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Sunday 7th February 2016

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I got masses of sleep last night, due to having passed out at 8pm and then again at about 9.30pm once I’d finished cleaning up sick and so I had enough energy to tidy up the house this morning, and because I’d finished my drinking by 6pm there wasn’t any hangover to speak of.

Unusually we had the whole weekend off and so this afternoon we got the train to Hampstead Heath for a bracing climb up a muddy hill (made more challenging by having to manoeuvre a pram as we went). It was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. When we’d arrived at the station we’d popped over to a little middle-class coffee/cake shop for a take-out cappuccino, where everything moved pretty slowly, because the middle-classes are not in a rush on a Sunday. But it meant we got to see quite an unusual bit of street theatre (though I think the performer involved believed in what he was saying). A man in a large white cycle helmet with a sophisticated megaphone began addressing us, the middle-class people of Hampstead Heath from just across the road. “I am sorry to have to tell you that none of this is real,” he told us, but I don’t think he was sorry at all, I think he was thrilled to be opening our closed minds. “It will be hard for you to accept but you are all part of a virtual reality computer programme…” I don’t know how he had found this out or whether he was in the computer as well, or had somehow managed to enter it, like the bloke in Total Recall who comes to Mars to tell Arnie that it’s all a dream, but I favour that latter and suspect that the bike helmet was some kind of hologram teleportation device. No one from the Matrix came to shut this guy down. He was able to talk, without the evil authorities stopping him, for a good five minutes. Perhaps the virtual reality thing was a metaphor, or maybe he was just confused or trying to get everything possible in, because he then told us that we were being manipulated by the government who were super intelligent and evil. If they were so clever then you’d think they wouldn’t fuck up so often, but maybe that proves how clever they are by giving themselves the appearance of incompetent chancers. Only white bike helmet man could see the truth and he was angry with the rest of us for being so blind. He started calling us the bourgeoisie which seemed an odd move if he was trying to convert us and said that any amongst us who had voted in the election were culpable in this rise of evil. I felt bad because I am both a part of the bourgeoisie and I voted in the election. I voted Labour though, so maybe that made me exempt, unless they’re in on it too. It wasn’t really clear. 

Everyone just got on with their days, assuming this man was a lunatic, who had allowed his own paranoid delusions to overcome him and detach him from reality. But what if he was right? But if he was right why wasn’t he being stopped by the super intelligent evil government? Or did they figure that we’d assume he was mad so they could let him get on with it? But if he wasn’t mad, then why didn’t he realise this and address this point and explain why he was being allowed to reveal the truth when his own internal logic suggested that wouldn’t be possible? And should he really be having a go at all these people if he wanted them on side? Why not go to a non-bourgeois location and persuade those people to rise up, rather than taunting and mocking those who were trapped in the maze?

He got a couple of mild heckles and didn’t even have any real put downs. If I was going to come from the real reality to the false reality as a hologram and reveal the truth to the blind-to-the-truth bourgeoisie, then I would definitely have got a couple of zingers ready for the ones who would inevitably call me a dickwad or tell me to go fuck myself. For example, “No, you’re the dickwad, actually. Or you would be if any of this was real, but it isn’t.” That kind of thing.

He stopped after a bit and having made quite a few bourgeois eyebrows raise, in a “oh dear this is embarrassing” rather than the “oh no our whole world is a lie” kind of way. He was still standing on the corner, but he seemed now to be having an unamplified conversation with either himself or someone on the phone. Maybe he was waiting for the thought police to come and arrest him, but they weren’t that bothered. Almost like they didn’t care about what he said. 

But after a couple of minutes I looked again and he’d disappeared and everyone was acting as if he’d never been there. Had he gone back to the real reality? Or been arrested by space police? Or had he just walked off and got a train to West Hampstead to try his luck there. 

And how is he so sure that the other reality he came from isn’t the virtual reality and the one we’re in is real. Perhaps he’s the one being hoodwinked all along. I have to say the programmers have really put in the work to make this world consistently random and useless, so I think his other world might be the unreal one.

There is no one so sure that they are right as the conspiracy theorist. They won’t allow any questioning of their view of the world, even though they expect us to question our own. I am not sure of anything. I just wish I had the certainty to stand on a street corner and shout at strangers.

No, I can only do it in pubs and theatres in front of a paying crowd. If nothing is real it’s good to know I am still making some money and not giving it all away for free.



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My new stand up show, Happy Now? will be touring from September 2015 to June 2016 All details here.
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