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Sunday 26th June 2011

It feels wonderful to be released from the depressant pressure (for which I will coin the new word depressure - use it kids, though I think its similarity to depressor or the fact it sounds like something that releases pressure may strangle it in its etymological cot) of AIOTM . But I still had to work all day, trying to get my comedy drama script about a fictional Somerset Gorge to a point where I might finish it before its a month overdue. It's getting there. It's now 40 pages long, with maybe 20 more to go and though there are some quite complex things to achieve in the latter third I hope I might finish it before July. And when I say finish I mean have a complete first draft that is good enough to show people, but which will be utterly ripped apart if we ever actually film it. It's going to be a massive moment of depressure when I finish this though - hold on, dammit, I've used my new word in the wrong sense. I knew this would happen. Finishing will mean I experience undepressure - I know it sounds like under pressure, which is the opposite of what it actually means. I always thought writing the dictionary was an easy job, but coming up with new words is much harder than it looks.
It sucked a bit to be trapped in doors on a beautiful summer day like today, but I'm not getting a day off until my birthday on the 12th July (and the last one I had was, I think May 17th) and I just have to swallow that. I am lucky to have work and lucky that I enjoy it so much, but come the autumn and I will be more fastidious at making time for myself and the people that I love.
I did get an hour off for lunch and cooked some chicken and rice which we ate in the garden. I then managed 15 minutes in the hammock that my girlfriend had bought me for my last birthday. Our small back yard is a bit of a sun trap and as I stared up at the blue sky it felt like a holiday. If the weather holds I will be able to come out here to read my books for research for the love show. In that show I discuss my theory that the funniest thing in the world is a fat woman falling out a hammock (preferably on to concrete, not so she is hurt, just so there is a satisfying noise of moist flesh against hard stone), but this observation came about because I myself, when a bit fatter than I am now, had that very thing happen to me. I was in Thailand in 2001 with my then girlfriend and a couple of her friends and we had a hammock which I helped tie to the front of my beach hut. Alas I am not very good at knots - I got the badge in cubs, but only because the scout who tested me realised I was so clueless and shit at knots (another example of my brain failing to work in 3D) that he just told me to pretend that I'd done them and if anyone asked me to do them again to say I'd forgotten how - and although I thought I'd secured the end I did, it turned out that I hadn't and after about 15 minutes of my weight bearing down of the actually unsecured clump of string that I had created, it slipped and undid itself and I was unceremoniously dumped on the concrete floor. I was a little bruised, but my dignity was the main casualty. It wasn't funny being the fat man falling out of the hammock, but I know it must have looked very funny from any other perspective - and it would have been funnier still (not exactly sure why) if I had been a fat woman. Something to do with a loss of dignity I suppose, rather than any misogyny.
Luckily the hammock I have is secured to its own metal frame by means of a loop going on to the end of the pole so there's no way I can mess it up (except last time I was on it, when I accidentally put the hammock so it was twisted and then I did get gently deposited out of it, but not in quite as spectacular a fashion as the 2001 Thailand incident).
With no mishaps today it felt great to get the 15 minute holiday. If the sun is out it's good to know that I can now get the impression of being on the beach just by stepping out of my back door.
It was the last Lyric Hammersmith gig of the season and although not as well attended as some of them have been it was one of the best. It was a line-up of truly lovely people: Isy Suttie, Jon Richardson, Andy Zaltzman and Pappys and for the first time ever, everyone came up to watch everyone else from the wings and no one went home when their bit was done. The brilliant Daniel Kitson turned up just to hang out back stage, which meant there is the possibility that the evening was funnier backstage than it was on stage (and it was a remarkably good on on stage). One of the acts had a brilliant story about a comic they'd been working with who had tried to undermine the other acts, or bolster their own ego, by criticising them all in what I suspect he imagined was a constructive way. But there were no such games tonight. Comedians can be odd people, or can become odd through doing the job - either because they're allowed to express the side of them that everyone else has to repress or because the adulation goes to their head. I was thinking about it as I walked home. I had once again gone for the technique of compering by preparing nothing and then just saying anything that popped into my head. You're turning off the mental filter that most of us have and letting your subconscious do the talking. This works as a comedic technique and you often end up being inappropriate, but I know a few comedians who seem to be like that off stage as well. They just keep talking and reveal all kinds of personal stories or neuroses or as in the case of the comic we were discussing today, just talk about how brilliant they are and how badly everyone else has done. Is the danger that if you turn that mental filter off while you're on stage, the switch might get stuck like that for good?
Probably not. A few comics are just cock holes. None of the ones there tonight though. I got one of those moments back stage, standing in the wings, realising this is my job. It makes me feel ridiculous to complain about my cushy life even for a second. The sixteen year old me would have given anything to be where I was tonight. And he'd have been right to.

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