Saturday, 22 January 2011

Friday 21st January 2011: Some Talky Bits, Some Writy Bits And Some Bits Where A Man Stands In Front Of An Audience Blabbering On About Stuff

Hello again

Since I promised myself only to occasionally update this blog, I've been both lax about writing it as well as tied down to the specific times when I have, say, experienced something so brilliant it just needs to be said. I spend most of my time studying, reading, doing relatively little in a small room in Brighton. This one's about nothing as well, so bear with me. But, since I'm becoming a stand-up again (after an over-long pause where I went to Holland and back). From Sunday onwards, I'm getting back into gigging. If you happen to be around, come and see me! It'll be fun!

What's also starting again is writing the book I started in 2009, having it lie fallow since the Fringe last August. The idea originally came from a short story I wrote in mid-2008, evolving into something more complicated and switching languages a year later, in 2009. I will definitely finish it one day, since it's full of ideas I love to delve into further. My problem with writing this thing is that its a big, self-contained monster that needs grounding in facts for the weird stuff to work. Logically, I don't know as much as I'd like to, so over the last six months I usually took a look at it once every six weeks, changed some of the wording, look at the rhythm and pacing of it, and got stuck at where I need to explore the plot further. Yesterday, I worked on it for 3 hours straight. They flew by. Good sign. I just need to find the time and self-confidence to actually write this thing. I remember having taken July 2009 off to write it, 100.000 words in 31 days. Easy, I thought. I think I never wrote anything more than about 1000 words for the entire month. Every day I sat down at my computer to write it, becoming distracted and ending up doing nothing. I even went so far as buying the new Zelda for the Nintendo DS, as a procrastination opportunity and spending days playing the game. And during it, I wasn't even defeating enemies or solving puzzles, no siree. I was cutting grass. All the time. I was procrastinating so much, I procrastinated in a video game, used as a procrastination opportunity. They say that if anything ever kills a fledgling writing career, it's lack of self-discipline. That's not true. What you need is someone to shout at you, and a deadline. That deadline is now 2015. 75.000 words in 4 years? No problem. Even I can do that. Probably not though. Ok, before I die, I'm going to finish that book. Happy now?

It wasn't a wasted month, though. I did write a stage version of the idea/concept to later try out (to muted response) in Amsterdam's Engelenbak. I translated about 50% of Jerry Springer the Opera ® (still available for interested Dutch Musical Theatre producers. Ik weet dat je leest, Joop!). I also wrote some stand-up that only recently found its way into my regular set. Yes, that's the reason I'm writing this. As you can see here to the right, the stand-up's kicking off again. Finally. First gig this Sunday. Britain, beware for some slight featherruffling and negligible amounts of ribs being tickled. To war!

I was watching The Review Show this morning (but it's yesterday's episode, so it still works with this title), when they were talking about Self-Help Books. I like the Review Show, but it's very dependent on the guests. Although the hosts can ruin it as well, by going on and on and telling crap jokes (Martha Kearney, this week, should not have let the intern write her script). Last week's discussion on Russia and the Russian in art was uneventful, but this week's wasn't. Especially the discrepancy between the eloquent Professor John Carey and the informed comedians Rhona Cameron and David Quantick, a man with fewer facial expressions than a playing card; and the non-informed artist Martin Creed. Or if he was informed, he just blocked any form of discussion by reducing all aesthetic to immediate personal opinion, things a philistine friend might say in a museum, just to get to the pub. He was brilliant, croaky-voiced and often sounding like a dog who'd been transformed into a man for the weekend, being quizzed on the artifice of civilisation. It made for some pretty compelling viewing though; a panel discussion between 4 intellectuals and a Labrador. Watch it, it's ace. I'm going to write articles in the confused Labrador-voice, genuine invective from the point of view of something that has no real grasp on any form of culture. But does support fox hunting. I'm not saying Martin Creed supports fox hunting. But Labradors do. So there. That's canine criticism in your face!

The man brandishing the sword of Canine Criticism finally did supply the viewer with the lovely anti-self-help point I'd been waiting for. Why do people want to be happy? That actually pushed the argument further into some lovely misanthropic invective. Hooray for Martin Creed.

In short: Dogs, Stand-Up, and a Book. More self-important rubbish later.

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