I wrote a cheque and thought that that is something that my daughter will likely never do. I mean I will probably only do that about 20 more times in my life, but she’ll only do it in some interactive exhibit in a museum or if she’s in a school play about how people used to live in the 20th Century. There are lots of things that I would have done as a kid that she will never do: lick a stamp, use a phone box, load up a computer game in a cassette player, use a cassette player, I mean there’s no point in starting a list as it would be very, very long. But it’s slightly weird to think that there are things that we just about still do now that will seem ridiculously archaic to her. It’s not a bad thing; cheques are stupid and inefficient and really only useful as a way to delay payment for something. Maybe the phrases about cheques will still exist, so she might say “the cheque’s in the post” or “you mouth is writing cheques that your body can’t cash”, but they will just be sayings, which will have as much literal meaning as being hoist with your own petard or whatever. I mean it’s going to seem impossibly archaic to her that I was born in the 60s and grew up in the 70s. If I’d been a kid and someone told me they’d been a child in the early 30s they would have seemed so old as to have been a probable ghost. And how quickly the world and its customs and tools have moved on in the last 40 years compared to back then. I will always seem like a relic from a museum to her.
I tried out some of the Happy Now? material at a small gig above a pub in Tooting tonight. Partly out of laziness and partly to see how much I remembered I did the material without checking out my notes or listening to the Leicester Square Theatre recording beforehand and most of it came back to me easily enough, but it had a nice looseness to it too. I am enjoying this less stressful approach to creating a new show, simmering it up gently and finding the funny as I go. It mainly came out right though at one point I did refer to “my vagina’s wife” and then riffed on the idea that I had found a loophole to legal bigamy where I had my wife and then also a wife of my vagina. The only drawback (if you can really call it that) was that I had had to have a vagina put in, for my second wife to marry. You can see the facepalm moment in this photo by @thatkeith.
Beforehand I had worried that my stories of birth and thinking about my own baby’s death might be too much for a Friday night crowd and considered just giving them a best of show and roll out the usual old favourites. My desire to give an audience a funny and entertaining show of stuff that I know works, whilst not exactly being a negative thing, has maybe been holding me back in some ways. I come up with a lot of new stuff every year and a lot of it only really works within the context of the show I am touring, but maybe there’s also a residual feeling that an audience who hasn’t come to see me won’t be interested in seeing me attempt something a bit more challenging. And maybe that’s patronising and even mildly arrogant of me. Tonight’s crowd were not a typical weekend comedy club audience and were keen to listen and laugh, but the stories from Happy Now? although not driven by punchlines, do have lots of laughs in them. I think I should be a bit more bold in gigs like this (I was tonight) if I want to become better at what I do.
I am still officially on staycation, but my wife had Phoebe for most of the day so I thought I’d be able to get some work done. But daily admin largely got in the way. Our cat had been sick on our duvet so I needed to take that to the dry cleaners and the tyres on my car needed changing, and that took up a good couple of hours, though I managed to write my Metro column as I waited.
By the time I was home again I didn’t feel I had enough time to start work on my new sitcom, so I played a couple of frames of self-playing snooker, though in the first ones both players were affecting boredom with the format and it was a bit of damp squid (no, not a damp squib, this frame was a damp squid -it’s a different thing), but the second one had a lot more life to it. I’ve been asked to play snooker against myself as part of an edgy modern art event next year, so gradually people are coming to see the cultural significance of this podcast. Obviously I’d rather it was celebrated in the sporting arena where it belongs, but all the snooker federations and venues seem sniffy about it. I will destroy their stupid 2 person aberration. Anyway frame 64 will be up at the weekend I should imagine and the much more exciting frame 65 will go up a week later. My wife seemed annoyed that I had wasted my afternoon playing snooker rather than preparing for RHLSTP or writing my script, like I was Jack and had exchanged my cow for some beans. But look what happened to the beans, Catie. I hope you will apologise when I rightly win the Turner prize and the World Snooker Championship in the same year.
Oh and if it wasn't for the self-playing snooker I wouldn't have found my house keys. The poltergeist had put them down the side of a chair in the Brian Sewell/Yogi Berra Arena. That blooming poltergeist. Why won't it leave me alone?
The backstage interview with Limmy is now up on the secret channel for monthly badge subscribers. Pay a pound or more a month to get access to loads of bonus content, plus entry into my monthly draw and advance warning of big RHLSTP guests and more. Your money will hopefully go towards funding a new series of AIOTM, but if not that, then something internety and exciting.