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.