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Archive for December, 2018


2018 review

While spending the final couple of hours of 2018 helping calm my dogs scared by fireworks and actively avoiding Jools Holland’s Hootananny, I will review the past 12 months.

Every year, I set myself a challenge of learning a language. This year, I had Spanish lessons for about eight weeks. This ended up being the extent of my Spanish learning for the year, as the level was a bit more advanced than I anticipated. After I failed to get my head around the numerous verbs, I decided that it wasn’t the language for me.

A work trip to Cologne briefly made me try to rekindle the German I had learned at school. Now, between the ages of 11 and 14, I was really good at German. I was getting consistent A-grades, until I was moved up a set and then stopped doing any work. As a result, the longest sentence I could put together was: “Yes, that is right. I am 12 years old. Do you speak English?”

Comedically, it has been an up and down year. My main aim for the year was to focus on new material and write more. I achieved this, even if I have since binned a lot of it.

The low point of the year was in the struggles I endured in my new show during Edinburgh. This is what I wrote after a particularly bad one that I performed to mainly blank faces, but didn’t publish on here at the time: “I don’t want to perform this show any longer. It is not fun. I am not getting anything out of it and it feels like I am banging my head against a brick wall a lot of the time. I hope that I’ll come out the other side.”

I wasn’t exactly having the time of my life doing it. Although all that banging of my head on the wall did pay off and I found a way through the brick work.

It wasn’t just the new show that often wasn’t going well, my bowels were also in a bit of a state throughout. If there’s anything that can make a bad situation worse, it’s problems with the bowels.

My highlight of the year was completing a third sold-out run at Edinburgh Fringe. HTWAPQ was better than ever this year. It was amazing how regularly euphoria and despair were felt so closely together during August.

Outside of comedy, my highlight was visiting Oslo. In the two days I was there, it became one of my favourite cities I’ve visited. Even if it does cost almost £10 for a pint.

The final four months of the year have been quiet for gigs, as I wasn’t sure where I’d be living by the year-end, so didn’t have many booked up. Using this time to think about what I do next won’t do me any harm.


Back in town

As the year nears an end, I am without a massive amount of gigs in the diary. This is partly because I didn’t know exactly where I’d be located come the end of the year, but mostly because of that pesky thing called admin.

Last weekend, I was back in London for a couple of nights. A mate from school had managed to get a ticket for the rugby match at Twickenham.

Twickenham is in south-west London, so I made the sensible choice to book a hotel in north-east London.

This choice was of course for Walthamstow purposes. And I really miss the place. It was my home for six years, making it the second longest I have lived anywhere apart from where I grew up, which is still in the lead by at around 23 years in total.

Although Walthamstow has changed a lot since I first moved there nine years ago, it largely retains its charm. And it is as a rare part of London that feels like a community where people actually speak to each other.

On my way back from a doing spot at a poorly attended open mic in Finsbury Park, I headed for a pint at quite possibly my favourite pub in the world, Ye Olde Rose and Crown. It was where I used to run a monthly gig, where I could drink a few pints with friends until late, enjoy the live band, and then stumble home afterwards. Running my own gigs is one of the biggest things I have missed since I moved away.

My trip wasn’t all rosy nostalgia. Something else happened that brought everything into stark contrast. I was unable to get on several consecutive tube trains, only to eventually cram on and be surrounded by dozens of people in a confined, sweaty carriage. And thus my decision to move away was entirely justified.

But then Brexit and Trump both happened after I moved away, so maybe people should be persuading me to move back in the hope of preventing further disasters. The world could depend on me braving sweaty tube carriages every morning.