Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Leap Year

So, in order to make up for errors in the Calendar, today is the 29th Feb, when an extra day is added to the year to straighten things out.


One thing I do loathe about Leap years is, people who are born on the 29th February like to have a good old laugh about being 'only 5 years old,' or similar when they're 20 chronologically.

I'd shut them up by saying "So you're 5 then? In that case it is illegal for you to drink, have sex, vote, drive etc etc!" Now pick your jaw back off the floor and go and play with your Lego, child.

Monday, 27 February 2012


BBC3 isn't really aimed at me is it? No it isn't...I'm young, but happier on BBC4 where TV talks to me, not to my navel.

Give me a Meades documentary over Morally Bankrupt Women on Holiday series 2 any day of the week. But, since I enjoy Family Guy and American Dad, and these shows are broadcast on 3, I am forced to endure their advertising from time to time.

Now, forgive me if I am reading this wrong but, Pramface appears to be about a woman who gets pregnant after a one night stand with a 16 year old nerdy bloke. Great. What a premise. Now let's deal with this moral failure of society with light humourus overtones and...No please don't. This one should have died in the womb of creativity and been flushed.

I don't wish to be the arbitrator of the UK's values, who am I kidding I would love it! But I just find these kind of TV shows to be cheap, nasty and a poorly thought out excuse for mild titillation. Hey she's pregnant, just so all you people know that he ejaculated in her...Tee hee, and he's 16...tee hee...He got to see her lady bits and everything, just like all you people in our demographic are aching to do...tee hee.

The internet is out there...There is soooo much porn on it. Do yourself a favour TV bods, teenagers no longer need mild titillation thrown into TV shows, they need a break from a one handed work-out.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Death of the Lunchtime Pint

The UK went up its own arse a few years ago, and became a nation ruled by the fear of paying the mortgage. Losing your job means losing your home, so people keep their mouth shut and follow the Draconian rules trotted out by HR departments in order to feel comfortable.

Having an opinion that differs from what is considered PC will end up in a meeting with some moron who thinks social engineering bullshit, is better than a free and democratic society.

The number one rule that I resent is the prohibition of alcohol, and the resultant sneering at the culture of nipping out for a pint...a single pint...over lunch. Alcohol is social grease, it helps people unwind, it makes work less stressful and it can overcome numerous problems that happen when people, for some reason, think a joke was serious and get butthurt over it. Sitting together as a group of workmates and having a pie and a pint is just the best way of forging bonds etc.

Yes I appreciate that doctors and people working heavy machinery etc should not partake of the alcohol, but if you're a back office worker whose job is mind-numbingly dull yet frightfully easy (have done a few myself), then where is the harm in having a single pint at lunchtime? Creative industries would thrive if people could sip a solo glass of wine over a nice lunch, and just talk. Plus it helps if the boss isn't seen as somebody with a rod up their backside, because you're then much happier to take them problems and suggested solutions, and they know enough about you to make an informed judgement when offering assistance.

As always these rules do not apply at the upper echelons of society, where you can get shit-faced on expensive wines over lunch, because you're working at the golf course that afternoon 'networking' or something equally insulting to the concept of the 6 figure pay packet you collect.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ignorance is bliss

I like watching quiz shows, I like pub quizzes, and I like learning facts and interesting things. Always have done.

So, I do despair whenever I watch a quiz on TV in which the laughing contestants say something like "Oooo geography is not my strong point. So I think I'll pick celebrities!"

I just want to reach into the TV, grab them by the throat and say "Ignorance is not a badge of honour, and knowing what happens in the world of TV and celebrities, is something you learn by default by simply switching your brain off and watching the goggle box...It should not be a category used to test knowledge...ARGH!...Now die in flames."

Watched Pointless today, and 3 of the teams that were left, couldn't name which well known rivers flowed through a series of obvious UK towns and cities. They all avoided saying Thames because the contestants knew that the public would know the Thames flows through London...Great.  So they guessed at the others and, blow me...The answers were shocking. The Severn through Norwich. The Nori through Norwich...I almost hit the crack pipe then and there in order to cope with my blood pressure (I posses no crack pipe, for those who wish to take me seriously). The friend of the young lady who said "Nori," was attractive, so my manly rage subsided rather swiftly, to be replaced with mutterings of shallow approval.

But not knowing the Severn flows through Worcester, or the Aire through Leeds. Bloody hell. The others I did know, but wasn't so arrogant as to expect the average person to know.

I blame it on the decline of geography as a school subject. It simply bores the fudge out of most pupils these days, and that makes me sad. Some smiling government appointed wazzock used to inform us geography teachers (I was one) that geography was changing, to look at issues and not simply people and places. This failed to even come close to the point of what geography should be, it is the story of the Earth and the beings that live on it...And it can be a glorious tale that overlaps geology, history, sociology, psychology, literature, biology...The list goes on. It is a subject with vast potential, and to see it treated so badly makes me weep. I used to love playing with the more challenging aspects of geography when I taught! I'd have my yr 11 classes dabbling with issues such as 'should we stop people breeding?' in response to resource pressures and our inability to give a damn for the planet. Great, engaging stuff...But not the official NC and exam body sanctioned topics like 'copying out pictures of natives beating Manioc in hollowed out logs and then saying "Deforestation is bad m'kay," for 5 sodding years.'

I found teaching around the subject taught the relevant exam knowledge by proxy, because if it was interesting and provided enough examples, it would tick the boxes required by the regulators anyway and the kids would be enthused to read and digest more of the subject independently...and my students results were really rather good. But driven out by politics and fools who thought they knew better by being yes men...I am lost to that trade, and can only content myself with cradling my head in front of quiz shows and breathing into a paper bag when somebody thinks Newcastle-Upon-Tyne is in Dorset, and the Welsh speak Cornish, or that Asia is a country etc.

Next time I hear somebody say "I don't do science," on a quiz show, I'll want large men to rush onto the set and break their knees whilst screaming "Why, you ignorant git, why!" over and over again.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Money after office

Gordon Brown earns £1.4 million after leaving office. Super, smashing, great. So it seems being a woefully inept Prime Minister still leads to decent rewards. Never liked the man because he sat in the background behaving like a spoiled kid during the latter years of Tony Blair, demanding that the top job be his because it was supposedly promised to him in a shady deal forged in an Islington restaurant. Since Islington is the home of Champagne socialism, any deals made there should be classed as treason IMHO.

Where does the money come from to pay people £74k for a lecture? Who would pay? More importantly why would they pay to listen to the epitome of the dour Scot reeling off no anecdotes and giving weak smiles? I have delivered a fair few lectures in my time, and not to be too modest but most of them get cracking feedback, and my yearly rate is substantially less than that. It's insulting. Especially since if you read any of the biog's dealing with the death of New Labour, Gordon comes out of it as some kind of control freak, trying to keep hold of power as it slips from his grasp...Plus why the frick were the cabinet scared of him? Being hauled in for a hair-dryer if they stepped out of line, come on what is this? (hair-dryer = a man shouting loudly at you in rage) wouldn't make me scared because I'd have stood smirking in front of him, videoed his loss of control via  button hole camera, then leaked it to the press and laughed. You don't need to keep on side with somebody if you have the means to destroy them. It would have taken a gnats fart to topple him at one point, and then perhaps the country might have had the chance to vote on him being PM as seems only fair and proper in a democracy.

Most of Brown's online Youtube speeches and lectures appear to be nothing more than fanciful codswallop, espousing unfundable socialist dreams...Now I want a Star Trek like Utopia of free stuff, no need to do menial tasks to exist etc, as much as the next man...But those dreams are sadly unfundable at the moment, until we develop simple near limitless sources of energy and massive scale 3D printing technology (and that will not come from social engineering and bullshit idealism, it will come from well funded hard science!). So standing in front of an audience saying "I want this to happen!" is merely a simple crowd pleaser...Only being able to say "And this is how it will be delivered in the next X years!" would make me pay attention.

The real scandal is Tony Blair earning £12 million a year on the same lecture circuit...Well...£12 million...What the heck for? Does he dish out sexual favours afterwards? Does he perform miracle healing? At those prices the buffet had better be bloody amazing!

I never fell for his bull. He introduced tuition fees on my generation within seconds of the 1997 election, after heavily implying that he would not...Instant tosser. But £12 million...Have you seen his speeches or his lectures? Why is he held up as some kind of quality public speaker? He frequently pauses in unnatural places, he sounds like some kind of insincere car salesman, and his quasi-evangelical facial expressions invite being worked over with brass knuckles. I suppose my criticism hints at the truth...The sheeple are seduced by all the simple bluster and charm this man possesses, they are unable to peel off the 'very' thin veneer to reveal that it's all style and no substance, and perhaps that comforts them.

Witness Blair vs Hitchens, a debate on religion to witness Tony having his ass utterly handed to him by a 'true' and now dearly departed public speaker.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Actors. Keep your nose out of politics.

Actors of the world...If you achieve a certain level of success, wealth prestige and power is shuffled your way, undeservedly so IMHO...All you do is pretend to be somebody else for money. Great. There's a skill that the world really, really does need.

So anyway, after a few years at a certain level in society, you may feel you are entitled to voice your opinion on matters such as politics, charity etc.

Sean Penn is the latest one who has voiced his opinion, and has chosen to voice it re: The Falkland Islands. A few islands near South America that have been inhabited by British people since 1833, and who's ownership before that flitted between whichever nationality had a ship in the area at the time...But rest assured the UK was on them before the country of Argentina existed.

The UK couldn't give a toss about what Spain promised Argentina...The Spanish want us to give them Gibraltar against the will of the people as it is, so they like to stand shoulder to shoulder with you on this anyway since they feel they'll get something out of it. Woe-betide you mention Ceuta and Melillain in their presence though! They get all narky and defensive if you do that. Hypocrites.
Anyroad, whatever bollocks the Argentinian people are told about the Falklands, the UN enshrines in law that the will of the people in choosing their fate should be sacrosanct, and since the people who live on the Falklands are largely the descendants of those original British settlers of 1833, I think you'd find that their views about what should happen to them are pretty solid.

Since they have no wish to be Argentinian, or to cut the UK cords, then...well...Don't cry for me Argentina. Speaking about colonialism, as the Argentinian politicos are want to do, isn't Argentina an immigrant nation that kicked the original peoples out of power? Those 1833 British settlers on the Falklands merely displaced a load of penguins.

I can sort of understand why the Argentinians have such a boner for the Falklands, they're told from birth about the great injustice done to them by evil colonial Britain, as part of an elaborate cock and bull story, so the whole situation is almost a national hero myth that must be resolved with seizing back what was stolen from them (they weren't stolen btw). I've even seen road-signs on some two chicken town in the middle of nowhere that say "Welcome to (name of town), the Falkland Islands are ours!" In Spanish of course. This is like driving into Chipping Sodbury and being greeted with a sign saying "Welcome to Chipping Sodbury, the 13 Colonies are ours!" Since we have about as much claim to the eastern seaboard of the USA as that. If they're endlessly drip-fed such crap, then no wonder they buy it hook line and sinker.

I am sure that Sean Penn was told only the Argentinian version of events, so I don't blame him for believing it...But I wish he'd keep his ill informed opinions to himself. Who cares what a creased old actor has to say anyway? Probably the usual idiots who follow the cult of celebrity, but they're due an appointment with a wood-chipper if ever I seize the reigns of power so we can ignore them and their feeble brain power.

It's hard to see how Sean could be any more irritating and insulting to the people who inhabit those islands, short of turning into Bono and vanishing up his own arse in a self righteous solo circle jerk.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Working your own food

I had a different, yet delightful, culinary experience the other day...Whilst suffering from the mother of all chesty colds.

Normally I cannot taste anything, other than the weird German sausage like taste of pungent bacteria and thick bloody mucus, when I have a chesty cold, so I wasn't especially looking forward to going out tbqfh. But I was promised something a little different.

The difference turned out to be food cooked using the black rock grill methodology. Large platters are brought to your table, with chips (or similar) on one side, veg (or similar) on the other, and in the middle is a piece of basalt, the aforementioned black rock,  carved into a perfect oblong. This basalt has been heated to some stupid temperature. Sizzling on top of this rock is the meat course of your choice. I opted for a weighty sirloin, and since I am always pissed off when the chef thinks he knows best how I want my steak cooked...I spit in your face if you expect me to eat near raw meat because I'm a civilised being, I do not 'do' flukes and worms thank you very much!...Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I opted for the sirloin and am usually annoyed when the chef has underdone it because he/she cannot believe that I like medium or more when it comes to steak. Thus, the black rock grill, offering the customer the ability to choose how long to cook the meat for, is right up my alley.

There is something strangely satisfying about taking a seared piece of meat, and cooking it to perfection, whilst brushing on your own sauces and things in the mean time. I also got to grill my own tomatoes and mushrooms in the meat juice. Sublime.

I can see that the whole set-up is a win win since, the vendor spends less time cooking your food thus maximising efficiency, your dish is cooked as you want it...No more frowning when the medium is bleeding like a fresh kill, and it is great fun watching your companions each working their own personal griddles wearing masks of utter concentration.

Highly recommend a black rock grill

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

It beggars belief

The Andrex company have released washlets, a brand new way to wipe your arse.

We British have never been too fond of the bidet, and tend to believe our arses are clean after we've scraped off the worst with dry paper and had a little polish.

Think you will agree that this doesn't always remove it all, and a good shower is really what is needed! Yet nozzles of hot water poking up our bums seem to bring out some latent fear of anal violation in most British males especially, and so it's just not on in our culture. Hence I am all for a solution that ensures that people with meaty buttocks don't start to hum after a few hours.

Cue washlets...Announced with some terrible docu-journalistic approach from some reporter who likes to join in swingers parties and/or titillate an audience with her style. Not Cherry Healey, the other one. Dawn Porter.

Essentially she knocks around with a portaloo, and entices people to try this new experience. Now advertisers, my imagination does not need any encouragement to go down dark alleys thank you very much, so even though the door of the loo is closed...I can hear and see everything and it disturbs me. Other people shitting is not one of my turn-ons surprisingly enough.

After they have shat, or wiped their bits, they pop out of the now reeking bog with smiles on their faces as though a wet-wipe on your never regions is something new and exciting. Anybody who has ever served in the forces will know that a wet wipe is better than 8 sheets of toffly paper in a ration pack.

All well and good, a jovial response to a human condition you may say...Yes...well...My ire is raised by the sight of 4 over made up women, sipping glasses of wine at what Dawn tells us is the Washlets Launch Party...The washlets launch party.

"Where are you going tonight?"
"I'm going to a party!"
"Oooo, can I come?"

"I don't think wouldn't like it."
"Why not, I love parties!"
"Because I am going to pick up my equity minimum wage cheque at the launch party of a new form of arsewipe."
"See you about 11 then?!"


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Left becomes right, right becomes left.

In an ideal world, you would imagine that a democratic country would be best administered by a centrist party that attempted to walk the line between extremes of opinion, and that tries to please the majority of the people the majority of the time.

Thinking about it, and observing what is happening in western countries at the moment, I am inclined to disagree for the following reasons.

What is the centre ground? The centre ground is whatever the media says it is, on any given day. Witness the continued circling of Miliband by most newspapers...They slated him endlessly for not admitting that cuts were necessary and relevant, then when he finally says as much, he is now a flip flop politician afraid to defend his turf. Ditto Cameron, he will bend to public opinion and then be slated for doing u-turns. Surely it is the job of politicians to listen to advice and public opinion and respond to it?

Thus if the media decide they hate HS2, then any politician who backs it, is out of touch and away from the centre. Replace HS2 with anything really. Likewise, if the media suddenly decide that slamming shut the doors to EU immigration is flavour of the month, if you oppose that as a politician, you're shafted because the centre has shifted at the whim of the media.

Natural left wing people are not partial to right wing 'methodology'...Ditto the right is none too pleased with the left's 'way of doing things'. I will refrain from saying goals because often, when you dig into what left and right wingers want, it's often the same thing...They just disagree vastly on how to get to those goals.

So politicians who attempt to walk the centre line will just end up pissing off both the left and right equally, because both sides will feel that that politician is crossing too far over to the other side for them. I have seen some eminently successful ideas shot down in flames simply because neither side wants it, they see it as an alien idea to them, despite it trying simply to please all the people all the time (see Abraham Lincoln on that quote).

So why walk the centre ground? Set out your stall and stick to it...Surely it is better to have one side of the debate want to push you off a cliff, if the other side would be happy to follow you over it?

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Rise of the HR Robots

We're told daily that youth unemployment is getting worse in western economies, and I feel bad for those poor sods fresh out of uni' who simply cannot get a foot on the first rung of life's ladder of employment.

I've heard all the theories about why this is the case, the economy is shagged, Keynes was right, no Hayek was etc. I've also heard politicians from the left and right sides laying the smackdown on each other...Saying that more taxpayers cash should be spent to give kids a chance or else we're heading for a lost generation and social problems.

The truth as always is a mish-mash of everything...But I have my own special theory as to why the young are suffering especially badly in this recession, and that is the Rise of the HR Robot.

Many years ago, HR were called Personnel, and their job was to look after the welfare of the personnel employed by the company or public body. Personnel was probably seen as a limiting title because for seemingly no other reason, Personnel decided to call themselves Human Resources. Personnel sounds nice, it sounds like that care about you as a person...Human Resources sounds like you're just a cog in a machine, a resource to be used and abused. You're no more important than the pallet fulls of raw plastic that the firm turns into car door inserts etc.

The HR department has also usually been farmed out from the parent business and given to some faceless firm that does nothing but specialise in HR...Naturally this is supposed to maximise efficiency and allow for economies of scale, but sadly means that you cannot simply wander along to the nice people in the personnel office and talk to them about what you want on a friendly level, oh no...You have to ring Darren at Fartwell & Piss Associates in Salford.

Darren is 25 and thinks he is the son of God...He also wears one of them pink stripy shirts with a white collar and cuffs...One of those shirts that makes you want to put him in the boot of your car, and push it off a cliff. Darren will tell you who you want to recruit and why, and will endeavour to get the best of the best for you.

Darren, like all the HR Robots having decided that you want the best of the best of the best all the time, (in order to maximise and incentivise the workforce and extract maximal granularity from the drilled down issue. He's probably also touched base with an SMT somewhere along the line in order to focus on your needs...Touched base! Touched cloth more like.) Darren will specify that any applicant will need a minimum of 3 years experience. Darren is advertising for your post online, as do most HR firms these days.  Hence a million and one people can apply for every job, without the hassle of putting together a letter, printing it out on the dot matrix (or heaven forbid hand-writing it), popping it into an envelope and affixing a stamp...Using your best hand-writing to make it look like a 12 year old hasn't written it etc.

Nope. Your CV and covering letter is one of hundreds if not thousands of near identical pieces going direct to Darren's inbox. So in order to reduce his workload, if your CV does not have 3 years experience so you are in the bin...Simple as that.

If you are a young person looking for work in the UK at the moment, and you don't have any connections, you will not get past the HR Robot. Your CV is worthless. Without being given a chance, you will never get the 3 years experience required...And even then if your experience is voluntary or heaven forbid something like building a Cisco network for the people on your street, then it's still worthless against somebody who has gained their experience for money.

My concern is, when the current generation of people who have the required 3 years experience etc, retire and/or die...Who will the HR Robots recruit then? Everybody fresh out of uni' of course. So for about 10 years you're going to have a generation of people who cannot got a job, and then when jobs are available, they will be 30+ with no experience and on the scrapheap again because firms will want dynamic cutting and thrusting young 20s. As if the 30+ scrapped people weren't cutting and thrusting 20 somethings when the arbitrary cut off of 3 years experience doomed them to a life of unmet expectations.

My other concern is, the HR robots are simply condemning people on a whim. They shouldn't have the right to do this. They are stifling creativity and killing off the culture of risk by not being prepared to take a chance on somebody. You might have the  worlds most gifted and talented middle manager ever to have existed out there sat in a bedsit or living with mum...But you'll never know they are because they haven't got 3 years experience. 3 years is not some magical age when the big book of life is handed to you. 3 years is enough time to develop bad habits, enough time to get cocky and arrogant, and enough time to piss off your co-workers...Yet the HR Robots would now consider you one of the anointed worthy of having your CV read.

I have a beef with these faulty valves in the employment system, limiting flow into the workplace, choking off opportunity. They're too far removed from personnel these days, and seem to think that some of my friends, who are recently redundant RAF personnel who have seen and done more than most people on this planet, are somehow not worthy of being training officers for a metal bashing company because they do not have 3 years experience as a training officer for a metal bashing company. No, but they have been a training officer for a large military college that churns out some of the best graduates in the country you robotic arse. They deserve more than you chucking their world class experience into a bin.

Friday, 3 February 2012

First time stand-up.

Seems yesterdays post got quite a bit of following, bless twitter...

So have another tale, probably less cringe-worthy than being near lynched for mocking an illness that claimed a young life.

I am a public speaker, I have been an educator, and I deliver briefings and instructions daily, in clipped enunciated tones. So naturally, I thought I'd find comedy easy since I like to show off and I like my opinion to be heard...But my first time clutching the mic' was a nightmare. I shall share with you more of my first gig and how I felt.

Firstly, I over-wrote everything in order to ensure I didn't run out of things to say. All my jokes and stories were heavily rehearsed and verbose...I wanted to ensure that I had enough to last me the full 5 minutes. Before the open mic slots began, I was sat in the audience reading my notes and trying to act out my whole performance prior to delivery, in doing so I failed to gain an impression of the room and what was working and/or not working for the professionals.

Called to the stage, I did a clumsy double take and clambered into the spotlight, I failed to realise that the double take had already made people laugh, so didn't run with it...I was simply mortified and feeling very out of place and somehow I felt 'not good enough' to be on-stage.

All my planning and preparation didn't matter a monkeys fuck because the second I stood in front of that crowd, I completely forget everything I was supposed to be saying. Mumbling through the wreckage of the carefully planned routine you had envisaged didn't seem to bring me many laughs. Instead it brought a beetroot face, a large slice of humble pie, and a rapidly pounding heart rate that drowned out my thought processes. I thanked the crowd, said it was my first time and acknowledged that I had just committed the comedy equivalent of ejaculating after 3 thrusts, then left the stage and room in about 20 seconds. The compère was kind, and got me a bigger round of applause than what I believed I deserved.

I tried to remember what had just happened...I thought I had managed a few sympathy chuckles from my bit about using a hair-dryer to dry your balls if you're late for work and fresh out of the shower. But I wasn't really capable of cutting loose and leaping around like that part of the routine needed. Too insecure, too out of place, not in control of my thoughts.

I now know that I had simply overloaded my brain, in an attempt to pander to the great god 'control freak' who lives inside of me. I was trying to remember whole lines of dialogue, about 15 pages worth...To recall 15 pages is an impossibility for most normal people and I am no exception.

But...Afterwards, I was told I had done rather well, I mean who the hell was I to judge how my routine went? I learned an important lesson from the professional comics and that was, listen to the audience and react accordingly. You see, my brain told me I had done really badly, but nobody else saw it that way. Yes I wasn't as slick as the professionals, but by all accounts it really was rather competent and my embarrassed mumblings had been perceived as part of a character act by the crowd.

I was then given a list of simple rules to deliver entertaining stand-up...They work for some professionals, they might for you.
  • Gags must be natural and relaxed, delivered in a welcoming tone like matey pub chatter. 
  • Reading a script in a fluid and ever changing environment is doomed to failure. You're not really acting...Unless you're character acting and acting out.
  • It's comedy, remember the key points and riff off of them like you would with a pub story.
  • Involve the crowd. Ask them questions, get them to do stupid things, I had a room putting their hands up and down like kids in response to increasingly disturbing scenarios. I was left with one guy who swore he had made love to a swan.
  • If something goes wrong, roll with it. The mic stand fell over once when I forgot the mic cable was trailing round it, and dragged it over...Cue 2 minutes of improv' about the place being haunted by camp poltergeists who objected to my button down collar. I've since done this deliberately if I feel the need to inject some physical comedy into the room.
  • Hecklers are funny as fuck. They're usually pissed, and they're usually a lot slower than you. Repeat what they say in a mocking or surprised tone to give yourself time to construct a retort and then unleash it. I was stumped by one once, so I launched into a Who Wants to be a Millionaire scenario where I asked the audience which one of my comebacks I should run with. My 5 minutes was soon up, everyone was satisfied and I was show-boating.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Lynched at an open mic night

I had a couple of simple throwaway gags to use that linked together my more in depth raconteuring. One of them went something like this:
...They were interviewing some guy at the side of the road, he's knackered, he's running a marathon FFS yet the person with the mic expects them to answer a series of dull questions in between gasps and snorting snot into the drain. Anyway, they ask him what he was running for...He answered that he was running for Leukaemia. Funny, I run to get fit myself.

There's usually a brief chuckle, allows the slow ones to laugh before I launch into a story like the one about about buying the largest dildo in Anne Summers with a shy ex, and then walking back through the shopping centre with this...thing...writhing away in an Anne Summers bag. It's a good story that one.

This night nothing was going to right...People were eating, and I was the only open mic' guy they had in what was blatantly a pub eatery.

So I'm rattling through my Leukaemia throwaway as usual when suddenly there is this audible groan from a table towards the back of the room, shortly afterwards  what I imagine is some meaty women with a thick accent yells "No...No...You cunt! It isn't funny!"

I retort something like "Maybe, maybe not, but you don't get to decide what is or isn't funny for the room...We operate something called a democracy in this country. That's d..e..m..o etc. And people don't tend to vote for ugly women."

Another disembodied harsh female voice chipped in "Just Shut up you wanker, cancer, it's nothing funny!"

Being in the zone and thinking I was in charge of the room, shit this was my second gig and my first had gone well (or so I was told) I tore right back with, "look If you don't want to deal with cancer then I suggest you change your diet and start doing some exercise....And given that you sound like Ertha Kitt, giving up smoking helps too."

The original heckler screeched "That's her mum you cunt!" Perturbed by the venom I leaned forward to peer at the crowd through over exaggerated raised eyebrows, and saw a table full of sweaty larger sized women all wearing pink t-shirts...smiling angelically from the front of the T-shirts was the face of a young girl, no more than 14, surrounded with glittery words like "princess, darling, daughter, niece, never forget!" For those slow on the uptake, this is the universal symbol of being out on a night to the comedy club to raise money (and forget the pain of loss) for cancer research.

Fuck...Where to go from here? To retreat means the certain death of your act, to attack means a guaranteed lynching at the hands of mob justice. So I did what any human being would do, dropped my manic stage personae and said. "Right, I get it now...I apologise, I cannot see you all from up here...Since I've fucked my act, and probably the rest of the evening, I'll just say thank you for your time and I hope you can enjoy the rest of the night...I'll leave it to the professional comics back stage, who are now tearing up their cancer material, and wish you well. See you later." I didn't say my name.

What I wanted to say was something like "Can I have one of those t-shirts please, I need to inject some fresh capital into the wank bank." or "What a tragic a waste, she had such a pretty mouth!" or "How did something so beautiful, come out of something so butch?" or "Her dad must be good looking, because frankly...It's not your genes that are dominant!"

Such is the evil that lurks within a comical brain. You have to switch off your inner filter to generate humour...Sometimes it goes too far...But there is part of me that wishes I went down in a hail of fists, if only to win the comedy battle at the expense of my life.

So I left the stage...Did I feel bad? Nope. My skin has been tempered by many days of being abused as a teacher...I am Edmund Blackadder in a classroom, fuck you kiddies! I blamed the venues, as the landlord had clearly failed to grasp that a well lit corner of a room next to people eating meals is not the ideal performance space for somebody acting out a mental breakdown for laughs.

What made me feel damn good afterwards is a number of the professional comics praised my attitude and composure, some even suggested that that particular group was a form of cancer in itself, that it had sucked the life out of the room and killed the audience...And that perhaps they shouldn't have brought their overt statement into an environment that encourages mockery of life. Discuss.

P.S. Did I mention that this whole shower happened in a pub, when I was the only mic guy who turned up? So I was orating when everybody was eating a fucking hog-roast and expecting the laughs to start about an hour later when they'd had a bit to drink?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

TV Advert Staples

Ladies. When you've finished shaving your legs, do you feel the need to drape some silk across them and/or cross them a lot or leap around like a startled fawn, clumsily clashing your legs together like you've only just learned to use them.

Men, when you've finished shaving do you make a pleased face and nod at yourself in the mirror whilst dragging your hand across your freshly shorn chops against the grain...Plus do you still have stubble anyway.

Kids, does your every action have to be accompanied by jingly jingly xylophone music and the parps and toots of a kazoo or similar wind instrument...Often a woman with a hint of an accent will call you a babeh (as in babe - eh?).

Dogs. Are you a dumb stupid bloke with a working class and/or over excited accent...You're frequently outsmarted by...

Cats. Are you a sophisticated and patronising silky voiced woman with a narcissistic personality complex?

Men, why are you thick as shit and unable to complete the most simple tasks without receiving a withering stare from the women in your family.

Teenagers, do you always act like the world owes you a living, and your time on the planet is spent saying "Dad!" in an exasperated tone whilst storming upstairs.

Anybody playing a computer game, why do you use an N64 control pad to play something on the Xbox360? Or why is your modern game sporting sound-effects produced by a 1980s C64.

TV adverts. Populated by shit stereotypes.