Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nights drawing In etc

Ted the Cat had a traumatic afternoon today.
The trip to the vet is never one of his favourite experiences at the best of times, but this one was especially upsetting due to an enormous rottweiler unexpectedly bounding up to his catbox window and loudly barking in his face.
A comparable human experience might be a T. Rex sticking its head in your living room and roaring in your face while you are watching "Deal Or No Deal", (I don't actually watch "Deal Or No Deal").
The rottweiler became the third dog that he had to share the waiting room with.
When I got back home and released him, he really did seem to give me a look that said "What the fuck are you trying to do to me, you stupid bastard!".
It was writ large on his face.
I tried out some new jokes at Red Raw this week.
You tend to get advised to slip new bits of material in between "bankers" when you try them out, but I think you have to really expose them on their own to get an accurate impression of whether they have any future.
I started off with some old was going down a storm..big laughs, applause breaks...and then I told 3 clunkers in a row.
I'd lost them...
It's fascinating, that no matter how well a gig is going, you can just lose the audience belief in an instant.
I did some old stuff to finish up with, but couldn't get the reaction back up to the level it was at the start.
It was as if I was a juggler and dropped my balls (steady...) half way though my act, and even though I did some reasonably impressive tricks at the end, all they could think of was that messy bit in the middle.
Or maybe like kids watching a magician saw a lady in half, when the front panel of the box falls off, revealing a woman in each half of the box to the audience (sorry "Magic Circle").
No matter what magic trick he's does after that, the spell for the kids is catastrophically broken.
I like this makes it all interesting, and that's why testing big chunks of new material is always a slightly nervy experience for your common-or-garden stand-up comedy person.
The next night I was flattered to be asked to take part in "Breaking News" at The Stand in the highly esteemed company of Vladimir McTavish, Sian Bevan, Keir McAllister & Mark Nelson.
As the title of the show suggests it's a topical-based show, with rounds involving making up headlines, odd one out, what do they all have in common, putting forward a motion.
I had a few awkward moments, particularly during the "odd one out" pictures round, where my inane remarks created some classic tumbleweed audience reactions.
Luckily, everyone else was hilarious for this bit.
I fared better in the individual stand-up bits, and also in presenting my motion "Animals Should Be Allowed To Vote".
I have to admit I was bricking it bigtime on the day of this show...but it's a great learning experience to get out of your comfort zone.
In other news, I managed to win the "Stirling University Old Boys Golf Championship" at the weekend in Milnathort.
This was no mean feat, as amongst the field were such golfing giants as Richard Arnott, Billy Wilson and Alastair Johnson.
(The Big Three)
This was probably my greatest achievement of the whole weekend.
The major talking point amongst my Stirling buddies was when I described the Ipad as "an awesome piece of kit".
As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I had made a terrible, terrible error.
I will never hear the end of this.
Why didn't I just say "it was a reasonably impressive gadget".

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Good grief!

As I suspect many of my fellow countrypeople did, I found watching Scotland v Czech Republic an extremely painful experience.
We are brilliant at finding new ways to embrace failure. It's almost impressive.
The aspect of the game which led to the most inane shouts from me at the television was the fashion in which we played when we regained the lead with 7 minutes to go.
There was no composure, a complete inability to retain any semblance of control and some utterly brainless decision making.
It reminded me of my recent gig in Uddingston.
I got particularly animated when the Czechs punted a long hopeful ball from their own half which was heading out for a goal kick.
However, rather than let it run out and use up some of the dwindling remaining time, our keeper stopped the ball before it crossed the line and then kept play going.
I just can't imagine any other team doing that.
It wasn't the streetwise, canny thing to do.
When will we learn.
A production of "Macbeth" I saw during the Fringe was a light-hearted romp compared with this torture.
The penalty was no surprise...a dive yes...but a leg was stuck out and that's just asking for trouble.
It's the footballing equivalent to sticking your head out of a train window.
The referee was demonised, but overall I thought he had a decent game and was very lenient to Scotland on a few occasions, with his interpretation of some of our more "enthusiastic" tackles.
At one point in the game, the camera zoomed in to a Scotland player.
"Who is "Roam" I said "I've never heard of him."
I was in a pub, and unfortunately was operating in speaker mode rather than just thinking this to myself.
It turned out it was "Adam", admittedly in quite an unusual font.
This precipitated an hour of Jim baiting.
My eyesight is sadly failing.
I decided not to watch Scotland v Lithuania, thus ensuring a narrow victory for the Scots.
I think we're out though.
And yes, I know this is one of the latest match reports ever.
It does look like the IT Contracting market for me is's been flatlining for 6 months.
I'm not getting enough comedy gigs to live off so it's time to diversify.
I know people who used to do the same job as me and are now working in call centres.
Fair play to them, but I think I would finally go completely insane if I was to try that.
So instead it's painting and decorating, comedy, gardening (business cards being delivered tomorrow), low class escorting,
football betting and car boot sales for me.
It's actually quite an interesting experiment to try and live entirely off your wits rather than working for the man.