Wednesday, 10 August 2011

DAY 1, Tuesday 2nd August 2011

I got up early for the big trek up North, drawing a picture for my no-longer housemates on a piece of paper. I hung it on the fridge, got my suitcase and bags and set off. The luggage was quite heavy and, remembering the two excruciating treks up the hill I made not even a month before, I was pleased I could now relax and let the downhill gravity pull me towards the busstop. This wasn't as easy as I imagined, especially as it started raining. Luckily, I was nearly at the busstop by then.
More trouble came in the form of cancelled trains from Brighton to London, since South Croydon station had been flooded. I still cannot understand how. I got the train 45 minutes late, and arrived at the station, lugging my bags through the building site that is King's Cross. There I found my friends who I would be living with for the next month (and teching their show) Politically Erect. Ben and I went out for a MacDonalds across the road and when we came back, the train was ready for boarding. Unfortunately, I couldn't reserve a seat near my friends, so I had to get my bags into another carriage and sit there for the full 5 hour trek (not including the delays that would happen). The people were relaxing and settling into their seats in that way that people do when they know they're going to be travelling for a long time. On a 5-minute to 3 hour journey, people tend to be more serious, hiding behind free newspapers and texting. I had 15 minutes of free wifi and I was going to use them!
After a 5½ hour journey, we trekked into the new town with our luggage, until we got to our flat. It's a lovely, but small accomodation. I'm sure we're going to have a lovely time.
This year, apart from teching and random open spots (so far: not many) I've been talked into writing reviews for an online publication called Fringereview. This means I've got a press pass, scaring performers on the Royal Mile and getting admiring glances from offensively young-looking flyerers. Hmm. Maybe I should abuse this power. Surely Brian Logan and Kate Copstick get loads of fanny thrown at them during the fringe? Hmm? SURELY? (tenuous). I had been invited for the C Venues launch at the Carlton Hotel. Free drinks and schmoozing journalists, it was a world that had been strange to me, having been mainly a performer or just pleb at arts festivals, gigs, theatre shows and the fringe. There was, however, also a showcase, featuring a lady wearing a Ukelele on her head (Tricity Vogue) and a Scottish comedian who had to work a cold room, without adequate mic and in front of journos who obviously weren't going to find time to listen to him. Still, I met some nice people, and it's interesting to see what it's like on the other (some would say the dark) side.

I met up with a friend from Sussex, who's in a play called Coal Head and Toadstool Mouth at the Spaces (go see. I saw the Brighton preview and it's funny, stylish and cool), and we had pie, pints and a very amusing yet animated conversation about why he thinks evolution is wrong, because he can't believe life arose from dead matter, chemicals, amino-acids and electricity, back in the day. And by back in the day, I mean back in the days of the Precambrian era, when days were about a third shorter then they are today. Just saying. So it was a lot of days. I respect his opinion but he is, of course, fantastically wrong. His point, that you should not let people (and children, specifically) believe something that cannot be proven to be 100% true is however, more understandable. Yet as we know, the scientific method requires that we find out what we DO know (or think we know) and try to disprove that. If we do, we (and by we I mean scientists, not me) can take babysteps closer towards what IS empirically true.
But he is completely right in saying that I am most likely wrong too. Science can only be an approximation of the truth and by necessity, never the whole, all-encompassing truth. We only know what we CAN know, and science doesn't ever give all the answers. In her book Being Wrong – Adventures in the Margin of Error, Kathryn Schulz talks about the fact that people CAN be wrong (and usually are), means that if we become aware of our errors, we can move to a position that is 'more right' than the one before, but usually doing this in full conviction of their own rightness. I, personally, enjoy being a hypocrite, because that means I can be right at least twice. By this time, I'd started gesticulating and drooling and we'd gone round Assembly Hall twice. And, er -people were starting to stare.
Still, good convo.
I had a milkshake with him at McDonalds (bad habits start here) and he got chatting to a Scottish guy who complimented me on my accent but also immediately informed me of the fact that I was gay. I wasn't aware of this.The accent I have chosen to use in English may be poncy (giving me the idea of doing a show called 100% Ponce about -obviously- identity), but to immediately make assumptions about what kind of person I may be is a bit odd. It might have something to do with the feminisation of the English by the Scots. Not that I would have had any problems with that, I'm just a ponce. Why can't I not be that? Ah well. We've been together ever since.

DAY 0, Monday 1st August 2011

On Monday, with my packing and cleaning done, and having gone to Sussex campus one last time (to buy Sussex University-emblazoned clothing for my Dad and my brother) I basically had two options. Either I could write a maudlin, self-indulgent blog about my year in Brighton (suffice to say it's been good) or I could get pissed with friends, which is exactly what I did.
I also figured out how I could receive Radio 4 on my phone. Because that, ladies and gents, is EXACTLY how I roll. Bring on You and Yours. Acecakes with Awesomesauce. Woman's Hour! That's what I'm talking about.
I met up with the oft-besuited ringmaster of Casual Violence comedy, Mr. James Hamilton. We had a couple of drinks and later ate Japanese Food on the lawn of the Pavillion Gardens, in the sunset. This could be described as romantic, were it not for the fact that I, at every slightly heartfelt word he uttered, laughed in James's face. He has to learn. I then tried to scare away a seagull by shouting at it in a once-competent Australian accent. I did this to make sure no-one would suspect me to be the culprit. James then reminded me that everyone could, you know, see me and my attempt at a disguise was a flimsy ruse. That was Brighton, then. See you some time next year!


Hello. I'd been planning to restart the blog for a while now, but I was either far too busy or my life was too uneventful (as in: got up, went to Crawley, worked for 8 hours, went back home which constituted pretty much all of July). But now I'm at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I thought I'd better keep you all abreast of what I've been getting up to. Mainly walking around, obviously.

There is also another reason for the recent lack of blogs, My blogging-routine is possibly not the healthiest in the business. The ones that are good either start with a good idea or something I just have to get off my chest. I then write about this, possibly 800-1000 words. That's all fine (although I've been hearing from people who tell me the blog – does go on a bit-). The ones that are ok, I really have to work hard at, fighting off boredom and wireless internet, or get so bored I can do nothing else than write a blog, if only to torment myself. Those last ones, ironically, tend to be the best ones. But recently I've not had that opportunity, so expect this cavalcade of catch-up blogs to be faintly amusing at best and rambly twoddle at worst. But you did get the word twoddle. So don't complain. Enjoy!

Friday, 29 July 2011


Just a short message, to let you know I'm starting up this blog again in time for the Edinburgh Fringe. It will contain amongst others: some moaning, more self-promotion, slightly less self-deprecation and loads more cobble. See you there!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Sunday 19th June 2011: Hermit-age #4 (Revenge of the Hermits)

Hello, I'm back.
I haven't had weekends like this in a long time. I have evaded human contact and am pretty much back to hermit-mode. This will not last long, since I've got loads of work to do tomorrow, including a gig in London which or may not be able to go to (rehearsals for this play I'm doing may run late). The rest of the week is also pretty much booked, and after that loads of things will be happening as well. But now I am here, alone. In the past eight months I've made so many new friends and, doing Stand-up as well as Uni, and being involved in theatre productions- I seem to have something we may even be able to define as – a life –. Not much room for vain, futile asceticism there, you'd think. But no, I still get to be quite hermity sometimes. And I don't like it. Not a jot. This stems from my belief that hermits are fundamentally more rubbish than me, a person with a proper social life. This is an acceptable belief system, one of the very few I live by, the steady social life. Confidence in social capabilities is therefore important. Only, a social life is never a steady thing. People leave, people make other friends, and people realise that obviously, meeting you was a mistake and one that they will learn from in the future; never trust the Dutch. If you're unlucky, this will happen over and over again until there's nothing left but the memory of friendship and the feeling that if something's wrong, it's you. That is the time to break open the yogurt and join the International Hermit Society with all the other oxymoronic losers.
Are people ever truly alone in this age of social networking? Is solitude ever achieved? Can hermits live in the 21st Century? Not really, if you're into the idea of social contact via likes, RT's, babies and cats. Because they don't want to be losers, or, hermits. You could say these things keep those who are rubbish at social contact off of the street (you know what I mean). Those who oppose these views (Luddite idiots, the old and Kate Bush) say: ooh! 'Don't do social networking! You'll die, or never leave the house again, or get curvature of the spine or become a famous tweeter or, worst of all, turn into a hermit! (shocked, sharp intake of breath)' Now you now precisely what my views on hermits are and I'm not prepared to repeat them (Why not look back at my November entries about hermits? Give you something to do). Hermits are sad. Even if I do sometimes resemble them. But I am better than them, for I have social networking. Which in itself only serves to make me a sad, hermit-type person, rendering this entire quandry an absurd Paradox of Zeno. Good. You can't touch me, Zeno of Elea! I got you on the paradoxes, bitch! (This is quite literally picking fights with the dead). The notion of solitude is changing. Do we expect more from it, or does it expect more from us? I think it may be the latter?
I sometimes wonder how well I would have coped on this exchange on days like this, say, twenty years ago, not having the internet. How would I cope? Would I have had read more? Would I have gone insane? Would I have been in the Tiddlywinks society? Would I have been dragged away and abused by a scary old man in the pub who then performed bodily reconstructive surgery on me, making me walk like a donkey? Probably not.
On the whole, I love social networking sites. This entails that I must also see their dark sides and thus I also believe that they are fundamentally shit. Skype tends to ravage my computer, rendering a reboot necessary and making my mother unfathomably angry. Facebook annoys me. I lose entire days on it. I try to make amusing comments but am, especially when I'm bored, rubbish at doing so. I also hate facebook chat since it reminds me of MSN messenger which was a waste of the 2000-2005 period. I despise most things on there, but -like- them anyway. I don't want a dislike button, I need one that says -burn this to the ground in Hellfire for all eternity and let the urine spout from a dying Narwhale's breast, all warm and yellow and surprisingly viscous, over this rotten, stinking idea, dreamt up by only the most vile mind who since this punishment, has drowned in hot piss-. Maybe it's a good thing Mark Zuckerberg didn't accept my friend-request. I like twitter but it doesn't have a like-function, making me feel like I'm shouting into the void. That this may be because I've got the mental age of a four year old and basically need attention every other second should not change this observation.
Tonight, on facebook, I was shown a Youtube-clip of The Room, which was both funny and quite unnerving. Have you ever seen something that is so utterly and completely wrong that it makes you doubt yourself and your facilities of perception? Well I think that The Room does that. It is so bad it makes me doubt my ability to process film and all forms of visual stimuli. Now I'm scared of leaving the house. Good. Thank you to the Award-Winning Angela Barnes.
Yesterday, all I did was to go into town, where I bought an external hard drive and some books including Howard Jacobsen's The Finkler Question (because I'm unoriginal and cheap) and Natalie Haynes's The Ancient Guide to Modern Life. I've bought the last one because, in Literature seminars, I felt I lacked a basic knowledge in Classical texts. I do know a fair bit about Greco-Roman culture, although I admit, this is mostly derived from Astérix. For someone who tends to rely on other people's conception of my own knowledgeableness, I needed some help. Badly. I didn't know my Zeno of Elea from my Zeno of Citium. I do now. Come at me, seekers of wisdom. I have biscuits.
Although the books I bought didn't add up to more than15 pounds, I had a hugely powerful urge to suddenly run out of the shop, stealing the books. I started making a massive Ocean's 11-style plan on how I would do it, which would involve a winch, several accomplices, a travelling circus and me running away very fast. In the end I cut that down to just the last bit -the running away- as I imagined what it must feel like running away from the alarms and getting beaten down by the police before giving back the books with apologies and -I don't know what I was thinking-s. Just before I'd gotten into the straitjacket, I was snapped out of my daydream by the guy behind the till asking me type in my pin. Still, odd. I know I'd never do it, but sometimes crime is just too wonderful. It is good to be evil.
But I seem to have drifted a bit. To come back to the question, does real, absolute solitude still exist in this age? Of course it does, for anyone who isn't rich, or is infirm, or homeless. But we, the moneyed, internetteyd classes, we can escape solitude and can create a whole new world for ourselves using artificial friendships, as deep and as rewarding -although not as socially well-regarded- as real ones.
In other news, after a laptop reset and format, my virus scanner has taken on a new voice to tell me it has updated. It's like I've made a friend!

I do live a ridiculous life.


And now, to watch Horrible Histories!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Saturday 28th May 2011: Yes, I Know...

It's been a month. But there are things more important than you and your constant confirmation of my existence through the reading of my blog... Actually there aren't. I love your and your clicks (as I've been confirmed they're called) more than I love myself and I hereby offer my deepest regrets (which isn't much to be honest but hey, that's how I roll).

To be fair, reading back the last couple of entries, I was attempting to finish writing a dissertation and apparently at the end of my tether mentally. It was very tiring, but it's now finished and handed in. Never have I ever written anything for any kind of educational thing I was doing, which had such an emotional on me. It was weird. The moment I handed it in to the lady who, scanning my Student card, took hold of my baby and dropped it in a box. It was like I had cut a piece from my soul, handed it to her; only to have it plonked, lonely, crying tears of toner through its lone, perforated eye - into a purple plastic crate. It cried: Why have you left me father? A-why? WHY? I could not answer. As I left it, to be judged, all alone, on the coffee-stained desk of this or that academic somewhere or other, far away from the OpenOffice file that had once created it, I felt the cool, detached relief of the now moneyed farmer- just having brought his best bull to the butcher's, for he lacked finances and the beast was old and ready for the knife- thankful for the joy it had provided him, and in need of a good, stiff drink. Yet, in a quiet moment of reflection, the gentle sway of his country ale mixing with the bitter, salty tang of a single tear, tumbling slowly to the bottom of his pint glass- like a droplet of mercury sinking gently to the ocean bed- tasted like a long-lost love.

I'm over it now.

Really, I am.

I've been reading Nabokov -I don't want to use the proper title, in case it attracts the wrong audience. Come to think of it, you probably are the wrong audience. Ah well- this morning. I really like it- no, not in that way! What I'm basically moving towards (in an awkward fashion) is that sometimes things that are good have a certain reputation. It is very easy to fit in to either conforming and liking the thing without really thinking about what that thing may be- or adapting the knee-jerk reactionary response that it will likely be overrated shit. In a sort of relativist way, both of these options can only be conceived of as right, for the people espousing these opinions have (by definition) the right to say what they think, however ill-informed their brain-vomit may be. But why do I feel that I have to take some early Woolf with me when I borrow Lolita from the University Library? (Oh, fuck. I've said it. How now, Google perverts!) Why, when using the automatic scanning machine to borrow them, do I hide it between Woolf and Tristram Shandy, like the machine won't be able to see it? Do I seriously think that the screen will change into a giant tutting head telling me what a pervert I am for borrowing this book? And why do I feel like I can't read Lolita in the café? What makes me feel uncomfortable? I mean, it can't be that bad! Have people actually masturbated at this book? In a library café, ordering carrot cake, cappuccino and some extra tissues if it all gets a bit much? The book can't be THAT good, surely. It's a bit too detached and funny for pornography. Especially highly respected 20th century literature about 12 year old girls. I think I found the reason why. It's the yellowy, overexposed picture of a teenage girl on the cover. That does intensify the pervert-factor. Shit.

Yeah, liked that? It's about 20th Century Literature, yeah. But about wanking, too. So something for everyone.

This is actually quite a good way to get more blog-hits from the discerning pornography fan. Fellow bloggers, take note. Next week, Marquis de Sade.

In NEWS (which you probably might like to know), I didn't stop doing gigs throughout the last month. I had five gigs to be exact, which may not seem much (it wasn't) but I did get the chance to work up some new material and I now have a completely new 5 minutes, which I've been trying out in Brighton and London. I like this material and it likes me, which is quite pleasing. I've been getting good reactions and I feel like I can get loads of mileage out of it, which is good. The new performance style I'd been thinking/talking about has also been quite successful, apart from the times when I couldn't put the mic stand up high enough and I just had to tell the audience what it would have been like. This, oddly, worked quite well. Show them the device and they'll fill in the rest. How lovely audiences are.

In other stand up news, I'll be (un-?) ceremoniously poppin' my compèring cherry at the SUDS Variety night, at Falmer bar this Thursday. Some students doing stuff. But it will be fun though. And a good experience for everyone involved. Hopefully. On Friday, the compèring duties will fall to the lovely (DID YOU HEAR THAT INTERNET? LOVELY!) Sophie Buijsen, and I'll be ending the night. If the roof doesn't catch fire with all the hilarity in the room before. In other words: please come! On Saturday next week, I'm in a Casual Violence fundraiser (self-deprecatingly called 'Casual Violence Have Friends', as if to prove it to an unseen playground bully, before he kicks it in the dust, with its strange, awkward hair) at the Caroline of Brunswick.

One more thing before I go, I was finishing an essay the other night in the library, and I asked my twitter-followers (why not become one? I am interesting!) to shout me into doing some work. Two of them obliged, one of which (@jessdux saying DO WORK YOU USELESS PROCRASTINATING DUTCH MAN) got retweeted by @The_Netherlands. I would love the Netherlands to unilaterally declare tweet-war on @jessdux, who was surely only telling the truth.

So now, with, deepest love and dedication (about once a month), I must leave you. By-ee!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Saturday 23nd April 2011: Dissertation and Procrastination

If you're reading this blog, it means that I'm not working on my dissertation. If so, please call me, message me, throw things or shout at me that I should. There. (It might also be a bit rambly)


I've been back in Brighton since Saturday night. That was the first time in two weeks I had been home. Home. Yes, you did see that correctly. As I was walking through Brighton, I felt a -being-at-home-ness I never usually get, anywhere. I basically left the station, a few days ago, and I was overcome by a sense of: I can gladly live here for the rest of my life. Things in general are sort of going the right way. That means I am enjoying it whilst also being wary of how quickly it all could end. Certainly, the thought that I might live here for the rest of my life does remind me to be wary of traffic, since Brighton in the summer could kill any cyclist without much trouble.

In more Brighton-based news, throughout the last couple of days of sun I have mainly been indoors, trying to write my dissertation and finishing reading dissertation-based books. Well, I should have, had I not spent most of the day on twitter and facebook (like the cool new twitter-gadget there on the side of this blog? Nice, isn't it?).

I've also got a plan for using this blog in a more column-friendly way. This will mean less diary-pieces from my on-the-whole boring life and more of my on-the-whole boring opinions. It could happen. Probably not, but it could.

Tonight, however, I'll be doing 5 Brand new bits of Comedy AND trying out a new performance-method at the 3 Jolly Butchers. You'd better be pleased, because I've taken some of it from this blog. So in a way, you've helped write this stuff! So thanks and congratulations are in order.
In all other ways, you haven't of course. It's still mine. It'll pay my bills, I wrote and it's mine. My own. My precious etc.
But thanks, really. If these bits of material work, then the blog has justified itself as a valuable tool. Otherwise, it's just meaningless (which, uncannily, is also it's title). (I really should finish that dissertation).

The day after, I'm on at the Monday Night Comedy Club ( at the Quadrant, and then (not 100% sure, Tom could you please confirm this) 5 minutes at Party Piece in Acton, London. The Monday Night Comedy Club should be in the Guardian Listings, so if you find it, let me know. My mother has started to collect memorandi of my year-long comedy career and I would also love to see my name on a piece of the best paper in the world. You know, after it's all over. (FX: Adagio for Strings).

In other news, I now HAVE Edinburgh Fringe accomodation and a festival-long teching job, next to the other teching job I already had. Still looking for spots though! SAVE ME! Really looking forward to the fringe. I have a sneaky suspicion that this one might be the best one yet. Although it might rain.

Last Thursday, I was invited to do a gig at Stitches Comedy in Southampton. The night was really nice and so were the people. But, unfortunately, the audience was near exhaustion at 23:30 and the pub starting filling up with scary drinking men. So it didn't go down as well as I hoped. Not absolute death, more death by accident. Like friendly fire or accidentally poisoning yourself with nutmeg at Starbucks by mistaking it for cinnamon. Death like that can happen to everyone. I got to stay over in Southampton, where we watched the oddest film in the world. I can't remember the name, but for the most part, it looked like Microsoft Paint having a nightmare and using all possible visual distortions in the program to shit effect. It was absolutely terrifying, like a dog being sick on the baby Jesus. It didn't set out to be terrifying, but it was. It may have been about crack-addiction, although I'm not quite sure. I do hope I can do another gig for them (note that embarrassing bit of self-promotion there. I don't know how advertisers do it and not be sick. Also, Bill Hicks is rubbish. Even though I've never seen his stuff. Only heard it from the swathes of 15-year old selfharmers I obviously hang out with all the time.).

I hate dissertations! AAH!

This last bit was written on Saturday night at a low point. Am now 2000+ words further along. Annoyingly, as my processes always happen to be; the central thrust of the argument was A. already there in the swathes of research I had already done and reasonably informed guesses I had already maed in January-April (it's easy to forget what you've done in the past) and B. just before I went to bed last night, hyped up on coffee, Alka-Seltzer and self-loathing, I found a way of actually turning it into something more readable. I just have to knock it in to shape now, which will be a couple of hours. Then I can spend the next month finetuning it, until handing it in on May 23rd. Life is nice!

Bet you didn't think I'd end a rambly, weirdly discontented blog like that, did you? Well I did. Love you all.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Friday 15th April 2011: Another Twot on Twitter + Glasgow + Downstairs at the King's Head

Hello. This blog will be about my short trip to Scotland, a brilliant night at Downstairs at the King's Head but I'm starting with twitter.

As you can see, despite my promises, I am back to the once-a-week blogging thing I thought I was going to do a couple of months ago. Not really a problem. As by contrast, I have (stupidly) created a twitter-account. Basically you're reading the words of a man trying to come to terms with his own insatiable need to self-publicise on the one hand and personal tendency to avoid most human contact on the other. In short: a comic. When I announced on facebook that I would be joining twitter, my Dutch friends' reaction can be summed up by one word: NOOO!

I admit, the spelling's a bit off. But the intensity of the anti-twitter sentiment was indeed surprising. What do the Dutch have against twitter? Is it because politicians use it? Is it because it is some kind of final hurdle into total unfettered self-adulation? Possibly both. Please explain! It will make for an interesting discussion about the differences of opinion on egotistical social networking sites.

I felt a bit guilty afterwards. I was probably right to. Still. Not going to get rid of it though. I will use twitter for ever, even when I get back to Holland to finish my degree and this blog will be renamed Comic in Exile; in which I shall attempt to get political asylum in the UK. This tweet-negativity will only worsen your case, Holland!*

*only kidding, NL-people. I love you.

So! Back to the past then. On Thursday last week, I was finishing my packing. I was going up to Scotland for a 4-night stay in Glasgow with my friend and excellent poet and funny human being Jane. We originally met at the Edinburgh Fringe 2009, at a two-day comedy workshop. Since then we'd stayed in touch, writing things over the internet and seeing each other at the Fringe and in London. I was techie/slave/camera-holding layabout for her and her fellow poets' Fringe show last year (a job for which I've since been re-hired; Arguments and Nosebleeds 2, venue TBC, time TBC).

I woke up slightly too early, because of a weird dream I had. I knew I was in a room, and there was a dog with me. This dog had transparent skin, and looked like a collection of fungi and jellyfish stuck together, it's faintly glowing insides showing. I can remember it jumping me in the dream and I woke with a start. Now before we begin extensive analysis (and I know some of you think I really need it) I think I know exactly what this dream meant. After waking up, I realised I needed a wee really badly, so I got up, had the wee, and understood that my brain was merely giving me a kick in the cortex to wake me up. Eat that, C.G. Jung! You got nothing on me! You world-famous dead dream-interpreter you!

After I finished packing, the plumber I had been talking about in the last blog came round. That's one angry phone call I don't have to make, thankfully. I got my bags and left the house, pleased with myself, as I had said he could finish the leftover milk in the fridge I couldn't take with me. Who did I think I was? St. Francis of Asissi? A sissy more like (hey!).*

* This is a genuine transcript of how my brain works. Don't look at me like that! You could have easily worked that out by now. If you're a new reader (doubt it) then: Welcome! This is how my brain works! Good luck, I say!

On the bus to the station, I saw a poster for a Mystery Bus tour. You pay 16 pounds, you sit in a bus for 6 hours, you bring your own packed lunch and you've got no idea where you'll end up. Why, that's a family holiday, surely.*

* Note to self: remember that your mum reads this blog. And she is very good at reading maps and general sense of directions.**

** Meta-Note to self: remember that too much notes in a blog ruin the structural flow of it and generally any form of enjoyment that can be got from them.

So, train. Brighton to London was no problem. The weather was beautiful, the sun was out, I almost felt bad to leave this wonderful place with its glorious weather for somewhere on the same latitude as Novosibirsk. Look it up.

I walked from St. Pancras to Euston, in plenty of time for my train, so I got some food from M&S and a coffee to pass the 4½ hour train journey from Euston to Glasgow. It was all running perfectly smoothly. I wasn't even suspecting something might go wrong. That was how smoothly everything was going. I was travelling on a Virgin Train. Now, Virgin Trains don't have a very good reputation. There are reasons for that, which I shall not go in to, since I never experienced any of them myself. My problem, and therefore my reason to now Hate Richard Branson (don't mean to be a bandwagon-jumper, but apparently some beliefs can make a career. Yes, please!), was with the seating in Standard class. Having paid quite a lot of money for a ticket and being quite desperately in need of a seat (again for urinary reasons), I was looking round and plainly asking people whether I could sit on this or that seat. The answer would be no, since it was reserved. After that happened for about 10 times, I was annoyed with Richard Branson and his baffling seat-arranging ways and having gone through 4 wagons, I asked a lady in a wheelchair if I could just drop my bags next to her for a moment, in order to quickly go to the toilet. She very politely told me: "No, I'm sorry, I'm going to be sitting there." Then, for no reason at all, my brain went into self-destruct and I indignantly spouted the sentence: 'Ok! So I'll just get a standing spot then!' and sped off.

I know, they should have shot me on sight. After coming back from the toilets and finding a non-reserved seat (apparently there hangs a -reserved- sign above every one of 'em! Who knew?!) I was kind of waiting to be arrested by the politeness-police. Or some kind of stasi for the socially inept. Ouch.

The rest of the journey went smoothly enough. Around Wigan, I realised that for the entire journey, I had been sitting in front of a Tibetan monk. When he left the train, later on, I saw he had Scottish tartan lining in his coat. Bless.

I read Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz on the train up to Scotland, and am still doing so. It's very well researched, highly readable and as perceptive as any academic text on this ephemeral subject. Will certainly reference it often in life and art and academica. Buy it, it's ace.

Jane and I then met in the Starbucks I had been in, reading and drinking yet more coffee. We had some lovely food (we actually set off on a four-day binge of lovely Glaswegian restaurants, with La Vallée Blanche in the West End being the best of the four. Go there, absolutely go there. The blue cheese salad is amazing, and better than it sounds. Even though it's got wood panelling), and went to see Jeremy Hardy at the Citizens. I had never seen him live, and he sustained 2 full hours of polemic without ever being unfunny or uninteresting.
It often seemed to tip over into genuine intelligent left wing discourse; I told that to Jane and she said that comedy is the only place where these views are still heard. That's sad in way. but also brilliant for people who can do that sort of thing.

The next day I left to discover bits of Glasgow on my own, getting to the slighly baffling Nelson's Monument and the really baffling People's Palace. I was pulled in by the sight of a huge greenhouse, but this was a museum, talking about Glaswegian poverty throughout the ages. It was genuinely disconcerting in places, for instance showing pictures of children selling their belongings for cash on the street as late as the 1970s. I didn't really know how to deal with that place. Did it objectify poverty? Empower people? Or did it just sort of shout at us, trying to make us, me, outsiders, feel bad about themselves and their ignorance? I'm stil not quite sure. This is the link to the museum:

That night, we went to see Sean Hughes at the Citizens. Great comic, who was quite (willfully?) awkward with the audience at first, making for a complicated first half where the comic and the audience seemed to be sitting back, waiting for the other to respond. Odd. The second half went incredibly well. He talked about his father's recent death was beautiful, funny, and not once sentimental. He even did 15 minutes more than he was suppposed to. It's sometimes daunting to see comics be that good, even though they've been working for 25-30 years longer than you. It does show how professional and streamlined their performance needs to be, to be loose enough to engage with what's happening in the room at all times.

Only annoying thing at the Sean Hughes gig was an audience member, sitting two seats away from me, who clapped loudly after every punchline, or just after a sentence he happened to agree with. Not Sean Hughes' fault, of course. But it's people like that who unwittingly ruin gigs for other people. Or just pedants like me.

Over the weekend, Jane and I started writing on our (still) Ultra-Secret New Project. When there's news, I will inform you.

The weather also went all lovely, and I had the privilege to see Scottish men's faces turn crimson in the sun. Not that I was actively looking for them (of course not! What are you thinking?)  but they tended to be unavoidable. In short: Glasgow in the spring= v good.

Before I grow to tired to type, I will just inform you that the gig I had this Thursday night at Downstairs at the King's Head in Crouch End, London; was utterly amazing. Lovely crowd, only five minutes, but even managed to dick around a bit after I messed up a line and got a far bigger laugh for telling the audience what the structure of the joke would have been had I not fluffed the line and exactly how it would have been amusing to them. From then, the five minutes were a breeze (even though I might have ruined comedy for them for ever). Everything worked, even the small -barely- jokes I put in mostly for my own amusement. Gigs like that save one from the memory of opening at the Comedy Cooler in Hove. I also saw some great comics I'd never seen before. I would have loved to do ten there, so I'm hoping I can play DATKH before I leave (possibly not, though one can dream). Next gig: Southampton on Thursday!

Hopefully more blogging in following days. Now, sleep!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Wednesday 6th April 2011 - The last 6 days: DEATH-KRISHNA-RESTAURANT REVIEW-EPIC FAIL (and Natural History Museum)-MEGADRIVE-SHOWER


I hadn't had the time and the available brain space to blog about the past days, so I will attempt to do so in this big mega-blog. The reason for it is my insane procrastination-schedule. I don't know how I manage. The irony is that this blog was set up to generate material and get me more used to writing. Just like Richard Herring's blog, basically. And since the entire conceit of this blog has always been to basically rip off Richard Herring and his success, I will now plagiarise the day-calling thing that he does to denote the passage of time in AIOTM (aiotm). So this might just be the longest blog I've written so far, but this comes in place of 5 separate ones. You can just come back 5 times and read each day with a fresh cuppa (nice) or read them all in one go. So here we go!

Ehm.. before we start: I'm not sure whether I said this in a previous blog, but I'm highly amused by the search engine results that lead to my blog. One of which is the delightful and terrifying: 'jorick paranoia' which pleases me greatly, but also makes me worried about what the internet might know about my mental health. That was all.

... As I'm typing I hear the sound of an ice cream van driving through the street. Just a slice of life, not much else.

FRIDAY - Death

Yes, Friday! I got an email from work late on Thursday night, asking me whether I'd be interested in doing some work. I'm a very opportunistic human being (hence this blog), so I immediately started work, leaving my brother to hang around Brighton for a couple of hours. Apparently he did so much walking that his feet have been damaged beyond repair.

That night, I had an unannounced gig at the Comedy Cooler in Hove. Had done that night before once in December. I had enjoyed it massively then, even though I had been interrupted by a very drunk lady-heckler. Since then, I feel I have moved on, so I looked forward to doing the night again. My brother and another friend who was also in tow were looking forward to it as well. Both of them hadn't seen my act, so I was going through my lines again, quietly confident that it would be fun. Then the promotor came up to me and asked whether I was interested in opening the night. I said that it would be a good experience, and I'd love to try.

It wasn't that it was a Big mistake, just a very good experience, disguised as humilitation with a large dollop of fuck-up. The crowd clearly weren't going for it as yet, avoiding the compère's questions, not interacting with him at all. The only thing he could do was to talk about that, but they were either too tired and/or not drunk enough to fully engage with what was happening onstage. Comedy is odd like that. It requires so much from an audience that it's perfectly possible that sometimes they just can't summon the energy to inject a sense of occasion into the night. The comics then have to work extra hard to convey that sense of occasion, whilst trying to engage with the audience as well. The intense immediacy of a comedy gig is often the reason nights like this are usually special. Things would be said tonight that no-one would ever hear again, these jokes were especially for this night. I certainly said things I'll never say again.

I went on and started off too slow, trying to engage with the audience who were all smiling and sitting back, having a drink. When I then tried to launch into material, this was not met with any reaction at all. I got frightened. Usually I get either laughs, some laughs, people rolling their eyes or even angry shouty drunks but tonight there was nothing to react against. Now, the bit after my opening starts with '...yeah that's a bit of a weird opening isn't?'. I might have been able to win the crowd back with that, but instead my mind went into self-destruct mode. I started talking about the failure of the gig, about the flickering light of the cashpoint and most of all, my failure to be a proper opening act. I got a few laughs there, but they didn't go for the prepared material, so I apologised and left after the final joke which got a few chuckles here and there. This wasn't proper, but hey, I could only do so much and I spent the next 2 minutes with my head in my hands. I didn't understand why they didn't go for it at all. Then I realised it was because I hit the big red button way too early. Lessons: 1. confidence. 2. I'm not yet good enough to open in Hove. 3. I will be good enough to open in Hove one day.

During the break, outside (after, genuinely, the fire alarm had gone off. That would have been funny if I had set the room alight, which I hadn't. It was all OK in the end, someone had set fire to a paper napkin by accident. This was quickly dealt with) I spoke to my brother and my friends who felt sorry for me, but also never wanted to see me again, quite rightly. Of course not, they were very understanding. The most awkward person in the world then came up to us and started saying awkward things about a plethora of subjects. She told us about New Zealand and embarked on some mind-bending tangents so mind-bending that I can't actually remember any of them. That's how much my mind was blown. The rest of the night was very much brilliant, I have to say. In the end, my fragile ego did survive the night, since during the second interval, a slightly enebriated man came up to me to say that I would have been fantastic in front of 20.000 people instead of 30, which brings me to the conclusion that the secret of comedy is in fact the large scale structural abuse of alcohol.

It was good to die, in a way. My average is still very high (2 deaths in about 45 gigs) and it strangely enough gave me quite an intense rush, afterwards. I had died, but I was still walking. Lived to die another day. I love stand-up, even though it didn't love me tonight. Ah well, never mind.

SATURDAY - Krishna

Me and my brother made our way to Camden Town, North London in the afternoon en route to the famed Camden market. I was very tired, having slept very little during the night. But I had never been to this huge gathering of hipsters and other misfits around Camden Lock. We had quite a complicated tube trip to get to our destination. The Northern line between Charing Cross and and Mornington Crescent was closed, so we ended up spending half an hour getting on and off tube trains. This is, however, very educational about how people in this strange but friendly city actually live. My brother just wanted to get to Camden market though.

When we got out of the station, we were struck with how ridiculously busy it actually was. So many hipsters in one street! I've often felt uncool, so I had a thing in me which told me to cower in the presence of so much cool, but I frankly was too tired to really engage with my ego. I needed all my energy to basically keep standing and not getting my brother in too much trouble.

It was actually immense. I didn't think there would be so many shops selling that many different kinds of black clothes, similar vintage shirts and self-regarding t-shirts. But even though I did change into a 58-year old man (a bit) I was impressed by how busy it was and how a clearly niche endeavour could succesfully operate because of mainly word of mouth and becoming a tourist destination. In a way, exporting cool to the rest of Europe (there were loads of foreigners, like us, shopping to take home 'cool'). My brother, however, did not go there to buy into what is supposedly 'cool', but bought some things he searched out back in Holland, over the internet. But we did do loads of walking again. My brother remarked he could now drink whatever he wanted tonight, since he'd burned so many calories or he would die of malnutrition. If this isn't funny, that's because of my crap phrasing in translation. He is clearly the funny one in the family.

When we got ready to leave, my brother was stopped in the street by a Hare Krishna. He couldn't escape him as the man and his orange robes blocked his way. When books and flyers came out of a pragmatically hidden satchel (in the folds of the robe; handy!) I walked up to my brother, took his arm, said 'No thank you!' and walked off. Then something odd happened. Before I managed to get my brother out of the orange aura of the man, something odd happened. He said; '...and also you with the pretty blonde hair'.

Yup. Yours truly just got hit on by a Hare Krishna.

As you say here on your internet: omg.

No-one has ever said I had pretty blonde hair. I'm not familiar with people (even feigning) to be attracted to me. This is not a cry for help, it is just very odd. I can't relate to it, I've just never been a particularly attractive person. But over the last couple of weeks, more people have commented on me having either a good-looking FB profile picture or (hilariously) having sex appeal. That was in quite a cool fb-chat I had about comedians being physically attractive. This more general topic is one I will revisit in following blogs, since this one is clearly about me, not considering myself attractive in any way. Again, no helplines please. Either I've been willfully deaf for compliments (which with my fragile comedian's ego, I cannot believe) or I've never had many. For a reason, I thought. I have never conceived of myself to be attractive to the opposite sex, or the same sex, for that matter. The Hare Krishna here was male, but I can't believe he was being sarcastic. You just can't have both a sincere belief about the universe that moves you to tell the world about how wrong it is, AND be sarky on the side. Nope, one or the other. As you are well aware, I clearly belong to the sarcastic side.

To come back to the reason I've never been found attractive before the last few weeks, maybe the Hare Krishna guy did, in fact, change my life. And therefore, he clearly wins. Shit.

My brother and I got home, had food, watched Black Books and I fell asleep when he went into the night on his own. I was too tired to speak near the end of the evening. But it had been a good day.

SUNDAY - Restaurant review

Very tired today, both of us. We weren't much use to anyone, let alone ourselves. We went to campus, where I showed my brother were I went to school. He liked it, though wasn't overly impressed. Which is fair enough, I suppose. Although one funny thing did happen, when in the library, a girl who had seen me do stand-up at the Rose Hill Tavern recognised me and said she thought I was really funny. She may have mistaken me for Adam Smith, but that is not the point.

Annoyingly tired, we both decided just to go home after some highly impressive food (at Pompoko's. I now demand a full payment and/or a free series of meals after this write-up) and drinks in a nice pub in the lanes for Black Books and sleeping. We were halfway through the last episode of series 2 when he fell asleep. I only found out that he had near the end of the episode, when he told me he was going to bed. How's that for familial telepathy? Indeed, not much.

MONDAY - Epic fail (and Natural History Museum)

When going out for breakfast this morning, I found I had lost my wallet. Yes. Oh indeedio. By now we are well aware of how the process works (which is repeated here: ). I couldn't find it, wherever I looked. It just wasn't there. My entire sanity broke down to the repeated ringing of two words in my brain: WHERE and WHY. That was annoying. Apart from all of my important papers my wallet also contained my rail card, which in turn contained a return ticket to Glasgow. Yes. Not good. I really needed it.

When turning the house upside down, my brother was on facebook. A friend of mine was trying to speak to me, but 'I' didn't answer. I took a break to answer her message and explain. When I spoke to her about my current predicament she laughed, said: 'I have it' and added a few Muhahaha's for good measure.
Ten minutes of despair later I had sunk so low I thought it was sensible to actually call her and ask whether that joke that she had just made was genuinely a joke. What? Just eliminating possibilities! She rightly laughed in my face. We then had to retrace our steps from the last night, asking a shop keeper whether she'd seen anything (she hadn't) or Pompoko (they hadn't). On the way into town, I was talking to my admirably stoic brother but mainly to myself, trying to eliminate impossibilities. It could only be in the place where I'd left it last time (does this sound familiar? It should: ), in the small pub in the lanes where I'd last had it in my hands. After a gruelling search through the faintly confusing small streets, we found the pub where we had been the day before. The girl behind the counter immediately recognised me and handed me the wallet. Everything was in it, luckily, apart from the rail card with the ticket. Still, good average, more than pleased with the results. But still, to lose something so important again and having to rely on the goodness of people's hearts to pick up the pieces (my brother said they wouldn't have kept it safe in Holland. He is right) is shameful. I am crap at life.

After a calming cup of tea, we went to the Natural History Museum in Kensington, London. This is one of my favourite places on earth, partly because it looks like Hogwarts but mainly because there's so much things inside it that fascinates me. It makes me turn into an 11 year old boy. But also an educational Kids' TV presenter, constantly restraining myself not to tell everyone in a 5 mile radius about how awesome the natural world is. I had been there in January 2010, wasting time before a very important gig (first stand-up gig since doing it for the first time at Edinburgh 2009) when it had dazzled me. Today, I could show someone else how cool it was. Luckily, he shut me up pretty soon. We took loads of pictures and had a brilliant couple of hours. In the Mammal-section, a sign on a wall taught children how to speak Dolphin (apparently it's closing your mouth, holding your nose tight with your fingers, blowing and squeaking). That was pretty cool. I also saw the geology section, that I hadn't seen last year. You reach it by way of an escalator, traversing along walls of constellations and through the inside of the earth which happens to be made of copper plating and crêpe paper. Ah well, they can't all be brilliant. There was a bit where you were inside a supermarket in Kobe, Japan, during the '95 earthquake. Scary and intense, certainly now.

After closing time (Oh yeah, we stayed till closing time, biatches! Whoohoo! Aren't we cool? In a museum...? No? OK), we went to Islington. Islington is nice, but not appropriate for anyone with a medium sized spending average on food and drinks, so we ended up in a Burger King. Not that much of a problem, really (although now, days later, my skin has rebelled and I had to get rid of some pustules on my face). The reason we went to Islington was to see a comedy night called Not Now, Bernard. It's about children's stories and several comics, including a sketch group (Casual Violence), an improv group (Fat Kitten) and a musical double act (Horse and Louis) and the brilliant Danielle Ward (I've seen her a couple of times, in Brighton and in Edinburgh, always incredibly funny) - were allowed to tell a children's story in any way they wanted. That meant that unless the comedy circuit takes quite an odd turn, they'd never be able to do that material again. This made for quite a special night. Casual Violence Redux were very good as a twosome, after seeing their full show some weeks ago they still surprised me with their very black and very funny, distinctive look at the world. Which, if we're going freudian, should have been the product of a far more disturbed mind than James Hamilton actually is. Doesn't matter though. They're great. Go and see 'em.

After 90 mins of entertainment in a full and by necessity not very well-ventilated room, we went off to congratulate the acts with their work and, later, got on the train to Brighton. Please go and see Not, Now Bernard. It's eminently cool, nostalgic and highly entertaining (how's that for a quote?).

After we arrived home, my gaze fell upon the cupboard next to my bed, where I had left the railcard with the ticket in it. The sight evoked a vague memory of specifically leaving it there on Sunday morning, so it would be safe.

I am genuinely crap at life.

TUESDAY - Megadrive

For his final hours in England, my brother had the idea of having a proper English breakfast in a café. Which we did, and it was just lovely. The only thing that really happened was my lapse in speech and thinking when a waitress came up to me with coffee, taking our orders. She spoke with a beautiful Irish accent, which caught me by surprise. I was er-ing for maybe half a nanosecond, but enough for my brother to notice when she had left.

When I saw him off on a train to the airport, I walked back to a busstop to get home. I had wanted to go to a pub and read a book, but I frankly was a bit miserable and wanted to be back home. It's funny how quickly you get used to having someone around you. When they're gone, you notice it all the more.
Luckily, I was invited to have a drink with some friends at Sussex I hadn't seen for a few weeks, which was genuinely lovely. As well it should be, since it was my round*. On my friends' advice, I watched Louis Theroux's new documentary on iPlayer. I'm not saying anything. It's amazing, go and watch it.

* Joke. I'm not that much of a shit. Honest. (I am, really) Shut up

I was at home, bored, so i did what I had been putting off for months, and wrote all the things I'd been putting in my phone as loose non-blog ideas into my computer. It's not much fun copying your own words but it does free up the mind, usually, for more creative ideas. Unfortunately, I didn't feel very creative afterwards this time. Mainly very tired.

Feeling quite lonely and miserable at 1 AM I went to that last resort of internet-based entertainment single males of my age use to stave off that great thumping ocean of loneliness in their depraved little souls: Retro videogames.

Didn't think I'd say that, did you? No, you didn't, that's cos I'm clever, you see? I played some old Megadrive games online. It's fine, legally. It's all discontinued, apparently* so you can. I played Astérix (big fan) and Mickey and Donald's Magical Kingdom. You know, the one where they've got magic capes and use flying carpets and stuff? ... Is this thing on?

* How neurotic would you have to be to check if what you're downloading is actually legal? A bit like me, I think.


I was awoken by the ringing of the doorbell. It was some builders, who had been sent to fix the shower. They've broken out the old one, but have yet to return to rebuild the shower. I thought they'd only get here after I'd left for Glasgow tomorrow, so I will smell like a dead rabbit on the train tomorrow. Ah well, at least I'll get a seat.

So I'm going up to Glasgow this weekend! Yay! I'll be there from tomorrow till Monday. If anyone knows of any open spots at Glasgow gigs the coming days, please let me know. I'd love to play Glasgow. I was at the Edinburgh Fringe last year (as I have been since 2009 and hope to return to all subsequent festivals) and I stayed in a hostel some way out of the centre of Edinburgh. It was 3 in the morning and I'd just done a gig, so I was tired, as well as the only one waiting for the hostel's minibus to drive me to my temporary home. The driver, whose minivan bore the Scottish flag on every available square inch, started chatting to me, as one does in a car in the middle of the night. As we got to a very remote part of the route, he asked me where I was from. I answered that I was Dutch, to which he replied 'Oh! Really? I love Holland! Oh, you're all great man!' And he quickly steered away from the woods, in the direction of the hostel whilst I taught him some Dutch*. Only later did I realise how close my escape had been. So I would advise all the English: just tell 'em you're Dutch. Worked for me!**

* apparently it's a form of politeness.
** if that offends you, you're right to be offended because this is offensive. Deal with that!

Apart from that I spent most of my day writing this ridiculous and overlong blog at home, overlooking the street. The weather's great. It's almost a pity that I'll be spending this gorgeous weekend so far North.* I also read Nicholas Royle's 'The Uncanny' and Virginia Woolf's 'A Room of One's Own' because I'm a freak and don't deserve real friends. Or so the monsters in the library said. Library monsters are fun. Mostly built up of old out-of-print 1980s thrillers and Dan Brown novels, they are scary but can be easily defeated through the power of imagination. Not even that much imagination, just more than Dan Brown has. Yeah, beat that Brown! With your millions! And your private army of assassins and...

* According to the BBC It will be a bit cooler the next few days, and on Sunday there will be heavy rain.

So, in short: 6 days, 6 blogs. Nearly four thousand words. That's enough for you to be getting on with, I suppose? Huh? Don't look at me like that. I know you love it. Now go away! I'm too busy packing. See you next time! Bye!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Thursday 31st March 2011: Last Week and Post-Month Analysis

I did not get much done over the weekend. I seem to have spent most of it in a tired phlegmy stupor. I was od'ing on Lemsip, and did very little at all. I did get some 'work'-work (data-analysis. Please hire me! I can type! Just like a real boy!) done, but very little creativity seeped out of my clogged-up head.* Having visited the doctor's on Tuesday, I was reassured to know my lungs were clean as anything and I just had a virus. Couple more days of Lemsip should do the trick, and I'm feeling far better now, thank you.

* The reason why this expression is funny is because I'm Dutch. And we do clogs like no-one does. Although not all the time. My last proper wooden clogs I had when I was 4, they were blue, and they had been hand made by my Granddad. He's 93 now, but he can't read this blog. Not because of age or visual impairment, he just doesn't speak English.

I phoned my mum on Tuesday and apparently she has exactly the same virus that I have. I don't know how that works. But it does. Arms across the oceans.

Later that day, when in town, I chanced my arm and went for a stroll out on Brighton pier. Yes, I was embarrassing myself totally by engaging in the most horrible, depraved act of self-righteous dickery. I went out, and I had a think. I took myself out for a good old wander and ponder. That is depressing, I know.  I was reading a book on Freud whilst the waves were crashing down below, and the French people passed by. I'm turning into a teenage philosopher and I'm not sure I like it. But apparently it has to be done. It's a phase.

It was valuable, though, because I finally understood what people really like. Lights, shapes and colours. High squeaky major-key music blaring through bad sound-systems also help.

Wednesday was quite good. I had a gig in Bromley. Having seen the venue a couple of hours before the gig, I was terrified. A typical sports bar, flatscreen tellies lined the wall. This is troublesome for a man like me who doesn't go well with sports in general and sportsliking people specifically. I had a depressed moment in a Bromley Costa with a laptop, a Latte and a panini. That soon passed, probably due to the Latte which was good and the panini which wasn't. Low blood sugar and a 4 hour train journey tend to drain the life out of me. I am a weakling.

The gig was actually very nice. I did a bit more than I initially was going to do, but the (smallish) crowd reacted well and I met some lovely comics. That said, I did again have a weird heckle. At around the halfway point of the set, an elderly bearded man started dancing to my words. Literally. He just stood in between the stage and the audience and bounced up and down while holding a pint and looking in my direction (you can never be too sure with the elderly in South London). The only thing I could do was look at him, acknowledge what he just did, and ask the audience whether they thought I'd just been pulled. He left to sit down after that, but he did make me a bit scared to do the final bit, where I normally walk into the audience. In my mind, he could have got up and abducted me. That would not be good, because I don't think his industrial size freezer has got wifi; which would mean no more blogs. Yeah, what would you do then, huh? Not much probably, they have been a bit thin on the ground in recent weeks.

In the end, I got a lift from Bromley to Gatwick from friends of one of the other acts. This saved me and Sam (the other Brighton-based comic on the bill) the schlep from Bromley to Victoria, which would have taken hours more.

On Thursday, my brother arrived in Brighton to have a short holiday here. So far, we have been drinking, been to Komedia (first time since October) and have had some food. He also bought the biggest lighter in the world, to impress smokers with. It's good to have him here, especially as he's sitting right next to me as I'm typing this and if he wishes, can destroy me with a single blow. He is the tallest man in the world. Possibly.

As you can see, I've updated my gig list. There'll hopefully be some more on it, since I've only got 4 months left in England and I'm getting desperate (August will be Edinburgh, as per usual). From Thursday the 7th, I'll be in Glasgow for 4 days, so if anyone's got a spot on a gig there, I'm very much up for it. Tonight I'll be doing the Comedy Cooler again. The last time I did that gig, there was snow on the streets. Now it's quite sunny. Let's see how it goes.

Also, I'm quite pleased with the way March 2011 panned out. I think I've done more gigs this month than I've ever done before, as well as a play (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead), a Masque (The Masque of Queenes) and lots and lots of other things. I also managed to waste loads of time as well, so no harm done there. The blogging will now increase, hopefully, since I've made a nearly complete recovery of the flu I had last week. Yay! In other news: the UK-based readership of this blog has finally over taken the Dutch. Don't let them win Dutch-land OR Way to go UK, keep on reading! I need this!

So take care blogosphere (is that how you call yourself? I'm not sure. But you must have a name, you anonymous internet-based readership, you) and I'll be back soon.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Friday 25th March 2011: Arundel Good, Trains Bad

I'm still pretty much as ill as I was the last couple of days. I have become a bit less melodramatic than in the last blog, though, which is probably a good sign. Even though I genuinely meant it. Melodrama and honesty are dangerous to the comedy blog, I feel. Even if they do make up most of the content.

After sleeping well, for a change, I went to campus to do some Erasmus-admin I had been putting off for a while now. The campus was eerily empty, especially on a beautiful sunny day such as this. The buildings were largely abandoned and the few people who were there looked a bit lost. It's a shame in a way, that universities close over the spring, just when it stops being cold and miserable. It was quietly fascinating though, and a near-empty university campus does resemble my ideal place in the world. I don't know what that says about me. Actually, I do know what that says about me. It's pretty obvious. And I'm about 35% sure that I like that. I printed the necessary documents, had them signed and sent off to Amsterdam. Apparently I'm doing 72 ECTS credits here, 12 more than usual per academic year. Hopefully I'll be able to use all of my courses towards the degree.

I then planned to spend rest of the night hiding away in my cave (house) watching Anna Nicole on iPlayer (the opera with libretto written by Richard Thomas, of Jerry Springer The Opera fame; which I have translated in turn. So NOT what you're thinking!) and getting some sleep.

It was nearly 7 when I was called by a fellow comic whether I wanted to do a gig in Arundel. I said yes, overenthusiastically, and got on the bill. I slammed a lemsip, took some food with me, and raced to the train station.

I got there in time for the train, but it being Friday night, it was a bit busy. I could only sit near a table, another man opposite to me, me reading yesterday's Guardian which someone left on the table. I don't like British trains, partly because they like to point out my physical inadequacies. I always have to fold my legs over in a way that both limits blood flow to the toes or ram my shins into the chair in front of me, balancing on the seat. When I can, I hang my feet into the isle, being careful not to obstruct other passengers or, comically, have them trip over my feet. Some people like that kind of humour. They tend to be either five or in their late thirties. And overall shit human beings. Especially the ones that should know better, you know. The five-year olds (didn't see that coming did you? Boom!).

At Shoreham 7000000 children entered the train, just as I was trying to have a quiet-enough phonecall with the promotor, being so loud it drowned out direct, loud speaking straight into the receiver of my phone. Even more weirdly, they left the train at the next stop, less then two minutes later. Odd. Can someone explain?

At Arundel, the promotor picked me up. I had been to Arundel once before, seeing the castle, but merely driving through the town and not even getting out of the car. So I'm not even sure whether I could say to have actually been there. But I can now. The gig was in a place called the Arundel Jailhouse, which was set in an actual former gaol (good word, innit?). The mic was in front of an open cell door. I met up with the other comics on the bill as well as the compère, Andrea (She is good. That's all you need to know).

The gig itself went fine enough. The crowd was chatty, rowdy at times, but they seemed to have calmed down sufficiently by the time I went on. I could do ten minutes, which was lovely, so I could take the time. I could fit in a new bit which went well enough, but needs different context. But around the half-way point, I could feel my voice getting weaker, turning into a painful rasp by the end (which did lend some drama to the final joke. Always helps). So it was good I didn't do 15. There was one special moment, though. I was pausing, in an attempt to give the next bit some more gravitas. Then there was this voice to my right. A man and a lady had been touching each other up throughout the gig. Then, this brilliant man chose that exact pause to tell his lady partner: "you want to go back to my flat, we'll have some sex". Most of the audience heard that, straight away, but I could still milk it (huhuh!) for an even bigger laugh. I shook his hand and told him I couldn't have come up with anything more brilliant. The rest of the gig was a breeze. Other than some mid-punchline heckling from a couple of very honest ladies, whom I slammed down with maybe a bit too much passive-aggressive zeal If you're wondering, yes, it exists. That's how I deal with hecklers. I thank them for their contributions and then tell them that their thoughts might not have been that interesting to begin with and certainly not when ruining a joke. Ah well.* But no, it was a very good night. The other acts were brilliant, and I admire Sarah Hendrickx and her brilliant dealing with some dicky remarks from the crowd as well as being non-stop hilarious whilst doing so.

                    * If you're reading this, ladies at the back, I do apologise for the intensity of the put-down. I saw you giggling uncomfortably about 20 sec afterwards, so, er, sorry. **

                   ** No audience remembers comedians after they've left the stage. So they won't have remembered my difficult to spell-name, the gig, or, indeed, the entire mid-nineties. So we can be rude about them here! Eh?

Then, after leaving in the second interval (it being the country, and trains just stopping at some point), the promotor thanked me by more than reimbursing the train journey, as well as providing me with a lovely bottle of wine. First paid gig? Can we go that far already? Yeah, I suppose so! Whahoo!

I got to the station 10 mins before the train to Ford would leave, where I had to change trains to Brighton. I cursed myself for not bringing a coat, and going for the hoodie-scarf combo I've been rockin' round da crib for the past few days (what? This is the way I speak), mainly because it had been too hot for the coat in Brighton when I left for the gig. Or I was just high on lemsip at the time. So I was cold for ten minutes, awaiting the train. Trains in the UK tend to arrive JUST in time, if they do. So I got on, tired, and lay down on an empty three-seat-bit. Only after hearing the tannoy announcement I realised I had to get off quickly, to catch my Brighton train. The train stopped, and I waited for the buttons to light up, so I could push the -open doors- one. This didn't happen, and I started pushing it regardless. I suddenly remembered the man at Burgess Hill in November, so I ran to the next carriage, whose lights also weren't on. The carriage after that just closed its doors. In my face. Arse. I was still on the train, and had to wait for the next stop. That stop, luckily, was also on the route the Southampton to Brighton takes, so when I got there, I immediately ran to the other platform, through the subway. I only ran too fast, and my mp3-player* fell out of my pocket onto the ground as I was running down, so I made that running-backwards kind of stopping dogs tend to do when the realised they'd forgotten something.

                    * This mp3-player is NOT an ipod, since I didn't (and still don't, to be honest) have the money for it. My friend Patrick once looked at it, in fascination as if it was some kind of ancient forerunner of a modern device, like a Babylonian credit card.

Still, I was annoyed. I quickly moved on to the platform, where, again, the train doors shut before my eyes. I asked the man who was standing there whether this was the last train. It wasn't, luckily. So I sat down, panting, and again cursing myself for not getting out at Ford, I would have been on the train home within minutes. And I cursed my scarf-hoodie combo for being too cold. And my non-ipod mp3-player for being subject to the laws of gravity. But mostly myself, for being a douche. But then again, in 20 minutes, I would be on a train.

Then, two minutes later, the tannoy told us that due to a signalling problem, my train would be delayed for another 20 minutes. I was afraid it would get cancelled, but the same man from the station told me it would definitely run, or I would get a free taxi. So no freezing to death, at least not tonight. Which is a crap thing to write in a blog, I know, since you can't write a blog about freezing to death. You might be able to tweet tho.* @StephenFry Frostbite has caused feet to break clean off lol. But can now finally juggle ankles #Swings+Roundabouts, #Bucketlist.

                 * I've been thinking about setting up a twitter account. Good/Bad idea? Also, I've got a title to continue this blog even when I'm back in NL, for those 9 months when I'm finishing my degree there. Comic in Exile. Is it shit or is it good?

I still was angry. Probably angrier than usual on a train station. I did feel like just shouting at someone just to get the frustration off my chest. I genuinely turned 68 when I saw another group of young people, this time with a girl wearing nothing but a top and miniskirt. I wanted to go up to her and shout: 'You stupid bastard! You stupid, vain, self-deluded bastard! You insane egomaniacal cretin!' in her face, until she would understand what a total moron she was. And all her friends as well, by association. Especially after they took the one non-freezing spot in the station, the smelly waiting area, for themselves. I hate teenagers. They are evil. But so is all mankind, so we're all doomed. In short, it was a good thing my train arrived 15 minutes after it was supposed to leave (but five minutes before what they had anticipated), otherwise I would have had a column in the Telegraph by now.

Love and kisses (but not physically, since I'm still flu-ey)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Thursday 24th March: The last couple of days - From Nice to Worse

Like all humans, I'm always annoyed and terrified when people say 'I've good news and bad news.' It scares the living bumjuice out of me. Because whatever people will say, the most important relevant and life-changing thing, obviously, is always the shit thing. Beats whatever good news hands down nearly all the time. Not just that, the bad thing is usually SO bad, that its badness needs to be cushioned to soften the blow. It just is that bad. So now, since I have failed to post a blog every single day (for reasons of business and, well, you'll see), this will be a bullet points-based survey of GOOD and BAD things going on in my life since Sunday.


In our weekly chat on skype, my mum had told me she had gone to IKEA to buy a picture frame, so she could hang up one of the posters of the Top Banana comedy night (you know, the one with the review) in the stairway at home. She stole it after the gig, after jumping up and down every time she saw my name on some paper in the streets of Brighton. This was such a genuinely sweet gesture, I didn't really know what to say about it at the time. Come to think of it, I still don't. So: thanks again! :-)

I saw a fox in the garden. A living one, curled up and asleep on the grass. The cat, who normally makes its home on top of the scary shed had moved to the wall at the back of the neighbours' garden. My house mate was distinctly unimpressed, though. In London, she said, they were all over the place. A pest even. Disgusting animals. I don't care. Foxes are ace.

OK, it's already going down the 'yes, but'-road on the second one in the list. I am aware of that. But it will get far worse, that's my promise to all you misery-lovers out there. You know who you are, laughing at that man, crying in that corner, you.

I eventually went to the Uni Library in a feeble attempt to get some reading done. I ended up writing the last blog, in a corner with some coffee. I love libraries. As a child I used to have a kind of secret spot where I could hide with some books. I finally have the same thing in the Sussex library. I am telling no-one where it is. You shall not know of it! Wha! I am so evil. If self-defeating.
I was reading Freud (you have to, don't you) in that lovely corner of mine, until it got dark and all the lights started to go out around me, one by one. I played with the idea of just falling asleep there and not going back home, but soon, my innate rationality took over, and I left. And it did look slightly terrifying. I have not once had to spend an entire night in the library (it is possible, so I might) but with all the movement-sensitive lights going out one by one, leaving me in total darkness, I felt, you know, not that great.

On Monday morning, I was awoken by a buzzing noise. But not my phone. A huge bumblebee had decided to sleep next to my head, and I made that stupid -whahiaeheiyaheya- sound racist 5-year olds make when pretending to be indians (as in cowboys AND ____, I'm not mental). Eventually, I got a newspaper, made the insect crawl on top of it and (after it fell off a couple of times, I'm not sure about its current mental state) let it fly out into the wonderfully bright morning sky.

Btw: if you're going to see any comedian in the near future, go and see Nick Helm. He was amazing at I.O.U. on Monday night. Through my sleepless nights, my one source of happiness has been his voice singing the sentence 'He makes you look fat' over and over and over in my tired brain. You could replace the phrase: 'one source of happiness' with 'the incessant shouty maddening repetitive draining refrain bouncing around my cortex for a full night' and it still works. But I do agree that's more my fault than his. The man is amazing.

I had a gig on Wednesday night in Camden. This went quite well, even though very few people were there. But I nearly didn't do it. Luckily, Doctor Theatre was there to help out. But when I got home, he had left me. What am I talking about?


Yes. I'm ill. I only fell asleep at around 6 last night. I have not spoken today, apart from whispering a bit when I absolutely needed to. Otherwise, this is what I've looked like for the past 3 days:

Yeah. Good, isn't it? That's the kind of look I'm going for. I have decided to throw artistic ambitions to the wind and make a fortune starring in miserable-wonderful adverts. What am I talking about? You know, the adverts where there's two people, one person has an absolutely atrocious life, because they're fundamentally shit as human beings while the other person would be as winning as Charlie Sheen having his balls rubbed by the concept of fortuitousness.* This is all well, good and understood, but here's where it gets tricky. The one defining difference between the infinite misery-jumper (© Chris Morris, 1997) and Charlie Sheen's testes is that one product. If only life was that easy, the post-ironic consumer sighs, and willingly buys into their shit. But hey, who's to blame. It's clearly me, the one without the product. So that's why I'm practicing my sad, unattainable-product-face for Hollywood advert work. But after 10 years of success, I would finally be happy and healthy and rich myself, making me unsuitable for these parts, so I could never work again and by some strange contractual agreement, failures that have become winners, have to pay back all the money they made as failures, which automatically renders them failures again, but without the money, grand mansion or love. Better stay where I am I suppose. 

* Who says all Charlie Sheen jokes have been done before? Boom-boom-booyah!

But no. I've been feeling pretty horrible since Tuesday, where I had either a very intense and sudden onset of flu or an allergic reaction to something or other. It was at work, my left eye felt puffy and looked red, my nose was running, and I generally felt quite disgusting. Apart from that, the work was quite intense and very hard. As a result, the otherwise genuinely lovely boss asked me just to change my attitude and think positively. I suppose he was right. But it does always worry me when people talk about positive thinking as a tool or device. Especially in the workplace. Annoyingly, Barbara Ehrenreich was, at the RSA, far more eloquent about the subject than I can be:

I do always get a nasty taste in my mouth when I hear phrases like: You just have to believe.*  Do you know what I mean? But then again, I am ill, and already had a pretty nasty taste in my mouth to begin with.

* N.B. these italics are not mine. They're already there in those people's voices. I don't know how they do it either. But they do.

All this makes it seem likely that, although some parts of the last couple of days have been incredibly lovely, the negative will still outweigh the positive. If you say that this is just a problem with my attitude I will slap you.

But still, after all that anger, I got this card this morning. It's from my mum, and she sent it just because she thought I'd deserved it and because she loves me.

It made me happy, that's all.

Just a bit, mind, no immediate danger to my professional miserablism.

But still. Life is nice. On balance.
Love you all!


If you've been affected (or afflicted) by any of the issues in this frankly manic-depressive blog entry, please contact your local GP. I'm making more lemsip (I have fully integrated now, I think). X

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Saturday 20th March 2011: Talking Failure #1

Hello. Just saying something very quickly to bring you up to speed. This blog will be a bit longer than the usually. Then I hope to keep one every day, apart from every week. That is because of lessening impact of essays and uni work and intensifying moments of boredom, that usually spark beautiful moments of creative genius and sometimes, a depressing mountain of self-loathing, and NOTHING in between, as yet. This one will hopefully be the first one to actually strike that balance, as well as being quite pragmatic. I start with a thing that actually happened to me last night which will show you that even after quite a complimentary review in a student newspaper, my overall existence is still more of an embarrassment to the human race than anything else.


(FX: fanfare)

Yeah... The best-visited entry of this blog could be followed up by either of two things. One: I would stop, as success had clearly gotten to my head. This would be quite ironic, since that specific blog was the only one not actually written by me. Therefore the greatest number of people to ever visit this blog did so just to read someone else's words. This in itself as well as me not being able to recognise this fact would already be funny. The other way round this short and intense burst of student-newspaper based success would be the very English route of self-deprecation*: I could show all of you that I'm still the pathetic failure I always was.

* Note that the word route in the phrase: "the very English route of self-deprecation" is of French origin, reaffirming the statement of self-deprecatory intent. Oh yeah, I rule. In footnote-form.

Last night, I was invited to a party. Oh, yeah. That's how I roll nowadays. I had been there the night before, in a small post-gig drinks thing, without the necessary end-of-run pomp and circumstance. Just some drinks, then I left at about 1, to try and get some much-needed sleep. I was promptly invited for the actual afterparty, on Saturday night, which would take place in the same house. That wouldn't be a problem, I'd take some bottles of wine with me and the good times would doubtlessly roll. So around midnight I left, having learnt to never be too early, since I certainly have been that one annoying person who would turn up at a party 3 hours before it would actually kick off. I put the wine in a bag-for-life and I started cycling towards the aforementioned location, which I would remember, having been there less than 24 hours beforehand.

The short bike ride was uncharacteristically eventful, with a group of 30 or so young people who can't have been younger than 15 but looked about 12, walking past Sainsbury's and stealing a shopping trolley. One of their number had been democratically selected (or plonked in by the mob, depending on your ideological perspective) to take place within that famously unnavigable mode of transportation, and chucked out into the street. Luckily, this young man only shouted a lot but did not harm himself at the quite forcible exit he made from the trolley, which, gathering speed, was rolling in my direction. Fortunately I then remembered I was on a bicycle so I sped up and avoided death, bodily harm and the ridicule of 30 teenagers.

At arriving near where I thought the party would take place, I looked for anything recognisable on the quite similar houses. Unfortunately, nothing was there. All houses looked embarrassingly similar and I couldn't recollect which specific wrought Iron fence I had used to lock my bike onto only a day before. I then remembered that I actually live in the future, so I pulled out my mobile phone and called one of the people that I knew would be there, so they could open the door for me and I wouldn't have to knock on every single door like the socially awkward 10 year old I still actually am and be shunned from every household in the street, at this hour, like some kind of modern day Joseph (but holding a pink bike lock as opposed to a donkey). After considering that sentence, I heard an ominous voice: 'You have not enough credit to call this number.' Yeah... Suppose I'd better head back then.

I cycled back home, embarrassed at my failure. As I crossed the road, I saw something that looked like a fight. Four people huddled up in a corner, shouting at each other. When I stopped to see if I could help (from a safe distance, of course*) the four ran apart, with a man and a woman walking past me, him scolding her in a drunken voice. "Why did you do that?" &c. As no-one had actually been hurt, I just raised my shoulders and left the scene.

* Oh, how hypocrisy the man doth make; he withers like a snowman in a tan salon. - (Booyah!)

Back home, I remembered that, even though my phone based communication had stupidly faltered, I still had facebook. So I decided to wait and see whether someone I knew would turn up on fb chat, providing me with the necessary house number so I could still go to the party. I waited for 45 minutes, and nearly fell asleep twice. Then a friend did come online, having left the party herself minutes before, and she provided me with the house number.

I thanked her, and repeating the number several times in my head (attaching colour, sound and type of woodland animal to it as aide-memoires), I set off again. This time, the now ridiculously familiar ride was notably less ominous, so I could just turn up and it would all be fine.

I got to the door, took the bottle of wine out of my coat pocket (yeah, beat that!), took off my coat and rung the doorbell.

I could hear some commotion coming from downstairs, so I rung again.
I tried knocking. I tried blatantly waiting for someone just to turn up. I even tried looking through the letter-box and saying hello, but I stopped immediately when people walked by who could very reasonably think I was some kind of mental case who got off on molesting letter boxes. With their tongue.Even without sexual connotations you'd have to admit that something like that is indeed pretty sad.

I gave up. Clearly, I wasn't cut out for this. I had failed at the hugely basic concept of going to a place and entering it, without much trouble. You know, like people actually do. But not me. I got home and fell asleep nearly instantly.

Yes. That's the story of how I failed at life yesterday. I'm not proud of it. But it's got it's own uncanny form of beauty.

If you're thinking: 'Hmm. Maybe Jorik is letting small defeats get to him in a slightly unhealthy manner.' You'd be right. I do have a penchant for these kinds of things. But weirdly, they are also the building blocks of comedy. Humour is inherently connected with failure, with loss and with coping with the idea of an imagined future that will never happen. I love failure and I think it's a beautiful way to connect with other people. Most of my comedy is indeed about that very subject.

As some of you may know, I am trying to write a novel. I have been doing so for nearly 2 years (with initial ideas and sketches being written back in mid-2008, even) and I intend to finish it, of course. I'm about 25000 words in, and since my Uni work has relented a bit,I hope to do a bit more over the next few weeks. I hope to finish it next year, when I am deported back to Holland to finish my degree (sad smiley face). But there will be a party going down before that time, so don't worry (happy smiley face). The location of which I do not know yet, although someone might have to help me with, you know, getting in to the place and such.

The other reason this blog is so unrelentingly obsessed with failure is that my book happened to be about just that. So not the obsession first and the book second. The other way round. Since this can be described as a futile defense against anyone saying I copied this idea off Kathryn Schulz (whose 'Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error' I intend to read over the Easter break), errrr... yes. That is partly why I'm saying this. I was first Schulz! Feast on that! No, you can't, cos you're an inherently big fat loser. (which must be the most curious criticism she has yet received for her work).

But really, I would really like to say Thank you for bearing with me, Thank you for all the nice reactions to the review and I hope to blog a bit more often, now I actually have the time to do so. Also, I will talk about why I like failure a bit more. Probably.*

* Note the inherent danger of a notorious failure stating his intention to do something a bit more often. This can only go wrong. Ah well. Let's just wait and see what we get.

P.S. Do you fail on occasion? How do you feel about that? Let me know on the comments-section right down here!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Sunday 13th March 2011: Is a Fool #4


Whilst walking in near total darkness in a part of Brighton I'd never been to before, I thought of an opening to this blog.

Some people just don't deserve to be human. They make mistakes, they flounder, and in the 10k race of life they end up face first in big pile of dogpoo. And rightly so, for these people tend not to listen to basic, simple facts, lose things that are important to the survival of them and others, basically, ruin it for the rest of civilisation who have the right, if not duty, to malign, mock and behave in a violent manner towards for the rest of their short, useless lives. In a word: Failures. I wouldn't have made it in the jungle, I would have been the first to be picked off, by a hippo. Not even as prey, just for a laugh. And it wouldn't even have been funny, just a bit boring really, so the hippos would continue grazing and blaming my shattered corpse for their unamusing dinnershow.

Ok, I lost something again.

I'm not proud of it, nor do I endorse the somewhat over-intense negative portrayal in the above paragraph. But I am a fool, as many of you know.

After having got some books from the library in an attempt to hand in nice and shiny essays this week, I went to a shop near where I live and bought some food. Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Nothing wrong indeed. The next bit is where it got tricky. I put my wallet in my shopping bag, next to the shopping. From then on, I thought of other things. Such as: should I be writing a blog again? Should it be about other things than sheer undiluted ego? Could it be about more universal things than my frankly doomed-to-fail comedy career-dreams? (look at all those hyphens! Pretty huh? Well, get me a booking then! You hyphen-loving comedy booker-type you! Rrr!) Wasn't it nice to see my dog again over skype today? Shouldn't I be thinking of my essays? Nah, can wait. Wait! Wasn't that my shirt I lost 2 weeks ago? No, it wasn't, it was a green binliner. Oh, ok. Hey! That lady has a special bag for plastic bottles! Etc. (James Joyce eat your heart out).

In short: no more wallet.

The worst part of it is, I wasn't aware of the fact, having spent two hours watching iPlayer and only then checking my email, to find an email by a nice, friendly person who apparently found it near the shop I was at only minutes before. She had included her phone number. I called her immediately, and ran out into the street*, checking 700 times for my keys and phone. I walked to where I thought she lived, according to google maps.

Then, me being me, I got lost. I ended up at the other side of the road, near a barbed wire fence (i.e. a fence that is not just an obstruction with pointy bits, but also barbed wire added. I know the expression gilding the lily, but this is just taking the piss), and with nowhere to go, I had to turn back. Hence the first paragraph.

I did have to walk through a completely dark alley to the house where my wallet now was, which I'm not very good at. I did the classic, ok, if there's any murderers and scoundrels around, I'll just look bigger than I am, in the same way a puffer fish scares sharks. Sharks are thick, of course, since puffer fish are highly poisonous and even after 300 million years of evolution, puffer fish still have to tell sharks not to eat them using that very basic defensive measure. That's why the bullies in school are usually the thickest kids, and I wasn't allowed to have poisonous stings implanted in my face as a child to defeat them. But it's just evolution, mummy! I pleaded. No it's not, she said, and going back to her work as a genetic engineer, crossing a sea cow with a wasp. ... I seem to have gone out on a limb here. I apologise.

In short: I acted big. But I'm not. I've never been in an actual fight all my life. Don't know why not. I'm quite rubbish at fighting, anyway, my brother always beat me, from age 3 onwards. He wasn't even born yet (COME ON!). But for some reason, I always think I can defend myself in such a situation, that, if I need to, that innate fight-or-flight response comes to my aid and gets me out of trouble and the baddies in A&E. No chance. Fight-or-flight for me is probably flight-or-fail-and-die-bleeding-out-of-my-face-in-an-embarrassing-way, so embarrassing that even the police will go: Nope, too much loser-juice there, not going near it, it might be infectious. Maybe my innate failure could be a sign that predators would avoid, like the bright orange frogs in the central American rain forest. I would just jump around, happy as anything, not being bothered at all by anyone. Survival of the failest. Or something along those lines.

Then again, I would be hunted down by tribesmen and used as failure-based curare for their arrows.


Which is sort of the point, really.

What I´m trying to say is, I got my wallet back, everything was still in there, all cards, my passport, everything. There only were 4p left in it, which had gone (so I might have been burgled! Never put wallet in shopping bag again!) but that's not too bad.

So, in short: Thank you nice person who found my wallet!

As my mum would say: you don't deserve to be so lucky.

As a matter of fact, I do :-)

See ya!

*At this point, in writing this blog, my left Shift key (my favourite, if I'm honest) had fallen clean off. In a rare moment of technological mastery (yeah, take that dad!) I attached it back on. I rule! This last sentence, and the ending you've just read, thereby balance out the hugely negative beginning paragraph making this blog, on balance, still relatively heavily Anti-Jorik biased.