Sunday, 27 October 2013

27th October 2013: Admitting Defeat - NO NOT THAT

On Thursday, I had to admit defeat.

Against my better judgement, against my intentions, I broke down. Like a car in the desert.

After my last blog I felt strengthened, confident even. All of the nonsense had been dealt with. I got it out there, some people even read it. But I was still broken.

So I put on facebook: I admit defeat.

My mum, and Jane, asked me what I'd admitted defeat to, worried about me. I told the truth. I couldn't go on anymore, so my body had broken down. I could hardly move that day. I spent most of it in a semi-conscious, self-recriminating state. Yeah, lots of fun there. Hardcore comedy.

I was supposed to have finished reading Das Schloss by Kafka and write a 3000 word essay on the horror of school in Buddenbrooks and Fruhlings Erwachen (don't come bitching at me about umlauts. I'm borrowing this laptop, which has got a UK keyboard, therefore being unable to do any language other than English. That's why I chose a US keyboard for my new laptop, with French/German/Spanish possibilities. But I digress). It wasn't mandatory, but something I chose to do. You know. Low stress. I could write that on Thursday if I went to school early and just bang it out. But there was no banging to be done on Thursday. Far from it.

So I sent an apologetic email to the lecturer of the German Lit course and typed the status into facebook when I could slightly move again.


I had to check, is he just being his horrific self, or was something more ugly -uglier than that- afoot. There wasn't anything. He was just being his horrific self. Fine. Go and see his stupid show if you're in the Manchester area. It's called House of Nostril, it's produced by the Lowry, it's got people in it who are good, there's a musician in it who's great, there's unity of time, place and action blablablabla reviews, blablabla Malcolm Hardee blabla Copstick bla.

You know the drill. Voyez-les-mecs!

So for two days I was basically immobile, watching Zelda videos on Youtube. Not fun.

Before that, I had a very enjoyable Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tuesday Stand-up Club was a lot of fun, but I had somehow overprepared and we ended up not being able to have everyone do a spot. I am very sorry about this. I, however, stayed too long, chatting and catching up with the comclub people and, after another overlong busride home, it was after midnight. The day after I kicked myself out of bed, I met up with a friend from Sussex, who’s now doing an MA at King’s. We had a wander and we had omelettes at a restaurant in Soho and drinks in King’s student union bar. I liked it, because there weren’t as many students there as there are constantly around UCL. He, unfortunately, couldn’t make the gig I was doing later. And good on him. I was tired. Just broken. And I forgot rule number one: Take Care Of Yourself. As I was coming back from the gig, I was thinking about why I died on my arse. It wasn’t about not caring about the gig, but about being too tired to care about the gig. I wasn’t even slightly nervous. Now, after doing comedy and theatre for YONKS, I’m never nervous to the degree I used to be. I used to be a barfer. I think, but only until I was 20. Now, I have a nice fidgety sense of nervousness throughout the day. When I’m walking about, thinking about the gig, I’m never happier. I get my best ideas when I’m in that nice state of self-consciousness and the awareness that everything was possible. Wednesday night, however, I was just tired. I wasn’t looking forward to the gig (which never happens either) and not feeling well AT ALL. Then I did the gig and hey presto! I was rubbish. I made the decision that night that I’m either going to do stand-up WELL or NOT AT ALL. Option 2 doesn’t work. Because. You know. I’ll be stuck. Stuck, being. Being me, I suppose. I love stand-up too much for that. And I dislike the idea of ‘just being a person’ too much. Well, not dislike. But it frightens me. I can never NOT do comedy, NOT take that back seat view and reflect on how life seems to work. Other comics have any idea about that? The comments box is yours.

Then Thursday happened. And, again. I need to learn how to take care of myself.

Yesterday, I was out in a Turkish coffee shop, where they specialised in Shisha. I like the smell, but I’m not a big fan of the tobacco-element. I would do petrol though. I love the smell of petrol. Don’t know what that means.
I finished listening to the BBC audiobook version of Ulysses, reading along on Project Gutenberg. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

For the first time in my life, I think, I wasn’t aware that the clocks were going to change. So I awoke pretty pleased with myself.Today, I set out doing the same thing I did yesterday: go out and read 61 pages of Kafka in German, whilst moving my mouth slightly and sometimes reading aloud the German so the rhythms would make sense. I found a place, but I only stayed there for a bit. Then moved on to what I think might be the poshest caff in Clapton, all white, the cash register was an iPad. Yeah, that kind of place. I found myself, very unhelpfully, working on a writing project that I am not going to tell you about yet. Because I’m coy like that.

I just wanted to find a place to read Kafka in where they wouldn’t think I was a mental.

Then, as I decided to go back home, I found a bookshop. Not just a bookshop. A proper one, with seats downstairs and a dog (who wasn’t there today but will be there in the future). This will be a hangout. If nothing else. I bought some books. I tried to argue back to myself how that would be a good thing, not a bad thing, since these were books I needed for my course anyway. Also, I smell books. Deal with it. MORE INFO: and especially: Somehow, old Penguin Pockets, the weather-beaten paperback ones, smell wonderfully. I picked up Lady Chatterley’s Lover, thought of Larkin, and inhaled.

I’m going to leave you with that image. Much love,

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