Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
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
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
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
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!
Monday, July 02, 2007
So I had an interesting gig in Glasgow on Saturday night.
It's probably fair to say that my welcome in the West was comparable to that accorded
to the two gents in the Cherokee Jeep who decided that the existing short term car park at Glasgow Airport wasn't quite close enough for their liking to the Check In desks.
With hindsight, I did make a severe error of judgement by going ahead with using the inner voice/backing tape intro thing.
If I'd been thinking straight, I'd have observed that the way the crowd reacted to the first act strongly suggested that they'd not go for this weird intro at all.
In addition, I had a technical hitch with the CD and had to stand about onstage for a couple of minutes assuring an already sceptical audience that I would be "hilarious" once I got started.
It's often stressed in comedy land how important a strong opening to your act is.
It gets the audience comfortable and immediately onside, and buys you time to get up and running.
Unfortunately, I was getting booed and heckled within a couple of minutes of launching my unusual intro.
At this point, I get the feeling that the audience made a collective decision to refrain from laughing at any of my subsequent "jokes".
I wouldn't want you to think that I was blaming the audience for my own shortcomings, but most objective observers would probably conclude that there was a substantial quota of mentalist morons present amongst the assembled comedy crowd.
They didn't really give any of the acts a lot of respect, but I definitely copped the worst of their wrath!
I ended up overrunning and doing a 25 minute set.
When you're constantly being interrupted it's impossible to tell how long you've been doing, as your usual material/time markers are all over the place.
I should remember to look at my watch before I go on stage.
I tried to win them over by suggesting that according to recent scientific research, people in Glasgow have smaller brains than their counterparts in Edinburgh and are subsequently less able to appreciate the nuances of sophisticated comedy.
I also mentioned that they were bitter over Edinburgh status as capital of Scotland.
(of course I am a Glaswegian myself and obviously refute these suggestions, but playing the snobby Edinburgher seemed the best way to wind them up)
These are sophisticated heckler put downs though, aren't they?
(I know...I know...I know....must try harder! ho ho)
Unfortunately, all this didn't seem to help matters at all.
It just turned into a war of attrition type shouting match.
I've never experienced a reaction like that in any gig anywhere...
I even had some people walk out!
I have to say that on a strange masochistic level I really enjoyed it...
I'm sure it's ultimately "character building"...
Bizarrely, some of my worst hecklers told me afterwards they'd actually really enjoyed it...
It's fascinating to see your friends eyes light up when you tell them you've just had a fairly catastrophic gig...
It obviously makes a far more interesting story than hearing about how well I did the week before...
People are bastards. (apart from me, obviously)
I think that is the motto of today's piece.
This is my all-time favourite sketch from "Absolutely"....