Sunday, 24 April 2011

Saturday 23nd April 2011: Dissertation and Procrastination

If you're reading this blog, it means that I'm not working on my dissertation. If so, please call me, message me, throw things or shout at me that I should. There. (It might also be a bit rambly)


I've been back in Brighton since Saturday night. That was the first time in two weeks I had been home. Home. Yes, you did see that correctly. As I was walking through Brighton, I felt a -being-at-home-ness I never usually get, anywhere. I basically left the station, a few days ago, and I was overcome by a sense of: I can gladly live here for the rest of my life. Things in general are sort of going the right way. That means I am enjoying it whilst also being wary of how quickly it all could end. Certainly, the thought that I might live here for the rest of my life does remind me to be wary of traffic, since Brighton in the summer could kill any cyclist without much trouble.

In more Brighton-based news, throughout the last couple of days of sun I have mainly been indoors, trying to write my dissertation and finishing reading dissertation-based books. Well, I should have, had I not spent most of the day on twitter and facebook (like the cool new twitter-gadget there on the side of this blog? Nice, isn't it?).

I've also got a plan for using this blog in a more column-friendly way. This will mean less diary-pieces from my on-the-whole boring life and more of my on-the-whole boring opinions. It could happen. Probably not, but it could.

Tonight, however, I'll be doing 5 Brand new bits of Comedy AND trying out a new performance-method at the 3 Jolly Butchers. You'd better be pleased, because I've taken some of it from this blog. So in a way, you've helped write this stuff! So thanks and congratulations are in order.
In all other ways, you haven't of course. It's still mine. It'll pay my bills, I wrote and it's mine. My own. My precious etc.
But thanks, really. If these bits of material work, then the blog has justified itself as a valuable tool. Otherwise, it's just meaningless (which, uncannily, is also it's title). (I really should finish that dissertation).

The day after, I'm on at the Monday Night Comedy Club ( at the Quadrant, and then (not 100% sure, Tom could you please confirm this) 5 minutes at Party Piece in Acton, London. The Monday Night Comedy Club should be in the Guardian Listings, so if you find it, let me know. My mother has started to collect memorandi of my year-long comedy career and I would also love to see my name on a piece of the best paper in the world. You know, after it's all over. (FX: Adagio for Strings).

In other news, I now HAVE Edinburgh Fringe accomodation and a festival-long teching job, next to the other teching job I already had. Still looking for spots though! SAVE ME! Really looking forward to the fringe. I have a sneaky suspicion that this one might be the best one yet. Although it might rain.

Last Thursday, I was invited to do a gig at Stitches Comedy in Southampton. The night was really nice and so were the people. But, unfortunately, the audience was near exhaustion at 23:30 and the pub starting filling up with scary drinking men. So it didn't go down as well as I hoped. Not absolute death, more death by accident. Like friendly fire or accidentally poisoning yourself with nutmeg at Starbucks by mistaking it for cinnamon. Death like that can happen to everyone. I got to stay over in Southampton, where we watched the oddest film in the world. I can't remember the name, but for the most part, it looked like Microsoft Paint having a nightmare and using all possible visual distortions in the program to shit effect. It was absolutely terrifying, like a dog being sick on the baby Jesus. It didn't set out to be terrifying, but it was. It may have been about crack-addiction, although I'm not quite sure. I do hope I can do another gig for them (note that embarrassing bit of self-promotion there. I don't know how advertisers do it and not be sick. Also, Bill Hicks is rubbish. Even though I've never seen his stuff. Only heard it from the swathes of 15-year old selfharmers I obviously hang out with all the time.).

I hate dissertations! AAH!

This last bit was written on Saturday night at a low point. Am now 2000+ words further along. Annoyingly, as my processes always happen to be; the central thrust of the argument was A. already there in the swathes of research I had already done and reasonably informed guesses I had already maed in January-April (it's easy to forget what you've done in the past) and B. just before I went to bed last night, hyped up on coffee, Alka-Seltzer and self-loathing, I found a way of actually turning it into something more readable. I just have to knock it in to shape now, which will be a couple of hours. Then I can spend the next month finetuning it, until handing it in on May 23rd. Life is nice!

Bet you didn't think I'd end a rambly, weirdly discontented blog like that, did you? Well I did. Love you all.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Friday 15th April 2011: Another Twot on Twitter + Glasgow + Downstairs at the King's Head

Hello. This blog will be about my short trip to Scotland, a brilliant night at Downstairs at the King's Head but I'm starting with twitter.

As you can see, despite my promises, I am back to the once-a-week blogging thing I thought I was going to do a couple of months ago. Not really a problem. As by contrast, I have (stupidly) created a twitter-account. Basically you're reading the words of a man trying to come to terms with his own insatiable need to self-publicise on the one hand and personal tendency to avoid most human contact on the other. In short: a comic. When I announced on facebook that I would be joining twitter, my Dutch friends' reaction can be summed up by one word: NOOO!

I admit, the spelling's a bit off. But the intensity of the anti-twitter sentiment was indeed surprising. What do the Dutch have against twitter? Is it because politicians use it? Is it because it is some kind of final hurdle into total unfettered self-adulation? Possibly both. Please explain! It will make for an interesting discussion about the differences of opinion on egotistical social networking sites.

I felt a bit guilty afterwards. I was probably right to. Still. Not going to get rid of it though. I will use twitter for ever, even when I get back to Holland to finish my degree and this blog will be renamed Comic in Exile; in which I shall attempt to get political asylum in the UK. This tweet-negativity will only worsen your case, Holland!*

*only kidding, NL-people. I love you.

So! Back to the past then. On Thursday last week, I was finishing my packing. I was going up to Scotland for a 4-night stay in Glasgow with my friend and excellent poet and funny human being Jane. We originally met at the Edinburgh Fringe 2009, at a two-day comedy workshop. Since then we'd stayed in touch, writing things over the internet and seeing each other at the Fringe and in London. I was techie/slave/camera-holding layabout for her and her fellow poets' Fringe show last year (a job for which I've since been re-hired; Arguments and Nosebleeds 2, venue TBC, time TBC).

I woke up slightly too early, because of a weird dream I had. I knew I was in a room, and there was a dog with me. This dog had transparent skin, and looked like a collection of fungi and jellyfish stuck together, it's faintly glowing insides showing. I can remember it jumping me in the dream and I woke with a start. Now before we begin extensive analysis (and I know some of you think I really need it) I think I know exactly what this dream meant. After waking up, I realised I needed a wee really badly, so I got up, had the wee, and understood that my brain was merely giving me a kick in the cortex to wake me up. Eat that, C.G. Jung! You got nothing on me! You world-famous dead dream-interpreter you!

After I finished packing, the plumber I had been talking about in the last blog came round. That's one angry phone call I don't have to make, thankfully. I got my bags and left the house, pleased with myself, as I had said he could finish the leftover milk in the fridge I couldn't take with me. Who did I think I was? St. Francis of Asissi? A sissy more like (hey!).*

* This is a genuine transcript of how my brain works. Don't look at me like that! You could have easily worked that out by now. If you're a new reader (doubt it) then: Welcome! This is how my brain works! Good luck, I say!

On the bus to the station, I saw a poster for a Mystery Bus tour. You pay 16 pounds, you sit in a bus for 6 hours, you bring your own packed lunch and you've got no idea where you'll end up. Why, that's a family holiday, surely.*

* Note to self: remember that your mum reads this blog. And she is very good at reading maps and general sense of directions.**

** Meta-Note to self: remember that too much notes in a blog ruin the structural flow of it and generally any form of enjoyment that can be got from them.

So, train. Brighton to London was no problem. The weather was beautiful, the sun was out, I almost felt bad to leave this wonderful place with its glorious weather for somewhere on the same latitude as Novosibirsk. Look it up.

I walked from St. Pancras to Euston, in plenty of time for my train, so I got some food from M&S and a coffee to pass the 4½ hour train journey from Euston to Glasgow. It was all running perfectly smoothly. I wasn't even suspecting something might go wrong. That was how smoothly everything was going. I was travelling on a Virgin Train. Now, Virgin Trains don't have a very good reputation. There are reasons for that, which I shall not go in to, since I never experienced any of them myself. My problem, and therefore my reason to now Hate Richard Branson (don't mean to be a bandwagon-jumper, but apparently some beliefs can make a career. Yes, please!), was with the seating in Standard class. Having paid quite a lot of money for a ticket and being quite desperately in need of a seat (again for urinary reasons), I was looking round and plainly asking people whether I could sit on this or that seat. The answer would be no, since it was reserved. After that happened for about 10 times, I was annoyed with Richard Branson and his baffling seat-arranging ways and having gone through 4 wagons, I asked a lady in a wheelchair if I could just drop my bags next to her for a moment, in order to quickly go to the toilet. She very politely told me: "No, I'm sorry, I'm going to be sitting there." Then, for no reason at all, my brain went into self-destruct and I indignantly spouted the sentence: 'Ok! So I'll just get a standing spot then!' and sped off.

I know, they should have shot me on sight. After coming back from the toilets and finding a non-reserved seat (apparently there hangs a -reserved- sign above every one of 'em! Who knew?!) I was kind of waiting to be arrested by the politeness-police. Or some kind of stasi for the socially inept. Ouch.

The rest of the journey went smoothly enough. Around Wigan, I realised that for the entire journey, I had been sitting in front of a Tibetan monk. When he left the train, later on, I saw he had Scottish tartan lining in his coat. Bless.

I read Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz on the train up to Scotland, and am still doing so. It's very well researched, highly readable and as perceptive as any academic text on this ephemeral subject. Will certainly reference it often in life and art and academica. Buy it, it's ace.

Jane and I then met in the Starbucks I had been in, reading and drinking yet more coffee. We had some lovely food (we actually set off on a four-day binge of lovely Glaswegian restaurants, with La Vallée Blanche in the West End being the best of the four. Go there, absolutely go there. The blue cheese salad is amazing, and better than it sounds. Even though it's got wood panelling), and went to see Jeremy Hardy at the Citizens. I had never seen him live, and he sustained 2 full hours of polemic without ever being unfunny or uninteresting.
It often seemed to tip over into genuine intelligent left wing discourse; I told that to Jane and she said that comedy is the only place where these views are still heard. That's sad in way. but also brilliant for people who can do that sort of thing.

The next day I left to discover bits of Glasgow on my own, getting to the slighly baffling Nelson's Monument and the really baffling People's Palace. I was pulled in by the sight of a huge greenhouse, but this was a museum, talking about Glaswegian poverty throughout the ages. It was genuinely disconcerting in places, for instance showing pictures of children selling their belongings for cash on the street as late as the 1970s. I didn't really know how to deal with that place. Did it objectify poverty? Empower people? Or did it just sort of shout at us, trying to make us, me, outsiders, feel bad about themselves and their ignorance? I'm stil not quite sure. This is the link to the museum:

That night, we went to see Sean Hughes at the Citizens. Great comic, who was quite (willfully?) awkward with the audience at first, making for a complicated first half where the comic and the audience seemed to be sitting back, waiting for the other to respond. Odd. The second half went incredibly well. He talked about his father's recent death was beautiful, funny, and not once sentimental. He even did 15 minutes more than he was suppposed to. It's sometimes daunting to see comics be that good, even though they've been working for 25-30 years longer than you. It does show how professional and streamlined their performance needs to be, to be loose enough to engage with what's happening in the room at all times.

Only annoying thing at the Sean Hughes gig was an audience member, sitting two seats away from me, who clapped loudly after every punchline, or just after a sentence he happened to agree with. Not Sean Hughes' fault, of course. But it's people like that who unwittingly ruin gigs for other people. Or just pedants like me.

Over the weekend, Jane and I started writing on our (still) Ultra-Secret New Project. When there's news, I will inform you.

The weather also went all lovely, and I had the privilege to see Scottish men's faces turn crimson in the sun. Not that I was actively looking for them (of course not! What are you thinking?)  but they tended to be unavoidable. In short: Glasgow in the spring= v good.

Before I grow to tired to type, I will just inform you that the gig I had this Thursday night at Downstairs at the King's Head in Crouch End, London; was utterly amazing. Lovely crowd, only five minutes, but even managed to dick around a bit after I messed up a line and got a far bigger laugh for telling the audience what the structure of the joke would have been had I not fluffed the line and exactly how it would have been amusing to them. From then, the five minutes were a breeze (even though I might have ruined comedy for them for ever). Everything worked, even the small -barely- jokes I put in mostly for my own amusement. Gigs like that save one from the memory of opening at the Comedy Cooler in Hove. I also saw some great comics I'd never seen before. I would have loved to do ten there, so I'm hoping I can play DATKH before I leave (possibly not, though one can dream). Next gig: Southampton on Thursday!

Hopefully more blogging in following days. Now, sleep!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wednesday 6th April 2011 - The last 6 days: DEATH-KRISHNA-RESTAURANT REVIEW-EPIC FAIL (and Natural History Museum)-MEGADRIVE-SHOWER


I hadn't had the time and the available brain space to blog about the past days, so I will attempt to do so in this big mega-blog. The reason for it is my insane procrastination-schedule. I don't know how I manage. The irony is that this blog was set up to generate material and get me more used to writing. Just like Richard Herring's blog, basically. And since the entire conceit of this blog has always been to basically rip off Richard Herring and his success, I will now plagiarise the day-calling thing that he does to denote the passage of time in AIOTM (aiotm). So this might just be the longest blog I've written so far, but this comes in place of 5 separate ones. You can just come back 5 times and read each day with a fresh cuppa (nice) or read them all in one go. So here we go!

Ehm.. before we start: I'm not sure whether I said this in a previous blog, but I'm highly amused by the search engine results that lead to my blog. One of which is the delightful and terrifying: 'jorick paranoia' which pleases me greatly, but also makes me worried about what the internet might know about my mental health. That was all.

... As I'm typing I hear the sound of an ice cream van driving through the street. Just a slice of life, not much else.

FRIDAY - Death

Yes, Friday! I got an email from work late on Thursday night, asking me whether I'd be interested in doing some work. I'm a very opportunistic human being (hence this blog), so I immediately started work, leaving my brother to hang around Brighton for a couple of hours. Apparently he did so much walking that his feet have been damaged beyond repair.

That night, I had an unannounced gig at the Comedy Cooler in Hove. Had done that night before once in December. I had enjoyed it massively then, even though I had been interrupted by a very drunk lady-heckler. Since then, I feel I have moved on, so I looked forward to doing the night again. My brother and another friend who was also in tow were looking forward to it as well. Both of them hadn't seen my act, so I was going through my lines again, quietly confident that it would be fun. Then the promotor came up to me and asked whether I was interested in opening the night. I said that it would be a good experience, and I'd love to try.

It wasn't that it was a Big mistake, just a very good experience, disguised as humilitation with a large dollop of fuck-up. The crowd clearly weren't going for it as yet, avoiding the compère's questions, not interacting with him at all. The only thing he could do was to talk about that, but they were either too tired and/or not drunk enough to fully engage with what was happening onstage. Comedy is odd like that. It requires so much from an audience that it's perfectly possible that sometimes they just can't summon the energy to inject a sense of occasion into the night. The comics then have to work extra hard to convey that sense of occasion, whilst trying to engage with the audience as well. The intense immediacy of a comedy gig is often the reason nights like this are usually special. Things would be said tonight that no-one would ever hear again, these jokes were especially for this night. I certainly said things I'll never say again.

I went on and started off too slow, trying to engage with the audience who were all smiling and sitting back, having a drink. When I then tried to launch into material, this was not met with any reaction at all. I got frightened. Usually I get either laughs, some laughs, people rolling their eyes or even angry shouty drunks but tonight there was nothing to react against. Now, the bit after my opening starts with '...yeah that's a bit of a weird opening isn't?'. I might have been able to win the crowd back with that, but instead my mind went into self-destruct mode. I started talking about the failure of the gig, about the flickering light of the cashpoint and most of all, my failure to be a proper opening act. I got a few laughs there, but they didn't go for the prepared material, so I apologised and left after the final joke which got a few chuckles here and there. This wasn't proper, but hey, I could only do so much and I spent the next 2 minutes with my head in my hands. I didn't understand why they didn't go for it at all. Then I realised it was because I hit the big red button way too early. Lessons: 1. confidence. 2. I'm not yet good enough to open in Hove. 3. I will be good enough to open in Hove one day.

During the break, outside (after, genuinely, the fire alarm had gone off. That would have been funny if I had set the room alight, which I hadn't. It was all OK in the end, someone had set fire to a paper napkin by accident. This was quickly dealt with) I spoke to my brother and my friends who felt sorry for me, but also never wanted to see me again, quite rightly. Of course not, they were very understanding. The most awkward person in the world then came up to us and started saying awkward things about a plethora of subjects. She told us about New Zealand and embarked on some mind-bending tangents so mind-bending that I can't actually remember any of them. That's how much my mind was blown. The rest of the night was very much brilliant, I have to say. In the end, my fragile ego did survive the night, since during the second interval, a slightly enebriated man came up to me to say that I would have been fantastic in front of 20.000 people instead of 30, which brings me to the conclusion that the secret of comedy is in fact the large scale structural abuse of alcohol.

It was good to die, in a way. My average is still very high (2 deaths in about 45 gigs) and it strangely enough gave me quite an intense rush, afterwards. I had died, but I was still walking. Lived to die another day. I love stand-up, even though it didn't love me tonight. Ah well, never mind.

SATURDAY - Krishna

Me and my brother made our way to Camden Town, North London in the afternoon en route to the famed Camden market. I was very tired, having slept very little during the night. But I had never been to this huge gathering of hipsters and other misfits around Camden Lock. We had quite a complicated tube trip to get to our destination. The Northern line between Charing Cross and and Mornington Crescent was closed, so we ended up spending half an hour getting on and off tube trains. This is, however, very educational about how people in this strange but friendly city actually live. My brother just wanted to get to Camden market though.

When we got out of the station, we were struck with how ridiculously busy it actually was. So many hipsters in one street! I've often felt uncool, so I had a thing in me which told me to cower in the presence of so much cool, but I frankly was too tired to really engage with my ego. I needed all my energy to basically keep standing and not getting my brother in too much trouble.

It was actually immense. I didn't think there would be so many shops selling that many different kinds of black clothes, similar vintage shirts and self-regarding t-shirts. But even though I did change into a 58-year old man (a bit) I was impressed by how busy it was and how a clearly niche endeavour could succesfully operate because of mainly word of mouth and becoming a tourist destination. In a way, exporting cool to the rest of Europe (there were loads of foreigners, like us, shopping to take home 'cool'). My brother, however, did not go there to buy into what is supposedly 'cool', but bought some things he searched out back in Holland, over the internet. But we did do loads of walking again. My brother remarked he could now drink whatever he wanted tonight, since he'd burned so many calories or he would die of malnutrition. If this isn't funny, that's because of my crap phrasing in translation. He is clearly the funny one in the family.

When we got ready to leave, my brother was stopped in the street by a Hare Krishna. He couldn't escape him as the man and his orange robes blocked his way. When books and flyers came out of a pragmatically hidden satchel (in the folds of the robe; handy!) I walked up to my brother, took his arm, said 'No thank you!' and walked off. Then something odd happened. Before I managed to get my brother out of the orange aura of the man, something odd happened. He said; '...and also you with the pretty blonde hair'.

Yup. Yours truly just got hit on by a Hare Krishna.

As you say here on your internet: omg.

No-one has ever said I had pretty blonde hair. I'm not familiar with people (even feigning) to be attracted to me. This is not a cry for help, it is just very odd. I can't relate to it, I've just never been a particularly attractive person. But over the last couple of weeks, more people have commented on me having either a good-looking FB profile picture or (hilariously) having sex appeal. That was in quite a cool fb-chat I had about comedians being physically attractive. This more general topic is one I will revisit in following blogs, since this one is clearly about me, not considering myself attractive in any way. Again, no helplines please. Either I've been willfully deaf for compliments (which with my fragile comedian's ego, I cannot believe) or I've never had many. For a reason, I thought. I have never conceived of myself to be attractive to the opposite sex, or the same sex, for that matter. The Hare Krishna here was male, but I can't believe he was being sarcastic. You just can't have both a sincere belief about the universe that moves you to tell the world about how wrong it is, AND be sarky on the side. Nope, one or the other. As you are well aware, I clearly belong to the sarcastic side.

To come back to the reason I've never been found attractive before the last few weeks, maybe the Hare Krishna guy did, in fact, change my life. And therefore, he clearly wins. Shit.

My brother and I got home, had food, watched Black Books and I fell asleep when he went into the night on his own. I was too tired to speak near the end of the evening. But it had been a good day.

SUNDAY - Restaurant review

Very tired today, both of us. We weren't much use to anyone, let alone ourselves. We went to campus, where I showed my brother were I went to school. He liked it, though wasn't overly impressed. Which is fair enough, I suppose. Although one funny thing did happen, when in the library, a girl who had seen me do stand-up at the Rose Hill Tavern recognised me and said she thought I was really funny. She may have mistaken me for Adam Smith, but that is not the point.

Annoyingly tired, we both decided just to go home after some highly impressive food (at Pompoko's. I now demand a full payment and/or a free series of meals after this write-up) and drinks in a nice pub in the lanes for Black Books and sleeping. We were halfway through the last episode of series 2 when he fell asleep. I only found out that he had near the end of the episode, when he told me he was going to bed. How's that for familial telepathy? Indeed, not much.

MONDAY - Epic fail (and Natural History Museum)

When going out for breakfast this morning, I found I had lost my wallet. Yes. Oh indeedio. By now we are well aware of how the process works (which is repeated here: ). I couldn't find it, wherever I looked. It just wasn't there. My entire sanity broke down to the repeated ringing of two words in my brain: WHERE and WHY. That was annoying. Apart from all of my important papers my wallet also contained my rail card, which in turn contained a return ticket to Glasgow. Yes. Not good. I really needed it.

When turning the house upside down, my brother was on facebook. A friend of mine was trying to speak to me, but 'I' didn't answer. I took a break to answer her message and explain. When I spoke to her about my current predicament she laughed, said: 'I have it' and added a few Muhahaha's for good measure.
Ten minutes of despair later I had sunk so low I thought it was sensible to actually call her and ask whether that joke that she had just made was genuinely a joke. What? Just eliminating possibilities! She rightly laughed in my face. We then had to retrace our steps from the last night, asking a shop keeper whether she'd seen anything (she hadn't) or Pompoko (they hadn't). On the way into town, I was talking to my admirably stoic brother but mainly to myself, trying to eliminate impossibilities. It could only be in the place where I'd left it last time (does this sound familiar? It should: ), in the small pub in the lanes where I'd last had it in my hands. After a gruelling search through the faintly confusing small streets, we found the pub where we had been the day before. The girl behind the counter immediately recognised me and handed me the wallet. Everything was in it, luckily, apart from the rail card with the ticket. Still, good average, more than pleased with the results. But still, to lose something so important again and having to rely on the goodness of people's hearts to pick up the pieces (my brother said they wouldn't have kept it safe in Holland. He is right) is shameful. I am crap at life.

After a calming cup of tea, we went to the Natural History Museum in Kensington, London. This is one of my favourite places on earth, partly because it looks like Hogwarts but mainly because there's so much things inside it that fascinates me. It makes me turn into an 11 year old boy. But also an educational Kids' TV presenter, constantly restraining myself not to tell everyone in a 5 mile radius about how awesome the natural world is. I had been there in January 2010, wasting time before a very important gig (first stand-up gig since doing it for the first time at Edinburgh 2009) when it had dazzled me. Today, I could show someone else how cool it was. Luckily, he shut me up pretty soon. We took loads of pictures and had a brilliant couple of hours. In the Mammal-section, a sign on a wall taught children how to speak Dolphin (apparently it's closing your mouth, holding your nose tight with your fingers, blowing and squeaking). That was pretty cool. I also saw the geology section, that I hadn't seen last year. You reach it by way of an escalator, traversing along walls of constellations and through the inside of the earth which happens to be made of copper plating and crêpe paper. Ah well, they can't all be brilliant. There was a bit where you were inside a supermarket in Kobe, Japan, during the '95 earthquake. Scary and intense, certainly now.

After closing time (Oh yeah, we stayed till closing time, biatches! Whoohoo! Aren't we cool? In a museum...? No? OK), we went to Islington. Islington is nice, but not appropriate for anyone with a medium sized spending average on food and drinks, so we ended up in a Burger King. Not that much of a problem, really (although now, days later, my skin has rebelled and I had to get rid of some pustules on my face). The reason we went to Islington was to see a comedy night called Not Now, Bernard. It's about children's stories and several comics, including a sketch group (Casual Violence), an improv group (Fat Kitten) and a musical double act (Horse and Louis) and the brilliant Danielle Ward (I've seen her a couple of times, in Brighton and in Edinburgh, always incredibly funny) - were allowed to tell a children's story in any way they wanted. That meant that unless the comedy circuit takes quite an odd turn, they'd never be able to do that material again. This made for quite a special night. Casual Violence Redux were very good as a twosome, after seeing their full show some weeks ago they still surprised me with their very black and very funny, distinctive look at the world. Which, if we're going freudian, should have been the product of a far more disturbed mind than James Hamilton actually is. Doesn't matter though. They're great. Go and see 'em.

After 90 mins of entertainment in a full and by necessity not very well-ventilated room, we went off to congratulate the acts with their work and, later, got on the train to Brighton. Please go and see Not, Now Bernard. It's eminently cool, nostalgic and highly entertaining (how's that for a quote?).

After we arrived home, my gaze fell upon the cupboard next to my bed, where I had left the railcard with the ticket in it. The sight evoked a vague memory of specifically leaving it there on Sunday morning, so it would be safe.

I am genuinely crap at life.

TUESDAY - Megadrive

For his final hours in England, my brother had the idea of having a proper English breakfast in a café. Which we did, and it was just lovely. The only thing that really happened was my lapse in speech and thinking when a waitress came up to me with coffee, taking our orders. She spoke with a beautiful Irish accent, which caught me by surprise. I was er-ing for maybe half a nanosecond, but enough for my brother to notice when she had left.

When I saw him off on a train to the airport, I walked back to a busstop to get home. I had wanted to go to a pub and read a book, but I frankly was a bit miserable and wanted to be back home. It's funny how quickly you get used to having someone around you. When they're gone, you notice it all the more.
Luckily, I was invited to have a drink with some friends at Sussex I hadn't seen for a few weeks, which was genuinely lovely. As well it should be, since it was my round*. On my friends' advice, I watched Louis Theroux's new documentary on iPlayer. I'm not saying anything. It's amazing, go and watch it.

* Joke. I'm not that much of a shit. Honest. (I am, really) Shut up

I was at home, bored, so i did what I had been putting off for months, and wrote all the things I'd been putting in my phone as loose non-blog ideas into my computer. It's not much fun copying your own words but it does free up the mind, usually, for more creative ideas. Unfortunately, I didn't feel very creative afterwards this time. Mainly very tired.

Feeling quite lonely and miserable at 1 AM I went to that last resort of internet-based entertainment single males of my age use to stave off that great thumping ocean of loneliness in their depraved little souls: Retro videogames.

Didn't think I'd say that, did you? No, you didn't, that's cos I'm clever, you see? I played some old Megadrive games online. It's fine, legally. It's all discontinued, apparently* so you can. I played Astérix (big fan) and Mickey and Donald's Magical Kingdom. You know, the one where they've got magic capes and use flying carpets and stuff? ... Is this thing on?

* How neurotic would you have to be to check if what you're downloading is actually legal? A bit like me, I think.


I was awoken by the ringing of the doorbell. It was some builders, who had been sent to fix the shower. They've broken out the old one, but have yet to return to rebuild the shower. I thought they'd only get here after I'd left for Glasgow tomorrow, so I will smell like a dead rabbit on the train tomorrow. Ah well, at least I'll get a seat.

So I'm going up to Glasgow this weekend! Yay! I'll be there from tomorrow till Monday. If anyone knows of any open spots at Glasgow gigs the coming days, please let me know. I'd love to play Glasgow. I was at the Edinburgh Fringe last year (as I have been since 2009 and hope to return to all subsequent festivals) and I stayed in a hostel some way out of the centre of Edinburgh. It was 3 in the morning and I'd just done a gig, so I was tired, as well as the only one waiting for the hostel's minibus to drive me to my temporary home. The driver, whose minivan bore the Scottish flag on every available square inch, started chatting to me, as one does in a car in the middle of the night. As we got to a very remote part of the route, he asked me where I was from. I answered that I was Dutch, to which he replied 'Oh! Really? I love Holland! Oh, you're all great man!' And he quickly steered away from the woods, in the direction of the hostel whilst I taught him some Dutch*. Only later did I realise how close my escape had been. So I would advise all the English: just tell 'em you're Dutch. Worked for me!**

* apparently it's a form of politeness.
** if that offends you, you're right to be offended because this is offensive. Deal with that!

Apart from that I spent most of my day writing this ridiculous and overlong blog at home, overlooking the street. The weather's great. It's almost a pity that I'll be spending this gorgeous weekend so far North.* I also read Nicholas Royle's 'The Uncanny' and Virginia Woolf's 'A Room of One's Own' because I'm a freak and don't deserve real friends. Or so the monsters in the library said. Library monsters are fun. Mostly built up of old out-of-print 1980s thrillers and Dan Brown novels, they are scary but can be easily defeated through the power of imagination. Not even that much imagination, just more than Dan Brown has. Yeah, beat that Brown! With your millions! And your private army of assassins and...

* According to the BBC It will be a bit cooler the next few days, and on Sunday there will be heavy rain.

So, in short: 6 days, 6 blogs. Nearly four thousand words. That's enough for you to be getting on with, I suppose? Huh? Don't look at me like that. I know you love it. Now go away! I'm too busy packing. See you next time! Bye!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Thursday 31st March 2011: Last Week and Post-Month Analysis

I did not get much done over the weekend. I seem to have spent most of it in a tired phlegmy stupor. I was od'ing on Lemsip, and did very little at all. I did get some 'work'-work (data-analysis. Please hire me! I can type! Just like a real boy!) done, but very little creativity seeped out of my clogged-up head.* Having visited the doctor's on Tuesday, I was reassured to know my lungs were clean as anything and I just had a virus. Couple more days of Lemsip should do the trick, and I'm feeling far better now, thank you.

* The reason why this expression is funny is because I'm Dutch. And we do clogs like no-one does. Although not all the time. My last proper wooden clogs I had when I was 4, they were blue, and they had been hand made by my Granddad. He's 93 now, but he can't read this blog. Not because of age or visual impairment, he just doesn't speak English.

I phoned my mum on Tuesday and apparently she has exactly the same virus that I have. I don't know how that works. But it does. Arms across the oceans.

Later that day, when in town, I chanced my arm and went for a stroll out on Brighton pier. Yes, I was embarrassing myself totally by engaging in the most horrible, depraved act of self-righteous dickery. I went out, and I had a think. I took myself out for a good old wander and ponder. That is depressing, I know.  I was reading a book on Freud whilst the waves were crashing down below, and the French people passed by. I'm turning into a teenage philosopher and I'm not sure I like it. But apparently it has to be done. It's a phase.

It was valuable, though, because I finally understood what people really like. Lights, shapes and colours. High squeaky major-key music blaring through bad sound-systems also help.

Wednesday was quite good. I had a gig in Bromley. Having seen the venue a couple of hours before the gig, I was terrified. A typical sports bar, flatscreen tellies lined the wall. This is troublesome for a man like me who doesn't go well with sports in general and sportsliking people specifically. I had a depressed moment in a Bromley Costa with a laptop, a Latte and a panini. That soon passed, probably due to the Latte which was good and the panini which wasn't. Low blood sugar and a 4 hour train journey tend to drain the life out of me. I am a weakling.

The gig was actually very nice. I did a bit more than I initially was going to do, but the (smallish) crowd reacted well and I met some lovely comics. That said, I did again have a weird heckle. At around the halfway point of the set, an elderly bearded man started dancing to my words. Literally. He just stood in between the stage and the audience and bounced up and down while holding a pint and looking in my direction (you can never be too sure with the elderly in South London). The only thing I could do was look at him, acknowledge what he just did, and ask the audience whether they thought I'd just been pulled. He left to sit down after that, but he did make me a bit scared to do the final bit, where I normally walk into the audience. In my mind, he could have got up and abducted me. That would not be good, because I don't think his industrial size freezer has got wifi; which would mean no more blogs. Yeah, what would you do then, huh? Not much probably, they have been a bit thin on the ground in recent weeks.

In the end, I got a lift from Bromley to Gatwick from friends of one of the other acts. This saved me and Sam (the other Brighton-based comic on the bill) the schlep from Bromley to Victoria, which would have taken hours more.

On Thursday, my brother arrived in Brighton to have a short holiday here. So far, we have been drinking, been to Komedia (first time since October) and have had some food. He also bought the biggest lighter in the world, to impress smokers with. It's good to have him here, especially as he's sitting right next to me as I'm typing this and if he wishes, can destroy me with a single blow. He is the tallest man in the world. Possibly.

As you can see, I've updated my gig list. There'll hopefully be some more on it, since I've only got 4 months left in England and I'm getting desperate (August will be Edinburgh, as per usual). From Thursday the 7th, I'll be in Glasgow for 4 days, so if anyone's got a spot on a gig there, I'm very much up for it. Tonight I'll be doing the Comedy Cooler again. The last time I did that gig, there was snow on the streets. Now it's quite sunny. Let's see how it goes.

Also, I'm quite pleased with the way March 2011 panned out. I think I've done more gigs this month than I've ever done before, as well as a play (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead), a Masque (The Masque of Queenes) and lots and lots of other things. I also managed to waste loads of time as well, so no harm done there. The blogging will now increase, hopefully, since I've made a nearly complete recovery of the flu I had last week. Yay! In other news: the UK-based readership of this blog has finally over taken the Dutch. Don't let them win Dutch-land OR Way to go UK, keep on reading! I need this!

So take care blogosphere (is that how you call yourself? I'm not sure. But you must have a name, you anonymous internet-based readership, you) and I'll be back soon.