Blimey. That escalated, didn’t it?
Back in February, I decided that, after nearly three years of doing stand-up, I’d put on a solo show. I opted for a three-night run at the Camden Fringe, figuring that if it was rubbish and nobody came then at least I wouldn’t have lost that much money or dignity. At the very best, I hoped for maybe 20 audience members per night (all of whom I’d know) and a non-committal three-star review if I was extraordinarily lucky.
It’s now the end of July, and I’ve just finished the third of three completely sold out shows, having garnered a very positive three-star review and two ridiculously good four-star reviews (here and here). I’d say my audience was about half people I knew (and their friends) and half complete strangers, and I had a lot of fun performing the show on all three nights, with different bits and ad libs coming up each time. The show felt like it was getting better and flowing nicely; in many ways, it’s a shame I’m not doing some more nights! This won’t be the last time I’ll be performing this show, though; already one promoter has asked about putting it on, and it is my hope there’ll be others.
Really though, I’m just completely bowled over, flattered and humbled by the attention the show has got, and want to thank everyone who’s supported me, whether you’re one of the 305 people who ‘Liked’ the tickets page on Facebook, the many people who have left me good luck/well done comments on Facebook/Twitter, and all of those people who wanted to see the show but not enough to buy a ticket in advance – don’t worry guys, you’ll get your chance!
I’d like to thank Miriam at One Green Firework, and Michelle and Zena at the Camden Fringe. I’d also like to say a massive thank you to my two techies, Ian Hawkins and Rufus Penzance, neither of whom I would’ve been able to do the show properly without. They’re both really funny men in their own right; go and see them live – you won’t regret it. And thanks to Diane Goodwin, who took my photos, and Aidan Goatley, who designed the flyers – without them I probably wouldn’t have had the audiences I did.
And of course, I’d really like to thank each and every one of my friends who came along to see the show at some point over the three nights. Below is what I hope is a comprehensive list, but in reality I’ve probably left off a really important name or two by mistake. Rest assured that even if you’re not on my list, you’re in my thoughts.
Gary, Tom, Dan, Michael (twice!), Teresa, Jen, Richard, Will, Scott, Tariq, Ramsey, Mary, Ben, Marianne, Tim, Wilz, T’ai, Ed, Jenny, Steve, Gemma, Robin, Nick, Tom, Dean, Oli, Adam, Nick, Dunk, Anthony, Walshy, Jackson (who tried), Matt, Dave, Kelly, Russell, Sue, Lauren, Carley, Andy, Ben, Rhys, Adam, Paul, Barry, Dave, Adele, Siobhan, Andy, Gary, Matthew, Llinos, Cara, Blake, Michelle and Philip.
And of course, thank you to any of your friends you dragged along with you. If any of you do fancy helping smooth the post-show comedown with some nice ego-boosting words, Everything Theatre’s Big Audience Project is letting people submit audience reviews of the shows they’ve seen. But really, the fact you came to see the show is boost enough. It’s good to have friends.
Like I say – if you didn’t see the show, there will be other opportunities. I don’t yet know when, or where, but I’d be mad to never do it again. I’m going to be spending the next few weeks relaxing and going to the Edinburgh Fringe to watch a bunch of lovely shows, as well as watching fantastic Camden Fringe shows like Richard’s, Rob’s and Iszi’s. And then I’ll be regrouping to work out what my next move should be. If you’re a top agent or TV producer reading this, do feel free to get in touch so I don’t have to.
Once again – stunned and incredibly moved by the goodwill I’ve had this week. Have a good summer, everyone.
Marvel have announced that the name of their next Avengers movie is going to be… The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The more astute (by which I mean geeky) among you will have noticed that this bears an uncanny resemblance to the title of this year’s big Marvel crossover, Age of Ultron. You may even be sat there thinking ‘I should read this Age of Ultron, to prepare myself for the next film’.
Age of Ultron by Brian Michael Bendis is a sprawling, confused mess of a book, not helped by the fact that it was delayed for two years, leading to all sorts of continuity issues. But more than that, it’s just not a fun or interesting story. There’s one passable issue which pairs up Wolverine and Sue Storm in the Savage Land, but other than that it’s a slow, faintly depressing and by-the-numbers experience that will just leave you wishing you’d done something better to pass the time.
But more importantly:
Far be it for me to suggest that this is in any way a cynical marketing ploy by Marvel to boost sales of a poorly-reviewed crossover event, but Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron will have very little to do with Brian Michael Bendis’s Age of Ultron, bar the antagonist and a few shared characters. It can’t have. And here’s five reasons why:
1) Half of the characters don’t belong to Marvel.
Wolverine, Sue Storm and Spider-Man all play crucial roles in the Age of Ultron story. But with Wolverine and Sue belonging to Fox, and Spider-Man still nestled in the warm bosom of Sony, you can bet they won’t be coming out to play – particularly given the current acrimony between Marvel and Fox over the use of Quicksilver in both Avengers 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
2) Most of the other characters haven’t been introduced yet.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that Age of Ultron relies heavily on the idea that Ultron has been plaguing the Avengers for decades by the beginning of the story, many of the story’s protagonists are also yet to make an appearance in the Marvel movie universe: Luke Cage, Vision, She-Hulk and, most importantly of all, Dr Henry Pym. Pym is the nexus point around which the entire story revolves, and the few high points of Age of Ultron stem from an emotional investment in his character – one which will require more than his share of 100 minutes of screen time.
3) It’s not a good second Avengers movie.
The Avengers (or Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, if you’re unable to distinguish between Robert Downey Jr and Patrick Macnee) was about bringing together a disparate group of superheroes and forcing them to work as a team; it’s only in the film’s final act that we got to see the Avengers in action. Certainly a sequel should test the team’s resolve – perhaps by having heart-and-soul Tony Stark create the titular artificial intelligence himself? – but Age of Ultron shows a team ripped apart at the seams. Thor is dead from the outset, while Cap and Tony are broken men. Even if, say, Cap and Black Widow took the place of Wolverine and Sue (There are many reasons why this wouldn’t work, story-wise), it’s just not a team story; it’s the story of a few isolated characters trying to save an already-decimated world, and as such would be a wholly inappropriate follow-up to The Avengers.
4) Most of Age of Ultron didn’t happen.
One of the best things about Marvel’s movie universe has been watching it build, with the very real sense that all of these films are set in a shared world. After five years (and counting) it’s a world and a cast of characters to which we’ve become rather attached. It is unfortunate, then, that nine of Age of Ultron‘s ten issues are spent in timelines that, by the end of the story, are rendered null and void. Age of Ultron’s reset switch is played more cleverly than some I could mention, and no doubt there will be real consequences for some of the characters further down the line, but it still is ultimately a reset switch. This isn’t quite so bad in the comics universe, where any consequences can be explored fully, but as a filmic device it’s practically suicidal, leaving the audience thinking “Well what was the point of that, then?”.
5) Marvel doesn’t release adaptations.
Granted, this could change following next year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but Marvel’s cinematic outings have at best only ever been loosely inspired by comic book story arcs. The closest we’ve come so far to an adaptation is Iron Man 3, which contained a number of elements from the Extremis arc from the comics, but at their core the two stories were markedly different tales. More to the point, you don’t hire a writer/director as talented as Joss Whedon, fling a handful of comics across the table at him and bark “Make this!”; he’ll be bringing his own ideas to the table, and I’m excited to see what they are.
So if you weren’t impressed with the Age of Ultron comics, don’t panic. And if you haven’t read them but would still like to, then by all means do; although the series is flawed, there are some nice character moments and some interesting questions raised. But bear in mind that, when the Avengers finally face off against Ultron in 2015, it’s highly likely to be something clever, exciting – and entirely unlike anything the comics have already done.
It’s been some months since I posted around these parts. But now I’m taking part in something called Project Create 2013, which sees myself and some of my friends challenged to create something – anything – every day for the 31 days of July. I’m performing a Camden Fringe show at the Camden Head on 29th, 30th and 31st July, so in many ways this is a bloody stupid thing for me to be doing. I’m also filming a pilot for a possible TV show later this week. These are both things that I possibly should have blogged about already, but haven’t. Really though, what I’m trying to say is that my Project Create entries are likely to get more tenuous as the month goes on, culminating in a blurry photo of my runny faeces on the 31st.
If you want to see what everyone else has been up to, look up #ProjectCreate2013 on Twitter. In the meantime, here’s my entry for today, in which I talk about a comic dear to my heart…
Wolverine has never been my favourite X-Man. He’s gruff, charmless and the kind of man who uses his claws first and asks questions later. In fact, until recently, if you’d asked me to compile a list of my five favourite X-Men, it’s pretty likely that he wouldn’t have had a look in. Which makes it all the more baffling that, of the dozen or so comics I regularly read, the one that stands head and shoulders above the rest for me on a regular basis is Marvel’s Wolverine and the X-Men (or, as all the cool kids are calling it, WatXM).
WatXM has been running since 2011; in the wake of Marvel’s Schism event in which Cyclops revealed that behind the twattish exterior was an even bigger inner twat just waiting to get out (long story), Wolverine took a faction of mutants away from their island home (longer story) and returned to New York, the spiritual home of anyone with a spandex budget in the Marvel universe, to set up the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, with Wolverine as its headmaster.
Wolverine is the last character you’d expect to be the highest authority in an educational institute, and that’s one of the reasons why WatXM works so brilliantly. Wolverine doesn’t know the first thing about running a school, and so not only are the stakes higher when something threatens the school’s future than they were when, say, the unflappable Professor X was in charge, but it also means there’s a rich seam of comedy to be had from Wolverine’s role as the straight man trying to keep some sort of composure while everyone around him seems to know more than he does. It’s a classic comedic setup, and writer Jason Aaron mines it beautifully.
In fact, even without Wolverine this is probably one of the funniest comics currently on sale. Aaron has assembled a dream faculty for the school, which includes Beast (My favourite of the X-Men) a post-Whedon Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Rogue, Gambit and (latterly) Storm. It’s a full complement of contrasting characters, and even something as mundane as a staff meeting sparkles under Aaron’s hand. It’s like a Bendis book, but one in which the snappy dialogue doesn’t come at the expense of homogenising the characters.
And then, of course, there’s Doop.
Former member of X-Statix Doop appears on the staff’s roster with no clear role, occasionally being seen sleeping in front of a class of students or sleeping in the staff room… Until Issue 17, in which it’s revealed that Doop is the school’s secret protector, seeing off all manner of threats and performing any number of undignified sexual acts in order to keep the school open. It’s rare that a comic makes me laugh out loud, but this one had me practically howling.
Not that Wolverine and the X-Men is all gags and giggles, mind; it’s also a dramatic, heartfelt and action-packed book. Although the elder mutants are what will draw a lot of fans in, the student body is filled with compelling characters such as Genesis, who is destined to become mutant big bad Apocalypse but wouldn’t hurt a fly; or Quentin Quire, the Omega-level genius who spends much of his time butting heads with Wolverine and the faculty and is only just beginning to realise that he might actually care about some of his fellow students. Or the tragic and touching romance between tainted innocent Idie and rebel Broodling Broo. One of the things that the book does best is portray the troubled and conflicted nature of being a teenager, with other people’s expectations and preconceptions battling against your own personality as it struggles to assert itself.
But above all, Wolverine and the X-Men is fun. In an age where Spider-Man is actually Doctor Octopus, the Avengers are busy with very serious and universe-ending threats and DC still publishes comics, it’s nice to have a comic which retains a sense of joy alongside its action and adventure. If ever you’re thinking ‘I’d like to read an X-Men comic, but don’t have a clue where to begin’, you could do a lot worse than pick up Volume 1 of Wolverine and the X-Men.
Sometimes, you have to travel down the wrong road in order to realise that it is the wrong road. Fortunately, sometimes you don’t have to travel very far…
When I came away from Edinburgh in 2012, a return this year was very much on the cards, perhaps with a full show of my own. This is the case for 100% of open mic comedians who visit the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and as resolutions go it tends to be as unlikely to be seen through as it is ill-conceived in the first place. As autumn became winter and post-Fringe depression transitioned to actual regular depression, the financial and creative realities of the situation became obvious; doing an Edinburgh show in 2013 would be a silly idea, and I should probably skip the Festival entirely in order to save up for 2014.
I did then go on to audition for a package show; it seemed like the sort of thing I should be going for, rather than risking imposing a full hour of myself on an unsuspecting public and earning a solitary star and a misleading poster quote from wereviewanyfringe.blogspot.co.uk. I was up against some very talented individuals and didn’t make it through, but I was philosophical about it; this was, if nothing else, a sign that I really should save the money and stay at home this year after all. The decision was made.
It was a decision I made at 10:30 this morning. By midday, not only had I booked five nights in an Edinburgh hotel for August, but I’d persuaded several of my Twitter friends to do so as well. To quote Oscar Wilde, ‘The only thing worse than going to the Edinburgh Fringe is not going to the Edinburgh Fringe. And being locked up in Reading just because you had bum sex with a man. Seriously, dude, what was that about?”.
This will be my fourth Edinburgh Fringe in as many years; truthfully, I find it hard now to envisage an August where I don’t go up there for any length of time. But for me, it’s not about being a performer; I was a comedy devotee long before I started doing stand-up, and I hope I will be for a long time I inevitably give up. Although plenty of comedy happens in London, I rarely drag myself out to it, either because I’ve got a gig of my own with an inevitably less talented line-up of comics, because I can’t afford to go and see it, or simply because I can’t be bothered to traipse into Central London after a full day at work.
With the Edinburgh Fringe, there are no excuses; the comedy shows are on all day, every day (Apart from the one Monday I always seem to make part of my trip, when half the acts decide to have a little holiday). Some might say this is relentless; I say it is ideal. Although not for six days solid like last year; that was stupid and I slightly grew to resent comedians by the end of it. This year I am going for four full days and two less full days. This is probably still too much.
Of course, the big problem with going to Edinburgh as a low-level performer just going to watch shows is that I will inevitably have the following conversation four or five times a day with tired acts:
ACT: Hi, Pete! How’re you? I didn’t realise you were up here! Are you doing a show?
PETE: I’m good, thanks! No show – just seeing as many shows as I can cram in. How’s yours going?
ACT: Good, good… Some nights are better than others (Translation: I’m exhausted, this was a fucking terrible idea and I want to die).
PETE: Yes, I suppose so!
ACT (joking, but not actually joking): So, are you coming to see my show?
PETE: We’ll see! I’ve got a few spare slots later in the week, so I might well come along… (Translation: Not a chance, mate. You barely have five minutes of material I can sit through; for you to think you can stretch that to an hour is an arrogant and unpleasant notion, and you fully deserved your 140-character panning from @studentsreviewthefringe. You’re a pleasant enough person to chat to, but I would seriously rather stick pins in my eyes than watch you try to drag laughs out of an audience for an hour)
PETE: Well, good luck with it anyway! Might see you around!
ACT: You too!
I don’t know if I ever will come to Edinburgh as a fully-fledged act. Last year, I took part in the delightful Quiz in My Pants for a five-day run, and although I enjoyed myself immensely, it felt like a bit of a millstone around my neck; there were shows that I just couldn’t go and see because of my commitment to quizzing in my pants. If Comedian Pete decided to do a show every day of the Fringe (Except that Monday), would Comedy Fan Pete really be content to stand around and watch an hour of mediocre observations about geeks every day for a month, or would he punch Comedian Pete’s lights out and go off to watch Pappy’s instead?
Obviously it is the first one. But Pappy’s are pretty great too.
As it is, I don’t know what shows I’ll be seeing this year; at the time of writing, the Edinburgh Fringe website lists just 19 comedy shows, which is a little down from the 1,400+ shows there were last year and should make timetabling a lot easier. What can possibly go wrong?
Ealing is a strange and often dangerous place to live, with many colourful characters lining the streets. By that, I mean there’s a tramp with an eyepatch who sometimes gets on the same bus as me. But this evening I was introduced to a new character in the lineup: Twiglets Man. I was in my local Sainsbury’s (Local), looking to buy something sweet to help take my mind off the fact that I return to work tomorrow, when I saw a man go up to one of the many roaming members of staff and enquire:
“Where do you keep the Twiglets now?”
I can sympathise; every six months or so, some well-paid business analyst attempts to justify their salary by suggesting that perhaps the supermarket would sell more custard cream biscuits if they moved them from the top of aisle 3 to the middle of aisle 4, thus prompting a store-wide reshuffle that leaves every customer who comes in for the next few weeks scratching their head and wandering up and down the aisles searching for that coveted pot of Nutella. And sales of custard creams remain steady, because the custard cream remains a fundamentally uninteresting biscuit.
The employee stared at Twiglets Man blankly, as though he had asked a difficult physics question. Twiglets Man tried to elaborate on the exotic product he was trying to locate, explaining that they were usually kept with the crisps, and come in a tin. “Ohh, you mean Pringles?” asked the employee, and Twiglets Man started to look irate, repeating his request for Twiglets. The employee called one of his colleagues over and asked him if he’d moved the Twiglets. Employee 2 also responded with a blank stare, although had one over on Employee 1 in that he at least wanted to learn; “Twiglets?”, he asked. It seems that Twiglets are yet to break Ealing in any major sort of way; perhaps they should take out an advert in the Ealing Gazette.
Twiglets Man, unafraid to be a trailblazer, tried a different tack with Employee 2, explaining that they were crispy sticks dipped in Marmite. I’ve always been a bit sceptical about this; I’m a big fan of Marmite, but I’m wildly indifferent towards Twiglets. Surely if it were as simple as dipping some sticks in Marmite I’d be equally enthusiastic about Twiglets? While I stood pondering this and attempting to remain inconspicuous, Employee 2 pointed at the breadsticks next to him and asked if those were Twiglets. Many points for an enquiring mind, but many more deducted for the follow-through. Having both tried to help Twiglets Man, the two powerless employees sort of shrugged each other’s shoulders and wandered off.
Twiglets Man was not going to let it lie, though; he went up to the big Staff Only door next to the crisps section, pushed it open and asked the first employee he laid eyes on about Twiglets:
“Do you know where the Twiglets are? I’ve been buying them in here every day and now they’ve moved.”
EVERY DAY. Hopefully this will have satisfied those of you reading this entry thinking ‘Why’s he calling him Twiglets Man? It’s just a man who happened to want to buy some Twiglets; it’s not his defining personality trait or anything’. This is a man with a 60-a-day Twiglet habit. Or perhaps his desperate need betrayed some more complex reason? What if he was building a sticky Twiglet sculpture? Or what if his wife only allowed him to sleep with her if it in some way involved licking Twiglets off of her naked body? Whatever the reason, Twiglets Man wasn’t telling.
He was insistent on getting his Twiglets, though; he’d already been round the crisps section several times – I’d watched him do so – and there were clearly no Twiglets to be found. But it didn’t seem like he was going to accept this until he’d asked every employee in the store and got someone from Sainsbury’s Head Office to investigate the Twiglets issue. Eventually a security guard, having noticed the discussion, wandered over and put an end to the whole sorry affair, telling Employee 3:
“We’ve stopped doing Twiglets now; I checked after he came in yesterday.”
At this, Twiglets man scowled off into the night, in search of those ever-elusive sour snacks. I hope one day he finds them again.
‘I know his journey ends never,
His Twiglet Trek will go on forever.’
- Gene Roddenberry
Today I, along with the rest of Twitter, wasted most of my final Saturday before going back to work on Monday watching CITV’s ‘Old Skool’ Weekend, which featured repeats of such once-popular shows as Mike and Angelo, Woof! and Knightmare. It was fun swapping observations with people and receiving the all-important ego-validating retweets, but what was interesting was the blinding effect that the nostalgia of it all seemed to have on a lot of people.
It is often said that children’s television today isn’t as good as it used to be. The only problem is that this is said by pretty much everyone once they get into their mid-20s. The Transformers fans (OG, of course) pour scorn on the 80s Ninja Turtles cartoon, the Ninja Turtles fans pour scorn on Pokemon, the Pokemon fans pour scorn on Digimon, the Digimon fans pour scorn on Ben 10 or some shit, and until a year or two ago just about everyone poured scorn on My Little Pony.
I’ve spent much of this evening watching The Channel 4 Mash-Up, in which a number of Channel 4 shows I’ve never watched cross over with one another in some nominal way in a series of misjudged segments. It’s a bit like Comic Relief, but none of the skits stop after ten minutes and no money is being raised for charity. In fact, it’s hard to see who’s benefiting from this one; certainly I don’t feel like my life has been enriched, even if I can’t look away as Nick Hewer and David Hasselhoff rub shoulders with the cast of Made in Chelsea, presumably contracting communicable diseases in the process.
It’s easy to be scornful of these ‘structured reality’ programmes, as I think I deftly proved above. But according to Wikipedia, which never lies, The Only Way is Essex star Amy Childs earned a little under three million pounds in 2011. I could buy a lot of comics for a little under three million pounds; I’d probably even be able to afford a couple of those ridiculously oversized hardback ones which look even more beautiful than Carol Vorderman in her prime.
I don’t know how much a typical circuit comedian earns in a year, but I’m going to put myself out on a limb and guess that it’s certainly not over £2 million; I reckon £1.5 million, tops. So my suggestion is that ITV or Channel 4 (I’m not going to Five with this) commission a ‘structured reality’ series about a group of sci-fi nerds. I can provide the nerds if you can provide the cameras and the soft-focus lenses. Naturally in this series I will be the funny one. I will also be the sexy one, for no extra cost; I am willing to get my breasts out in a magazine, but only one of the classy ones like FHM or Maxim. Cheg on, Zoo.
It would, if nothing else, be a money-saving exercise when compared to the likes of Chelsea or TOWIE; we geeks* tend to be much more insular and less prone to picking up baggage like partners, so you’ll be saving on the number of contributors you have to pay. We’ll also be saving you a fortune on makeup – it costs less to make five of us look like Klingons than it does to make Amy Childs feel ready for a night out on the town, and that’s a fact probably.
Of course, the best thing about The Only Way is Trekkie would be that, although the public would still be able to laugh at the cast and feel good about themselves in the same way that they do when they watch TOWIE or Made in Chelsea, the characters in the show would also be in some small way charming and likable, and marginally less prone to making people despair for humanity. This would lead to a slight reduction in the number of TV-induced suicides, and somehow make the world a better place.
It would also mean I was likely to get laid more often, which really is what all this has been about. Television commissioners, I look forward to hearing from you.
*Let’s face it – I mean ‘me geek’.
“Today is Wednesday. No, don’t write that. What if you accidentally push enter now, and that’s your blog? You’re going to look really silly. You’re still going! (disgruntled noise) I can’t be quiet, this is too hard! And now you’re going to write it in the box… You’d better have some sort of disclaimer at the end of this if you are going to press enter, or else people are going to think you’ve gone loopy. You’re just showing off how fast you can type. Are you having fun? You’re wasting your finger strength.”
All of which is why I’m not able to write a proper blog entry today, despite saying I would write one every day until the end of time.
“That doesn’t make sense. Poor readers.”
It’s very easy to resolve (Not to be confused with making a resolution) to write a blog every day when you’re sitting around in your pants eating dry roasted peanuts that your mum sent back with you after Christmas because it was either that or let the cats – or worse, grandad – have them, but when a friend contacts you to say “WAA WAA THE TRAINS ARE RUBBISH CAN I STOP OVER” you just have to do your duty. Of course, I have a long-standing arrangement with this friend that I’m not to write about her in my blog or talk about her in my standup, so I can’t go into any more detail about the wacky hijinks this day has held.
Actually it was mostly eating pizza and watching Power Rangers, which I don’t think are technically ‘wacky’ or ‘hijinks’, but we lead very sheltered lives so it’s the closest we’re likely to come to either.
What she doesn’t know is that I’ve got a secret Word document on my computer of all the batshit crazy stuff she’s done over the years, and one day after we’ve stopped being friends I’m going to turn it into an Edinburgh show.
“Yeah, well I’ve got a picture of your willy in a drawer, so be nice.”
Coming 2014. The show, that is; not the willy.
I’ve never been much of a believer in the whole New Year’s thing. After all, the Chinese don’t celebrate it, and there’s over a billion of them; why should we be so sure that we’ve got it right? The majority of people thought the world was flat until 500-odd years ago; now it’s just Terry Pratchett and a handful of people in the rainforest for whom global circumnavigation is unlikely to be on their list of priorities. New Year’s Eve/Day is an arbitrary marker of time, designed to keep Calendar Club in business and give Clinton Cards an extra revenue stream every December, which is traditionally a pretty quiet month for them.
And I resent having to buy a new calendar each year. At least, I would if my mum didn’t always give me a Doctor Who calendar for Christmas each year. But she shouldn’t have to; just look at the Mayans*. They started their calendar over 7,000 years ago, and it’s ONLY JUST RUN OUT. Granted, it brought with it that whole fake apocalypse thing, but you’ve got to admit it – that’s nothing if not cost-effective.
It’s very easy for me to be scornful of the whole New Year’s system, given that I’ve spent this evening in my bedroom eating curry and watching DVDs. This is probably why I’ve chosen to do so, rather than picking a more ‘edgy’ target such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or Facebook (‘Poking’? What’s up with that??). I did have invitations to go out this evening (Well, an invitation. But it was a good invitation), but decided against it due to my wholly rational and intense dislike of crowds of people. Come midnight, however, it seemed that, as with the Olympics, everybody in London had decided to stay indoors and snark about it on Twitter instead. I wonder if, when Bill Gates invented Twitter, he ever realised that it might be part of the solution to London’s overcrowded public transport network? Probably not.
I’m not going to do a ‘review of the year’, because I have had nothing but scorn and ridicule for those noble bloggers churning out their annual reviews as if they held any sort of weight, importance or interest whatsoever, and the last thing I want to do is give me another piece of ammunition for the day when I finally go insane and end up talking to myself, Gollum-style.
I’m also not going to be making any New Year’s resolutions, because even if I accept the basic premise that a new year is beginning (I do not), experience has taught me that they are not worth the brain cell they are written on. Last year I made some facile resolutions for a podcast, and these included losing weight and being better with money. I’m just as heavy as I was this time last year, if not more so; and an impulse buy of a Google Nexus just before Christmas, conveniently coupled with a further extension on my overdraft, suggest that I’m worse than ever with my money.
I also said that I was really going to make an effort with my stand-up comedy in 2012; this, too, was a lie. I was lucky enough to reach the heats of the BBC New Comedy Competition, the final of the Up the Creek One to Watch competition and to win outright the Comedy Cafe New Act of the Year competition, but all of these were largely through booking occasional regular gigs there and things just sort of snowballing; my gig calendar certainly wasn’t full in the run-up to any of these. Imagine how well I could have done this year if I’d actually made an effort.
One thing I do want to do, though, and this is not a resolution, is get back to daily blogging – or as near as – for a while. My memory is terrible, and as such a lot of the goings-on in my life are quickly forgotten. In most cases this is probably a blessing rather than a curse, but
when they find my body sometime in March it would be nice for people to be able to look back and piece together where it all went wrong I’d quite like some record of things that I can look back on. Those of you who have read my previous blogs will know that it’ll be a bumpy ride and that some days will be a lot more interesting and have more jokes in than others, but what could possibly go wrong?
Quite a lot, hopefully; it’ll give me something to write about.
*I was going to make a brilliant joke about how you can’t look at the Mayans as they’re all dead, but a quick Google showed that there’s actually around seven million of them. Me announcing their deaths on here would probably have come as a bit of a shock to their families.
I like films well enough, but as a geek there’s an expectation on me from my fellow geeks that I will have seen certain films. I don’t want this blog to read like a list of things I haven’t done, but here’s just a few of the films I’m ‘supposed’ to have seen but haven’t:
Of IMDB’s Top 250 movies, I’ve seen just 45. Until two years ago, I had never seen Blade Runner. Then I joined a sci-fi group, and some of them were genuinely outraged that I hadn’t watched it, in the way that some of you will be having read the list above. There was actually a Facebook page set up dedicated to forcing me to watch Blade Runner; that was how strongly some of them felt about it. I began to feel like Wesley Crusher in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode ‘The Game’, in which he returns to the Enterprise to find the entire crew addicted to an alien videogame, and they end up holding him down and forcing it on him.
In the end, I caved in and watched it; partly because there were some of them I really didn’t want to hold me down and force anything on me, and partly because Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation is not a character you should ever find yourself sympathising with. And in the end… I found it to be a very average film. Bits of it are very impressive and well done, but bits of it are utterly terrible and Harrison Ford just looks bored throughout the whole thing. It also caused me to realise just how much of Red Dwarf: Back to Earth was just ripped off from Blade Runner, and I really didn’t need any more reasons not to like that thing.
I disagree with the notion that you’re ‘supposed’ to have seen things. It’s one thing saying to someone “Hey, I think you’d really enjoy this”, but people were actually telling me that I was less of a geek for not having seen Blade Runner. But I still know the production codes of most Doctor Who stories, I still end up talking mostly in quotes whenever I have to comfort an emotional woman, and I still cry myself to sleep at night in my lonely, lonely bed.
And that’s what I’m going to do right now.