11 Feb 2013

Post 382: Getting 2013 off to some sort of start

Certainly not ‘Gangnam Style’, that can sod off, but if a theory is an idea you haven’t fully thought through, then I’ve got a theory. This theory started to take shape after I saw American comedian Rich Hall back in September 2009
Now he said (referring to being an American comedian in England),’you come to where the misery is’, which suggests to me that we’re a country of depressives, and the boom in the popularity of stand-up comedy (or mirthquake as Daniel Kitson describes it must be because people in this country are so f*cking pissed off with everything
I feel kinda exonerated for feeling a little bit depressed from time to time in the light of this theory and I’m hopefully doing the right stuff to try and improve things. Namely going places, meeting people and doing things (thankyou Cam for that turn of phrase). I also exercise three times a week with my trainer and perhaps most controversially, I have committed to drink more by getting a couple of hip flasks. I’ve got cherry brandy in one and Sloe Gin in the other. F*ck it, if I’m going to feel grim all the time. I might as well be drunk. Trouble is being drunk won’t make me feel better, it’ll probably make me feel more tired. Perhaps it’ll make me a better social drinker? I think I’ve already established that my favourite thing to do is have people round and sociably drink some red wine and watch a film or series.
Speaking of which my wicked mates, ‘the Cheds’ (Christian aka Ched and his wife Terri) came round on Saturday night

for wine, cheese and intrigue-filled series Homeland. It was superb. Because they can take the train home we can drink as much red wine as we like. I also have a guestroom with en suite bathroom upstairs if people need to crash. It is important that people feel they can salubriously get spannered.
In the rest of my time I have been doing my level best to try not to be one of these serially depressed Brits by going to more live comedy than you can angrily shake a stick at.
Gary and Gwen’s older son Mark is a rather good stand-up comedian, and seeing as he has just moved here from Cape Town he had one of his first professional gigs in this country on Wednesday in the back room of a pub in Guildford. Now this was proper grass roots professional comedy. Forget the glamour of the Dome, the Hammersmith Apollo, TV cameras, panel shows or bloody Michael Macintyre energetically skipping around and telling a howling mob his simple bullsh*t observational callbacks, this is a room with 60 disgruntled shivering middle class people on a freezing Wednesday in February. It must be terrifying for the comedians. It was 4 comics and one compere. It was a slightly inauspicious start when the first comedian, a rather attractive girl called Hills Barker

took to the stage and informed us she had snapped a string on her guitar. When she had tried to replace it, that had snapped. Apparently it was the G-string and it was pure coincidence, not an ‘hilarious’ part of her act. So she went on with her non-musical material. She started with a good bit about how she’s doing her bit to be one of the few ladies not going with the ‘hairless’ pubic look after noting her gym changing room is a sea of ‘bald twats’ –I’ll be honest my imagination might have been running quite fast and a little bit of me felt like heckling ‘prove it’ but then I remembered I’m not a teenage yob. Still, the joke only works if the comic was as ‘bang tidy’ as Hills. Sadly the next comedienne on was a ginger American girl with a selection of jokes about her experience at Weightwatchers and being a ‘bit of a slut’ in London. I’m sorry but if I’d ever woken up next to a ‘fifteen pinter’ like her I’d have chewed my arm off to get out, I know that sounds harsh but it’s the bloody truth! Mark was on next and was excellent and I’m not just saying that. He made some very astute observations like you know when you’re getting old when you ask for Christmas presents based on ‘need’ rather than ‘want’ and he bent forward to show everyone the bald patch on the top of his head that seems to be mandatory after you’ve hit 40. The last guy, a slightly camp cockney Guy called Nick Wilty was superb

– the consummate professional journeyman headliner, I literally cannot remember any of his brilliant set bar his opener ‘ not a good week to look like Freddie Starr’. The compere Paul Kerensa I thought was bloody clever,

never did I lose interest and his patter with the crowd was sharp. Seeing as I mentioned ‘bald twats’ earlier (I’m not talking about you Mark), it does link me nicely into going to see ‘bald geezer’ Lee Hurst in Epsom on Friday

with my mate Jo. He is her favourite comedian so when I found out he was on in the closest proper venue to where I live, I snapped up tickets. It was a proper sell out too. Lee has been around for years and even though you could never describe Epsom as being remotely cockney there’s a lot of love for him. He says he gets to ‘take the piss’ for a living and he’s so experienced at it that he can happily fill an hour just by chatting to the audience, taking the piss in such a way that makes people laugh at themselves which makes a room full of palpably depressed middle class people fizz with positivity and laughter. The desired effect. JOB DONE. Australian Comedian Adam Hills can do this too,

what an art! It was much the same last night seeing Jimeoin

in Guildford with my old schoolmate Owen. Jimeoin is actually the stage name of rubber-faced Northern Irishman Jim Owen. Clearly his marketing team must have printed too many DVD inlays to realise that the stage name Jimeoin is neither sensical or any bloody good! Anyway, he was likeable and had Owen, I and the crowd laughing properly. I am feeling a little tired today though and my Monday training was more hideous than usual. Writing this is not filling me with joy and it appears to be SNOWING. Spring better start soon, or else!
It hasn’t all been comedy – my mate Isabel suggested a while back that we go to the newish Westfield Centre in Shepherds Bush.

Now, I used to love a bit of retail therapy but now I go for the impressiveness of the space, the smoothness of the floor, anything to get out of the house and to spend time and treat a mate to the exquisiteness of Nandos. Retail therapy only exists on Amazon these days, S-Commerce is strictly for people who can walk and aren’t on disability pensions. The Westfield is clearly a top retail environment and I can see why Oxford Street is blaming a drop in sales on the ‘Westfield effect’ as well as the ‘triple dip recession’,

the shopping is very La-di-da premium (Prada rubs shoulders with Gucci) – I would describe it as the ‘Harrods’ of shopping centres, Bluewater is the Selfridges, Thurrock would be the ‘Lidl Megamart’ and Brent Cross is the fires of hell, all in my opinion of course. Anyway, a nice day out and with typical British Optimism despite being indoors and good old English slate-grey overcast sky outside, I bought some cheap sunglasses.

Thanks to Isa for the idea.

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