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Pay What Now?
Outro
Hearing the music
When to quit
I am not as other men
Tonight I was funny
Attack of the Drones
Notes on your set
Why Pissing off a Fellow Comedian was Fun
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Saturday, November 29

I've just watched the "most fantasmagorical musical entertainment in the history of everything" - according to its trailer that is. The magical film that is and indeed was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

I was also doing the ironing.

Friday, November 28

You can't put a price on your dreams... but in fact you can. The price of your dreams becomes quantifiable the moment you decide to follow them. I know how much a dream gig costs - I've driven to one. I could find out how much a "dream holiday" might cost.

I'm not sure about dream dates...

Anyway, I've inadvertently counted the cost of another dream today. I entered another songwriting contest. I really must acknowledge that I'm unlikely to win these and stop wasting money. However, for the remainder of the year, I shall be living the dream - until the results come in, that is. And this is the big one... to score big in this contest would be fantastic!

Thursday, November 27

Just tried some new material out in front of an audience. You learn a lot... I found a new way to play it (a new way? I hadn't even played it before). Apart from my amazing memory letting me down on a couple of important lines (which didn't seem to be missed when I missed them out), I think, on balance, that it worked rather well.

I am a happy chappy.

Poor fluffy, though.

Wednesday, November 26

The coolest screen ever... not even available yet. Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 25

It's been media heaven. I've been reading and listening to CDs. I even saw some TV.

I have just listened to the bonus disc of Let it be... naked, an album I received yesterday and have listened to a few times. In my opinion, the music sounds great and proves that less is definitely more where music is concerned. You don't need over the top cloying instrumentation to have a good time.

I do miss the "I'd just like to say thank you on behalf of the group, and I hope we passed the audition", but I still have the other CD to listen to if I want to hear that.

In other news, I've read the book of Join Me which relates to the story behind the enigmatic Join Me website. Check it out... especially the song.

I also read my copy of Richard Herring's Talking Cock book. This is a remarkably thoughtful piece, despite its sometimes almost uncomfortably high knob-gag-count. No pun intended on the word piece... see, now even I'm doing it!

Now I'm reading This Is Your Life, which is a kind donation from a friend. This book gripped me quite quickly and is not about the TV show as such. It is a book about celebrity and showbusiness. I suspect I'll learn a lot.

I'm not going to link to the musical version of Spartacus, by Jeff Wayne, that I'm having another go at listening to at the moment. It's not a patch on the fantastic War of the Worlds.

Friday, November 21

Number five.

Words are not always enough. Yet here, on the internet, especially on a weblog, we're in a world of text. So, it's important to make your point clearly.

I write freelance for a computer magazine occasionally. Every so often, I see a magazine with a couple of pages of my own drivel in it. I read them and it always sounds odd. I recognise my voice in there, but I also blush at all the inaccuracies or complexities of language that I use to attempt to communicate with the reader... it's weird.

Here's a letter I wrote two years ago almost to the day. It's good to see that my written style got the message across effectively.

Numero four.

Lerner and Loewe. Ah... Lerner and Loewe. I'm listening to Paint Your Wagon, having completed a listen of Camelot. The next recording is the original Broadway cast of My Fair Lady - an interesting recording in many ways - it's a young version of the show, which didn't really change in its writing as it grew up, but did change in the way it was interpreted and performed. Some of the tempos (tempi) in the original recording are just plain wrong... but it was this recording, which travelled illegally across from the states. that secured a massive interest in the show in this country before it came here properly.

For post three, a link to a cool site that allows you to make songs and have them sung to you... give it a go.

Post two of the day. Penis patches.

I just received an advert for the penis patch. Featuring a tasteful image of a happy couple in bed, apparently about to have a loving kiss and a cuddle, all white sheets and bright lighting, this advert was probably (I didn't read it) offering a product that suggests it can extend the length of your penis if you simply wear some sort of hormone-treated patch against your skin.

Crazy!

They're marketing to people based on their insecurities about their bodies. They use idealistic imagery and centre it on an assumption that happiness is a penis the size of a small yacht.

I'm not convinced.

Mind you, if this patch did improve your sex life, it might also have an effect on your smoking habit. Either you'd be too busy to light up, or you'd increase your number of post-coital smokes (not something I'd know about - I'm a non-smoker).

And remember kids. Smoking in bed kills.

Ten posts in one day... Surely not!

Well, that's what Matt seems to want to achieve.

I wonder whether I have ten subject upon which to post. Certainly I felt like making some mention of National Blog Writing day. That's post number one.

Thursday, November 20

From tiny acorns, giant apple trees grow.

Wednesday, November 19

Time for another:

Musical of the day!

Today's musical is Evita. I'm always going to enjoy the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice collaborations having read the autobiography by Tim Rice explaining how they did it. This is possibly the first ALW musical I came to appreciate as an adult. I had gained an appreciation of Joseph as a child and again as a teenager, but generally felt that ALW stuff was naff. The allure of Joseph faded through my teenage years - in fact, the thought of it still makes me cringe, though I was in rapture when I saw it at the theatre earlier this year.

Evita is great. I have two favourite versions. The movie soundtrack with Madonna in possibly her finest ever performance is currently playing and I like the original concept album with the exceedingly sexy Julie Covington at the helm (sexy performance, more than sexy to look at - I've no idea what she looks like).

Possibly the finest thing about the song Don't cry for me Argentina is its rhyme scheme. It has a long tune, possibly double the length of most verse tunes. Tim Rice's rhyme scheme is excellent. Each verse rhymes with the next. Look:

It won't be easy, you'll think it strange
when I try to explain how I feel
that I still want your love after all that I've done
you won't believe me
all you will see is a girl you once knew,
although she's dressed up to the nines
at sixes and sevens with you
I had to let it happen, I had to change
couldn't stay all my life down at heel
staring out of the window looking out at the sun
so I chose freedom
running around trying everything new
but nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it to


Tim Rice has a very conversational style of lyric writing, which I like. I'm starting to find some of his earlier lyrics a little pedestrian, but there's enough magic to keep me very interested. I can't foresee a time when I'll not want to listen to these collaborations... except Joseph, which I can't bear the thought of listening to or watching a video of. I'd perform it or watch it performed, though.

Around The Time Fluffy Was Written

Gig gig gig gig sleep gig gig gig sleep sleep gig.

Done two gigs so far this week and then my third has been postponed. I'm not too worried about that. I need some sleep. Doing the open 10 before Beat The Frog yesterday was fun.

This gigging lark warps time.

There are more dates in the gigs section as I'm starting to get around to booking again.

Tuesday, November 18

The Hotel Maths Problem

I've heard this a few times in person and on the radio. Here is the problem and solution.

Problem
I work in a hotel. Three men come and pay me £100 per room for their stay. I take £300 from them. The manager then tells me that they've overpaid because there's a 3 rooms for £250 offer. The manager gives me £50 to give back to the men. I can't divide £50 by 3 and so give each of them £10 instead. I pocket the £20 remaining. The three men have paid £90 each now, giving £270. There's my £20, which makes £290... where's the other £10 gone from the original £300?

Solution
Well, the answer is in the question... in that the question's wrong. The men, when I've refunded them, have actually paid £270 in total. The hotel has taken £250 from them and my pocketted £20 makes £270. Simple when you know, which I did.

Highlights of the last few days:
  • House guest(s)
  • Gigs in Carlisle and Manchester
  • Being nice to the lady at the late night service station who was trying to be helpful to the ignoranus before me in the queue
  • Getting my name read out on Radio 2 for answering a stupid maths problem
Does life get any better? If it does, then I'm missing out.

Lowlights:
  • Overhearing mind-numbingly trivial conversations
  • Entering into pointless debate with imbeciles
  • Lack of sleep
  • Sore throat and cold symptoms
  • Bad nutrition

Saturday, November 15

I'm not such a happy shopper now. I went to the 24 hour Tesco at about 10:45pm to find it shut. That's not in my definition of 24 hours. However, the nice trolley man was genuinely pleasant about it - he stopped me to find out why I wasn't looking a happy shopper and seemed to care that I'd come out of my way to find a closed shop.

So I left all warm and fuzzy... and without my Ready Brek.

D'oh!

Friday, November 14

Oh dear. If you told me that my life would come to this I'd be remarkably surprised.

I never believed that I'd find Hartlepool so familiar, or that I'd end up dancing in a Hartlepool nightclub among the bizarre mixture of folks on display, or that an innocent jaunt along a street would lead to some girl attempt to expose herself (in front of her boyfriend) to me - to demonstrate that she usually conceals her bosom but that it's quite generous if you reveal it, or that I'd end up going happy shopper again in a Tesco in a far off land.

Actually, going happy shopper was one of tonight's highlights. I pushed a friend round Tesco in a shopping trolley. It was the funniest thing that has ever happened in Hartlepool. We bought some sandwiches and he sat in the trolley. The deal was, however, that we acted as though we were doing nothing out of the ordinary. How happy shopper is that!? It's hard to put a scale on things.

"It's times like these when my mind turns to pasta salad."

Wednesday, November 12

It seems that I went a bit "Happy Shopper" last night... whatever that means.

Tuesday, November 11

Last night was better. Last night I had company in the car, I'd just had a reasonable gig and we got free sandwiches from the petrol station. Tonight I was alone, the gig had gone reasonably badly and I had to buy my own sandwiches.

Contrast is the spice of life.

Monday, November 10

More dreams of emasculation. Well, not literally, but I'm my own dream doctor. I have a dreamcoat - a bit like Joseph's Technicolor one, with the exception that mine is, basically, a dressing gown with a bit of mustard spilt on it.

I also dreamt that I was late for work. It turned out that I was.

The car and I seem completely oblivious of the 300 mile round trip that is Manchester. It helps having company, mind.

I had a good night tonight. This weekend seems something of a blur, but I'm sure it's been a good one.

Must sleep now.

Survived!

Crikey... I beat the gong, as did the other two occupants of my car and another of our colleagues from the North East comedy circuit. Not only that, but we four were the only gong-beaters in the crew.

I'm somewhat pleased. I didn't get crowned the king, but one of my posse did, so it's all good news. I also delivered a fairly tight 5 minute set there, which I'm quite happy with. Again?

Sunday, November 9

Gong!

Off to Manchester shortly to do the Gong Show at the Comedy Store. As always, with these gong-style events, I've a little trepidation. I don't necessarily get more than 15 seconds to win the crowd and if they lose concentration, or slightly miss the point, I'm off stage. Of course it's down to me to show them that I can entertain them, but it's a weird form of pressure. Hopefully the audience will not be in a silly and vindictive mood and hopefully I'll be in a funny frame of mind and entertain the buggers.

If I fail, then I can take it. I can... no really... it's not a problem...

It's succeeding that I'm bad at.

I'd like to take this opportunity to praise the music of Queen. I've been a fan since just after Freddie Mercury died (I'm very good at missing the boat on these things) and it seems, looking critically at some of my own composition, that I'm quite influenced by them (possibly more by Brian May than the others, but that's hard to quantify).

I'm just listening to the awesome Flash Gordon soundtrack. It's remarkably good.

I wish I had a digital camera. I've just seen this year's first christmas decorated house... Yes, it's not even mid-November... yikes!

Thursday, November 6

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, or, if you live on a council estate, the six weeks preceding it!

I know I'm a moody sod when it comes to bonfire night. I spent mine in a comedy club - quelle surprise! Just watching... and enjoying...

On the way to the comedy night some makem lads offered me some "tac" and then, when I failed to respond to that, they offered to sell me some hair. I think they were the clever swines who then went on to realign my wing mirror. If you're going to vandalise a car, a minor adjustment seems a little lack-lustre. However, I'm thankful that I was able to drive out of Sunderland - who wouldn't be!? Having said that, I'm thankful of my car in general. I've driven 1800 miles in it since its last service, about 2 weeks ago... it's becoming a faithful friend. I hope to have many more miles with it.

I needed cheering up tonight. I've spent the day getting more and more frustrated with a particular task I've been working on. In this case, my frustration is born of nothing less than perfectionism and snobbery. The thing I was reviewing was in such a state that I was exceedingly dissatisfied. I felt like a school-teacher with an unruly pupil... but a bad school-teacher. I wanted to kill, mame and otherwise destroy the evil which had caused my subject matter to exist. It's times like that that you have to think about cutting out on so much coffee.

Tuesday, November 4

You see things and wonder how people can be so stupid. Whether it's the way someone dresses, the way someone acts, or the idiotic things which have been commited to posterity on signs in shops. I could comment on the bedraggled state of one lady whom I followed down Grey Street today - she was wearing light-weight white jogging pants with an elasticated waist incapable of doing its job and with the bottom of the right leg torn and imbued with dirt from where she'd been tripping over it. Throw them out and buy some jeans. I know that that costs money, but you can buy a cheap pair of jeans for less than the cost of the fags you're smoking daily! However, I'll not mention her... Instead, I'll draw your attention to the sign I saw in a shop today on one of the shelves:

REDUCE TO CLEAR

Isn't there a D missing? Did someone really mass produce a sign with such a howling error? This is a command. Perhaps it's a command to people's judgement. Maybe it means "lower your expectation of quality products so you can buy this shite and get it off our hands". Or maybe not.

Breakdown
I broke down in the car last night. Not in the sense of calling out the AA, more in the sense of starting to excitedly talk shite to my rather surprised passenger. Sorry! I think the sheer quantity of interesting moments that occurred to me in the last week became like a massive stomach full of excitement that I needed to spew forth.

What I really needed was some rest and relaxation, a bit of me time, a chance to get used to the speed of every day life. The month of October appears to have lasted forever, since I've packed so much into it. I couldn't work out how, since I was spending so much time away from home, I didn't have a massive pile of washing to do. I realise now that I was only actually away from the home for about 2 days at a time and I was rushing washing through on my return. I think that I had perhaps gained the time perception qualities of a fly.
Recovery
The answer comes down to one thing for me. Cooking. What I needed to do was get myself to Asda to buy some ingredients. I then needed to get home, and prepare me a fine meal. This I did. Chicken Tikka Masala, with my special extra ingredient - eight quarters of vine-ripened tomato. Okay, that's two full ones cut up, but the point is that they must be in quarters, added to the mix just before it's time to simmer it. The simmering slowly cooks the tomatoes and they keep some of their body. Lovely.

Here is last night's achievements at Ashley Towers:
  • Made my curry
  • Fixed the porch light, which has been off for weeks - I even washed its dome
  • Restrung my guitar, ready for future gigs
  • Ran a couple of loads of washing through
  • Did the ironing
  • Watched the movie of the musical version of Little Shop Of Horrors
  • Played on the piano for a bit
  • Did some reading
  • Had an early night
A lot of that doesn't seem possible for a period of time that started after I arrived home at around 7.30pm. Perhaps I exaggerated the early night thing. I was tucked up in bed before 1am, which seems like an early night for me. It seems that having the temporal perception of a fly is useful in terms of getting things done.
Horrors?
The Little Shop Of Horrors is a wonderful movie. While I found one or two scenes lacked a little something, in general it was terribly impressive and quite moving when it needed to be. The direction was clearly effective (thanks to Frank Oz), the writing is fantastic, both libretto and music, but then I knew that. LSOH is one of my favourite musicals. It was interesting to see why they'd removed certain songs from the stage show for the movie and quite sensible of them to rework the story to fit the screen - it worked as a film as well as a musical.

The cast was just amazing. You had all the Saturday Night Live types, like Bill Murray, John Candy, Steve Martin and James Belushi (I'm not sure how many of them were in SNL, but they're clearly the mid-eighties comedy rat pack) and then there were wee performances from certain well known British actors (it was filmed at Pinewood). Danny John Jules (Cat from Red Dwarf) was in there somewhere, as was Ronnie Le Drew (George and Zippy from Rainbow). Miriam Margolys was more evident as the big boned nurse to Steve Martin's dentist.

I really enjoyed the movie and I'm glad I took the time to watch it. Highly recommended.

Monday, November 3

Record Holder

Proud to have been involved in StandUp 150 (comedian number 48) and a variety of other gigs over the last few days. Things are a bit quiet on the gigs front for a bit. I'm awaiting a rehearsal schedule for Camelot, which I'll be in during February. However, if you're a promoter and want a piece of my ass (and there's plenty to go round) then feel free to contact me. I will be going round begging for gigs too, once I've got my rehearsal schedule and know my availability.

Comedy is great fun. Go to Chortle now and find a gig to go and see.

What an amazing weekend. Congratulations to everyone who did StandUp 150 we are all now world record holders and I believe we even raised some cash for a local charity (and possibly a few more quid for the makers of Stella Artois).

Much joy was had at the comedy sleepover on Friday night. I used my reserves of late-night energy to avoid being the first to sleep. The sight of Barry with the clippers made me fear for my beard. Luckily, he wasn't very effective with them when he did hit on his first-to-sleep victim. I must thank all the drunk people who assumed that they'd misheard by bad guitar playing during our sing song on Friday night/Saturday morning.

I also had a great trip to Edinburgh (once I'd returned from Bolton and had a quick poo in my house before grabbing a shirt and continuing my journey). I was treated well, fed well and given an audience to perform in front of. The Bridge of Allan audience may have come to respect me, but I didn't love them. By the end of my set, I was happy to throttle some of them. The headline act gave them some grief and plenty of laughs too, but it wasn't really anyone's finest hour. Still, that's the nature of the world.

Coming back from Edinburgh I decided to pick up a hitcher... I'm not sure why. I just did. We had a deep and meaningful conversation about the meaning of life and he introduced me to the A697, possibly one of the best roads between Edinburgh and Newcastle. Good exchange. And noone got stabbed.

After another quick poo in the home, it was time to meet up with the promoter for the Hartlepool gig I did last night. I had a smashing time. The gig went well for all the acts and I met a comedian I've heard a lot about and whose act I'd seen once before and really enjoyed. He seemed to be a really nice chap as well. If that's not a good evening out, I don't know what is.

This week I have two rehearsals, but I'm looking forward to the more relaxed pace of life I'll be enjoying. Attending 7 gigs in 7 days, performing in 5 of them... well, it was quite something, but I need a rest.

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