22 Feb 2009

Post 108: Seeing brilliant comic Andrew Maxwell and a progress update

Mercifully for reader and writer alike this should be a pretty short post because of time, energy and inspiration constraints.
On Friday I went to yet more stand up comedy and I think I can safely say it was one of the funniest sets I've ever seen. This sort of praise doesn't come easily to such a deep cynic as myself so I'll have a go at explaining why, the guy in question was a young Dubliner called Andrew Maxwell at the Soho theatre, word to the wise about Soho, the pavements barely seemed designed for walkers (especially pissed friday night ones), can you imagine what a nightmare it was for my wheelchair?! Only the grass on Clapham Common and 10,000 (Wasted) people at SW4 (Post 66) was more challenging.
One of the many reasons for Maxwell's brilliance is I've always liked my comedy with an accent (eg Mark Watsons Welsh, Frankie Boyles Scottish, Dara O'Brians Irish, Bill Baileys farmer, Jim Jeffries Australian etc...), In many ways accents are the first weapon in the comics armory but it is imperative the underlying material is funny a bit like that 'comedian' at the free fringe gig(Post96) (whose name fortunately escapes me) who it seemed expected his South West Accent to carry his frankly weird material about being a wrestling punk that collected My Little Ponies, there's comedy and there's plain wierdness. As my good friend Shaun would shout in clubs to imbeciles trying to invoke the celtic spirit (for example) 'STOP BEING WIERD'.
Maxwells style is one of anecdotal raconteur, he recounted some hilarious situations he'd been in the middle of and it's a wonder he's still alive actually, ones that stick in the mind are how he had done a gig for Sin Fein IRA (the properly scary provos) in a pub on the Falls Road in Belfast and so as not to be outdone the UDA/UVF had then booked him for a gig in a pub on the Shankhill Road in Belfast. I found it hilarious how he described several of the characters and how he meandered his way through both gigs all the time thinking about whether he would keep his kneecaps. The other anecdote that stuck was about how he had done a gig in Dublins maximum security prison ostensibly (and jokingly) to say thankyou for some excellent drugs he had done and how 'you ain't never been heckled till you've been heckled by the lifer wing of a maximum security prison) especially when one of the heckles related to anal rape and to get him out of the place with said virginity intact he resorted to taking the piss out of the screws to make the inmates laugh, a somewhat risky manoeuvre I thought at the time considering they had the keys.
I wished my Irish/N.Irish friends had been there to see this. Peter would have been howling instead I am extremely grateful to my mate Oli who has previously taken me to see the bonkers Mighty Boosh in December (Post 91). In amongst these side splitting anecdotes Maxwell wove in some excellent jokes like ' Could you believe how all the awfulness of modern China was just forgotten because they put on a good opening ceremony? I'm no choreographer, but give me a million slaves and I could put on something pretty special'. It was a pretty special night made even better by the intimacy of the venue (The Soho Theatre) Unlike somewhere massive like the Apollo you really get the impression that the Comedian is talking to the crowd rather than at some random point in the middle distance, maybe it's got something to do with my eyesight?
Anyways, while I'm here it's probably worth furnishing anyone who cares (anyone?) with a brief progress update as to the kind of shape I'm in. To be honest I still feel dreadful every waking second. The arrival of gorgeous Asli (post 103) has helped my mental condition a lot and I no longer have the same sense of purposelessness/uselessness anymore but it is going to take a while for my self esteem (which has taken a huge hit) to recover. In fact Andrew Maxwell said in his show it is wanting to build our self esteem that makes musicians/comedians write and perform. Having high self esteem makes us feel good , by that token, to much is not a good thing, it makes people arrogant which is one of the worst things you can be , my weekly chats to lovely Vicki ( bottom of post 81) have helped a lot and the two weekly visits to this professional counselor Harry (who Vicki found) help too. Harry is himself a stroke survivor and he has said that one of the best ways for me to come to terms with this is to 're-invent myself'. I guess I am trying but I need to get rid of this notion that I have become a 'miserable bastard' and learn to be grateful for small mercies like my friends and actually being alive. We are currently talking about adjusting my expectations, Harry suggested using the word 'adjust' rather than my original choice which was 'lower'. Too right. Walking is still depressingly difficult and even though my new regime (walking with a gutter frame three times a week in the village hall) appears to be reaping dividends in terms of distance ~300m at last count) it still feels exhausting and wipes me out, making me feel like 'real independent walking' is as far away as ever. Next Tuesday night I am going for this sleep study to test the hypothesis that some of my fatigue might be caused by 'sleep apnoea' apparently a condition common after stroke but obviously not common enough for two of the top hospitals in stroke rehab not to have mentioned it ONCE in two years. If this makes a big difference I will be asking some pretty serious questions about their qualifications. I'm incandescent that this was never investigated before. Bah, this was supposed to be a short post!


Mernie said...

That video is a joy to see :o) xx

Shaun said...

Dom, that video gave me goosebumps! Amazing!

Can't believe how much you've progressed - it's brilliant!!!!

:) :) :) :)


rich said...

Mate, that's an awesome vid! Very cool to watch.

Dom P said...

I'm glad you like the vid, I wish I could share your excitement!

Shaun said...

Dom, I cannot fathom how you can be so negative about what is clearly a massive achievement. You are clearly progressing with your rehab much better than I imagined you were from what you tell me. Am very impressed and you should be too...

Dom P said...

That's very kind of you to say but one thing you can't see in the vid is how much pressure I have to put on the frame, that's what makes me so negative, after Thursday I should be getting a much less supportive frame

Dom P said...

Mern, Andrew Maxwell would make you cry with laughter!

rich said...

I'm no expert, but all i see is a guy who I care about doing better this week than last week. as long as that pattern continues (albeit allowing for some peaks and troughs along the way), then tomorrow will quite possibly be better than today. and long may that continue!

Simon said...

I totally agree Rich! It's all about baby steps and building on each previous day. Good work on the walking Dom!

Mernie said...

I'll have to try and see him sometime then.

And to echo Shaun, stop being so negative! The walking is a brilliant achievement. End of!




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