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Archive for January, 2021

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Teeth

I actually did something different this week, I went to the dentist.

Admittedly, this isn’t the punchiest intro I’ve ever written. But I can only work with what I’ve got; and life under Covid is neatly summed up by the fact that a visit to the dentist felt like a refreshing break from the norm.

If you don’t like teeth, this probably isn’t the entry for you. And I mean specifically human teeth in a human mouth. Not like those fish you get in North America with human teeth. Or even the condition hyperdontia, where sometimes hundreds of teeth grow in a person’s mouth. Personally, I would rather be reading about those things. So I may write something about them in future. This is just about standard human teeth in the correct position and numbers. And specifically mine. I’m not even trying to boost the word count here, I’m just on a roll.

Anyway, I don’t go to the dentist very often. The last time I went was in April 2017, which was the morning after I’d driven back from a gig in Newcastle. As I had work the next day, the appointment was cunningly booked to give me extra time to sleep.

My teeth have always been in good condition and I only tend to go to the dentist if I think something’s wrong. And the most recent visit was booked as I was convinced that my gums were receding after I did some online diagnosis.

But I’ve learnt that it’s always better to get advice from an actual trained professional. I discovered this after I spent pretty much all of my teenage years genuinely convinced that I was dying of various terminal illnesses as a direct result of my own research and online diagnoses. Turns out, that was all a complete waste of time and worry.

Anyway, I learned from my latest dentist visit that there’s nothing much wrong with my teeth and I don’t need to go back for a year; thus vindicating my stance on dental appointments.

I am aware that this is something of an anti-climatic story and not particularly interesting. So never fear, I’ve got some more teeth history as a back-up. This is definitely the worst thing that has happened to my teeth. And no fish are involved.

In 2012, it was the Tuesday back to work after Easter Monday. I was living in Walthamstow at the time and about to begin the morning commute. I was about 20 metres away from the busy road I had to cross to get to the train station. I was still on the pedestrianised bit, when I saw the green man was on the traffic lights. So I decided to run before it changed. I stepped off the pavement to cross the road at pace and the next thing I know is I’m on the ground in front of a bus and have smashed my jaw on the road.

The traffic lights hadn’t changed. And I’m fairly convinced that I was hit by a cyclist who jumped the red light. But then logic would suggest that he would also have fallen off in the collision, or at least shouted something and I don’t remember any of this.

A couple of people helped me to my feet and I staggered back onto the pavement, leaning on a lamppost for support. I was feeling a little dazed and remember a lady telling me that I should go to the hospital. It felt as though something was wrong with my mouth and I could taste blood, but I told the lady that I was actually fine and would be going to work regardless. So I crossed the road and hopped on the next train to Liverpool Street.

Shortly into the journey, I started to feel dizzy and noticed something was wrong with my teeth and thought: “Actually, maybe I should go the hospital…”

I was working in Farringdon at the time, so went to St Bart’s Hospital. A nurse checked me over and I had some X-rays. I’d sheared off about a third of two front teeth and had minor chips to about eight others.

I couldn’t get a dentist appointment on the day, so went a day or so later. He did a quick repair job and booked a reconstructive procedure a couple of weeks later, which then made my mouth look close to normal again.

But a few months after this procedure, I woke up to find one of the caps he’d put on had come off and was resting on my tongue. I went back for another repair job. And all was fine until a couple of years later and the same cap was ripped off by some Soreen I was eating. I didn’t go back for a fourth repair job and dentists I’ve seen since have said it’s nothing to really worry about.

The dental work cost me about £50 and it was also meant that I no longer eat the destructive dental goodness that is Soreen.

The moral of the story: don’t ever run to be on time for work.

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Edinburgh Fringe 2021?

Is Edinburgh Fringe going to happen this year? Well, the short answer is that I don’t know. Thank you for your traffic, I appreciate you stopping by.

I will give some further thoughts now. I should add that I am not privy to any inside information and have no scientific qualifications relating to disease, or indeed any scientific qualifications whatsoever. Thus making me the perfect person to give an opinion on the matter.

I am also aware that I mention Edinburgh Fringe more than anything else on this site. I don’t even have to look that up either. Since I first visited the festival in 2010, it is what I have planned my years and entire comedic focus around. So while I don’t know what is being discussed with organisers at the moment, I do have enough knowledge and experience of the festival to give me an idea of the practicalities of running things in the post-Covid world.

Firstly, I should add that I hope Edinburgh Fringe does happen this year. And here comes the ‘however’. However, it is difficult to see it happening this year even with the vaccination roll-out.

As far as I can tell, about half a million people come to Edinburgh every year during August. And they come from all around the world, from counties all with varying infection rates and different action by respective governments.

Were the Fringe to go ahead, it is likely that there would be some social distancing measures still in place. And this is where everything falls down. Many rooms in Edinburgh are small, cramped and sweaty. If one of these rooms had a pre-Covid capacity of 50; then for post-Covid with social distancing this could easily reduced by ten times. And being in one of these tiny rooms will hardly be appealing to an increasingly health-conscious population. On the plus side, it would be easier to sell-out and I have also performed to audiences lower than five during my time up there.

Post-Covid, having hundreds of thousands of people all mixing in cramped conditions is a recipe for disaster.

The other factor is financial. The majority of performers in the UK have hardly been able to perform within the last 12 months, thus depriving them of money. And Edinburgh Fringe is an expensive endeavour, to say the least, meaning that a lot of performers will be unable to afford it through lack of revenue.

And this financial factor also includes audiences. While the fortunate have been able to save a load of money on commuting, not everyone currently has a job and unemployment is soaring. People may end up choosing to save what money they have, or choose to spend it to go somewhere else on holiday instead.

Therefore, Ross Kemp: The Musical may not be making its debut in August. Although there is always a possibility that it could be performed towards the end of the year. As with everything at the moment, it’s just a matter of wait and see.

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Screen time

For the next month, I have set myself the challenge of switching off
mobile data every day from 10am to 3pm. The reason I am doing so is
that my phone has become a chronic distraction and mostly a means to
waste time.

Although I have permitted myself to use the internet on a computer for work-related stuff, I am also banning myself from using social media during these hours. And I’m also stopping myself from procrastination searches that may be, for example, what Jason the original red Power Ranger is doing these days, what happened to Zach from Saved by the Bell, and of course, the latest news reports of giant squid.

On the first day I tried it, I was getting a little itchy at not being able to instantly check the latest meaningless nonsense. But after a day or so, I was amazed at how much clearer my head has been due to the dramatic decrease in distractions. I also continue to be amazed at how much worse my focus gets when I switch my phone’s internet back on after 3pm.

I was thinking how much worse I would have been at school if I’d had a
smartphone. Then I remembered that I did barely any work at school and
even with technology as limited as it was then, I still found enough to get distracted. The only explanation is that I have a superpower of being able to get distracted by very little.

If you’re wondering why this post hasn’t tailed off, you have no idea how long it’s taken me to get to this point thanks to my phone.

Anyway, I didn’t just come up my phone ban of my own accord. A few weeks ago, I received an email out of the blue from someone who’d been binge-reading the archive on here. I was then asked if I’d like to be interviewed to appear on a podcast about my experiences performing stand-up and the way I’ve dealt with all the extremes of emotions it brings.

The email came as something of a surprise, as I was fairly convinced that no one reads anything on here. So as with all the emails I receive through my site, I did some background checks to check it was genuine. And it was. You can listen to it here, in fact. Listen to the other episodes while you’re there too. By the way, hello Alison.

And part of Alison’s podcast is to get guests to set some sustainability goals. My suggestion of phone usage was something of a joke, but then I learned that browsing and watching videos results in far more carbon emissions than I ever realised.

While emissions from this might be miniscule for one person, they all stack up considerably if the majority of people in the world are doing the same thing.

But first and foremost, cutting down on my phone usage means I won’t get… something or other. Anyway, onto giant squid matters.

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2021…

This year, I’m going to try and write something at least once a week and have Sunday as the designated day. I’m calling it a pledge at the start of a new year. There might be a better, more concise way of saying that.

Given that I’m not doing a massive amount at the moment due to Covid
restrictions, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to write about
without it becoming repetitive. But that is where the challenge lies.

That said, this entire website began after a friend from school had spotted that I was writing 250 words a day on Tumblr, so offered to host it on his server. So writing a minimum of 250 words a week should be doable. Also, I hope you like reading details of dog walks.

It is a year filled with uncertainty and unknowns. I don’t know when
I’ll do another gig, I don’t know if Edinburgh Fringe will happen this
year, and I don’t know where I’ll be living at the end of the year.

It would be helpful to read some of the entries for later on the year now so I have an idea of what to expect. They all exist on this laptop, just not at this particular time.

But the future posts are not written yet, so I’d better make them good ones; or at least mildly entertaining.

The only thing I can say for certain is that I’m going to be doing a considerable amount of dog walking.