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Friday, June 8

Well, that gave me a lift

The first time I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, it was in a lift (see right). My career's been on the descent ever since. Ho de ho.

Today I had the pleasure of getting in a lift just as the emergency phone in there started ringing. I thought it might be fun to answer it. It was a cold call. I thought it might be even more fun to answer this cold call as the lift. The following exchange occurred. I thought I was on top, but perhaps I was s....laaaaammed.

Me: Hello
Voiceover: Hi. You've been missold payment protection insurance. Please press five.
Me: <presses 5>
Callcenter man: Hello. Can I take your name please.
Me: I am a lift
Callcenter man: Sorry?
Me: I am a lift. You called me and I'm a lift.
Callcenter man: Which floor are you on at the moment?
Me: I am on the 1st floor.
Callcenter man: Ok. Well, please will you go up to the penthouse...
Me: Yes
Callcenter man: ...and jump off.
Me: On it...
Callcenter man: <already hung up>


So what exactly just happened and who won? I think he treated me like I was prank calling him, where I was treating him like he'd cold called me... the ultimate face off.

The Proof's not in the Pudding

The other day I had the misfortune to hear Phil Spencer, off of "Secret Agent" and "Location Location Location" (or "3x Location") and generic Kirsty Allsop-related other programmes, say "The Proof's In The Pudding". This is several shades of wrong. What a twonk.

As I heard on the recent Skeptics With A K podcast, the word "proof" can be used to mean "test of". So the original phrase "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" actually means - "the best test of a pudding is to eat it". The phrase "the proof's in the pudding" suggests that the test of something involves "pudding". What is "pudding"? Can one "pud"? Who knows!?

I do know that I'm still disillusioned with broadcast TV. I shall continue watching stuff I want to watch at times I want to watch it. Why should I wait for a TV programme to offer itself to me, when I've got access to programmes that were good, and which I can turn on when I want to turn them on? That's my view, anyway.

The other day I made a fish pie. It is not the one pictured above, though the one above was a corker too, though a bit on the solid side. The one I made served as dinner for 6, and was complemented with a wide selection of somewhat oversteamed vegetables. If a job's worth doing, it's worth overdoing. I didn't photograph the results of my labours. If I had there would have been picture of the pie, along with a picture of the huge amount of mess I caused while baking it.

I'm quite clumsy in the kitchen, which is a shame, since I'm pretty much in charge of some dirty and sloppy things while in there. There's a lot of capacity for destruction in the kitchen. Still, I enjoy making the mess.

What I don't enjoy is cleaning up. I don't mind a tidy, a wipe and even a bit of washing up, but we have a cleaner who does things like cleaning the house - that's how she gets her name - and I don't like it when I have to go and deep clean things that are not clean enough. I attacked the shower with gusto on Tuesday and it is still a bit too far gone. Similarly the hob needed some love. Still, if messes will be made, then someone will have to clean them. I think I may continue my trend of doing jobs myself by buying a dog and then taking a crash course in barking.

One job I can't and won't delegate is the production of my Edinburgh show. I'm having a bit of a mental block over how to treat the subject of "the worst song in the world". If I didn't have any ideas it would be easier - the problem is that I have two and I can't quite see how to make the one I like work, where the one that I don't prefer kind of does work, though also doesn't. It's tricky. I always prefer jokes that work over ones that don't, but then you have to question the tone of something that works - are they laughing the right way? This is the "proof of the pudding is in the laughing" question.

I have an ending, I think, but that needs some testing too - it's very new. I also have some editing to try to bring the show towards  the 50 minute mark from the 58 minuter it's currently sitting at, which is bound to cause problems with late starts and show-bloat when we get to Edinburgh.

There are previews galore coming up. Sadly, I'm somewhat ensconced in the whole "running a national comedy competition" thing, so time for rewrites and rehearsals is somewhat limited. My wife is being very practical about this... for now. We'll see how she feels next weekend after I've done a week of comedy straight!

The proof of the marriage... is in the laughing. Probably.

Friday, June 1

We've got a little bit of bad news...

Why do people say "we've got a bit of bad news for you" when they mean "a hell of a lot of bad news"? It doesn't help to have the severity of the bad news undersold.

It's a bit like the time I went to a gig and was told "It's probably not quite your usual crowd". Probably? Not quite? They bloody hated me and everything I stood for. Here they are. They were a bunch of pensioners who had absolutely no reason to value what I do on stage, as it simply wasn't for them. There was no point sugar coating it, and I was wasting my time. I believe I was also doing it for free. Well done me.

I had to pull out "the emergency joke" which can never be a good thing!

Anyway, I think the reason people sugar coat bad news is that they don't want to be seen to be delivering it. Nobody likes to be negative or likes to be associated with anything negative, unless they're actually evil: "What's that Adolf? you just hope people will like you? Brilliant. Why don't you write a book about it? You could make it a follow up to your book about toasting marshmallows with some scouts - mein campfire - but what could you call it?"

Anyway, I had a call from my estate agent. Well, I'd had many calls. One call had been one where they said "We've got some tenants for you, but there may be an issue." It turned out the issue was that this nice couple and their child, none of whom smoked, might want to pay me above my asking price so they could have a three year tenancy. I was quite surprised and said that would probably be ok... probably? I nearly ran home in delight, and I was on the M4 at the time - not a good moment to bail out of the car.

The latter call was more the "there's a little bit of bad news". The news was that the tenants weren't moving in. Oh, and the holding deposit they paid is refundable... meaning it's a bit of a one-way deal. Note to self: if bored, go and put down holding deposits on people's properties and then withdraw them after a couple of weeks - it's a good way to make landlords lose money on their rent.

The reason that the couple couldn't move in? The wife was just diagnosed as terminally ill, which meant that the family could no longer afford to move in.

Whoah.

A little bit of bad news?

How does that even work? Sure, I'm going to lose a month or two's rent, which is a fair old bit of bad news... but someone's going to die.

Estate agents - the perfect liars.

Anyway, today I had a little bit of good news and hopefully nobody will get a fatal disease between now and June 15th when they move in!

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