Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pressure Point

Words can't express how lovely it is to be at home... there's just nothing like coming back here and having the world shift into a pace I'm totally familiar with. It's like comfort on a level with a memory foam mattress with built in speakers playing you Roald Dahl's audio books (read by David Jason) while Judi Dench brings you Horlick's and brushes your hair.

When I'm in London my world is a whirlwind - and that's how I like it (clearly - or I wouldn't do it). I am busy from the minute I get up at 6am and go to my day job, to the second I finish whatever gig/broadcast/rehearsal/audition I had lined up for the evening. It's beautiful but shattering. There seems to be something about London that makes you feel if you're not staring with bloodshot eyes into a Starbuck's mug that you're not really doing it right. If you haven't been on every tube line that week then you've wasted the cost of your travel card. Who's going to do the Evening Standard crossword if you don't? Granted, it's pretty hard when there are no seats on the Jubilee Line but fuck it, that's what other people's backs were invented for.

I find it nigh on impossible to keep any sense of perspective on what is important and what the world is for. The problem with being one of these 'self-employed motivating' types is that there's no manual on when to give yourself a break. You'll get a constant monologue from every one around you that if you want to succeed you have to push yourself and you have to be the best and the most determined... but there's no manual to tell you when to take a break.

So, I've come home...I'm not really doing anything. I've done one gig, I'm going to get my eyes tested and I've spent a long time chatting with an 18 month old who's made me a finger painting of a bonfire and piled a lot of dinosaurs on me whilst roaring. Together we watched Rescuers Down Under and my family told me they were very proud of me but that they were glad I was taking some time off. They didn't say they wanted me to take all my time off with them as I'm kind of high maintenance and they like 'quiet time' WTF? but they have expressed relief that my hair seems to be calming down and looking less like a Helena Bonham Carter character (pick any - they're largely the same. oooh...)

The little one and I are bonding pretty well...I'm a big fan of his work. He's the product of my older sister's matrimonial bliss with her soul mate. Insert gagging noise here. I'm taking as much interest and time with him as possible seeing as it's fairly unlikely my children are going to be anywhere near as spectacular. For one, I find it tricky to meet men that seem worth lifting my head off the bar for, second, if I do manage to reproduce I imagine my level of neuroticism will mean it's less the bliss of producing an angelic child and more like getting a mindight feasting gremlin wet. We think my children will probably come out already wearing eye liner and black nail varnish humming Placebo. Bless.

It's quite a big admission to have to write that I can't do everything. Turns out I've got a limit - doesn't mean I'm not going to be the next super star with all my dreams accomplished on a tidy check list. I will never tire of check lists. I especially like checklists where you actually draw boxes next to the items rather than cross them out. But it does mean it's OK to chill the fuck out sometimes. Nothing has to be accomplished by the age of 25 to make it a truly great accomplishment.

I had a gig last night where the headliner was Ian Cognito. Now, for a comedy geek and massive tool like me - this was amazing. This was watching an absolute master and legend at work...25 years of experience at holding the crowd's attention and playing with your expectations. And. afterwards, I got to go and sit down with him and hear about what it was like MCing for an up and coming Eddie Izzard... a-mazing.

Cognito's set was electric - it was magic to watch. And it made me realise something a little bit more profound than the punch line... he's been in the business for 25 years, and he was at the same gig as me last night. Yes, he got paid and he doesn't have a god awful day job... but, for last night, we had the same experience. I was really achieving something. So excuse me if today I only apply for 6 more gigs instead of 9. It's OK to take a break. If anyone needs me I'll be finger painting and eating mini-cheddar biscuits. And I'll still be a superstar quicker than you'll believe. A day doesn't make much of a difference if your head is going to want to something for the rest of your life.

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