Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday 18h December 2010: Gigs Before Christmas/B'day

Bum. Less than 24 hrs before my birthday and for a few years I've been wondering when the tipping point usually happens. That point where birthdays stop being a cause of celebration and become an incessant reminder of your impending demise and mortality. When does living become that vain race to maintain one's youth against an undefeatable opponent, who's got a jetpack capable of breaking the speed of light, mocking you constantly; not helped by the fact that with every step, you yourself crumble more and more into a festering heap of pathetic failure? No? Just me then.

Christmas is usually a busy time for comedians. Real comedians that is. Wannabes like me only get the open spots we desperately cling for; and few and far between they are. After the Uni term ended, last Thursday, I had a couple of days off. Or, rather, a couple of weeks! So I got a job (Oh, yeah. I am just like you! I got 99 problems, etc! Although Jay-Z would use other abbreviations. He's more into Ancient Greek-references and Seneca) and shambled around for a couple of days. I bought some more books (Vonnegut and Conrad. Nice).

On Tuesday, I met up with some friends I had met at the Edinburgh Fringe 2009, for a gig they were doing in Walthamstow. The tube ride (end of the Victoria line) was fine and eventually, we found our way to the pub where the gig was to be held. If that sounds like a easy road to comedy manna, it wasn't. There were iPhone troubles and Ben experienced a small existential crisis when he saw an empty market square. Still not sure what that meant. Hope he's better now.

The pub itself was full, although not with comedy people. Mainly people drinking, including a smattering of men and women at the back of the pub, sitting by themselves, apparently scheming the incumbent rule of the known world by the Walthamstow Galoshes society. We weren't sure. But you can never be too careful. The gig itself was being held in the room above the pub. A secret staircase lead up to it. The bar-bit was closed and the way to the toilet was dark. There was another room with half-finished carpenting in the middle of it. The toilets themselves were pitch-dark, only dimly lit by the vague green of a misfiring fluorescent tube, near the ceiling. I was scared. It turned out that there was a spot left on the line-up, which I took.

The first half was pretty good. Enjoyable, certainly. I was under the impression I'd finish the first half. This didn't happen, but I got on second to last. If you're into Sketch (or any) form of comedy, go see PE Comedy. They're amazing, and getting better with age. And since they're all offensively young; that's pretty astounding. Go see them! Now! Ahum. My gig went pretty well. Was quite happy, especially with how the weirder bits went. Good going, Walthamstow! And I was heckled in the pauses again. This time by the booker's mate. That's just the kind of night it was. This all went pretty well and lovely. If I was still afraid of hecklers, the gigs this year would certainly have dealt with that. Maybe I should just do that. Or become a teacher; the most heckle-inducing job in the world. Or a stand-up. Yeah, good idea.

The day after I had a gig at UCL Union, as a means of auditioning for the brilliant EdFringe showcase (feel the desperation in the adjective. I know. But it is really good! Go there if you're around in August!) the Lunchtime Club. Unfortunately no-one showed up but two girls near the bar and this one boy who looked like he really needed some comedy, who sat near the front. Since a gig with 3 paying customers is never a good idea, it was called off. NOTE: This was the first time in 12 years this happened; so not at all a usual occurence. But I was a bit disappointed, since I had been working towards this for the last couple of months. And worried about that guy in the audience e.g. the audient; hope he's having a lovely snowy time now.

So that's it really. One actual gig and one cancelled one. I'm doing the cancelled one in the new year. Looking forward to it! That and Holland. And having my birthday. Hmm. Yes. And coming back here in the new year.

Every year I look back at the year before and go: is that all you can do? Is that the best you could have done? Is this it? And then I go, yes. That is all. I am not capable of more. I am shit as a person. And then all the bits of my head agree that, however mediocre and disappointing I may be, they'd still stick along for the ride. Maybe just to mock me. But that's fine.

I hope to come up with something funnier/less self-consciously weird than this next year. When my readership shifts from Russian people and family members, to Russian people, family members (kissies!) AND the occasional booker. Who will quickly tire of my overelaborate and usually unfunny prose (who does he think he is? Joseph Conrad?).

But hey; I've moved country, started doing gigs, wrote a lot, was in some things, had loads of crappy jobs, read some books, had some great nights, saw inspiring shows, ate fruit and most importantly: met loads of brilliant, lovely and awesome people. None of whom will be reading this blog right now. Ha! Beat that internet

This is what living the dream feels like, an oftentimes boring and uneventful dream; but a dream nonetheless. Thanks for sticking with me. Now, for everyone who's getting older, I would like to add a beautiful poem I discovered very recently, hope you like it too. It's a bit sad, but very wonderful, and written by the American poet Billy Collins. So this one's for everyone out there who's ever had a birthday.

On Turning Ten

by Billy Collins

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light–
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

- Love you all! Bye! :-)

Monday, 13 December 2010

Sunday 12th December 2010: Losing Stuff

Yes. Losing track of time, for one. I haven't updated this blog for nigh on two weeks now. It's high time. Today, we'll be talking about losing.

No, I've not lost it, no. But thanks for caring, if you did. You probably didn't. But that's fine. This is the internet; something best described as an immoral disembodied head of evil, making ignorance a virtue and swearing an art, that can only lead us into the new dark ages, where we, with luck; will kill the remainder of the human race by cannibalism (also a popular internet-based pastime). So what I want to talk about is Julian Assange.

No, not really. I'd be in prison if I did. What I really want to talk about is losing shit. I do this a lot. I go about my daily business, mislay something, and go mad. It's not a strange thing to be doing, losing shit. But my problem is the intense self-aggravation that goes on between the realisation of having lost the shit (or Thing, if you're going to be pedantic about it) and finding it again. It's like, as my friend said today, a bad sit-com. My head is humorous. But never to me.

Today, I lost a thing again. State 1: Annoyed. Where is it? I'm looking around calmly until the first jolt of fright hits me. Like a gerbil getting an electric shock, panic jolts through my brain (apparently it's dopamine! Who knew?) and a voice goes: WHERE IS THE whatever it's supposed to be this time.

Although I do have a problem with the internal monologue/voice thing. Mainly because that's not the way people think. It's not the way I think, certainly. People think in concepts, emotions are never based in words; at least not in your own head. The idea of an internal monologue having one particular train of thought (confusing it may be) all the time is basically flawed. Take that James Joyce! Though I might be very much mistaken, thinking differently to literally all human beings (except some people in Russia. Hello there!) whilst having the ambition of working in an industry (humour) that relies mainly on shared assumptions being built or broken and feelings anti- or sympathy with some people in a place. Which would be shit. A bit like electing a crocodile on the board of directors of your local swimming pool. Because the crocodile wouldn't be able to communicate his particulars view on the future of swimming in the 21st century or communicate with the council. If it could even talk, it would probably focus on the consumption of visitors from out of an alcove, underneath the shallow end. Likewise; me on a stage talking to people in a humorous way would simply fail. Yes, that's what we're playing with here. A mind that self-destructs. I hate you, Jacques Derrida!

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Losing shit.

Then, the lost thing would have to be refound, but in a manic, high speed manner, with one bit of my brain shouting at me for not having found it yet and the other bit calmly pondering worst-case scenarios.

In years past, I would usually call out for my mum and would ask her if she knew anything about the thing that had been lost. She would then usually ask me where I was when I last had it. I never know, that's why I'm asking her.

I actually considered calling her, 200 miles away. She only ever saw this room via Skype. It would be so stupid as to actually distort the space-time continuum. I doubt that anyone would have done anything more idiotic than that. Not even Hannibal, the bane of Pachyderms. If you got that; point to you. If not: read up. I like writing about stuff that's deliberately obscure. It takes the mind on a journey. Though not always a pleasurable one, like this one, which is mainly concerned with the inner workings of my own head.

For minutes on end, I'd look maniacally for things, even shouting into thin air things like: 'rah!', and 'where is it?', a rhetorical question if there ever was one. Although if you ask a rhetorical question, and no-one is there to witness it; is that still a rhetorical question? Possibly. But almost certainly not. I asked someone. The proper scientific name is apparently be: 'Stop writing me, go away, you're strange!' Which doesn't really help. But hey; this guy probably knows best. Thank you Dr. Phil.

But in the end, the thing I lose will be, without fail, always where I last had it. I've even turned to that classical 1920s French Silent Movie thing where I kiss the thing I just found in a flamboyant manner. Which I can do, cos I'm by myself so no-one will ever have to know. Oh, bum-Oh, jeez-How embarrassing-Never mind.

When I'd eventually found the thing, my mum would go on about me not having a system. And I'd think I was a dick for not doing so and promise myself to actually start filing stuff, from now. on But that horrible self-loathing sensation would be better than the mania of actually losing something, with the two sides of my head being equally annoyed by me. That means I prefer only 1 thing being annoyed with me, as opposed to 2 distinct ones. Interesting. It's like being a small German village in the 17th Century while the 30-years war is raging between my forehead and oesophagus. But funny. Cos it's true. They never say that about famine, eh? Bono visits an African Orphan and decides to tell a joke:
- Who's dying?
+ ...
- Ah, come on. Who's dying?
+ (whimper)
- Who's dying? You are!
+ Haha! (dies)
- It's funny cos it's true! (walks away smugly)
Hmm. Yes.

There, comedy about my brain. Take that Hippocampus! I rule. Although I am not sure how, exactly. Thanks for reading this far. I don't know if I would have, in your place. So congratulations for finishing reading my blog. Yes. Bye!

Personal messages:

I would like to thank my many Russian fans who have inexplicably found my blog amusing and came to it in their droves. So a baffled thanks for that.

And now the Meaningless Self-Promotion Bit! Gigs lined up: Wednesday at UCL Union at Huntley St! And I'll be in Walthamstow on Tuesday seeing friends (and if there's still a spot free, then perhaps?).

Monday, 29 November 2010

Sunday 28th November 2010: Quite a Long Blog About The Facts Of Life, Museums And Yazoo

Hey ho.

The moment I stepped out of the house this morning I, in a moment, I saw the first snowflake of the year, as well as a pound coin on the pavement. This was special in two ways. One. I seldom find things on the ground. Unless I dropped it there several days previously. And I'm in my house. That does happen. But this was special. Two. Seeing the first snowflake of the year is always a slightly magical occurence. I remember being about 11, and the teacher would be standing in front of the class talking about the Romans or something fascinating and new until one of us, usually one of the girls, would shout out with a total lack of inhibition and utter joy: 'Look! It's snowing!' Whereafter 20 heads would turn to the left, and with a heartfelt ahhhh in unison, welcome the winter in our hearts.

Yes we would. That was just the kind of school I went to. You think it's weird I've become the cynical prat I am? I dont think so. It's that kind of joy that turns one fogeyish before one's time.

So I had this small moment of epiphany and financial gain (the best of all the moments, I feel), but after half the half-life of a uranium-molecule (for those not in the know: not long) the next thought came along and laconically declaimed that this was all the luck I would have today.

Now, I don't believe in bad luck. Or fate, astrology, any kind of superstition (yes. Even as someone who went to drama school. Maybe that's why I dropped out! Humph. No) or anything other than the utter unreasonableness, comtemptible indifference and randomness of the universe. The idea that almost, all the time, almost everyone is always wrong, about everything, all the time (always need to keep room for exception). And the goodness in all dogs. But, like similar beliefs, they do still haunt the inner recesses of my otherwise uninteresting brain.

If there ever was a more effective put-down against a sentient brain it must be that it's uninteresting. My own brain is already annoyed with me for writing that bit, although it can see that it's funny. My brain may be uninteresting, it's not thick. Well, that's not quite true either. It's very thick. How else can it mock itself. ... This is getting genuinely odd. I'll continue now and stop the self-reflexivity. Yes. Sorry.

But I did genuinely have this thought, and although I dismissed it out of hand straight away, it is interesting that my primary association with any kind of happiness is the realisation that it only exists to mock me by showing itself to me, only to leave me straight afterwards. ... Gosh. 19th Century Romantic novelists must have chucked themselves in rivers for less. Ah well.

I spent the bike ride in the cold towards the station thinking about this, I had already bought a day ticket yesterday, so I could just walk in. And miss the train.

Half an hour later I did succeed in getting on a train to London Victoria. It was cold. But the train's heating was working overtime. I tried to do some reading but failed; too engrossed in the sight of the rolling hills and autumnal forests. A man boarded the train, and asked me whether this one would stop at Three Sisters (or something). I answered that it did, and after exchanging the limited amount of pleasantries one has to, to end this short social interaction, I continued listening music and looking out of the window far too wistfully. The man had said he'd never been on a train in the UK before.

As we rolled through the countryside, we arrived at the small station the man said he was going to. He got up, took his bags, stood in front of the doors, waiting for them to open when we'd stop. But nothing happend. Double U T F indeed. He tried pushing the buttons there, one by one, tried the other doors. Nothing. By now the whistle had sounded and he had nowhere to go. He looked up, realised the train was leaving and placed a perfectly timed resigned sigh. He took his bags and then walked, frustrated but laconically defiant, to the next carriage. Where he got out at the next stop.

You might wonder, Jorik, why didn't you help that man? What were you doing? Aren't you raised to be a helpful human being? Well, er, yes. But at the same time I was thinking: comedy gold. And I've learned to place my own gain before the prevention of misfortune to others. Boom.

I feel horrible now. Roald Dahl apparently said he preferred writing for children mostly because he hated grown-ups for precisely this sort of behaviour. I feel dirty and wrong. Does that make you feel better Roald Dahl? No it doesn't. He's dead, ok?

Right. This is getting worse and worse. But anyway. The British Museum. Yes. That's where I was going. I thought: 'well, if I'm in London anyway, I might have a little day out. Ho-hum, waggle waggle toot-toot! Madam.' ... This is what it's like to be in my head. You have no idea! Ahum. But! I was there. And I did enjoy it. I have become slightly obsessed by the A History of the World in 100 Objects podcast. And it was great to see some of these objects close by. The museum itself was beautiful. Although I was struck by the amount of shit the British stole from all over the world, I genuinely enjoyed walking around and looking at, for instance, an exhibition of mechanical clockworks from the 15th century to the present day. I have no interest in clocks. But I did like it. A lot. And that's what museums should do. They should make you interested in things you would otherwise not give a flying flip about. My favourites were the 17th century Gernan one, the Regency one with the Solar System on the top and the one from the 70s which would make you a cup of tea. Brilliant.

Also; it was free. For everyone that could speak English, that is. No signs in French, Spanish, Italian, German or any other language. The only signs in those languages were for audiotours around the museums. So you get to see people in their seventies with large iPod-like things walking around listening to voices in their heads. Hiring costs: 5 pounds. Ker-ching. Modern Britain: Tax the Foreign!*

I made my way to Richmond, to the gig. It was freezing, I had eaten a Subway Sandwich (the least embarrassing fast-food chain, I find. Not by a mile. But still. Best out of a very bad bunch**) and I was early. Luckily, one of the other acts was there already. Hm. Good. I got to help with setting up the room; while the compère and the gig-leader were worrying about getting enough people's bums on seats. Reasons aplenty: Cold (very), Tube-Strike (worrying), X-Factor (ditto) and I'm A Celebrity (worse**). But enough people did show up.

The night turned out just fine. The other acts were very good. I had to follow a very high-energy act who had been on fire (metaphorically speaking, although I wouldn't be surprised if he had actually set himself on fire during the gig), which wasn't easy. But I got there eventually. Just wasn't as good as last time. I rambled a bit too much, missing a few of my marks. Other things went very well, that hadn't worked as well in some other gigs I did. Odd. But that's the way these things will be, I guess. I do still like it though.

After the gig I walked back to Richmond station, for a train to Clapham Junction and a connection to Brighton. It was either this one, the next one or one that would lead to me having to take a bus from Three Sisters onwards and possibly arriving in Brighton at 3 AM, and eventually being found frozen solid in a nook, covered in light snow like a character in a Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale. So not that one, obviously. I had a Yazoo from a vending machine. I like the fact that I'm still of that age where the consumption of Banana-flavoured Yazoo in a public place is not actively frowned upon. Yet. In three weeks I'll be 23! No more Yazoo for me then!

Love you all! Except for all you creepy ones! You know who you are! Bye! :-D

Legend: * Satire. ** More satire.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Thursday 18th November 2010: Heckling and the Theory of Evolution


After a particularly interesting seminar on Ionesco (who ever said I was elitist?) I had my first gig in two weeks. It was a good one, let's not keep you in suspense. I'm very pleased with the way it went. Things started to fall into place, structural things that I put in as a way of getting to the jokes started to be funny in their own right. I think I nailed the beginning bit as well, which I hadn't before. I was quite nervous at the start, but addressing that in a 1½ minuete ramble helped define my persona on stage. I think I'm closer to defining who I am on stage. It makes me get away with the more esoteric weird stuff later on. That can only be a good thing. (although, if I feel I've grown that much after so few gigs, I probably wasn't very good to begin with :-D )

Although I'm saying that. I had my first serious experience with a heckler tonight. Well, I say heckler, a man in his mid-forties shouting things to me incoherently. I was halfway through the first bit, when he started making noises that I, at that point, could not decipher. I mimed the the mime of misunderstanding (the hand quickly over the head), which got a laugh; which usually is a signal to the heckler that the crowd agree with the act that you should shut up. He tried a couple more times to interject. I dealt with him, not realising I did, really, though one time I was out of it for a moment. I acknowledged that, found my line and continued.

Unfortunately, in my final bit, that only really works when there's a silence in the room, just before, he said something unfunny, just in the bit before the punchline. By now me and the crowd were annoyed. In that sort of Brightonian passive aggressive way. I finished the joke anticlimactically, but the rebound worked (you see, this blog is mainly for me :-P in the mind of the artist as a young old annoyed man) and it was over. Overall, v happy. But the guy left in between me and the next person who was on (the not at all Piratey but very funny David Blood).

Only in the break did people tell me that I was handling that heckler well. I responded with, heckler? Oh, that weird guy! I had handled a heckler. Apparently. He had been saying: You're the wrong colour, mate.

I know. Oh, England. You confuse me. Brilliant night, though. Met some lovely people. Clawed back some self-worth (never bad). Bye!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Monday 15th November 2010: Hove, Books and En Attendant Nick Cave

So I finished my selfimposed exile/hermit-style weekend. I'll never write hermit jokes ever again. 'Ahh', I hear you (one person, from Denmark, for some reason. Dunno why. Never been there. Love to go though) go, 'that was the only good thing you've ever done! In your life! Like, ever!' Ah well. Kill your darlings, I suppose. Even if these darlings do not strictly liked. By me.

I left the house this morning, excited with my achievements over the last two days. I liked breathing fresh air again, after two days writing, justifyably spent in a not-exactly well-air conditioned room. I felt contented and reasonably happy. The stage seemed set for a day of deadening disappointment and sorrow. Bring it on!

After a short stop at school for some admin, I went to Hove. For desperate reasons. I need a job. So I was going to give my cv to a lady behind a counter for bar work. She couldn't have looked less interested. They said they'd already found someone. I said ah, is it the glasses? She said no. But I didn't believe her. Ah well. Moving on (P.s. still looking. Shit!).

Hove can be described as an even more gentrified version of Brighton. With broad avenues and people cleaning car windows and having a stroll along the Boulevard. The main thing that's continually disturbing me in Hove is the presence of Nick Cave. Every time I turn a corner, there's a voice in my head, going: Nick Cave might live here! This voice is personified by the small indie kid with ruffled hair that lives inside of me*, squeaking about Nick Cave and wondering which part of his hungerstricken wide-eyed body he can give up for an autograph. But he's an idiot. It's unlikely that Nick Cave has a house in the middle of Hove with a huge sign outside, saying: Nick Cave lives HERE!! But he still looks at every single house. And even longs to ask people in the street, and asks old ladies: Sorry, are you Nick Cave? And then gets glassed in the face. By me. Cos that's how you treat your inner voices; metaphysical violence. Listen and learn, schizophrenics, listen and learn.

I was looking for the library and searching for people to ask directions. I was actually going to Costa coffee, nearby, but that's a bit of a liability, to ask strangers to a coffee place. And Nick Cave's phone number. I saw a man with the looking like a cross between a character from a Dostoyevsky novel, Moses and Alan Moore. I.e. dishevelled with a beard. But empty eyes. And shoulders on the wrong side of his back (a pet hate of mine, after two years of physical theatre-classes). I was unsure if me asking him directions would improve or deteriorate his situation. Though, in retrospect, he probably would have known Nick Cave's phone number. Finally I asked a lady, who told me where to go (it was miles away).

Hove smelt interesting today. Like a Steiner School smithy. It was apparently important for eleven-year olds to be aware of Iron Age-life. In the most Middle Class place in the country. (by the by, I'm watching Ancient Worlds on BBC Four; cos I'm cool and happening. And because it's presented by a strangely faced man with a nice voice. And because it's about Hittite literary history. What's not to like?) Before I found the coffee place, however, I found an Oxfam bookshop. I must have spent an hour in there. The smell was great, even though there were several people in there, ruining the pure mouldy-paper scents. I eventually bought Lord of the Flies (haven't read that classic yet), some plays by Euripides (beat that; University bookshop! You've been p0wnd! Yeah...), Bullet Points by Mark Watson (which is quite brilliant, enjoying it greatly) and Puckoon by Spike Milligan (for my dissertation. I know. I'm a waste of student grants).

I told the man behind the counter (who could not have been any younger than 74) that I liked this book shop. He didn't believe I had never been here before. Apparently there's a very -local- clientele.¶

He said this was the best Oxfam bookshop on the South Coast. Better than the one in Brighton, certainly. I said, 'how come? Is their aircon actually poisonous?' Admittedly, not very funny. But he decided to humour me and not keep me hostage in a Pulp Fiction-style back room. So all the better. They also had, and this was quite wonderful, an Oddities section. This was filled with beautifully bound and weird 19th century books about stuff. That's for next time!

That evening, I went back to I.O.U. Comedy; which was unequivocally brilliant. So there. Deal with it, critics!

* Here you can add, if you wish, a variation the brilliant Absolutely Fabulous joke. Eddie: 'I just know there's a thin person somewhere inside me.' Mother: 'Just the one, dear?' Magic.

¶ Use League of Gentlemen joke here if you want to. I can't be bothered with writing jokes any longer. I'll just use other peoples' talents and let you amuse yourselves if you want to.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Sunday 14th November 2010: e-Readers, A Media Studies Essay I'm Never Going To Write AndThe Last Ever Hermit-joke!

So, the final day of my self-imposed exile! In my own room, no less. Of course I didn't get as much work done as I would have wanted, but still got quite a lot on paper; i.e. my laptop. I feel I have to explain that to people. You see, not to show off, but I like buying books. It's probably my single greatest expenditure after alcohol and class A drugs (Haha, he's Dutch, that's so funny! Though not true. Mother.). But lots of times, after I tell my parents about my newly acquired prey (cos let's face it, I don't wear dat puma-skin for nuthing in that ole bookshop - sorry), my dad asks me, why I don't buy an e-reader? You like trees! Think of all the forests you save with one you kill the rainforest you hypocritical pretend-hippy you make me sick.

That's not what he says. Although he is right. I hate to ruin the environment. I've still got that early nineties chip on my shoulder about not ruining the planet and killing baby polar bears. I know, it's old. I'm from a different era. It does give me the moral highground in conversations about cars and their damaging the environmentm though. I do not own a car. I do not have a driver's license. This was because of two reasons. One: I didn't have the money at 18. Two: I hate killing baby tigey-wigeys with my huge-ass piece of stinking bourgouis luxury (I say Steiner, you say school, I say bee, you say massive amounts of wax, ok? We're on it, we're definitely on it).

You say, hmm. Interesting that you don't use tiny African children as an example; expand! Well, inquisitive reader of this blog (haven't you got work, or something vital in your life? Like smashing head against the ceiling and then juggling with your broken teeth? What do you mean that's what Sundays before the internet used to be about?); I will. I am a former card-carrying member of the WWF-rangers. WWF-rangers like animals. Not people. That's why the WWF doesn't give a flying duck (ooh, clever. Isn't he clean?) about tiny African children and all animals hope we die. But now I'm not a WWF-ranger anymore. So I've reverted to hating absolutely everything. So one cheer for me there. Alone. I wonder what the hermits would make of that one. If they only hadn't lived in a cave for so long that their eyes had grown tiny and become vestigial, like the Oxolotl (Mexican Cave-Salamander) or the Dodo's wings. You see what I'm doing there, Hermits? I'm equating you to an extinct member of the pidgeon-family. Eaten by the Dutch. Oh dear. This is becoming very strange indeed.

But no, I can't drive. A couple of months ago, my grandmother turned 88. There I was talking to an elderly relative I hadn't seen for a while about how I was doing, and that I was going to the UK. He used to run a car dealer's (he sold Kia's I think, and Lada's before that in the seventies) before his retirement.
Naturally, his first question was, how are you going to do that, driving on the left side of the road?
I replied to him, well, I'll be cycling, so I'll just have to look from right to left instead of vice-versa.
He said, yes, but what about longer journeys. You know, to the shops and so on?
I said, what do you mean?
Him: Well, you HAVE got a car, don't you?
Me: No, I haven't, no.
Him: Oh, so you're going to buy one in England, then?
Me: Er, no. I won't.
Him: (with increasing disbelief) Why not?
Me: Er, I haven't got a license.
Him: (short silence, and then) How old are you again?
Me: I'm twenty-two.
Him: Good God. How on earth can you manage?
Me: Well, I use trains, and cycle, and there bus..
Him: No, you can't. I just simply don't believe you. Go away! You liar!

And then I ran off.

Yeah. Pathetic, isn't it. I finished the day by watching a BBC Four series back to back on iPlayer. It was called Rude Brittannia, and was about the notion of the Rude in art and literature from the 18th Century to the present day. It was very interesting; the first one was about Byron, John Gay and print shops, the second about how the Middle Class (on the whole) took on the role of moral guidance for the Working Classes (the Upper classes could not be saved) with some success and much annoyance either way as well as the Music-Hall and dirty photographs while the third told about the post-war period including saucy seaside postcards (as I believe they're called), prostitution and the West End and the struggle about the Rude between broad and Alternative comedy since the late seventies.

This last episode was quite intriguing, because the programme put forward the notion that, while the moral guidance usually came from the right of the political spectrum and the left advocated rudeness; since the nineteen eighties, what was then called Alternative Comedy tried to be Politically Correct. Now, in this country, being politically correct means 1. not being racist, misogynistic, homophobic or in any way nasty and mean to anyone who in society is weaker than you and 2. not being Bernard Manning. Bernard Manning was a Northern Club comic, famed for his filthy and racist act, and throughout the seventies, broadcast nationwide through a show on ITV called The Comedians. His act (he died in 2007) was predicated on an understanding that black, Irish, Jewish people and any other minority was inherently funny. Looking back on it (Rude Brittannia showed some of it) makes me squirm. Even as a foreigner.

But the weird thing was, as tv comedy, and following on from that, live comedy; became more 'alternative'(people even then didn't like to be known under any term, as is any artist's right. Samuel Beckett for instance vehemently refused to be labelled by anything, whether it was modernist, post-modernist, surrealist etc.) the acts that were popular in the seventies went, as it were, underground. So they became, in a way, the new alternative. It didn't help much either that the bulk of 80s comics were even if not Oxbridge-educated, certainly Middle-Class (case in point; the magnificent John Hegley, look up his poem LUTON), while Bernard Manning, became the alternative. With all the defiance that comes with that.

This can be seen as parallel to the Victorian era, where the Middle Classes tried to shut down the Music Halls; but now from a wholly different political idea. Whilst trying not to be bastards and admitting stereotypical jokes on tv; what had now become the comedy establishment (if there ever is such a thing) was now inherently classist. And that just shows, people, that you can never win. Plus: check out the program. It's very, very good. If not for the tiresome computer animated -putting-the-commentators-in-the-picture-they're-talking-about-haha-we're-so-funny-with-our-computers-isn't-the-future-magnificent-please-help-me-or-I'll-become-a-hermit.

Two hermit jokes, actually. Well, that's more than enough for today. Leave now! (see you tomorrow!)

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Saturday 13th November 2010: Hermits #2 and Darkness (unconnected)

Ok, I had promised not to leave the house on this day, for reasons of self-satisfied aestheticism. Well, I did actually not leave the house today (so Sophie, if you're reading this (which I doubt that you are), you're still one ahead on me). So points for me.

So far, I've not had any response from the hermit society. But, you know, what do you expect? Not all of their caves have broadband. Boom!

But, you say, hermits don't need the internet. No, they have an information superhighway of their own. It's called carbon monoxide. Boom!

I'm a sad and pathetic human being. But at least I don't play yathzee with a hedgehog and call that an eventful day, in my diary which is made out of sheepskin and twigs. Boom! Where does he get it from. It's almost like it's from experience.

My flatmate and her friend have just been making mulled wine. I don't really understand mulled wine. For me, it tastes too much of Christmas markets and pretending to enjoy myself whilst thinking the man, there, looking after the IKEA playpen, dressed as Santa is Marc Dutroux, escaped from prison. I had a weird childhood, in that way. When I was six, one of the first jokes I learnt was:

DUTCH: Wat heeft Marc Dutroux op zijn oprit liggen? Kinderkopjes!
ENGLISH: What has Marc Dutroux done to his front garden? Put in cobbles that look like children's heads, so this fatuous joke works!

So there. Translating comedy doesn't have to be difficult. If you want to put on Jerry Springer The Opera ® in Dutch, call now!

I've been feeling quite annoyed with the sun setting at four. It seems like the day's over before it's begun. The problem here is that I am a big fan of the lie-in I wake up at eleven, potter around a bit, have breakfast, maybe speak to my mum on skype, and then realise: Oh, I should be doing something! Then do that. Five minutes later, the day's over. Bum.

It must be horrible for people who work in the Northern part of Europe, to leave home for work in total darkness and leave work when it's dark again (or, worse, still is!). I once had a job that was like that. It was in this big warehouse, filled with tiny little bits of machinery, that I had to go fetch, for 8 hours a day. Jesus. That and no sunlight. I felt like the gulags. But the coffee was quite good. So not all bad, then.

And after this particularly meaningless entry, I leave you. Bye!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Friday 12th November 2010: Showers and Hermits (#1)


After having succeeded in writing two (yes, two! Look impressed!) essays last week; this weekend I'm trying to get some writing done. However, this is more difficult than it seems. I've been watching the entire internet as ultimate excercise in self-defeating professional procrastination. Now I've even turned to writing this blog just to not write other things! That's how bad it's become!

Friday, though, I did go out, looking for a job. I need one, mainly as a way of making money. Because, you know, it's every boy's dream to 'get tha green like fiddy do' *Disclaimer: This particular jibe was not racist, this particular jibe was anti-50 Cent. This is only fair, since 50 Cent has had it coming for reasons of being a massive burke. I trust this argument will stand in a court of law.

But, no. The weather was bad, and I was cycling around Brighton, looking in vain for the job centre. Because (read this future exchange people) you apparently need a National Insurance number, so people wanting to go here and work: go to a job centre and seek it out!

Unfortunately, it was raining. Quite heavily. I was just about to cross the road and was already pretty much soaked to the skin; when I saw this lady with an umbrella. There were words printed on this umbrella; it said shower - shower - shower - shower -shower - shower - shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower -shower - shower. I KNOW THAT! I AM AWARE OF THE CURRENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS! LOOK AT ME! SO I CAN SAFELY, WITH ALL MY HEART, SAY: F*** YOU, LADY!

That's al least what I wanted to say. She would have deserved it. And she cut me off! In short; my anger management class is going bally brilliant.

The boy in the next room is listening to a weird dubstep-version of the Darth Vader intro-tune from Star Wars. I hate dubstep. And I feel like an old man; some kind of Proust-figure, fighting to get words out of his brain onto a piece of shiny paper. Possibly the shittest recluse since the main character in 'Perfume' by Patrick Süskind locked himself in a cave in the Auvergne for years, doing bugger-all. I at least, am writing some words, sometimes. Yeah, take that, you fictional loser!

I found this recently: Indeed. It's a forum for hermits. If there ever was anything more oxymoronic, like, ever (!), please tell me. It's hilarious. It advertises itself as: 'a forum for hermits & solitaries about eremitism, solitude, and silence'. If you really don't like other people, don't go talking about how much you don't like being with other people, WITH OTHER PEOPLE!?

I wonder whether they'll soon change their minds after my incisive satire of their beliefs, the 802 hermit twits. What are you going to do? Come after me? All of you? I don't think so!

I think I finally might have found an appropriate comedic target. Yup, I have got the hermits in the bag. Prepare yourselves for some gentle ribbings!

(sigh) I'm so alone.

Though not as alone as you are.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Saturday 6th - Tuesday 8th November 2010: Rain Blogs + Puppies

Another Tom Waits reference. Horrible. Sad. Pathetic. But that's me for ya.

Today's a rainy, querolously crap day. Very English, apparently. I saw this crisp packet, saying you win 10 pounds for every day it's raining, and you're sitting inside, feeling sorry for yourself. Eating crisps. I actually did that today. They can't all be good ones, I suppose.

As someone who, in most areas of life, has been described as staggeringly incompetent, I'm not much fun to have on the phone if you're a customer service agent on a Saturday morning shift. Add to that me being a foreigner with a slightly overconvincing accent and you've got yourself a story for the water cooler.

In short; I tried to get to my online banking, but I was confused, so I had to call the helpdesk. The man tried to help me but I was too slow, too quick or just did something wrong. Now, I've worked in call centres. I know clients aren't the easiest people to work with. We aske questions, and we want to speak to the manager and we just don't care about you, the worker and your continued suffering. We're dicks!

Before I spoke to the man on the phone, I'd have to go through an electronic answering device-thing which asked question that you'd have to answer by either typing in numbers or saying them. At one point they asked me a question I didn't understand and then went: press one for yes, or two for no; or just say it. I didn't understand the question. Press one for yes, two for no, or say it. I don't know! I started shouting into the phone WHAT ARE YOU ASKING ME? WHAT YES? WHAT NO? I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN! Like my grandmother, who is of that generation that still says thank you to the answering machine.

I then got through to a young man, who greeted me with a sigh and a 'how can I help'. Understandable, as the most moronic members of the public can usually work this thing out by themselves. I did what he told me, peppering my high pitched questions with apologies and despairing outcries of: It doesn't work. In the end, after even confusing him for a quite a few minutes I did get online. He sighed, and hoped it would be alright in the end, sir. And if I needed any more help (subtext: Don't!) just call me again (Don't! Really don't! I never want to speak to you again.) I thanked him and got online. It was fine in the end.

Now, is this a satire of big business and the disinterest of customer service people or just another story of how appalling a person I am (bit of both, actually. But more of the first, actually. I should have used my rubbishy accent. But I didn't. I'm an honest to goodness-type person.

That's mainly because I went to Steiner School, where you learn to like everything. A lovely place that I, at the time, didn't quite go for and tried to be subversive about whenever I could. But it was really subversive, you know. No-one would have noticed my subversiveness. It was that subversive. But I did try and back out of my Steiner School-loveliness when I left there, a couple of years ago. As a means of excorcism, I burned puppies for two years, every other thursday. I told this to my flatmate and she looked at me, there was a -tick- and she said: Really?

Good. Might I use this platform now to declare that I like all puppies, and have never burned them in a bin. Against their will.

It's getting scary. Next time will come round quicker, I promise! (you do know me now, and you know how much my promises are worth). Buh-bye.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Sunday 24th October - Sunday 31st October 2010: Making up for lost time in one fell swoop

...Hi! Remember me? Sorry about the infrequent blogging, this will be quite a apologetic one, in the vain hope of making up for it that way. I know I cannot, yet we still toil and try. Damn you internet-monkeys! Will I ever be able to live up to your wishes? No.

Also included are my reasons (Excuses!) for not having written the blog from Monday to yesterday. These reasons were exciting though. So it's probably best to keep reading and replacing the Jorik-shaped hole in your favourites-list with my blog once more. Please!

First, excuses. For instance, I tend to resort to rubbishy blogs on days that I spend in my room, reading up on stuff for school, or watching crap on youtube or iPlayer. These days are far too numerous to mention. I got quite annoyed with the frequency of these days where nothing happened, but curiously didn't really do anything about that.

Apart from that I went to a bit of a sickly spell from Saturday to Tuesday, which was on my mind for a considerable amount of the time (No worries. In the end, everything was fine) and wasn't quite sure how to write about anything else than moaning about feeling crap. I'm sure you wouldn't have found that amusing; though I would have been able to take the moaning-predicated bits of the blog to a whole new level. Maybe next time.

I can't imagine how many of you are now secretly hoping I might get seriously ill in a couple of days, just to get some more moaning.

I have sort of decided to only blog when I feel like it, instead of forcing myself to do one for every day. Quality over quantity. Sorry, relative quality over quantity. There we go.

Apart from that, I've started gigging again as well. And? Yeah, pretty happy with it overall.

The first gig I did was on Thursday night, in Brighton. Apart from anything else; I was very nervous. Some people do well on them, not me. I was on second and shaking with first night nerves. Annoying at the best of times, tonight: lethal. In short, I came on, rambled a bit, tried to get in to my material but my head had decided against supporting me at this venture and closed itself off with a big Renovation-sign. No words came out of anything I (that's my own head, mind!) had written! I was in a strange schizoid conflict with myself for the first two minutes of the gig, wherein I fought and macheted my way through the first minute of material. I then decided to give up this futile fight and do a single loose joke I normally do at the end of my set which gave me a proper laugh so I could leave the stage. The crowd, credit to them, were very sweet and patient with this (so I heard afterwards) interesting study in comic death. It was both very theatrical and very inconvenient. A man I saw at the bar, later on, told me he thought I was very good when I had been speaking. Which was by no means all the time. I was hugged by the promotor and left quickly, ready to punish my own head by watching Strictly Come Dancing. As a means of mental self-flagellation. In both senses of the word.

On the plus side, I did go through that first gig and the crippling nerves I had been having for more than a week did magically disappear. So things could only get better.

I've just realised that this is not a good way to advertise me as a stand-up in any way, so I've shot myself in the foot here. I am listening to jazz now, I'm wearing a jumper and I'm very pretty. Please hire me!

The day after I was strangely pleased with myself; probably because I'd gone through the night before. It hadn't been going well, and I knew that, so I worked with it as gracefully as I could, and saved the audience genuine embarrassment. My main objective for the next 10 years is to be less mean to myself, and this thought was certainly a constructive one.

On Saturday I had my second gig, in Central London, on the Strand. With the advice a friend gave me, I first went down to buy a saver ticket for the Brighton-London train, after slowly pulling away into the rolling countryside. This part of England is very beautiful, especially sat behind a train window. Unfortunately, I'm too tall to be sitting in second class, my feet unable to reach the ground without collliding with the chair in front and my knees practically tucked behind my ears until Croydon. Not good. Seldom have people been more excited to arrive in Croydon than I have, quicly taking up the isle seat. After several minutes, I could feel my toes again (they'd probably started going black already). That was good news, cos I had some walking to do. I took the tube from Victoria to Oxford Circus. That's where I'd decided to walk from to the Strand.

It might be the novelty, but I enjoy the tube. I enjoyed finding out where I had to go, and actually spent some minutes going over the benefits of the District Line against the Circle Line. Yup, living the showbiz life.

London was beautiful that day, sunny, packed with people taking pictures of statues. Especially the one of Edward VII on a horse was popular. Trafalgar Square was fenced off, since an American Football-thing was going on. I saw a man dressed as a quarterback drive a rikhshaw. That was amusing.

I spent the next couple of hours preparing for the gig. Way too early, I mainly walked around, had some coffee, walked around some more, and went to the venue. There I could plunk down my bags and coat, so I could run through my set a couple more times. I was now genuinely concerned with my brain's capabilities of regurtitating words. I blamed it on my relative failure on Thursday. Let's just say we'd had a difficult few days, it and me. But we'd patch it up if it would deliver tonight (I can see amateur psychiatrists going: hmm. Increase the dosage!).

I needn't have worried. I had a very good time on stage. The rather jokey bits in my sets went down better than the more theatrical spielerei but I never lost the crowd or alienated them. Ad-libbing was also up to scratch, the confidence I had lacked two days previously I now had in spades. It was great. If only as a confirmation of the fact that my material, the performance and indeed my own human head hadn't ceased to function over the last two months. I'm also quite proud of fixing the mic stand whilst retaining focus and concentration. Let me explain.

All night, the mic stand had been annoying the acts and the compère alike. It kept on bending to one side, making it impossible to lean on or do anything with. It was a nuisance for some people, visibly not knowing what to do about it. The thing is, with this type of performance, it's important to stay (horrible phrase) in the moment, so it's hard to break out of that focus and (also very important) your rapport with the audience you've only just established, for some uneasy fidgeting with a piece of cold, annoying, uncaring plastic. In the bit between two set-pieces I, on a whim and a (fuck me, I'm going to fix this thing now), bend down and just fixed it. Which wasn't as difficult as I thought, leading to one of the biggest laughs of the set, and the ad-lib: Oh, thank you. I just realised I got my biggest laugh of the night, for a bit of DIY.

Quietly pleased with that.

Two hours later I was sitting on a bench in Warren St tube station, waiting to get the tube to Victoria. I was thinking about this night, and going over this first month I spent here, in Britain. Had it been worth it? The work, the loss of spare time and money, leaving my family and friends behind and going to live in a place I'd never been to before? All that for this? Five minutes with some people and a microphone? I could only say to myself: yes. It's been worth it. It's been absolutely worth it. I absolutely love this thing and I'll never ever stop doing it. It's fantastic.

An hour later I was sitting on the Victoria to Brighton train with my legs behind my neck. I could touch my kidneys with my nose. Was it still worth it? Fuck yeah.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Saturday 23rd October 2010: Brighton Part 2

As I slowly but surely get used to my new hometown of sorts, I have already developed some favourite places, an ever increasing list.

Lewes Road, the one closest to mine, is awash with both funeral parlours and twits with guitars. I hate to think of the implications. Could Brighton be the basis for a closed-circuit economy of dead musicians? It's horrible, but they've all got to somewhere, haven't they?

Apart from the obvious main booksellers', this town has tiny bookshops all around. As told before, I massively enjoy hanging around in them, and looking at the other morons without a life hanging around in these bookshops. What do you mean, self-aware?

About being a cyclist in Brighton: it's doable. It certainly is more of a workout than your average bike ride. I have as yet not experienced serious injury or caused any major accidents. Not yet, though. I have not yet found myself on the wrong side of the road. Save that one time on the cycling path though. Nothing happened! I promise! I was silently tutted, I believe, by the man coming at me and missing me by miles. That's how little danger I am on the road. I'm not sure whether that's something to be proud of, or ashamed. At least it so far contradicts the man who drove me and my belongings from the station into town, nearly a month ago (my God! a month already! And I've achieved so... yeah, let's not go into that) who said that if I, a tall man, would cycle in this town, it would just make me a bigger target. I was reminded of Carmageddon, a crap, collision based video game which I hadn't thought about since 1997 (and for good reason; it was crap) and was perturbed by the prospect of ending up as roadkill. Luckily for me, he was totally wrong.

But possibly my favourite place of them all is a tiny fruit and veg shop near the end of London Road. Run by either a habitually telephoning lady or a very, very old man, it's quaint and there's always something weird going on. As if it were a portal into a different world, like the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter (come on! You know you love it!). When I was there last, a week ago, I saw a man eating chips and grumbling at the lady who was on the phone, while I tried to pay for oranges. The man looked about 30 and was dressed very well considering the noise he was emitting. He scared me just a bit, even though he was clearly harmless. But you never know. He was either seriously unhinged or an out-of-work performance artist. You never know for certain in this town.

Apart from that, I've bought 4 books today, and I'm very happy with them, thank you. Let me live now!

See you tomorrow! Bye!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Friday 22nd October 2010 - Caffè Nero (and equivalents) OR: A Life in Bad Coffee

Some hangovers come on the afterbeat. I realised that I still had been drunk for all of yesterday, as I woke up shitting Guinness into the toilet bowel this morning. I heard the fizzing sound as well. If I got the divorce-papers from my bowels' lawyer in the post today, I wouldn't be surprised. But I did feel better afterwards. I then watched iPlayer from 8 till 2.

After that, cheered up considerably, considering the day before, I worked for an hour on my set and felt quite happy about that but felt most pleased with a single joke I came up with in the shower. It helped me get ready to face the world at large once more. I had thought before I fell asleep last night, that this day would be one of those days where I wouldn't leave the house at all today. Luckily I was wrong.

I went into Brighton to write, and I locked my bike against the tiny steel fence around a tree. As I looked to my right, I saw a Big Issue seller. I always feel a sting in my heart when I see them, yet in my ongoing attempt to be a bit more of a bastard I force myself to walk on and pretend not to care. It's patronising to give money to Big Issues salesmen. Plus I bought one from one of them in Edinburgh and it was disappointing. As I was fighting with the lock, I saw an old man coming up to the homeless man. I still had my iPod in, so couldn't hear their conversation. It soon became apparent that the man was very angry at the Big Issue salesman, and was admonishing him for something. I took out my earplugs. Even the people on the bench turned round.

The man, apparently, was angry at the Big Issue seller, saying that he was out of a job for years, having to live off very little. But, the old man said, he got by. He was going (I paraphrase): 'You've got some guts coming here, begging for working people's money! You should be ashamed of yourself!' Just as it looked like things could turn ugly, the old man left, leaving us feeling a bit weird about it all. I finished locking my bike and got up. The Big Issue seller went on trying to sell his paper. Knowing that I had already acknowledged his existence, he asked me if I wanted to buy one; but I, evilly, ignored him. I am a bastard. When walking away, I thought that he might punish me by weeing on my bike, which would be fair enough, to be honest.

I finally went into Café Nero, and, again, thought for too long about what to buy. Don't know why, to be honest. All coffee is the same there anyway; it's more about having an excuse to sit anywhere for a prolonged period of time. I like Café Nero and similar chains for three reasons. One: People who sit there by themselves don't really want to be there and so get the stuff done that they need to do, such as writing, reading notes or read a book and therefore waste time by going out and living instead of being inside and not doing so. I might be projecting. Two: People who sit there with others are there because they need to talk about serious stuff that they can't in pubs (which are predicated on a shared sense of fun). Three: it's a combined heaven and hell for caffeine-addicts who don't mind being patronised.

This is a bit I wrote when there: why the bum is the Air Con so aggressive? It's giving me pneumonia of the ears! I moved to the right, which unfortunately isn't as hidden as the other spot. It's slightly better on the coldness-front, though. A lady sits down at that place now. Good luck!

In conclusion: I love Caffè Nero for it's not immediately necessary to have a good time there, but ok if you do. It's also socially accepted to just sit down in by yourself and not really do anything else without being a scary stalker.

Which leads to another entry in the category: I SEE DUTCH PEOPLE: just seen two. A grandmother struggling to be nice to her chubby grandson, who only wants chocolate-based crap. She came back with 2 poshly dressed girls. I immediately hated them. By the way, note the innate sense of class warfare in my rhetoric. It's obvious. You can take a child out of Steiner School...

After I came back to my bike, I had a chat with the Big Issue Salesman; which I might tell you about, but not today. Ha! Beat that, Hitchcock! Who's the master of suspense, now?


Thursday 21st October 2010 - Good Advice for Morons

I woke up after about 5 hours sleep, not too tired, but not very awake either. I went over the embarrassing things I did last night (which, in retrospect, weren't as insane as I made out to be to myself) and promised myself 400 times to never (ever) drink again. Does this make me an alcoholic or just someone who spends too much time with my self-flagellating inner monologue? Both, probably.

It turned out to be quite an off-day; I read the set text for the course I had, but didn't really engage with other people or amount to anything apart from course work. When I did open my mouth, I usually thought the things I had said where stupid on every level.

Another tip for future exchangers: remember that when you leave the place you're from, you also take yourself with you. You don't change. If you have bad habits at home, you'll still have them when you're abroad. You might be nicer to your hungover self than I am to mine, but we're all flawed, and moving to another country doesn't immediately change you or remove your weaknesses.

I did feel like a div today and fell asleep at eight, missing a friend's performance I had promised to attend. I am abusing this medium to apologise to her. Even though she probably won't read it. I'm sorry!

One funny thing I had failed to mention thus far: on my way back from school, I always cycle on a road where someone has written in chalk: BOD IS A MORON. This never fails to amuse me. Unless there is some horribly violent back story to this quite charming epiphet, which will cause me to still be amused by it, but slightly less overtly than I am now.

Wednesday 20th October 2010 - Good Times and Performance Art

After talking about Meyerhold for too long, I had a very enjoyable lecture, after which we (by which I mean me and the rest of the class) set off on a tour of several performance venues in Brighton. This was a very nice ideas, since it meant that I didn't have to go there myself, awkwardly shuffling in, feeling out of place; like a gecko in a brewery. Apart from that: the end of the tour promised free booze. If anything gets students going, it's that (remember that; all companies in the world!).

We walked across town, seeing nice contemporary art works by local artists and snatching free coffees here and there. I very much enjoyed being there with the first-year group of drama students I am only part of for this course. Amongst others, we saw the Brighton Dome, the Basement and Komedia venues and some nice galleries. After this, we reconvened in the Basement for free drinks and talk about stuff. After the one free drink we, cheaply, decided to go on to the pub.

I got massively drunk, this being the first time that I was seriously smashed on British soil since Edinburgh 2009. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. I very much did. But I also made the mistake of forgetting to eat and over-drinking. It's very bad.

My saving grace was that I wasn't the only one getting smashed. We all did, and had a great time. And I got home, still being able to cycle and process words, but not to stand, at half eleven. I was quite happy with having made new friends and spending time with other people and fell asleep not much later.

Tuesday 19th October 2010 - A History of Oneself in Some Random Objects

The main reason that it look a little while longer for this daily blog to continue unabated, is because of today. On days I've got seminars, I'm mainly focused on those, so don't really experience life apart from that. So I could write about The Revenger's Tragedy, which I read in its entirety today, my Making Theatre coursework or the presentation on Vsevolod Meyerhold I overprepared for. That was my life today; and little else, to be honest.

I sometimes wonder how I would have survived without the internet. I would have read more, watched more day-time television, possibly played more video games. This last one only really works if I would have been here about fifteen years ago. In the 1970s, I'd have been fucked. Not literally, I mean with ways of wasting my time. But they did have drugs then, and that was all fine in that age, apparently. If it had been the 1920s, I probably wouldn't even be here. Mainly for class-reasons. And because I'd have been a highly inept farm worker (you can't change some things) instead of a student, with a grant and full support by the government (to all government officials reading this blog: I do actually deserve this, I provide services to the arts, free of charge. You can't cut me! I'm like a cultural attaché for Dutch comedy! The highly rare and unmarketable sardonic style that is).

Speaking of me as a farm worker; I'm ridiculously inept at garden-based work. This is annoying, since I spring from a long heritage of farmers, who for at least 450 years have lived in and around the town of Jutphaas which is now the very sexy Nieuwegein (see! I can be ambassador!). Over the years, I've tried helping family members with activities like weeding and harvesting things. It usually ended up with me angry, panting (bad stamina) and hating all multicellular life. Including algae, who are shits. I hate gardening. I used to have dreams about me being sent to some kind of garden in hell, where I had to do weeding until the end of recorded time; with the roses stinging me and the ferns laughing at my ineptness.

Ironically, when I was at Steiner School in the early 2000s, I succeeded in getting my reaping-diploma. I'm now officially qualified to work the scythe. That will come in handy, cause if my artistic plans would fail; my official plan B is being the lord of Doom.

Speaking of Steiner School; reading about Meyerhold made me think about a book-sale I once organised at my school. It went fine, future employers, it was a victory of common sense over a meaningless and chaotic world (i.e. I am Best). Apart from ironic braggadocio (wonderful, wonderful word); in between the stuff we tried to sell, I found an LP with the title: Socialist Songs of Victory, by the Worker's Choir of Amersfoort.

The sleeve amused, scared and fascinated me in equal measure. Never having lived through a period of time where communism was actively working (arguably) in Eastern Europe (disregarding Belarus; which is a scary dictatorship (take that!)) and was therefore close, it was alien to me. This LP of overly earnest songs on it made by people who are now either dead, very embarrassed or very proud about having made it (there seems to be no middle ground with this kind of thing). I never listened to it, but was sufficiently fascinated by it, that I remembered holding this very alien thing in my hand, while reading about an equally earnest Theatre Practitioner. I've also gotten into BBC's A History of the World in a Hundred Objects. Although I doubt whether they'd let me write for the next series.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Monday 18th October 2010: A Non-Angry Blog (for once)

Can it be? A blog that isn't angry or miserable in any way? Yes it can. And today will be that day. Tomorrow: back on the misery-river (sly Tom Waits reference there, for anyone who cares, which is no-one).

Today I finally succeeded in seeing some comedy, in a basement near the seafront. I was there far too early (as per usual) so I went to the pebble-based beach to look at the ocean and just enjoy it. The last vestige of Steiner School education is an unnatural attraction to large natural objects and the ability to enjoy these on a metaphysical level. I'm ashamed of it but I do. Maybe I'll grow out of it one day. So as I was standing there, for nigh on ten minutes, I let my mind wander; as I saw the waves crashing down, rumbling loudly very quickly after one another. The tide was going out. I felt into my pocket and found a clove of garlic. Now, if I were five years younger, I'd say that was a sign. For something or other. Not sure what. For me, most superstitions need an incongruous amount of research. I forgot to throw it in the sea though, and walked back.

As I walked back from the surf, I looked at one of those outbuildings from the Boulevard onto the beach. It was in the same neo-classical style as the bulk of Brighton's seafront, but after a seriously rare unforced double-take, I saw it was a gym. An actual gym, near the sea. Pretty cool, yes. And it made me laugh, because it was so unexpected.

I did get there on time (a bit early even, still), checked the lock on my bike a second time and went in. It was busy, and I wondered whether I would be unlucky again, like last time. Fortunately I wasn't. The gig was in a basement, very dark, so I even I could hide in a corner, in that lovely Gollum-esque way that I have. I didn't, and grabbed a chair right in the middle of the path to the toilets from the bar, as it turned out. To counter that, I moved slightly forward, so everyone had to pass behind me.

I did enjoy myself though. I hadn't been in a comedy club since the Fringe, and always enjoy the slightly clandestine nature of it. There's something terribly sweet about 50 people packing themselves into a basement to laugh at one of their number on a slightly raised step. I remembered why I came to this country, to do this. This is the best thing in the world. Well, no, DOING comedy is the best thing in the world. But Zoe Lyons and Sean Walsh weren't far off.

More happy next time! Bye!

When wondering if he would be able to actually attend the night's gig (see his indelible track record), Jorik was wondering what to write about for that day's blog. Then, as he went into a supermarket, he saw a small boy with the stupidest haircut he had ever seen. A spider's web, on the back of the boy's head (who can't have been older than about 9) and an actual spider on the front, in the spider-man style.

Now, a couple of questions need to be asked. Why would anyone have their own head as a way of advertising an already overexposed cartoon character (who, I must admit, was my favourite superhero as a child too and always will be). How could his mother agree with that plan? But most importantly: Spider's don't even have hair! They're arachnids (not insects, you idiot!)! Strictly speaking, only mammals have hair, and spiders (along with some caterpillars) have hairlike protrusions from their bodies but not actual hair. So this vain and self-regarding combination of hair and Spiders was incongruous and erroneous. There. And after he said that to the child, he was arrested and spent the rest of my life in prison.

Still angry, eh? No worries, better luck next time.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Sunday 17th October: Libraries part one

As I needed to do some work on a project, I went, as I did yesterday, to the library on the campus after finishing my blog (and, granted, some iPlayer). It always seems to be easier to actually get work done while you're out of the house, even though I'm still carrying the main problem (a laptop) with me. I really enjoy working in this library, partly because it reminds me of the library I used to frequent as a child which was decorated in the same style (i.e. wood, brick and brownish grey carpets. I'm a master of description as you can see...). I like libraries as a whole, and if everything goes wrong, I might end up working in one someday. Although I never excelled at the being quiet-bit. I mainly like them for the same reasons everyone else likes them: because all other people are quiet. They're a great way of pretending to be around people in the outside world while actually being very anti-social. Plus, again, you get some work done.

But libraries are more than a way for me to get work done, they're refuges, places of quiet in confusing big cities. When I was in Edinburgh the last two years, I liked to go to the library on the South Bridge (correct me if I'm wrong, but the one just off the Royal Mile) and just walk around and browse. It's the only way to get away from overly aggressive mime-artists and expressionist modern dancers in the street.

Libraries are also the last bastions of those quixotics trying to make sense of the world by dividing it up and naming things. Yes, genres. Every book in the library has its place, it's there for a reason. It knows why it is there. But only larger libraries can afford to place specific genres on say, a specific floor. Every smaller one has to compromise. In Edinburgh for instance, the left side of the building was devoted to Travel, History and Politics, signified by a small plaque. One can understand this system, for these three tend to overlap.

It can also go awry; in the same library, another bookcase was called: Bibliography, Cookery, Militaria. Why? Who on earth would write a book combining the three of those? Only if Jamie Oliver went to war against Gordon Ramsay in an all-out, book-based melee of kitchen knives and swear words. Luckily for us, that day might never come.

It can get worse though. In a small library in Holland, I saw on one and the same shelf: Thriller, Biography and Horses.
Since when is Horses a literary genre? Can it be taught? Do people write books with Horse-based notions and conventions in mind to try and subvert Horse-based books in a Post-Horse way? Can you write about anything else than the Pony Express? What about My Little Pony? Is that Horse-based literature or Science-Horse? If so much literature has been written about horses, isn't it unfair that they themselves never have the chance to read it? We must do something about the representation of horses in literature!

Ok, that's enough now.

And what about zebras?

Shut up.

In the end, I had a great time at the library, and I will go there again someday, probably.

I'm bored now. Bye!

Today, Jorik also fell asleep over a (really very good) documentary on Chopin on iPlayer. It features a smug young pianist (who's actually 34 and an ex-city boy, so not young at all!), a great Russo-Welsh singer and lots of French people speaking English not very well. And he loved it to bits. But it was also very late. So he finished it the next morning before breakfast. It reminded him of tiny picture books his Suzuki Piano teacher used to have that told the story of great composers in a patronising way with beautiful watercoloured pictures. Nice!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Saturday 16th October 2010: Lateness part One - Audience Member-Lateness

As a person scarily obsessed with stand-up comedy, you would expect me to be a fervent and adequate audience member as well. Unfortunately, even I do still make mistakes. This has nothing to do with embarrassing behaviour at gigs (I'm way too awkward for that) but actually getting to the gig has turned out to be a lifelong struggle. You see, I'm no star at timekeeping. I'm either far too early or way too late. There is no middle ground. I used to only be anywhere too late. Now I have added to my non-existent time-keeping skills the notion of Early. I still mess up my own life.

Today I tried to go to a gig, a late night one, in central Brighton near the pier. I was there, I was 15 minutes too early, I cycled past the venue, right through the smoker's area, locked my bike, walked back, got to the front door, got stepped on by a drunk, apologised, got in, waited for three minutes at the box office, got stepped on again by the same drunk, apologised again only before being told that the show was sold out. Lucky me. So I cycled back in my high visibility hoodie (it's bright yellow. A mixture of cream and Saffron. Yes, custard. But it glows in the dark. You can't touch me Bike-light Inspector Man!)

The day before I tried to go to the same gig, only it started at 8, and at 7.45 I was still trying to get some food I'd frozen in to defrost and by the time I got to
my laptop to check the clock, it was 5 past. No use in going there anymore.

Two days before that, there was this gig not far from where I live and I got there 45 minutes early. I ended up walking a large circle around the venue, listening to my iPod, trying not to look like I'd assault anyone (cos that's my main fear. Not that I might get assaulted (I'm marginally too tall and imposing for that(...back of my head goes: huh, arrogant! Which is slightly unfair. I am a bit taller than your average person here so shut up, back of my head!)) but that people might think I'd assault them. Weird thought but there you go. 15 minutes before it started, I got in to the pub where the thing would take place. I ordered a drink and sat in a corner reading a paper, waiting for it all to kick off. I waited some more, and some more and finished my Guinness that I had intended to take up with me to the gig, when a lady came up to me and thought: 'Hey! He looks lonely! He must be here for the comedy!' (as you know; I was). She then told me that I was one of five people here for the gig. And I've been at gigs with less than five people in (especially at the fringe) but this time, the lady wasn't sure whether to carry on. She'd give it another ten minutes whilst I was so bored, I started fake-texting again (bad habit). After the ten minutes she told me they wouldn't go for it after all; which was fair enough I suppose. So home again I went without having been an audience member again.

But it can be worse. This year, at the fringe, I tried to see Robin Ince´s early show 5 times. I missed every one of them.

1. I got there on time, half an hour early even. So I rushed to a shop to buy a European Plug Adapter for my computer. I ran back, got in to the pub only to find the stairs closed off with a red cord and the words: Performance In Session hanging off it on some paper (not just words, suspended in the air! What are you thinking?)

2. I got there half an hour late. You can call it what you wish, jetlag even, but that doesn't count since I came from GMT+1. So again, bad time keeping (and toast. They did have some nice toast where I was staying).

3. I was there an actual half hour early, so I went into some shops to browse (such as the lovely Scottish Storytelling Centre; where they do have good coffee). In the end I was late again.

4. This time I was right on the clock, but me and a couple of other people were told that the room was full, so we had to go on hour way.

5. Robin had left Scotland and the show had closed. I am a fool.

So hopefully this will get to you in time, I'm going to make myself a cappucchino. Oh, yeah, look at me go!


Today, when writing his blog Jorik got so self-indulgent that it actually hurt. Even worse, the last two ones were quite patronising. Worse than that, he felt quite good about himself after writing those, so he went out and bought a paper. As the realisation of his own patronising shit-ness started hammering his braintissue, he read the Sketch-bit written by a man. This was so rubbish that for the rest of the day, he believed that the written word had lost a great power before its time. Now he knows that is not true. The written word can manage perfectly well without him and his weird syntactical structuring; making him think he's like Joseph Conrad or something. Well, he's not. He's more shit than Joseph Conrad (though not as shit as that man who wrote that sketch in the paper). Although most people are more shit than Joseph Conrad, to be honest, so that's not that good an example. Indeed, Jorik is more or less shit. What do you mean how shit exactly? Come on people! Think! Make up your own minds! I'm not going to do all the work around here, am I?

Love you, bye!

By the way, my question to the Why Do-service (see below) was rejected by the text-answering people for the following reason: "This question is not trying to find out about young people." Yes it did! Or maybe young people just can't handle the truth! Ah well, that's another one of these filled (walks away into the sunset whistling).

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Friday 15th October 2010: More Satire - Ageism 2010

I had just finished my last blog, a fairly rambling irritation at the way people identify with the Chilean Miners, as I turned on 4oD; where I saw an advert for a new texting service by O2. It's called Why Do, and it's aimed at people who want to understand Youth Culture. I went to the website, where an email-based tryout of the service can be accessed and asked the following question:

Why do young people still care about life? Why would you bother with anything since the times of prosperity are in the past and your only use is bankrolling the pensions of babyboomers?

A slightly cynical question perhaps, but I'm curious what the answering machine will send back. Ageism is current, though. In Britain, the tuition fees will be doubled, so students will be in debt for successive generations. And it is true that the babyboomers have had a great innings, and continue to do so (and with their luck, will be living to at least 139); most of them have decided to eat up their children's inheritances as well. But in doing so, they pass the check to their children and grandchildren, who are out of jobs, cannot buy any homes below 1 million (if they at least want to live anywhere with more than one wall standing). Meanwhile the young only concern themselves with drugs, alcohol, material gain and social standing (though it needs to be said: in very different social groups). So any ageism, that derides the young as wastrels and shallow enforces the babyboomers' sense of entitlement and pre-empts any pity that they might feel towards successive generations. So in that respect, this texting service would be good, wouldn't it?

To be honest, the answers given are quite sweet and openhearted and mainly reminding the people asking the questions that one day, they had been young too, and evil in exactly the same way. That is indeed true. Though the old may not accept this. I have a theory about all the squares in the sixties and seventies who did not make a lot of noise then but have now, at 55+, become the vocal majority; while those who went mad on dope and peace in those days are now either dead or have turned square as well (however geometrically unlikely that may be).

The future is either killing off the fortunate old, or have the young work off their debts for generations. I think it will be the second, since they're the majority. Life used to be good, though, and in centuries come, people will their spend nights around the fire in disused accountancy firms, telling each other stories about mythical saviours singing songs of -yes we can- and the smell of fresh cash before the elders decided to be wise and take away the corrupting influence of accursed money and hide in their châteaus with it; before being told to shut up and fling another copy of the Da Vinci Code in the fire.

But I'm only twenty-two, so what do I know. Nothing, that's what. Now where are those drugs?

Reading list: nothing much else, but I did enjoy a documentary on BBC Four about Zeppelin bombings during World War One called The First Blitz. So find it, if you care (which after 519 words of patronisation, you might not, to be honest).
Love you all! Bye!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Thursday 14th October: Bandwagon (or: Minecart!) Jumping!


The subject of the Chilean miners being freed has been used by every blogging idiot in the world for the last couple of days. I now add myself to this pathetic bunch by talking about it as well. I'm nothing if not desperate for more google searches.

I was talking to some people ('Aw, bless. Speak to other people, did you?' ..yeah? 'So you CAN speak to other people, and not just the nameless, faceless internet which doesn't shout at you and calls you a pathetic loser every other minute' No I can do that myself, thank you very much) and the subject quickly turned to the Chilean miners. But after the usual words of empathy with the miners and their families, people started talking about what it would be like if you yourself would be stuck in there. Everyone has a story about that. Everyone likes to think they'd behave nobly in such a predicament. I blame Daniel Defoe (next on the reading list btw). But people, being people, tend not to do that.

For seventeen days, the miners were cut off completely from the outside world. In these seventeen days they had to make due with a teaspoon of tuna a day for food, and eachother for company. Knowing nothing about their families, the mania which would make them arguably Chile's most successful export since Isabel Allende and the jokes about miners having sex underground made on twitter.

Meanwhile, we were more interested in ourselves, how we would cope with a teaspoon of tuna a day. What would we do? Would we catch bugs and blind amphibians (if they're around, which, it being the Atacama desert and the driest place on earth; they probably wouldn't)? Would we start licking the rocks for minerals like a camel does? Would we eat one of our number? Would we hide his remains in the back of the mine, use the old feather boa we bought for our Better Midler-theme party to dress him up as a budgie and say: Oh, it was that old carbon monoxide again, never mind. But could hunger actually drive you to that horrible state? What would be the threshold between civilisation and cannibalism? And after how many days? Two, probably. I don't really like fish.

That's the main thing I believe. Hunger is something so alien to most people nowadays that they wonder if, after a days' deprivation of it, people would go feral. This state of starvation-induced ferocity is frankly unrealistic, because if it were true that hunger would drive people mental in that way, Jonathan Swift would have been right and the world's overpopulation would be far less taxing on the environment. (see, I could have had a cheap shot at anorexia-sufferers, but I went for a literary reference. I am brilliant, I know. Bow before me, you cattle. No, you can't, I forgot, cows lack specific joints most animals use for kneeling, such as knees*).

In the meantime, the media has tried to convince the world, through the near death of more than 30 people; that life isn't as bad as it sometimes looks. Yes there may be famine, racism, abuse, violence, war, terrorism, a broken economy and a dying planet but hey, the world can be a wonderful place. LOOK AT THOSE PEOPLE HUGGING THEIR FAMILIES! CRY FOR YOUR OWN DEATHS! BUY OUR STUFF NOW!!!

That was pretty satirical, wasn't it (in that bad 1970s way that it has. I am ashamed of myself. Happy now?)? Ah well. Best of luck to the Chilean (and one Bolivian) miners anyway (although I think if you're reading this crap, you're wasting your time. See you tomorrow for something less angry, I imagine.

* not true. I saw a wildebeest bow for baby Simba in the Lion King®, so a cow must be able to, surely. That film was right about everything.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Wednesday 13th October 2010: Sirens Blaring

No, this is not a chapter in a clichéd crime-novel. One of the most significant sounds in British city life is the near-constant sound of sirens blaring. For the first couple of days, I thought that everytime a siren went off, there had to have been a crime somewhere. Or something terrible. Or a fire. Mostly the last one. Since I, for the last three years, had lived in the 'middle of nowhere', this sudden increase of sounds in general and sirens in particular has been unexpected. Still fun though. I was woken up this morning by a siren (and realised my body was aching, but didn't know why. Then I remembered that yesterday (you know, the day this blog is about), I did 10 minutes of classic drama school-type warm-up excercises. I was never good at any of them. It was a fixed, biweekly amount of pain which was, in its way, good for you. Ah well.

Yesterday (or Today, if you keep with the date of this blog) I was cycling home from campus. That morning, I was already surprised to see a substantial amount of police around the main road I use to campus. What were they doing there? Was there some kind of police outing? Were they all going to have a barbecue? It wasn't as whimsical as that. On my way back (howzat for tense-jumping?) I then saw why. A collonnade of police officers was standing in between me and the rest of my journey. I was unsure if I could continue, so I asked an officer what was going on. Apparently it was some kind of anti-war demonstration. I responded with: 'Well, that's good, isn't it?' The PC remained neutral: 'We're not here to judge son, on you go.' So I did, and continued on my way. There were several prostesters, surrounded by dozens of policemen. Around them stood camera crews and journalists. It looked a bit weird, and slightly scary.

Not a 100m further, there were about 20 people sitting down in the middle of the street, surrounded by police officers. The atmosphere seemed grim and the amount of police present surprised me. But not so much that I didn't dare to pop in to the local supermarket to get some muesli.

I later read that the reason for the demonstration was the continued production of war-materials in a factory near Brighton. If raising awareness was the goal, I think the protesters were successful (and me, now writing about it before breakfast might be partly responsible for that as well).

There goes another siren. I stopped caring I think. First signs of inter-cultural integration: Foreigner stops caring about sirens. That'll be the first chapter of my book on moving to Britain. Which I will never write. Or someone would have to pay me. Haha. I am evil.

I'll have some muesli now and finish Ibsen. Haven't you got anything to do with your life? Go out and do some work! (and after you finished, come back here. I need this!) Bye!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Tuesday 12th October 2010: Confessions of a Serial Procrastinator - Part 1: Brainfood TV

Hello, my name's Jorik and I'm a se... No, Jorik. No, wait, Jo... That's J-O-R-...

One of the best ways of procrastination (and you can tell this is an expert speaking) is watching factual/educational tv (or, in my case: iPlayer). BBC Four is a beautiful thing, making one feel like one has learned, has become deeper aware of one's own, deepest, most true, err, truths, yes, truths. I'm sorry, did I just momentarily turn into Virginia Woolf? I'm sorry, this happens. I do apologise.

As a way of passing time before/between/after reading for classes, I watched a documentary on Cosmology, a walky talky lectury type program based on the living cell and a David Attenborough special on the world's dwindling fish stock. By the way; I luv Attenborough. His is a fine line between the erudite and hopeful and the crushingly depressive through his righteous fury that because I'm watching this program now, a penguin will die. And it's all my fault. Ah well. Next program!

But this is the crux of the matter. After an hour's worth watching stuff about art, science, history or the animal kingdom (stuff about literature is a bit too close to work during term time, to be honest), I don't feel stupid. I don't get angry at myself like I do for watching some kind of panel show or a film or a comedy show which fiercely misses the mark and the excitement of live stand-up (it's starts with an -M-, and the colour is Bland. Guess who!). I feel a bit intellectually nourished, convincing myself that I might use this one day, in a sketch, for some stand-up or some other kind of writing. I know I won't, it's ultimately just another waste of valuable living hours. I'll either forget this interllectual hoo-ha or it'll turn up in the trivia-bit of my brain which can regurgitate random facts for all it's worth. I once won a backpack filled with a blue, plastic bucket and spade at a camp with a very shortlived journalism study in 2006.

The problem is; they're just incredibly well made, especially the BBC ones. The exciting camera-movements, the over-exited (and probably coked-up) presenters, the shifts in perspectives and camera angles (which mean that sometimes you can see so far up the presenter's noses that it's like watching a snow globe through a lock (that was a cocaine joke. Not a very good one. But it still counts!). Unless of course it's Andrew Marr. One of few British celebreties I can imitate with relative easy, because his voice is mainly produced through the vibration of his lower jowls, much like a pelican. Yet I love those shots of brainy looking people, walking around staircases and staring awkwardly at the railing above while trying to say something relevant about Henry VIII.

By the way, fact fans: Aristotle, the loony mother's only child's favourite beardy faced dead Greek guy (who lived in the 4th Century BC) liked giving lectures whilst walking around. That's why his followers soon became known as the peripatetics (from the Greek for wandering around. Not to be confused with peripeteia, which is something alltogether different). There, you can't say I didn't teach you anything today.

But for all their obvious merits and my great love for them; I know I am just wasting my time watching educational TV. It a waste of time. It'll never lead to anything. And most importantly it's just a cunning way my procrastination-gland wants to bypass my significant self-criticism gland. And it works. Unfortunately, my obsession with edu-tv has already led to this blog. Why God, will you never let me win?!

P.S: Sorry for being a bit rubbish yesterday. I was literally falling asleep when I was writing. Still, I was angry at myself for two hours afterwards for writing such a rubbish blog. You happy now, internet monkeys? (GRUMBLES AND STRIKES FIERCE DUKE NUKEM LIKE POSE WITH A SUPERSOAKER FILLED WITH THE ELEMENTAL SQUASH OF WISDOM). Oh, yeah.

P.S.S: Reading: I'm currently in an Ibsen-based wonder of a first week at uni. Just read An Enemy of the People and I'm working through A Doll's House. As funny as they are engaging, dramatic (in the best possible sense) and punching you in the brain with their density and complexity at every corner. I luv Ibsen. I luv him. Yeah, I'm into dead Norwegians, and what? You just can't handle the truth, can you? You can't handle the truth! ..Sorry did I just turn into Jack Nicholson there? No I didn't; I couldn't if I tried.

See ya! Bye!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Monday 11th October 2010

Some people have the natural ability to get up before the alarm bell. I do, sometimes. The sleeping part of my brain weirdly enough adjusts to the time I decide to get up the next morning, and wakes me up slightly beforehand. This is usually mid-dream. This morning, for instance, I was in a dream, being shot at, and I could feel the oranges (some people were throwing oranges at me for some reason) hitting my head. I can remember it hurting a lot and I awoke with a start. After a quick wee, I inspected my phone and I saw I had two minutes until the alarms would go off. I then switched off the alarm and went back to bed, thereby destroying my body's intentions (ha! Take that hippocampus!). Unfortunately for me, I couldn't get to sleep so I got up anyway.

You can't win in those situations.

But still, why oranges? I know of books with doves and roses on the cover claiming to hold the truth about your entire subconciousness. They sell incomprehensibly well, seeing as it can never be a science, looking up words and random phrases and saying: Your mum was a dog in her previous life, and you resent her for that. Why? You used to be a cat.

Why is it that in our imagination dogs and cats fight? They're on the same level in the food chain, so they could have rivalry but not as much! It's not like mongoose and snakes (which are, do all intents and purposes, better suited in an ultimate battle-style showdown of the creatures of the jungle). It might be something to so with the weather or cartoons in the 1920s. I am not qualified to do anything other than speculate on that.

No I didn't do much today, no. Sorry about that.

Before I go: Bread used to be a quite successful soft-rock band in the 70s. I was wrong to mock them, they should be worshipped for being quite good instead of mocked (no, I wasn't targeted by the two surviving members of the California-based band).

Monday, 11 October 2010

Sunday 10th October 2010: 10 10 10 10 10

When in the future, someone asks me where I was 10 minutes past 10 on the 10th of the 10th of twothousand and 10, I will say behind my desk, looking at the tiny little clock-bit near the bottom of my screen. I had been trying to write something for an hour or so and I was procrastinating, going on the web, pointlessly looking up rubbish. Then I saw the time and thought: Hell, at least give it a look in!

There's always a slight fear going on in the back of my mind as these weird dates and times pass. I do know that the calendar and the clock are man-made phenomena, utterly subjective and meaningless in an endless and expanding universe. Yet I do know exactly where I was at 20:02 on 20-02-2002. I was actually doing my paperround, wondering whether the world would end after this specific moment in time. As much as I try to fight this instinct (and I fight it with zeal and rigour), it still exists within me, anxiously googling the date 2012, obsessed with random facts (i.e. lies), quietly wanting to believe astrology even though every bone in my body says it's rubbish. I blame the Millennium Bug.

As an annoyingly precocious child (and one that loved animals, but not in a weird way (not in a weird way?! I was 7! What are you thinking! What are you thinking? Go away you peculiar porn-obsessed internet-monkey! (sorry about that))) I watched the children's news on Dutch tv (het Jeugdjournaal, for all you Dutchies in tha house! Make some noise! Who-hoo! (which I won't be able to hear because of a sea between us and the inherent lack of immediacy in this text-based medium)) from a very early age. This was in the early to mid-nineties so it was usually about terrible things happening in the former Yugoslavia, Sub-Saharan Africa or the general degeneration of the planet. And, I admit, it sometimes got to me. Even though the presenters tried to dress it up nicely or follow up the horrors of death and destruction with an item about a cat knitting or something, the impact was still considerable on my young mind.

But then, later in the nineties, people started talking about the millennium bug. And eschatological stories started cropping up the nascent information superhighway (what a great word!), like they had done in people's minds on every imaginable occasion (1499-1500 was particularly grim, I read). I, unaware of this, was terrified. The whole world would collapse, savage people would tear up the fabric of civilisation and Jennifer Lopez would not be able to finish singing her shitty song at the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (5 points for getting the reference. Good. 5 points to you).

The nine year old me was unaware of this (and of Jennifer Lopez, luckily), when he first heard of the millennium bug from the nice bespectacled man on tv in the shiny studio. What would happen? What could I do? I was just a WNF-Ranger! A member of the Dutch Kids' WWF (no, not a wrestler. Look it up!)! I was only armed with a smile, a chequebook and slight environmental misanthropism. And as WNF-Rangers go I was pretty insignificant, too! I couldn't save the world! I didn't know how!

So I thought; if the world goes before I do; better be ready! And, not noticing the central flaw in my argument, I started preparing for the apocalypse. I dressed up my stuffed animals in fighting gear, drew an escape route out to the woods with crayon and started to make a plan for an underground bunker for me and all the animals where no humans would be allowed (again, fatally flawed argument). And, as usual, after an hour I just forgot about it. Yeah. That's how much I cared. I was nine, don't judge me!

But sometimes, when I was on my bike, the thought still hit my young head. What if? As we all know, the millennium bug turned out to be much less serious than it appeared to be. I, like most others, was a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. But I still wanted to know. I still watched the news to see if New Zealand was still standing, on 01-01-2000; which it was. The reporter looked slightly annoyed with her lack of newsworthy comments, or, more likely, she was still slightly hungover from the massive party the night before.

So, I conclude; the best possible way of curing end-of-the-world scenarios in your own head is alcohol. And logic.