Friday, December 20, 2013

A Disgusting Christmas Panic

Hello you, how have you been? Well, I hope. If I were telling you this story in person, this would be the pre-story part where you're sitting with me by a fire place and I'm smiling gently and telling you what's to come. What's to come is fairly vile, so please don't read on if you're offended by anything less than spick and span. OK, now we're done with the cozy fireside bit and your vision will go all wibbly now and we'll jet into the story with my voice talking over....

**:…§())))((((^$%£@* (that was my attempt at keyboard induced wibble)

It's the week before Christmas, as you know, and everyone is running about preparing for the big day next Wednesday. A monumentous day when both the birth of Christ and 2 for 1 cinema tickets will coincide spectacularly with outstanding results. Unfortunately, for the major part of this week I have been quite unwell. I picked up a tummy bug from my sisters sproglets at the weekend, and about an hour into my 4 hour train journey back to Brighton from my visit to her, I started some pretty impressive oral pyrotechnics.

Carriage B (the quiet carriage) were, in turn, sympathetic, shocked, appalled, violent, frightened, aroused, and dismayed by the machinations of my troubled innards. I kept it well contained to the bathroom but I think most people between Southampton and Brighton heard me begin my journey into hell.

Now, of course, throwing up is a glamorous thing to tell people about. We love throwing up so we've got anecdotal evidence of our unwellness. It's the golden goose of sick notes. What's never excellent is when it comes out the other end. Obviously, I was caught unwell on a train and so spewing from both ends like some kind of horrendous, moist cheerleading baton was not quite an option - toilet space is limited... and so, I took a pre emptive Immodium to make sure all stayed put.

I eventually got home (after I'd cried on 2 members of the public and actually crawled through Brighton station - I have no shame) and continued vomiting, sleeping and crying for a day more.

The only trouble is, that it's now 5 days later and everyone else that's had the tummy bug is feeling better. Everyone's stopped puking, stopped feeling groggy and dizzy and stopped feeling like their tummy is a puffer fish. Except me, I still have fairly severe lingering tummy unsettledness and queasiness. Why? Why me? Well... when I sat down with my VERY PATIENT boyfriend last night (who has had it and recovered) and chatted with him about it, I realised that my innocent little Immodium may be working too well. In fact, I have not "deployed" since I sank him on Monday.


What the hell did I take? Super immodium? Was I just meant to rub a pea sized amount into my gums or something? Jesus. I'm terrified.

Once I'd stopped throwing up, somewhere around Wednesday, I started to eat normally again like any carboydrate addicted normalton. I HAVE A FOOT LONG SUBWAY INSIDE ME FROM WEDNESDAY - THIS IS NOT NATURAL. I am only five foot myself. One whole foot of me is currently delicious sandwich.

When will it end? Is there a lever I am supposed to release? Something I can rub? Am I going to have to birth this thing and raise it as my own? I tried taking a Berocca to make my body realise we're healthy again and that signalling problems are over, but nothing has happened so now I'm fairly confident what I'm waiting to arrive is some form of glow stick.

Now, I know most people are panicking about travel arrangements, turkeys, presents, etc etc but I have a distinctly less festive, much grosser kind of worry to deal with. Such as, will I ever poop again or am I going to die like a poop pinata with a very uncomfortable expression on my face? This will not be a merry Christmas at all.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The train sped quickly into the heart of Somerset like an arrow going into the heart of something else. There was a girl on the train like a bacteria on the aforementioned arrow. The bacteria girl from the simile was happy and excited to be going to Somerset because when she was there two great things were going to happen:

1. She was going to see The Hobbit 2.
2. Her sister was going to turn 30.

Aw, how lovely, I hear you think... this girl on a train is happy that her sister is going to have a nice birthday. No. Either you were right and I just heard your thoughts wrong, or you were wrong and it turns out that's not why I'm happy!

I am happy (I'm also the girl and the bacteria from the train and the arrow in case you weren't following) because for a brief window of 2.75 years I will be able to smugly say about my older sister,

"Oh, you know, she's in her early 30s." and the same will not be true about me!

These are the golden years of younger sisterhood. All those times she failed to help me get dog poo off my foot, told me to jump off the climbing frame carrying a plastic bag because "it would act as a parachute", cut all my hair off, laughed hysterically when I pooped myself at Disneyland, called me a Witch, told me Martin Crow would never go out with me, wouldn't let me have Robbie Williams as my boyfriend in the Take That game and made me choose Gary Barlow or Mark Owen instead, insisted I was the captain of the aeroplane when we played in trees while she was the mechanic and had the freedom to climb all over the tree while I sat in a fork and did nothing, had two beautiful kids and a wedding while I still live in sin with a partial career... SUCK IT SARAH YOU'RE IN YOUR EARLY THIRTIES!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA.

ps I love you very much

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Feedback Please

God sat...

*Author's Note* God did not sit. Before we start this chapter it is worth me taking the time to explain that none of the characters here are currently in a physical form. So God could not have sat as It had nothing to sit with or on. Also, nothing actually got said as there was no mouth to say it and no ears to hear it; when I say something was 'said' I have to mean 'the idea came into being'. It's like a thought but on a celestial level. In some respects too, there were not quite the separate characters I have sketched out to make things simpler; it was more a wrestling of concepts and energy going back and forth and pulling time and space towards different moral outcomes. You can see how to try and narrate a chapter like this as it actually happened would be lengthy and confusing, so I will try where possible to put it into a "humans having a chat" context. This will help you understand, and also help me convince some other people to make it into a film and make me lots of money. Rest assured though that neither then, here, nor in the film did, do or will God resemble Alanis Morisette.

So, God “sat” and waited patiently for his inevitable company to arrive. Company bustled into the room as though this meeting were just ticking off No 4 in a 25 point To-Do List for the day. God knew this couldn't be true because they had decided not to bring the concept of days to this place; it seemed to help with not boxing in thought processes if there was never a time anything needed doing, even if it did cost them the joy of ever getting that Friday feeling. God also knew it couldn't be true because Itself was the creator of all things and therefore almost always the most important thing on anyones To-Do list.

*Author's Note* This is trickier than I thought. You may have noticed an 'itself' creep into the text back there when referring to God. This is because, try as I might to fit this into a 'humans having a chat for simplicity and Hollywood dollar signs' format, I just cannot bring myself to give them a gender. They had no bodies and therefore no “anatomy” (wink wink) and couldn’t be labelled as any species let alone a gender. As I find the notion of gender consigning you to be anything more specific than simply in possession of a certain set of reproductive organs I cannot even begin to speculate what gender these existences could be given. I will use 'it' for the purposes of non specificity and still narrating for you, and when we come to the casting discussions I'll bring the following 3 ideas for the casting of God to the table:
1. A series of ever changing famous cameos (exc. Alanis Morissette) to boost the celebrity of the film.
2. One of those androgynous actors that often do weird stuff like Johnny Depp or Cate Blanchett.
3. The Eurythmics

Company bustled in with sweaty confidence; cross about the circumstances but always pleased to have an argument.
“I thought I would have heard from you...” It let the partial question hang in the air; being intentionally blunt to try and catch God off guard.
God eyed the Devil with care. Theirs was a tempestuous relationship. They gave each other purpose; a deity without a purpose is prone to wild eccentricity. If you have any desire to see it in microcosm take a moment to research Lord Bath of Wiltshire.

*Author's Note* While I am enjoying watching these two bash it out as people like characters, I am worried I've dumbed it down to an extent where you won't believe what an accurate narrative this really is. I would hate to miss out on any credit due my way, so it might be worth scraping below the surface to see what's going on. Just in case anyone from a Literary Prize judging panel is reading.
 To understand God and the Devil is to understand everything, so if the next few paragraphs makes sense to you then treat yourself to a cup of tea, a pat on the back, and go ahead and ignore the next piece of criticism your mother throws your way.
To believe that God created everything is to believe that God must have created the Devil, which is difficult as God is the hero and the Devil is an out and out bad guy best imagined with a level of disdain only Alan Rickman can properly manage. Why would God create the Devil? That's like being a fly and inventing the swatter. The tricky bit is understanding that God did not intend to create the Devil; that the Devil came in to being as a biproduct of the sheer magnitude of the power of God.
Remember that God and the Devil are not things or people; they are every concept and every physical and philosophical eventuality. The existence of God as a constant production and collection of intentions and ideas allows the Devil to exist in opposition. In scientific terms; for every action there is a reaction. It's the same with God and the Devil, here is an example:
God thinking he could create the Earth as an eternal paradise gave life to the following related concepts:
The Earth could end. There could be something better than the Earth.
Each time God's thoughts create a new concept, It must decide if It is in favour of the thought and going to make use of it. The thoughts God does not want to continue with are pushed away, but they cannot be destroyed. God does not keep them to become part of itself and over time they caught momentum, like an enormous tumble weed, and became a formation fundamentally antithetical to God; the Devil.
So, what with God keeping all the thoughts relating to his project Earth prospering, and pushing away those that might harm it, it is easy to see how in human terms the Devil is evil because the Devil does contain an awful lot of negative aspirations for the human race. But it is wrong to say the Devil is evil incarnate; it is only opposite to God. As an example, It also holds within It the concept that there could be a paradise better than Earth, and so should It ever succeed in tumbling Earth then there might be something truly remarkable to behold. Not evil, just opposite to God, and certainly bad news for the human race.
To summarise, God did, and did not, create the Devil; God and the Devil are one and the same thing. Brothers from another mother, if you will.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Researchers Discover Cause of Economic Downfall

As the economic crisis starts to lie its tired head back down on the rug of England's history, researchers have finally been able to pinpoint the cause of the consumer spending shrink.

"It turns out people think there is absolutely nothing worth buying on the high street." said Professor Staton Thobvious, 56, of the University of Media Studies Degrees. "Have you been in a shop lately? Was there a single item in there that didn't ask you to Calm Down and Do Something Irrelevant? Why would anyone purchase these items? The fact that Britain has seen a sharp decline in consumer spending is a testament to the good taste of the British people. Thank God no one went so far as to start putting slogans on bread packaging or we'd all have starved to death."

"I first began to hypothesise on the subject when a car drove past me a few months ago with a bumper sticker that read, Keep Calm and Adopt a Greyhound." continues Professor Staton Thobvious, 5'8", who was born and raised on a playground in Philadelphia. "I immediately began to wonder exactly how soothing adopting a greyhound could possibly be for a person who must have been suffering a certain degree of panic to have been asked to calm down in the first place. One wonders the knock on effect of these actions when the poor person, now calmed and in possession of a greyhound, returns home to find their baffled partner standing at the door asking, "Whose is that greyhound?" It seemed to me that stress levels would begin to soar at that point as the poor person desperately tried to explain that once calm, he had been instructed to adopt a greyhound. Should the argument escalate, one has to assume the panicked person would have to adopt another greyhound to calm down again, leading to an infinite cycle of fear and greyhound adoption."

"What happens if one should need to calm down, and one happens to already be a greyhound? And not in a stable relationship with a dependable career? Starting an adopted family when you're already a single, unemployed greyhound seems morally reprehensible and not in the least bit sensible to someone trying to calm down."

According to Professor Staton Thobvious, 10st 5, who trained in from his home in Kent rather than taking the bus this morning, the economy has been kept vaguely afloat through this tricky period of tat solely by female relations who are unsure of what to buy family members for upcoming celebrations.

"A mother or aunty who is struggling to know what to buy a relative for their upcoming birthday or Christmas present feels very at home with the Keep Calm or similar products that one sees on the High Street these days. She will think, 'Ooh, my nephew David has a moustache. And that helpful Thermos flask there says Keep Calm and Look at a Moustache on it. David must love it and David will carry it on the train with him.' and she will innocently buy the item not realising the damage she is causing to the economic environment."

Sadly, Professor Staton Thobvious, 01273 227765, thinks there is worse still to come in the forecast for the British Population. "Whilst we will see a return to products fit for human purchase in stores in the coming months, too little has been done to stem the tide of unwanted Christmas gifts that twentysomethings can expect this year." January will be a month of many people trying to lose knitwear, shrinking tea towels, and burning down houses that have been affected by this gift taste abyss. Even charity shops will be unlikely to want the stick on moustache finger tattoos that seemed like such a good idea on Christmas Eve when your Aunt May wrapped them up for you.

"It's clear that this period of history is going to be very hard to decipher for historians in years to come. They will think we were a panicked nation, very jumpy, who needed constant reminders to go about our day without throwing ourselves under something sharp."

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by nuisance tat in anyway, remember, it's important to cut off these so called friends who are buying it and show them that you in no way wish to be affiliated with their limited intelligence behaviours. All it takes for evil to succeed is for a few good men to continue hanging out with a friend despite them wearing a hoodie that combines a Big Bang Theory quote with a 1940s war poster.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Rant About Porn

Well, I was in my seat and all set for a nice peaceful journey from Liverpool to Brighton but then the Daily Mail made me cross and now I'm here on my keyboard being the ragey blogger that everyone hopes would just read all the other blogs that have already been much more eloquently written on their chosen subject.

This is what made me angry:

A horrible story about two children with ruined lives. That made me angry. Then this ridiculous bit made me angry:

"The Daily Mail’s fight to force the web industry to clean up the internet through its Block Online Porn campaign has led to concerted pressure on service providers, such as BT and TalkTalk."

And then their sodding "side bar of shame" masquerading as a bit for women tipped me over the sodding edge.

So, some things I really need to get off my chest to the Daily Mail:

1. The boy, 13, did not "escape" custodial services... he is 13 and has clearly been so totally messed up in his life that he is in need of severe help. Escape makes it sound like you think he was lucky to do it.

2. Saying things like "The web industry" makes you sound as stupid as you are misogynist. Who are you talking about?

3. I'll tell you who you are talking about: yourselves. Why is porn getting more and more graphic? Because everyday life is getting more and more graphic. Here's a simple breakdown for you:

You are supposed to be a news outlet and yet you have pictures of boobs right there on the same page as a story condemning a child for not knowing porn and rape were wrong. So, a child could read that article and think to themselves... porn is wrong, but looking at these boobs is fine. How are children and young adults supposed to know what kind of boobs are fine to look at?

If a news outlet is showing boobs and stories about women being spoilt by their husbands and pouring their curves into dresses, and that is supposed to be the feminist section, then why shouldn't porn be allowed to go too far as well?

Here's how it is:

News outlet: boobs, vaginas, lots of skin, women as objects to be appraised.
Porn: See above + some men too.

Here's how it should be:

News outlet: No boobs, no vaginas, some skin, no women as objects to be appraised.
Porn: Boobs, vaginas, lots of skin, women enjoying sex.

If you took all the boobs, and curves, and flashes of 'getting out of a car' thigh and vagina off your website and all the other websites that are meant to be about other stuff, then you could leave porn alone because it wouldn't need to go to extreme lengths. If young boys and girls have seen boobs and vaginas from the age of 6 in their newspapers and adverts and music videos then of course they are going to be numb to it and need a little bit more to get them off as and when.

I would far rather allow my children to watch two consenting adults enjoy sex in some well made and well paid porn, then let them look at your summary appraisals of women based on what they look like, what they're wearing and who they married. Grow up Daily Mail. You're not anti-porn you just want to monopolise it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bumble Heginnings

My first memory of being in a play is at Norton Fitzwarren Primary School at about 6 I suppose playing a buxom cook in a winter production. I have no idea what the play was about, what my character did or whether it was any good. What I do remember is my costume: it was a voluminous black jumper with two of the school PE footballs shoved down the front. My mum says she nearly died when I walked out on stage but then was greeted by other parents in the break telling her I was hilarious. My poor mum wasn't so sure I was hilarious but I think we probably both knew it was best I get this sort of thing out of my system on stage.

I did a lot of amateur dramatics at school. I was never exactly what you might call 'leading lady' material; much more prone to a shepherdly casting than a Mary. But, as my mum said then and has been proved right; "Pretty girls will get the romantic roles, but you'll get all the interesting ones.".

And I did, in the course of my primary school career I played Monty The Python, a snake being charmed by my then crush, the mighty 10 year old Sam. Looking back, I probably only got the part because I was small and light enough to be put in a basket and carried on stage by two other people so I could come out when the music started and deliver my hilarious monologue in a camouflage tube that acted as my snake costume.

I was also lucky enough to play Willy Wonka in a later production, presumably the recent OFSTED slating had revealed that none of the boys at my school had the capacity to read at the time and so I was dressed in my Dad's chinese silk dressing gown, a purple hat and a massive grin and churned out as Mr Wonka himself. That production was a technical feat, much improved by the casting of twins to play Violet Beauregarde; one pre accident, one post. Magic.

Other smaller bit parts included "Learner Angel" and "Citizen" in some productions I have swept from my memory as the teachers, ever more concerned with fairness than theatrical quality, decided it would be best to let someone else have a go. No wonder I got into stand up, an ego like this has no place in a chorus.

In my final production as a Norton Fitzwarren minor I played a variety of roles in Rolling Back The Years, an epic production that spanned the 20th Century looking at major events. Roles I inhabited included Ginger Rogers, a Jarrow marcher and Madonna. See that casting directors? I am nothing if not versatile.

After Norton Fitzwarren I moved on to Bishop Fox's Community School, where I continued to pursue  an acting career despite there now being boys capable of playing boy roles and girls who looked much more like girls than I did. I looked a bit like Neville Longbottom but very malnourished.

Nevertheless, I joined an Am Dram club and played Eric the Thief (as part of the famous Wilson, Kepple, Betty & Eric. Methinks the caster took pity and added an extra role, no?). In a brillinat turn of events, a small play I did at the, sadly now closed down, Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton, led to me being cast in The Turn of the Screw by Henry James where I played a creepy little kid named Flora. No idea what the play was about but I got a costume and I was in a theatre and none of my friends were. Winning!

Back down to earth with a bump at the end of the production, I was "chorus member" in the 2002 production of Return to the Forbidden Planet. Chorus member? What?! Were they kidding?! Did they know who I was? Of course they did. You were a terrible singer and still are. Return to the Forbidden PLanet for me consisted of wearing a blue boiler suit and hanging about with a girl called Rachel saying things like Rhubarb and Crumble to look professional.

Luckily the year after was the famous 2003 Grease the Musical production in which I had the all singing, all dancing role of Frenchie. Except that Frenchie is the only main character in Grease that does not sing. So it was mainly dancing for me.

And I am not a great dancer. So I just sat about.

Leaving school meant college. 2003 saw me join Richard Huish College and commit myself to being a SERIOUS ACTRESS doing plays about issues and badly misinterpreting Pinter so I could wear a wedding dress on stage. If this is not what your college years are for, then what?

At the end of my college years, the faithful old Brewhouse Theatre put on a school's production of Les Miserables and yours truly was offered a role! A real role! Can you guess who I was playing? Eponine, given my stature? Cossette perhaps? Fantine? Madame Thenardier even? No. I was "Old Woman Who Buys Fantine's Hair" but I was delighted. Probably the best time of my life pre University.

Tune in next week for The University Years and a Step Into Comedy.
Or, if you found this intensely tedious, don't bother because it'll be similar.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yog Hurts

I feel like this is one of those things that should never have needed saying, it's up there with:

"Maybe choose Scouts over Hitler Youth" and "No, there's nothing in vaginas that makes voting democratically difficult" but, it seems I'm going to have to go ahead and say it:


Stop trying to make yoghurt sexy through the power of advertising.

Not a single woman in the country has watched Nicole Hertzybertzy tucking into a champagne yoghurt and raced to Co-op for a cornery pot of disappointment.

Yoghurt is boring and unsexy.

The closest yoghurts come to being sexy is in treatment of downstairs problems. And that is not sexy at all. It is only even vaguely in the sexy corner because it's near the sexy area. BUT IT'S AT THE OTHER END OF THE SEXY SPECTRUM EVEN THOUGH IT'S PHYSICALLY VERY NEAR THE SEXY AREA.

Yoghurt is wet, cold and gloopy and usually fruity. Fruit is not anywhere near chocolate or other comforting foods. Yoghurts are not carby or meaty. They are yoghurty. BORING BORING YOGHURT IS NOT SEXY.


Yoghurt is boring.

The next yoghurt advert you make needs to be a lady and a man eating a yoghurt because they like yoghurt. Not for any other reason. Buy yoghurt because you like yoghurt. If you're doing it for any other reason then you are not being true to yourself.

Yoghurt needs to be loved for what it is, not what you want it to be. Don't be a dick about it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eggs is Eggs

Yesterday I was quite unintentionally privvy to one of the single greatest conversations I've ever heard. There were 3 wealthy ladies in the shop I sometimes frequent (I mean, I work there but I'm not meant to make a big deal of that so that people think I'm a much more prolific comedian than I acutally am) and they were buying an egg poacher. They then had the following conversation:

Lady 1: Have you switched over to duck eggs now then?
Lady 2: Oh yes! Oh, they're so much better. I couldn't live without them.

My Thought: You definitely could... unless you were, like, a goanna, or something. Eggs = not essential.

Lady 1: Oh I know! They're so much better. I don't regret the switch at all.

My Thought: Who has ever "regretted" a switch to duck eggs? 1. Duck eggs are excellent. 2. If you didn't like the first one you tried, you wouldn't consider it a regrettable switch, you'd just say "I tried a duck egg, it was yucky." and not have another one.

Lady 2: How did you get on to them in the first place?
Lady 1: Well, we were in America, and we were eating these eggs. And they had white shells, and they just tatsed like the eggs we used to have as children. You know how eggs have changed flavour over the years...

My Thought: Uh...

Lady 2: Yeah.

My Thought: Are you kidding? What has happened to the genetic make up of a chicken over the last 30 years that has significantly changed the flavour? I suspect you are a tedious prick.

Lady 1: Well, they had white shells. So the people we were with said, try eating white shelled eggs. Because of course, everyone thinks they want brown eggs these days...

My Thought: Do we?

Lady 1 (cont): ... but really that's just all the flavour going into the shell.

My Thought: Hold up. Hang on. All the flavour going into the shell? Are you mental? How is this flavour getting in the shell?  Is evolution telling chickens that if the shell is tastier they're less likely to get their shells goanna'd? Give over. Also, which unlucky bastard are you imagining had the job of eating a bowl full of white egg shells followed by a bowl full of brown egg shells to test whether eggs shells were getting tastier as these ladies got older?

Lady 1 (cont): ...So I went to Sainsbury's to get some white eggs but they didn't have any. But they did have duck eggs with white shells so I bought those. And they were right, my American friends, because they are SO much better.

My Thought: Sweet Jesus what is wrong with you? Of course they were better - they're a different product! That's like someone saying, "Ooh, a Prius is a good car." and you going and buying a Bugatti and saying "You're right! This IS a great car!"

Lady 2: I don't even care that they're twice the price - they're worth it.
Lady 1 (To me, winking): You'll be on to duck eggs now, won't you?!
Me: Ha. Here's your receipt. Good bye.

Author's Note: The third lady didn't say anything. I suspect she hates her friends.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Shall Do As I Please

And then, it was Saturday, that merry day where all/both of the little blogger girls readers were out merrily frolicking with family and friends or lying in front of the television with American junk pouring into their eyes, ears and mouths like coke spray after a Mento.

What with all the excitement of the Saturday having arrived, the little blogger girl knew that people would be too busy to read her blog post and so she could write anything here with no consequences. During the week all/both the readers were desperately seeking solace from their jobs via the medium of internet distractions. Today, they had lives.

The little blogger girl felt alternately powerful and scared. With Saturday having arrived she could write anything, ANYTHING. She could write about farting in the bath, which, even with the recent venture in 27 year olding, she still confessed shyly was her favourite past time. She could write about Beowulf and how Judaism has lasted longer than anyone thought, eh? But she knew nothing, absolutely NOTHING about either of those subjects. She could write about diet tips or naked ladies and free iPads and watch a cascade of Twitter bots come to keep her company in the black out that was the Saturday. But she didn't want to write about any of those things.

Sadly, the little blogger girl looked out of the window as the train carted her towards Brighton and home. No one would be home for the little blogger girl to share her Saturday with. The freedom of a free blog post and a free house was too much for the little blogger girl and she began to cry. With no one to read, and no one to greet her at the front door... what was the point of it even being Saturday? It might as well be Monday.

IT MIGHT AS WELL BE MONDAY! She screamed into the confused and fashionably misguided carriage of Brighton daytrippers.

But then, as the 14th Saturday tear dripped down her cheek, she realised something... there may not be anyone around to share the beauty of Saturday with... but that shouldn't stop her. So what if she didn't even have a bath to fart in when she reached her house? There was a washing up bowl wasn't there? And dang it if the little blogger girl wasn't perfectly comfortable squatting over a filled up washing up bowl to get her kicks while the sun shone.

And who cares if no one was around to read the blog post? Quite frankly with the quality being as it is in this current edit, that can only be a good thing. The little blogger girl smiled, realising that so long as she had Fairy Liquid, a washing up bowl and access to a keyboard then the world was a good place.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Body Covered Up

This morning I was walking behind a woman in a train station in London and I could see her pale full moon inspired buttocks shining through the leggings she had managed to stretch across her ripe posterior. My instant thought was "Dear lord, woman, let's invest in some trousers...". Because I am always searching for ideas to write about here, I thought to myself that it might be a funny post to talk about the modern desire to get away without wearing inappropriate covering on your lower half. I am of the opinion that a t-shirt and leggings only constitutes half an outfit however shapely your thighs. As for wearing leggings a few sizes too small so we can all see you underwear beneath the 0.5 denier covering, well, that just makes me worry for the declining standards in seat sanitation. One good fart would tear through that covering like a windshield into a moths daydream. It doesn't bear thinking about.

It got me to thinking about a few months ago when my boyfriend and I went to our local field (typing that feels weird - does everyone have a local field? It's not really a park because it's just a field but it's a recreational field - we don't just go and sit in some furrows and mellow.) and there was a woman sunbathing there in a shiny gold bikini. A small, shiny gold bikini. Now, that wouldn't fuss me at the beach - and we live in Brighton, so there's a perfectly good beach that I could go to in order to be disgusted at scantily clad females. But it did fuss me in a field, partly because there was a local school PE class using the field, but partly because I guess I just didn't think it was appropriate.

When I mentioned this out loud my boyfriend reminded me of a discussion we'd had previously where I'd said that I thought illegal nudity was wrong. It was an interesting cross point. I do think nudity being illegal is wrong; I think it's one of the biggest injustices in the modern world. I think to be born into a society where your natural state is illegal is forcing you into subscribing to the state in some way. Unless either nudity is legal or clothing is free then it is an injustice in my opinion.

So, how can you think a lady in a bikini is wrong, but nudity in public should be allowed?

My argument is, that with the current approach to clothing and legality and society's modes of dressing, under dressing equates to sex. The naked body becomes a sexual object rather than just an object. If a body is clothed in some way you read it as preparing for an activity of some kind, if it is scantily clad to nude then you read it as preparing or ready for sex.

I believe this is wrong. I think if nudity was more readily and widely available for all body types, then we would start to unpack this belief that the body being naked is somehow a sexual thing; it isn't, it's just its natural state. At the moment, I think we have a situation where the most frequent naked shapes we see are women's and they tend to be sexualised in some way. Either through TV or magazines. If you could see naked people just doing regular things, it would help us to see that a body is for more than sex.

My male friend said to me once that he would find legal nudity in every day life difficult because, unlike the male body, "the female body always looks ready for sex to the naked eye". I found this a really alarming thing to hear. I'd never thought that before and found it unsettling. My body is my body that I use for a long list of things, sex of course being one of them, but I use it for 100 things a day that are not sex. I found it alarming to think that someone would look at my body and their first thought would be that I could be mated, not that I could ride my bike or climb a hill.

I certainly wouldn't be comfortable wearing a tiny gold bikini to a field or the beach, I am not proud of my body. And here comes the kicker, I'm not proud of my body because I don't believe it to be sexy enough. Instead of being thoroughly thrilled because I am healthy, fit and a good size, I would not bare my skin because I don't look like the vast majority of naked ladies I have ever seen. But would that be different if I'd been brought up looking at a variety of nude women instead of just the sexy ones?

I think it is the same for men too, although male bodies vary a bit I think because to be sexy for a man is to be muscular and toned, whereas for a woman it is more often than not to be very slim and curvy. My argument is not solely a feminist one - it is for all humans.

Could we embrace the body as a living tool and hope to shirk the sex only labels that go with a naked or scantily clad figure? Or have we covered up because the naked body can only ever be an icon for sex? I don't know, what do you think?

Whatever the answer though, I think we all know leggings solo are not the answer.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Love Story

I'm afraid of being in love.
Some days it takes all the effort I have not to leave you.
Some days it takes all the effort I have to make eye contact with you and not shudder when you touch me.
Not because I don't love you, but because I am who I am.
Being in love has been wonderful, but it hasn't changed everything.

Some days my main thought is suicide.
If a driverless car were to go past I would take my chance with its bonnet and go.
Some days I think of all the ways I could kill myself and make it look like an accident so it wouldn't upset anyone.

Some days I am so apathetic towards leaving the house that I cry at the thought of the front door.
The duvet becomes a sullen friend who holds me tight but isn't really helping.
Some days I wish I wouldn't wake up and I cry when I do because I can't cope with my thoughts.

The truth about my life is that some days it bleeds,
And I sit motionless, unwilling to stem the flow,
Or shield you from the blow.

Every twinkling persona I've developed is leaden,
I sit, buried in my own frown - glued to the feeling,
Shying from healing,
Rhyming despite reeling.
I'll stop rhyming now - it isn't helping anyone.

Falling in love isn't magic, well, it is, but not all encompassing.
It's film magic - you can change the colour of a cat but the Weasleys are still poor.
Love gets between the bricks of your life and sures them up; but it can't afford new bricks for you.

Please don't think I am downplaying my love for you.
I love you to the point where some days I forget I have a boyfriend because you are so much a part of me that I've forgotten you are something so fickle as 'boyfriend'.
You are every hero in every film I weep at; you're Rhett, it's our ship going down, we fall in love again with every No. 1 ballad I hear.

But I don't have a script writer.
Sadly, Richard Curtis was unavailable to pen my gradual thawing in the aftermath of loving you.
I apologise that we won't have an Oscar winning screenplay, but I should get some marks for originality.

Girl meets boy. They fall in love. The world still caves in from time to time.

Imagine if your chest crumpled, not like paper or something delicate,
Imagine if your chest of bone and muscle and blood squeezed itself until it crumpled and then lay there.
You'd expect people to notice.
People would want to help.
Imagine trying to tell them not to help because if you wait, and think, and sleep and eat right, it will re inflate itself and you'll be fine.
People would still want to help.
Imagine the third and fourth time it happened, you'd want to stop showing it to people so you could wait by yourself until it re inflated.

I'm up there in the hundreds now. Hundreds of those crumpled days.
And I can't hide from you like I can with people. Because nowadays we love each other.
Believe me when I say it breaks my heart teaching you to wait for my chest to re inflate.
I am thinking on those days, behind my blank eyes and my vicious comments, I am watching you crumble and wonder if I can pull myself together.
I watch a timer above your head counting down to the day you can't cope with me any more. And I just have to hope I re inflate before you reach 00:00.
But I am far away, under a layer of rock, under an ocean, under so many thoughts, under tears I don't have the energy to spill or hold back. I'll come back as soon as I can. And I'll always come back to you.

If you'll have me.

I'm afraid of being in love.
I'm afraid of still being in love when you no longer are.
I'm afraid that one day I'll re inflate and you'll be gone.
I'm afraid you deserve better.
I'm afraid I can't be better.
I'm afraid you'll start to believe the crumpled days are the real ones.
I'm afraid one day I'll see a driverless car.

The love magic hasn't stopped the bad days.
Like it didn't save Dumbledore's life.
But it gives me an oil painting to talk to, once I've gone behind my eyes, so you've come with me.
So, even though I'm rude and I'm difficult and I'm comatose, I've snuck you in.
And I'm so grateful. You'll never know how grateful.

Friday, October 4, 2013

An Open Letter

Dear Wiley,

I'm writing this letter as I am growing increasingly worried about the future of your career and the damaging impact your behaviour is likely to have on other coyotes. You need to be more aware of the impact that you have on the young coyotes who look up to you - if any of your recent actions have been done in the name of coyotism then you need to be aware that you have got this very wrong.

It's not right for a coyote to be allowing himself to be filmed butt naked, running round gorges and canyons after a bird who is literally named after what he is extremely good at. You are allowing yourself to be prostituted by people who only want to make money out of you. Do you think they care every time you fall 1000 feet under a huge rock? No, and you should fire anyone who has not expressed some concern over your safety. People in the slapstick cartoon industry are only there to make money - they do not give a shit about you.

You have so much natural talent as a hunter and a tracker, you're a great coyote and you don't need to be flaunting yourself in such a degrading way to get attention. Let your natural talent shine through. Every time a young coyote sees you running face first into a wall that some Road Runner has slyly painted, it just teaches them that it's OK for coyotes to be exploited in this way by Road Runners who don't respect you.

Put some clothes on, go back to your den and maybe take a leaf out of my book - I'm about 100 years old, I'm still going strong and I've always worn at least shorts to show I am in control of my own career. I'm in a stable relationship and have become an icon because I wasn't willing to allow myself to be exploited for my physical degradation. I hope you get some people around you soon who care about you to get you the help you need. You're a great coyote and you deserve to be respected.

Mickey Mouse

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fart in a Haystack

But actually looking for a fart in a hay stack would be very easy because you could just look for the bits of hay that were billowing in the fart wind.

Some things are easier to find than others.

I find it much easier to imagine farting into a hay stack than be doing some important darning near one. I might have visited the hay stack to do my farts so that no one elsewhere smelled them, or I might have been stuck really high up on one and farted and so nestled into the hay to deliver it carefully. I can't imagine any reasons why I'd be mending cloth on a hay stack, it'd take a really big life diversion to make that happen. Hay is soft there's no way you could have ripped your clothes on the way up to the top, unless your clothes are made of gossamer, in which case I don't think your average needle is the right implement for mending.

You'd probably need a spider or a silk worm or something.

If the spider or the silk worm farted, now that would be harder to see in the hay stack. But I'm not even sure they fart - I don't have much idea about the digestive systems of insects. Hay stacks are my area of expertise, hay stacks and things that can and can not be easily found in them.

Thanks to my copious amounts of free time today I've really been able to give this area a lot of thought and I have made big break throughs. I believe by the time this publishes I'll be neck and neck with Putin for the big one.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Your Own 60 Minutes

The thing that you may not know about porridge, is that it's made up of a little bit of everything in the world that can be classed as 'not interesting'.

So, in your average bowl of porridge there's a bit of Question Time, some calculator buttons, most comedy panel shows, a single person's opinion on what's wrong with couples, most couples, Tim Burton's later career, some hessian, orthopaedic shoes, Jersey, instructions for use of anything electrical, Kevin Spacey and most people at University.

That's why porridge is so filling - there's a lot to get through in each steamy bowl. If you choose to use skimmed milk, the least interesting of all the milks, then you're essentially running the risk of creating a black hole into which your desire to be someone will disappear.

In recent years people have tried to liven porridge up by adding apples and portioning it into tiny sachets that seem fun and handy. It's a little bit like choosing to supply heroin already in the syringe so that people can ruin their day, and possibly their lives, that little bit easier after purchase.

If you spoke to the average apple when it's still on the tree, dreaming of one day being a traditional cider or a child's playtime snack, it would literally burst into pieces with despair if you told it it was going to be in some Oat So Simple. It's fully necessary to stun, drug and lie to any and all fruit that will eventually be in porridge just to stop it putrefying where it lays. Porridge is so boring it can turn a delicious apple into Gary Neville through sheer fear.

Of course, you can't blame porridge - porridge would love to be a Pop Tart. But it isn't, any more than you or I are Jessica Rabbit or Imelda Staunton.

Porridge is best served on a cold frosty morning directly into the bin before you go out and eat a fry up at a lovely independent cafe where they know how you like your toast and they keep small talk to a minimum unless you're a tourist or a woman over 40. There's no excuse for porridge in this day and age, this era of neon and canvas, cars and Pygmy animals, Twitter and shatterproof rulers. If we've been able to stop rulers shattering for at least 27 years then why can't we lay porridge to rest? Place it in the human race's shady past alongside brown cardigans, lava lamps and slavery.

Let's end this madness. Today.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hey! It's Thanksgiving Day!

I've been trying to think of a very 'JD from Scrubs' way to start this blog post for some time now. I was trying to think of a "...this is a poignant reflection on relationships and such..." angle. I've got several drafts and some frown lines that prove there isn't one. So fuck it.

I am scared of falling asleep at night and waking up with a mouse trying to get into my bum hole to eat my internal organs.

There. I've said it.

I revealed this fear to my boyfriend recently and I swear nothing I've ever said to anyone has ever made them laugh like that did to him at 3am.

Now, let me explain. I am not scared of mice, but, over the years I have developed a fear of mice around me when I am trying to sleep. When I lived in London I had a mouse in my room one night that was scurrying around on the lino while I was in bed. I was too frightened to get up and do anything about it in the dark in case it chewed my feet when I put them out over the bed. Then, the stupid sodding thing got itself stuck in my waste bin and spent a solid hour pin balling round the damn thing while I lay there soaked in my own cold sweat in case it rocked up enough momentum to fling itself up out of the bin and onto my bed.

When I woke up the next morning after the devil Mickey had finally gone quiet, he seemed to have gone. I don't know where, and I never saw him again.

I'm a thinker, when I have a fear I like to try and find the route of it, and generally I like to get over it. So, I thought about what it is about a mouse near me while I'm asleep that I don't like and it's definitely the thought of them being on me. Why would a mouse be on me? Either hunger or warmth, logically. Warmth: not so bad. I'll hug a mouse. Hunger? More os a problem. It's either going to want my eyeballs, my mouth or my undercarriage as these are all easier access to fleshier parts. Mouth and eyes are both going to be closed as I don't snore, and I'm dreaming.

Undercarriage. I'm not a knickers to bed kind of a gal (who knew this post would be so saucy) and so the undercarriage is the most accessible source of food to a mouse who is hungry.

Logically, it seems unwise for me to leave a different source of food near the bed with a sign saying "Please eat this instead." as I think this will just attract more mice to the scene and then the food I have laid out may not be sufficient and it will cause them to be more desperate for bum flesh.

I'm also doubly worried at the moment because I have been sleeping on the floor since Christmas when my bed broke and I don't know any carpenters who can come and fix my bed and alleviate the mouse issue.

Not that I have mice in my Brighton house, I should point out, these are theoretical hungry mice with a taste for ass.

So, leaving food out won't solve it, wearing pants is a waste of time because I think if a mouse is hungry enough to be wanting to eat sphinctre then some ASDA George cotton (DOUBLE SAUCY) isn't going to stop him/her, and sharing the issue with a loved one hasn't made me worry less either. Some fears must just be fears because you're meant to be afraid of them and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it.

I'm too afraid to Google it and see if anyone has ever been eaten alive from the inside out by a mouse but I'm thinking that in the entire history of the world it must have happened at some point and that makes it ok to be nervous/waking up in the night petrified every time something rustles.

As I said at the start, there's no conclusion or moral to this. I'm literally just telling you.

Friday, August 30, 2013


So, here's my post Edinburgh revelation:

Comedy is subjective. Sometimes you're good, sometimes you're very good and sometimes you're average verging on bad. Sometimes you are all those things in one night. It couldn't matter less.

With that in mind, I've been thinking of some ways to make sure I get the audience that is most likely to enjoy what I've got to say. Or, if it's an audience of strangers (as most are) then I need to be able to mould them to my way of thinking.

I've decided a good way to do this is to reveal snacks that go well with my comedy in the same way a wine expert might recommend a good grape for a meal.

For example, snacks that will go well with my comedy:

Cashew nuts,
Brie and Bacon sandwiches,
Any form of biscuit except ginger biscuits and party rings. (This is nothing against party rings, I just feel that if you're at a party ring level of wigging out then you might want a more shouty comedian.)
Marinated anchovies,
Scrambled egg and smoked salmon on crackers (at a gig with tables, otherwise you're going to have eggy/fishy knees by the time I get to the B.O.B. bit.)
Green apples (pre cored but still apple shaped, not slices.)

I can also recommend snacks for specific set lengths so that they don't bleed into the next act (they may have their own pre approved snacks and I don't want to be pushy)...

My tight 5 - Cherries and/or Gruyere and Poppy Seed Twisty sticks. (Fresh, and yet classy and satisfying).
My solid 10 - Crackers with cream cheese and smoked bacon bits followed by chocolate mousse with popping candy. (Good variety, nice and childish and you'll want more).
My club 20 - Pop corn chicken, a plate of nachos, angel delight and lots of Tangfastic Haribo. (It's got a nice retro feel to what's essentially quite mainstream, but there's a nod to other cultures and it'll make your teeth feel furry in places).
New material: Some broccoli. brown bread and a bottle of water (someone needs to have a good grip on reality).

I would always recommend a cup of tea with my act, and if you want a glass of white wine or a pint of cider (not pear, thank you) as well as the tea then you be my guest. However, if you're having sugar in that tea you'll want to be in the front row because we've got stuff to iron out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Beep Beep Boo Hoo

I think I'm tired and run down, how can I tell? The microwave and I just had the following conversation:

Me: I'm tired of making excuses for you.
Microwave: *Silent accusatory stares*
Me: I'm sorry that was really mean. I'm just tired and run down.

My saving grace throughout the Edinburgh Fringe this year has been the amount of Televsion I've been watching in between shows to calm down. It's a saving grace that whilst you're running around wildly trying to work out what's funny and how to do it, you can occasionally see an advert for Phone Shop and see that comedy is totally subjective and success can come for anything.

Literally anything.

I've got a cold... it feels like all my bodily fluids are trying to escape through my nose via some serious internal bruising through my sinuses. My legs are heavy, heavy like Catholic guilt, and it's not just from all from the Minstrels I've ingested over the last 6 hours. There were a few Twixs in there too. How do you correctly pluralise Twix? Should there have been an 'e' added?

Maybe you can't do it, maybe that's the problem?

 Maybe you're never supposed to have more than one Twix.

I don't know any more and neither does the microwave. He's just sitting smugly in the corner like the fastidious prick he's turned out to be. His insides are full of cheese and he smells like burned food but I'll be damned if I'm going to clean him out.

What am I, his mother? No. He doesn't have a mother. Because he's just a microwave.

If you microwave a Twix for a few seconds it's delicious - the caramel goes all melty and chewy and I like it. My friend Jenna and I used to do it when we were little. We'd have been littler if we didn't like eating a Twix each so often. See how awkward that sentence became because I don't know how to pluralise Twix? That's the problem with comedy Twix chocolate bars. They're irritating bastards that no one has written down hard and fast rules for.

I'm not saying I blame the microwave, but I'm certainly not going to let it get me down any more. If he doesn't want to play ball then why should I go begging at his partly see through door? Either you're transparent or you're opaque, microwave! Why do you have to be both? Who are you helping? Not me, that's for sure. I'm sick of you.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sometimes I Wipe My Snot in the Carpet and other Awkward Subjects

I've been in Edinburgh for a fortnight. I'm 39 gigs in and feeling on top of the world. There've been some good ones and some stormingly terrible ones where the best I could do was to hope no one in the audience was crayoning a review that would eat into my self esteem for the next 6 months.

I think, as a comic, a certain level of self awareness is the mightiest weapon you can have. You need to know whether you're good overall, whether you're good on a certain night, whether you're good with the front row you're chatting to, and whether you're good telling "that" joke and remaining morally sound.

In my opinion Edinburgh ever so slightly throws a lot of that self awareness into disarray, because people get very worked up over reviews. Myself included. Despite only caring about the opinion of about 4 reviewers out there, I am still lapping up the writing of every 19 year old given a Press Pass and a free ticket and sent to review the work of someone who's been on stages for longer than the reviewer (or myself) have been alive. It's a difficult time when the reaction of an entire audience of paying people is often seen as less valid than a solitary pen on paper. I've read too many negative reviews that seem to have nothing but bad to say about the show and then casually remark, "of course, the audience were loving it - heaven knows why." Perhaps because this comic knows their own audience and knows how to play to them? Because, it's sort of what they're professionally trained to do?

Anyway, that's enough of that. I don't want this blog post to be about reviews. Because, personally, I find Edinburgh slightly harder than previously because I am constantly comparing how I am getting on to other comics. More specifically, one other comic... the one I share my bed with.

No, I'm not just so hard up that I'm sleeping in a comedian commune (although I have done in the past), I am in a relationship with a fellow comic.

I find this a tough subject because I am so mixed up in my own head about why I behave the way I do with regard to our respective careers. I am a pathologically obsessive person, I'm highly strung, nervous and have a tendency towards despair. My boyfriend is perfect for me, because... well he hasn't left yet.

He (let's call my boyfriend Alan for the purposes of this blog because a) I like the name Alan and b) it's always been my brother's first choice of name for a dog which I find hilarious) is a much more successful comic than I am and this poses a number of problems for me because anything I achieve he has already done and better.

If I've managed to get on a particularly good showcase show up at the Fringe this month, he's done it once a week and kind of bored of it. If I've been asked to write a little thing about myself for then he's being filmed for a TV piece for Somebody's Heard of You Sky TV Channel 936. If I'm writing what might turn out to be a drossy piece about an insecure comedian who wishes she was better, he's probably not. In fact he's definitely not. He's in the kitchen laughing with his friends about how flappy wafer thin ham is.

Please don't get me wrong and think I'm not insanely proud and respectful of him. I wouldn't want to take anything away from the success he's on his way to. It's just that I find it hard to hold our careers in totally separate comparison panels. Whilst I know this is wrong and I should never compare my creative achievements to anyone else's for fear of tainting what makes things good about my work, it's so SO hard not to feel downcast when you're the dull star in your own fairy tale.

It's largely how I know I could also never be a successful lesbian. It's hard enough living with the knowledge that my right breast is never going to live up to the precedent set by my left breast... let alone having two whole (you'd hope) other breasts in the situation to have to compete with. Sex is alright when there's a boy there because you're the only one supposed to be doing the girl moves - I can only imagine me hooking up with a girl is going to lead to increasingly more complicated efforts to be the best sexer until I'm dressed a bird of paradise, dancing on one leg and presenting her with a series of tin foil Karma Sutra mouldings.

I have no idea if it's the same for all careers (we're off lesbians now, by the way - in my limited understanding of lesbianism I believe it is the same whatever career path you choose. I've certainly not come across descriptions of corporate vs self employed lesbianism). Whether two lawyers in the same house compete over who's represented the biggest tosspot:

"See you later darling, I'm off to make sure Vodafone are squeaky clean for the 31st Jan."

In some careers you might even think it was quite cute. I can't imagine a lady baker being able to muster too much fury when she's still on pain au chocolat and he's whipping up an olive focaccia.

It's certainly not uncommon for comics to pair up - there are a surprising number of comic couples out there. In a lot of ways the similar lifestyle and sharing your downtime with someone who understands your compulsions is incredibly satisfying. We're like addicts. It's hard to explain the buzz and the highs and the lows and the process to someone who finds it all a bit baffling and alien.

But back to the competitive element...

I think when you're trying to get somewhere in comedy, or acting, it can feel like everybody who achieves something who isn't you has used up one of the "success spaces" and has therefore made it that little bit harder for you to go anywhere. It's an absolutely horrible thing to admit but every time a sparky, young, female comedian achieves something newsworthy a little part of me feels petrified that she's just called dibs on all the work out there for comedians in our category. It's horrible, but that's the way it is and I'm sure I'm not alone in having those deep down feelings. It's not quite enough to just be repeatedly good at what you do in dark rooms across the country, if you're going to earn a sustainable living you need a little bit of a boost to get you going. The right award, agent, USP or press piece about why you're a quirky crowd pleaser who's broken the mold.

I've certainly in the past been turned down for a gig because they "already have a woman on that night" and I know of a comic who lost out on a representation deal because he bears a passing resemblance to another comedian.

Competition for work is fierce.

But when that competition is also your solace when you crawl into bed at night. What then? Well, thankfully Alan isn't a sparky, young, female comedian so I at least don't have that to worry about. He's also downright supportive, patient and an excellent person to bounce material off when I'm working on new bits. The hardest nights are when he's away gigging for a week at a time and I'm not so not only am I dealing with the fact that I'm not as in demand as I'd like to be, I'm also alone and dealing with fact that the love of my life is living my dream.

On nights like these I find an evening of too much mascara and weeping into the bath so that I can make tie dye patterns on my flannel are an effective outlet for bottled up emotion. Crying is excellent and I pity anyone who doesn't do it at least once a week just to let loose. I can now cry at anything from a lonely person on a train to a particularly well directed SMA advert.

All in all, competition is what brings out the best and worst in comedians and people (totally separate species). The entire Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Award Newcomer Festival Sponsored by Chequed Shirts and Bitter Lagery Tears is fuelled by competition and it produces magnificence. The quality of the shows on offer is testament to the peacockery and desire to have people love you and want more of you. Without it we'd all just make our own friends laugh and leave yours alone. But spare a thought when you're cackling at one star reviews and contemplating walking out of a Free Fringe Show 3 minutes before the end so you don't have to put your measly £1.50 in the bucket for that hours entertainment you enjoyed... you could have just come to see my show and not dealt with either of those eventualities.

Or something more poignant. Fuck it who cares.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Quick Sit & Think

I've been up at the Edinburgh Fringe for about 10 days now... I've done 26 gigs myself, seen 8 shows and cried at that infuriatingly comforting SMA advert on several occasions despite not having any children of my own.

Seems like a good time for a few reflections.

1. It doesn't matter how much of a good time I'm ever having, I am looking forward to Christmas.

2. The number of gigs you can do in a day up here at the Fringe is mind blowing - I have developed more new material in the last week than in the last 8 months combined. It's been a tough year getting gigs on the circuit and to suddenly be inundated with opportunities is the best thing you could ask for.

3. I love bacon and any meal that includes bacon. Some days I need bacon and those days are best started with bacon.

My aims for this trip up here were:

1. To gig as much as possible to really polish my act for the rest of the year.
2. To try and get to know other comics a bit better - it's the part I find most awkward and feel like such a nob.
3. To be more forthright in getting into showcase shows and contacting promoters.
4. To decrease my dependancy on bacon.

I'd say thus far that 3 out of 4 of them are going pretty well.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How To Not Particularly Do the Fringe

It's Day 2 of the Fringe, which is also concurrently Day -1 of the Fringe because technically it's Day 2 of previews for the Fringe which starts tomorrow (and yesterday).

I got here via a festival in Kent and a gig in Somerset so I've only brought 3 dresses and a toothbrush which are all looking forlornly out of the window and wishing I was better at forward planning.

WHERE ARE THE COATS? Scream the dresses. Whilst the toothbrush tangos to silent music.

The "Quiet" carriage I'd booked was a bloody sham. Two families with children younger than 3 in them? That's not a quiet coach in my opinion. Next year I'm booking a seat in the Perverts and Aids coach.

"This seat is free! Hey, no seriously, your kid can sit here. I have a clean bill of health... Where are you going?"

So far it's gone well. And I mean that entirely by my own standards... there was an AMAZING party last night for the Caves launch which I didn't go to because it was raining and I wanted some tea. So, that was a good night. I heard everyone who went had a great time and everyone in my room (me) was pleased with the itinerary at our place too.

It's quite hard to get the balance right up here - trying to be sociable but also not killing yourself in the process. What with having a show at 11pm and 12 noon it's not going to be that easy to have a reckless all nighter without threatening vomit at the poor lunchtime audience who've been assured I'm up and coming. Up and going where? To bed probably. I like it there.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Yes To Modesty Jackets

Unusually this morning, I was awake and in front of the BBC Breakfast news. Two stories caught my eye:

1. CoOp are to stop stocking magazines like FHM and Nuts unless they are to be sold in modesty jackets so that people don't have to look at the covers unless they buy them.

2. Theresa May has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

On the surface, these two stories don't seem linked at all. Right? Well, kind of. I mean, don't panic... I'm not about to publish some excellent conspiracy theory on how prolonged exposure to plastic breasts causes diabetes (although I'm sure if we wanted to run that as an experiment we could find volunteers). It was a small detail that made me think of the link.

When explaining about the Theresa May story, the newsreader said that May had lost two stone earlier in the year - prompting debate that she was intending to run for leader of her party.

I mean my God.

Even a woman as high up in politics as Theresa May is having her body scrutinised to check her fitness for a job that requires very little physical prowess? She's not a bloody horse going to market - why on earth would she need to be 2 stone lighter to have any sway in the House? Is she going to be physically fighting for leadership? If so, crack on, I might start following the battle.

If there's some kind of attractiveness test for our leaders that they're all passing then the rest of the country need to be toning down their collective sexiness because we are making them look bad. Really bad.

In all my years of being vaguely aware of the hideous, skin crawling bullshit that gets written in newspapers and magazines, I have never noticed anyone questioning which of the male contenders for leadership were slim enough to have a chance of being taken seriously.

And this, to me, is a reminder that we still have a long way to go in getting women taken seriously as more than just bodies. If a dust cover on a magazine helps then cover them all up. Women and men and girls and boys have got to know it's not OK to allow physical summation of a woman's worth to supersede  their ability.

Of course women are sexy, I LOVE sexy pictures of women and if I want to buy one (a picture - not a sexy woman) then I want to be able to. But what I don't want is for my little girl to be idling round a supermarket while I check apples for bruises and to be bombarded with these images and to just have it low level impacted on to her consciousness that on top of everything else she's going to achieve it's important for people to think she's sexy. Hide Closer and Now and OK and Grazia as well. Hide it all and tell them they can come out of their covers when they've started printing something interesting about what women have achieved - and made that sexy.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shower Rant

Not a funny one - stop reading now if you'll just want to hurl abuse when it's not funny. It's not a funny one.

So... the Royal Baby is coming. I don't really care. Other than that I love babies, think having babies is nice and hope it's healthy, I don't really care much about it. In fact, I only found out Kate Middleton was pregnant about two weeks ago. Despite what people would have you believe, it's remarkably easy to ignore things you don't care about if you avoid newspapers.

What I do care about is the amount of bile being spat about a thing that hasn't even been born yet. Grow Up. Twitter, I'm looking at you. Here is my problem; you are being crude, cruel and spiteful about something/someone based entirely upon the circumstances of its birth. Until that thing has offended you personally you cannot abuse it any more than you can mock a baby born in to poverty.

I have no problem with the Royal Family being who they are and doing what they do. I think  allowing myself to feel justified in hating them for their privileges opens me up to a lot of hatred from the 90% of the population that I was born with more privileges than. None of us can help it. Unless you were born into a solvent family with little chance of death and you swapped that for the lowest rung of civilisation you could find, you can't expect anyone above you to do the same.

People in the middle seem obsessed with the top folk coming down so that it's fair, without noticing they could step down too and meet people with less than them. Personally, I'd rather not be a Royal. "Here's all the tax payers' money you could ever want... now use it to buy what we tell you so you can get criticised for it afterwards."

Most people don't give up privilege. It's not human nature, I don't think it's particularly with in any nature (and I watch a lot of documentaries) it's just part of life. This baby will be born, we will collectively pay for it and to make ourselves feel better we'll buy some cheap clothes that someone else's baby stitched for about 50p a day. No one calling for the Royals to give up their birthright will go and work in a Primark factory so someone there can have his place in the privileged world. Sorry to spoil the fun - and just for the record I have no problem with the jokes and stuff about the birth etc, it's just the calling a newborn baby a parasitic leach and hoping it dies that I think is short sighted and plain stupid.

Enjoy your day.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rolling Stone Wisdom

This week I finally got round to having my wisdom tooth removed. It looks like 2013 is the year for Alesha Dixon to finally be unchallenged in pole position on my list of things that make me want to break people.

The only body part I've ever had remotely linked to some level of intelligence and I'm having it removed. C'est la vie.

Call me a knob head, you won't be the first person (NHS reception staff are less than courteous in the mornings) but I'd opted for local anaesthetic as it's significantly cheaper for the NHS and I'm saving my coupons for the day I might have to have a child removed from somewhere I'm far more protective over than my mouth. If they ever make it possible to spit a child out then I'll transfer my coupons to getting snakes for hair which is the only form of cosmetic surgery I've ever considered.

So I was pretty nervous. Nervous is not the word, I was utterly terrifed. This is an important thing for you to know before I tell this story. I was petrified. By way of an explanation of how terrified I get in medical situations, a few weeks ago my sister fell down a cliff and when I took her to hospital for a check up, I nearly passed out when they took the brace off. She was fine.

So, I get into the chair and they inject me with the anaesthetic and I've been crying since I spelled my surname for the receptionist (That's K-N-O-B...) and the nurse puts on a worried face and asks me if I'm OK. Apparently I'm not reacting well to the anasethetic.

It's at this point that I realise I have neglected to tell them I suffer from panic attacks. They, in turn, have neglected to tell me there is adrenaline in the anaesthetic. It's a perfect storm of over stimulation. Like a firework display of sweat and prepubescant emotional outbursts. Imagine getting Tracey Beaker drunk and letting her fuck Justin Bieber. After a Red Bull. And some smack.

I am reacting badly to the anaesthetic... All of my limbs are trembling uncontrollably so the nurse just keeps saying, "Are you sure you had breakfast love? Did you have any breakfast? Can you tell me what you had for breakfast?" I'm trembling away, listening to the questions thinking, "When did I become Keith Richards?"

They had to get on and I was trying to calm down so I said to the Doctor, I'm just going to put my headphones in and close my eyes, please don't tell me about the procedure... just do it and pat me when I'm done. I don't want to know. I want this to be as much like my sex life as possible.

I want to know nothing. I want to be the Samantha Brick of tooth extractions. But my doctor just cannot help narrating.

"I'm just making a small incision..." LA LA LA
"I'm just wiggling it free..." LA LA LA

I got through it. I know I'm pathetic and other people cope with much worse and my hat goes off to them. They are much braver than me. I got through it by panciking and sweating and crying.

Now, when I say I sweated, I mean I REALLY sweated. Like that obese, topless hairy man that resides in every town and comes out in August to frighten children and promote Veet for the next generations copulative optimists.

I had really sweated, and in a leather chair you really feel the sweat. But, the thing was, I'd been so genuinely terrifed... I was quite worried, that I had done slightly more than sweat. I was really quite wet.

And the nurse goes, "Shall we get your boyfriend back in?"

How am I supposed to check? I can't ask the nurses, what if I have and he comes back in to be greeted with, "She's had a bit of an accident?" This is no time for finding out if he loves me - I'm chewing on some gauze and have been told I cannot rinse my mouth for 24 hours. There's no way to distract him.

If I've pissed myself during a tooth extraction then what the hell's coming out during childbirth?

"So... how are you feeling? Shall we get your boyfriend back in?"

Not until I'm absolutely certain I have not wet myself.

(I am definitely Keith Richards).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Only Get What You Give

Last night I had drinks with a few friends who are also in the entertainment industry. We were discussing comedy and comedy acting and different approaches to it. In the midst of a fun and Prosecco filled conversation one of my friends said something quite offhand that has really stuck with me.

"Sometimes a performer is really good at making a laugh, not just getting a laugh, but making you laugh and seeming to really enjoy that."

That sentence made me really stop and think... I've never considered the difference between making and getting a laugh before. I feel like there is a real difference between the two and it's not just a linguistic detail that can be brushed away. As a comedian, which one am I really interested in? Getting a laugh and feeling that bang of audience response? Or making a laugh to watch people enjoying themselves?

My first instinct is that the comedian needs to get the laugh to have a successful gig.

There's a big difference in audience reactions and how they feel when you're on stage. It's not uncommon for a comedian to come off having suffered what they considered to be a humiliating defeat in the face of all that is hilarious and to speak to audience members who thought it was excellent and have no idea the comedian was suffering from the dry mouthed hell of a stage death. Comedians forget that audiences can be enjoying themselves without booming with laughter. We need to hear the laughs coming back to spur us on to higher energy and risk taking with improvisation and new material. In this respect I'd say that getting the laugh becomes more important than making the laugh because you need to physically get the laugh back to pay for the next energy infusion.

From the relative darkness of the stage it's often quite difficult to see the audience, or at least much past the first two rows, so we rely almost entirely on the calibre of the noise coming back to gauge our success in the gig. If the first joke receives a juicy, unanimous boom of approval then anything less than that for subsequent jokes can make the comedian feel like the gig has soured. Even if every person laughs at every other joke so that there are always 50% of the room laughing, it can feel like a loss - despite the individuals having a good time.

Is that the comedian having inflated expectations of his/her own level of attainment? Hard to say and would change from comedian to comedian. But once you've felt an entire room laugh, it's hard to be satisfied with anything less.

Or is it?

Is there something to be said for a joke which leaves a large number of the audience staring blankly at the microphone, while a select few are wiping the tears from their eyes because they can't believe how funny it was? A niche laugh? Is that making or getting? It's far from the singing revelation of an entire room loving you, but it does elevate you to an elite within the room. Does a joke that makes a select few laugh have a superiority to a joke that any old sod can laugh at? What about a laugh that inspires a reaction other than a laugh?

A nod?
A clap?
A murmur or approval?
A "very good"?

Is it as satisfying for the audience and comedian if a joke makes someone say "that was funny"?

What about heckler interaction? Would any comedian worth their salt set up a gag that helped a heckler get a laugh? Can you be that selfless in a medium that can turn as quickly as stand up comedy? I think in this case you have to look at the intention of the heckler - if the audience are loving it then you can gently encourage the interaction as it's upping the overall laugh rate of your set (which is what people are going to go away thinking about) but if the heckler is quicker than you, and saying things that are causing the rest of the audience to reconsider their enjoyment of you then it's up to you to control the situation and bring it back to your own comedy.

I've seen a lot of gigs where a heckler has been taken down swiftly and viciously by a comedian and it's left the audience wondering what happened that was so awful. From the stage, it can be hard to gauge whether a heckle is an attack or simply an over enthusiastic fan joining in. There's certainly nothing worse than a misguided aficionado being torn a new one by a jumpy comedian who sent nuclear missiles to deal with a scouting party from deepest darkest Wales. But when there are a limited number of responses you can get:


 and milliseconds to decide what to do about them before you look unstable, you have to deal swiftly and hope that you've understood the nature of the interaction appropriately.

So, I guess I've slightly gone off topic here, "making" or "getting" a laugh? I think overall stand-up comedy needs to get the laugh - making a laugh is for writing, TV and other non live performances where the action is already set before the audience is given it. Stand up and live theatre are about an audible dialogue and the approval coming back is a key part of the brilliance of the routine.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Who You Calling Soup?

So, recently I've been doing some acting. Usually I pretend to be a different person for laughs by myself, but this acting seems to be much the same except that I get to blame people other than the audience when it doesn't go well. What more could a budding young therapist's rent bag want?

Yesterday, the acting contract ended and I was faced with an evening on my own to contemplate how much I'm going to miss it. The only thing I can compare it to is the feeling you get when you finish a tub of ice cream and you realise you want more but you're already in your pyjamas so going to the shop isn't an option. Unless you're willing to get dressed... but that's going to require taking your pyjamas off to put clothes on and, as we've discussed, you've just eaten a tub of ice cream so you're quite unwilling to look at the thighs and stomach area in case they look as much like a bouncy castle made of pork as you imagine they do.

So you dash to the computer but then realise that Tesco Direct aren't like Dominos, and besides what if they have run out of Haagen Dasz* and bring you Greek Yoghurt instead and then you'll be Vanishing that out of the carpet for hours because you'll have to throw it at the door behind the rapidly retreating delivery man as he cowers before your ire.

That's how I felt. Over the top and a bit lost. And also, possibly hungry. Yes, I was hungry.

So, I decided to do something productive with my evening. I went to the supermarket and decided to make a salad. Making the salad was not going to be the challenge - eating it and pretending it was a satisfying way to live was the challenge. But I was up for it. After 8 weeks of hanging out with actors I was ready to pretend absolutely anything was more interesting than it actually was.

But... But! But, then I saw a different challenge. It was sitting there on one of the shelves of the supermarket. In the fridge. Looking all chilled and goose bumpy. Legs held tightly together by a teasing piece of string... A chicken. When I first saw her, I was actually holding some breasts in my hand. But I quickly let go, apologised to the shelf stacker, persuaded her not to press charges, and decided today would be the day I bought an entire chicken for the first time in my life.

How hard can it be to dismantle a chicken? Is dismantling the word one should use? It turned out to be very, very appropriate.

I got the chicken home, set it out on a chopping board with a variety of incredibly cheap knives and found a YouTube video with a suitably chirpy Irish chef who seemed to know what he was doing. His chicken looked a lot like my chicken at the beginning, all quivering and pale pink on the chopping board. We began. He sliced, I sliced. He pulled, I pulled. Then it all got a little slippery... and there was a dilemma where it was difficult to find the tip of my finger in the off cut pile... My Irish friend did not seem to be struggling to find the tip of his finger** so I paused the YouTube video (taking the time to smear chicken and my own blood across my laptop in the process) and addressed the situation.

With the finger happily sorted and the chicken still looking like it was going to come off better in this than me, I got back to work. Legs first across according my ever optimistic Irish friend, and as that's always been my motto I was more than happy to oblige. I hacked away with more enthusiasm than Silvio Berlusconi at a Super Sweet Sixteen Party.

I made three piles of chicken:
A pile of bits that looked a bit like the ones in the YouTube video.
A pile of bits that were almost certainly inedible.
A pile of bits that I might be able to fashion together to make the pet I've been yearning for since moving away from the family home.

I'd sort of got two legs and two "fillets" off when I noticed that my chicken still seemed to have two more legs that the somewhat sadistically deft chef chappie did not have. I briefly panicked that I'd spent the best part of an hour dissecting a dog and the lasagne horse/beef scandal was just the tip of the iceberg in this twisted generation of outstanding food ignorance. Then I realised that my chicken still had it's wings while the unfortunate soul I was emulating had already lost his in a previous battle with a Global. Improvisation time. Bring it on, I thought, every single one of those cringingly awful 50 word summaries of my career I've written have waxed lyrical about my ability to come off script***... how hard can it be with a chicken?

Turns out liberating a chicken from it's wings is a lot harder than it should be given that the legs popped right off and those are the bits that are useful to the damn things anyway. Seriously chickens, this is why you're not going places - sort your priorities.

I was already fairly off piste with my chicken so I decided to cut my losses with my video tutorial and just start pulling off all the remaining pink bits and putting them in a newly created fourth pile entitled "Bits I'll Eat Today Before Anyone Gets Home".

Eventually it was done, and I incarcerated my piles in the freezer so I can whip them out at a later date and pretend that I do this sort of thing all the time and it doesn't even affect my ability to have great sex more than twice a month. But, there was still a pile of chicken bones on the counter**** and I thought, well, I can't throw them out unless I empty the overflowing bin first, and that will take effort, so I will make soup.

Yeah! I'll make soup!

I've seen my mum boil up carcasses before for soup. How hard can it be? Turns out there are potentially more ingredients in my mum's soup than just the carcass I've noticed her putting in. After about 4 hours of careful boiling I was left with a saucepan of fairly watery choking hazard. I refused to give up, however, and racked my brain for ingredients that might make soup more "soup"y and less "unfortunate chicken in a geyser"y. So I poured in a bottle of wine, some flour, some sugar and some gravy powder and sat back to see what happened if I cooked it some more. It got thicker, angrier and made my house smell like Boxing Day hangovers. I was even more reluctant to throw in the towel***** now that the soup was more like meat wine than anything resembling people food, so I decided to blend it and add some buttermilk that has been in the fridge since the "cake" I made last week. The buttermilk curdled instantly but after some ferocious blending it has calmed to a violent puce and is back in the saucepan awaiting Tom's return so I can guilt him into trying it to see if cooking can fill the void in my life that acting has left.

I feel a bit like the bastard prodigy of George's Marvellous Medicine and shall be watching my unwitting taster carefully for any signs of a mouth like a dogs bottom.

Over and Out.

*Sod off. You can't spell it either.

** I will point out (with a different finger) at this point that I have not lost any amount of finger worth worrying about but I thought it was best to find the offending gouge before it made it's way into the food. I felt like the massacred contents of my freezer were going to look incriminating enough without there also being traces of human DNA in there.

*** It would be churlish to tell them the actual truth that I have trouble focusing on the road on the way to the gig let alone what I'm doing when I get there. A lifetime of Haribo and a childhood obsession with CatDog means I am not the best at doing one thing at a time. I'm making a fairly pathetic yet elaborate clay horse with my toes while I write not just here in the bottom bit, but also at the top in the main text whilst watching Frasier in the back ground and listening to old Adam and Joe podcasts.

**** If Americans have taught me anything it's that counter sounds far more glamorous than work top.

***** Not least because there isn't a single recipe blog on the internet that recommends tea towels as aides to soup flavour.

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

For anyone thinking "Oh for goodness sake..." I am only writing this post because more than 3 people appeared in my feed today harping on about "When is International Men's Day?" "Oh for goodness sake don't women get enough these days?" and I thought, until these people are a bit better informed, it's probably not time for me to stop hammering away trying to get them to wise up a bit.

Here are some thoughts on why we need International Women's Day.

1. The only people I know who wear rape alarms are women, and they are women who live in a relatively safe country compared to others. So, until no one's wearing rape alarms let's keep IWD. I'm open to the suggestion we start calling it No Raping Day if men really want to get involved, but I suspect it won't be overly popular.


3. This week I auditioned for a show where only 20% of the auditionees were women despite the part having absolutely no gender specificity.

4. A line up of all female comedians is so rare that it justifies being a "Special" night. A line up of all male comedians is just a comedy night.

5. Not even 25% of parliament is female. Only 1/5 of the House of Lords is a woman. Given that everyone reading this knows at least one woman who has a job, pays taxes and is a functioning member of society, it might be better if we had more of a proportional representation in Head Office.

6. "Analysis by the Guardian of 50 of the UK's most valuable companies shows that women account for only 14% of staff serving on executive committees – the management level just one rung below the boardroom and which are viewed as the pipeline of talent to fill future board vacancies.
The figures imply that women occupying jobs at executive committee level are even more scarce than on FTSE 100 boards, with the latest numbers from the Professional Boards Forum showing just 17.3% of blue chip directors are women."

So. There are a few reasons.
My life is not hard - my life is charmed, happy and hard but satisfying much like a lot of other women I know in this country. It's not the same everywhere. There's also evidence to suggest that the remarkable women you know in your life in this country could be doing better, if we put them in places where there are currently unremarkable men. It wouldn't mean men getting nowhere and women having everything, it might mean a balance. It's not a day to tell men to be nicer, it's also a day to tell female editors to stop printing pictures of half dressed women with bright red circles around their natural body bits. Alright? Cool. Now, don't forget to buy a Mother's Day card guys and gals.