Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stabby McTabby and the Heatwave

Stabby McTabby (that twat of a cat),
Lay in the shade near the corpse of a rat.
He writhed and he twisted and searched for a breeze,
Reeking of sweat and of bile and disease.

The sun beat down on his patched scabby coat,
Stabby McTabby resembled a rotting bear scrote.
"For god's sake just kill me!" he screamed at the sky,
Licking thick, green, dry sleep from the corner of one eye.

Just then a mouse came scampering past,
"I do hope this glorious summer will last!"
"The days by the river in the cool of the pool,"
"The hours I have sunbathed - this heatwave just rules!"
"I wish it were sunny all day, all year long,"
"When the weather's this good being miserable is wrong!"

Stabby McTabby swallowed the sick that had crept,
Up the back of his throat while his soul had wept.
This mouse was a retard - that much was clear,
Stabby McTabby felt his teaching side rear.

He'd show this mouse that the summer sucked cock,
It was not 'majestic', a 'miracle' and nor did 'it rock'.
It was a bath in your sweat and sticky limbed hell,
It was a place you got sent to when kicked out of hell.

Despite not being hungry - not even a bit,
McTabby stretched a paw towards the mouse and smacked it.
He bashed its mouse head onto the baking tarmac
And rubbed out the sticky bit inside like a Big Mac.

Using one dextrous, long, brown claw
He snapped down the little mouse's little mouse jaw.
He ripped open its stomach and pulled out some guts,
Before gently decorating the rest of the mouse skin with cuts.

A cut for each day that McTabby had been hot;
A cut for sticky nights, the long days - the lot!
A cut for the unseasonably warm, lengthy season
A cut on the mouse for any old reason.

McTabby grinned at the mouse, whilst looking for the right tool,
To finish the job and make the mouse his lessoned fool.

He reached in the dirt for a stick like a splinter,
And rammed the mouse remains on top,
He'd show that happy mouse that only an idiot,
Goes about praising summer instead of worshipping winter.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

LOATHE ENTIRELY

Some people hate fat people. Some people hate white people. Some people hate ginger people. Some people hate people who cannot use grammar.

I don't hate these people. I hate one specific group of people.

I hate a group of people who could spring from anywhere. It could be any of us. Like an infectious disease it could be lurking within you only to rear it's head at a time no one can control. You'll only know if you're one of them if a set of very specific circumstances happen to you. It's a terrifying prospect that one day I could love my Dad to the very ends of the earth and then it will only take one short phone call and I'll never want to speak to him ever again.

Do you know who I hate? I hate people who phone in to national radio... What all of them? I hear you ask in your best italic voice. No, not all of them. I reply in a slightly bassier voice so you can differentiate between me in the conversation and me the narrator. Well, I correct my self unnecessarily given that I could have just edited what I've typed, I do hate the vast majority of people who phone into radios. Particularly the Jeremy Vine show. I just think you should always be too busy to call in because you are doing something. Even if you work in the field being discussed, if you are not important enough to be flat out busy in the middle of the day then the nation doesn't give a flying fuck dropping about your opinion. So, if not all of them, then who specifically?

I'll tell you, oh slanty voiced voice of the people. I entirely hate, loathe and despise this person:

"...can I just say a few hellos?"

NO. NO YOU SLOW MOTHER FUCKER YOU CANNOT SAY HELLO TO ANYONE. GET OFF THE RADIO AND PHONE THEM YOURSELF IF IT'S THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU.

"My wife will be just delighted to hear her name on the radio. It'll make her day."

Then fucking leave her because she is the most boring woman I've ever heard of. In fact, don't leave her: treat her better. If the nicest thing you do for your wife in a day is say hello to her while she's sat in the kitchen with the door closed so the radio in the background doesn't interfere with the phone call, then the love has left your marriage and you need to move on.

There are 64 million people in Britain, plus those listening to the World Service abroad, and I don't care if only 1% of those people listen to Pop Master. It is still too many people to have their day held up by the dullest form of social broadcasting. Thank the good lord in Devon that you don't need a license fee to listen to the radio because I'd be asking for mine back in the light of recent activities:

Dear BBC,

I should dearly like my license back please because of the following:

June 13th: David from Poole wasting my time saying hello to "Mark, Lisa, Amy and new baby Eric. All the lads from work - they'll be laughing at me for this one. Last and not least to my beautiful wife Jodie and to everyone else who knows me.

June 15th: Lesley from Dartford using the radio to say hello to Wendy her best friend from school who has been having a really tough time lately and so a little mention to her will really brighten up her day. WILL IT LESLEY? WILL IT? Apparently Wendy's dog died recently so Lesley was pleased to get a mention out to her. Oh thanks Lesley, hopefully Radio 2 will send Wendy a new dog. Or maybe the nation could club together. Or maybe you should just pop round and see poor fucking Wendy because she's obviously upset and you're doing quizzes on the radio instead of being there for her.

June 16th: Richard from Cheltenham who would just like to say hello to *grabs preprepared list* Joe, Martha, Kate, Nicky, Catherine, Katherine and Kathryn. Luke, Simon, Matthew, Paul, John, Jesus, the Son of God, God (obviously) Louisa, the population of India, the staff writers at the Daily Mail, Kim from the deli, his car, Tony, the tiger and of course... the dreaded everyone else who knows me.

You have wasted seconds, minutes, hours of my time with this shit BBC and I will be writing to you every day with a list of people I feel like saying hello to you just to waste your time in a similar manner. Today I want to say hello to Ainsley Harriott, Catherine the Great and Ed Milliband's thumb. Make it happen BBC or my revenge will be swift and cold as ice.

Yours Faithfully,
Laura


I'm not saying people who feel a desperate need to say hello are the scum of the earth but I am saying they are the sort of person who drives at 40mph in a 60 zone because it is almost time to turn the headlights on and they've only ever driven this road in broad daylight (every day). They are the people who drive down a straight road and brake when a car comes the other way on the opposite carriage way "just in case". They are the people who buy Which? magazine. They are the people who buy CDs from service stations. They are the people who order good steak medium well. They are the people who buy Nissan Micras for the driving experience. They are the people who talk to you in a queue even though you clearly have head phones in. They are the people who chat to the ticket inspector on a train. They are the people who wear fleeces. They are the people who refer to "the" ASDA instead of ASDA. They are the people who preferred Paolo Nutini's first album. They are the ones who leave the concert before the encore to beat the rush out of the car park. It's a Rod Stewart concert. They are the people asking for the encore at the Rod Stewart concert. They are the people who see someone they know in the street and just stop walking in the middle of the pavement. They have children named after Fleetwood Mac songs. They are the people who overfeed their obese grandchildren. They are the people who call charity workers chuggers and think their walk through town being interrupted is worse than the issue of poverty. They are the people who vote based on wind farm promises. They are the people tutting at homeless spikes and shaking their heads that it's awful. They are the people tutting homeless people and shaking their heads that they're awful. They are the people selling the house they bought in '86 for a tidy half a million.

They are the people just wanting to say a few hellos. They are the scum of the earth.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Your Biggest Fan, Naturally

Call it a documentary and I will watch it. From Attenborough in the desert to Worseley in Hampton Court, via a bit I don't like to talk about much with some idiots in Chelsea, I will be there bravely waving the flag for factual television.

Factual = Fucking Actual. This is what television is actually for.

Breakfast, documentaries and defying Best Before Dates are my biggest passions in life. Happiness is watching Frozen Planet, eating eggs and scraping the mould off pesto to see if it's still good underneath. Pesto would have to be coughing up blood for me to believe it was truly inedible. I am a tyrannical PE teacher style fridge master, peering at the blueing cheese, "Doesn't look that bad to me son, just scrape the scab off and get on with it." Where most people would be down at Sainsbury's buying new food, mine have all just been forced to do it in their pants and vest - "IT'S YOUR OWN TIME YOU'RE WASTING!"

I find documentaries ultimately quite uplifting, in that they open my eyes to new respect for humans and the journey we've come along. I think too many people want to hate humans and believe the end is nigh; for every despairing thing in the world there's a documentary to make you realise we're brilliant/it's not that bad.

People who laud animals as being so superior to humans are bizarre in my opinion.

"I love lions. They're so regal, majestic. Look at them; King of the Animals. I have so much respect for lions."

Selected viewing much...? Or do you have the same reaction when you see a news item about a stepdad murdering the children of his new girlfriend because NEWSFLASH - THAT'S WHAT LIONS ARE LIKE. Sure, lions have things you can be in awe of; their power and might etc... but they're not angels.

We got to level Lion in about the 1950s I'd say; when women nervously presented dinner to a grumpy man who was finding being a man pretty damn tiring and so sat about shouting and his harem to bring him dinner so he had the strength to fuck them roughly again. What lions need is a lion Beyonce who can get them all shaking their booty towards equality. I'd imagine the lions' main nervousness about this plan would be that leotard probably means something quite different to a lion. It's very interesting that most human feminist icons post 1980 have so heavily involved leotards; I suppose they are easier to slip on than a horse or chains or something.

"Oh! Penguins are my favourite! Have you seen March of the Penguins? They're so incredible the way they survive those conditions. I have so much respect for penguins after seeing that."

I mean, are you literally high? Are you smacked off your tits right now or did Morgan Freeman's voice lull you into some kind of bass coma? You didn't watch that and go "What the fuck is wrong with penguins?".

We reached level Penguin sometime way back in the dark ages where we believed birthing had to be done high up on a mountainside and if you survived the birth you and your baby were worth it. Fuck it, Scientologists are still on level Penguin. How could you not have watched that and thought, "Take it in turns guys!" It only takes one penguin, one year to say, "Hey, I think I might not have a kid this year. I'll, uh, yeah... I think I'll just pop down to the beach this summer and maybe have a kid next year. There's fucking thousands of us, I don't think it'll matter much in the grand scheme of things." Think about it penguins. Have a break...

"Did you see that poll? A quarter of young people don't trust Muslims? Unbelievable."

Is it unbelievable? On 27th November 1095 Pope Urban ii gave a speech urging Christians to fight the Muslim infidel which lead to between 60,000 and 100,000 Christians heading off to the Middle East to slaughter Muslims. You might have heard of it, it was called the Crusades?

Before you tell me that was 900 years ago and we should have got it solved by now; there were 9 crusades, I think, and they lasted approximately 200 years. 200 years. And those are just the officially recorded campaigns. So, 200 full years of slaughter... and in a little over 3 times that amount of time we've got to 75% of the future generation not only not wanting to massacre, but trusting. Call me an optimist but when you look at the slow grind of development on other long held conflicts I feel like that's a positive statement given the major derailments to peace that have occurred in the time between the Crusades and now.

If the current Pope tweeted "Death to the East!" would 60,000 people even favourite it, let alone get on lastminute.com to see about flights to Baghdad?

Progress is everywhere. Yes, we're* still obsessed with what Kate Middleton wears to every single social event and the country ground to a halt when she married William. However, we didn't buy her from Angela Merkel to try and keep up with a steady German economy. Neither did Prince William marry one of Obama's waaaay too young daughters because of our special relationship. I for one didn't notice many instagram shots of the bloody bed sheets the day after their wedding either. We're better than we used to be!

We're also better than giraffes too because William isn't going to beat Charles to death with his neck when he decides it's his turn to be King.


We're far from perfect, but we're pretty cool. I  like us.



* I use "we're" with a heavy heart here, because I like to think that you and I actually are not, but the media certainly is so it's how history will record us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

About People

There's something about working in the service or hospitality industry that makes you absolutely fucking hate people.

I'm currently working out the last few shifts of my bar job in the slow unwind to just doing comedy full time and the last few shifts are the hardest because the patience I used to have with people due to "needing the job" is vanishing.

I'm the same person whether I'm on stage or behind a bar; I look the same, I am just as intelligent, just as personable... but there's something about having a job where you're doing something for someone else where they suddenly assume you must be either:

a) too stupid to have inherited your father's company
b) sniffing glue
c) both

Tonight I had the following conversation with a woman:

Woman: Is it always like this? I've had to wait 10 minutes!
Me (whilst serving someone else): Sorry about the wait, obviously we've got 1,000 people to serve in this interval so there will be a slight pause while we get to you.
Woman: But I've waited 10 minutes!
Me: That's why the interval is 20 minutes... you'll get a drink, you can take it back in to the theatre and everyone will get served in order.
Woman: Oh! Well, I was waiting over there and I got asked to move.
Me: Yes, you were queuing next to the sign that said Please Keep This Area Clear For Disabled Access. I can't serve you there; I need to keep that area clear for wheelchair users.
Woman: I didn't know.
Me: There's a sign.
Woman: I couldn't see the sign.
Me: That's why I asked you to move.
Woman: Well I want a drink!
Me: What can I get you?
Woman: A red wine. Have you got a Rioja?
Me: (pouring the nearest not Rioja to hand) Sure.
Woman: Oh! Is it a plastic cup?
Me: Yes.
Woman: Can I have glass?
Me: No, it's a children's dance event... no glass.
Woman: That is beyond disgusting. (She walks away).

I guess some people just have their things that are important to them. But, my final shift will be next Monday night when I work the bar for an amazing event that's a nightclub for people with learning difficulties. The sort of conversation you have there are:

Customer: Please may I have a coke?
Me: Yes, absolutely. Ice?
Customer: Yes please. Thank you.

So different. How different people are:

Woman: I cannot have a glass - beyond disgusting.
Customer: I've got no legs and I'm deaf and can barely speak - hooray I'm at a disco!

I'll miss working the bar at the disco, just because it gives me a refresher every now and again to try and not be a "beyond disgusting" person. I want to be a "hooray disco".

Monday, June 16, 2014

Birds

The group of boys looked round at each other, nervously. They were excited, invigorated... but ultimately a little lost and confused. The voice had been so compelling. As the woman had sung, they had listened: their bodies becoming vessels for the longing and power in her voice. They'd lapped up every word they could decipher until the last few notes played out and they were standing, once again, on the street corner looking at each other. They felt exposed, but it wasn't unpleasant. The problem was the vagueness of the woman in the song... like a siren on a rock calling them to her but leaving out the vital details. The blonde boy clicked off the radio.

Each of them keenly wanted the milkshake; deep in their souls they felt an urging more powerful than anything they had heard before. But where was the yard? Had there really been nowhere in that beat heavy track to include a postal code or a vague name so they had something to go on? The boys shifted their weight, unsure how to satisfy the powerful longing in their bodies.

The tall one spoke.

"I know a yard." he said quickly spitting the words out like they were hot to the tongue.

"Where?" asked the fat one.

"I... It's not far from here. Near the touristy bit. I've seen the address on bottles of my mother's. It's a very famous yard."

"Let's go!" said the short one.

They bundled off down the street. Eagerly anticipating the sweet milkshake that was waiting for them at the yard.

---

"Either you buy something or get out. I don't know of any woman and certainly none of my products are edible. I'm sorry, I think you have wasted enough of my time."

Neal was losing his patience with the group of boys. They had bundled into his shop unannounced shouting and gossiping about milkshake and a mysterious woman who was going to let them have some. The best milkshake in the world, they said! Neal had no patience for milkshake. He watched anxiously as the fat one and the topless one argued dangerously close to his precious blue bottles.

"It must be the wrong yard!" shouted the squinty one.

"Sorry." mumbled the tall one, "It was the only yard I could think of."

"What if she wasn't saying just "the yard" " said the feline one, "What if she was saying "the yard"?"

"Well, where's the yard?" asked the extremely skinny one.

"Follow me!" yelled the feline one.

---

The police were even less impressed than Neal.

"We are not willing to take on this case." said the man at the desk.

"What, the famous case of the missing milk shake?" asked the tallest one.

"Yes. This is a place for serious investigations. Not for boys looking for milkshake. Why don't you pop down the the Shake Shed? They put biscuits in their milkshakes." the man at the desk really was trying to be friendly despite his fraying patience.

"It wouldn't be the same." said the anaemic one. "Her milkshake will be better. It's the best. The radio said so."

"Well, you've got the wrong yard here I'm afraid. There's no milkshake for you here."

The boys filed out, one by one, back out onto the street into the daylight. Shame was clouding them. What kind of a group of boys couldn't even find the yard containing the best milkshake a woman had to offer? They felt like failures. They felt like feminism had bested them. They felt like the worst outcome of everything the Daily Mail had warned them about. Now that women had the milkshake and the right to vote, they no longer had to tell the boys where the milkshake was.

"We'll never find that milkshake now." said the loudest one.

A man walking past on the street looked up, sharply. "Milkshake?" he asked.

"Yes!" Said the loudest one. "The best milkshake in the world. But it's hidden away. The location is a mystery."

The man walking past on the street wiped away a telltale white moustache and leaned in; taking pity on the boys. "You should get down to Kelis' Milkshake Yard on the High Street. It's just opened up today. Best milkshake I've ever tasted."

"Hooray!" shouted all the boys! And they ran to the yard. And this time, it was the right yard. They loved the milkshake so much they asked the lady who ran the shop if they could work for her. She said she could teach them, but if they were going to take a course in milkshake making she would have to charge them. They agreed and began the following week. And not a single one of them ever had healthy respect for a woman again.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer In The City

I'm not going to the Edinburgh Festival this year. No, not at all. No, not even popping up for a few days. Aren't you going to miss it? Yes, I expect I will miss visiting that beautiful city for a year, and I will miss all the little things I do there to distract myself from the fact I'm at the festival. Will I miss doing a show in the Fringe? No, no I don't think I will.

I've written a show for the Camden Fringe. It's a bit wonky and I don't know if it all works and it's got stuff in that I'm proud of but audiences might hate and it's got some wiggle room to include things I've written and pored over but haven't yet properly performed.

I'm not taking it to Edinburgh because I don't think Edinburgh is the right place to try out a Fringe show. I'll take it next year when it's polished and I'm ready to field the criticisms and the fringe audiences.

When Rik Mayall died this week the outpourings of grief and tributes from comics towards him was really moving and it made me think about the Fringe quite a lot. There were so many comics applauding Mayall for being their inspiration and being the first person they saw letting go and doing something different. He started something very cool.

Reading all of those tributes I started thinking about all the current TV shows and stars and TV comics and trying to imagine if any of them were different enough to strike such a reverberating chord with someone. I'm not sure; maybe? Nick Helm certainly has that renegade chaotic element about him. Maybe Frankie Boyle's loose tongue is inspiring? Russell Brand I suppose. Probably Russell Brand.

I think there's a link between the Edinburgh Fringe and this slight lull in exciting, inspiring comedy on the screen. Edinburgh is so expensive and draining, it is a huge pull down on a creative career that doesn't make enough money the rest of the year to support itself. I was told if I wanted to do my show with the company I used last year in a small venue I would need 10k upfront and I'd lose 6k of that. How can I afford that without working full time along side my comedy? Or, already being an established act who can invest that without worrying?

When the stakes are so high for a show, the room to be creative shrinks I think. If you've invested 10k in a new product for an exhibition are you going to attempt "Something Marketable" or really try and patent "The World's First Possibly Useless Terrible Thing"? Most people wouldn't have much of a choice but to try and pull something together that's not going to ruin them. I certainly don't.

Of course, the Free Fringe has really helped and I can think of a few people who are pulling together unique stuff that's exciting and different; Matthew Highton  and Adam Larter immediately spring to mind. On the paid fringe there are a few people who stand out as different; Pat Cahill, Sam Simmons... but most don't, including myself.

I'd love to be able to run some tests on the Edinburgh Fringe and see what happened:

* No reviews for a year. What happens?
* All shows are free to put on for a year. What happens?
* Shows cannot have been previewed. What happens?
* Nobody with any form of TV exposure can do a show. What happens?
* Nobody without any form of TV exposure can do a show. What happens?

I wonder if it would just help put something into the Fringe that I always assumed was there until I started going; a sense of silliness, messing about and trying something out without failure being so utterly devastating. If there isn't so much riding on the outcome, would the outcome be much more creative? Could we breed something new? Something that is struggling to develop on the circut where work is so scarce?

I have no idea. And I won't be there this year to have a think. But I might find that free little space to play in Camden. I hope so anyway.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blog Tour

Boom! Some knobhead asked me to join in a "blog tour" where I talk about me and my writing stuff. It's being passed round bloggers who love each other. I got it from Rose Crompton who proper loves me. She is ok, you can check her stuff out here: http://straightoutofrc.blogspot.co.uk/.

So, I doubt this is interesting to the vast majority of you but I'll try and lie just sufficiently to keep it interesting. There are 4 questions that need answering. Let's go.

What Am I Working On?

My friend's sofa. HAHAHAHAHA. Dear god, there's absolutely no wonder I'm not on Channel 4's Comedy Gala tonight. Having said that, it could be something to do with the fact that they're advertising as having "every comedian on the planet" and two of them are women. Two. Out of every comedian on the planet. But fine.

So, I am working on a multitude of things. Firstly, I'm writing my first solo hour long show for the Camden Fringe. It's called "Lovely" and tickets are on sale now: https://cam.tickets.red61.com/performances.php?eventId=3113:342

I'm writing/developing the show to enjoy stand up for happiness sake... I wanted to prepare and enjoy performing a show that's about strong stand up and positive writing. I've put away a lot of my "old faithful" pieces that make up some of my weekend gigs and the ability to play with lengthier themes that are less obvious. Animal documentaries are a big part of it and audience interaction will be a major!

I'm also about 90% finished with the first draft of my novel As We Know It which is an English comedy book focusing on the role of Jesus in the end of the world. It touches on a lot of English lifestyle elements but I'm having fun writing about religious differences which is not something I can always get away with on stage because it hits nerves easily.

I'm also writing my wedding vows.

How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?

Pfft. It probably doesn't but people like it. The thing I'm complimented on most often is my energy as a stand up so that's something I layer carefully into my writing to use it to its potential. I truly believe that to be an original stand up you have to know how to do the basics first so it's taken me a good five years to get to the point where I feel like I'm doing "my kind" of material.

The book, As We Know It, is something I'm really proud of for its originality... I'm writing about race and religion against a backdrop of English village life which I know inside out so I feel like it has legs to be truly original. I hope so anyway or I could have had many more guilt free hours in front of the television in the last three years.

Why Do I Do What I Do?

I can't do anything else. Because it's boring.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

It doesn't. I probably am not a natural writer... I don't know grammar inside out, I don't have to write every day or I die, I don't avidly read other people's blogs... I also don't start writing and then suddenly look at the clock and 5 hours have passed including 10,000 words. Sometimes I have a really good idea and I'll write it out and sometimes I stare at a chapter outline and do everything in my power to avoid writing it. Once I get writing I am swift but I have to really want to be writing.

With stand up, I very rarely write properly... I prefer to have an idea, vaguely sketch it out and then perform it into existence. I use the stories I tell people in my every day that have a funny nugget and then I write them into stand up. Twitter has been a really useful tool in teaching me to write short jokes for instant punchlines.




I will be recommending Vicki Baron for taking this on next. Here blog is here: http://sarcastickled.wordpress.com/