Sunday, December 31, 2006

31/12/2006 Ding Dong

Weather forecast concern for Edinburgh Hogmanay Party

It's a bit wild weather-wise in Edinburgh today...
I think I'd rather stick cocktail sticks in my eyes than attend the Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party tonight, (I suspect that the Council will not wish to use that line as a publicity slogan for the 2007 event)...
I feel sorry for the tourists, but it's not going to be a night to stand about in the open air...
I'm not convinced it's a smart idea to let off big muddafukka fireworks in 70mph winds, although on a positive thought, I may get a better view of the fireworks than usual if they are blown off course towards Haymarket...
Festive highlights?
Well I successfully cooked Xmas dinner for the family, (only slightly marred by me carbonised chipolatos)
I followed Nigella's idea of bathing the turkey overnight in a spicy solution designed to tenderise and moisten the bird.
It was a nice change for me to actually pay attention to her recipes rather than just stare at her breasts...(joke).
There was a preponderance of raised eyebrows and sarcasm as I disclosed my turkey policy, so it was gratifying that in the end it was hailed a culinary triumph.
My meal highlight was my sister uncorking a bottle of Californian white she wanted us to try.
I didn't like it very much and said...
"'s a litle bitter, I'm not too keen on it"
My brother tried some...
"YEUCH!!!!!! That's DISGUSTING!!!!"
Such a diplomat....
(at this point I did literally fall off my seat laughing)
I fell asleep watching "The Vicar of Dibley"...woke up during "Little Britain", but fell asleep before the end...
That was the sum total of my Xmas telly viewing...
It's odd remembering how goddamn excited I used to get in the anticipation of checking out the Xmas TV schedules.
The video of Saddam being led onto the gallows has to be one the most surreal things I've ever seen on televison.
His nonchalance is very striking...
He looks like he could be nicking down to the local shop to get a packet of fags.
Of course, he could be in complete denial, unable to accept what is actually going on ; even at the point of being on the verge of death.
Can you imagine watching Tony Blair in that situation?
(yeah...yeah...yeah...of course there are lots of you out there who would welcome the opportunity, I'm sure...)
New Year Resolutions?
...well, cigarettes are out (hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah)
This isn't really a resolution, as I started this a few weeks ago...but I've stopped eating meat in takeaways and in restaurants...
Part of me wants to go veggie, but I like meat too much...
However, I only eat free range, organic meat as I want no part of intensive factory farming...
You can be fairly confident that the meat you get in restaurants and takeaways is ordered from the cheapest sources available.
Sometimes they even use that reconstituted stuff that comes in a big roll...disgusting!
Yes, amn't I radical? ha ha
I went to see "Perfume" last night.
Patrick Suskind's book is one of my all-time favourites.
The film didn't disappoint....
(see I didn't bore your arse off by coming up with the original line that the book was in fact much better than the film).

Saturday, December 23, 2006

23/12/2006 Stickin' It To The Man....!

Yesterday, I replaced the window panes that I had to break to get into my flat after locking myself out.
I view the job as a success as there is, as of yet, no sign of the panes falling out.
By doing the job myself I reckon I've saved about 100 quid, plus I feel like a proper man, having done a proper, practical piece of work...
It's a win-win situation...
I know I'm blatantly ignoring the fact that the repair wouldn't have been necessary had I not been a total idiot and actually locked myself out.
But I like to think of myself as a fairly positive person, and I'm not going to let this drawback encroach on my elation.
I managed to get the vast majority of my Xmas shopping done today...and all from one shop...
I'm not sure whether this practice breaks any rules or will generate a steady flow of sarcastic remarks from the recipients of the said gifts, but the one-stop-shop certainly takes a lot of stress out of the joyous activity of Xmas shopping.
I had a certain sympathy for the man in front of me at the checkout queue who waited patiently for 20 minutes only to be told that the particular checkout he was at couldn't do exchanges and he would have to queue up at a different point.
The expression on his face was a picture and I had to struggle manfully to keep a straight face.
Had a enjoyable meal out at a friends house last night.
It was all very tasty, as Dave Reilly would say.
I suppose that literally all that means is that the food has a taste, which you would generally expect to be the case.
Mind you, I had a meal at Tom Hamilton's flat once which was probably the exception that proves the rule.
I will be joining the ranks of the employed on 8th January for 12 weeks as I have successfully attained a glamorous, highly paid contract at a prominent Edinburgh Insurance Company.
It'll be hard to wear a tie again but I need the cash...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

16/12/2006 Happy Xmas & A Merry New Year

Here's a nice little snowball game which really reflects the true meaning of Xmas....

Well, I didn't die on my arse at me last two gigs at Heresey and The Stand.
They were ok, but not the bestest...but a generally positive end to 2006, in terms of stand-up outings.
In the last month I have managed to lose 12 pounds, which is nice.
I haven't been on any diet or ought like that, but have been doing a lot of hillwalking...2-3 times a week...!
This is all well and good, but the sad reality is that I will have to climb 2 mountains a week for the rest of my life if I am going to indefinitely maintain my new Slim Jim persona...and Xmas is looming menacingly on the horizon...
Ah, who gives a shit? pass the mince pies missus!
For a few years there has been a Yahoo mailing group in existence, with a membership of people I knew when I was at Stirling University.
However, sparks flew at the weekend, resulting in the group creator (and most frequent poster to the group) deleting the group...! and now it no longer exists...!
The trouble began with an email from a disgruntled member requesting that she be unsubscribed from the group, before adding that the group creator (and most frequent poster to the group) was a pompous, self-congratulatory arsehole...
The teddy now appears to have been lfired out of the pram with an RPG, and my Stirling contacts have now vanished into hyperspace...
I don't know why he got upset...I told him loads of times that he was a pompous, self-congratulatory arsehole...It didn't seem to bother him...I thought he rejoiced in it...well, I don't know...really!
I was at a friend's surprise 40th Birthday party yesterday afternoon, making my trademark bread and butter pudding to take along to ra shared buffet...
Colin Crabbie (the current holder of "Edinburgh's Most Irritating Man At Parties 1996-2006") forced me to do a short bit of stand-up in front of a bemused gathering...
I can't stand getting in these type of situations....never again...!
I got talking to a country man who spoke at length on how much he enjoyed badger stew...
(I should point out that he only uses "road kill" badger, and there is no baiting involved of any description)
There was a lovely moment last night at my gig at The Stand when the compere, the Rev Obadiah was introducing the headline act, the fantastic Tony Carter.
He started by saying that there was a change to the advertised line-up and Tony wouldn't be able to appear, but that the replacement was the star of TV, the amazing Mr Jimmy Carr...!
Hilariously, a large portion of the audience totally believed this...and whooped excitedly...before the Rev admitted it was a joke and Tony Carter would, in fact, be appearing...
Tony's first word as he came on stage was "Cunt!"....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

14/12/2006 Why is Holyrood?

Because it looks up Arthur's Seat of course.... ho ho ho...!

nice microphone technique....

Well, you'll be thrilled to hear that the Comedy Club thing at the Holyrood Tavern is back on again and will kick off on Wed 31st January.
Headlining will be the fantastic Paul Sinha, with "rising star" Jim Park supporting (cough cough)...
It will be titled "The Electric Mouse Comedy Club", (coming under the auspices of Electric Mouse Comedy based in London).
Tonight I'm appearing at Rick Molland's club Heresy at the Jeckyll & Hyde bar in Hanover Street.
I confidently expect to die on my arse severely as a means of punishing me for my last self-congratulatory blog on a recent gig at The Stand.
It's inevitable, and I will accept my fate with as much dignity as I can muster.
I'm also on at The Stand this Sunday (17/12), so why not come along and get pissed with me...
As I am currently not working, I am sadly missing the enormous fun and frolics of the Office Xmas Night Out, so I have decided that this night should be my unofficial Christmas night out...hurray!
I took part in the Filmhouse Monthly Quiz for the first time on Sunday...
Hellishly difficult questions...we came 16th out of 19 teams...
The team who won had an unbelievably high score. They must spend each month learning the details of every film in the Halliwell Film Guide...
It ain't natural....!
There did seem to be a little joke going on amongst the organisers in terms of question selection.
Some of the quotes were a little racy...and it was funny to witness the quiz lady read them out straight faced and with impeccable pronounciation...
eg " All I want to do is suck cock and eat pussy. There ain't no more" (I can't remember the answer)
It was rather amusing to see people in the bar, who weren't doing the quiz, bridle slightly at the odd, unexpected outpouring of filth.
A few weeks ago I went out with a few friends to this Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh, now I don't feel very well.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

07/12/2006 Getting Better

Ok, I'm not really one to blow my own trumpet...oh, come on, that's true...! When I die on my arse I tell it like it is...I ain't hiding nothing and am not delusional...but hey, I really ROCKED at The Stand this week...up there with my best ever gigs...!
There...I've said it now...and have obviously cursed upcoming gigs with my nauseatingly self-congratulory tribute...
It goes against my normal approach, but you know, "it's better to live a day as a Tiger than live a thousand years as a sheep", as the comedians in Tibet say.
My good mood was slightly punctured the next day as I skillfully locked myself out...then realised that since I had a new lock fitted, no-one else had a spare key..and I had to break a window to get in.
What a twat!
I was walking down Lothian Road today and noticed that the lap dancing establishment "Bottoms Up" had changed its name to "Big Daddy O's".
It still seemed to be operating as a Lap Dancing bar from what I could gather.
I immediately thought it would be amusing if a customer in the bar asked for a private dance, then was startled to see a 25 stone middle aged male wrestler in a white leotard and a spangly union jack top hat, appear from behind the curtain, dance around erotically then perform a famous Big Daddy "splash" manoeuvre on the unsuspecting punter by jumping in the air and landing on him on his stomach.
one-ahhh two-ahhh three-ahhh
And the winner by a submission is Mums and Dads favourite
"B-i-i-i-i-g D-a-a-d-d-y!!!!!"...
That would be hilarious...

Friday, December 01, 2006

01/12/2006 That Was Then This Is Now

Ex-Pistol Steve Jones seen yesterday

It was 30 years ago this very day that Steve Jones didst tell Bill Grundy live on television, at about teatime, that he was a "dirty fucker" and a "fucking rotter".
"I don't believe it!" as Richard "Victor Meldrew" Wilson might say...(the 17th most eligible male in Scotland, who beat restauranteur David Bann into 18th place)
Of course, I didn't see it as it was a London regional news programme.
I would have been glued to "Scotland Today" or "Reporting Scotland" while this groundbreaking event was taking place down South.
We did fully experience the enormous outrage and fallout stemming from this event in Scotland though...
"The Filth And The Fury" is the most memorable tabloid headline associated with this volcanic event.
The language is quite tame by 2006 standards...but in 1976 it was scandalous.
There were various stories doing the rounds (probably bollocks) of people putting their foot through their TV screens, such was their moral outrage.
It was an exciting time to be young, stupid and very impressionable.
All of a sudden "Punk" went from being an underground movement to a dominant position in yoof culture virtually overnight.
My Jeff Wayne "War Of The Worlds" concept album was swiftly abandoned never to be played again (well not for a while)...
So what makes Britain great?
Well, I think one of the things that we do better than any other race on the planet is our ability to form an orderly queue.
It is what makes us special.
Our global influence has certainly declined.
However we can still cling on to this as trait to be envied.
On a different tack, one thing we lack in Britain is a national dance.
They have the hat dance in Mexico, that odd Greek dance with men with pom poms on their shoes, Russian Cossack dancing etc etc
I know England has Morris Dancing and Scotland has Highland Dancing...but there's not a specific British dance.
How about making it The Conga?
It also celebrates our ability to form an orderly queue...
In fact a new law should be passed that when a queue forms with 10 people in it, they should spontaneously break into a conga dance, wherever the situation.
Just a thought.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

30/11/2006 Why me?

I headed into Central Library on George IV Bridge this morning.
It's usually a nice quiet place where I can spend a couple of hours staring at a blank page, breaking the monotony by occasionally glancing up when an attractive female student enters the room.
There were about 30 tables in the room, with two chairs at each table.
I'd say there were about 10 tables being used when I arrived.
I'd been staring at my blank page for about 20 minutes when I became aware of a man standing beside my desk.
He was a pretty big bloke, and about mid-20s...
"Excuse me sir" he said
"Yes" I said
"Could you take your coat off that chair so I can sit there?" (I had placed my coat over the second chair of my table)
"Well, no...why don't you pick another table?" (there were about 20 wholly unoccupied tables in the room)
"I want to sit here"
"You're not sitting here"
At this point a library assistant came across to see what all the fuss was about.
I explained that there were a host of tables to choose from, and she agreed with me that it was unnecessary for me to move my coat.
He then demanded to see her supervisor, and strode across to the other side of the room.
He continued shouting at me "Are you going to move your coat, sir?"
I shouted "no" across the room, and told him to shut up as there were people trying to work in the room.
(by this time everybody in the reference library had stopped what they were doing and were observing this surreal encounter)
He then started arguing with various supervisors, demanding that they answer his complaint "in writing".
He kept going on about "coat hangers" being distinct from "chairs" in their designated functions.
Eventually, a person who I imagined was the most senior librarian available, led him away for a "private consultation".
I thought this was the end of it, but 10 minutes later he appeared at my desk and again asked me to move my coat.
I again said no, and offered to put this in writing if he wished.
He was again led away arguing, and told me I was not funny.
He's not the first person to have told me this, so I am hardened to this particular criticism...and besides, it's just plain wrong...I am as funny as fuck! ok?
10 minutes later he appeared again, and proceeded to sit down at one of the (still many) unoccupied tables.He then opened a large reference book, glanced at a page, closed it, then put it back on the shelf and finally left the library.
I couldn't make up my mind about this guy.
Did he have genuine "issues"?
Was I being fimed for some new "Borat" influenced TV show, monitoring how I would deal with the library nutter?
Was he waiting outside the library with an axe?
Would I be the headline story on the Chortle home page?
The "why does the nutter always sit next to me?" routine is a hoary old cliche...but I really do seem to attract them like no-one else I know...
Ask my Samba band and they'll recount endless tales of our gigs in which a series of drunken elderly women spontaneously begin lewd dancing in front of me, and try to interfere with my drumsticks while I am playing.
But hey, in the midst of all this I think I came up with some funny new ideas, and if you want to hear them you should come along to The Stand in Edinburgh this Monday, December 4th at 8.30pm

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

29/11/2006 Laugh? I nearly...

In news coverage of the Pope's controversial visit to Turkey, a placard held by a demonstrator was translated as "Stop The Wine Drinking Pope!"...
Well, it made me laugh...
I also received a funny email from Cheesy McLoughlin.
In it he described how he was recently out shopping in sunny Middlesborough, and was taking his young son down an escalator in his pram.
Unfortunately, when they reached the bottom of the escalator, one of the pram wheels got jammed in the mechanism.
As Cheesy panicked and tried to remove the pram, he became submerged in an avalanche of old ladies falling over him, who were coming down on the escalator beind him.
He spent the next 20 minutes helping the tidal wave of old ladies back on their feet,
(no-one was injured)...
He went on to mention that only one person failed to see the inherent humour in this incident...
There is always one, isn't there?
I meant to mention Tom, who came along to see my Blackfriars gig, and as usual put a curse on my performance...
Seeing Tom at a gig is like having an out-of-body experience during an operation and spotting the Grim Reaper twiddling his thumbs in the hospital corridor.
Not very reassuring...
Anyway, Tom is back sailing his boat in Scotland as he crashed his other boat in the Thames and was "re-assigned" in the immediate aftermath....
Anyone who knows Tom will be relatively unsurprised by this turn of events...
I have this recurring nightmare where I board a plane and just as we are about to take off...the intercom crackles on, and the pilot gives his cosy pre-flight chat...and I immediately recognise the voice as the distinctive dulcet tone of Tom.
I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat dreaming about this.
I've been zipping around the Pentlands as I try to get in better shape, following the Portugal "video nasty".
I walked past a jogger today...
He'd stopped and had begun to do a long series of press ups as I approached him.
My first thought was whether this was some strange cruising gesture?
Anyway, feeling a bit fitter and less bulbous than I did this time last week.

Monday, November 27, 2006

27/11/2006 A Game Of Two Halves

I had a poor gig at Blackfriars in Glasgow on Saturday night...
It would be a little harsh to say I completely died on my arse, but it wasn't that far from it.
What annoyed me more than anything was the fact I had a gut instinct before I went onstage, that the material I'd selected wasn't really right for the night.
However, rather than do anything about it and change things on the spot, I rigidly stuck to my game plan.
I was locked in the tram rails and carried on regardless, right over the edge of the cliff.
I should listen to myself more...
On the plus side, I was knocked out by how good the compere Susan Calman was.
She's been doing comedy roughly the same amount of time as me, but has made a staggering rise to prominence.
Just great on stage, brilliant at interacting with the audience and had them eating out of her hand effortlessly. A true pro. You will be hearing a lot more of her, dats for sure.
The comedy phenomenum that is Janey Godley was headlining, and she was great as well.
I have to say I don't really like the new, renovated Blackfriars basement.
It used to be a great, dark, dingy comedy den...but is now a pristine, refurbished and very anonymous venue lacking in any character.
Mind you, I'm not making excuses, like....!
By the time I got back to Edinburgh, I was tired, soaked and pissed off...
The last train back from Glasgow on a Saturday night was full of drunken, shouty bozos, and it seemed a long, long journey to get back home.
On Sunday night I had a gig at The Stand in Edinburgh.
I chopped and changed a few things and ended up having one of the best gigs I've ever had there...
It's a funny old game...
It was just a short set, so I'm not getting the cigars out, but there's nothing better in Comedyworld than immediately following up a stinker of a gig with a really good one.
I felt at peace with the world again...!
And, the online gambling has hit a purple patch in the last disastrous run is over (for the time being)...
Chelsea's equaliser yesterday set the seal on a profitable week...
I also saw Ian Cognito for the first time on Friday. Great confrontational and hilarious stuff.
As the evening began on Friday, the compere spotted me in the audience and announced to a packed Stand..."..and there's Jim Park and his failed comedy career..!!!" Ha Ha!
But anyway, there's no such thing as bad publicity!
Is there...?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

22/11/2006 Bye Bob!

I was sorry to hear of the death of Robert Altman. I loved his films. MASH, The Player, Short Cuts, Gosford Park...great stuff...and all very original with no sign of any Hollywood formulaic shite...
However, on watching various news reports, I again became a Grumpy Old Man shouting inanely at the box.
There seemed a ridicluous amount of attention paid to the fact that he never won an Oscar for "Best Director"...Who gives a toss? (he did eventually get the "Lifetime Achievement Oscar" instead).
I'm not interested in who wins a stupid fucking Oscar.
It's just a Hollywood PR product...who cares what "The Academy" thinks? Who are they?
It was one news report after another droning on about how "Altman was nominated 5 times but never won" bla bla bla
Just talk about his films and how great they were, ok?
To put it all in perspective, Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma, Fritz Lang, Spike Lee, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Cecil B DeBloodyMille to name a few, have not won one solitary "Best Director" Oscar between them.
However, Oliver Stone has won this "coveted" award twice.
I rest my case...
I'd rather suck Archie McPherson's big toe for 2 hours than sit through an Oliver Stone film.
I was cheering on Celtic last night against Man Utd...age definitely is mellowing me...My Grandpa will be spinning in his grave...
I always enjoy seeing Fergie getting pissed off..compelling television...
The other interesting news of the day was the discovery that my business associate Mr David Bann has been placed at No. 18 in last weekend's "Scotland On Sunday 50 Most Eligible Men". He mentions that his "ideal date" would be Kate Winslett...! Hmmmm....
My jealously was offset by the realisation that at No. 17 was Richard "I don't believe it" Wilson...
Still, there's no such thing as bad publicity, and I daresay a host of women will now descend upon Bann's restaurant desperate to get a glimpse of the sex god himself...!!! :-)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

21/11/2006 Shocking!

I had a really good gig at The Stand last night...although it started badly...!
I made a 9/11 gag about my predeliction to take out a newspaper dated 12th September 2001 to read on buses in an effort to cause alarm amongst the other passengers.
This usually gets a decent laugh...however last night it was greeted with total silence only broken by a female American voice saying "That is NOT funny!".
Thankfully, I recovered from this situation and the rest of the set was generally well received...
I never really set out to offend people and don't take any great pleasure from doing so.
I like to choose potentially explosive subjects to talk about, but I try to take such an idiotic angle on them that it would be difficult for anyone to be really genuinely offended.
The guy on before me was a dead ringer for Uncle Fester of The Munsters, and from what I gather, his material was extremely dark and uncomfortable (although the comedian community still thought he was very funny) I think the audience were maybe still slightly freaked out when I came on to lighten the mood with my jolly 9/11 material.
In the past few weeks I've had many conversations with aquaintances about that "Pelican eating a pigeon" incident...
It really has been a big talking point...
And in spite of Nuclear tests in North Korea, continuing unrest in Iraq, US congressional mid-term elections etc etc people are still talking about it.
It leads me to speculate that if this Pelican incident happened on the same day as 9/11, then TV newsdesks would be in a real quandary as to what story to lead with...
"A Pelican??? ate a goddamn pigeon??? we have footage?? hmmmm"
The real shocking element of this Pelican incident is the fact that the pigeon was completely comfortable to be in the same general area, and seemed completely relaxed before being summarily swallowed by the bigger bird...
Just goes to show, it's maybe not a good idea to hang out with a different species with a mouth big enough to fully accomodate you, if you know what I mean...
If only Dick Dastardly had enlisted the services of a Pelican, the pigeon may well have been stopped (it would have been particularly gratifying to witness this just as he was blowing his stupid little trumpet)....
Anyway, I'm sure the Pelican would have been a more effective cohort than the idiotic "Klunk" with his complete reliance on ultimately ineffective,over-elaborate inventions...
Just a thought...

Monday, November 20, 2006

20/11/2006 A Packed Weekend

Are you ready to Rock????

Well, an action packed weekend that was...
It was Ted The Cat's birthday! (although I only became aware of this when my neighbours texted him a birthday greeting. I am an unfit parent, obviously guilty of neglect. Shame on me...)
I visited Mitch and Jo and their very amusing sons Jem and Finn...
At one point I was laughing at a hilarious television programme involving a collection of fat middle-aged British people fooling about on a beach.
I was then shocked to realise that one of them (and certainly the worst offender in the aesthetic stakes), was in fact me and that what I was watching was a video of our holiday this year in Portugal...
Although it was incontrovertibly me, I didn't recognise myself...perhaps some Japanese Sumo Comedian was acting out a crude caricature of myself and had sneakily arranged to have it filmed on exactly the same location where I spent my holiday?
It would have been quite easy to secretly record a conversation with me, then use the vocal samples to put together artificial conversations, making it appear that this fat imposter was in fact Jim.
In the unlikely event that it actually was me, I'm comforted by the knowledge that when you're filmed on video, the process makes you look 2 stones heavier on screen...
Ask anyone who works on television, and they'll readily agree with me...
Needless to say, since I watched this video, I haven't eaten much and have been out for 2 long jogs...!
I went to see the "be Good Tanyas" at the Usher Hall on Saturday....
Now, they've got a great sound and are obviously very talented, BUT their audience interaction skills are dreadful, dreadful, dreadful....
If you're going to do a show at a big cavernous venue like this, you really need to make a little more of an effort to engage with the punters...
They gave the impression they'd each downed a fistful of valium tablets before they shuffled onto stage...
Buy the CD yes, but going to see them live adds absolutely nothing to the experience...
They were upstaged by the support act Kathryn Williams...
Great songs, but with lots of cheeky, endearing audience banter as well...

...and I finally got to see Borat yesterday...
A posse was organised to see the afternoon showing at the Cameo...
A painfully hilarious film to behold, and my chuckle muscle was well exercised...!
I don't go to the cinema all that much these days, but it reminded me how enjoyable it is to see a film with a few people then retire to a handy hostelry for a couple of swift pints...
You find that each person has their own different take on the film, and it's an entertaining banter vehicle..and a good way of spending a couple of hours on a shitty awful Sunday afternoon...

Friday, November 17, 2006

17/11/2006 Now Hear This

If anyone is really, really stuck for anything to do, I'll be appearing at The Stand this Monday (November 20th), also Nov 26th, Dec 4th & Dec 17th...
mostly new stuff...yes, really...honest guv!

Furthermore, I will be co-running a new comedy night at The Holyrood Tavern on Wednesday nights (weekly), with the grand opening extravaganza scheduled for Wednesday 29th do come along to that as know it makes sense.

The current weather is definitely sponsored by "The Samaritans", isn't it?
Jesus, it's been a grim few days...particularly since I've been sidelined with the bug what I had...
I'm better now, but it seemed at times like my whole body was full of snot...
In the past couple of days, as a conservative estimate, I'd say I could have filled an Olympic Swimming pool...
Today, I think I've finally got over's been nasty!
Oh, and happy 30th Birthday Mr Mac Star...comedy promoter and talent spotter...!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

15/11/2006 Poets Day

..that is what we used to refer to Friday as in the days when I used to "work" for a living....
It means "Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday"...
This, as I'm sure you all know, is an example of an acrostic phrase.
At John Hegley's show last night, there was an acrostic competition with a JH CD as a prize.
The winner was "Let's Enjoy Incense, Tea and Heroin" (LEITH)
The previous night's winner in Glasgow was "Only Boats And Numpties" (OBAN)...
I thought they were very good...I didn't do one because I didn't have a piece of paper or a pen. I couldn't really think of one anyway, so I'm not making excuses.
JH was in top form as per usual...his set is always very loose and relaxed.
It's nice to be in The Stand and not have to worry about getting your head bitten off...
In fact, he was so unthreatening that Martin Evans was comfortable sitting in the front row for the second half of the show.
It is difficult for me to overstate what an outstanding achievement this was for JH.
He has conquered K2 by pogostick then swum the Pacific by doggy paddling, in the same afternoon.
I talked to him after the show, and as is usually the case when I meet any of my heroes, felt I had come across as a bit of a twat.
I mentioned something about not hearing a "fuck" on stage all night, but then immediately thought this made me sound like Mary Whitehouse's nephew congratulating him on his clean and wholesome stage show.
I then made matters worse by saying "not that I've got anything against bad langauage per se" that was a really wanky phrase to come out with, wasn't it...
This is a bit like the expression like "I'm not a racist, but..." which you often hear as an opening gambit on talk radio shows...
It usually means "yes, I am a racist"...whereas my comment signified "yes, I am a twat".
In a departure from the usual format at The Stand, a band played a short set in the middle of the show.
They were "Preston Pfanz and the Seaton Sands"...
I can't remember when I last enjoyed a live band as much.
They are a beat, surf type combo..."suited and booted", and play a selection of original and cover instrumentals...
They look completely convincing, and augment their music with some very entertaining Shadows-esque choreography...
If I was having a party and needed a band I would book them...just brilliant...
And any band who have a track called "Last Night At Brattisani's" is ok in my book.

When I was recently travelling aboot, I read Richard E Grant's book "The Wah Wah Diaries".
It's about the process of him making a film about his childhood in Swaziland in the last days of its colonial rule by Britain.
I'm a bit of a slow reader, and have to confess to starting many books and never quite making it to the end.
The problem is if you leave too long a gap between reads, you find yourself reading lines from characters that you've completely forgotten about...and can't place them in the plot.
Anyway, unusually for me, I read this book cover to cover in a day...
If you've got any interest at all in the the film industry and exactly what is involved in taking an idea and (eventually) getting a film made, then you must read Grant is a very funny, sardonic writer.

Friday, November 10, 2006

09/11/2006 Spanish Flew

I was as fit as a flea when I clambered onto the Easyjet plane at Madrid Airport.
However, by the time I arrived in Liverpool I was coughing and sneezing and felt terrible...
I could actually feel the germs getting a hold of me during the flight. Such is the wonder of recycled air on planes.
4 days later I still feel like shit...grrrrrr....
Anyway, had a great time in Spain...
I worked for a few days out in the country speaking to Spanish people as part of an intensive English course they were taking.
All the people I was working with were warm, generous, intelligent attractive people and I found it an immensely enriching experience.
The fact that I know they are likely to read this Blog at some point has had no influence whatsoever in my reporting of this experience, and anyone who says otherwise is clearly lying.
It's surprisingly tiring having to speak for hours on end without any breaks...even if my English is reasonably competent.
I also took great delight in doing my stand-up routine to a sea of uncomprehending expressions, murdered "Maggie May" at a Karaoke evening, and put together some improv sketches to remind me of how bad an actor I am....mercilessly hamming everything up beyond tolerable levels.
I also spent a couple of days in Toledo.
I caused a not insignificant amount of laughter amongst my Spanish friends when I asked if a prominent statue in Toledo was that of General Franco.
(I was not being stupid as I knew that Toledo was a Nationalist stronghold during the Spanish Civil War and was the scene of a number of pivotal battles. Therefore, it did not seem unreasonable that there might be some momento to the Generalissimo)
However, it turned out to be a statue of "Don Quixote".
As I later pointed out to them, it was a stupid mistake, as everyone knows that Quixote fought for the Republicans...
Bored, during my illness, I was rummaging about and found a poster for a practical joke company I founded in the 80s called "Rent-A-Laugh".
Sadly, no longer trading, the content of the poster which caused me to giggle were the advertised working hours of the company. 12pm - 5pm.
The late start spoke volumes of the then lifestyle of the "company directors" involved in the running of this business enterprise.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

26/10/2006 Si Si San Miguel

I'm heading off to Spain this weekend...
I'll be working for a few days speaking English to Spanish business types who are doing an intensive English conversation course...and we're all staying at a very plush hotel...should be interesting...
I'll be doing some stand-up as well...
I had a gig last night at the Holyrood Tavern in Edinburgh.
I tried out some new stuff including the "Al Qaeda Edinburgh Fireworks Concert" and the "Why? Card" thing...
I was very encouraged with the response that the new bits received.
I hadn't really prepared the format of what I was going to say at all and just winged it...Good though....
It was an interesting night out...
Jim Hobbit, with his rubber guitar and kazoo, not only did his own act but did a memorable double act with the legendary Mac Star...
It was all very surreal and for a moment I felt as if I was watching a new avant garde production of "Waiting For Godot"...
A great night..and I wish Mr James Blood every success in his new venture...
Scandalously, James' fantastic "Choroform" gag didn't get a big laugh last night...I love it!
Conversation amongst my aquaintances has been dominated over the past couple of days by Dave Reilly's bombshell that in 19 years of living in a house on Corstorphine Hill, he has never walked to and back from the shops before (until this week)
It's the talk of the steamie...!!
So how does he keep so fit, and at the same time be so catastrophically lazy?
It is a true miracle of the modern world...!!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

21/10/06 Do The Toilet

I was thinking that the "Doing The Toilet" could become a new dance craze in Scotland.
We haven't had a new dance craze for ages.
They used to come along every couple of years or The Locomotion, Black Lace with their classic Birdy Song and Superman hits, the "Whoops Upside your head" everyone-sitting-down-in-a-boat-thing, Whigfield "Saturday Night", the "oooohhh Makarena" one or whatever it was called with the 85 year old Spanish Men folding their arms and stuff, and of course "The Timewarp".....
Where's the new one?
It's here! It's time to "do the toilet".
I haven't finished the choreography yet, but I'd imagine it'll involve squatting, girning and pulling imaginary lavvy chains to a 4/4 beat.

On a worrying note, I seem to be turning into Sir Dickie attenborough at a BAFTA Awards Ceremony.
Watching "Holby City" last week reduced "Iron Man" Jim to tears. "Holby Bleeding City" of all things.
I'm not a soap watcher, but was forced to watch it last week when I was down visiting my illustrious brother Gavin in Manchester.
I just switched on the telly one night this week in my flat and it was on...and I felt compelled to watch it. It's like heroin...(I imagine)
Anyway, the plot thread that got me going involved the character Gina heading off to Switzerland to arrange an assisted suicide, (she was suffering from some terminal, degenerative disease)
Considering, it was on before 9pm, it was a very, dark edgy storyline.
I thought they did it very well though, and when the end came it would have brought a tear to a glass eye.
I've shelved my plans to buy the "Lassie Come Home" DVD box set, as I don't think I could really cope.

On a lighter note, I've noticed that whenever there is a particularly tragic accident or murder, flowers are often left with a card saying nothing other than "Why?".
I see a gap in the market here.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to produce greetings cards with just "Why?" written on the front which could be used for such occasions.
As well as using them for the obvious tragic bereavement circumstances, there could be other occasions where such a card is appropriate.
You could send them to a friend after they have just announced plans to marry a most inappropriate partner?
Also, you may know somebody who has just obtained a job working for an Insurance Company?
In addition, it might be a good idea to produce some "Why?" business cards to carry around with you.
You might want to give a card to a comedian who has just performed a very poor set on stage?
You might see someone coming out of a hairdresser with a really bad haircut?
(I actually saw a man wearing beige dungarees in a pub last night, and I wouldn't have hesitated passing him a card)
I would give a card to Jonathon Ross.
I would also like to give Penelope Cruz one.
I didn't think her acting in "Volver" was quite up to her usual standard.
I loved the Madonna joke on HIGNFY...
Madonna is a typical British mother...
She lives on a big estate, has 3 kids by 3 different fathers, and wears a track suit all day...

Friday, October 20, 2006

20/10/06 The Citrus Club

Exhibit A.

Living in Haymarket is quite good really. You're pretty much slap bang in the centre of town, but the area itself is generally quiet, and free from shouty drunks on their way home late at night...(unless it's me).
Only problem is that the shops in my general locale are fairly crap, and over-priced.
Things came to a head yesterday as I jogged down the road to buy a single lemon.
This cost me 40p....yes...40p...!! that's 8 shillings in old money...that's more than the cost of a dog license (if they still existed)...40p for ONE lemon...!!!
That's it...I've decided a boycott is now in force...40p for a lemon!!!...and a pretty old, dried-up one as well...40p!!! 40p!!!! I ask you!!
It's all a bit confusing.
I like to support small, local shops in order to give them a chance against the Evil Empire of Supermarkets...However, they lose my sympathy when they do things like charging 40p FOR A SINGLE LEMON. (did I mention that already?)
Last night I was kindly offered a free ticket to accompany Grahame, the self-styled "Charlie Cairoli" of the Edinburgh Samba School, to go and see "Sparklehorse" at the Liquid Rooms.
(It would have been a better link if they had been performing at "The Citrus Club" in Grindlay Street, but sometimes things just don't work out as perfectly as that).
With my finger now approximately 77 000 light years away from "the pulse", it was no surprise to anyone that I'd never heard of them before.
I did enjoy the gig, although I found the music somewhat derivative.
It reminded me in turns of both early Alice Cooper and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".
It was a very polite, well-mannered audience for a "rock show" (if that is the correct term).
There wasn't much inter-song banter, and there was almost a polite silence while the band readied themselves to play the next piece.
Although one person in the audience shouted out "You're a Genius!" at one point.
(not to me, to the lead singer of the band)
Before the gig started, I succumbed to some weird allergic reaction.
My eyes were watering, I had snotters blinding me and I couldn't stop sneezing.
I reckoned it was somebody's fancy aftershave that was causing the problem.
Eau du CS Gas or something like that...
Grahame, the self-styled "Charlie Cairoli" of the Edinburgh Samba School, found it all very amusing...
I met Pete Beckley's sister and friend, although a combination of copious quantities of beer and flashing lights prevented me from initially recognising them.
I also met Alan Brodie, the self-styled "Ginger Gent" of 5-a-side football, and his partner.
He informed me that Rangers were beating the crack Italian side Livorno 3-1 "and it wasn't even half-time yet"...
Again, I experienced a mixture of emotions...particularly as I'd bet on Livorno to win...!
(I am having a spectacularly bad run at the moment in my punting, and may be buying some quality rope from B&Q soon if things don't improve)
After the gig, myself and Grahame, the self-styled "Charlie Cairoli" of the Edinburgh Samba School, had another couple of pints at The Jolly Judge, listening to a rather weak guitar/banjo singer/entertainer.
I then spilt a pint on my lap and had to walk home giving passers-by the impression that I had done the toilet in my trousers, so to speak...
But all in all, a tip top evening...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

16/10/06 Saturday Night TV

off you jolly well go....!

I was feeling a bit poorly on Saturday and as a result was confined to barracks for the evening, forcing me to rely on Saturday night television for entertainment.
It was very dire....
I always thought that in the beginning, when God created telelvision, he saidst "and Lo, thou shalt put your bestest programmes on air on Saturday nights becauseth the people are enjoying the weekend and wish the finest in entertainment to be brought to their abodes...!"
This is no longer the case...
It's hard to imagine that where once we had "Dr Findlay's Casebook" and "The Rolf Harris Show" on BBC on the SAME night..., we now have things like "Casualty" (Here's two characters who are currently experiencing conflict in their relationship! See how they manage to resolve their difficulties and start afresh after one of them has both legs blown off in a freak camping accident. Repeat x 25 for the rest of the series.) and "X-Factor".
I just saw the end bit of X-Factor.
I saw Lionel Ritchie perform.
The skin on his face was stretched tighter than a timpani drum. and I winced every time he opened his mouth, worrying that he would generate too much tension on his face causing it to fly off and land on Simon Cowell's lap....
(although that would have made good television)
Anyway, it was now the end...and the tension was cranked up as the blonde lady came forth to announce the results.
Even though I hadn't seen any of the performers actually perform, I found the flashing lights and music had got me excitedly waiting to hear the results.
But then I found out that out of 12 performers ONLY 11 would qualify to the next stage..! WHAT???
As each successful act greeted the news as though they had just won a National Lottery triple rollover, I came close to putting my foot through the TV screen.
The last 2 had a sing-off thing...and out went "The Unconventionals"...a group of older individuals who proceeded to murder "Dancing In The Streets".
I don't think I ever want to hear that song again as I will be thinking of their version.
They were obviously too hyped up and adrenaline-fuelled, and decided to give a BIG performance.
However, it was just (out of tune) shouting...
This cast my mind back to Joh Eglin's wedding in London, when myself and other Scottish males decided to give the reception audience a rendition of the classic song "Wild Mountain Thyme".
The problem was that with the alcohol and adrenaline, what should have been a gentle, haunting melodic song turned into about 12 Scottish men shouting at the top of their voices, more fitting to a rendition of "Roll Out The Barrel".
Greg Mitchell and Mark Dance probably did the most convincing impersonations of Industrial Foghorns...
But hey, the audience still enjoyed it....
I don't wish to appear critical.

Monday, October 16, 2006

16/10/06 Blood Simple

In my capacity as Acting-President of the "People With A Little Too Much Time On Their Hands Society", today I did a Google Image search using "Jim Park" and have included in my Blog a selection of other Jim Parks for your delight....
It is immediately clear that they are by no means all cnuts, and represent a good cross section of decency and charisma on the planet...

I gave blood today for the first time in a while...
I'd been rejected the last 2 times because my iron was too low...!
I started taking this iron supplement Floradix recently and it seems to have done the trick...
I passed the Iron test with flying colours and was invited backstage to donate a pint of my quality stock.
It's really good this Floradix.
I played a game of football shortly after I began taking it and I flew around the football pitch as if I had a rocket up my arse...
I had loads more energy than usual....
It makes me wonder...if topping up the Iron levels made that much difference, then maybe I might need to top up other things....
But how do you know that you're deficient in something?
If I hadn't been told by the blood people that my Iron was low, I wouldn't be any the wiser...!
It wasn't dangerously low...just a little bit below their guideline limit...
When I came out the lady asked my if I wanted a drink...
I said I'd like a cup of tea....
I was then told that because I hadn't given blood for 2 years that I would have to have an orange juice instead...
I then got a bit stroppy and explained that I had actually tried unsuccessfully to give blood twice in the last year..(I really wanted that cup of tea)
Eventually she exclaimed that I wasn't allowed tea just because it had been 2 years since I gave blood and the hot drink might make me feel giddy...
I wasn't actually being punished at all...
The other people in the drinks area had a good chuckle at my indignant twat peformance piece...
I'd obviously had a flashback to my first "proper" job.
It was in an office, and at tea time, people above a ceratin grade were also entitled to a chocolate biscuit from the tea lady...
It was an outrage, and caused me to simmer with resentment...
I could have gone and bought myself a biscuit, but it just wouldn't have tasted the same...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

13/10/06 Soap of the Day

Ok forget "Eastenders", "Coronation Street", "Emmerdale" etc etc...
The most compelling soap drama in town these days is the England Football Team. It's a fantastic spectacle.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a sad little parochial-minded anti-English Scottish person. It's just a great story to follow...
To be honest, I would be quite happy to see England realise the sum of their parts and succeed in world football.
Their long suffering fans deserve it.
I know England fans still get a pretty bad press, but they're mostly decent people.
I was in Amsterdam during Euro 2000 and went to see Spain vs Slovenia.
What struck me at the time was the thousands of English neutral fans who had travelled just to see a game.
A lot of them spoke of their regret that they felt uncomfortable going to support England at their games due to all the baggage that surrounds English supporters.
I felt sorry for them, but was impressed at the fact they had all travelled there just through a general love of football, and a wish to see a piece of Euro 2000 in a relaxed, friendly environment.
But anyway, as I suspected, the FA look to have made a complete arse of appointing Sven's successor.
McLaren doesn't convince at all, and his club record is at best, mediocre...
And he brings back Terry Venables, who has dined out on his Euro 96 campaign even though England only really played well in one game (against Holland)...
I suspect the 3-5-2 formation was largely Terry's big idea...!
They must realise now that Martin O'Neill was the one that got away ; particularly since he's made such a confident start at turning things around at Aston Villa.
I expect that his candidature was damaged by having worked in Scotland for a few years. The Scottish League is dismissed as a mickey mouse irrelevance by the powers that be down South (with some justification)...
However, his previous achievements in England and his European success at Celtic in the Champions League and UEFA Cup should have counted for more...
But it's too late now...!
Anyway, I was watching England v Croatia in a pub in Manchester.
I had tremendous difficulty keeping a straight face when the goalkeeper had his by now famous mishap.
I was reminded of the scene from "Life of Brian" when Michael Palin's Roman character discusses the imminent arrival of his friend "Biggus Dickus".
This causes a prolonged, agonising suppression of laughter by the Roman guards.
That was me that was.
I couldn't believe that the press slaughtered the goalkeeper the next day for his "blunder".
There is no reason to be found in the coverage of football down there...It is completely hysterical and over-the-top.
Anyway, after the game, an English supporter bared his member in the general direction of Wayne Rooney, and shouted that he wished to urinate on the aforementioned out-of-form England striker.
Rooney then gave hima V sign, and is now in trouble...!
The next morning I woke up to hear a series of radio callers demand the return of David Beckham to the team.
Yes, that's right, the same Mr Beckham who had his last decent game for England in 2001 against Greece, and who can't currently get into the Real Madrid starting line-up...
Then Max Clifford appeared talking on behalf of Steve McLaren...
Max Clifford? The same chap who represented Faria Alam when the scandal broke about her having concurrent affairs with FA personnel?
Yes, indeed...I expect that the FA must have been delighted to see him getting involved...!
But now he's resigned from his position, and I heard him say on the radio last night that Steve McLaren "is not the man that I thought he was"...
A very weird and undoubtedly, ultimately damaging remark...
I'm intrigued to watch the next chapter of this extraordinary real life drama...
It's a pity there is 5 months before the next Euro 2008 qualifier...! Darn...!
Although, we do have the Wembley construction saga to keep us interested in the meantime...
Jeez, sorry this blog has had too much football in it of late...
I'll stop now...

Monday, October 09, 2006

09/10/06 Zut Alors!

Napoleon Bonaparte...Jaques Cousteau...Toulouse Lautrec...Sacha Distel...Rene Descartes...Michel Platini...Jean-Paul Sartre...Eric Cantona...William The Conqueror...Victor Hugo...Marie-Odile Barbeaux...Jaques Tati...Johnny Halliday...Joan of Arc...Charles Aznavour...Cyrano de Bergerac...Charles De Gaulle...!

...your boys took one HELL of a BEATING!!!!!!!!...

Friday, September 29, 2006

29/09/06 Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that the new "Zidane" film is a pile of crap.
I wish it wasn't...particularly since, along with Diego Maradona, he is my joint No. 1 all-time greatest footballer, (Colin Stein comes in at number 3 in case anyone is interested).
The film is a study of Zidane in one football match, Real Madrid v Villareal.
There are loads of different cameras around the ground which concentrate solely on Zidane, so effectively we monitor Zidane in close-up through an entire match.
There's various pretentious subtitles and bizarre juxtapositioning of world events happening on the same day as the match.
There's a trendy, ambient soundtrack going on, and they've seen fit to add some odd sound effects like the players studs on the grass, and Zidane's trademark gob, (I assume this is definitely a sound effect as all the gobs sounded EXACTLY the same, and as I'm sure we all know, in real life, each gob has a slightly different personality in terms of sound and content?).
Anyway, I'd imagine that the film's director would proclaim his work as a ground breaking insight into a footballer's soul, or something like that.
It's not exactly original.
"Sky Sports" have been doing the "player cam" for years whereby if you press the red button you get a camera that follows one player around.
I don't think they do that anymore...probably because no-one could ever really see the point of it. Did anyone ever actually press the red button?
The main problem is that Zidane is not the most expressive of people.
He maintain exactly the same facial expression throughout 99% of the film, only briefly breaking into a grin when he shares a joke with Roberto Carlos.
I actually like this aspect of Zidane as it gives him an air of mystery, but in the context of a film like this it's a disaster.
It was a long, long 90 minutes.
Apologies for Mr CBQ for taking so long to get him and the Butterbean headline off the Blog front page...!
I'm off now to devote more time to my campaign to get a full DVD box set release of "Dr Findlay's Casebook".

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

18/09/06 Butterbean "Live" At Beanscene...!!

Dave Reilly AKA "Cloudland Blue Quartet"

Last night, I popped into the "Beanscene" cafe round the corner from my flat to see a "Cloudland Blue Quartet" concert.
(btw he is going to beat me up for my cheeky Blog headline, but hopefully he'll see it for what it affectionate punch...a term of endearment...).
Anyway, it was a dreich Monday night and there wasn't too many people in, but I have to say I enjoyed CBQ's selection of songs.
There is an air of melancholy running through a lot of his material, and in some ways it resonates perfectly with Edinburgh on a miserable Monday night.
Good stuff though...!
I did chuckle slightly about one song where he compared himself to a rabbit on a motorway verge "eating all day".
He's on tonight (19/9) at the "Beanscene" in St Andrews, and tomorrow night at the one in Nicholson St in Edinburgh.
I recommend you pay a visit and hear some of the songs of Edinburgh's most prolific singer songwriter ever...probably...!!
I was watching Man U v Celtic in a pub with the self-styled "Abbott and Costello" of the Edinburgh Samba School, Grahame and Mark.
There was a bit of tension in the pub at one point as one man wasn't happy that another man had squeezed past him without saying "Excuse me!".
After a short confrontation it seemed that peace was restored.
However, a few minutes later I became aware of people squeezing past me who were saying "Excuse me!" in a theatrical, somewhat sarcastic way.
It was as if I had been wrongly identified as the person who took exception to the non-utterance of "Excuse me" by the other chap.
I don't like getting wrongly identified in pubs.
The last time this happened, someone (who I'd no idea was) punched me in the face for no reason, and I had to spend a night in hospital with a broken nose and concussion.
As if this wasn't bad enough, I was treated with thinly disguised contempt by the staff at the hospital as they assumed I was just a typical drunken twat who regularly causes fights in pubs and had just received his come-uppance.
The last time I felt such a rage of in justice was getting the belt of a PE teacher.
He gave "one" belt to 6 boys who were larking about on the stage of the Assembly Hall.
He then called me over to get belted as well.
I hadn't been anywhere near the stage! This was an outrage...!
However, I hadn't realised the truism that the "teacher is always right even when he is wrong", and was given 6 of the belt for arguing my innocence.
The Guildford 4.
The Birmingham 6.
The Queensferry High School 1.
Great injustices of the 20th Century...
I remember me old mucker Nicky Hind getting mistaken for someone else by a girl in Edinburgh as we were walking through the Grassmarket.
Nicky immediately realised that he was not who she thought he was, but rather than disclose this he decided to play along and actually be the person she thought he was.
He actually went as far as to contradict some information she told him about "mutual" friends.
Now that shows confidence and a great spontaneous commitment to japery.

Friday, September 08, 2006

07/09/06 Sophisticated

I was ambling down the Supermarket aisle when it caught my eye...
"Vesta Chow Mein (with crispy noodles)"
I hadn't seen this product for more years than I care to remember.
When I was a little boy, this dish was highly prized and was deemed just about as sophisticated a piece of cuisine as you could possibly hope to indulge in.
Occasionally when I stayed with my grandparents, my aunt would treat me to this sumptious feast.
Without hesitation I bought one....
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it.
This is in spite of the fact it is full of shite.
But it was really tasty!
Other news.
I'm working on a screenplay.
It's about a young girl who secretly manufactures quality cheeses during the second World War.
It's called "The Dairy of Anne Frank".
Last night I competed in a "Scottish Comedian Of The Year" heat in Helensburgh.
I didn't win, but was flattered to later read that the promoter had described my act on the comedy forum "Chortle" as "the most original set I have seen for ages".
The Clyde Bar is a great comedy venue.
A big noisy crowd, which was expertly marshalled by Alan Anderson.
All the acts did well I thought, and the winner was "Wee Man".
He does a "ned" character act.
There's a lot of ned references in your average common-or-garden Scottish comedian's set, however the "Wee Man" creation is a very intelligently drawn character with some fantastic lines, and rises high above his comedy peers in this area.
I wish him all the best for the final.
I think my act seemed perhaps a bit too "avant garde" to thrive on a night like this, but a lot of people spoke to me afterwards and told me how much they enjoyed it.
I went for an amble in the mountains overlooking Loch Lomond before the gig.
It was a cracking day.
Loch Lomond has a bitter sweet feel for me.
I love the place, but a close cousin of mine died there in a boating accident, along with 2 pals, when he was 18.
It affected me really badly as a child when it happened, and I struggled to come to terms with it for a long time.
I still really enjoyed being there though. Amazing place.
I've been thinking about my Dad a lot lately as well.
Jeez, I really miss him.
I think you spend the first few months in a kind of shocked state and just get on with things.
I feel at a different stage now.
I was playing with the Samba Band in South Queensferry at the Ferry Fair day.
We paraded round the town and I remembered doing the same thing last year and my Dad was standing at the pavement at a point on the parade waving at me.
As we passed the same point this year, and he wasn't there, I felt the biggest rush of grief I've experienced since the aftermath of his passing.
So, you kids out NICE to your'll miss them when they've gone.
I certainly do...

Anyway, Walter Smith and the boys punished me for having the indecency to bet on Lithuania to beat Scotland on Wednesday night...
Serves me right....
I have to say though, that I'm delighted that Walter has disproved my misgivings of his ability to turn things round...
Attaboy Waldo!
Bring on the French...!
I am also tempted to back the USA to win the Ryder Cup.
This is the first time EVER that Europe are the bookies favourites to win...
Hmmmm....this is an acute moral dilemna....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

04/09/06 Winning The War On Terror

I was watching the Festival Fireworks show on Sunday night in Edinburgh, and it got me a thinking.
As part of the ongoing strategy of "The War On Terror", it might be a good idea to make the Al Quaeda organisation co-ordinate next year's fireworks display.
My rationale is similar to that of a father who finds his young son smoking a cigarette and as a means of deterrent, insists that he smoke the rest of the packet, thus making the son extremely ill and hopefully, unlikely to continue with the filthy habit beyond that day.
Al Quaeda tend to specialise in co-ordinated bombings.
So I would say to them, "So, you think you can do co-ordinated explosions do you?
Well, here's a challenge. There's 785 separate devices here to let off in a defined sequence and you must also keep the fireworks going off in time with the music as played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Princes St Gardens."
So anyway, they'd be running round like headless chickens for 2 hours shouting "My God! My God! What happened to rocket 552 that was supposed to co-incide with the timpani crescendo in the 3rd movement!"
"I Let it off accidentally in the Overture. I got the detonators mixed up...!"
At the end of this exercise, they'd be so sickened by the whole process, that they'd never attempt another co-ordinated bombing and we could all live in peace.
The stress might lead them to start smoking cigarettes, but that's a much lessened threat to global security, isn't it?

03/09/06 Cripes!

Shopping At "Victoria Wine"

I get very affected by television advertising.
I've seen that Virgin credit card one a few times recently about someone saying "Yes" all the time, and getting up to all sorts of enjoyable high jinx!
In the aftermath of witnessing the said ad, I'd popped round to Victoria Wine to get a bottle of wine, which I duly selected and approached the counter.
The customer assistant then informed me that if I bought 2 bottles of my selected wine I would get one free!
This seemed far too good an offer to turn down, so I promptly plucked another couple of bottles from the shelves.
I was then informed that if I bought four, I could have TWO free bottles!
I hesitated for a couple of seconds but eventually came to my senses and went along with this amazing offer.
Within 10 minutes I'd actually bought 256 bottles, with an amazing 128 free bottles thrown in.
At this stage the assistant gave me a free wrap of heroin and offered me a selection of pornographic DVDs with a unique 6 months interest free credit arrangement if I signed up on that day.
Before I knew it I'd bought the whole of the Victoria Wine shop, and was granted possession of the title deeds.
A bonus was that in buying the whole of the shop I was entitled to a 50% share of the Victoria Wine shop in Morningside.
I went round there to inspect the premises, and thought I might as well buy a bottle of wine while I was there...
Before I could say "Crap Overpriced Chardonnay", I'd bought the whole of Victoria Wines Plc and was legally bound to inform the Stock Exchange of my successful takeover.
I had a bit of explaining to do when I went home, I'll tell you....

Saturday, September 02, 2006

02/09/06 Casting of Aspersions

recent photo of me

I received two postcards today.
One had a drawing of a fried egg on it and the other had a drawing of a pirate on it.
The former was had the statement "You are a fried egg!" inscribed on it, whilst the latter informed me "You are not a pirate".
I take these allegations very seriously and have already been in touch with my lawyers to ascertain whether legal action would be appropriate in one or both allegations.
The signaturees to these missives are "Pirate Alice and the Pirate Hinds".
Alice has already consistently demonstrated her "pirate denial" philosophy throughout my recent holiday in Portugal.
I should point out that I will shortly be in Spain at a Pirate Convention, and have been asked to deliver a keynote address to the delegates.
This continuing questioning of my pirate status is very damaging and could easily have an adverse effect on my future earnings and career prospects.
Also, the accusation that I am a fried egg is clearly ludicrous and will be laughed out of court at the earliest opportunity.
While walking in the Pentlands yesterday I passed someone going up the hills on a unicycle.
That's something you don't see every day.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

31/08/06 The Man Who Planted Potatoes


I dug up some potatoes I'd planted earlier in the year today.
Then I cooked them for my tea.
Very nice.
I have to say this has caused me great satisfaction, and I feel like Richard Briers all of a sudden.
I have cocked a snook at the evil supermarket empires and am more or less self-sufficient in potatoes and rhubarb.
I just need Felicity Kendall hanging around making cheeky remarks accompanied with an impish grin.
I earlier shook hands with my upstairs neighbour who I had basically challenged for a bout of fisticuffs over a prolonged dispute over building repairs.
(Such is the enduring power of email to react immediately in an emotive state to an already hostile situation.)
There definitely is something to be said for living in a detached house.
I was actually in quite a few fights in my schooldays, and I can tell without a shadow of a lie that I was UNDEFEATED.
Ok, there was an element of sensible fight selection going on, but you can only fight who's up against you, can't you?
It was always very stressful though, waiting for the dinner break, or whenever the appointed hour was.
My Dad was a successful amateur boxer, so I'd like to think that genetically, I'd have been the favourite on Betfair for any hypothetical skirmish that may have taken place.
But let's not go there. He may read this Blog, and may misinterpret my musings as a wish to re-launch proceedings.
Violence is not good, and will not solve anything, says the old hippy-esque Jim.
Btw if you missed my Fringe Show, I'm doing a 10 min spot at The Stand this coming Monday where I'll be doing my Exploited monologue/drumming caper.
The headline act that evening is Vince Fluke.
I saw him during the Fringe and reckon he's amongst the hottest stand-ups I've seen for ages. Excellent stuff.
And it's only £1 to get in on Monday. Outstanding value.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

28/08/06 The Man Who Planted Trees

I went to see a puppet show piece at the Netherbow Theatre today.
The last time I had been in this intimate little venue was in the 80s, to witness a concert by the Capital Models.
I had actually been in this band, and had performed at The Netherbow on an earlier occasion, but this time I was watching a re-vamped band play with Keith Apter on da drums.
And very good they were too.
Dave Reilly, always an innovator, had set up a light show by taping a couple of household torches to the tops of the PA speakers.
It were right tough in't them days, and a "lighting rig" were nuthing but a dream...
Ahhh...just seemed like yesterday.
Anyway, the play was called "The Man Who Planted Trees", and it was a truly magical piece of theatre about an old shepherd who loved planting trees.
There's an underlying environmental message attached ; but along the way there's lots of laughs, lots of nice little touches (like wafting various smells through the audience to enhance the sense of the locations)...and very moving.
I was nearly greeting at one point...!
What a fucking emotional wreck I am these days.
I was originally going to see some stand-up after the puppet thing, but decided against it...
I didn't want to risk hearing a lot of hack crap and spoiling my transcendental bliss generated by viewing the Netherbow show.
If I hear one more comedian make a joke about Islamic martyrs getting 70 virgins (Have you ever slept with a virgin? They're rubbish? It'd be better with 70 slappers...etc etc bla bla bla)...
I just kept hearing different people do that same joke over the Fringe.
The comedy police should issue spot fines for that sort of thing.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

27/08/06 ...and RELAX.....!

The "My Old Man's a Dustman/Mr Sheen" gag storms it yet again with the KTM audience.

Yes, well it's over, "Kill The Monster" has joined "Park's Circus" in the resting place for obsolete Fringe shows in the sky...!
Yesterday's final gig was a bit flat with a half-full room.
I was feeling tired and jaded and was happy when it was finished.
However, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week were real barnstorming shows and I'd describe them, without fear of contradiction, as the most enjoyable comedy gigs I've ever been involved in.
Big audiences, great guest acts and I just felt very relaxed and was able to enjoy the show more than I've done at any other point in the run.
One of the guest acts for these 3 shows was "The Wright Stuff" a puppet theatre company based in Huddersfield.
Check their site here.
They'd come up especially to do the "Kill The Monster" shows, and it was fantastic to have them on board.
I'd say they were the funniest act I saw on the whole Fringe.
I'd have to give a big thank you to Mr Padraig Hyland, late of "Park's Circus", who did a number of guest spots, often at VERY short notice, but always with a top notch performance. A true pro and white knight of the comedy circuit.
I had a great time being part of the Free Fringe, and I would anticipate that it will grow exponentially next year.
It has been a great joy for me this year not to have issued one single flyer to anyone, and still managed to get decent audience numbers.
That was the most soul destroying feature of doing "Park's Circus".
We had to flyer for 2 hours every day to try and get an audience in to recoup some of the massive outlay we'd spent on renting the venue.
We were brain dead by the end of the run.
This year's venue was great and I reckon it'd make a good all-year round venue as well.
I somehow seemed to get off on the wrong foot with the lady who ran the place when I asked if I could store my drumkit in a cellar in the building.
I'm not sure how it happened, but from that point on, everything I said and everything I did seemed to hugely annoy her.
I was a bit baffled, as I always tend to think of myself as one of the most easy going, mild mannered geezers on the bleedin' planet... :-)
must try harder...!!
I had a bit of a chuckle going past a lap dancing club on a bus last night.
There were 4 ladies standing in a row smoking cigarettes.
They were all characterised by wearing trench coats which were all way too big for them.
I guessed that the coats belonged to the burly in-house bouncers, and that they were being worn by the ladies to protect their modesty as they were likely wearing skimpy spangly bikinis underneath.
A clever comedian might be able to view this situation and get some decent material out of it.
I need another holiday now...!
will be heading off to Spain at some point...after I sort out all my badly overdue year-end company accounts. Oh let joy be unconfined...!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

23/08/06 Fringe Things

Pizza restaurants will be extinct soon.
Whereas most other restaurants are packing them in, the specialist pizza eateries are lying empty.
Too much fat.
Too many carbs.
They need a scientist to produce a white paper proving that pizza wards off all known forms of cancer.
Speaking of pizzas, I witnessed possibly the most impressive thing I've ever seen in my life a couple of days ago.
I was sitting in the Barony Bar on Broughton St when I noticed a complete 12" pizza lying on the road.
The owner had obviously dropped it accidentally or had decided they didn't fancy eating it after an initial inspection.
Anyway, a seagull swooped into view and ate the whole, darn pizza in a time I'd estimate at approx 3 seconds.
It then flew away, narrowly avoiding an oncoming car.
I went to see Simon Munnery yesterday. Very funny.
It was his usual AGM show, and after the show he invited the audience to come with him to The Star Bar to continue the meeting and go through the motions submitted by the audience.
This started off funnily enough, but there were too may wackos in the audience who decided to use the opportunity to showcase their painfully "wacky" humour.
It was all a bit too much for me to bear after half an hour so I left, thanking Simon for a cracking couple of hours of entertainment.
I wrote as my motion...
"My old man is a dustman, he doesn't get on at all with that Mr Sheen who lives next door though. Discuss."
I left before it was read out.
It made me laugh when I wrote it (not generally a foolproof guide), and I think I'll include it in today's show.
Will it get a laugh?
A nation holds its breath (again).
One thing that really gets my dander up during the Festival are fuckwit, aggressive drivers (probably local) who make no concession to the fact that the streets are jammed with people, many of whom are pissed to various degrees, who don't know the roads or where the traffic is coming from etc, and just scoot around tooting their horns and screeching on their breaks...Lighten up you sad bastards that's what I say...
I was smoking a fag on the Royal Mile yesterday, (yes I know it's bad but I will be suspending this activity after the Festival (again)).
Just as I stubbed it out into a bin I became aware that I was being stalked by an Environmental Warden.
He'd obviously noticed I was nearing the end of my cigarette and was poised and ready to strike if I had dropped it on the ground.
That would have been a £50 fine...!
Just as well I'm environmentally friendly, huh?
Saw Daniel Kitson in "C90" last night.
Excellent stuff.
The show was tarnished slightly be people leaving for toilet breaks during the show.
The set-up is such that any departure is very disruptive.
He actually lost his place for a few seconds on one such occurrence.
At the end of the play he just goes out a door.
He didn't come back to take a bow.
I sensed that he was probably raging at the interruptions, but maybe taking bows isn't his style.
I saw Frankie Boyle earlier.
By the time I got in, the only seats were in the front row.
I don't really mind getting picked on, so I'm quite comfortable sitting there.
However, at the end, I did feel a little neglected as he'd picked on everyone else in the front row apart from me!
Maybe I didn't look terrified enough, and comedians can sense that you might be a smart arse type?
Anyway, great show...he was cooking with gas.

Monday, August 21, 2006

21/08/06 Kill The Monster!

Cheesy McLoughlin is on his way to Edinburgh from sunny Middlesborough.
Last year he said my show was "better than he thought it would be..."
Will he be equally gushing this year?
A nation holds its breath!

Go to see this show...only 4 performances left. Must finish 26/8

So anyway, the show has been going well.
It's quite hard work booking different acts every day, organising the show and all that.
I'm used to just turning up and doing spots (much less hassle) ; but I've really enjoyed compering and feel that I've learnt a lot during the run....
The highlights?
Tony Wilkes, of "Park's Circus" fame, recorded a funny interactive monologue which I use to open the show, and culminates with me thrashing a mini drum kit to the tune of The Exploited.
This has been going very well, and it's nice to experiment a bit with the multi-media thing.
Last Saturday the room was packed. Standing room only!
It was a special gig for me as I got to introduce as a guest act, an all-time comedy hero of mine, Richard Herring.
He tore the place up, and all in all it was a great gig.
He also said on an email the next day that he thought my stuff was "really funny".
Chuffed to bits would most accurately describe my post-gig emotional state.
I also enjoyed ripping the piss out of my brother as he arrived at another show 50 minutes late.
He'd gone to the wrong show (which he kept telling me was "hilarious").
I proceeded to tell the audience the family anecdote about him eating a turkey that my dog had ran around the estate with all day.
And that got a huge laugh!
Billy Wilson was hilariously attacked by a dog in the beer garden after yesterday's gig.
For some reason he decided to growl menacingly at it as he returned from the bar, so he was asking for it really...!
Disappointingly, we haven't had a review yet...but hey, dems the breaks.
I've enjoyed the whole experience much more than last year's effort.
I'm just much more relaxed about the whole thing.
more highlights to follow hopefully....

04/08/06 Portu-gal!

It's holiday time as I'm caught relaxing on the beach in sunny Portu-gal...!

One of the drawbacks of writing this here Blog is that when you've been doing things with people and that, and then you go through a phase of not being arsed to update the said Blog ; people complain that the events associated with them were "obviously not blog-worthy enough" to include in my fascinating memoirs.
In some cases this may be true, but it is generally just me not being arsed in general.
I just arrived at a point where I felt I'd said all I want to say.
I have been away for a week on holiday to Portu-gal though.
I had a right, royal great time.
There was me,Robert,Simone,Mitch,Jo,Shirley,Jem,Finn,Leila,Harper and Alice all in a fantastic big villa on the Atlantic coast.
I spent most days either in the pool or in the sea.
It was hot, hot, hot. It hit 40 degrees on our last day.
There were five kids all under 5.
I love them all dearly and had a great time with them.
It has to be said though that keeping five kids that age continually entertained is a very tough, tiring job.
Bizarrely, any time I mentioned feeling tired, I was bombarded by sarcasm by the parents...There was no sympathy for Jim's energy levels at all.
Parents of the world....
I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability...!!!
But I'm not whingeing really, they all made me laugh uncontrollably throughout the week...
And I AM A there Alice.
It's on the Internet, so it MUST be true...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

26/07/06 Jimmy Cricket

I was asked at the last minute to turn out for the Edinburgh University Physics Dept cricket team.
I've never really played cricket before but figured that batting was vaguely similar to hitting a golf ball so I might be able to get way with it.
The Physics team is called "E=MCC".
(So that immediately "hits for six" anyone who might opine that Physics lecturers have no sense of humour.)
I was put in as batsman No. 4.
You have to wear a "box" to protect your dangly bits.
It's basically a hard codpiece type thing that you place beneath your pants.
This is all well and good, but there weren't enough to go around so I had to use the sweaty "box" that the number 3 batsman had been using before me. Yuk!
I was told that the "box" tip is to wear 2 pairs of pants and place the "box" between the two.
I was bricking it as I ambled out to the crease. The bowling looked pretty darn fast.
Anyway, after a few bowls wooshed menacingly by, I got into my stride and hit 17 runs before being caught.
That was the 3rd highest score of our team.
I felt quite smug and clever.
Maybe I could have been a pro if I'd started earlier in life?
Anyway, our turn to bowl came and the captain asked if I could bowl.
My confidence was high from the batting so I accepted the role.
This is where it all went wrong.
The first bowl was ok.
The second went about 10 yards wide of the wicket.
That makes it a "wide". They get a run and you have to add an extra bowl in your over.
The next went about 30 yards wide of the wicket.
Another "wide". Another extra delivery to be added on.
I was feeling tinges of humiliation and wanted the over to end sometime soon.
The last tragic image of my opening bowling spell was the ball bouncing 4 times before coming to a virtual stop in front of the batsman.
I should have just stuck to batting.
I conceded 21 runs in my first over.
I could have been a contender.
Anyway, we lost.
But very enjoyable though.
I don't like cricket...I love it.
Similarly, on a sporting theme I played golf at Newbattle with Bill and Pete (who I hadn't seen for more than 10 years).
Pete has retained his rugged good looks and is a great example to the rest of us.
He's quite good at golf too.
Although working for Edinburgh Council obviousl;y affords him plenty of time to practice.

Monday, July 24, 2006

23/07/06 Stayin' Alive....

I was sitting in my flat last night at 11.30pm when I heard someone repeatedly trying to get in to my flat through the door that connects with the ground floor lobby.
"Hmmm...that's strange!" I thought to myself.
"Do I go and investigate, risking a bread knife in the chest from an aggressive mentalist? Or do I immediately do nothing, but condemn myself to a period of prolonged conjecture wondering who it might have been?"
I decided to see who it was.
I nicked up the stairs, opened the door and saw an elderly american couple walking up the stairs.
"Were you trying to get in here?" I asked politely.
"Do you live there?"
"Yes, this is my flat..."
"Is your name PARK? " (This is what it says on the door)
"errr...Yes...I'm Jim Park"
"Ah, we thought that the door was an entrance to "The Park" outside, so we thought we'd have a quick look..."
"Is your first name Andy?"
"No, it's Jim.." (as I had just told them seconds before)
"hah! That's too bad. Andy Park is in the "Bee Gees"!!"

Andy Park in the "Bee Gees"?
That certainly was a new one to me.
I always thought that it was the Gibb brothers who made up the constituent parts of the aforementioned pop combo.
And there, the slightly strange encounter ended.
I assume they are the parents of some Americans who are renting the flat upstairs.
But perhaps they were burglars using the clever disguise of doo-lally American tourists to allay suspicion?

I could have pointed out to them, that while trying to get into someone's flat in Scotland is generally met with a sympathetic interpretation of the misunderstanding ; trying this routine in the States is likely to be met with a volley of automatic gunfire, and a sympathetic hearing from the County Judge for the householder at the Homicide hearing.
I was initially tempted to take my baseball bat to the door, but instead opted for a Ghandi-like approach to the problem.

I suppose I should be grateful that they didn't see the sign "PARK", and then decide to drive their car into my living room, thinking it was a free car parking area.
That could have been messy....

Thursday, July 20, 2006

20/07/06 Scorchio...!

The tricky North-West face of Shehallion

I had a gig at The Stand on Monday night which went really well.
I then had another one at The Stand the following night.
This wasn't very good.
I did the same set, but the belly laughs of 24 hours previous were replaced by quizzical stares.
It was the reaction you'd expect if you were showing your dog a card trick.
A group of friends and aquaintances came to one of the shows.
Which one do you think it was?
In fairness, Tuesday was a struggle for a lot of the acts ; although Jim Hobbit produced a trademark mentalist performance that got the place rocking...!
He certainly read the room better than I did, that's for sure.
I've got a million and one things to do, but I find the hot weather just turns me into a slothy layabout.
Thank goodness it's a bit cooler today....
I walked up the mountain Shehallion yesterday in The Trossachs.
It was a tough slog in the heat but it was amazing at the top.
Knackered today though..and I've got football tonight.
One of my great comedy heroes, Richard Herring, has agreed to do a guest spot for "Kill The Monster" on the 19th August, so I'm looking forward to that.

Friday, July 14, 2006

14/07/06 Hot Hot Hot

"Are you talking to me...?"

I had a really good gig at The Stand in Glasgow this week.
It was especially pleasing because they had been a very tricky audience and it was initially difficult to get them going.
I've got another short set next Tuesday (18/7) at The Stand in Edinburgh in case anyone fancies coming along.
I must apologise in advance though for doing the hardy perennials!
I just want to have a good gig and hopefully get longer spots in the future.
I was watching the Big Cat special programme last night on BBC3.
They were studying the awkward relationship that lions have with hyenas.
Whenever the subject of Hyenas comes up, I've noticed that it is now common for the commentator to bemoan the bad press that these animals get, and then prompt you to marvel at their toughness and survival skills.
This is all fair enough, but they do seem to me to be the true "neds" of the animal kingdom.
It's very difficult to watch them catching prey.
They don't have the physical attributes needed to kill their prey outright before they eat it.
The lion grabs nother animals round the neck and asphyxiates them before eating.
However, the hyena's bite is designed purely to rip chunks of flesh off the bone.
The poor victim just has to sit there and get eaten alive.
Not pleasant. Either to watch or experience.
Also, if you are a lion and you've killed something, you don't get a spare minute to relax and have a nice meal.
You get pestered by more and more hyenas until they drive you way through force of numbers.
It's be like sitting down to have a fish supper at the table and having a group of neds running round the table persistently trying to pinch a chip off your plate, then eventually knocking the plate off the table and eating it all.
I would hate that.
I wouldn't marvel at their ingenuity and persistence.
I'd just want to wring their necks.
Ah but they are all god's creatures I suppose.
I had a dream in which my Fringe show started with someone dressed as a rabbit doing a starnge dance to the instrumental record "Popcorn" by the one-hit-wonders "Hot Butter".
I feel that this is a sign from the Comedy Gods and that I should now make this the start of my show or risk their wrath.
If you know anyone with a rabbit costume with reasonable co-ordination, then don't hesitate to contact me.