Tuesday, 21 June 2011

AIOTM 6/6 - The last one EVER.

This tremendously sad, yet gloriously tremendous evening started at The Montague Pyke, where I met up with Jack and Hitch for some pre-AIOTM grub. I had the most underwhelming fishcakes ever. When Jack and I went the bar to order them, out table was joined buy a man who seemed to enjoy swearing loudly at his friend on his phone. It got slightly worse as when he got off the phone he decided to join in our conversation. When I declared my complete lack of interest in sport, he just couldn't quite comprehend it.

Richard, Emma & Christian
Jack ran his "it occurred to me" story involving possibly seeing Paul Whitehouse and also walking past a motorcycle clothing shop. I advised against it. Did he listen to me? You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out. (Or just read further down the blog - alright - I'll save you the time. No he did not listen to me.)

Anyway, we got to the Leicester Square theatre, and I took my A14 seat for the last time. I will miss that seat. Rich came on to do his customary stand up, and the crowd were rather boisterous. There was a definite end of term feel to it, slightly spoiled by an overenthusiastic heckler that started to get a little boring. As he promised to me a couple of weeks ago, Rich did his old, truly blasphemous, "wanked off by the stigmata of Jesus" routine. He hadn't learned it, so read a lot of it fro notes, so it lacked the punch it had originally, but it seemed an appropriate set for an AIOTM crowd.

After the customary visit to Burger King in the break, I bumped into Robin, who I had met at the DVD record. He's another big fan and writes his own blog here which is always worth a read. I also met a man with the best "Attitudeless Badger" t-shirt I have ever seen. I also said a brief hello to Andrew Collins who pointed out that I had already had two mentions to his one, although I did tell him I was getting sick of it


Monday, 20 June 2011

Edinburgh Previews: Legge, Aaron, Fulcher, Ward & Herring

Michael Legge & Rich Fulcher
There's nothing I like more than a gig near to my house. Well there is one thing. A free gig near to my house. So today I headed to The Wilmington Arms. This was the venue for my first comedy gig  a couple of years ago (apart from a Billy Connolly gig in the 90s and Rik Mayall and Ben Elton in 1985). Well, the first gig I attended before becoming a comedy regular. I'm sure you get the point.

That time it was Richard Herring compering a group of geeky students and lecturers who were of mixed abilities. Still, it was a fun day out. Today it was Edinburgh previews from Bennett Arron, Michael Legge and The Mighty Boosh's Rich Fulcher.

 Before the gig I met up with Jack, who pointed out that the pub smelled of piss. He wasn't wrong. The pub did smell a bit pissy. Anyway, joining us later were Sir Bob (the birthday boy), Richard, and Marco. I also bumped into fellow Collins & Herring jingle writer Rose. We didn't get much of a chance to chat but hopefully will see more of her at tomorrow's AIOTM.

The gig started with Bennett Aaron. His gentle (not gentile) Jewish / Welsh humour went down nicely, but not being Welsh or Jewish had no real reference point other than what I've heard from Joan Rivers and Jackie Mason (and Max Boyce). It was a lot of fun, but I think some of the jokes may have gone over my head.

Michael Legge was on next. "Curse Sir Walter Raleigh" is his first solo show that he will be performing at the Fringe. I had seen a preview of this last year when he played at the Hen & Chickens with Andrew Collins (doing his Secret Dancing show). He didn't manage to take it to Edinburgh then, but has managed to book the venue this time. It's a show all about the importance of manners. Michael is a very well-mannered man. Unless you are rude, in which case all bets are off. As usual I enjoyed myself and enjoyed his contradictory stories about whether to get "involved" or not. We really enjoyed his story of being rescued by Hunter from Gladiators, as well as explaining to a lad in the front row why you should never get involved if someone drops their Ventolin inhaler. This is a set that will be fantastic once it is tightened up and the loose ends are dispensed with. There was no mention of Sir Walter Raleigh at all.

Rich Fulcher was on at the end and he was previewing his "Tiny Acts Of Rebellion". In fact - watch this clip from the Craig Ferguson Show. Most of the set was him reading from his book, and about various tiny ways to stick it to "the man"

After the show, Richard wimped out and Sir Bob, Jack and I headed to The New Red Lion Theatre and saw, first of all, the guy from Stand Up Hero who I thought was great - an accountant who was really up for anything. he looks like an accountant, he sounds like an accountant, but he is absolutely brilliant! Next was Danielle Ward. I saw her at The Comedy Crawl but know her best from her contributions to the Dave Gorman shows on Absolute Radio. She has quite a unique voice that does sound rather sarcastic by default, and quite a twisted dark sense of humour.

Richard Herring
After this was a comedian who, (how can I put this kindly), perhaps wasn't to my taste. Let's not hang around... Let's not say anymore. She probably thought she was avant-garde. But we all agreed that we weren't huge fans. Bob thinks I am being too kind however. He thinks "the naive arrogance of performing ill-prepared drivel was in itself almost entertaining."

Richard Herring was on to close the night and did some new material about "What Is Love Anyway" (WILA) It was a lot of fun and the show is coming together nicely. There were a couple sitting beside me who had equal confusion about the previous act and who had never heard of Herring. As time went on, I could see that they were really enjoying themselves. It's always nice to see new people at gigs seeing things for the first time and the effect it has on them. Much more so than through my tired, jaded eyes. Just for me (I like to think) he included my new favourite routine - "Give Me Head Till I'm Dead"

It was a fun Sunday. It's now Monday morning and I half to be at AIOTM in 12 hours. My eyes are sleepy, my head hurts a bit, but I'll see you all there!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Jog on

So I stopped smoking a week ago. This morning at about 730 in the morning I went for a run. I've never done any exercise in my life since I was at school, but it was a deal I made with myself that I would start running when I stopped smoking. You know, I quite enjoyed it. I got one of those iPhone apps that maps my route, gives me my maximum and minimum pace, and tells me how far I have ran etc.

As a statistics geek, this really makes it fun for me. I also run another app that tells me when to walk and when to run. The plan I am following promises me that I'll be able to run 5km non stop within 8 weeks. This seems pretty impossible right now, but by increasing the amount of running each day and decreasing the amount of walking I may well get there.

Today I had no particular route in mind, but I headed up towards the New North Road, turned on to Essex Road, over to Upper Street and down to Islington Green where I found the Regents Canal. I should have remembered about the canal before. This is where I shall do most of my running I think. It's quite a nice place, with no cars to avoid or roads to cross and I can nod in solidarity with all the other runners I pass. I was astonished to find that this morning I had covered 2 miles!

I have been advised to run 3 times a week. I want to go back out tomorrow, but I will be sensible about it. Who knows how long this will last? But without trying to sicken you, I felt pretty good after today's run, and i can see why people say that exercise can be addictive. I'll try not to write about every single run I do, but will update you on the milestones!

Monday, 13 June 2011


Sanderson Jones
Sanderson Jones has an interesting project. Yes I know you clicked here to find out about Pippa Middleton's disembodied anus, but you'll have to hear about ComedySale first. Sanderson has booked a gig at the Union Chapel in Islington on the 14th October - 500 seats - and you cannot buy tickets on the day, on the door, at the box office, on the Internet... in fact the only way to get a ticket is to meet with him personally and buy a ticket there and then. I bought my ticket today. Now, I must try and make sure I can get that day off work!

I had met at The Toucan with a chap from Twitter. After seeing Sanderson, we moved on to De Hems, The Admiral Duncan, Molly Moggs, then The Porcupine. After that I was slightly pissed and the chap was rather hammered. He had been out many hours more than me !

Dan Tetsell
We got to the venue and I met Rob Sedgebeer (as usual). I took my seat and found the lady beside me embroidering. I thought that was kind of cute. I have had a number of replies after putting the picture online (with permission of course). Now the chap who I had been out with before had a great story to tell Richard at AIOTM but along the way, as I returned from a strategic early toilet visit, Rich spoke to me and I mentioned that I had been led astray. My new friend, unwisely, mentioned that he was responsible, and Rich pointed out that he was a lot worse for wear than I was... He warned him off telling him the story in the main podcast!

Sanderson Jones
The podcast contained what you might expect: A video of Herring bathing in flour and water apologising to Diana Dors for counterfeiting his semen, Emma Kennedy playing a prepubescent Herring, we had the return of Attitudeless Badger, and a truly terrifying punishment for the final AIOTM of the series (perhaps ever!). I don't want to give too much away, but it involves cumpkins, and Richard's head.

After the gig we met up again with the 14-17 year old boy from last week who had indeed taken the magazine. Richard and the team did try to sign it to the best of their abilities but it was still wet from last week.

Hopefully by next week it will be dry. Also I hope all the male members of the audience (at a guess I would say 300 people) will be able to fill that cumpkin, and I will not be led astray again!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Simon Munnery at Angel Comedy

Simon Munnery
You know that feeling when you've been working all night and finished at 7am and you have a couple of cans in the morning to celebrate the end of your run of night shifts, and you haven't smoked for 4 days, and you get home and you check Twitter, and Catie Wilkins says there is a free gig at a pub just round the corner from where you live and you don't know any of the comics apart from Simon Munnery, but you really want to see Simon Munnery and you can't get anyone to go with you?

Well, that happened to me tonight.

There were lots of acts on, but I want to skip past most of them. The compere was not too bad. He did remind me of a slim Justin Lee Collins, and at times it was so bad I even wished the actual JLC was compering. But he was OK. A few good lines, but in general mainly hack stuff, as indeed, most of the acts on tonight had.

This was the venue that used to host the Fortnight Club, and it was absolutely packed. Still, the bar staff still had no idea what was going on or how much it was or when anything started. Nothing changes!

Ben Target
I'll skip past the shit/average acts (I don't want to be unkind) and soon Ben Target was on stage. I hadn't heard of him, and his introduction of being "left field" instantly made me not want to like him. However as the show went on I found him funnier and funnier. The joke about the tiny cake and huge candle worked so well! And the crowd surfing at the end was a surprise!

Simon Munnery was on at the end. Now I had lots of beer and stuff so I can't quite tell you too much, but wow. He was fucking hilarious. The last time I saw him was at Club Duckie at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern when he was the League Of Tedium and I was amazed then too.

If you cross Stewart Lee with Robin Ince, then you get Simon Munnery. I can't underestimate the importance of seeing him if you haven't done before. Angel Comedy runs every Saturday and it's free free free!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

36 hours in...

It's a day and a half since my last fag. It's going well and it's quite exciting too. It's a lot of fun when I get an "I fancy a cigarette" feeling in my head, to tell it to fuck off, and then celebrate having done that. It reminds me that these withdrawal symptoms are nothing to be concerned about. It's all about being positive, and seeing everything about quitting as a good thing.

I tend to get small withdrawals when I leave the house, when I get to a bus stop or get off a bus, or when I get to the door outside work. Not so much when I'm in one place. How odd. When I'm at home or at work I barely think about smoking. I thought I would miss the 3 or 4 little breaks I would get at work more than breaking up the journey that gets me there. And all withdrawals are is the feeling that I fancy a cigarette. It's not a big deal.

Anyway, that's that so far. I may bore you all with another update soon.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I Quit!

About 10 minutes ago I had my final cigarette.

I had stopped for 3 years previously, and it was ridiculously easy until just over a year ago when I just had one cigarette. After this my intake increased more and more, until a few months ago, when it dawned on me that I was a chain smoker yet again.

I'm sick of the coughing, the nausea, the rolling of 4 roll ups for my journey into work, leaving my friends during intervals at gigs to stand alone outside, the panic when I'm nearly at the end of my packet, the money, the fact that virtually none of my friends smoke, the stains on my fingers and my teeth, the smell of tobacco on my hands, the embarrassment of hanging out my window when I'm too lazy to go outside, and the lack of sleep due to my coughing

The last time when I stopped smoking I had used Allen Carr's method, which relies on completely changing the way you think about smoking, celebrating the withdrawal period as well as not using substitutes. He wrote a few different books, all of which, by and large, are versions of the same book. The one I bought 4 years ago was "The Only Way To Stop Smoking Permanently" (OK, so I didn't stop smoking permanently, but that's not important right now) and this time I used a much shorter book called "I Quit" which has all the salient points in one short read.

So I finished it at work (it has been a slow night) and announced to my colleague that I was going down to have my final cigarette (a ritual that Carr recommends). She didn't seem convinced, and I'm sure you guys probably aren't either, but it really doesn't matter what other people think about this. Yes it's easy to delude myself and triumphantly write this blog 10 minutes after having a fag, but I am absolutely determined. It was easy that time, why shouldn't it be so easy this time?

It's probably harder quitting after a previous failed attempt, because as well as stopping smoking, you also have that fear that if it happened last time, then it would be easy to fail again. For me though, I have to learn the lesson. There can never be "just one". And having "just one" is also completely pointless.

The thing is that I really don't want to smoke. I hate having to do it, and I hate the fact that it controls me. So, from now on, I'm a non smoker. The small physical withdrawal lasts around 3 days, and every time I feel that I want a cigarette I will recognise that what is causing it isn't quitting smoking, but it's the fact that I started smoking in the first place.

I was going to make a statement and soak my tobacco in water before binning it, but my colleague was insistent I should give it to her. Shame, cause it has ruined my final dramatic flourish.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Last week, the result of The Moral Maze made Richard to a terrible thing this week. He had promised to wank over ever page of a porn made and give it to a 14-17 year old boy (that could prove their age).

Anyway, I started the evening off by meeting up with Michael Legge and his friend Dotes in a little pub off Oxford Street. Dotes is a childhood friend of Michael's, who I have been chatting to on Twitter quite a bit. Michael and Dotes regaled me with stories of drinking pints of vomit, defecation, bloody semen, and other such lovely things. Luckily Neal, Tara Flynn and her gorgeous hubby Carl arrived to provide a bit of class to the conversation.

I headed off to visit AIOTM to find what was in store. Rich started the show as usual with a 40 minute chat to the audience and a routine that was one of the first stand up sets he had written. He asked myself and Rob Sedgebeer if he had done a particular routine at AIOTM before and Rob told him he had. We have been promised the routine of fucking Jesus in the stigmata before the end of the series, which will be something to look forward to. Rich finished this part by trying some psychic readings on the audience. I think he's been reading the amazing Paranormaility book by Richard Wiseman!

AIOTM itself began, beginning with Richard brandishing a rather imposing bin with its contents hidden. However this was worrying. We all knew what was in there. Pippa Middleton's Disembodied Anus made a welcome reappearance, and for the AIOTM nerds, a brief appearance by Tiny Andrew Collins. Could he be testing the waters to see if he can make a full come back? For the full show you'd better just listen to it, but as Rich himself says, its better to listen to a few earlier ones so you have some sort of idea what's going on.

A slight balls up by Emma Kennedy was remedied by an emergency "Turn Back Time" segment, which is one way of getting out of editing!

And the result of this week's Moral Maze. Well, it's a good one. And when Richard says he will do something, you know he will !

Great night as ever. Only 2 more shows left (possibly ever!) so get your tickets booked now.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The FINAL EVER Los Quattros Cvnts (this series)

So after realising that Craig at work went to see Bad Musical, I invited him to LQC, and he seemed quite keen. We met up with Rob at the main bar of The Phoenix, soon to be joined by Neal. We got downstairs and found we had a lovely table thanks to Muki, and awaited the show.

Dan Tetsell, Jeremy Limb, Michael Legge
I've spoken about LQC on a number of blogs, but tonight, even though, by their own admission, they were under-rehearsed, they pulled a blinder. One of the regular Cvnts, Dan Mersh was unavailable due to some actual paid work, so AIOTM's Dan Tetsell stepped in at (almost literally) the last minute, though you wouldn't have noticed. He looked like he was part of the team from day one.

The toddlers were back, as was the erotic poet Sean Goldsworthy, and of course the O'Flaherty Brothers (and Billy Sunday) who we have missed the last few shows. A highlight for me was the Daniel O'Donnell interview, played by Michael Legge and I do hope that he comes back when the Cvnts return in the Autumn.

I spoke to Paul after the show and it looks like The Trap have quite a show lined up for the Camden Fringe. You heard it here first. I'll be booking my tickets as soon as I can.

MushyBees was up next. He is the guy who plays Pam Ayers in the Precious Little podcast and has quite a unique act, combining his caricatures with bizarre short poetry. I was rather disappointed he didn't "tranny up" for the evening, but hey, you can't have everything.

Yet again, Richard Herring was on, making his second appearance at LQC. He started with some Christ On A Bike material which he had incorporated into the show after receiving some rather odd email from Christians who thought the show was blasphemous. He moved into some new material from his next show "What Is Love Anyway". I've seen him do a few of these before in the last couple of weeks, but whether it was the tiredness kicking in, or perhaps he just wanted to start getting things word perfect, with the correct delivery, he used a lot of notes tonight. Having said that, he was his usual high standard, and slightly scared Craig by asking him a question about eggs.

After the gig, Rob, Craig and I went to Village Soho to meet our friend Richard where I ended up paying £5 for a rather regular bottle of cider. I know drinks are getting expensive, but five fucking quid??? DO NOT GO TO THIS BAR EVER!

Glad I got that off my chest.

So farewell Cvnts. Don't forget about us while you're away, and come back in the Autumn bigger, stronger, and more shambolic than ever!