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...