Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sock It To Me

Writing this post is the last thing on my To Do list for today. I really think, looking back, that leaving the creative thing that I actually care about until last was silly. Really I should have done it first so that I still cared about life but I haven't, so there.

The trouble with admin is that it can take many forms, and each of these forms manages to suck the life out of you in some way. Firstly today I had laundry. I don't mind putting clothes in the laundry and I quite like hanging it out... what I hate is taking it off the dryer and putting it away. There's an inevitable intervening two week period where I categorically just DON'T put it away and it stumbles back around my room until I'm not sure whether it was ever clean and I'll probably start the whole cycle again.

Today my main issue was with socks. The problem with socks is that they all look the same - and I don't mean that racistly, some of my best friends are sock puppets. They vanish and you have no discerning features with which to find them again. Socks don't drink milk! That's the main problem... where do you put the pictures up to claim a missing sock? The only place the socks go is on your feet and in the washing machine. What the hell is happening in between those two sock havens? I'm just saying if socks were bigger milk drinkers then we might stand a chance of having more matching pairs.

Socks are nomadic creatures. It's a direct consequence of being born hollow - they are always searching for that special something to complete them. It's not easy to constantly have a foot rammed in your poop hole. Poor socks. Lots of people get very suspicious of sock parents - lots of IVF accusations flying around because of the large numbers of twins in their birth rates. Actually, though, socks are very natural lovers. Very tender. The biggest selling sock single is "Sexual Heeling" which should give you some indication of their level of tenderness.

It's hard times for socks these days - we live in a world where shoes can increasingly be worn without socks. They are beside themselves with what to do. Flip flops used to be a novelty item, a horror story used by parents to frighten naughty ankle socks into going to bed at night. Nowadays people seem to be able to wear any kind of shoe without it's light hearted liner. Is it any wonder socks are disappearing off to sunnier climes?

There've been sightings of socks clinging to the Eurostar for days at a time in a desperate attempt to get away from this island that's being run into the ground by the barefoot brigade. Of course, when they reach the French shores they are driven away in the droves. The French don't wear socks at all. They wear stockings! Socks and stockings do not get on. Originally it was just a harmless rivalry between the two species but after years of specialist breeding by humans to refine the features of each, full scale animosity has broken out between them. If a sock and a stocking are left alone in a room for more than 20 minutes then literally nothing will happen because they are inanimate objects.

Of course, the worst nightmare for any sock is that they will develop a hole. Imagine if your skin just opened up one day and you were broken. Your only choices from that point are either to be thrown away or be stitched up with precisely no anaesthetic? Socks are the only creatures in the world who have to suffer the injustice of their only life saving procedure also being a swear word. And not even a good swear word at that. It's just insulting. As if being holey when you're a strict atheist wasn't bad enough as it is.

If a sock turns up out of the blue and you feel it needs punishing, the best way to deal with it is to wash it inside of a duvet cover. It's the sock equivalent of water boarding and, to be quite frank, it makes them madder than a march hare. The disorientation involved makes it ten times better than the human style but the sock will be docile as fishfood if you threaten him with a Mini Load at 30 on a Tuesday morning when he's not expecting it.

In 1992 I had a full drawer sock rebellion after I was given a pair of toe socks and the rest of the clan held a mutiny which resulted in her being tried and hanged for impersonating a glove. Messy business. Messy messy business these sock wars. That's the trouble with admin.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ic R Us

I used to pray for cloudy days after my wings grew in. The days when I woke up and couldn't see a speck of blue were by far my favourite. The best days would have huge chunky clouds that overlapped and jostled for position against each other. Sweet, rounded clouds that pulled the world in tighter together.

A cloudy day was a secret I could keep to myself - it meant there would be a moment where I sucked through the clouds towards the sun and kept a perfect day to myself. People on the ground would never know that if you could just get high enough, it would always be a storybook sky.

Navigating that initial burst through the cloud was the hardest bit at first. It took me a long time to get used to the change once my wings were wet - they were heavier and it was harder to manoeuvre. I dried out pretty quickly, of course, but there were some scary moments where the bottom would fall out of my stomach as I plummeted back towards that hammock of clouds.

When I was little my mother told me that if I watched too much television my eyes would go square, that if I ate all my brocolli my hair would go curly, or if I played with it too much it would fall off... But no one ever warned me that one day my shoulders would start itching without relief. You never notice a repetitive itch until it's a few hours in, after that it's all you can think about. If the itch turns into lumps on either shoulder blade then you think about it all the more.

The last thing I expected those lumps to turn into was wings. Who expects to get wings? Other than an incredibly dedicated Red Bull marketing executive.

Once you're above that cloud layer it is always flawless sunshine. The clouds below are perfect white and unpredictably sculpted. The light doesn't dance off them, it teases them, skimming off the sheer layer of vapour and then soaring back up into sheets of illumination.

I didn't really get bullied about having wings. There weren't enough pre-prepared lines for someone who unexpectedly sprouted wings in their 13th year on the planet. What did you bully someone with wings about? "Hey you, enjoy having an incredible ability like no other human?" The best I got was being dumped by my then girlfriend, Emma, in case our children came out looking more like geese than humans.

They grew slowly, it took almost a full year for me to be able to fly properly. It might have been quicker than that had I not frustratedly thrown myself off the roof of ASDA when they were about 6 months grown. In my defence, they were pretty big by then and I had no idea they'd be so pathetic. The broken leg really hindered my ability to fly.

Not being bullied didn't stop people treating me weirdly though. It's kind of difficult to have a normal friendship with someone who has wings. It's like finding out someone has an awesome job - that's all you want to talk about. I'm glad I was English though. Not a single day went by when my parents did get an offer from some research centre or other in America promising untold rewards if they could just study me for a few months. I had a feeling that, had I been born in America, the whole thing might have been a bit more X-Men. England didn't really operate like that. I had regular check ups to make sure my body could cope with the extra growths but that was about it.

Learning to fly was incredible. It was hard work, but getting flying skills and a six pack within two months of each other was not really a downside at all. At first I didn't have the energy to fly for longer than a few minutes, but the stronger I got the higher I could get and the more I could use the thermals to stay up.

I watched so many YouTube videos on birds' flight patterns, I studied weather shows so I could tell when would be a good time to go up. Lightning is even less enticing to fuck with when you're only yards away from it.

Finally flying became second nature. Like swimming. It felt incredible. It was so fast, so exhilarating. It was always mindlblowing, but there was still nothing like those secret sunny days I kept to myself above the clouds.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

No Woman No Cry

“We need to reclaim the word 'feminism'. We need the word 'feminism' back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist - and only 42% of British women - I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of 'liberation for women' is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? 'Vogue' by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?” 

That's a quote from the very excellent "How To Be a Woman" by Caitlin Moran. It's a book I read a while ago and have recently been thinking about more than any other book. I'd never considered myself a feminist before reading that book. It's embarrassing to stand up for women isn't it? Highlights that it needs doing in the first place.

Being described as girly was never as cool as being a tomboy growing up. Why can't these mouthy kinds of women just see that things are fine?

Just recently there's been a revival of articles such as "I see nothing funny about vaginas" and "Where are all the women in comedy?"

We're here, we're plowing on same as a lot of men. We're doing it and we're doing it well. I don't think I feel any less likely to succeed in comedy because of my gender. If I fail miserably on a stage I do it because my jokes and performance weren't strong enough for the audience.

I don't often come against much that reminds me I'm a girl. I feel like a comedian when I'm on stage, I don't feel like either gender. Weirdly though, after a good few years of not really believing any of the hype about what a male orientated industry I'm in, this week has suddenly brought with it a shit storm of individuals who have dismissed me on the grounds of me being a woman before I'd even stepped on to the stage.

Firstly I dealt with two men who, upon hearing the MC say "she's a great act", responded with "Oh for fuck's sake" and then held their own conversation throughout the majority of my set. Whilst this was a bit of an irritation and annoyed me, I don't think it fussed the rest of the audience. There was no real way for me to deal with it humorously and concisely during my 15 minute set so I continued, had a good set and left the club with the promoter happy. More fool the only two arseholes in the room that missed out on a good time.

Later on in the week I arrived at a gig and was greeted warmly by the promoter and the other acts. Then, another man came into the room and looked at me and my friend (also female) and asked us which one was the act. I said I was, he pulled a face. I called him on it and asked what the problem was,

"Oh nothing love, I don't mean to be rude but we used to book women as novelty acts at my last club, so..."

So what? So, just because you used to book some shoddy ass line ups, you think I'm going to be awful? Go choke on your own power trip.

I had a lovely gig, a really pleasant country pub style gig. Some of the audience came up to me afterwards to congratulate me and the promoter was as pleased as the pub owner. Yet still this guy thought it was up to him to come over to me and say "Feel free to come back when you know what you're doing."

Excuse me? You weren't even in the audience, you sat next door and talked to other people yet still felt superior enough to come over and make me feel bad. Arguably, because I am a young woman. But I am a young woman who is good at her job - if someone spoke to me like that in an office there would be systems in place to make sure I didn't have to deal with it. It doesn't exist in comedy.

My favourite gig of the week, however, was the one where I was brought on to the stage with the words "And now we've got a fucking woman on" after having berated for having my hair cut because I was somehow now "not the act booked". Even my hearty reassurances that none of my hair based jokes would be affected did nothing to remedy the situation. Sigh.

Obviously, none of this has measurably stood in the way of my career, none of it affected my ability to tell my jokes and write new material. None of it will stop me being a success. But it did make me feel like shit. Why should I have to go to work feeling like shit because of small minded people? There are always going to be ass holes, I know this. I deal with this. But I'm looking forward to the day that I don't have to deal with them while they think they're better than me. And if that day comes quicker because more people consider themselves feminists and learn to treat everyone with a bit of respect then woohoo for feminism.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Father and Son

"I told you to get a real job. Get a degree I said - it'll set you up in life."

"Dad, I didn't need one. I was doing well..."

"Doing well? Smarming about making a living off having famous parents doesn't constitute doing well my boy. It makes you a posh ass hole."

"Dad, I'm a great public speaker! People love me!"

"Fantastic. I'm so glad people love you for being charming. You are about as useful as the cast of Made in Chelsea. You've never done a day's work in your life. I'm so disappointed in you."

"No, you don't understand. I was really making a difference. I had these dedicated followers who were working with me to..."

"You had a boyband."

"No, we didn't sing..."

"You didn't even sing? What kind of a boyband doesn't even sing?"

"We weren't a boyband..."

"You were a boyband."

"How many boybands do you know that have 13 members."

"So Solid."

"Fine, I'll give you that... but we weren't a boyband."

"Well, you certainly didn't get round to inventing football did you? What kind of bloke organises regular get togethers of 13 men and doesn't organise a kick about? I suppose it must be quite tough since you're all wearing dresses."

"It's the fashion, Dad. It's pretty hot where we were."

"You've always got an excuse haven't you? Have you got any idea how this looks to the neighbours? I'm a laughing stock having my son moving back in at the age of 35. It's embarassing."

"Loads of people my age have to move back in with their parents as a stop gap..."

"Hercules didn't! Do you have any idea what Zeus has been saying about me behind my back? Hercules managed to make a success of himself despite being orphaned and losing all his powers. You had my entire backing, foster parents AND miracle powers. How did you manage to screw it up?"

"I haven't screwed it up. It's all part of my plan, I'm going to go away for a bit and then magically reappear when they've really been missing me."

"Oh, Jesus Christ!"

"Yes, Dad?"

"Don't be facetious. So your master plan is to stage a comeback tour?"

"Not a tour..."

"And what's your master plan until then? Hey? Hang around here sponging off me until you decide you want to go back? How very mature. This isn't a hotel you know, you can't just come and go as you please. I don't want to be washing your dirty socks until you're 40."

"That is ridiculous. I famously don't even wear socks"

"I don't care. I want you to get back down there and have another go. You won't learn anything if you always bail when things get a little bit tough."

"A little bit tough?! Dad! THEY NAILED ME TO A FUCKING CROSS?"


"Are you listening to me? They nailed me to a wooden cross and just left me there until I had the good sense to shut my eyes and go quiet."


"Hercules didn't have to deal with this shit."

"Hercules fought monsters."

"Yeah, and his Dad was all ticker tape and vuvuzelas supporting him as he beat the shit out of stuff. I've got the power to bring people back from the dead and heal the blind and the lepers and you had me preaching all this "Meek people are the bomb" nonsense. Then they nailed me to a sodding cross, not even teak may I add, and you made me just suck it up and pretend like I meant this to happen."

"Well, we're trying this new approach to being a deity. It's modern and stuff..."

"Modern? It's bullshit that's what it is. Sitting in the desert not eating for 40 days at a time? Have you seen the size of Buddha? Why can't we do that?"

"We're anti-Greed. It's our policy."

"Well, I'm not sure we've got it right to be honest. There has been a pretty intense spike in the number of dead babies since we got started. I'm worried that's not going to go down well with the lefties."

"The dead babies have been unfortunate but marketing are on it and I'm pretty sure Herod and Pharoah are going to come out of it worse than us."

"Well they better bloody do, I GOT NAILED TO A CROSS."

"It's a striking image."

"Oh brilliant, so even the people who like me are going to be rubbing it in my face. This is like Elvis fans wearing a toilet on a chain round their neck. It's disrespectful."

"You have a bad attitude. This conversation is finished. Go and help your mother in the kitchen."

"Don't give me that shit. We both know there are no women up here. Your bread and fish will be ready in half an hour."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easy Friday

Personally, I think it's very easy not to be religious these days. We're very far removed from the times and the places that Christianity was conceived, making it seem obsolete and inappropriate for modern living. I'm no great fan of organised religion - I was raised as a Christian but ceased attending church and considering myself a Christian at about 18.

I'm not a fan of the fervently religious or the blunt faith bashers. I think either way of living makes you very short sighted - it's far better to be able to see the upsides and downsides of any way of life. Yes, Christianity has sparked many wars but it's also been the building blocks of a legal and social system that has taught the vast majority of people not to kill. The epitome of swings and roundabouts.

Why so pious Laura?

Well, Easter is coming up isn't it? A few days away. The day when Jesus was supposed to have risen from the dead. The thought of Jesus being in the modern world is something of an interesting idea in my opinion. Will his miracles have updated if he does reappear? I feel like he wouldn't particularly fit in if he was to reappear as written.

Turning water into wine is a great idea but in the modern context it does it make it seem a little like Jesus is into drink spiking. No one wants a headache all day Sunday, spending the day in bed perplexed having only drunk water from 11 onwards, only to receive a text from Jesus that simply says "LOL". Funny fucker that guy! Of course, it's reasonable to assume he will not be allowed into a club in sandals anyway. If you walked across water at the beginning of time, is it safe to say you'd be OK crowd surfing at Oceana?

Good old Jesus. The problem I've always had with Religion bashers is that they miss out on an integral point, that, whatever you want to believe about following a completely Christian way of life, there are some gems of wisdom that are not to be sniffed at. I've written countless blog posts over the years but none of them have come close to making the splash that the 10 Commandments did. It's like working on a Noah skit after Glorious had already been toured.

My favourite pearl of wisdom from the Bible is, "Don't hide your light under a bushel". Advice for anyone with a slight self esteem issue. This is one of Jesus' rare ideas that actually makes more sense once it's become a modern cliche.

A bushel in Jesus' day would have been a measure of dry weight. Arguably a light would have also been a flaming torch.

Jesus was the Health & Safety guy who just got a bit out of hand.

"Hey guys, can we please stop storing the flaming torches under the mounds of corn? It's really just making the torches bigger. It's not really possible to hide it under there until it's completely gone out. Then it's not really a light any more. It's just a stick. Stop hiding your stick under a haystack. Do you need me to write these down for you?"

Of course there are upsides to having a slightly strange Health & Safety guy at the office. He's always the guy who fastidiously collects coupons. Nectar points are a useful commodity when all 5,000 employees have turned up to the company picnic and only Sue has thought to bring more than Scotch Eggs. Good old Jesus will have made the most of the 3 for 2 on bread and fishes.

He's a sweet guy.

It'll be nice to have him back on Sunday if he does want to come. I think he'll be thrilled to see the changes to the world. I have a sneaking suspicion his whole "raising Lazarus from the dead" bit might have been a slight fabrication, using CPR as an excuse for why he might have been caught lip locking another guy.

"Yeah, choking he was. Weren't you, Laz? Choke up chicken. Feeling better? Good. That was me that was. Rescued him."

 We've moved on Jesus - compassion and love for one another, the very values you taught, have been spread further than anyone in your day could have possibly imagined and we are now closer to an all inclusive society of equality than we have ever been. Now, if we could just learn to laugh at ourselves...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Week That Could Suck Itself

Writing this post is how I imagine trying to run a marathon as an athlete feels, after they've taken a sabbatical for 6 months and eaten nothing but KFC. I know my brain used to have a vocabulary and my fingers would occasionally press the right buttons. I've been staring at the screen for about an hour now and there's very little by way of ideas or coherent thought structures coming to mind.

In my defence I've had a shit week. My brain's melted through sheer exhaustion. In the last 7 days I've been London to Gloucester to London to Bournemouth to London to Exeter to London and spent the non-car hours in a call centre working for £5 an hour. Sounds fun and glamorous when I say it, I know, it hasn't been particularly.

I can tell I'm tired and cranky for the following reasons:

1. I'm sad about losing Twitter followers. I don't usually care about Twitter followers. Whenever I lose a follower I try and imagine they are someone I'm friends with on Facebook... then I wish I had lost more and deleted my Facebook account.

2. I'm crying

3. I've had a seized up tongue since Tuesday. A SEIZED UP TONGUE? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE? Well mum, dad and anybody else reading, at first I thought it was an ulcer on the side of my tongue. But it has done nothing to abate and now the muscles in my throat and jaw are also tightening. It's quite painful to move my tongue. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH YOU USE YOUR TONGUE IN A DAY? If it's not gone by tomorrow I'm going to cut it out.

4. I'm listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack.

5. I just took a 6 minute break from this blog to analyse whether it was a trick of the light or whether my moustache was actually darker on the left side. It was not a trick of the light.

6. I've spent the day singing "You'd Better Draw Something" to the tune of Bob Dylan's "Serve Somebody". I am that ethereal blend of dangerously influenced by popular culture and achingly obscurely uncool.

By far the worst thing that's happened this week is finding out that I have to move out of my beloved house. I'm beyond gutted. Circumstances that are far too dull and devoid of comedy to explain are forcing me to move out. This means there are lots of decisions to be made... oh my sweet meat sucking fruit bat Christ I hate making decisions.
Back to Lapland?
Back to Somerset?
Down to Brighton?
Stay in London?

When faced with bad circumstance I think it's very important to consider what rock bottom for your personal circumstances are and then mediate your response from there. Rock bottom in my life would never be worse than moving in with a family member until I was sorted. And if that's rock bottom then life is pretty sweet really. If you're not totally convinced by that as a comfort method it's also fun to mould the cast of Made in Chelsea out of your own shit and then throw them at a nearby wall.

So that's my week. I also took some time this week to be a little bit more politically aware and compiled a list of what I consider to be "Features of the Well Off" so that when I am in charge I will know who to tax, the list includes the following:

1. Having a Tempur mattress in the spare room.
2. Using the following carrier bags for rubbish: Steamer Trading, Marks & Spencer or French Connection. They're good bags, keep them for a picnic.
3. Buying real dusters instead of just using dirty socks.
4. Using a Taxi sober/Considering congestion charge roads as optional.

So, there's my stuff. I guess my deep felt feeling of bullshit frustration at losing my house has made me want to move back into my little bloghouse. Apologies if this upsets you in anyway but in all honesty if you not only clicked the link but also read down to this point then it's your own bastard fault and you might want to think about leaving the internet for some to rethink your existence. Just a thought. If you've had a good time then I'll see you tomorrow for some more waffling. Mmmmm. Crumpets.