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Archive for July, 2011

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Entry 324: Builders… again

I can report the latest instalment in the sleep deprivation conspiracies that the builders on the masses of scaffolding on the flats behind my house have returned to work – about four months after putting up it up in the first place.

They have taken over the baton to deprive me of sleep from the builders next door, who have since completed both their building work and their work to stop me sleeping. As I said about the former builders, they put the scaffolding up in about April and it literally covers an entire block of terraced flats but they have done nothing since. Now they have decided to come back and wake me up, as you will see the evidence all points to this being planned in advance. Well, I have slanted and then presented the evidence that way as a result of sleep deprivation. I do not know what they intend to achieve from preventing me from getting enough sleep, but part of me doesn’t want to know. The sickos. Or they could just be doing their jobs, which isn’t as fun to write about.

I thought I’d make this information public as the internet is full of lame conspiracy theories and I was feeling left out I’d not contributed.

In work news, I was down to work a late shift tonight but was yesterday asked to work on another desk for better hours and more money. However, the blokey I got to cover my initial shift has realised he has another engagement. So we have agreed the ridiculous compromise of him starting the shift at 6.30pm, with me taking over at 10pm for another three hours when my other shift finishes. It made sense in my head anyway, but it is all money.

Word count: 295

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Entry 323: Money and Edinburgh stuff

I was all set to go along to Cantaloopy tonight but just as I was about to wake up I received a phone call asking if I could work.

With Edinburgh looming I need to take every shift I can so that I’ll be able to survive not only when I’m up there but for the month when I come back and haven’t actually been doing any work that has been paying appropriately for the past month.

Thankfully it is pay day tomorrow, which will make everything seem better as I’ve been doing a fair number of shifts in the past month so it should be considerably larger than normal. I don’t expect it to last too long, though. Money is rubbish. I turned my back on making any real money in an actual career in favour of humiliating myself in front of a room full of strangers a few nights a week.

At the same time I turned my back on a career I also turned my back on a social life but pretend that comedy is my social life in an effort to stop me thinking: ‘what am I actually doing?’,  this strategy is working wonders so far.

In other Edinburgh news, I have left this entry right until the last minute because I have been getting distracted by looking into getting some t-shirts printed to wear when flyering  for our show. I don’t know if I’ll wear the t-shirts after the festival, because there is something weird about wearing something with your face on but I will probably end up doing this at some point due to an inevitable lack of clean clothes.

Word count: 275

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Entry 322: Some sense of progression

I had two gigs last night, with my sets ranging from slightly poor to slightly above average. Thankfully it was in that order, so there was some sense of progression as opposed to deterioration.

The first one was a bit odd. I was on first and there was an audience of five people, who were all very friendly and it was all going reasonably well. Then about a minute before my time was up, four burly men came into the room and stood at the back. I welcomed them to the gig and ushered them into take up some of the many available seats. Bearing in mind that this was right in the middle of a routine, I tried to get them up to speed with what I was talking about but my efforts bombed and even some a banker I slipped in fell flat too and I then had no time to turn it around. Never mind, these things happen and it’s always good practice for these things likely happening in Edinburgh.

The second gig was better. There was a larger audience and it went okay-ish, I’ve performed at the venue a few times before and haven’t done particularly well on any occasion so it was good to do actually do respectably there for once.

In other comedy news, my flyers for my Edinburgh show have arrived – all 10,000 of them. They actually arrived yesterday but I had more than enough to write about then. I was trying to catch up on sleep at the time and heard the door go, but when I looked down the stairs at the front door I couldn’t see anyone there. Upon closer inspection I saw one of those slips to say that they’d tried to deliver something, I then ran outside in the clothes I’d been sleeping in and knocked on the delivery driver’s window and managed to get my flyers. Thus averting having to contact the couriers to arrange a delivery, I’m taking this as a victory.

Word count: 337

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Entries 19-21: Extended stag do edition

I have survived what has been perhaps my longest weekend without sleep.

In 48 hours I was probably only asleep for seven hours. Also, as a result of not being near a computer with enough time to get anything written I have missed two days, so a shameless trick I pull out whenever I miss a day is that I add the missed days entry words into the next one. So this entry is the equivalent of three entries and will be at least 750 words long. I make these stupid rules, so see nothing wrong in breaking them when it suits me, it’s going to be a relief to reach entry 365 and then be able to cut back slightly.

Anyway, that’s enough of the admin, now it’s onto what I’ve been up to. Saturday saw the stag do of my former uni housemate Clack down in Bournemouth and it was a lot of fun. The day began shortly before 6am when I woke up before my alarm and couldn’t go back to sleep, I left my house at 7.30am – I’d forgotten these hours of the day actually existed, so it’s nice to know that they still do and haven’t disappeared now that I no longer use them. I had to get to get the train Salisbury and arrived shortly before 10am where I was picked up to be taken to the place where we had some activities booked.

As we drove, it started to rain and we realised that it would be a messy weekend in every sense. It was still raining when we got to the venue, where we met up with the others and proceeded to put camouflaged overalls over our clothes to help keep them mostly clean.

Others in the group had waterproof coats on underneath to keep try. However, the coat I wear in the summer is utterly useless. It has all the looks of an anorak but with none of the practical benefits whatsoever as it is not remotely water-proof. I bought it when I was a reporter and wanted something with large pockets and a hood, but water-proof was further down my criteria list. I should probably get something better, but it’s too late for this particular weekend.

First on our activities was clay pigeon shooting. I’d never been before, but thought after all the years spent playing First Person Shooters then I’d be quite good. It turned out that this prediction was as wide off the mark as my aim and I was utterly awful. I managed to hit one in thirty. The thing I enjoyed the most about clay pigeons was being able to stand in the cabin, dry, doing the scoring while everyone else was actually hitting the targets but getting wet.

Next up was quad biking. I’d not been on a quad bike since I was about seven-years-old during a weekend down in Devon, when as soon as I set off I crashed into the tyre wall. However, 20 years later and I was much better, despite there being a lot of mud and inevitable skidding around I only needed assistance once out of nine laps. I was pleased.

From here it was off down to Bournemouth via a Harvester for lunch. After checking into the hotel we went down the arcade and I was on fire at table football and scored several goals, making some amends for my clay pigeon failure.

Next up on a whim we had a game of Laser Quest. Again, I’d not been for nearly two decades and on the last occasion my print out read ‘led like a lamb to the slaughter’ – I asked a friend’s dad if that was good. I had improved slightly this time and finished 8th out of 10, which I was satisfied with.

Then it was onto the main event: the night out. Dickie had done an excellent job of getting Clack a check-list of challenges to complete; I won’t go into the details of all these objectives as that remains a closely guarded secret for only those who were there; plus my word count is looking healthy so there’s no need. But as you would expect, a lot of alcohol was consumed and we all went to bed around 4am – 22 hours after I’d woken up.

The next day I had to get back to London to meet up with Fatboy, who I am going to be best man for in September. I met up with his fiancée and the bloke who I will be sharing the best man duties with, who bizarrely went to school with two comedians I know. After a short meeting I went back to my house for some food and had about half an hour’s sleep, before heading to work for 7.30pm. I managed to stay awake throughout my six hour shift thanks for energy drinks and got to sleep around 3am. It had been a long weekend indeed but I had now completed it.

Word count: 835

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Entry 318: Another preview and sleep

Last night’s preview was probably our best outing yet for A Mixed Bag with Love and Langton.

It was much better than Wednesday’s gig anyway. We were both on form and the good people of Camberwell responded most favourably with their laughter to our respective sets. One woman was actually crying with laughter during my set, which is always nice to see. So after the blip of Wednesday, it would seem that everything is back on track and looking good again.

In sleep news, I have not been sleeping very well lately. Well, I get to sleep okay then wake up about 6am and can’t go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I am putting this partly down to my head being full of thoughts and ideas regarding Edinburgh; and I am also partly putting this down to a Pavlov-esque stimulus response of waking up and then not being able to go back to sleep because of the builders making a noise next door – the builders have now finished but my body has been conditioned to not be able to go back to sleep for the past three weeks.

I am planning on getting an early night as I have to be on the train to Salisbury for 8.20am tomorrow to get picked up by the Clack convoy as it heads down to Bournemouth for his stag do. Then on Sunday when I get back to London I have to meet up with Fatboy to discuss his wedding plans as I am going to be his best man. Then at 7.30pm I have to start work as I’ve not managed to find anyone to cover my shift. I doubt there’ll be an entry for a couple of days. I really don’t know what sort of state I’m going to be in, but I pretty sure it will be one without much sleep and running off energy drinks.

Word count: 319

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Entry 317: The difficult second preview

I suppose last night can accurately be described as ‘the difficult second preview’.

It was quite a weird night. I don’t know exactly what caused it, but there was an awkward tension throughout.

We had an audience of 14 people, which isn’t bad going for the summer months at all. Seven of the audience were people I had invited, the other seven were people who were at the venue anyway and fancied coming to see the show. Most of the latter group didn’t seem to be enjoying much of the night, but credit where it’s due they stayed until the end and its good practice to deal with apathy and how you can turn it around.

Paul didn’t enjoy his set at all and blames it on me for forgetting our Mixed Bag bag. I was on after him and found a way to get some enjoyment out of it through sheer persistence and perseverance. My reward was some audible laughs peppered throughout my set, which I felt I had earned.

It was hard work, but great experience. In Edinburgh we are likely going to be dealing with similar circumstances. I do quite like weird gigs and find the best way to cope is to embrace it and see where it takes you instead of ploughing on with Plan A.

Tonight we have our third preview down in Camberwell, the show is coming together nicely and I do think it’s only a few tweaks away from becoming rather good indeed but then I would say that.

Word count: 256

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Entry 316: Recording

I try and record every gig I do whenever I can. However,
what I’m not so good at is listening back to the recordings.

I find listening back to my own voice an unpleasant
experience and spend most of the playback cringing with my head in my hands.
And that’s just the good recordings, aah.

Today I have forced myself to listen back to the recording
of my Ruby Tuesdays set last night.

As a comedy night, last night was one of the very best Rubys
there has been for quite some time. All the acts did well, many stormed it and
Luke Thompson was quite superb as MC. But you’re not interested in that, you sick
internet people want pain and suffering – which is just as well, because I am
going to mention some.

I wasn’t happy with my set, I would consider it a
frustrating 6/10-er. Not bad, but there was room for so much more. It was a
friendly crowd who wanted to laugh and I did get laughs, but a few things fell
flat. It was set up to score several majestic hat-tricks but I managed to score
one scrappy goal which I had to claim was mine.

You might think I’m being too harsh on myself, and you’re
probably right, this is just an insight into my comedic mindset. But in many
ways it’s exactly what I needed just before Edinburgh, there is still much work
that needs to be done to make my set to be as good as I want it to be. Now if
you’ll excuse me, I have much work that needs to be done.

I have another Edinburgh preview in Shoreditch tonight at
Cantaloopy – which is at the Cantaloupe bar and Restaurant, 35 Charlotte Road,
EC2A 4PD. See you there.

Word count: 300

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Entry 315: Press releases and comedy stuff

I am still trying to get this press release written for my Edinburgh show.

I spent 15 months as a reporter for a local paper and read many bland and appalling press releases, so I’m trying to write something which is journalist-friendly and will need little tweaking done to it. This is made all the more difficult by the fact that I’m also writing it and using quotes from myself. This is why I don’t work in PR, that and I didn’t get any of the PR jobs I applied for when I was applying for anything and everything when trying to move to London. I found it hard to get enthusiastic about it.

In comedy news, I had a decent gig last night. It’s a venue I’ve done a few times just for the stage time and never done particularly well due to a number of factors, not all of them beyond my control but I’ve taken full responsibility nonetheless. It was actually the best night I’ve been to there; there were some really good acts on the bill, and although the crowd was small they were friendly and laughing. My set went pretty well, a new line I tried out for the first time went received a really good reaction so I was happy with that.

Tonight I am returning to Ruby Tuesdays, which is a night myself and around 12 of my comedy friends set up in November 2009. Numbers have decreased in the past 18 months as unfortunately members of our original comedy gang decided that the comedy world and all that it entailed was not for them, or have others who have gigs elsewhere booked for that night. There is now a nucleus of about three who are regularly there, I don’t consider myself to be part of that nucleus as I’m now normally working that night. Let’s hope my return will be fun.

Word count: 319

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Entry 314: Gigs and annoying noises

I had a really good gig last night in Bromley. When I got there and the stage area was right next to the front door I thought it might be slightly problematic, but my concerns proved unfounded and it was a most enjoyable

I was trying out a few new lines with the hope of fitting them into my Edinburgh set, but it can be difficult trying things out that are part of a 12+ minute routine in a 5-minute set as some things are not in total context. But there is the challenge and if the audience don’t laugh at the jokes in the shorter version, they’re probably not going to laugh at them in the extended one. The audience did laugh, and laugh well, at the majority of my set. A couple of the new lines didn’t go so well, but I’m going to dissect them shortly and see if there’s another way to get them to work.

I am hoping to get an hour or so of writing done once I have finished this. Although this is going to be made more difficult by a builder next door doing a lot of hammering, I will put my headphones in and listen to some music to thwart his disruption plans.

In other annoying noise news, there is a helicopter that circles above my area of Walthamstow every night at 1-2am. I don’t know why it does this and it’s just quite annoying when I’m trying to get to sleep, especially when I’m going to get woken up at 8am by the builders next door. If anyone knows the answer to this helicopter activity or would like to make a guess, ridiculous or sensible, leave your thoughts below.

Word count: 289

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Entry 313: Fan mail

I have been touched by the emails I’ve received since this website was set up.

From all over the world, people have decided to get in touch with me. Here you will read a selection.

Sylvia got in touch, here’s what she said:

“My name is miss Sylvia and i will like to make a good friendship with you ok,so plz if you dont mind i will like you to write me back so that i can send you my pic and details ok”

Of course me can be friends, Sylvia, just never contact me again.

Then Janeth Ogwo sent me this:

“Hello, my name is janeth .I am a girl,”

Great  intro, I always like people to announce their gender immediately when communicating with me. She goes on:

“I wish to be in love relationship with you and May be we can be able to meet as real partners for life”

I’m afraid you’ll have to join the back of the queue, Janeth. But your offer is appreciated; I can only put this communication down to the words I write here, they really are more powerful that I initially imagined. I may have to tone down the erotic subtexts of the blog entries to avoid breaking more girls’ hearts, even those that don’t really exist.

And last but by no means least, but no less predictable, step forward Mr Ben Coker, Staff of Bank of Africa in Burkina Faso. Mr Coker has offered me the nice sum of “$9.58 Million Dollars”. I like how he used both the dollar signed and spelt out dollars, just in case I was in any doubt.

“I will like you to stand as the next of kin to my late client whose account is presently dormant for claims.”

How nice of him.

Oh, I’ve just read what it says at the bottom.

“Do keep this a top secret for security reasons”

Balls. Too late. Sorry, Mr Coker, I had nothing else to write about today. Keep the fan mail coming, guys.

Word count: 338