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Thursday 1st November 2012

Frame 21 of Me1 vs Me2 snooker and without giving away too many spoilers it turned into a battle between love and death, and one that whoever won, I would lose. If I had been in control of the players perhaps I could have made them step away from the ultimatums that they were setting themselves. But Me 1 and Me 2 are their own men and blindly stumbled on with no respect for my personal life or the thousands (hundreds? tens?) of listeners at home.
Without being arrogant it created a drama ten times better than Hamlet and it left me feeling emotional battered. If you have invested in the previous frames and fought your way through the (occasional) boring or pointless ones you will be rewarded with this existential struggle. Do not attempt to listen to this frame without having heard all the others. Get out your tissues because you're either going to cry or be dangerously turned on by this astonishing half hour of snooker.
As I went upstairs to upload the audio my wife saw me and the heightened emotional state I was in, looked worried and suggested that it might be time to stop these podcasts. But I cannot stop: it's just getting somewhere interesting. What will happen? I have no idea. I have no control over the outcome of the matches or the vows made by the players. I couldn't have told you what was going to happen today and I cannot tell you what will happen next week. All I can tell you is that you are listening you are witnessing the greatest work of art created by mankind thus far. I am not sure my wife agrees.
Tonight we both gigged at the Bloomsbury at a benefit for WDM. As is usual with these occasions there was a selection of drinks and snacks in the green room. There was rather an eclectic mixture of tinned beers and ciders and one bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale.
This used to be my drink of choice for a while at University 25 years ago, although I seem to remember if I had more than four bottles I became a little aggressive (not to the extent that I got into fights, but where my belligerent confidence might easily have caused someone else to punch me quiet) - I think I might have been under the influence of Newcy Brown when I threw a stone through the window of a Christian book shop at the end of our road (it was only a tiny side window) - I don't know if I through this stone-chucking action I was trying to tell the Christians that I was without sin (I was largely, but only due to lack of opportunity). I suspect I thought that drinking this working man's ale amongst the toffs of Oxford University made me a rebel. I also suspect that my love of Viz comic and by association all things Newcastlian was the impetus for me to start drinking this stuff (there was a character called Brown Bottle who was a superhero who would be unable to assist anyone after becoming incapacitated and incontinent after downing a few bottles - smashing windows might be the kind of thing he would do).
I stopped drinking this strange and dangerous brew and I don't think I've had a bottle in the last two decades (the Viz boys did give me a bottle of a limited edition Ale made in memory of a friend of theirs a few years ago, but it remains unopened as a keepsake), so I decided that I would have to give this a go.
I couldn't remember how it tasted and was worried that it might have an immediate effect on my personality and my fists, but luckily one bottle was not enough to make me any more than slightly more boisterous and I was able to do my ten minutes of jokes under the influence without punching a heckler or lobbing a rock at anyone whose religious beliefs I disagreed with. But it transported me back in time, mainly weirdly to a time when I played a gargoyle in a production of Dr Faustus in Magdalene College quad. The memories had no Newcy Brown in them, but presumably I was drinking it at the time and my mind has made the association. I did the press shoot for the production (by which I mean someone took some photos of me to put in the student newspaper). I was stripped almost naked and covered in some kind of porridge and had to hang precariously off of centuries old stone-work high above the quad, with slippery hands. It was cold and the gloop on me made me colder and they insisted on taking dozens of photos and I nearly got hypothermia. One of the posh students from the year above me took me to her rooms (I was at a modern build college, but this one was very like the kind of Brideshead image and she had an impressive suite of rooms and her own bath) and because they were cool and actory types I remember them bringing me tea in the bath, with me feeling embarrassed by my nudity and them affecting that this was normal. There was no chance of this turning into anything more interesting by the way. This girl was too sophisticated and assured and upper class to be interested in a porridgy boy in her bath. Though a psychiatrist might wonder if my AIOTM (aiotm) flour bath was a subconscious attempt to recreate this unsettling moment. And just with today's snooker I was caught between love and death, trying to prevent hypothermia, finding myself in the situation of being naked in a woman's room.
There is absolutely no Newcy Brown in this story and yet it is a story unlocked by the association of Newcy Brown.

All the latest Richard Herring news is in the November newsletter. Get this delivered straight to your inbox by susbscribing in the box on the bottom left there.

Here's Andrew Thayne's 2010 aim and result:
the "rather easy, yet indefinite aim that I set myself back in November 2010: to read a book every 2 weeks, or 14 days if your prefer. It all started back on 26th November 2010 with your very own 'How Not to Grow Up' - a book it took me 20 days to read. Not exactly a great start, [oi!] but now 707 days later, I am now on my 50th book with an average of a little over 14 days to read each (14.3 days if you're keeping a spreadsheet about it - which I am). In that time, I have read 3 Richard Herring books, 2 Stewart Lee books, 2 Andrew Collings books and a book written entirely in Trinidadian patois. Though I'm not sure how much more intelligent I feel despite being slightly more well read.
I blog semi-endlessly about my reads if you're uninterested
Here's to another 10 years!

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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be on at the George Sq Theatre at 10.45pm every night of the Edinburgh Fringe Buy tickets here.
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