Monday, November 28, 2005

26/11/05 All Kinds Of Everything

(remind me of you....)

I've got a gig at The Stand in Edinburgh this Wednesday as you can read here.
However, I almost choked on my Worthers Original, and fell clean out of my bath chair, when I was informed the gig on Wednesday was being billed as an "Old Stars Evening".
I suspect The Stand must be having a bit of an ironic joke by inviting a thrusting, dynamic young comedian like myself to appear in this themed event.
Well, they ARE a comedy club, so I suppose it is only natural for them to make jokes now and again. I shouldn't take it too seriously.
Bruce Morton is headlining. It should be a good night. Get your colostomy bags along there and have a pleasant evening!
It's been so cold today, that I sat at work wearing a woolly cardigan. The "Old Star" label is obviously having an effect. And would it really be a bad idea to bring back National Service? A bit of discipline, naked wrestling and sadistic bullying would do the youth of today the world of good ; and doesn't all this modern music sound the same these days, and don't get me started on television...
I'll "Old Star" them! "Old Star" indeed...If I was a few years younger I'd jolly well give them a good clip round the ear...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

25/11/05 Jim "Chopper" Park

(Concerned friends look on as Dave is taken to hospital by ambulance.)

I've been suffering from the dreaded lurgi of late. 5 days of sore throat, runny nose and splitting headache.
I was supposed to be getting a tooth taken out this week, but had to cancel, as having post-extraction pain in addition to this bug would have been too, too much to bear.
I tried a game of 5s football. Sometimes having a bit of a sweaty workout can help.
Dave Reilly probably now wishes I hadn't played and had remained in the sick bay.
There was a loose ball...myself and Dave both went for was a classic 50/50 situation. Unfortunately, Dave lost his balance in the collison and went over on his ankle. It was broken. He had to spend 5 hours at the Royal Infirmary, shivering in his football gear, before this was confirmed by the doctor.
So it's 6 weeks in plaster for him.
I've had my foot in plaster before and can clearly remember what a pain in the arse it well as being a pain in the foot of course...
The simplest task, like going to the lav, assumes the rigours of a "Bush Tucker Trial" on the "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here" TV programme, which you'd never ever catch me watching. No. Not in a million years. Absolute rubbish. I tend to read "Ulysses" by James Joyce when that show is on.
Anyway, going to the lav, showering, dressing, undressing is all a big hassle...and 6 weeks is a long, long time.
The great tragedy of this event is that Dave is such a highly active physical guy. The thought of being forced to stay at home, mucking about on the Internet, creating lists and making compilation CDs is anathema to this supreme athlete and classic "outdoors type". I just hope he gets through it ok!
I have to say that it was a fair tackle, and that Dave bears me no ill will, although I could have sworn someone who looked incredibly similar to him, mounted the pavement in his car yesterday and tried to run me over.
There's loads of people who would have a clear motive to do that, so I can't be sure it was him. It would have been difficult, though not impossible, to drive with a plaster on anyway.
I played golf this weekend at the hallowed links of Muirfield with Crabbie, Beaky and Bilbo.
These are real people, I hasten to add.
I wouldn't like you to think I was losing the plot and playing golf with imaginary "Lord of the Rings" hobbit-type characters.
In line with my recent golfing appearances, I played absolute shit. In fairness, the conditions were very difficult.
In the clubhouse, I had a light lunch of sole goujons, duck spring rolls, roast beef, boiled mutton, mashed potatoes, boiled onions, cawliflower cheese, garden peas, yourkshire pudding, horseradish sauce, baked apple sponge and bread & butter pudding with cream.
Incredibly, that's well under 3000 calories. No chance of any weight gain there. That's for sure.

Monday, November 21, 2005

21/11/05 He's Got The Look

I remember noticing a similar expression on a man's face at the "Ideal Homes Exhibition" at Ingliston, a few years ago...
What was I doing there? Well, I'd won a competition in the "Evening News" and was there to pick up my prize ; a large ball of Edam cheese (obviously).
I noticed a man demonstrating the use of a vegetable chopper to an interested group of people. It seemed very versatile, and he produced an impressive array of salads, chips, grated cheese etc...cut in a startling variety of ways.
But then he cut himself with it. Quite badly in fact.
The main purpose of the demo was to afterwards sell the device to the assembled throng...hopefully like proverbial "hot cakes".
However, his face told it all...he knew he wasn't going to sell any that day. This sooper dooper vegetable cutter had been exposed as an instrument of self-harm and mutilation. In the vegetable cutter world, it's then equivalent boost to your career progression as being labelled a serial paeodophile. Not good. Not good.
The man looked defeated, as the gathering slowly filed away.
Bob Hoskins also looked like that at the end of "The Long Good Friday".
He finds himself being driven away in a car by two IRA men ; one with a handgun trained on him in the backseat. After the initial shock, the realisation creeps into his expression that it's over for him...he's going to die and there's absolutely nothing he can do to prevent the inevitable. An eery calm comes over his face.
These scenarios came to mind as I watched Alex McLeish being interviewed after Rangers got thumped 3-0 by Celtic on Saturday.
He knows it's over for him. He's finished. It's an unpleasing spectacle to behold.
I can only assume he's hanging on in an attempt to make sure the severance terms are maximised, ie he won't resign, he'll wait to be sacked.
He should be put out of his misery as soon as possible though.
Anyway, must go, as I have to organise a "Rangers Supporters End-of-season party", ho ho ho....

Sunday, November 20, 2005

20/11/05 Slightly Frazzled

(Dave and I relax with a drink before "The Stand" show begins)

I spent Thursday and Friday night at The Stand in Edinburgh. Richard Herring was headlining both nights, but Tony and Patrick, my "Park's Circus" co-accused were the support acts on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Tony had a bit of a tough one as he was constantly interrupted by a twat of a heckler who kept shouting "tits!".
Richard Herring came on. He was storming it, but at some point the same heckler piped up. This time it was "magpie tits", (RH was doing an extended monologue on "the magpie reward scheme" based on the song "M-a-a-a-g-p-i-e-e".
What followed was a glorious 20 minute sustained demolition job on the aforementioned heckler...
It was an absolutely beautiful and joyous thing and a true privilege to witness. The heckler didn't know what had hit him.
Later, I made a rather poor attempt at conversation by mentioning that I liked his Blog, to which he replied "thanks", then continued another conversation.
I felt slightly starstruck and also a bit of an arse. I just couldn't think of anything "worthy" enough to say, so made my excuses and left. (I was a bit drunk anyway, so wasn't really capable of producing any stimulating witticisms).
The next night, I attended with David and Anne Reilly. Patrick had a stormer. Andy Askins, a musical act from Middlesborough, also blew the roof off.
Unfortunately RH had a bad night. It just wasn't his kind of audience. They were going for quickfire gags and one-liners rather than extended surreal monologue stuff. It's a sobering thought that such a top comedian and one of my all-time comedy heroes can still have such a tough night at a comedy club.
I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't a heckler, as I would have loved to see a repeat performance of his spontaneous heckler destruction routine.
Another interesting observation of the evening was that I was in the company of Dave Reilly for approximately four and a half hours, and at no point in this time did he buy a CD. I phoned the "News of the World" straight after the show. They were reluctant to believe me and said they'd send a reporter round to check out my story.
(read his blog at to study his CD addiction!)
After the show Patrick, myself, Richard and Chris (The Stand soundman) went to the next door casino and drank till 4.30am. I didn't gamble at all, although it might have been a good idea if I had, as it might have reduced my drinking rate.
I didn't feel very clever the next day, that's for sure.
It was a very enjoyable evening though, with high quality banter in evidence. I did feel a bit of a shameless ligger though...but hey...I got a hangover as a fitting punishment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

13/11/05 Naked Charity Calendars

As it's coming up to Xmas, we can expect to see a further plethora of Naked Calendars featuring normal members of the public posing in their birthday suits for charity.
I think this trend has now run its course.
I mean, is it just me, or has the sight of a village butcher coyly hiding his cock behind a strategically placed black-pudding lost some, if not all, of its mystique?
Can I suggest that if you are thinking of producing a calendar of this type, that you try to be a bit more outrageous?
There have been so many of the "funny" playful nudey ones, that you really have to up the ante somewhat, (there's a joke there somewhere isn't there?)
If it's the Womens Institute, I'd suggest hiring a couple of long haired male Hungarian porn stars to be photographed in an act of union with a prominent institute lady as she bends over naked, cutting cake shapes in some rolled out pastry.
Perhaps Mrs March could fellate an antelope while stirring a pot of home made lentil soup? Have I taken this too far? Am I losing my audience here?
I just think we have to be a little more outrageous to shock 21st Century Britain.
Perhaps, an alternative charity calendar could involve the models being wrapped up like Egyptian mummies in bandages, but with their gentialia being the only visible parts of their anantomy as they poke through strategic gaps in the bandaging.
That would be slightly different.
I noticed that the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was doing a series of photo shoots for an unusual "Al Quaeda" naked charity calendar earlier in the year...
I'm not sure if it has been commercially released yet though. It could be a winner!

12/11/05 River City

"it's smiles all round as the cast of "River City" relax after a hard days filming!"
 Posted by Picasa

I'm certainly not an expert in acting, as my previous performances in the sphere of amateur drama have amply demonstrated.
For instance, who could ever remember my stunning portrayal of the Greek warrior, King Agamemnon in "Ion"? No-one of course...
People still talk in hushed tones, (in case I overhear them slagging me off) of how I took on 5 (yes, FIVE...count 'em) separate roles on a modern re-working of "The Canterbury Tales", but managed to come across as the same character in all of them, due to my un-chameleon like acting prowess.
Then there was my riveting portayal of Indio, one of the Sharks in "West Side Story" . I still wince and occasionally wake up in a cold sweat when I recall my dancing entrance onto the stage....In my head I was "George Chakiris", but to the audience it was probably more "Charlie Drake".
Anyway, in spite of all this, I feel I have to deliver a damning judgement on the standard of acting in the BBC Scotland soap "River City".
Yesterday, for the first time, I watched a whole episode ...
One of the best tips I ever heard about acting was to consciously "listen" to what the other actors were saying, and react accordingly. This may seem obvious. However, if you go to see a ropey amateur play, you often see people on stage who don't convince simply because they are just standing around waiting for the cue to say their line, and are not acting naturally.
This happens a lot in "River City". You can see them anticipating what's going to happen next, and it often feels like they are reading their lines from an autocue.
There are a few seasoned old pros who rise above this criticism, but some of the younger players are fairly desperate.
not that I'm one to criticise though....

Saturday, November 12, 2005

11/11/05 Council Practical Joke Shock

I definitely need to lose a little weight. I can hardly get into my car these days. Posted by Picasa

I was driving out of town towards the Forth Road Bridge. I saw a sign indicating that the outside lane would be closed in 600 yards due to road works.
You couldn't see exactly where the lane stopped as I was driving uphill and the work was going on over the brow of it.
I then went into "imminent one lane shutdown" mode.
This involves driving too close to the car in front, in order to stop queue-jumpers sneaking in too easily. I also like to scowl aggressively at those who race past in the outside lane intent on keeping there until the lane stops, then barging their way into the inside lane.
This situation is unsurpassed in bringing out the worst instincts in the driving classes. I'm surprised there aren't more "one lane shutdown" murders to report. It maybe gets hushed up by sinister civil servants to prevent countrywide unrest?
Anyway, as the line of traffic ambled slowly over the brow of the hill, it became apparent that there were no roadworks going on at all, and both lanes were open all the way out to Cramond.
All that angst and bad temper was totally unnecessary.
The bad guys who stick to the outside lane as long as humanly possible couldn't have been able to believe their luck, as they just kept going on an on, leaving the conscientious "knights of the road" crawling along for 10 minutes at 3mph.
Was this a joke by the Council roadplanner type people?
Was a scene being filmed for a new series of "Beadle's About"?
I suppose the good thing is that I'm now primed, and am unlikely to fall for another one of the Council's traffic practical jokes.
If for instance I see a sign telling traffic to reduce speed to 0.3 mph for the next 5 miles, or another sign insisting that drivers should have a small liquorice pipe in their mouths before joining the dual carriageway ; then I shall view them with suspicion and won't immediately comply with their request...
You fool me once, shame on you, you fool me again, shame on me...or so they say
"Nothing tastes as good as slim feels", (I heard someone say that on the radio today. It's quite a good mantra I suppose...)

Friday, November 11, 2005

10/11/05 Elected

There was fever pitch excitement around Coates/Murrayfield last night as the Edinburgh Council by-election took place.
There were literally several people hanging around the polling centre as I made my way to vote.
You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife.
In fact, somebody did, and it created a strange continual hissing noise in the background as I cast my vote. I found this quite offputting, but carried on anyway.
It was a straight 2-way fight between the Tories and Lib-Dems. I voted Lib-Dem. I actually had one of the Lib-Dem helpers knocking on my door at 8.00pm asking me to vote. It was obviously going to be close.
The Tories won though.
I suspected as much, as the candidate looked a bit full of himself as I earlier passed him outside the polling centre.
On reading the results, I noticed that the UKIP (UK Independence Party) candidate had polled a massive 4 votes.
I was going to make a few cheeky remarks about the candidate, but read his website and found out he had a distinguished military career and has a red beret.
Therefore, I obviously don't want to annoy him too much, thus prompting a visit to my flat to hit me on the back of the head with one of these karate chops that Steed was occasionally fond of administering in "The Avengers", and in the process, killing me dead instantly.
But I have to say 4 votes is a spectacularly bad result.
I presume one of the votes was cast by that cuts it down to 3.
I would be having second-thoughts about embarking on a career in front-line politics. in light of this result.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

07/11/05 Cliffhanger

Jim guffaws in the face of danger as he climbs a treacherous cliff face 600ft above a raging sea WITHOUT ropes. Posted by Picasa

06/11/05 Not Very Good

I had a fairly mediocre gig at The Stand last night. I felt a bit rough before I went on.I'd not slept well the the previous night due to bad toothache, and was feeling a little spaced out. Not that I'm making excuses or anything.
Of course a few people I knew took the opportunity to come along and witness my sub-standard performance.
There was David and his rather odd sidekick Sandy, as well as Alex and Sue. I knew it wasn't that great a show. I didn't "die" as such, but the laughter was rather sparse, and I wasn't mobbed by a crowd of screaming female fans at the end of my set, as is usually the case. It just wasn't happening on that level for me at all.
I always know when aquaintances think I was poor. It's when the first thing they say is "You're really brave...". (that's what Sue said)
My blood runs cold when I hear that. It's the worst thing you can say to me. I'd much rather you just said you thought I was rubbish.
I mean, let's be clear about this. In the great scheme of things, it's NOT "really brave" at all. Maybe the first ever time requires a bit of bottle, but after that the fear evaporates to a large extent. Although, there's always a certain degree of nervousness before you go on, but you probably need that to sharpen up the performance.
I've done about 90 gigs now. The rough stats are ; approximately 15 have been absolutely fantastic, about the same again were devastatingly awful and the other 60 have been good, but not outstanding.
This gig definitely found a place in the bottom section.
You just have to take it on the chin, but it is slightly annoying that the people I knew who came along will retain a fairly jaundiced view of my abilities.
It's an injustice, it is. It's an injustice...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

05/11/05 Chain Reaction

Today, myself and 4 of me old samba muckers took on the "Elie Chain Walk" and lived to tell the tale.
This is a coastal walk in Elie in Fife, whereby you clamber along the crags and cliffs of the coastline using strategically fixed chains to assist your progress.
It's pretty easy, but a fall could still be fairly disastrous as you would likely bounce on your head a couple of times on the jaggy crags before plopping into the sea ; thus cleverly recreating the notorious death of Piggy in William Golding's hilarious, light-hearted romp, "Lord Of The Flies".
I had to get up to 6am on a Saturday morning to participate in this event, which in itself is a feat of wonderment and daring.
I have to say though that the early morning sunrise and light was fantastic, and it really is worth the effort to crawl out of bed that early to experience it. Particularly, at this time of year where we are steadily descending into perpetual darkness.
After completing the course we dined and took beer at the "Ship Inn", sitting in front of a roaring log fire.
I just had a couple of pints, (as well as a half pint of Pimms and lemonade. Apparently this is "the only pub in Scotland with draught Pimms". This surprised me, as I'd always imagined there would be a massive demand for this product in Airdrie)
We then visited a cake shop.
For some reason I asked for a "stick" of Chocolate Orange Cake rather than a "slice".
It was a peculiar dyslexic moment that I could only put down to lack of sleep, the sea air and 2 pints of beer at an unseemly early time in the day.
There was a brief hiatus before everybody started giggling uncontrollably. This went on for about 10 minutes outside, and I was in severe pain from laughing at the end of it. I haven't laughed as hard as that since I inadvertently caught a bit of Status Quo "acting themselves" on Coronation Street.
On the way back I apparently snored like a wild boar in the back seat of the car.
Then I opened a bottle of cider, while the wheels went round. Great.

03/11/05 Danny Boy

I was heading in an easterly direction towards the Traverse bar when I passed a few mature, matronly ladies outside the Usher Hall.
It was 10pm, and the presence of sleeping bags and camp beds led me to the inescapable conclusion that they were intending staying the night at this spot.
My curiosity got the better of me and I strode towards them and asked what the queue was for.
There was an uncomfortable pause in which I was scrutinised by the assembled group.
I got the impression that the sentiment they were conveying was, "If you laugh and/or make a smartass remark about the information we are about to relay to you, vis-a-vis your verbal request, we shall take it upon ourselves to punch your lights out and leave you bleeding and concussed on the Lothian Road pavement"
The spokesman of the group then responded "Daniel O'Donnell".
I managed to keep a straight face, saying "Oh, ok, thank you", and then moved away from the scene.
I did feel a bit sorry for them as they were undoubtedly going to attract cheeky remarks from passing members of the great British public.
They'd obviously miscalculated the demand for tickets, as no more than 6 people had decided that an overnight vigil was necessary to secure precious briefs for Mr O'Donnell's show.
Still, at least they were guaranteed seats in the middle of the front row.
Well, I hope so anyway. There is always a danger of skullduggery involving highly prized tickets. Maybe the box office staff have secretly reserved the front two rows for a batallion of their aunties.
Is this a sign that Daniel's appeal is on the wane? Only 6 people willing to camp overnight for tickets?
Are the glory days over?
He sounds like the type of person I should invite to my next barbecue.
The publicity he gets might re-launch his faltering career, and I might get a support slot on his tour telling stories of cheeky, heartwarming family kerfuffles.

30/10/05 Friends Reunited

Ok, the blog a day thing isn't going to happen any more (sob!).
The trouble is when you're chained to a PC as an IT slave for 12 hours a day; the last thing you want to do is go home, log on and work at a different PC.
It's not as if there is much hilarious banter to be had anyway. It would just be a dreary series of essays on pain, tedium and the unbearable shiteness of being.
On a happier note I had a barbecue today for many of my ancient friends whom I haven't had the pleasure of seeing for many moons.
It was a splendid day, the joint was jumpin', and I "enjoyed" the whole thing so much it so much that I decided to go to bed long before the last guests left.
I was puzzled by this. I mean, it wasn't exactly like I was drinking all day...ah, although actually,come to think of it... I was, ...hmmm...
I suspect this act may be regarded with dismay by afficianados of social etiquette, and "doing the right thing" in any given situation.
However, it has to be said a few of my old friends never replied to my invitation, then didn't show up. I even had a couple of "texts" during the barbecue with a brief note saying they weren't coming.
As I know very well myself, the SMS message is the classic sneaky form of communication which precludes actually having to speak to the recipient. I use it all the time. But you're not allowed to do this to ME. That's different.
This is an outrage.
I didn't get where I am today by not replying to a barbecue invitiation and not turning up.
This is how Nazi germany started in the 1930s.
First of all it's shunning the barbecue, then it's a fiendish plot for global conquest and genocide.
I've now reluctantly decided to look on Ebay for new "old" friends.
Hopefully, I might be able to trade in my existing ones? Although, in reality, I may not get very much for them. Still, no harm in asking.
I'm mainly looking for people that laugh at my jokes and say things like "I've seen the future of comedy, and it's you". (obviously this has to be uttered without a trace of sarcasm, and I will hold "trials" to test potential friends to check their sincerity levels. So don't think I'll get fooled easily)
They'd also have to knock on my door occasionally, and ask if I'd like them to go the shops for me, and things like that.
Other than that, they should be kind to children and animals, be interested in world travel and don't say things like "do you know what I mean?" after every sentence, and not turn up more late to things than I do if we've arranged to meet.
There is a saying "you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your relatives".
Now, this is true to a certain extent, but as you get older, you are stuck somewhat with the friends you've accumulated so far in your life journey.
I think I might be viewed with suspicion if I told someone that I didn't currently have any friends as I had traded them all in for new ones, and I hadn't tested the new ones yet.
I'm torn. What should I do?
Is anyone interested in doing a friend swap?