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Thursday 4th January 2007

I was working in Starbucks on King Street in Hammersmith. The script is getting better and better and I think I am starting to realise what an opportunity this is for me at last and I want to make sure it is as good as possible. But I like working out in the real world as the distractions are much more useful than when I am ensconced in my home. There I might watch TV or repeatedly scroll through the same websites or play Sevens over and over again on my Nintendo DS, but out here when I am waiting for the jigsaw to click into place (less like a jigsaw actually and more like one of those games where you move the little squares around a grid until they are all in the right place) I can eavesdrop and observe and let my imagination run wild.
As I stared out of the window for inspiration I saw an unusual sight. A bearded man wearing an empty looking rucksack was standing looking in at some of the coffee drinkers. He was standing perfectly still and the thing that made him remarkable apart from this slightly unusual positioning was that he was holding up a piece of white cardboard with writing on it. In fact it was one of those shallow cardboard boxes that tins and cans are shipped in. And written on it in neat bubble writing were the words “God raised crucified son Jshua from the dead. Pure almighty Jshua reigns.” He held up the sign long enough for people to read, then moved on, saw me looking at him and held it up again at a window nearer me. Then satisfied that I had taken in his message, he moved on. Though in the couple of hours I sat working he came back to the window three or four times. He was clearly walking up and down King Street showing people his sign, hoping they would take in its message.
Now firstly I liked this as an advertising technique. It was much less in your face than that infuriating cunt with the megaphone. After all when a man has just a cardboard box with some writing on it, which he holds up, you can choose to read it or look away. He wasn’t badgering anyone. He just wanted them to know about this Jshua character who he thought was cool and pure and reigning. It was polite. It was informative. Though sadly the information was somewhat restricted by the size of the box, which could only hold a tantalisingly small piece of information. Perhaps a “Ask me for more information if you’re interested” could be added on a little hanging sign on the bottom.
But secondly I felt a bit sorry for Jshua, someone I haven’t heard of before. Whilst Jesus gets a bloke with a megaphone (and let’s face it, quite an additional formidable army of preachers and institutions bigging him up), Jshua, whoever he was, has a silent bearded man with a cardboard box. Not even a bit of card from Rymans (though any truly holy man would eschew that evil organisation). Of course the true Messiah would have a humble sign, which makes me warm to the mysterious Jshua. But then Jshua is clearly also fighting against having a very familiar story to the better know Jesus, who was also crucified and the son of God. I was really beginning to feel that we needed more than the bottom of a cardboard box held up by one man to really introduce this divine figure to a not particularly interested Hammersmith. Of course there was always the chance that this wild-eyed man was just a dyslexic Christian who had misspelled the name of his saviour. Or the even more unlikely possibility that Jesus was know as Jshua to some of his mates. Whatever the case, in this age of the internet and TV commercials and product placement, I felt it was probably hoping that this rather charming and unobtrusive form of promotion was really going to big up this new guy, especially given his similarity to an already existing figure. But then I thought the same about McFly and Busted and look how wrong I was that time.
Screw it though. I’ve always liked the underdog and I appreciate the way the man respected the privacy of the people he wished to convert, so from now on if anyone asks me which religion I am a member of, I am going to answer “Jshuaism”. Which has the additional benefit of sounding like a quite scary martial art, which might deter any mugger who tried to make small talk first.

I am touring later in the year. Here are the provisional details of where I will be going so you can pop them in your diary. Full details and box office numbers etc will be in the gig guide in the next few weeks.

Here are provisional details of the menage a un tour.
I will be doing 10 nights at the Arts Theatre near Leicester Square in London from March 27th
Then I will be on tour
Sunday 8th April -Bath Cavern
Wednesday 11th April Old Fire Station, Oxford
Thursday 12th April Oldham Coliseum
Friday 13th April Bolton Octagon
Saturday 14th April Birmingham MAC
Sunday 15th April Bristol Hen & Chickens
Sunday 22nd April Hull Truck
Monday 23rd April Milan -Beer Necessities
Tuesday 24th April Paris - Beer Necessities
Sunday 29th April Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
Monday 30th April New Roadmender, Northampton
Thursday 3rd May Trinity Theatre Tunbridge Wells
Friday 4th May West End Centre, Aldershot (I think)
Tuesday 8th May Cardiff St David's Hall
Wednesday 9th May Blackwood Miners Institute
Thursday 10th May Arts Wing Studio, Swansea
Saturday12th May Windsor Arts Centre
Sunday 13th May Warwick Arts Centre
Monday 14th May Free Beer Show, Oxford
Sunday 20th May Just the Tonic, Nottingham
Tuesday 22nd May The Stand, Edinburgh
Wednesday23rd May The Stand, Glasgow
Friday 25th May Cambridge Junction
Saturday 26th May The Subscription Rooms, Stroud
Tuesday 29th May Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham
Thursday 31st May The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
Friday 1st June Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy
Saturday 2nd June DVD recording in Cardiff
Tuesday 5th June The Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-sea
Wednesday 6th June Swindon Arts Centre
Thursday 7th June Oakengates Theatre Bar, Telford
Monday 11th June Liverpool Comedy Festival

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