Monday, May 04, 2009

Ding ding! All aboard...

If you have ever walked around all day with a pit bull terrier’s jaws locked onto your calf muscle, than you have an inkling of what it is like to have presented funnyman Gordon Alexander with a tempting opportunity to take the mickey out of you in a sustained attack.
Gordon’s attention had been captured by my “QI” warm-up spots posting.
He spent most of yesterday, casting doubt on the veracity of my tragic tale of missed opportunity and heartbreak.
We were forced together, as yesterday was the photoshoot for our upcoming show “The Silence of the Trams” ; now forever referred to as “TSOTT”.
I took the opportunity to dress up as a “tram conductor”, complete with a false moustache and a camp hat.
There are people who may think that the “QI” anecdote was a crude episode of self-promotion…a desperate, cloying attempt to take something positive from a day of disappointment by hoping that the disclosure, that I was within a million miles of being selected for a job of this nature, might inflate my comedy profile, and cause the conservative, small-minded Scottish promoters who consistently pass me over for gigs, to think again and re-evaluate my comedy status, (I’m joking…I’m joking…).
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s warts and all on this blog, and, of course, everyone knows that disasters make much better reading than success stories.
I have just experienced two dropping incidents in two days.
Last night I dropped a pint glass during Billy Kirkwood’s impressive set at The Stand.
The glass, thankfully, didn’t smash, but everyone turned and stared at me disapprovingly, which I found very unsettling.
Then today at work I dropped a carton of tea, causing mayhem. Losing my grip? (on reality?)
I didn’t get where I am today by dropping a pint of lager and a cup of tea, on consecutive days.
We got a little mention in the Evening News…
I particularly liked the “finest young comedians” bit.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Almost quite interesting....

I got an email yesterday from the Hackney Empire people.
It was confirming a couple of gigs (one of them doing an extended set back at the Hackney Empire “Best of Hackney New Act of the Year” show on July 18th ; I’m looking forward to that!).
They also went on to ask if I’d be interested in doing warm-up spots for the studio audience of the BBC show “QI”.
Apparently, the “QI” people had been at the Hackney final and were “very impressed”, and had asked about my availability.
I said I was interested, after picking myself up off the floor.
I then made the classic mistake of telling a few people about the “QI” thing, and then got another email later that day to say that unfortunately they’d already filled the spots.
I wilfully broke the law concerning talking about something before it was a done deal.
The initial email had been in my inbox for a few hours before I had the chance to read it, so perhaps I missed the boat timewise.
Still, it was flattering to be considered for such a position, and hopefully I’ll get another opportunity.
We’ve recently been spending some time sorting out all the Park memorabilia which has been stored away in my sister’s flat.
Being involved in this process stirs up a lot of emotions.
There were a lot of laughs, but also a great many poignant moments.
There was some hilarity when an old diary belonging to my Gran was discovered.
One entry concerned my sister and I and read ; “Jim and Janie came to visit me. It was nice to see Janie”.
Now, my interpretation of this was that my Gran mentioned “it was nice to see Janie” because she wasn’t as regular a visitor as I was,
and that her happiness at my presence didn’t need to be explicitly remarked upon, as I was pretty much the favourite Grandchild who was constantly doted on, (well this is my clear recollection anyway).
A visit from Janie was a rarer event, and this is obviously what Gran is alluding to.
She was too busy going to parties and hanging out with freaks.
What worried me was thinking, that if I was to become a famous comedian/national-treasure-type figure, some BBC commissioning editor
might decide, in the future, to commission yet another mean-spirited BBC bio-pic on a British comedian.
They’d be researching my life, and on finding this diary, would wrongly assume that my Gran couldn’t stand the sight of me, and would
no doubt feature this in the film as one of the many indicators of the private tragedy behind funnyman Jim Park’s chirpy demeanor.
Obviously, I’ll have to make sure I write a tedious autobiography to counter such possible misconceptions.
(suggested titles? “No Parking!”, “Just Jim!”, hmmm…very poor)
But there were also sadder things.
There was a stack of “Get Well” cards that the kids at my Mum’s school had made for her when she was ill.
The cards had obviously meant a lot to my mum.
We were trying to be ruthless with a lot of the stuff, but couldn’t bring ourselves to bin things like this ; even though they were painful to read.
We also found an old cassette tape with a Park party going on in the background…lots of laughter, singing songs round the piano.
I heard myself playing a medley of tunes on the piano at the party.
There was “Sleepy Shores” (my piece of resistance) as well as (very ironically) “The Sash My Father Wore” and “Derry’s Walls”.
I did this mainly to annoy my Dad who was raised a catholic, and couldn’t stand Rangers.
I’ll always remember his face when my Grandpa gave me a Rangers LP for my 8th birthday with all the usual delightful, sectarian bilge on it.
Although, at the time, I thought it was great and played the record incessantly.
Then we read this by successful Edinburgh singer/songwriter Kim Edgar.
We were all really touched by how she regarded my mum as such an inspirational figure.