘It’s so big, we have it in storage at a friend’s house.’ No, that won’t do, limits us to only buying a large gift when we do get round to it.

‘It hasn’t arrived yet.’ No, that won’t do, we’ve had two months.

‘It’s not ready yet.’ Intriguing.

‘Gareth’s an idiot.’ Hmm, that one could work.

I need a gift that can only be defined as amazing, and I need it now.

Scratch cards. E-U-bloody-REKA!

By Jove, I’m such a good friend.*

*Just ran this idea past Gareth. He told me I was a pikey and shot my idea down. He’s not really in a position to refute any ideas, but I suppose he’s right.
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