Monday, October 27, 2008

Vogue vogue vogue...

One of the benefits of working temporarily in a zany insurance office is that I get a chance to see what the current fashion trends are amongst urban professionals.
I'm thrilled to observe that the knitted tank top is making a big, big comeback.
It's also clear that some men are using the opportunity presented by a less rigid formal dress code (ie the tie is no longer compulsory), to wear their golf gear to the office.
Slacks, sleeveless golf shirts and Pringle sweaters are very much de rigeur.
It's a great privilege to be exposed to this high fashion sensibility on a daily basis, and I'm hoping that some of it will eventually rub off on me, and I will at last achieve my lifelong ambition of being a global style icon.
Other than fashion news, I decided to try the canteen today, and immediately regretted it ; although not as much as my colleague Nigel did, when presented with his salmon steak which looked like it had been cooked in the late 1960s and heated up for him today.
Looks like myself and fellow comedy man Graeme will be running a fortnightly comedy club at the Espionage in Edinburgh starting at the end of November.
We're planning on running it on a Friday night, early evening, and using the Fringe show format, ie an approximately 80 minute show with no interval.
The idea is that people have a chance to split the evening between comedy and being out on the lash/dancing.
Anyway, it will be an interesting experiment.
In exciting Home Improvement news, I'm getting the windows draught-proofed this week.
I reckon by 2039 this work will have paid for itself in the resultant energy savings.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

9 To 5

One good thing is that I don't have to take the morning train, as it's only a 12 minute walk from my home to the office.
It's fair to say that my return to the wacky world of IT contracting is proving every bit as enjoyable as I had anticipated.
Pension Schemes' online transactions rock I tell you..., and anyone who disagrees is a right cunt!
I had a bit of a chuckle as I went and purchased a cup of tea at the cafe bit.
I think I've done about 8 separate contracts here over the last 10 years, and this guy has always served me my cuppa.
In spite of buying probably a four figure number of cups off him, he still refuses to acknowledge me with any pleasantry or greeting, or engage in the most perfunctory of idle banter.
He knows I always have a tea but he never second guesses my choice in a way that a friendly bartender might.
There is almost something gently re-assuring about his studied indifference to his customers.
No, it's not just me. I have discussed this with others who share the same experience.
If he ever says "So you're back! How are you doing? Tea?", the shock would probably kill me.
Had a hugely enjoyable gig at The Stand on Sunday, and it was grand witnessing Andrew O'Neill's glorious, nonsensical rambling for the first time. Quality.
There was also a young guy Stephen Callaghan doing a 5 minute spot, who I'd never seen before and thought was bleeding hilarious.
This lightened my mood, as I contemplated the next day shock of employment.
The first day was ok, but I perhaps ill-advisedly went out to watch "Red Raw" in the evening, and ended up slurping down 6 pints of Amstell lager whilst sharing witty badinage with the ample comedy radar blips of Gordon Alexander and Antony Murray.
All very entertaining, but left me feeling like shit on Tuesday morning.
Must try harder.
Watched the final episode of "Sunshine" with Steve Coogan.
To be honest it's all a bit twee, but it still left me choked at the end, shamelessly manipulating my vulnerable old emotions.
Yes, I am such a big fucking sap these days, you wouldn't believe.
I still can't be bothered with football..
I watched a bit of Man U v Celtic but got bored and switched over.
20 years ago that fixture would have been hyped for weeks in advance, and it would have been deemed unthinkable to miss it.
Tonight's match was completely devoid of edge and excitement.
I got a contract in the post today for a gig down south that I got by speculatively sending out my comedy cv and gig audio to a few promoters.
A simple event, but one that made me feel like a "proper" comedian.
And yes...I know, I know just how wanky that sounds...but does my face look bothered?
No it jolly well does there!
Don't judge me...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Woo Hoo! It's Winter Time....!

After a couple of problematic gigs followed by the cancellation in Glasgow, I had a cracker at the Heresy Club at the Jekyll & Hyde.
That bar has been something of a happy hunting ground for me of late.
Other thoughts.
The voices of "River Cottage" presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and "Channel 4 News" presenter Jon Snow are virtually indistinguishable.
I have cancelled my Cable Sports subscription.
I have finally realised that I have fallen out of love with football, (Kris Boyd's post-Scotland v Norway, stupid, scowling face and reading Chick Young's ludicrous BBC Blog helped me arrive at this decision), and would rather use time spent watching it doing something else.
I'm not paying these twats wages any more.
I'm bored with the obsession with "Champions League millions".
I'm pissed off that there is no great improvement in Scottish footballers' technique, in comparison with other nations.
I watched the last US Presidential Debate this week.
It was slightly more interesting than the preceding debates, in that they finally had a bit of a pop at each other.
It was all still faintly anodyne stuff though, and most of the debate "action" has been as interesting as watching 2 men conducting independent powerpoint presentations.
I think you have to go back to 1988 to when there was a real big moment in one of these debates.
This was a classic moment when Lloyd Bentsen caught Dan Quayle with a big sucker punch.
It's particularly noticeable that the audience were a lot more involved in those days.
The audience in the modern version are obviously told not to react vocally to anything that is said during the course of the debate.
I quite like this one as well...
Ronald Reagan's face is a picture as his "There you go again..." line is thrown back at him with interest.
All very entertaining, but in the end George Bush (the first) and Reagan still won the elections in question, so maybe they don't matter that much anyway.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Take Me To The Bridge

My Ryder Cup betting triumph has been somewhat overshadowed by the disastrous effect of the credit crunch on me poor old shares.
I don't want to dwell on this other than state it is just as well that I live in a basement flat.
By way of a new hobby,I have begun the practice of burning cash in a brazier in my back garden.
This is quicker and easier than buying shares, with the additional benefit that I don't have to pay dealing charges.
It's a win/win situation.
Things have come to such a sorry pass that I have been forced back into IT Contract slavery, and begin to serve another 3 month sentence on the 20th October.
It's a sair fecht.
Last Saturday presented an opportunity to return to the scene of this disastrous gig.
It remains my most catastrophic gig ever,and probably merits a top 10 position in the pantheon of "worst gigs experienced in the history of stand-up comedy".
But here was a chance of redemption...14 months after the event.
Comedy impresario, "Honest" Rick Molland drove myself and 2 other acts through to Glasgow for the evening.
By coincidence he had been the MC at my disastrous gig.
He took great delight in regaling the tale of my previous downfall to the other acts.
Oh how we laughed!
It's fair to say that a certain amount of exagerration has crept into the telling of the tale, but this is very much in the great storytelling tradition, and it would be churlish of me to object to it.
I expect that by this time next year, the legend will have it that an estimated total of 400 people walked out the gig as I ranted and raved , of which 23 later committed ritual suicide in Sauchiehall Street, so traumatised were they by my display.
But this time it was going to be different.
I was gig fit, and was ready to spring on stage like a lean, mean boxer and punch someone in the front row in the face, metaphorically, with my jokes.
In the end, 3 people showed up, and the gig was cancelled...
What made the night worthwhile was that we were afforded two views, from an east and west perspective, of the the new pedestrian bridge which has been placed at Harthill on the M8.
It has cost 5 million quid and was placed there by "the largest mobile crane in the world".
So to be among the first 10 000 or so people to have seen the bridge from the M8 made it a very special evening, in spite of our disappointment at the cancellation of the gig.