Friday, December 28, 2007

28/12/07 On the road









Well, if John Motson was doing the commentary on my Christmas Day events , he'd inform you that this was only my second Christmas outside Scotland ; the other being in Peru in 1997.
I was curious to see how this event was celebrated in a different country, so it was with with great anticipation that I headed down the M6 towards Manchester.
I couldn't believe how quiet the roads were...it was the least stress I've ever experienced on a drive down south. If only it was always like this.
My brother has just bought a new house there and he's kindly volunteered to do the Christmas honours.
As in Scotland, people celebrate Christmas down here by (usually) eating a big turkey, exchanging gifts and drinking excessively.
As I drove through Manchester, I saw a man in the street in his underpants holding a bottle of beer and shouting,
"Is THIS what you fucking WANT???"
before being sick, then going trudging back into his house. I assume this is some kind of traditional Christmas role-playing, although I'm not 100% clear on what is being depicted here.
Perhaps the man was representing a character from a Charles Dickens book?
Anyway, Christmas Day was great.
The only bum note was the cancellation of the Xmas Pudding.
I was poised with a ladle and a bottle of brandy, however, a mini-oven was mistaken for a microwave oven, and the upshot was that rather than taking 10 minutes to cook, the pudding cooking time was estimated at 3 hours.
After careful consideration a decision was made to cancel the pudding.
I poured brandy over ice cream and set it on fire, but it wasn't the same really.
I watched some television after that.
I have to say that I was shocked and stunned to find that "To The Manor Born" wasn't very good.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it was 60 minutes of damnable ghastliness.
The BBC executives who commissioned this disaster should be kicked to death by a gang of clog-wearing Television Commissioning Editors.
Any humour in the original series was derived from the will-they-won't-they aspect with regard to their future involvement in some "horizontal folk dancing".
You take that aspect away and you are left with a steaming great turd.
The Catherine Tate show was a bit ropey as well but the first sketch with Kathy Burke was utterly brilliant.
Coronation Street made me cackle with laughter as well.
Kevin and Sally had just found out that their ridiculously vampy daughter had been having an affair with her teacher ; Kevin had kicked the shit out of him in the street, then they'd retreated back into their house.
The stilted dialogue and acting in the scene back in the house was very funny.
Rather than shouting and ranting at the tops of their voices, they calmly discussed this calamity as if they were reading the news off an autocue.
There are more searing, emotional arguments in the Park family when someone has gone to the second row of chocolates before the top row has finished (unforgiveable in my book)

This is a bit of a curiosity
It's a comedy short that many countries in Europe always show at Christmas.
The weird thing is that it is a British production but is completely unknown here.
It has its moments but is a bit slow moving.

Now, this is what I call a trailer!
This was made in the days when trailers would contain ALL the best bits of the film, and you'd often go to see a shite film then mull over how great the trailer made it look.

Friday, December 21, 2007

21/12/2007 Finest Hour









In terms of the reaction of friends and colleagues to THAT review, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that providing the story for the article has represented my greatest triumph in the world of comedy.
Wherever I've been in past couple of days, I have been greeted with wall-to-wall laughter.
I'm very proud!
I'm a bit concerned now about my comment on the article as one of my aquaintances has described my contribution as "sanctimonious".
Anyway, it's time to move on...
It's only 4 days till Xmas...and the original cast of "to The Manor Born" are re-uniting for a special one-off Christmas special.
I can barely contain my excitement.
I can remember with great clarity the devastation I felt when the series ended all these years ago.
I tumbled into a deep depression and it was many months before I was able to pull myself together and get my life back on track.
But only "4 sleeps" to go, and it's back!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

18/12/07 Here's Our Review!!!!!









Well here it is....(I made a comment at the end)


Well, it wasn't a vintage night at Black Bo's last night.
The Evening News had a reviewer in and we got a fairly comprehensive kicking.
I couldn't argue with the reviewer's overall sentiments, but it was somewhat remiss of him not to make any reference to the fact that the night was billed as a "new act/new material evening".
This sort of format is inevitably hit and miss, as there is a strong experimental flavour to the whole thing.
Personally, I was let off lightly, and I was credited with "the best gag of the night",(which he proceeded to disclose in its entirety to the whole readership of this august journal. Arse.)
But he did take a pop at my "terrible puns"!
I readily admit they are terrible, but feel that the humour arises from the convoluted set-ups rather than the limp pay-offs...
The review doesn't seem to be on the net , but I'll post it if/when it appears.
Ah well, you learn to take things on the chin and move on, but it is disappointing that a great opportunity for some good publicity has gone by the wayside....
The review took up a whole page...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

15/12/07 Jingle Jingle








The Black Bo's comedy night seems to be gaining a bit of momentum.
It was packed out last week...a very enjoyable evening!
I was compering, and I have to say in all objectivity, I wasn't too bad.
In fact, without getting too carried away, rather than my usual 3/10 marks for compering skills, I'm going to award myself a lofty 4.5/10.
Definitely a significant improvement.
I was especially glad the evening went well as I had been delivered a hammer blow earlier on in the day as Jim Hobbit phoned to cancel due to illness.
Thankfully he's ok now.
I was worried because I imagined that it would take something extremely serious to force Jim to cancel a show, as he is the most enthusiastic-to-perform comedian I know in the world.
I could imagine a situation whereby a bed gets pushed on stage with a drip attached and a microphone is slowly lowered towards the prone body, before hearing the immortal opening line "Walk like a wee pigeon!".

Today in Edinburgh "The Santa Run" is taking place.
It's ostensibly for charidee and involves about 2000 people dressed in full Santa gear running along Princes Street Gardens.
I was thinking; this must be very confusing to a 3 year old child who maintains the belief that there is only one Santa Claus.
How would you address this issue as a parent?
I had a thought that you could pretend that the event is a dramatic re-enactment of Santa's pre-Xmas wank.
You could say that the thousands of Santas represent the sperm of the one, true Santa.
It's plausible to believe that Santa may well have a big annual ceremonial wank before Xmas, as I can imagine it must be highly stressful organising presents for all the children of the world.
This could be construed as quite a sordid event, but in making a bit of pageantry out of it, it can be a fun day out for all the family.
By regaling this tale, you preserve the uniqueness of Santa and keep the magic of Xmas alive.
Maybe change the name from "The Santa Run" to "Santa Empties His Sack"?

There's an interesting tv ad on at the moment in which a rather seedy looking man with a guitar harangues a young man in a pub for receiving "knock off DVDs" and other such contraband.
This revelation causes the young man to lose his girlfriend, and the pub regulars join in with the seedy guitarist's song.
Now I may be wrong, but I reckon if I went into a pub in a fairly rough area of Edinburgh, and began playing a guitar and singing abusively at people who had accepted knock-off DVDS...
well, I predict I'd be shortly leaving the pub gingerly with the guitar forcibly shoved up my arse.

England have got a proper good manager.
The days of under-achievement could be at an end.
I hope he does well. I've always liked Mr Capello.
In years to come, Scottish fans will probably look fondly back on the Steve McClaren era, as the last great English comedy manager.
Maybe England are worth a bet to win the 2010 World Cup?
I'd be interested to see the odds.
I started watching Football Focus today but had to switch it off.
There was a feature on Capello.
They used the Godfather theme, mixed up with some mafia cliches...then Garth Crook appeared to deliver a stream of his trademark over-earnest bollocks.
That was enough for me!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

30/12/07 Let The Festivities Begin











I actually thought that my "for for porpoise" line was quite original and funny. Hah! What a twat!
After a quick Google, I discovered that the "fit for porpoise" line is all over the internet in various contexts, like a bad rash.
It's always slightly tragic when you think you have a good new joke, but it fails the Google examination.
I was walking down my street yesterday when I noticed a group of pigeons feeding enthusiastically on a fresh-looking pool of vomit on the pavement.
It's just one of these charming, memorable images which serves to remind us that the Festive Season is very much upon us.
It's pretty much the whole of December now. That's 1/12 of a year. That's quite a long time to keep the Festive thing going.
So don't let me catch any of you being miserable during this time. It's just not on.
I spent a little time Xmas shopping today. It's such fun!
The centre of Edinburgh was predictable jammed.
There's quite an uncomfortable mix of people on the streets.
There's the Xmas Shoppers with that tense 10 000 yard stare...the expressions of people who give the impression they've have just had a tense tour of duty in Iraq.
Then there's the groups of people obviously up in Edinburgh for a weekend of extreme drinking and revelry, bouncing around, annoying the shoppers by stopping suddenly in the street for a group chat, and having the nerve to look cheery, even if it is all a false, largely alcohol-fuelled facade.
I lasted an hour then had to bail out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

27/11/07 New Joke Of The Day











I was shocked to hear that Fife's "Deep Sea World" may be closing down....!

Apparently it's not fit for porpoise...

aye thang u....

Monday, November 26, 2007

26/11/07 There Ain't No Sanity Clause








I was through at The Stand in Glasgow last night doing Michael Redmond's Sunday Show.
It was surprisingly jammed for a Sunday night.
I was down for the traditionally tricky opening slot.
I paid close attention to the comedy rule book , starting and finishing very strongly.
However, there was a definite mid-set sag where they all went a bit quiet.
I was pretty happy overall though...I've seen a lot of comedians miles better than I'll ever be really struggle with that "tricky opening slot"...
I got home to discover that the Marx Brothers' "Night At The Opera" was on TV.
Knackered as I was, I found it impossible to switch it off and head to my scratcher.
I love that film.
I remember watching it as a small child and being knocked out by it.
I remember coming to the following conclusions after that initial viewing ;
1. Harpo Marx is the funniest man in the world
2. Harpo Marx is the greatest harpist in the world
3. Chico Marx was technically the world's greatest pianist
4. I didn't understand Groucho at all and didn't find him funny
5. Singing songs interrupt the flow of jokes and should be discouraged
The bit that still reduces me to helpless giggles is when Chico and Harpo substitute the orchestra's opera scores with that for the popular song "Take Me Out To The Ball Park".
For some reason I started thinking of other random beliefs I had as a child which have been subsequently disproved.
(of course, now I LOVE Groucho Marx...and I now realise that Beethoven was probably a better player than Chico..even if he couldn't do all of Chico's little tricks)
I remember reading an article in a serious magazine about The Titanic when I was a kid.
This article was advancing the theory that all the passengers who went down with the ship to the bottom of the sea would be perfectly preserved as there was no light or oxygen at that depth of the ocean.
Therefore no decomposition would occurand everything would be eerily preserved for ever.
I was fascinated by this, and had visions of upper-class passengers sitting at a dinner table in posh dresses and dinner suits, perfectly preserved at the bottom of the Atlantic.
The probability that they had probably left the dinner table to go for a good panic before the ship sank never really occurred to me.
I was somewhat disappointed when this interesting theory turned out to be a load of old cock.
I also believed that all grown-ups were smart and responsible, and that being an arse was something you grew out of as soon as you reached adult maturity.
Ha Ha!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

25/11/07 Gigging in Fife









I was a bit apprehensive about how I would be received in Burntisland, but was pleasantly surprised to have a great gig.
Taking the piss out of the compere, (ie using the old favourite about thanking him for whipping the crowd up into a coma before I came onstage) and repetitively mispronouncing "Burntisland" as "Burntis-land" throughout my set were smart moves I think, and got the audience onside.
On Wikipedia, one of the interesting facts about Burntis-land is that it has no fewer than 5 hairdressers serving a population of just over 5000.
I contrasted this fact with the compere's "ridiculous haircut", (it wasn't really ridiculous but it was a good bit of comedy banter)
It was the first night of the "Mirth of Forth" Comedy Club, and the good people of Burntis-land seemed to enjoy the experience of having us "comedy missionaries" bringing the gift of laughter to one of our remote Scottish communities.
Patronising bastard....
But seriously, they were a great crowd and I wish Mr Rich Kidd and his new club a successful future.
I have succumbed to some kind of relapse of my recent brush with some flu-type virus and have been confined to quarters over the weekend.
This is unfortunate as I missed a big birthday party last night out at village of Temple.
I've noticed recently that I have something of a speech impediment when I'm buying items.
For example, when I buy a tea at work, I always say ;
"Eh...can I have a tea please?"
I'm working on getting rid of this unnecessary "Eh" but am finding it incredibly difficult.
Last week, I went up to order a tea, and concentrating really hard...said
"Can I have...eh...a cup of tea...Shit!"
The "shit" at the end was an involuntary response to realising that the "eh" had still managed to make its way into the phrase even though I had got the first part out ok.
The sales assistant probably assumed I was a Tourettes sufferer.
This might seem a very trivial matter but it really does my head in.
I find "ehs" and "umms" and all these kind of ticks really irritating in other people, and tell them so.
I think it's bad for stand-up as well.
If you start irritating the punters in ways other than purely being shit and unfunny, it's just not going to help overall...is it?

Friday, November 23, 2007

23/11/07 The End Of The Day





















I wanted England to qualify or Euro 2008.
I've never felt comfortable aligning myself with the support-anybody-but-England Scottish mentality.
I wanted as many British teams as possible to qualify as I think we lend a random, interesting factor to the finals (even if our football is technically deficient), and often are involved in the most exciting, dramatic matches of the European and World finals .

However, they do make it hard for us to support the England team....
I've argued this till I'm blue in the face, but there is a major distinction between your attitude to "England" the nation, as opposed your attitude to the "England Football Team" and the idiotic media circus which accompanies it...

In the pre-match analysis on Wednesday, there was no single mention made of any particular Croatian player to watch out for, or any intelligent discussion on their strengths and weaknesses as a team.
It was just another manifestation of the outrageous arrogance and lack of respect for the opponents in their group.
In the aftermath of the match, the BBC led on the headline, "England are eliminated from Euro 2008, as they fail to qualify from a group which should have been a cakewalk".
I found that unbelievable....
Croatia and Russia are traditionally very strong footballing nations, and I fail to see how any group with them in it could be dismissed as "easy".
John Motson complimented the England fans on not booing the Croatian National Anthem when it was abundantly clear that a significant portion of the crowd were in fact booing the Croatian National Anthem.
This was also apparent from the expressions on the Croatian players' faces.

Having been the recipient of a large amount of texts from my dear English friends gloating after Saturday's elimination of Scotland, and England's lifeline presented to them by Russia...I
could not prevent myself dissolving into giggles at Croatia's first goal.
My other highlight's were Steve McClaren's ill-advised umbrella pose.
It was a study in helplessness, and ineffective management, which will haunt him for the rest of his days.
Then Terry Venables went through a range of expressions eerily reminiscent of Bob Hoskins in the closing scene of "The Long Good Friday" when he is driven away to his doom.
For Bob it was a bullet, for Terry it was a P45.
(Sounds like an implausible plotline for "The Likely Lads")
In the closing seconds, John Motson pleaded to Mark Lawrenson ("Lawro")...
"Mark....say something..!"
Lawro then replied simply "I can't..!"
It reminded me of Norville, when he replied through the medium of song to Keith Harris, that he doubted his ability to fly at a high altitude in the sky ; although it's fair to say Norville did sound a bit more macho.
I'd love to see Martin O'Neill being given a chance at the job, but I suspect he won't be interested any more.
I had a couple of lacklustre gigs at The Stand this week...
They went well enough, but after the highs of the weekend run it was a good exercise in eliminating any twattish over-confidence.
I have a gig at a new comedy night in Burntisland in Fife tonight.
It could be tricky...
I'm looking at it as a tricky away 3rd round FA Cup tie on a wet Monday night.
It needs a steady, confident performance to avoid any disasters.
More later...!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

18/11/07 The Day After

It's Saturday night in Sauchiehall Street after the big match!


















I had a fairly downbeat attitude about the Scotland v Italy game.
If you'd offered me a draw before the game, I'd have snapped your hand off and let my hopes rest on serial-chokers France coming a cropper in the Ukraine on Wednesday.
I'd enforced a media blackout all week as the build-up was doing my head in bigtime.
Although I did unfortunately manage to catch a bit of Chick Young on Friday describing how the team had received a good luck message from Sean Connery.
Chick then went on to describe how he hoped this would "stir" the Scots and "shake" the Italians.
I don't think I've ever seen a news feature on Sean Connery without some journalist twat "cleverly" attempting a comic bastardisation of the "shaken, not stirred..." line.
Lazy, lazy, lazy....
Anyway, a host of local dignitaries gathered at Parko Towers to watch this spectacle.
Shortly before kickoff there was a loud bang, and a light bulb was fired out of a lamp in my living room like a mortar round, and it all went dark.
One of the strangest things I've ever seen.
There was a short, inconclusive debate on whether this represented a good omen in advance of the match.
Paul D. piped up before the match started and said "Imagine Italy scored in the first minute...!"
Italy then proceeded to score in the first minute...
The chances of Paul D. being invited back to view any upcoming World Cup qualification matches in my gaffe are roughly equivalent to that of San Marino going on to lift the trophy in South Africa in 2010.
(I'm joking of course...)
In terms of atmosphere in my flat, it was as if someone had stuck a knitting needle into a balloon.
It should have been 2-0, as Italy were wrongly given offside for a legitimate goal.
Then Scotland equalised with an offside goal.
Then Scotland had two glorious chances to take the lead and send the country into Dreamland.
I love the fact that people who are normally fairly quiet and reserved get so emotionally involved watching football ...shouting at the telly and getting caught up in it all.
Jim's living room was buzzing!
Then...in injury time...Italy scored...disaster for Scotland...
Now if one were to look at things rationally, you could say that there were three key decisions that the officials got wrong.
Italy scored a legitimate goal disallowed for offside, Scotland's goal should have been given offside, and there was the inexplicable free kick given against Hutton which led to Italy's winner.
So you could say that Scotland benefitted from 2 out of 3 of these.
However, it's still a hard one to take.
There will always be a percentage of wrong offside decisions given in football.
It's very easy to get one wrong...you just have to accept this.
However, in all the time I've watched football, I've never seen a more bizarre free-kick given.
The Scots player had the ball and he was barged off it by the incoming Italian who made no attempt to play the ball.
The freekick was awarded to Italy by the linesman (who had a perfect, unobstructed view of the incident).
So from being fairly downbeat about the match before kick-off, I'd inevitably got caught up in all the emotion and was left feeling flat as a pancake at the end.
I couldn't even get pissed as I was on-call from work.
I've got a gig at The Stand tonight as well...will people be ready to laugh?
(just getting my excuses in early...ha ha!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

15/11/07 Quick Plug!

Well...!
What a line-up!
That's all I can say....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

13/07/07 Conspiracy

Well it seems a bit extreme doesn't it?
I mean someone in Italian football flagrantly bribing an policeman to shoot someone, thus ensuring that a load of Serie A matches get postponed, thus ensuring that the Italian players get an extra rest before the big match this weekend...
Well I'm pretty sure I could get Oliver Stone to agree with me.
I sincerely hope that the Scottish players are getting special psychological training this week in which "specially trained" interrogators spend 90 minutes at a time shouting in their faces various graphic insults relating to the sexual peccadilloes of their parents....
The main object of the exercise would be conditioning them not to react to this calculated provocation!
It is important they undergo this training to avoid "Doing A Zidane" on Saturday.
We can't afford to lose a player.
In fact it would be great to get a couple extra.

I was clearing out a load of junk last night and came across a diary I kept while I was at University.
It has to be said it was largely dull, but one entry jumped out at me.
It described what I made myself for tea one night.
The gourmet extravaganza consisted of a tin (yes ..."a TIN") of "Smedleys Sausage Rolls", followed by Strawberry Angel Delight.
No wonder I was never in a position to represent Britain in the Olympics, eating shite like that.
What was I thinking of?
Tinned sausage rolls?
I haven't seen them about lately...
Has the market for tinned sausage rolls imploded?
I find that very hard to believe...!
I'd like to see an episode of "Ready Steady Cook" in which one of the contestants shakes their plastic bag to reveal a tin of Smedleys Sausage Rolls, a box of Angel Delight, a small tin of Heinz Beans and Baconburgers and a jar of Piccalili...
Just to see Ainsley do his big surprised face thing...
Now there's a fucking challenge for you....make something nice out of that shit...!
It's funny thinking of the Martians taking the piss out of people peeling potatoes and boiling them, as they sat in their spaceship eating their Instant Mash...
We need new Martians to take the piss out of the old Martians...
Who eats Instant Mash these days?
Mind you, I always thought it tasted shit from day one.
The Smedleys Sausage Rolls meal represented me having a break from the fare on offer at the MacRobert Cafeteria at Stirling University.
It was grim as well.
We used to refer to the food there as "MacBobbie Jobbie".

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11/11/07 Nice...!

There's nothing more boring than reading some self-fellating blog describing how everything is fine and dandy, with no traces of angst....
Damn!
Anyway, just had a fucking ridiculously enjoyable weekend at The Stand.
I had really great gigs and such a laugh with the other comedians and the good folk of The Stand .
The banter meter was way off the scale.
Part of me thinks I should retire now and quit on a high.
It was the best time I've had since I first shuffled nervously on stage.
I got a bit emotional as I wandered home pissed last night.
It'd been a rocking night and my thoughts turned to mulling on the fact it was also my Mum's birthday.
I'd like her to have seen the show, although I suspect she would have heartily disapproved of some of the subject areas of my routines.
Now all I need is for Scotland to beat Italy next week, and Xmas will have definitely arrived preposterously early.

Friday, November 09, 2007

09/11/07 BBC Scotland...I Salute You!

Ok, so Glasgow have won the race to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games...! woo hoo!
I'm not really a big fan of athletics and stuff like that, and probably won't be obsessively counting down the days till the opening ceremony in 7 years time.
However, as I watched the BBC's coverage of the build up to the announcement, I couldn't help but get caught up in a bit of the hype and excitement which was going on in Glasgow as they nervously awaited the verdict.
Can you imagine the coverage of the Coronation missing the bit where the Archbishop of Canterbury plonks the crown on the soon-to-be Queen Elizabeth's head?
Can you imagine watching a Football World Cup Final and not catching the moment when the winning captain holds the fabled Jules Rimet trophy aloft?
Or maybe fail to broadcast the crucial penalty in a penalty shoot-out?
There's also a porno analogy I could make, but this is a family Blog.
Well yes, the BBCs coverage spectacularly failed to show live the announcement that Glasgow had won.
We were shown some female reporter prattling away in a classroom of children who were shouting excitedly...nothing wrong with that in itself.
The camera then cut away to scenes of politicians hugging each other (most notably, Alex Salmond and Annabelle Goldie)...with the commentator hurriedly saying...
"...ehhh....and Glasgow has won!"
What a cock-up!
Probably the most inept piece of broadcasting I've ever witnessed in my life.

Good gig at The Stand last night!
It was great to meet a couple of comedy heroes of mine, Lucy Porter and Owen O'Neill.
Great pros and genuinely nice people.
Looking forward to the Friday and Saturday shows...it's going to be fun.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

01/11/07 The Big B

So the Bacon roll is carcinogenic!
This is a complete disaster for carnivores...
It's like imagining Old King Carnivore leading his troops into battle against the Veggie Army, and suddenly and shockingly, having his head sheared off by a flying courgette.
The carnivores are routed and are sent homewards to think again...

The bacon roll has traditionally been the secret weapon of the meat eating community; used to tempt the vegetarian back into the fold...it's generally viewed as the culinary fare most likely to generate nostalgic longings in ex-meateaters...
But now, apparently, it gives you cancer...
That tends to take a little of the shine from its tasty veneer....
Not a good day for Denmark...
I'm looking forward to me and all my friends getting back to our 21 year old weights, (as advised by these clever medical research people)

One thing I've noticed being back at work is that people who use normal phones in the office...(that you pick up, and have a curly wire thing and that ) tend be ok... whereas, those who sit with one of these ear piece things on tend be annoying twats.
Something strange happens to people when they put these things on...
Rather than making a standard phone call in a lowered voice which is not too distracting...the earpiece wearers give the impression they are acting (badly) in a Shakespearian play and spend the whole bleeding day grievously hamming it up....
Awful!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

30/10/07 Jim Park Is Unwell




















Got a flu type thing at the moment...
It's grim, but I reckon I've passed the worst of it...
I've had 3 gigs since I last penned this web ting.
The first was at Heresy where I boldly decided to do 90% new material.
I was pleasantly surprised that a good chunk of my set went down really well.
The delivery was fairly shambolic, but I could tell that the audience had bought into the ideas and found them funny.
The bits that worked well were ;
the Beachy Head/"clay pigeon shooting" style centre ; "Paedophiles Do The Funniest Things" TV show pitch ; buying a book "Ventriloquism For Dummies" (it teaches you how to move your eyes from side to side with someone's arm up your arse) ; embarking on a relationship with a charred corpse (carbonised dating really works)

The bits that didn't work so well were a piece on the phenomenum of people always saying at the scene of a fire "it's like a scene from Dante's Inferno", and another piece based on the fact that it would be inappropriate to say "There's more fish in the sea" to a recently divorced Canadian fisherman based in Newfoundland in 1992 when the stocks of Atlantic Cod catastrophically collapsed, (need to say something else..."there's more snakes in the grass?" :-))
I thought today for quite a good tag on to the "Ventriloquism for Dummies" piece...
ie there's an enormous range of titles now available in this series, but I haven't been able to find one that could teach me "sign language".
The next gig was at the Antiquary Bar in Stockbridge...
I was compering.
I started off with a couple of "bullet proof" jokes and was somewhat surprised to see a large piece of tumbleweed roll past me.
You can just never presume anything in this game.
It turned out to be a great gig in the end as I eventually managed to get the audience onside by rejoicing in my crappiness as an MC.
I think my compering is improving, but I'm miles more comfortable being an act.
But hey I like a challenge and I'm determined to get better at this skill.
I've got great admiration for the people I know who excel at it.
We were all slightly apprehensive about the gig, as it was free, and in a bar on a Saturday night...but people generally listened attentively...and Keir McAllister, Iain Johnstone, Matrin McAllister and Ricky Callan were in searing form.
And The Antiquary want to have another one. hurray!
After the tumbleweed incident it was great to then have very strong gig at The Stand with the same jokes that got nothing getting laughter and rounds of applause.
C'est la vie!
I've got a weekend of gigs coming up at The Stand on 8/9/10th November.
I'm really looking forward to it.
It's been a long time since I've done a weekend...I've really missed it because it's great...and I know I'm much better prepared this time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

22/10/07 Rugby







The picture is of William Webb Ellis, who allegedly invented rugby by picking up a football and running with it...
Note to today's rugby big wigs....he RAN WITH THE BALL...!! he didn't spend 80 minutes kicking it up in the fucking air...
I don't think the current game would have caught on at all if this had been the original vision...
"So what we do is kick it up in the air, chase after it, then someone from the other team catches it, and we smash into them?"
"That doesn't sound very...um, ...beautiful?"
Bill McLaren used to exclaim "Oh and it's a garryowen!" once or twice in a game...now you get about 40 in a game...
Looks like we need a few rule changes in rugby union...it's all a bit too cautious and playing percentages...
I've been trying to think of existing sports which could spawn new sports by adopting the WWE principal of doing something outwith the rules in the course of a match.
I'd thought of playing a table tennis match, and in the 3rd game produce a large leg of ham and smash it down on the table causing my opponent to miss the ball?
(I'm a bit pissed)
I hosted yet another big sports watching evening in my flat with literally tens of people who didn't really like or understand rugby coming round to watch the final.
My brother showed up later on...
He'd just got the train up from Manchester.
He was complaining that he had to share the "quiet carriage" on the Virgin train with a pissed-up stag party, a tourettes sufferer and a baby who cried for most of the journey (the tourettes sufferer set the baby off every few minutes), and apparently everyone was barking into their mobile phones...
"Quiet carriage my arse!" as Gavin described it...
There's a band playing up at Henry's Cellar Bar this Wednesday called "Cot Death".
I thought I was fairly unshockable...but I gasped a little inwardly at this snappy name.
I'm hesitant about making future predictions, but I really can't see them being invited to do a set at the Royal Variety Show, or be given an opportunity to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest, or have an animated series made about their cheeky exploits for Children's BBC...
It's just not going to happen...
Maybe this doesn't concern them....I don't know....but the thing is, I listened to a song on their Myspace page and they actually sound really, really good...!
If I was their manager, I'd suggest they chose a happier, more positive name...
like "Lung Cancer" or "Bereavement" or "Brain Tumour"?
(actually that would be a hell of a line-up of bands to have on a bill!)
But "Cot Death"?? nah...it ain't going to happen....in terms of commercial potential, it's on a par with a pitch to a TV company for a wacky new programme entitled "Paedophiles Do The Funniest Things!"...

Russell Brand takes a lot of pelters but I think he's a brilliant writer and I'd recommend you read his football column in the Guardian .

Thursday, October 18, 2007

18/10/07 Swiss Miss?




Pete back at work...




Well, last time saw another massive gathering of friends and aquaintances at my humble gaffe to witness the latest installment of Scotland's epic Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
It was painful viewing....a dull boring 2-nil...about as enjoyable as an ingrowing toe-nail (do you see what I did there?)
I had my fears though...
We'd lost our best players to injury, and I still maintained that in spite of Saturday's great result, the performance was overall a bit ropey...
I wish McLeish would relax a little...he always seems so stiff and uptight at his press conferences.
He has the relaxed demeanor of someone walking through customs at Istanbul Airport with 10kg of hash taped to his chest.
Will we beat Italy?
No....
Our best chance is probably to play for a draw and hope Ukraine beat France.
It's help if there was a blizzard and it was -30 degrees in Ukraine when they meet.
I once knew someone with dry hair who deliberately used a shampoo specifically designed for greasy hair.
I should have spotted the early signs of madness, but I just thought it was a one-off.
Other news...
I moved to a different desk in the office yesterday...
I now have more space and a better view.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

14/10/08 Belief










...and James McFadden's goals!






I had a large chaotic barbecue yesterday to tie in with the crucial Scotland v The Ukraine match (I like the use of the definite article in country names...I think "The Scotland" would sound impressive...quite intimidating as well, indicating we are not a nation to be trifled with...(My Latin teacher at school, the legendary Miss Urquhart would repeatedly shriek at me "Jim Park! Stop trifling!"...ah, happy days!)
Another fantastic result, although I feel that the overall lacklustre performance is being glossed over somewhat.
There were extended periods of the game where we seemed completely incapable of retaining possession for more than 5 seconds.
It was stressful viewing, although not as bad as I had anticipated.
Everybody was able to relax when McFadden slammed the third goal in...
What a sublime first touch!
I managed to traumatise my 1 year old niece Kitty at this moment.
She was playing quietly beside me and was shocked to see me jump up in the air and shout "Get In There!" at the top of my voice.
She burst into tears and took 15 minutes to recover from her Uncle's inexplicable behaviour.
My friend Pete deigned to join us for the evening viewing of the France v England rugby match (obviously not one of my most productive days)...
Just as "God Save The Queen" was being lustily sung by the English team, Pete somehow managed to knock over a couple of folded chairs...they in turn caused a large hi-fi speaker to overturn, it crashed into a large standard lamp, knocking it over, and smashing the ornate glass lamp into pieces on the fireplace, and then caused speaker number 2 to fall over clunking over my newly opened bottle of beer and knocking a cup full of tea over onto the carpet.
The first 15 minutes of the match were spent clearing up the debris from this catastrophic natural disaster, (yes, I do mean you, Pete)
It was a good game, but with too much aimless kicking, and England probably just deserved to win.
England in the final. who would have predicted that?
At the end of the evening a disappointed French friend of mine noticed I had a box of fresh figs.
She said that a good fig should have the same physical characteristics in terms of size and texture, as a man's testicle...
I had to concede that there is indeed more than a slight similarity.
She said that in France, a fresh fig has great erotic connotations...there's the testicle thing, and there's also the fact that when you open it up, it does look uncannily like a vagina.
Anyway, I found all this very interesting, and I will never be able to look at a fresh fig in quite the same way ever again.
I've just ordered Dave's new album (aka Cloudland Blue Quartet)
You can get it here http://crispycat-recordings.blogspot.com/
Let's all buy it and get Dave into the charts...
If you live in the West of Edinburgh you might remember Dave as a former gang leader.
(he was a founding member of "The Corstorphine Massive")
I'm sure you'll all be relieved to hear that Northern Rock shares have made an extraordinary recovery in the past week and are almost back to what I paid for them.
But will I sell?
Of course not...let the reckless gambling stupidity continue!
I enjoy the roller-coaster excitement of it all.
It makes me feel more relaxed when I watch Scotland play football...Let's please beat Georgia on Wednesday as I dread going into a match having to beat Italy.
They are the world masters of closing down a game in which they only need a draw.

When the Rezillos finished last week we were told we had to leave promptly as a club was about to start in the same venue.
As the ragtag army of aged Rezillos fans shuffled out of the venue, a queue of fresh faced, attractive 18-21 year olds waited to get in.
I thought to myself that this was life in microcosm...
It might have been appropriate if the Rezillos audience were zapped in the head by a stun gun as they passed through the fake "exit" door, thus beginning the process where they would be transformed into tins of "Chappie" dog food, on the basis that this would be the only valuable contribution they would be deemed capable of, in terms of benefit to society.
I'm only joking of course.

Monday, October 08, 2007

08/10/07 The Good Old Days



I went to see The Rezillos in Edinburgh on Saturday night...
In days of old, I was a ever-so-slightly obsessive fan...pretty much stalker-esque..
It's great to see them still rocking the joint even though they must now be in their late 70s...
The other members of my entourage participated in an extended bout of pogoing, but sadly my football-addled knees prevent me from taking part in this high-impact activity.
I was content to stand with my hands in my cardigan pockets and sway slowly from side to side as I sucked on a Worthers Original.
I had a decent gig at The Stand in Glasgow last night in spite of the fact I was a little weary from my Rezillo antics the night before.
Because of the gig I was unable to watch Scotland get knocked out the World Cup by Argentina.
From what I gather it was a fairly forgettable game and Scotland paid the price for leaving it too late to throw caution to the wind and have a go.
I heard the last 15 minutes on the radio as I drove home.
Gavin Hasting was summarising.
Now Hastings was a fantastic, swashbuckling rugby player in his heyday, and he achieved great things on the field of play.
However, as a broadcaster, he comes across as monumentally dull.
He doesn't seem to have much of interest to contribute, but he takes a hell of a long time to say it..a lot of mealy-mouthed cliche-ridden drivel.
He had me shouting at the car radio to "shut-up!" as I drove back along the M8.
He used to be on the telly summarising, but seems to have lost that gig.
I remember he couldn't seem to keep his hands still when speaking and always looked like he was attempting an Al Jolson impersonation.
At one point he started going on about how the All Blacks shouldn't be allowed to do the Haka before the game, and called it an anachronism.
Bollocks...I love the Haka...it's a good bit of theatre.
He seemed to be implying it gives the All Blacks an unfair advantage...baloney!
I hope I don't sound like I'm being too critical here...
I have begun to giggle every time I see Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager.
He has what you might describe as slightly goggly eyes.
I was reading an article in which he was described as looking like "a haddock playing a trumpet"...
It's just such a funny image...oh it makes me larf!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

02/10/07 Working For The Man (again)






I've had to rejoin the world of temporary employment again...
Well Xmas is coming, the goose is getting fat etc etc
Apparently Scottish people are getting extremely fat and we are now only outporked by the USA!
I think the Americans are pretty secure in the number 1 spot, so things are unlikely to get worse for Scotland...
But we shouldn't rest too easy because number 2 is still pretty bad!
Personally I blame my friend Dave and Michelle McManus for raising the national average weight to such a high level.
If they were to perhaps emigrate to the "number 3" country, our stats might improve and we might slip down the table a bit?
It's a difficult one though, because as well as being a very talented musician, Dave is one of my best and longest-standing friends, and I would miss him...
However, we have to put the nation's health first...
2007 had been a great year for my reckless gambles in the stock market; well it was until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to buy a shit lot of Northern Rock shares.
Imagine I live on the 50th floor of a skyscraper and someone has just thrown an anvil from a window of the 100th storey.
What I effectively did was lean out of my window and catch the anvil, then continue downwards towards the pavement, holding the said anvil, shouting and screaming in vain for help, as my heinous misjudgement heads towards its inevitable, catastrophic conclusion.
Not my smartest move....
I thought I'd called the bottom of the market but I hadn't ...
Bugger...
And being a capitalist twat I don't expect I'm going to get an enormous amount of sympathy.
I'm still cool though in spite of being a golf-playing capitalist twat, ok?
Sensing that everyone is about to move out of myspace, I've moved in...
I suppose it's quite useful to keep a note of upcoming gigs and stuff like that.
I've got 30 friends.
That's respectable, and probably enough really.
As long as you avoid single figures you're ok.
Mind you, no-one really looks at page 2 of your friends anyway do they?
In the same way 99% of people will just look at page 1 of a Google search.
The stand-up has been going pretty well lately, mustn't grumble...
I had this idea about setting up a "human" clay-pigeon-type shooting club at Beachy Head.
I figured that this would go some way to counter the soaring "gun crime" figures by encouraging the criminal gun toting types to join the Beachy Head club and use their guns in a positive way.
I just figured that there are so many people jumping off Beachy Head, that it would make sense to tie in a sport with it.
If you're going to jump, I presume you wouldn't mind getting shot at on the way down?
Anyway, as well as getting the gunmen off the street, the club could provide a welcome financial boost to the local economy.
I'm not sure whether this is funny or not.
Only one way to find out....

Friday, September 21, 2007

21/09/07 Chilly Isn't It?








I went to see "True North" yesterday...
The story concerns a Scottish Fishing crew, struggling financially, who decide to make extra cash by transporting a group of Chinese "Illegals" to the Scottish mainland.
A decent enough film, but a relentlessly bleak cinematic experience.
There's not much of a "feelgood factor" associated with this film...it's more of a
"feel-like-jumping-off-a-tall-building factor".
In terms of film comparison, "True North" makes "Deliverance" look like "Carry On Camping".
Probably not the best "first date" movie you could choose.
Also, I found some of the latter plot twists a tad implausible.
Have I sold this to you enough? Go see!
The couple of gigs I had this week at The Stand went really well.
I got a lot of nice audience feedback after the show, and Tommy, the Stand supremo, was positive about my act and said he particularly liked my "ring tone" joke.
I was on a bit of a high and quickly downed 4 pints, and was then pissed as a fart due to my current low alcohol tolerance level.
Embarassingly I thought I'd lost my mobile phone.
Rosie from The Stand helped me turn the dressing room upside down looking for it.
We gave up in the end, but as I walked out I found that the phone was actually in my jacket pocket.
(it was in a pocket on the arm which I thought was a different pocket when I put the phone in it, as it was lying on the settee)
If I'd been sober I would probably have just shut the fuck up and shuffled red-faced out of the building ;but being pissed, I said "Oh here it is!", and had to profusely apologise for being such an idiotic twat.

But anyway, no top politician has facial hair anymore do they?
Can you name me one current prominent politician who sports a tache or a beard?
I don't think I can.
This leads me to suspect that Robin Cook's death should possibly be investigated, as he may have refused a command from Downing Street to shave the beard off.
Does this tie in with the trend of trying to look younger than you actually are?
I'd say that a presidential candidate in America with a beard would have as much chance of winning as one quoted as saying that "they didn't believe in God".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

16/09/07 Northern Rock




These are tough times for Northern Rock as all their account holders have panicked and are queueing up to withdraw their funds.
Hopefully, one of their directors who is due to be going off on his honeymoon will save the day and use his holiday funds to pay off all the worried clients.
I hope he has more luck than James Stewart in the film, and can persuade some people to take slightly less than they originally asked for, and be happy with enough to get by with until the situation calms down.
It always annoyed me that one particularly big miserable bastard wouldn't accept receiving a slightly reduced payout, even though it came from his friend, George Bailey's honeymoon cash. Some people....really...I don't know.
But don't get me wrong, there is nothing funny about people worrying about the security of their life savings, and I wouldn't seek to make light of it.
Mind you, I walked past the Northern Rock branch in Edinburgh yesterday, and there was a massive queue of people.
I was slightly tempted to walk in to the office then run out a couple of minutes later down the length of the queue shouting "There's no money left...!!!!it's all gone..! it's finished! finished! do you hear me? FINISHED..!!!!"
But that would have been in poor taste and highly irresponsible.
btw I'm on at The Stand in Edinburgh tonight and tomorrow night in case anyone wants to break into my flat.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

13/06/07 Sacre Bleu!



So anyway, I jokingly said before we started to watch last night's France v Scotland match that "I would have a drink" if Scotland won...
So that's the end of my alcohol abstinence run...
I lasted 18 days altogether, and can now proudly take my place on the pantheon with
those who have abstained from alcohol in the 14-21 day bracket.
Unlike Louis Armstrong,I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but I still regard this as one of the outstanding achievements of my life, and have demonstrated to myself that I have extraordinary willpower. Yes, I know this is shite, but I'm in a jolly mood today.
Thankfully, I didn't say that I'd also have a cigarette if Scotland won...
The joyous nature of the evening was clouded slightly by my decision to briefly switch from Sky Sports 1 to Sky Sports 2 to check the score in the Czech Republic v Republic of Ireland game...
There was an injury stoppage in the Scotland game, so this seemed a reasonable course of action...
I also had a rather large wager that the Czechs would win, and wanted to monitor my investment...
I won, but it was at a heavy price...
I turned back to the Scotland game and we were shocked to see that the graphic in the top left hand corner of the screen was informing us that Scotland were leading one nil...
My delight at this news was tempered by the realisation that as a consequence of my inappropriate channel hopping, we had missed witnessing live possibly the most iconic, glorious fucking goal in the history of Scottish football.
My friend Grahame gave me a look of withering exasperated disappointment which he retained for the rest of the match...(and probably the rest of 2007 I suspect)
It was an expression I was very familiar with on various teachers' faces throughout my schooldays.
That it was all down to the evil of gambling makes this an important moral lesson which you should all take heed of.
Mind you, I could claim some credit for Scotland scoring that goal as I had obviously tempted fate by switching the channel thus giving God an absolute sitter of an opportunity to punish me for last week's cheery endorsement of "The God Delusion" book.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

06/09/07 Life In The Betty Ford Clinic







So that's 12 days now off the booze and fags...stand up and applaud!
I've had a few congratulatory emails, although I can't help feeling there is an unmistakable trace of sarcasm present in them all...
Some people are just so darn difficult to impress!
Anyway, yesterday I was up Ben Lomond (the mountain)...
It was a nice day, but the top half of the mountain had been under cloud cover all day, and everyone I met coming down said it wasn't really worth going to the summit as there was no view, and it was pretty miserable up there.
I debated whether to go or not, but in the end thought I might as well, as psychologically it would be good for my (temporary) healthy lifestyle if I made it to the top.
Just as I arrived at the top, the sun broke through and all the cloud lifted.
I was the only person at the summit at the time. (it's usually like Piccadilly Circus up there)
It was probably the most amazing experience I've ever had in the Scottish mountains..as the view of Loch Lomond appeared out of the mist, and there were lots of little rainbows scattered all along the horizon.
Absolutely awe inspiring.
I'd just finished reading "The God Delusion", and felt a lot of resonance from the book as I surveyed the view.
There's a great quote by Douglas Adams at the start of the book ;
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
I'm pretty much with Dawkins on all his arguments, but I can't quite bring myself to
become a card carrying "Atheist" (obviously I am frightened that God would dispprove of this).
Actually, for me, the most astonishing revelation in the book was reading that Swiss women only got the vote in 1971 !!
(Dawkings was describing how we evolve in terms of attitudes and politics, whereas religious fundamentalism is immoveable)
1971...!!! I found that a stunning statistic!
Also, I am not feeling sheepish any more about slagging off the comedian who ruined a
show I was at.
He is a twat and I let him off lightly, (see what I mean about the mood swings).

Today I went to see Lady Chatterley (the film).
Pretty good, although possibly an hour too long, and I found it slightly disconcerting that the gamekeeper (the lover) bore a disarming resemblance to football manager Sam Allardyce.

Monday, September 03, 2007

03/09/07 Slightly Chilled Turkey








So that's 9 days now without a drink or a cigarette. Yes, be impressed.
I'm fairly confident that this is the longest elapsed time that I have ever gone without alcohol since I first gained possession of my "drinking license".
I've never been a heavy drinker, but have taken it in moderation like prescribed medication consistently throughout my adult life.
The instructions on the never ending bottle of booze prescribed by my GP (on my 18th birthday ofcourse) would be "take between 6 and 10 units 3 times a week, but allow more for birthdays, deaths, anniversaries, Christenings, work leaving dos, holidays, Christmas, New Year, International Football Tournaments, "The Fringe", meals out, miscellaneous celebrations etc etc".
It is interesting what getting on the wagon does to you.
I've been having quite odd mood swings in the past week and at times have felt slightly spaced out. All this "clarity" is a little difficult to get your head round.
There's obviously nicotine withdrawal symptons in the mix as well, but I've experienced them many, many times before and am very familiar with them.
The alcohol ones are different.
I have so much more energy though in this regime...it is definitely tempting to make a bold statement and say I'm off it completely...
In all likelihood that isn't going to happen, but I'm curious to test myself and see how long I can go with this sobriety caper.

I was shocked in a good way watching Rangers last home European tie on televison a couple of weeks ago.
It was the first time I can ever remember watching a Rangers match on TV where periodically the crowd haven't been heard singing all the usual sectarian shite we are so familiar with around these parts.
It really does look as though it has been nipped in the bud (for home matches anyway).
I, like many others, probably never thought they'd see the day when this would happen. It's a small step on the way to Scotland becoming a more civilised nation.

It did get me thinking though.
I wonder if secret "Singeasy" bars are springing up in dingy basements in Glasgow where diehards can go and sing the old songs to their hearts content.
There'd be a combination lock on the door for "regulars only" (password 1-6-9-0), and prominent QCs would likely be on hand with a tuning fork to start off the songs.
Perhaps as a repressed minority they will take their case to the "European Court Of Human Rights", campaigning for the right to sing "The Sash" in a public.

I've been feeling a little sheepish of late after letting rip on an Internet comedy forum.
During the Fringe I was at a comedy show and my enjoyment of the gig was hugely spoilt by someone sitting near me talking all through the show.
I later discovered that the offender was in fact a stand-up comedian himself.
This made me even more mad about the whole incident.
He'd posted a link to his myspace page on a forum (I immediately recognised him) and said he was looking for "feedback" for his Blog.
With hindsight, a bit of withering sarcasm would have been a much more advisable course of action to pursue on the comedy forum.
However, I decided to wade in on the attack with a sustained barrage of heavy artillery, and I reckon, probably shocked a substantial section of the UK Comedy Community with the extreme level of my vitriol.
I am now likely known as "that angry, aggressive Scottish comedian".
People meeting me will perhaps now expect a "Gerry Sadowitz" type persona, and will be surprised at how dull and mild-mannered I am in real life.
I think I'll stay clear of these forums...
I feel slightly soiled by the whole episode....
Still, no such things as bad publicity is there?
(I've always believed this saying to be absolute shite)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

28/08/07 Ho Hum



I was watching a great play on BBC2 last night ; Gregory Burke's "Black Watch".
It was very cleverly directed and Burke's written dialogue was fantastic.
He has accurately captured the language of "Fife working class male" in all it's foul mouthed glory.
It'd be fair to say he makes Irvine Welsh sound like PG Wodehouse.
The play certainly contained the greatest intensity of "cunts" on television in the history of broadcasting...
Or, at least since the last Conservative Party Conference (aye thang u!)
The play didn't say anything particularly groundbreaking ; just pointing out that Scottish working class people have been the mainstay of the British Empire for the last 300 years, and that little has changed...and that basically, war is shit, and the campaign in Iraq is a questionable venture.
But it was still great to watch, and will certainly shake anyone up who was under the impression that military life is accurately reflected by the Soldier Boys featured in "Trumpton".
I rounded off my Fringe stand-up with a real belter of a gig at The Stand in Glasgow.
Nice to finish on a high.
In terms of being part of the "Free" Fringe, I'm not sure if I'd do it again.
As of last year I didn't get a review, which is a pain as one of the main reasons behind doing the Fringe is trying to get a bit of recognition and get a little further up the ladder.
But in spite of this disappointment, the Fringe gives you the opportunity to do loads of gigs in a concentrated period of time, and by doing so get better at the stand-up game.
There have been a lot of great acts on at the Free Fringe/Festival, but I get the impression that the media remain unconvinced.
Loads of shows haven't been reviewed at all, and I know a lot of people in out-of-the- way venues who have had pitiful audiences and have found the whole experience very dispiriting.
We were lucky because our venue was so central and we had big crowds every day.
In the olden days The Scotsman used to attempt to review every show on the Fringe ; but this is no longer viable...
There were 600 comedy shows alone on at the Fringe...
I wonder what percentage of them got a review?
Reviewers no doubt enjoy the privileges of getting freebie tickets for expensive shows and probably won't be as enthusiastic to trawl around all the Free shows...
But don't get me started on reviewers....!
The Fringe thrives on reviews and will always need them, but there have been so many complete plonkers who have wrongly been given the license to determine whether someone has a good or a bad festival...
I think it's fair to say that if you're wanting to use the opportunity of doing the Fringe for career advancement you're going to have to splash the cash and book a spot at one of the bigger established venues.
So anyway, I symbolically crushed a packet of fags and chucked them into the bin, and I am now "on the wagon" for a while as well, perpetuating the classic yo-yo lifestyle regime (debauched then pure then debauched etc)

Friday, August 17, 2007

17/08/07 More Fringe



I am definitely enjoying this Fringe miles more than the other two which I've been involved in performing.
The "Free Mouseketeers" show went really well after a shaky start, and on a personal level I feel I've improved a lot over the run. At last (I think) the delivery is doing the material justice.
Afternoon comedy audiences can be very tough to get going, and we've certainly had to work hard all week...
Top Aussie comic Greg Fleet came to see the show on Monday and then gave us a nice recommendation on Radio 4.
I also had a great gig at a "Pick Of The Fringe" evening at The Stand in Glasgow last Thursday...
The Comedy Mojo is high at the moment, but as I am all too painfully aware, this status can adjust dramatically at any moment.
I did do an ill-advised late night 5 minute spot after downing a couple of jugs of Margharita cocktails, but we won't say any more about that...
Some comedians thrive on alcohol.
I don't...I turn into a giggling version of Dads Army's Private Godfrey.
A few random Fringe thoughts?
I was strangely impressed to see Celtic manager Gordon Strachan at a Daniel Kitson gig.
I felt like going up to him and shaking his hand and saying "Well done!"
I had a good gig at Canon's Gait last night.
It doesn't seem as busy a venue as in previous years though. I guess the expansion of the "Free" concept has had something of a dilution effect on individual venues.
There was the statutory drunken yappy old lady in attendance.
I came out with what I thought was a quite funny off-the-cuff quip ;
"People at the Fringe generally have a drink between shows, but I get the impression you're seeing a show between drinks"
(ok, not brilliant, but it got a big laugh)
Before I went on I chatted to a comedian who was doing a show at the same venue as me.
He mentioned that his show was getting filmed on Monday.
"Good luck with that!" I said
"Fuck off! It's nothing to do with luck mate!" he said
"Well, when I say "Good Luck", I'm just hoping the show goes well and you get a good audience" I said
"Fuck off mate! There's no such fucking thing as a "bad audience". It's up to you as a performer to energise the room whoever is in there..." he said
"Some audiences are basically "Cunts Conventions" I opined.
"That's rubbish mate" he said
etc etc etc
Now, there is definitely an element of truth in what he is saying about never blaming the audience and always look at yourself first for criticism.
However, there is luck involved in the Fringe...
A great audience, a great performance (coinciding with the presence of a reviewer)..
You need a little good fortune to have all these things happen simultaneously doncha?
Anyway, I thanked him for the 15 minute lecture, made my excuses and left...

Monday, August 13, 2007

13/08/07 And They're Off....



Well the show kicked off on Saturday...
The place was absolutely jammed, but it was ultimately a disappointing show.
The audience were very flat and we didn't really get them going.
I suppose ideally it would have been better not to start the run on a Saturday and have a quieter gig just to run through the show and get up to speed.
I'd only met the other comics in the show on the previous night,so it was largely an experimental format.
Anyway,we decided to change a few things around for Sunday's gig.
I was to do a short opening slot to gee the audience up and get the energy in the room going a bit more.
I loved doing that...probably because it's such a departure from my usual stage persona.
It was 5 minutes of shouty nonsense,culminating in ripping off Rick Molland's trademark Jekyll & Hyde "Mexican wave". (I'm sure he won't mind)
It definitely made a significant difference to the show,and we all had a miles better reaction than the Saturday.
Woo hoo!
I've been to see a few shows...
Richard Herring - excellent as usual
Daniel Kitson - excellent as usual (although I slightly regretted going to see him the day before my show started, as I felt incredibly inferior in comparison)
Rich Hall - hilarious,but heinously expensive
Phil Nicol - jawdroppingly fantastic
I've also seen possibly the worst sketch show I've ever seen,and I saw a comic Andrew Watts in a show called "Late Starters" reduce me to tears of laughter...
I've been going to see a few shows with Cheesy McLoughlin who is up visiting for a couple of days.
In terms of type of laughter,Cheesy is a "snorter".
He has the most infectious laugh of anyone I've ever known,and when he goes off on a snorting fit,he takes me with him and I'm often in great physical pain through laughing.
Any comic would kill to have someone like that in the audience.
He also sets off chains of other people laughing.
He's not indiscriminate though...;it has to be really funny to get him going...but once he's off...pow!!!
Anyway, so far it's been 2 full houses and I've only done about 10 minutes flyering
in total...
This is good.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

09/09/07 Fringe




Well, it's the Fringe again and I'm currently limbering up for the show I'm involved in which kicks off on Saturday 11th August at 5.15pm at the Jekyll & Hyde bar in Edinburgh which goes under the monicker of "The Free Mousketeers".

My whole attitude to doing a show at the Fringe has drastically altered from my wide eyed enthusiasm of my debut at this event in 2005.
I am a tired old cynic this time round...
Thankfully the venue is so central and well located that a minimum level of flyering is required...
Audience numbers have been very strong for this week's Mouseketeer show in the same slot (with 3 different comics).
Hopefully they will get a great review at the end of their run and we will get the benefit of it in audience numbers next week...!
Hey,one thing I've learnt is that nothing in comedy is fair...If you get a break,just take it...
Mind you,if they get a stinker of a review....??? (but I'm sure they won't...it's a good show and is working really well)
Interesting Fringe moments?
A comedian I know chatted to me in a bar for a few minutes then left me with a flyer for their show...
The comedian then returned 15 minutes later to find I'd made a rather cute paper aeroplane out of the aforementioned flyer...
That was a bit embarassing...
I was stopped on the street twice yesterday by people asking me for money.
They both asked me for a pound.
I am shocked at this example of begging hyper-inflation.
It seems absolutely everybody increases their rates exponentially at Festivaltime in Edinburgh.
I was chatting with a fairly famous comedian who'd had a four star, a five star and a one star review in the same day.
It became clear that the annoyance of the one star review very much outweighed the satisfaction of the other two great reviews.
I was surprised.
I thought the reaction would be "Fuck it...who cares?"
The chances are that the review was written by some spotty journalism undergraduate who has probably never been to a comedy club in their life and who is desperately trying to stand out from the pack by slaughtering an established comedian with a shitty little petulant review.
The review system is all bollocks and it's crazy that people should become so obsessed with this stupid "star" system, but that's the way it is...
I also had a bit of a chuckle at a few shows' reviews on www.edfringe.com
The site allows audience members to submit reviews...
Of course,this means that people actually involved in shows (or family and friends) can also submit ludicrously fawning, OTT reviews.
However,the right technique is not to go mental and say things like "the funniest show I've ever seen in my life" or "Jim Park is a comedy genious without peer"...
Just be positive overall,but maybe make a couple of minor criticisms to disguise the fraudulent nature of your contribution...
(I did this 2 years ago but now view the devious act as fundamentally pointless)
Some shows have got loads and loads of transparently "friendly reviews"...I feel embarassed for them...
This is pointless...the great British public aren't going to fall for this...in fact I'd say it would make me less likely to go and see a show...
Oh,and I said hello to Nina Conti...she is stunningly attractive,not that there's anything wrong with that.
It's good to meet a lot of fringeys,but it's not so good to speak to people who just drone on and on about their show and their experiences bla bla bla and fail to realise that the best conversations usually include contributions from more than one participant...
Call me old fashioned...
Yes I'm a fan...but Richard Herring's show was awesome and I heartily recommend it...the boy is a genius...
I turned out for the Chortle Comic's football match today...great stuff...I met the legendary Chortler Tony Cowards...
He asked me if I was Jim Hobbit...
I told him I wasn't...

Monday, August 06, 2007

06/08/07 Back



I've been away in sunny Spain on holiday...
I had a lovely time even though it was murderously hot...(knocking on the door marked
"40 degrees"...Scottish people can only survive for a limited time in that climate)
But hey,you don't want want to hear about "lovely times"...you want to hear about disasters, quirky Spanish happenings and that sort of malarkey...
One of the enduring memories of the holiday stems from a visit we took to a festival going off in a small town near where we were based...
As we walked along checking the " fairground attractions",there was nothing initially unusual...
There was candy floss, kiddies roundabouts, a bouncy castle....
But then we came across a roundabout which was unusual in the sense that it had real ponies attached to the mechanisms.
The operator would switch on the machine which would guide the attached ponies round in circles for the prescribed period...
"That's something you don't see every day!" I thought to myself...
Would they allow this in the UK? Hmmmm.....probably not!
I was also interested to see the old "throw a ping pong ball in a goldfish bowl and win a goldfish" stall...
I think offering creatures as prizes was outlawed in Britain about 25 years ago...
(I'm not sure about the exact date...but it is a while for sure)
The piece of resistance though was the fact that the goldfish were actually currently living in the bowls which you had to try and throw the ping pong balls in...
Hopefully, their limited short term memory will ease the trauma of having your house constantly bombarded by big white balls...
At least we used to have the sensitivity to have empty goldfish bowls to aim at,and
kept the fish in smart little plastic bags...
We are a nation of animal lovers...
More adventures tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

18/07/07 And Today In The Gallery









In this picture we see a ruthless, psychopathic alien hellbent on global conquest, but who unfortunately has trouble getting up stairs....

and behind Dave Reilly, is a Dalek.....

Aye thang u!

Sorry Dave...!! (who wrote this shit? Ed.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

17/07/07 Jings!
















I was walking along George Street in Edinburgh and I heard this really loud shitty music blasting away.
I presumed there must be a pop group of dubious merit parading their wares in the environs of Princes Street Gardens.
I was then surprised to realise that the din was being emitted by a biker via his in-house music system on a Harley Davidson motorbike.
I've got to hand it to him...this was definitely raising anti-social twattery to art form status.
It was amusing to see him create a mexican wave of scowls from pedestrians as he passed them driving along George Street.
The punch line of this anecdote is that he was of course wearing a fucking crash helmet...!
ie he's protecting his own ears from this hideous racket, but inflicting the full unprotected version on the Great British Public.
I ask you...!
In terms of appropriate behaviour, it's like walking into an exam hall and singing "Muletrain", punctuating it by banging a tray off your head, and then adopting that pose favoured by Latino footballers when they protest their innocence to the referee.
Scotland's health record is appalling...I had some ideas to alleviate the sorry mess we are in ;

Have a special "Scottish Prize" in the National Lottery draw, whereby if you get 2 numbers, you win a single piece of Broccoli.

Super Casinos should be created in Scotland.
However punters would be allowed to use real deep fried chips for betting purposes.
Assuming most punters lose, this would drastically cut down the number of chips available for consumption and would thus go a long way to promoting a healthier diet for Scottish people.

I'd also like to propose a ban on eating smoked fish in an enclosed area.

Loved "The Thick Of It" on TV at the weekend, full of incendiary one-liners and gloriously creative swearing.
It's like "swearing jazz"...
A couple of favourite lines ;
(on a rumour)
"It's spreading faster than a rent boy's cheeks"
"you're about as secure as a hymen at a South London comprehensive..."

Also, a nice quote from Patt Morrison of the LA Times on Victoria Beckman's current excruciating profile-raising campaign Stateside...

"If you're looking for rich, we've got Paris Hilton, and if you're looking for thin blondes, if you fire a cannon in Beverly Hills, you hit 100 of them.
It's a very competitive market, even for a Beckham."

I've been wondering to myself what the view of the Cherokee Jeep directors is regarding the recent surge in brand awareness they've experienced as a result of the botched Glasgow Airport terrorist attack.
I mean, you can't say it's bad publicity as such, can you?
Whereas 9/11 put people off flying, things like this don't put people off driving, so there's no real downside for the "featured" manufacturer.
I suppose the company could take pride in that the terrorists would obviously choose what they perceived as a very reliable vehicle.
It would be really embarassing if the clutch cable snapped on the way to a terrorist attack, as happened several times with my unlamented Renault 11, (I should point out I was coming back from shopping rather than being involved in a terrorist attack)
Perhaps Cherokee Jeep could capitalise on this Al Qaeda endorsement?
"Jeep Cherokee! The car to be seen dead in!"
"The drive of your death!"

Anyway, on a more serious note, I think they should ban these gas cylinders that all these would-be car bombs were stuffed with...
It would make life much harder for the terrorists if they had to use charcoal briquettes instead...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

14/07/07 At The Movies










I went to see "La Vie En Rose" yesterday.
It's a film on the life of Edith Piaf, in case you didnae ken.
I wasn't that impressed initially.
The timeline jumped about a lot, maybe occasionally unnecessarily.
It looked like a fairly bog standard biopic, suffering from the traditional fault of a lot of French cinema, "style over substance".
I guffawed at the saintly, hearts-of-gold portrayal of the prostitutes who looked after the young Edith for a few of her formative years...
But in spite of my misgivings, the film was saved by a mesmerising performance by Marion Cotillard in the title role.
Also, there were a few moments where the highly charged emotional impact was akin to a punch in the stomach.
I shed a few tears..! (Mind you, it's not really a big ask for this to occur with me these days...Christ, I'm turning into the Sir Dickie Fucking Attenborough of Scottish Comedy).
I should point out that I was fairly composed compared to the two females in the row behind, who were sobbing uncontrollably as the titles came up.
I bought a putter on Ebay a couple of weeks ago, (I am cool).
It seemed like a great bargain, as the normal price for a putter like this was 100 quid.
This one was 20 quid! (plus 20 for postage).
When it arrived a couple of days ago, I was surprised to see a Chinese postmark on it.
It had come a long way!
However, when I inspected my purchase, it didn't look quite right...
I think it's fair to say that it appeared as though it had been constructed by someone in a remedial metalwork class at school.
It's something I might have come up with.
I was notoriously shit at metalwork at school.
After my drunken cigarette-smoking antics on Tuesday night after a successful Black Bo's comedy night, I have up till now avoided all traces of cigarettes and alcohol.
I feel great, I've been very productive ; churning out loads of new material ideas, getting things done that I'd been putting off for ages, I feel I have loads of extra energy....
I've been waking up without hangovers...it's great...!
However, I know that at some point I will re-aquaint myself with those addictive poisons and thus continue the cycle...
Maybe I shouldn't?
(who do I think I'm kidding?)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

12/07/07 New Cheese




Congratulations to Cheesy McLoughlin (pictured)and Sam on the birth of their son Daniel.
Cheesy is coming up from England to the Fringe for a quick visit to see my show.
2 years ago Cheesy said my show was "better than I thought it was going to be", (great quote for flyers).
Last year he thought the show was "better than last year" (again, an excellent flyer quote)
A nation holds its breath as we wait to hear his pronouncement on this years production.
It will be reported in full on this Blog.
I am a free man again.
Finishing off my IT contract last Friday, I slapped my ID card on to the receptionist's desk, and as I always do at the end of contracts, deliver my line
"My work here is done..." in a halting Robocop style, before walking out the doors.
The receptionist laughed...
After the catastrophic gig in Glasgow, any laughs are gratefully received.

It's good to be free, although I'm not looking forward to the routine of wearing a formal business suit every Friday.
It's a tiresome chore, but I feel it's absolutely essential to make a visible distinction between the downtrodden workforce tugging their forelocks at "The Man", and bohemian people of leisure such as myself.
Last night at Black Bos was great.
The pub was pretty jammed and all the acts did well.
It feels like a proper little comedy club now, and everybody there had come specifically to see the comedy.
In some of the early shows, people were a little startled to see a comedy night suddenly spring up when they were out having a quiet drink.
I kept my MCing fairly brief and joke orientated to ease myself back into the swing of things after the Glasgow debacle.
The thing is, in spite of repeating to oneself ahost of comedy cliches like "you learn more from your bad gigs than your good ones", "treat triumph and disaster both as imposters", "take it on the chin and move on" etc etc, there is still an element of confidence which gets chipped away, and there's an undercurrent of trepidation when your subsequent comedy outing comes around.
It was all ok though...I feel better now.
I had this idea of forcing my pet chipmunks to inhale helium as an experiment.
Based on the negative multiplication mathematical theorem, I would expect them to commence speaking like Sean Connery or Lee Marvin.
Unfortunately they exploded.
I don't really have pet chipmunks and I don't support animal cruelty,so please don't firebomb my house.
I got a bit pissed and smoked cigarettes till 3.00am.
I am an arse.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

05/07/07 Thanks For The Memory








I was saddened to hear today of the death of George Melly.
I wasn't a great fan of his music, but I still regard him as a legend.
This principally stems from the following incident.
When my friend Mitch was a young boy, about 12 I think...he spotted George in a street in Edinburgh.
He ran up to him and said excitedly "Are you George Melly?"
George replied "Fuck Off!"
Although, I wasn't there, the imagined vision of Mitch's shocked expression retains an unerring capacity to make me laugh, and has done for many years.
It also leads me to remember another incident 10 years later when Mitch noticed Jimmy Boyle entering a restaurant ahead of him and some pals.
"that's Jimmy Boyle" someone whispered to Mitch.
"Go and ask him for a fight!" Mitch whispered back.
However, this was more of a "stage whisper" delivery from Mitch and was heard clearly by Jimmy B., who gave Mitch a fantastic glower of withering intensity.
I'd like to think that if ever I became sufficiently famous and found myself in The "George Melly" role, I would also reply with a resounding "Fuck Off!".
Ok, you run the risk of upsetting and traumatising a small child ; however the friends of the small child will rejoice in the anecdote and it will be the source of much laughter in the years ahead.
Perhaps on the the child's friends will write about it in an Interweb Blog in the future?
I was very flattered to receive a recommendation for my Blog from Mark Nelson in his blog which you can read here.
I remember seeing Frankie Boyle a few years ago at The Stand when he was starting out, and was immediately struck by the quality of his writing and how it elevated him way above all the other new comedians I'd seen around that time.
I get the same gut feeling about Mark's writing.
And hey, he's the current "Scottish Comedian of the Year", so I'm not alone.
Go see him!