Bum. Less than 24 hrs before my birthday and for a few years I've been wondering when the tipping point usually happens. That point where birthdays stop being a cause of celebration and become an incessant reminder of your impending demise and mortality. When does living become that vain race to maintain one's youth against an undefeatable opponent, who's got a jetpack capable of breaking the speed of light, mocking you constantly; not helped by the fact that with every step, you yourself crumble more and more into a festering heap of pathetic failure? No? Just me then.
Christmas is usually a busy time for comedians. Real comedians that is. Wannabes like me only get the open spots we desperately cling for; and few and far between they are. After the Uni term ended, last Thursday, I had a couple of days off. Or, rather, a couple of weeks! So I got a job (Oh, yeah. I am just like you! I got 99 problems, etc! Although Jay-Z would use other abbreviations. He's more into Ancient Greek-references and Seneca) and shambled around for a couple of days. I bought some more books (Vonnegut and Conrad. Nice).
On Tuesday, I met up with some friends I had met at the Edinburgh Fringe 2009, for a gig they were doing in Walthamstow. The tube ride (end of the Victoria line) was fine and eventually, we found our way to the pub where the gig was to be held. If that sounds like a easy road to comedy manna, it wasn't. There were iPhone troubles and Ben experienced a small existential crisis when he saw an empty market square. Still not sure what that meant. Hope he's better now.
The pub itself was full, although not with comedy people. Mainly people drinking, including a smattering of men and women at the back of the pub, sitting by themselves, apparently scheming the incumbent rule of the known world by the Walthamstow Galoshes society. We weren't sure. But you can never be too careful. The gig itself was being held in the room above the pub. A secret staircase lead up to it. The bar-bit was closed and the way to the toilet was dark. There was another room with half-finished carpenting in the middle of it. The toilets themselves were pitch-dark, only dimly lit by the vague green of a misfiring fluorescent tube, near the ceiling. I was scared. It turned out that there was a spot left on the line-up, which I took.
The first half was pretty good. Enjoyable, certainly. I was under the impression I'd finish the first half. This didn't happen, but I got on second to last. If you're into Sketch (or any) form of comedy, go see PE Comedy. They're amazing, and getting better with age. And since they're all offensively young; that's pretty astounding. Go see them! Now! Ahum. My gig went pretty well. Was quite happy, especially with how the weirder bits went. Good going, Walthamstow! And I was heckled in the pauses again. This time by the booker's mate. That's just the kind of night it was. This all went pretty well and lovely. If I was still afraid of hecklers, the gigs this year would certainly have dealt with that. Maybe I should just do that. Or become a teacher; the most heckle-inducing job in the world. Or a stand-up. Yeah, good idea.
The day after I had a gig at UCL Union, as a means of auditioning for the brilliant EdFringe showcase (feel the desperation in the adjective. I know. But it is really good! Go there if you're around in August!) the Lunchtime Club. Unfortunately no-one showed up but two girls near the bar and this one boy who looked like he really needed some comedy, who sat near the front. Since a gig with 3 paying customers is never a good idea, it was called off. NOTE: This was the first time in 12 years this happened; so not at all a usual occurence. But I was a bit disappointed, since I had been working towards this for the last couple of months. And worried about that guy in the audience e.g. the audient; hope he's having a lovely snowy time now.
So that's it really. One actual gig and one cancelled one. I'm doing the cancelled one in the new year. Looking forward to it! That and Holland. And having my birthday. Hmm. Yes. And coming back here in the new year.
Every year I look back at the year before and go: is that all you can do? Is that the best you could have done? Is this it? And then I go, yes. That is all. I am not capable of more. I am shit as a person. And then all the bits of my head agree that, however mediocre and disappointing I may be, they'd still stick along for the ride. Maybe just to mock me. But that's fine.
I hope to come up with something funnier/less self-consciously weird than this next year. When my readership shifts from Russian people and family members, to Russian people, family members (kissies!) AND the occasional booker. Who will quickly tire of my overelaborate and usually unfunny prose (who does he think he is? Joseph Conrad?).
But hey; I've moved country, started doing gigs, wrote a lot, was in some things, had loads of crappy jobs, read some books, had some great nights, saw inspiring shows, ate fruit and most importantly: met loads of brilliant, lovely and awesome people. None of whom will be reading this blog right now. Ha! Beat that internet
This is what living the dream feels like, an oftentimes boring and uneventful dream; but a dream nonetheless. Thanks for sticking with me. Now, for everyone who's getting older, I would like to add a beautiful poem I discovered very recently, hope you like it too. It's a bit sad, but very wonderful, and written by the American poet Billy Collins. So this one's for everyone out there who's ever had a birthday.
On Turning Ten
by Billy Collins
The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light–
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.
- Love you all! Bye! :-)