For anyone who just happened upon this blog, or followed the link in this article:
I'm using this blog mainly as a vehicle for ideas. It contains my experiences of studying abroad for a year in 2010-2011 and my attempts at stand-up during that time. Otherwise, there's short stories, there might be poetry (heaven forbid) and some journalism might appear.
Hope you enjoy it and get in touch if you do. I will be doing the FringeReview New Talent Podcast during the Edinburgh Fringe festival and I'm also without any open spots as yet. So give me a shout on those.
Saturday, 14 July 2012
Well, that was a bit of a disappointment. The gig ended up being pulled, because there were exactly 0 (zero) audience members present. So the emotional build-up was- as ever- for nought. It is quite difficult to do gigs in Amsterdam anyway, because of this apparent dearth of audience caring for comedy. It's different to what I hear is going on in London, and I got the beginning of last year. There are just too many open spots. Too many losers, like me, who want to see their name in lights. And it may well be that it's just going to be too difficult to have a career as a stand-up, precisely because -as Dutch uncles tell you every day- 'everyone's a fucking comedian'. It may just be the case that, like in Holland in the mid-nineties to mid-noughties, there was an interest in comedy, which will just wax and wane. Friends of mine who work the Cabaret (a theatrical form of stand-up, with clip-on mics and satirical songs- not like burlesque in any way) circuit in Holland talk about the difficulty of getting up and running. Once a career has got going, and you've been on the television in the past, you've got a career. But, like one friend who recently won one of the leading Cabaret competitions, it's never certain that you'll even get booked e.g. get the chance to start your career. Because the bookers are theatres, they'll only book the big names, to get a regular stream of bums on seats.
The huge numbers of open spots currently trawling the capital and surroundings worry me for the very selfish reason of just not being able to slot in and have a sensible career progression as a stand-up. I want to get good, I want to play clubs both horrible and wonderful, and I want to do Edinburgh. But I'm worried that- due to nothing else than the biscuits being eaten and shout before I even got the chance to get near them- I will not be able to do stand-up anymore. The reason for that is that I'm deferring my MA at UCL for a year, in order to -you know-, get better. Especially since I won't be able to get my regular shot of stand-up, I should actually maybe consider learning to be a proper person. Some friends don't agree with my pessimistic view of the comedy circuit. They say quality will get you there, as long as you're prepared to put in the hours. But we all secretly know life doesn't work like that. You can try and try and still not get anywhere. Past a certain point, this has got nothing to do with quality. Of course if you're really shit, then of course. You're never going to go places. But it might just be that -like the Dutch theatre world- the U.K. comedy circuit is overheating and lots of acts who could have been brilliant will therefore fall by the wayside. Whether we should bemoan this, as I'm clearly doing now- is another matter entirely.
SO BASICALLY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY IS THIS: I will be putting poems and more short stories on here as well, as I'm writing those in addition to stand-up material that no-one might ever see because there are just too many acts and too few spots. If stand-up is really dying, I will be seeing that with my own eyes at this year's Edinburgh fringe. Will it be a last hurrah or a moan, curling up and dying? Or maybe I'm just wrong? Convince me here on the comments-bit. I will of course be writing about my Edinburgh experience. Through which media you'll get to know what I'm thinking- well, you'll just have to wait for that. In the meantime, love to all. xxx
P.S. I'm currently writing a thing about an open spot experience I'd had last year. The general idea that most people have is that most comedy open spots are in some way damaged or mentally ill. That is of course a cliché of the comedy open spot, which unfortunately happens to be exactly true. I saw one who fitted that bill perfectly, who in fact gave me a full-blown panic attack. In Portsmouth. But now, more than a year later, the realisation has dawned on me that I'm basically just as bad as the mentals, I'm writing about that person. It may turn up on here. It's now called: The Ocean Queen of Portsmouth. We'll see how it goes.
Wednesday, 4 July 2012
Good news, I'm coming back to stand-up. Tonight will be my first gig since December 2011. I'll probably be rusty as fuck, but on the plus side, I've lost loads of weight, so I'll be more attractive. Pick and choose, people. It's going to be at the Comedy Theater in de Nes, so please come. Amsterdam crowds have a reputation of being apathetic to the point of inertia, so I need some good laughers to come round.
That's neither here nor there, though. What I'm really interested in is the physical aspect of stand-up comedy. Or rather, the physiological, psychosomatic aspect of going onto a stage and trying to get laughs. I have a theory about that. Last year, in April, I did a gig in Southampton with another comic who shall remain nameless (unless he really wishes to have himself 'outed' in this way), who said something quite interesting. His adrenaline rushes that he used to experience when on stage or just after were far less now than they were when he started out. I tried to explain something about your body getting used to the sheer amount of adrenaline being shot into your spinal cord and that causing a different reaction.
Now, I am more guilty than anyone I know for abusing the noble form of stand-up to my own wicked devices. When I lived in England, I basically did stand-up to keep sane. The rush I got from doing a good gig and killing basically heightened my self-confidence to a point that was almost live-able. I needed (NEEDED) to gig at least once every four days, or I would crash. And it would hurt.
Now I'm working on other aspects of my life being functional, I probably won't experience the heights of stand-up that I used to. Tonight will be quite important for my continuation of comedic work. I will be doing new material and it will be a shitty open mic night (unless YOU'RE THERE!) but I will hopefully get a good response from it. What that response will be, I don't know. It'll have to be somewhere between utter euphoria (that's the one that made me give up drinking) or contentment (that's the one I'm going for). It's going to be interesting either way.
Also, the Higgs Boson has been found. Better figure out a joke about it to remain super ultra topical. Or not.
P.S. More blogposts will come soon.