Sunday, 25 December 2011

Silent Night.

Do you believe in the spirit of Christmas? It’s difficult, isn’t it? People constantly smiling and wishing you well, happy music playing wherever you go, the cold and empty hollow sound of children laughing. It’s a fucking horrible time of year. Be honest, is there anyone on this planet who hasn’t put a bullet through their televisions the very second that David Jason says “Consider yourself at home”? As if that wasn’t enough, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan also appear in the eye-rape that is the BBC Christmas trailer. Fine if they want to embarrass themselves but why drag a Cyberman down to that level? And then Scarlett Johansson made this bucket of awful:

I should make it perfectly clear: YOU MUST NEVER CLICK ON THAT LINK. I hope I wasn’t too late. Yes, Christmas can be a trying time and joy never comes along like it does in the movies. Christmas miracles don’t really exist. At least, I thought they didn’t.

I was on my way to a gig in Milton Keynes on Wednesday and the train was full of Christmas misery. It was crowded plus at least half the people on board had, for some reason, brought their Christmas shopping to London for the day. I was already in a bad mood because I missed an earlier train due to my bank being dicks. My card was declined at the train station and when I called my bank they said they had put a block on my account because they were suspicious that my card was being used fraudulently. “We noticed an increased use of your card so the fraud department were contacted”, they said. Increased use? At Christmas? Give me fucking strength.

So the busy train started its journey to Milton Keynes and I relaxed with a book. For about 12 seconds.

A family sat next to me. Mum, Dad, brother, sister. All very sweet and Christmassy except that daughter decided to listen to her iPod and was, in the spirit of Christmas, sharing her shit music with us all by playing it loudly. I immediately tensed up and, as my blood turned to lava, I decided to think carefully about my next move. They’re a family who’ve been out for a day in London together and they seem perfectly nice and cheery. On the other hand, they are clearly ignoring the fact that their daughter is a turd. I pondered for quite a while. In fact, I pondered for almost my entire journey but, with only 10 minutes to go before arriving at Milton Keynes, I broke. It’s not too much to ask for her to turn her music off. It’ll be fine.

That’s when the shouting started. Despite me being very polite to the girl, Mum just exploded. “Why are you talking to my daughter? Why are you talking to my daughter?” I answered both those questions clearly, calmly and politely but that wasn’t enough for this screaming hate-witch. I was continually told by Scary Mum that her daughter wasn’t bothering me which was incredibly factually inaccurate. She was bothering me to shit. Scary Mum then went on about how her daughter had every right to listen to her music despite the fact that she doesn’t and to tell me that I had no right to ask her to turn it off despite the fact that I do. Then she gave her husband a stare. I could tell by his face that he had received this stare before and he wearily went through the drill. “Would you leave us alone now, please?”, he said. I will as soon as she turns her music off, OK? “I don’t think she’s going to”. Scary Mum had had enough of Tired Dad and of me. She pointed in my face and shouted “You have no right. She’s just a child”. That’s when I shouted back “No. She’s just YOUR child. Don’t you have any control over your own children?”

She went a bit quiet then but the look she gave me could be heard by the dead. “She’s listening to her music”, she said much quieter than before. “Get used to it”.

OK, I said and got my iPhone out, scrolled down my iTunes to find Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t and played it loudly while holding it directly at Scary Mum. I am 43.

Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t is a loud, aggressive piece of thrash metal. I like it very much but I can see why it wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea. It certainly wasn’t to Scary Mum’s taste. She shouted at me and threatened to report me to transport police and also pointed out several times that I was Irish. Don’t know why as I already knew I was Irish. But after a minute of Anthrax I noticed some of the other passengers faces. They looked embarrassed. Let’s face it, they looked embarrassed for me. I’m a grown man doing battle against a protective mother with the power of heavy metal. I started going red. Crap. I’m going to have to switch the music off and give up. All I wanted to do was point out to someone that they might want to be more considerate to others but now it’s gone too far and I look stupid again. Why does it always have to be me that asks someone to turn their music down? Why does it always have to be me that makes a stand? Why does it always have to be me that makes a solid gold arse of himself? Will I always be alone?

And what happened then? Well, on London Midland trains they say that Michael Legge's small heart grew three sizes that day. A man sitting behind Scary Mum leaned over and pointed his iPod at her. It was playing heavy metal. I don’t know what it was but it was the most magical, wonderful, CHRISTMASSY heavy metal I’ve ever heard. Someone stood up and joined in. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? It’s about friendship, sharing joy and banishing the baddies. Some people started smiling…laughing. Two grown men in their 40’s ringing in Christmas cheer and uniting everyone in their festive, glowing hatred of dicks who play music too loudly on public transport. Tired Dad leaned over and asked his daughter for her iPod and then turned it off. Scary Mum looked furious but said nothing. Me and the guy switched our satanic carols off, thanked one another and sat down. I looked around and there were enough happy faces near me to make me think that, yes, Christmas is a special time of year. Maybe we should be more like this all year round. Hey, maybe we WILL. And just then, in the carriage of the London Midland train to Milton Keynes, it started to snow.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Long Weird Friday.

Friday’s are exciting, aren’t they? The beginning of a weekend of possibilities. The start of a couple of days of freedom to do whatever you want. To break loose, go wild, be whoever you really are deep in your heart. Mind you, it’s mainly full of sick. Friday night is basically 6 hours of sick no matter where you are or how you spend it. A charming evening at The Ivy drinking champagne with Stephen Fry sounds lovely but never forget that you have to get the train home later. A train full of noise, idiots, fighting and sick. Just so much sick. In bins, on seats, in your hair. You stand on it, you walk through it, you fall in it, you breathe it in. And that’s just the beginning of the weekend. You have another 48 hours of this and look at you already. Surrounded by sick. But that was your Friday night. How was mine?

It started brilliantly. I’ve worked apathetically to get where I am today and I totally appreciate it when that total lack of focus and drive pays off. I was booked to play the excellent Tattershall Castle on Friday but, due to a double-booking error, was told that I didn’t need to turn up and would still get paid. This is every idle bastard’s dream come true. It doesn’t matter what I do on Friday night now because I’ll be getting paid for it. Staying in on my own watching Weekend at Bernie’s II on video? AND GETTING PAID FOR IT? It’s almost too much to dream of. Surely life could never be that kind? Well, you’re right. It couldn’t. I was asked to perform at a charity do. FUCKING HELL! I mean, I had big plans already made concerning me, a cheeky bottle of Blue Nun and a certain little corpse called Bernie but, once again, life drills a hole in the back of my skull and fornicates with my head. I mean, who in their right fucking mind would ever say yes to a charity gig? THEY DON’T PAY. But the person who asked me knew I was free that night and getting paid for doing nothing. What an evil bastard he really is. Organising a charity benefit to raise money for someone who needs medical care and then asking me ON MY PAID NIGHT OFF to do it. Sigh. I couldn’t say no. Damn.

The gig was in a place called the Irish Centre in Camden. This will suit perfectly actually because my agent, Kate, was off to see another of her clients perform a one-man show at Camden’s Roundhouse so I could hang out with her afterwards. Brilliant. I would go off and basically save a man’s life with my comedic genius, then go out and get elegantly wasted with Kate. For the first time ever, I left the house without looking at the address of the gig (I might have done this a few times, to be honest). That was OK because I was told it was in Camden, I’ll just check the address when I get out of the tube. I have plenty of time anyway because I got to Camden 50 minutes before the gig was due to start.

Balls. It’s not in Camden. It’s in Kilburn High Road.

I ran back down to the tube and headed for Euston where I could get a speedy overground train to Kilburn. Easy. Except all the trains cancelled. AAAARRRGGGHH! It was getting closer to the gig’s start time so I ran back down to the tube and took the long, multiple-changes journey to Kilburn. I got there at 8pm. I was due on stage at 8.05pm. I ran (walked quickly) up Kilburn High Road to Quex Road where the venue was. I’m just in time. I can go straight on stage as soon as I get there. Or I would if the venue hadn’t been demolished.

Cancelled gig and then a demolished venue? Look, if you don’t want me to perform just say so. No need to be rude about it.

There wasn’t much I could do about it. I’d been given the wrong address and I was far away from the Irish Centre. There was nothing left to do other than get back on the annoying tube journey to Camden and get drunk on my paid night off. I got to the Roundhouse just before 9. Perfect. It’s a one-man show so it should only be an hour long. I’ll just check by asking a member of staff. Hmmm. There are no members of staff here. Anywhere. I’ll ask the guy at the desk of the dance studio next door. It’s connected to the Roundhouse, it’s part of the Roundhouse and the dance studio and main Roundhouse venue have connecting doors. This will be no problem at all.

“Hello. Could you tell me what time the show in the Roundhouse ends, please?”

“Sorry. This isn’t the Roundhouse”.

“Oh, I know. But you’re connected. I was just wonderi…”

“You’ll have to ask a member of box office staff”.

“There aren’t any around. Could you call or ask someone in there, please?”

“I can’t leave this desk, I’m afraid”.

“But you could just open the door there and ask”.

“I have to man the desk”.

“But the door is 6 feet away from you and there’s no one but me here. You could just open it and ask those people in there”.

“I can’t, I’m sorry”.

“I could shout and they could hear me. If you could just…”

“I said no”.

Wow. I mean, I have met some FUCK YOU people in my time but that was just incredible. An absolute refusal to walk 6 feet to help just in case the second his back was turned a thousand 12 year old Glee fans would turn up begging for dance lessons. And with that I was invited to leave.

I finally found a security man who, after asking two other people, told me that the show ends at 9.45. Not as short a show as I’d hoped. That’s OK. I’ll go for a pint. I walked across the road to Joe’s, a very nice bar with a good atmosphere and patronised by glamorous late 20’s types and fashionable people wearing trucker clothes. It looked nice but maybe too trendy for the likes of me so I walked away. That’s when I heard someone calling my name. It was really nice to see a face I recognised. And that’s where the problem lay. I recognised the guy, I know his face so well, but this was out of context. Who the fuck was he?

It’s not like I don’t know him. I do. But from where and how and, oh for God’s sake, who the hell is he? I tried my very best to get it out of him. “How’s things?”, “What have you been up to?”, “Keeping busy?” NONE of those got any information out of him. “So, you working?”, I said. “Yeah”, he replied. “Here”. Right, that’s good. He’s a bar manager. Come on, Michael. THINK. How many bar managers do you know? None. OK, let’s thing of something else. “So, what’s new?” I said. “Well”. He replied. “I work here now”. HE GAVE ME NOTHING. But he knew me and I know that I know him but my brain is dusty and cluttered and I’ve just found out that a charity gig would rather be bulldozed to the ground than have me perform at it so my head is all over the place. If you’re reading this then I’m so sorry and I know when the penny drops I will kick myself. He’s probably my brother or someone. But he gave me NO CLUE. Instead he gave me a free beer and I thank that kind stranger that I know well for it. I took my beer and sat down. That’s when one of the truckers joined me.

This guy was very thin, and like a few people in the bar (including one of the barmen), he had a huge beard, a plaid shirt with the sleeves cut off, mirror sunglasses and a trucker cap on top of his mullet. He also had a surprisingly well-spoken English accent. He asked how my night was, what my plans were for the evening and he offered to buy me a drink. I pointed out that I had just started drinking my pint so I was fine, thanks. He seemed happy with that and went on to talk about a couple of bars that “we” should go to or some clubs if I was “into that sort of thing”. It was confusing. Eventually I said “Are you chatting me up?” He laughed and said that he might be but the funniest part was when I thanked him for the flattering thought and told him, regrettably, that I was straight and his response was “Oh, shut up”. It was like I had just told him that I had Roger Moore’s foot in my bag. The very idea of me being straight was just ridiculous.

I mean, do I look gay? What does a gay man look like? I’m not sure but there’s one thing I do know and that’s gay men just don’t look like rednecks. You just don’t get redneck homosexuals. Well, you do but they just get angry and violent about it, they certainly don’t offer to buy you a drink in a cool bar in fashionable Camden Town. All I’m saying is, don’t assume I’m gay if you’re going to appear THAT straight. That’s cheating.

After drinks with Kate, that was my Friday night over. It is a confusing place. I’m actually happier working and keeping away from real life at the weekend, I thought as I got on the train home and stood in some sick.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Shaming of Michael Legge.

I’m easy. That’s the best way to describe me. I’m easily confused, I’m easily riled, I’m easily pleased and I’m easily embarrassed. Sometimes all of these happen at the same time, like recently when I was on a train to Manchester and I saw a man clipping his nails. Why would he think that that was OK to do in public, the ignorant, disgusting idiot? Then I laughed out loud when he realised that bits of his fingernails had been landing in his houmous, which made me go red in the face when he gave me a dirty look.

Trains are embarrassing places anyway. I’m always going red on them and not always with anger. I missed my stop but pretend I haven’t, my phone going in and out of signal so I have to repeat “Hello?” over and over again, being 43 and reading Doctor Who Magazine. Yes, it’s very rare that I’m not embarrassed while on a train. I remember once being really hot in a stuffy carriage so I thought I‘d open my bottle of water. It felt really good. How clever of me to have bought it before getting on board. It tasted so cool and refreshing and I was halfway through the 1 litre bottle when I thought to myself “Hang on. I didn’t buy a bottle of water”. The man beside me was furious and I went red. Again.

I’m guaranteed to go beetroot when the ticket inspector comes round. I bought my ticket and I KNOW it’s in my wallet but as soon as I see the ticker inspector I immediately become convinced that my ticket is lost or invalid or I’m on the wrong train. “You want to go to Birmingham? But this is the train to Imaginaryland. You’re going in the opposite direction and the next stop is 17 hours away. You massive twat”. On my way back from Manchester, the ticket inspector appeared and I should have got more embarrassed than I’ve ever felt in my life but luckily something so weird happened at the same time that somehow it all seemed OK.

There I was in First Class, relaxing back with a good film and having a perfectly nice time. I watched The Killing of Sister George. I’d never seen it before. I’d always heard good things about it and I knew it was definitely one of those films that I had to see before I saw Bridesmaids (yes, I am still going on about that). I didn’t even know what it was about. Turns out, it’s about lesbians. Good old fashioned BRITISH lesbians from the 60’s. Women who were simply flatmates. Filthy, dirty, hated-by-God flatmates. Women who would drink beer and hang out with other women and maybe, I’M JUST SAYING MAYBE, dance with them. There was certainly none of that modern lesbianism going on. No touching, no talking about it and DEFINITELY no glamorous lesbian power-couples. It’s a pretty good film about, among other things, the lack of acceptance of homosexuals and Beryl Reid is utterly fantastic in it. It’s a two hour long film with no graphic sex scenes in it whatsoever. Well, not until the last 10 minutes. Guess when the ticket inspector turned up?

“Tickets, please” is what I heard when Coral Browne began touching Susannah York’s vagina. I quickly reached for my wallet. IT WASN’T THERE. The ticket inspector squinted as Susannah York started undressing. The wallet must be in my coat pocket. WHERE IS MY COAT POCKET?? Why did I put my coat in the overhead rack? I never do that. Susannah revealed her breasts while I stood up to get my coat and considered pressing pause. NO, MICHAEL! Don’t press pause. It’ll just pause on a shot of Susannah writhing. Just concentrate. Get the ticket and he’ll go away and you can get back to your porn. IT ISN’T PORN! It’s an arthouse film from the 60’s. Aw, shit. Does he think I’m watching porn? He does. He thinks that, because I’ve paid extra to sit in First Class, I feel it’s my right to masturbate as and when I feel like it. Why isn’t my wallet in my coat pocket? Try the inside pocket. Oh, for God’s sake. Coral is kissing Susannah’s breasts now and all that’s in my pocket are loads of Starburst wrappers. Just switch the laptop off. NO, MICHAEL! If you do that then he’ll KNOW you’re watching porn. The wallet must be in my bag. Coral’s hand moves all the way down Susannah’s body again. Susannah’s body rises and arches as Coral’s fingers slide inside her. I FOUND IT! It was in my bag! Susannah is starting to come. The ticket isn’t in here! What? I always keep my ticket in my wallet. Coral touches Susannah more firmly while Susannah’s moans get louder. Where is my ticket and where the hell is Beryl Reid? No one would think I was watching porn if Beryl Reid was in it. Come on, Beryl, you bastard. HELP ME! Susannah comes and Coral’s face looks turned on and powerful. HERE IT IS! Of course! I always keep my ticket under my laptop these days so that I don’t have that embarrassing where’s-my-ticket fumble when the ticket inspector turns up. Susannah holds on to Coral’s wrist firmly between her legs as she comes down from orgasm. There you go. There’s my ticket. Oh, and look. There’s Beryl Reid.

That lasted three long and awkward minutes. But I wasn’t really that embarrassed. The ticket inspector was but I wasn’t. How could I be? I mean the whole thing was completely weird. Not the lesbian sex scene playing publicly on a train carriage, that wasn’t weird at all. What was weird was the fact that, during all of this, Matthew Horne, the actor from Gavin and Stacey and Horne & Corden, was fast asleep at my feet. That’s why I pay the extra to go First Class. You can watch Susannah York coming while a TV celebrity is curled up at your feet like a dog. I don’t know how you poor people do it.

I’m back, baby. I haven’t blogged in about 7 weeks but expect more. Isn’t it good to know that stupid things still happen to me on trains? I’ve missed you.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


"Emotion is the complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical (internal) and environmental (external) influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation. Motivations direct and energize behavior, while emotions provide the affective component to motivation, positive or negative".

Clearly, that came from Wikipedia and not me. It makes emotions sound intricate and labyrinthine which, as we all know, they're not. All emotions are just different Worzel Gummidge heads that we stick on when we feel like it and the only complex thing about them is that sometimes we rush in and pick up the wrong head by mistake. I know this because I'm often to blame for putting the wrong head on. I'm still not quite over the fact that I threw my first, and I hope last, ever Queenie Fit during the recording of the second Do The Right Thing Podcast in Edinburgh. I got told off twice by my team-mate for interrupting her even though I most definitely hadn't interrupted. The lovely Shappi Khorsandi, who I love and admire greatly, was pissed. It wasn't her fault. It was the fault of the publicity machine. The publicity machine demanded that Shappi guested at Arthur Smith's Pissed-Up Chat Show which meant she was contractually obliged to be hammered during the hour with the sober national treasure asking her questions and topping up her glass. Then she did our show. All very fair enough, I was a bit tipsy myself. Fuck it, it's late night in Edinburgh. What did you think you were paying for? After 10pm there are NO SOBER COMEDIANS. Anyway, the first time Shappi said I interrupted (EVEN THOUGH I HADN'T) I apologised and listened to her being funny. Shappi is always funny and, of course, being drunk just made the night all the more unpredictable and exciting. The second time, and to be very fair to Shappi she might not actually have been saying I interrupted but that is the way I took it, Shappi simply said "I thought we were supposed to be a team".

Now. I was in no way at all upset with Shappi. But the audience to my right all howled with approval. "Yeah", I heard in my own head. "Good for you, Shappi. Tell the stupid woman-hating man to shut his fucking rude mouth". That was it. I rushed into my very small bag of emotion heads to grab the Reserved Humility one but stupidly grabbed the WELLFUCKYOUTHEN head instead and put it on. I seethed throughout the rest of that podcast. I hate when people interrupt on Mock The Week and other laddish telly shouting and I have a paranoia that anyone would think that of me, especially, and I realise this is stupid, if I interrupt a woman. It's fine interrupting James during the Precious Little podcast because that is a godsend to us all but I'm not up for any interrupting during Do The Right Thing. After the recording I went to the bar, complained to everyone about how furious I was and then genuinely stormed off in a huff. I had a Queenie Fit for no reason. Emotions are dicks.

So, over the last few days I've been experimenting with emotions. I didn't mean to but I have. It's just amazing to me how basic and stupid emotions are despite Wikipedia's argument of their complexity. Put it this way, I wore my duckie jumper on Friday. If you haven't seen my duckie jumper then allow me to describe it. It's a jumper with duckies on it. Yes, it's adorable. Anyway, I was wearing it on Friday night when I got into the lift at my hotel. The doors opened and the lift was full. Seven men in the lift. All on a stag night. Plus me and my duckie jumper.

They laughed, they pointed, they call me a fucking twat. I pointed out that they would all catch their deaths going out in t-shirts late at night. Matching t-shirts. All with the same naked man on the front but with a different nickname on the back. I'm not saying I don't look like a twat but at least I'm not shouting in a lift, while wearing a naked man t-shirt with BIG DONG JOHN written on the back while hanging out with my best friend who is dressed like Tigger.

Plus, how could I mind them laughing? I'm only wearing a jumper and apparently that was too much for them. Maybe they only brought their Pointing and Laughing head out with them? In any case, here's what I've discovered. Men hate the duckie jumper and women like it. Not just one but two groups of female office workers waved at me this weekend because of the duckie jumper. I started counting the scowls from men and laughs/smiles from women while walking about but I lost count. Men were definitely winning though. I think there is nothing more appealing than living in a world where a jumper with pictures of ducks on it can upset and even seemingly offend blokes. Not that all blokes are like that. Last night after a gig in Swindon I got a bit chilly and took the duckie jumper out of my bag. The ticket inspector on the train said he really liked my duckie jumper. That was nice. Then he handed my ticket back to me and said "Thanks, babes"

I don't know if it was the jumper or maybe I'm just a bit of a babe at the moment but either way the ticket inspector shot off quickly (not like that). He obviously rushed for his Gratitude head and accidentally grabbed his Sleazey Geezer head by mistake. I understand. It's easily done.

Hey! Why not come to see DO THE RIGHT THING being recording live? It's great and I might get in a big huff again so it's definitely worth checking out. Here's the info:

Also, come to see CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH, my very first ever solo show, at the Leicester Square Theatre from the 27th to the 29th September:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Your Only Hope.

I just turned 43 in August but it wasn't until yesterday that I think I may have finally grown up. I've lived the life of a child for 43 years and I suppose it was inevitable that I would grow out of it, I just thought I might grow out of it when I was 14 or 15. I'm at least 28 years behind schedule. Don't worry, I still ignore bills, get bored with books in the first chapter and refuse to fix my collapsing house but I've definitely turned a corner in my development. Yesterday I was looking at my DVD collection and I saw the box that holds my Star Wars discs and I realised that I just have no interest in it.

This is actually much bigger news than it seems. About two years ago I confidently claimed that there is nothing better than Star Wars and I meant it. When I saw it (5 times) in 1977 nothing effected me more and I've yet to be hit by that all encompassing feeling since. No movie, no band, no relationship that I've ever encountered has changed my life so obsessively as Star Wars and that's actually depressing when you think about it. I've fallen in love but I've always managed to have some moments when I've not talked or thought about my romance even in the early stages but as a 9 year old I was a lot more enthusiastic about my new crush. And I took that film with me throughout my life. I never really wanted kids but the older I get the more often I'd daydream about sitting down with my child and watch them watch my favourite film of all time just to see if it did anything to their heads at all. Then, when it didn't, I'd know that this wasn't my child and it's mother is a WHORE. But that would be the original Star Wars. Back in 1977 the original Star Wars was known as Star Wars. I wasn't happy when on it's re-release it was changed to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. What was the point in that? It's called Star Wars so call it Star Wars. Then it got re-released again with new bits in it. Terrible, awful new bits. Then it came out on DVD with newer new bits and next week it will be released on Blu Ray with more new bits. In 1977, George Lucas gave me a present but ever since then he keeps taking it back and drawing all over it.

In the blu ray edition there is a new addition that George Lucas thought was absolutely imperative. It just had to be included because, like a Jawa falling off a dinosaur or Hayden Christensen turning up as ghost at the very end, it was always part of his original vision. In....sigh....Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi, Darth Vader finally sees the cruelty within The Emperor as he sees his son being electrified. Vader silently lifts The Emperor above his head, taking the dark force electric shock himself, and throws him down the shaft of the Death Star. Now, instead of the mighty silence of Vader's attack on his mentor, the new Blu Ray version comes with Vader shouting "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!"


The thing is, George only owns the rights to these films and not the emotional impact they have all played in mine/our life/lives. He's been fucking with these films since the day he gave them to us and there is no sign of him ever stopping. Well, that's actually of no odds to me because, and I'm happy to declare this, I'm not a Star Wars fan. It's just a stupid sodding space film that's been battered by it's master it's whole life. But there is maybe, just maybe, a way that he can be stopped from doing this again to this beloved classic (well, it's not beloved by me. Not any more). Just do yourself a massive favour, DO NOT BUY STAR WARS ON BLU RAY. If no one buys it, he'll just go away. I'm not going to buy it and I was delighted that my good friend, Martin Wolfenden, went back to Amazon where he ordered his copy and decided to cancel his order. The reason he gave was "Darth Vader saying Nooooooo!" I'm incredibly proud of him.

I'm pretty sure that....sigh....Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace will be left alone as it was on the day of it's awful release because, let's face it, you can't polish a turd. But that doesn't mean you have to take the Mona Lisa and smear shit all over it. Yeah, I've moved on. I'm finally free of Star Wars and it's 34 year Force grip. I've finally grown up.

Don't forget, Doctor Who's on this Saturday.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Say Again?

I'm back. I really feel like I'm back. Not just back from Edinburgh but actually back. For a month I've been happy (in a way) and feeling incredibly fortunate. I wake up every day and walk through the beautiful Meadows of Edinburgh and I get to do a show I love with my friend Robin Ince. You'll notice that I wrote that it's a show that I love. I love it. I'm not quoting anyone elses opinion or cutting and pasting anyone elses reviews of the show, I'm just telling you I love the show. Isn't that nice? Isn't that nice to actually enjoy the thing you do? It's that enough? Why do we need anyone elses opinion about anything? AND WHY THE FUCK DO COMEDIANS INSIST ON RTing THEIR PRAISE ON TWITTER?

Look, you stupid fucknuts. People follow you on Twitter, right. That suggests they like you. THEY ALREADY LIKE YOU. Why then would you feel the desperate need to tell all the people who already like you that you are liked? They know you're liked, THEY LIKE YOU. Why they like you is a complete mystery to me but they do like you. So you really don't need to tell them that The Scotsman love you or that someone Tweeted that your show was "good". It's the most trivial and needy thing you can do. When I see anyone RTing their own praise it just stinks of someone thinking "Wow, I hate my show and it makes me sick and nervous but someone likes it so I must be great. Look, everyone! I'm great! A child on the internet said so".

I mean, what lack of faith do you have in yourself when someone elses opinion is more important to you than your own? I mean, I'd give it more credit if the same people RT'd when they got negative feedback. I mean, it's just as relevant.

I made a friend of mine upset on Twitter because I was very mean about his constant praising of himself or RTing praise others gave him. I am genuinely sorry about that. To be honest, I'm not sure any amount of explaining of how when you either praise yourself or brag about praise given just detracts from you as a performer and a person would make a difference. It's my problem, really. If people are happy to do that then they should be able to without my wrath. But why stop there?

Surely, you have been praised at other things. Nice parking? Tell us about it. Made a lovely cup of tea? Well, why are you keeping that to yourself? Urinated without getting a drop on the seat or the floor? Then let us all give you a massive fucking round of applause, you big headed, needy, egotistical shitbag. (I am NOT still having a go at my friend here, he at least hasn't praised himself today) Let's see your school reports and scout badges and sports trophies and book tokens and premium bonds and completed crosswords and sponsored walk forms and Worlds Best Dad mugs and whatever the fuck it was you got in your Kinder Egg. Show us it all because it's exactly the same. Or...

You could just be happy that you like your show and carry on with some dignity. Either way, I thank you for reading this. You're really great (don't RT that I said that please).

Yes, I'm home and the second I got on the train from Edinburgh to London I had a brilliant Fringe moment. OK, I'm leaving the Fringe but I'm still counting it. I opened up my laptop and started watching the latest Doctor Who on iPlayer. This made Steven Moffat, who was on his way back from the loo to his seat, do a double take. YESSSS!!! Then I met him in the queue for taxis and told him the story of how my badge featuring the face of Peter Davison was mistaken for a badge featuring the face of Anders Behring Breivik. I love the fact that that story has such a strong chance of now getting back to the 5th Doctor. Now, all I need to find a friend of Anders Behring Breivik and the circle is complete. Also, Steven definitely said that he was bored of Matt Thingy and was interested in a 43 year old with psoriasis as the next Doctor. I can even pick my own companion, I imagine. Now, which one of you will it be? Hmmmm...

PS I'm really sorry for being mean to my friend. He's an idiot but I pushed it too far. I am also an idiot.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Wonder Why You Haven't Before.

There is just a week left of Edinburgh Fringe. Hope you're enjoying it. Sad to say, I'm very much enjoying it. Remember the good old days of angry Fringe blogs? Those are years away. Mind you, I had a shit IWANNAGOHOME day three days ago. The thing is Edinburgh is great but the line from Anchorman, "We've been coming to the same party for 12 years, and in no way is that depressing", keeps popping in to my head. But it's the last week so my energy's up and my outlook sunny. But what to do in the next seven days?

Simple: go to The Stand.

The Stand comedy club in Edinburgh is the greatest comedy club in the world. It's also rare in the comedy world as it's sole purpose is comedy. When you go to The Stand what you get is comedy. NOT comedy and a disco, not comedy and a shout out on your birthday, just comedy. It books great established acts and nurtures new talent and it treats comedians and audience members with respect. It's also really decent to other clubs. They don't allow hen or stag nights in the club and instead recommend Highlight or Jongleurs if that's what you want. Not in a nasty "Why don't you fuck off there, you cunt with a stupid hat" way, no, it's a purely "I think you'd prefer this" kind of way. But really you should visit The Stand's five venues this Fringe because the show's there are of a higher quality than the so-called Big Four. If you don't make the effort over the next week to visit The Stand then you might as well not be at the Fringe at all.

Stewart Lee, Omid Djalili, Richard Herring, Phill Jupitus, Simon Munnery, Bridgest Christie, Andy Zaltzman, Todd Barry, Paul Sinha, Steve Gribbin, Tony Law, Simon Donald, Jo Neary, Tiffany Stevenson, Phil Nichol, Josh Howie, Craig Campbell, Wendy Wason, Alun Cochrane, Gavin Webster, Seymour Mace, Political Animal....That's just off the top of my head. I mean, you've only got a week left. A WEEK. Why would you think of going anywhere else? The Stand have a better line up, there's a better local pub (Lord Bodos across from The Stand 1) and you'll be happy knowing that you've put money into a club that's actually trying to look after you, comedians and the craft of comedy itself. Every member of staff at The Stand should feel proud of themselves because they're doing brilliant work this year and I would gladly buy all of them a pet swan if I could. I love them.

And hey, when you've seen a few shows there why not treat yourself to a free one at Peter Buckley Hill's Free Fringe? The Voodoo rooms are right around the corner from The Stand and Cariad Lloyd, one of the best shows I've seen this year, is on at 3.55 followed by Tara Flynn, one of the best shows I saw last year and will see again this year. It's all happening over this side of town so don't be a massive dick in the last week, come over and have fun. Oh, and me and Robin Ince are here at 2.35 too. I forgot about that.

Now, can someone kindly explain to me how The Pleasance got fucking charity status?

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

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Monday, 15 August 2011

Men. Over-Bored.

Where did I get the time to blog so much in the past? What was I not doing then that I'm doing now? I feel just as lazy now as I did then but with no time to blog. How is that possible? I guess I was just a younger, fitter, sexier man back then. Now I'm 43. Oh, yes, it was my birthday on Friday. I'm incredibly old now. The posters of Edinburgh seem even more judgemental to me now. I'm really feeling my age too. By that I mean my voice has completely gone. Thank God I'm not starring in musical theatre like last year. This might seem a bit odd to anyone who has ever seen me perform but I didn't realise how much my art depends on me screaming my bones out. That's a hard thing to do when you have no voice. This became clear when I did a gig in Glasgow on Friday night. At one part of my routine I had to shout really loudly but my voice had gone, my throat was desert dry and so....I was sick in my own mouth. They say Glasgow is a tough town to play but all cities in Britain are pretty tricky when you have a mouth full of boke. It goes without saying that it got my biggest laugh of the night.

Now that Curse Sir Walter Raleigh is over I've got slightly more time on my hands so I've decided I'm going to see more shows. I might see a play or a piece of performance poetry but mainly I'll be seeing comedians. I love comedians. To me, it's always a good night watching comedians. Oh, it'll be comedians this year for me definitely. I love comedians. Mind you, let's be honest, there's nothing worse than sitting down to watch some comedians and a male comic walks on.

I'm sorry, I know it's sexist but I just don't like male comics. I think it ruins a night of comedy when the male comic turns up and says the same boring things about his lack of sexual prowess, the unfunny lies he says to women and his broad sweeping generalisations of politics. It's tedious. They're all the same male comics. They wear zany t-shirts or, even worse, a suit to try and convince the audience that he's not in crippling debt after the second divorce and then they just spout the same obvious shit as the last male comic you've just seen. Why can't they be like comedians? My favourites are Bridget Christie, Caroline Mabey, Jo Neary, Josie Long, Holly Walsh, Shappi Khorsandi, Tara Flynn, Catie Wilkins, Susan Calman, Roisin Conaty...well, the list goes on, you know the ones. They're just infinitely more edgy and original to the point where you really don't know what's going to come next. You don't just switch off when they're on. They talk about different subjects in a different way. Last night I saw The Segue Sisters and howled with laughter from beginning to end. It was just so proudly fun, like watching a lost episode of The Monkees (admittedly, The Monkees were male comics but it was a different time then). Last week I saw one of the semi-finals of So You Think you're Funny. There were only two comedians in the final, the rest were male comics. Lorna Forde and Rachel Parris were easily the best acts on the bill but did they win? God, no. Typical. The award was passed to some piece of trouser who the judge obviously wanted to bang. The only thing really missing from this year's Edinburgh Fringe for me is Margaret Cabourn-Smith and Zoe Gardner, my favourite comedy act of all time. Even then, some male comic has hired Zoe to be in his show this year to make sure he doesn't stink out his venue with cock jokes and reasons why X-Factor is below par. Look, I've nothing personal against male comics, I just wished they tried harder. I mean, some of them are good. I saw Stewart Lee and Andy Zaltzman and they're both reasonably competent although clearly trying to be comedians. They'll never be comedians, of course, they're just male comics but good for them for giving it a go and trying to be different. All I'm saying is that when I see a male comic on a bill where a comedian should be I just sit there. I've already made my mind up. He's going to be crap. You know what? Let them have their male-only comedy nights (there are lots of them) and I won't begrudge them having their stupid and ridiculous and frankly pointless to the point of embarrassing male-only competitions but you won't catch me laughing at them. Male comics just aren't funny.

I think my favourite crap show of the festival that I haven't seen but am perfectly happy to judge is Loose Men. "Take a unique glimpse at what the loose male thinks, feels, and really wants from life". Yes, that is unique. If there's one thing that there's a complete lack of it's hearing what a bunch of slaggy men think. Loose Men. I'm glad they've removed the Wo but retained the woe. Male comics just aren't funny.

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fringe Benefit.

So, dear friends, tonight will be the last night of Curse Sir Walter Raleigh. The Edinburgh Festival has only started and already I'm finished. It's at this time, at the end of my little run, that I have to ask myself "Why did I come here and what the hell did I get out of it?" Those are good questions. But they were questions that I had already answered six weeks before coming here.

Curse Sir Walter Raleigh is a show I didn't want to do. In fact, I have no interest in doing a solo show. I like working with other people. It's less lonely and there's less pressure. If we succeed in a show then HOORAY, we ALL succeed in a show. If we fail in a show then HA HA HA HA HA, we died on our arses together. Look, I'm 43 tomorrow and I might never do another Edinburgh Festival. Can I bow out of Edinburgh forever without doing a solo show? I could, but I know what I'm like. In the coming months and years I'll just bully myself into regretting not doing a show on my own. "You're not as good as a real comedian, Michael", I'll say to Michael Legge. "Look at you hiding behind Robin Ince. Are you so scared that the world will see how a deformed, ancient, psoriasis freak like you could never compete against the might of Daniel Sloss and whatever new comedian currently celebrating their 5th birthday?" And, in a way, that's true. Most of the big, hip, young comedians have actually been up here for the last few years earning their following and now they have a huge PR machine building on the foundations that they made themselves. If you actually look at what you're competing with, why would anyone come up here? You won't have a chance. You won't get seen. You won't be nominated for an award. The press won't be interested. You won't get in at one of the main venues because you're a nobody. There won't be any space for your poster because all the posters up this year were put up in September of last year plus you won't get a Brooke's bar pass. There is NO POINT AT ALL in coming up here. Unless of course you consider the good work you do to be of value.

That trivial thing, creating something that you like, might just get you through an entire run of the festival. You won't get an award and you'll have to listen to other people either complaining that they haven't been nominated or people bragging that they have been nominated, but I still think that it's actually worth doing something you like instead of trying to win an award by doing a show you think is the kind of show that wins awards. My show is small. It's just based on a few experiences I've had with rude people. I'm not sure many people have had a nervous breakdown on a train and threatened a child by trying to throw their shoe out the window but it's that kind of small thing that means it's not like the other shows. In a way, I just think that's enough. The subject of the show is the growing acceptance of bad manners in daily life. So it's a show that's small, has a story about a shoe that means it's not like other shows and it's about something that lots of people feel strongly about. What I'm saying is, I'm actually proud of myself. If I have one regret it's that I'm not doing the show for the entire month and the reason I'm only doing it for 8 days is because I was scared of the competition instead of being overjoyed at making something I like. The first night I had 8 people in. 4 of them were friends. It was a disaster but it turned out to be a very delightful disaster because, as it turns out, it doesn't matter how many people see this show, I just like performing it. The numbers have grown every night and I really don't know why other than maybe a few people have said "You should see this show. A man has a nervous breakdown on a train, shouts at kids and seems very happy to retell the story on stage". There are no posters for this show, I know this because when I arrived I was told that my posters hadn't been put up but "Here's a pile of them. Can you put them up yourself?" plus I haven't seen any flyering. I'm not for one second saying there hasn't been any (my agent says my flyerer is a very lovely person) but I haven't seen any. It's a word of mouth thing. A small show that I really love. Get's talked about by a very small amount of people. The audience grows a bit and last night the room was nicely full. Not sold out but very nice. That's why I came to the festival. And I think that's better than having headaches worrying that you might just not become a star or upsetting yourself by seeing everyone elses magnificent successes. In many ways, people, I am the spirit of the fringe.

Now where's my fucking award?

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Time Out and Time's Up.

I'm enjoying myself. That's what happens when I don't blog. I know I don't blog as much as I used to but that's because I'm happier than I used to be. I just don't see the point in writing about being happy. What could anyone get out of me being happy? NOTHING. The festival is going well and people are coming to see the shows and laughs are happening. So I'm enjoying myself at the Edinburgh Fringe, the very thing you don't want me to do. Not that it's all been paradise. Some stuff has riled me. Seeing all those posters already up and screaming at me last Monday gave me such a shock that I barely noticed that practically all of them have something in common. I don't know how I didn't notice it before but bar a few exceptions they're all exactly the same. The font seems pretty much the same, all chunky letters as fat as the ego they represent, with the same photograph of the same T4 haircut and the same skinny jeans. It's all BIG FACE ON POSTER WITH BIG WRITING. Not just a few of them. Practically all of them. How are we supposed to know what comedian it is we're seeing? They shouldn't have their names on posters at all. It should just say something like Comedian "A" or Female Comic 12. Not that there are 12 female comedians, of course. Where's the imagination, comedians? And stop being called Russell all the time. Even the few that aren't called Russell are called Russell, aren't they?

So, how have I survived the madness of Edinburgh with it's permanent rain and it's constant NO's? It isn't easy to be honest. It really has been raining a lot and there hasn't been a day without a classic Edinburgh NO. My favourite so far was when I went for a beer with my friend Sarah. We met at The Tron, a bar just off the Royal Mile, and I ordered us a couple of drinks. Well, I wanted to but both members of staff behind the completely clear bar didn't see me despite them just standing there doing nothing. It was an interesting experiment to just wait to see how long they would wait until they felt embarrassed enough that they HAD to serve me. I guessed it would be 20 seconds, quite a long time to wait if it's a clear bar and staff are a foot and a half away from you. My guess was way off. It was about three minutes before they reluctantly acknowledged my existence. As all seats were taken we decided to have our beer outside. "I wonder how long it will be before they say you can't drink outside", I said. It was immediate.

Look, what you need is a trampoline. Edinburgh is a tough town during the month of August. It's full of ups and downs and the best ups and downs are the ones you get from a trampoline. No doubt your student accomodation comes complete with a trampoline, right? My place certainly does. It stopped raining a few days ago and I had a choice: do I get in the jacuzzi (oh, yes) and relax in the manner fitting a man collapsing into 43 or do I just act like a dick on a trampoline. I went for the trampoline. There is just something really funny about being nearly 43 and bouncing up and down like an idiot while your friends laugh at you and take clips to put on YouTube. That said, it's even funnier when you're nearly 43 and you bounce up and down on a trampoline while no one at all is watching. I wasn't not showing off, I wasn't trying to be funny, I was just happily being nearly 43 and bouncing up and down on a trampoline. Alone. I really recommend it. It's really fun and a bit scary. All you can see is the metal bar of the frame that holds the trampoline in place and when you bounce you just KNOW you're going to slip and smash your skull on it. But what a hilarious way to go. Dying at the age of nearly 43, alone on a trampoline.

I have something else to recommend to you this Edinburgh Fringe. How about stepping away from all the shows and seeing some art? Take yourself to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and see a painting called The Three Oncologists. You know when some very pretentious people say "When I saw that painting, I just cried"? Well, you just might. It's a painting that just lets you know that one day you will die. Looking at it actually feels like a cold, friendly hand offering to help you into death. It is beautiful and terrifying and I can't urge you enough to see it. Trust me, there is nothing better going on up here than that painting. Note that I haven't attached a picture of it here and please DO NOT Google it. Just go to the gallery and see it yourself. My agent, Kate, took me to see it as should all good agents show this perfectly tragic piece to their clients. "There. Look at that. Now, fancy doing something good before you go?" See it. And enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

I Get So Emotional, Baby.

I feel sick.

I arrived in Edinburgh yesterday and it was lovely. The place I'm staying in is just fantastic and the area around it is beautiful. It's quite far from the centre so every day I'll be lucky enough to walk for maybe 30 or 40 minutes before seeing a crumpled flyer on the ground. The first thing I did when I arrived was go to Waitrose, yeah I'm one of those people now, and bought some food and then spent two hours making chilli. You shouldn't rush chilli. Especially in this house. The area is so quiet and cooking is very relaxing. I should savour the whole experience. I sat at the table and ate while thinking this is how the Edinburgh Festival will be for me this year. Relaxing and peaceful. About 5 o'clock I decided to slowly wander into town just to see if anyone I know is around. Just to say Hi and share a laugh.


The festival hasn't started yet but everyone is everywhere selling their show. My posters aren't even printed yet. No matter where I look there are posters. Massive posters. All of them screaming at me. "I SOLD OUT LAST YEAR". "I WON THE BEST COMEDIAN IN THE WORLD AWARD". "I'M THE STAR OF THE MICHAEL MCINTYRE COMEDY ROADSHOW". You're not but that's not the point. Look, I know this whole thing is incredibly competitive but at least let's wait until it's started before we draw blood. My friend, Marisa, said they've been up for ages. WHAT? What about us little guys? The ones nobody knows. Let us put a poster first, eh? I mean the rain will wash it away in a day or two because our posters are made of recycled spider's webs and psoriasis and THEN you can put your solid steel, really pretty posters up. I think acts should bring their own posters to Edinburgh. Not here yet? Then you can't put your poster up. This is too early. Way too early. I saw a poster of Craig Hill and no-one had written "God, I hate him" on it yet. THAT'S how early it is.

I missed out on the train journey to Edinburgh and I've now realised how important that journey is to getting your head together for the festival. You need five hours in a carriage with noisy actors and bragging comedians to slowly let yourself know that this next month is going to be a massive pain in the arse. Just arriving and having it punch you in the dick simply isn't sporting. All of a sudden I really miss all the people I've ever done shows with. I'm doing this 8 night run all on my own. Where's Robin? Where's Johnny? Where are the other Cvnts? I'm scared that I'll fail on my own, paranoid that everyone will think it's shit, worried about...everything. Ah, the Fringe. It's great to be back.

That's all part of it. The fear. It can't all be drinking and laughing at other people's bad reviews. You have to be a bit scared yourself. That's good. That's adrenaline. You can use that. Can't I? Thankfully I didn't spend the whole night thinking about what will happen to my show. I mean, who in Edinburgh could spend an entire evening just going on and on about themselves? Marisa and I bumped into Rich Fulcher, then we met Richard Herring, Catie Wilkins and Charlotte Jo Hanbury of The Segue Sisters and had a really good laugh. If I can have nights like that then maybe my definite and unavoidable failure will not be so bad. I've got a good show that I'm happy with. Come along if you fancy gambling on something that hasn't got a massive publicity machine behind it. You might like it.

Now, is there any room for my poster, Edinburgh? NO!

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Monday, 1 August 2011

Shut Up, Gilbert O'Sullivan.

This is it! Today is the day that most performers make the journey up to Scotland for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So many bright, young hopefuls are packing up their dreams, ambitions and stilts and taking them on that fun, song-filled train journey to Waverley Station where they will show the world that they’ve got the goods, mister. Each one of them fresh-faced, energetic and alive.

Not me. I’ve been up here for a week already. On my own. Going mad.

Glasgow is a great city but Glasgow is Rotterdam and Rotterdam is anywhere alone. When you’ve spent the bulk of six days on your own in a hotel room, your mind wanders and breaks. Only someone who has spent six days alone in a hotel room with a broken mind could find it clever to throw in a Beautiful South lyric. That’s me. Hello.

I’ve brought DVD’s and work with me. Lots of DVD’s and lots of work. So far, I’ve done a thimbleful of work and I’ve watched one DVD. I just can’t seem to concentrate on one single thing this week. There’s so much to do in preparation for Edinburgh that I’ve decided to do as much nothing as I possibly can. That means a lot of looking out the window, a lot of pacing and a lot of doing things that never need to be done. I spent a couple of hours on Thursday deleting phone numbers from my phone. Who’s Brian? I don’t know. Delete. Hmmm…am I ever likely to phone Carol again? Last time we spoke she said that she liked my sitcom idea and would send the first draft to the head of her production company and then she said she hated Doctor Who. Delete. Every time I pressed delete I imagined that person immediately disappearing off the face of the Earth. You can see why that took a couple of hours, surely? Then I decided to find out how much German TV I could stand watching. The answer is 72 minutes. Das ist gut, ja? I did do a lot of reading which I think is healthy. Reading every day keeps the mind fit and strong. There wasn’t a single day when I didn’t read that soy sauce packet. Sometimes aloud. “Wok and Walk soy sauce. Fermented soy beans, wheat, water, salt. Recyclable packet”. I didn’t even look at that, I know it off by heart.

Do you talk to yourself? Me neither. Why would I talk to myself when I have Mr. Curtains and the Cup twins? Sadly, I’m not lying when I say I really did start to talk to inanimate objects this weekend. On Saturday I turned to the kettle and said “What are you actually made of?” He said nothing so I made two cups of tea that I forced to compete for my affection. One was called “Welsh Blend”. It was from a hotel in Machynlleth. The other was a posh rooibis tea from a hotel in Hong Kong. That Welsh tea never stood a chance. I remember sitting on the floor naked just laughing at it and thinking how pathetic it was.

Finally, last night after the gig I went back to the hotel and actually watched a film. It was Bananas, the Woody Allen classic. I decided it would be great to watch it with the commentary on. My commentary on. Turns out, although I’m quite critical of a lot of the production values, I know a lot of behind the scenes gossip from that film. “He shagged her. That building used to be a brothel. That car’s in jail now. That was Woody’s own spoon. I remember him punching Charles Joffee in the dick for touching it”, I said while sitting alone in bed eating eight vegan sausages. Actually, it was seven. I found one under the duvet this morning. I had it for breakfast. It was warm, so that was nice.

The gigs have been great fun, though I was shit in Falkirk last night, but the absolute highlight for me this week was when someone pointed at my Peter Davison badge and said “Jesus Christ! Is that the Norway bloke?”

Normally the cracks start to show near the end of the second week during the festival run but I’ve come ready prepared. I’ve gone as mad and broken as I can be this week. Or perhaps this is just the beginning. Edinburgh, here I come.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Before The Fringe

What’s the point in going to the Edinburgh Festival? A massive competition where every participant must pay thousands of pounds for the grand prize of the off chance that Kate Copstick call you a cunt in print. If you even dream of getting anything more than that from the Edinburgh Fringe you’re an incredible idiot. You spend all day trying to weave in and out of street entertainers (when will the PC Brigade let us go back to calling them tramps?) and 8 year olds excitedly handing out flyers only to bump into a comedian who will tell you they saw that bad review you got in Festered, the student website that thinks everything that isn’t Daniel Sloss is old, boring and confusing. Then you have to listen to that same idiot comedian who will go on and on and on about how they’re being ripped off despite selling out every gig, every night for the last four years and yet they still go back to the money-grabbing, soul-destroying evil of the Big Three venues. Is there still a Big Three in Edinburgh? Didn’t one of them die? But, hey, don’t let me put you off going. There’s over a million shows to see, some of them free, and it’s always worth checking out some unknown, unheard of show that no one else has discovered yet. What I’m saying is, please come to my show. I need the money.

Look, it’s fun being there as a punter. The cheapest B&B in Edinburgh is a £150 a night cupboard in Newcastle, then you can pay £10.50 to sit through an hour of over-rehearsed and under-written sketches by Gilsby & Prick, a double act who met while hitchhiking up to the festival, in a venue that is basically a crypt that will drip condensation on you constantly. Don’t get any in your eye though. That’s how 28 Days Later started. And why not travel to the Edinburgh Festival in style too? I’m already up in Scotland and can heartily recommend taking the Caledonian Sleeper train. It leaves Euston at 11.50pm and comes complete with a wet pallet and a grey, sticky pillow to lie wide awake on for the 8 hour journey ahead. If you’re lucky you’ll get a berth all to yourself. If you’re unlucky you’ll end up sharing it with a man who constantly sings no matter how many times you remind him that you can hear him. Guess which one I was. Either way, the train gets you into Edinburgh in time for you to burst into tears.

There’s a reason I’m saying all this and I regret not saying it sooner. You don’t really NEED to go to the Edinburgh Festival (you can just buy a ticket to my show, I’m not going to pressure you into actually turning up) because there are still preview shows going on this week. I only found out that I was doing the festival about five weeks ago so could only get about seven previews in, which is about a quarter of the amount most people seem to do, but these were the most fun gigs I’ve done in years. When you go to Edinburgh in August you will see the finished version of a comedian’s show and it will be slick, precise and professional. Well, not mine but pretty much everyone else’s. I mean, really. What is the point in watching something of quality? I want to see it rough around the edges, experimental and desperate. If I don’t see a comedian cry into a puddle of his own urine by the end then IT IS NOT A SHOW. I want to hear the umms and errs of a never-before-performed routine. I want the excitement of getting it right, the disappointment of getting it wrong and the silences, oh ladies and gentlemen, those loooooong silences until the embarrassed cough of the punchline. I genuinely love previews.

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen Rich Fulcher, Bennett Arron, Bridget Christie, Caroline Mabey and Thom Tuck trying out brand new stuff in front of audiences and it’s been just fantastic. I know their finished shows will be great but there’s just something about seeing it when even the performer themselves isn’t really quite sure what comes next that makes it utterly exciting. I’ve seen Robin Ince preview too but, as his finished show will still be him basically arguing with himself every night, that doesn’t count. And my own previews have been a joy, maybe not for the audience but definitely for me. Even the shit one at The Albany where I forgot every single thing in front of an audience of 7 friends and 2 other people was fun really. Previews should really be the finished show. We should all preview throughout June and July for the Edinburgh Festival and then not go because it doesn’t exist. Even the actual month of August was just a dream.

There are still previews going on so don’t make the mistake of not seeing them. Here’s some I really recommend you see:


Bridget Christie at The Fix in Camden
Richard Herring in Colchester
Sara Pascoe at the New Wimbledon Theatre
Lewis Schaffer at The Source Below in Soho, London
Carey Marx at East Meets Jest in Clapham
Edward Aczel at Comedy Bunker in Ruislip

Thursday 28th

Richard Herring in Cardiff
Tiffany Stevenson at The Top Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden
Jigsaw featuring Dan Antopolski, Nat Luurtseema and Tom Craine at The Junction in Cambridge
Kerry Godliman & Paul Sinha at Tara Studio in Earlsfield
Lloyd Langford at Hampstead Comedy Club

Friday 29th

Caroline Mabey and Holly Walsh at The Black Sheep in Crystal Palace
Tiffany Stevenson at Abbey Fest in Wimbledon
Jigsaw featuring Dan Antopolski, Nat Luurtsema and Tom Craine at Colchester Arts Centre
Richard Herring in Cardiff
Stephen Carlin at Hampstead Comedy Club

Sunday 31st

Richard Herring in Newcastle
Bennett Arron in Balham

Oh, look. There’s just loads. I gave up looking but you shouldn’t. And they’re not all in London either so check what’s happening in an arts centre or sticky, smelly room above a pub near you. BUT DON’T MISS OUT ON SEEING THESE SHOWS NOW. Remember, in a week we’ll have lost all of these wonderful, unpredictable and funny previews to expertise. It’s a great shame.

Also, thanks very much to everyone who came to see the Curse Sir Walter Raleigh previews. I had so much fun. Special thanks to the people who came to and performed at The Phoenix shows throughout July, in particular Neal who came to all of them. I very grateful indeed. I hope to see you in Scotland.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Custard Piety.

I hate comedians. Joyless, po-faced, unfunny and incredibly thick. Did you see them on Twitter yesterday afternoon? Every one of them was glued to their TV's so they could come up with more ways of pointing and laughing at an 80 year old man. A poor, defenceless, frail old evil tyrant was mocked by young, cutting edge comedians in their 40s. These people, some of whom have written stuff for The Now Show, saw a delicate octogenarian and they ridiculed him in public. And it was brilliant. Being on Twitter yesterday was a joy. There was no way that you could have kept up with the jokes because there was a constant barrage of them. And it started brilliantly. When Rupert Murdoch interrupted his son to say "This is the most humble day of my life", Twitter practically popped the cork on it's #bottleofchampagne and the party started. It was great, gripping TV and it was a pleasure sharing it with funny people. Then a comedian ruined everything.

Some attention seeking openspot who will remain nameless - and by that I mean he got his biggest spot of global telly exposure ever and I've forgotten his name already - ran up to Rupert Murdoch and threw a custard pie in his face. That was when the comedians of Twitter all stopped laughing. Because someone had made a joke.

Apparently, this had ruined the whole legal process of bringing the Murdochs to justice which confused me because I could have sworn it was just REALLY, REALLY FUNNY. It's Rupert Murdoch getting A CUSTARD PIE IN THE FACE. That is brilliant. It was over two hours into the hearing and we were bored and a man came along and made it interesting again. We'd had two hours of "I don't know", "I don't know" and "I don't know but I will check" and a clown PIED RUPERT MURDOCH IN THE FACE. Even better, Murdoch's wife got up and punched the comedian. Say what you like about Rupert, he's got great taste in women. I'd fall in love with anyone who would punch a comedian on live television. It's what comedians are for. But the comedians on Twitter should genuinely feel ashamed of themselves. They all got so tediously righteous from that moment on that it made me sick. "He has ruined this trial". No, he didn't. "He is making a mockery of justice". Erm, I don't think it was him that did that. "How could anyone attack an 80 year old man like that?" IT'S MURDOCH.

Has the custard pie really overshadowed the main story? Not in the slightest. Has it made this comedian famous? No and if Graham Linehan would kindly shut up about him it never will. Being so utterly pious is the least attractive trait of anyone but when a comedian gets pompous it's just pathetic. Have they forgotten what they do for a living? The pie in the face is a classic gag and it was good to see it back on TV, also it's good to see a comedian on TV targeting someone in a position of power and not just making jokes about blind children. I mean, it's not as if Rupert Murdoch was on the ropes, was it? Was he about to break down and confess? A man threw a pie and the comedy world turned into Bono.

I dunno. Maybe it's me. I just find authority figures being embarrassed really funny. Newspaper magnates, high court judges, civil servants. Last night I was enjoying a beer outside a pub near where the Hackgate Enquiry was going on. There must have been 20 civil servants standing outside drinking and being all civilly servanty. Then a sewage worker came along and lifted up a manhole cover. 30 seconds later, the civil servants got hit by a stream of shit and piss. Comedians would never have found that funny. Bloody comedians.

Remember: Only a comedian would be a contestant on Show Me The Funny. Only a comedian would have "Star of Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow" on their poster. Only a comedian would write, produce, direct and star in Mrs. Brown's Boys. They are NOT to be trusted.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Saturday, 16 July 2011

What The Hell Are You Looking At?

The film Bridesmaids is getting a lot of good press and several of my friends have recommended I see it. I very well might go to see it but I can't yet because I haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia and I really do think that if you want to truly enjoy Bridesmaids you really have to have seen Lawrence of Arabia first otherwise you'll just be sitting there thinking WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND CHOOSES BRIDESMAIDS OVER LAWRENCE OF ARABIA? I'm not saying Bridesmaids is bad, I'm just saying that Lawrence of Arabia is better. That said, I've seen neither film. That is the problem.

Yesterday I saw the best film I've seen in years. It's called Brazil and it came out in 1985. I was well aware of it when it came out and I know how lauded, celebrated and loved that film is but for some reason it took me more than 25 years to get round to seeing it. It is inventive, funny, creepy, horrible, bleak and it's immediately in my top ten films of all time. It has no CGI in it, it has a story and it has an incredible cast: Nigel Planer, Gordon Kaye, Robert De Niro. Don't those three names alone make is sound the most exciting thing you've ever heard even 25 years later? 25 years. 25 sodding years. That's how long it took me to see this masterpiece that I knew was there all along. Put it this way, I saw Teen Wolf 2 the day it came out.

I haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia, Blood Simple, Once Upon A Time In The West, The Battleship Potemkin, The Purple Rose of Cairo, On The Waterfront, Being There, Witchfinder General, Metropolis, Biutiful or any Bergman films. I've not seen one single Ingmar Bergman film so how can the producers of The Hangover expect me to watch The Hangover 2? I haven't even seen The Hangover and I have no intention of seeing it until I've seen City of God. How the fuck could I let myself see Sex Lives of The Potato Men knowing fully well I've not yet seen Chinatown? I've spent money and time watching The Green Lantern, Inception (shut up, it's crap. You know it is), Jersey Girl, Spider-Man 3 and Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo. Guess how many times I've seen The Phantom Menace? ABOUT 18 TIMES. To be fair, it's a film that never gets worse.

All I'm saying is that film companies should really consider and protect the viewer when it comes to releasing a new film. How many people my age used to sneak into X's when they were young? That's right. EVERYONE MY AGE DID IT. So I'm sure it's the same these days with films rated 18. Any kid that wants to see any film will see it if they want to so the certification of films in that way doesn't work. Here's my new way: "Want to see a film? Fine, have you seen Amadeus? No. Then I'm afraid you really can't see Bad Teacher. Come back when you've seen more good films. Good day to you". Is that so wrong? Of course, I'm joking. Nothing that simple could work effectively. How about after every film you see you get a mandatory tattoo of the name of the film on your arm or leg or neck? Then me and the other Cinema Police will know you're not a liar. Another problem sorted out by Legge. You're welcome, world.

It hit me hard right after seeing Brazil that me wasting my time was nothing but a waste of time. I should be writing my Edinburgh show but instead I watched a film. Luckily that film is one of the greatest 2 hours 15 minutes I've ever spent. I just think, if you're wasting your time anyway why waste it not being completely amazed? And stop watching The Apprentice. Have you seen every episode of Arrested Development? No? THEN STOP WATCHING THE APPRENTICE.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

You've Got Me.

I've realised that I have something in common with the man on the train who picked his nose and wiped it on his seat last week. He's only trying to leave his mark on the world. He only wants to leave something behind so we remember him after he's gone. I was wrong to have told him off because he and I are exactly the same. We just want to give a little bit of ourselves to the world.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the National Theatre to see "An Audience With James Corden". That's not normally the kind of thing I'd go to see but a bastard I know bought me a ticket to see it alone. This is becoming a habit with bastards I know. Unfortunately, this time it backfired. I really enjoyed James Corden. He was self-deprecating, embarrassed and gracious. I know! I was surprised too. He talked about his theatre work, Gavin and Stacey and about how he doesn't really know what he's doing. He also spent the last 15 minutes talking about how he spent a long time being an idiot. He became famous and his ego went on the rampage. I think I needed to hear that. It reminded me of something Bill Murray said: "The truth is, anybody that becomes famous is an ass for a year and a half. You've got to give them a year and a half, two years. They are getting so much smoke blown, and their whole world gets so turned upside down, their responses become distorted. I give everybody a year or two to pull it together because, when it first happens, I know how it is". To be honest with you, at the end of the talk with Corden I actually liked him. I know he's a good actor and that was always my problem with him. He's really good, why is he doing all this other shit? Why is his ego allowed to do what ever it wants? But he realises that and I love him now. I love James Corden. That's something we'll all have to get used to. Me loving someone. I also realised that during the whole thing I'd been scratching my leg. My leg with psoriasis all up it. I looked down on the ground and saw thousands and thousands of little bits of me just lying there in a pile. A generous helping of Legge Flakes just lying there for someone to come along and sit amongst. I'm disgusting. But, as I was trying to clear it up (there's no way I could have cleared it all up. There was too much of it and some it needed a hoover), I got to thinking: I'm everywhere.

The chances of you sitting next to me right this second are much greater than you'd think. You very well might be sitting next to me, standing on me or eating off me (I have psoriasis on my elbows too and I put my elbows on the table despite etiquette's clear standards). I bet you can't walk 10 feet in London without touching me these days and has anyone not been on a train without bits of me all around them? What I'm saying is, you are never alone. Chances are I'm right there with you. People often say that they suffer from psoriasis but I don't suffer from it. I just have it. If you ever leave your house ever, then you might suffer from my psoriasis but that's just me trying to share a little bit of myself with you. It's a beautiful thing. A beautiful bonding of people whether they like it or not. I'm thinking of getting a tattoo so that when I flake it'll come out like a beautiful dusty rainbow. You're welcome.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Friday, 8 July 2011


I feel like I'm really returning to my old self again this week. My old, horrible, grumpy, rude self. I'll be very honest with you, all that scares me. But it is completely your fault.

Not all of it, just most of it. Firstly, last week when I was on my way to a preview gig I saw a man on the train purposely drop his ticket receipt on the ground. I quietly screamed inside my own head until the train arrived when I turned to the man and said "Oh, look. You've dropped your ticket". He turned round to pick up his dropped ticket but then saw it was just the receipt. You know, the receipt that he didn't want anymore. The one he just threw on the ground for someone else to pick up. He started to get on the train so I repeated "You've dropped your ticket". "No", he said. "It's just the receipt". I asked him if he thought that was OK to just throw it on the ground and he grunted like he didn't understand the question. "Are you going to pick it up?" I asked. He looked angry now. "NO".

He took his seat and I sat beside him. Within seconds he had his finger and his thumb, HIS THUMB, up his nostrils having a good old pick. Right up there with his finger and thumb giving his entire head a good thorough clear out, by the looks of things. Before I could tell him how revolting he was, he wiped his finger and thumb on the side of his seat.

"NO FUCKING WAY", I said. "God, man, what age are you? You're in your 30's and you pick your nose in public and wipe it on the seats?"

He went bright red, got up and changed carriage. A victory? No. The next stop a massive man who looked insane came on and sat next to me listening to his loud, awful music. He looked scary. I said nothing. Bring back Noseypick!

Then on my way to my next preview, I got off the tube during rush hour. The doors opened and a very big man just immediately got on without letting any passengers off first. The insane part of my skull immediately took over and I put my hand flat on his chest and pushed him back on to the platform, all the while shouting "RUUUUUUUUUUUDE!"

OK, those two examples weren't really your fault but the next one definitely is. Yesterday I took a bus to Stella Duffy's house to do some work on my solo Edinburgh show. I got the P4 bus and as soon as I sat down I heard the loud, awful music. I've said it before but, really, why is it only people with terrible taste in music that feel the need to share it on public transport? I sat there for three or four minutes just staring at YOU and all YOU did was just accept this rude woman polluting our journey with her musical dung. It was as if no one else could hear the moronic and repetitive beat coming from her iPod or, and this is just a guess, I was once again on public transport with spineless shadow people who are too terrified to just ask a woman to turn her music down. It's not like this woman was the man who replaced Noseypick. That man was weird and I wouldn't have encouraged anyone to approach him. This was just a regular person.

I thought.

She was two seats in front so I got up and tapped her on the shoulder. Here's what happened. She took her earphones out and I said "Excuse me, could you turn your music down, please?"


"Because it's very loud. Everyone can hear it".

"Yeah, that's your problem."

I was confused and said "Noooo, it's too loud and everyone can hear it so can you turn it down, please?"

"It's my earphones".


"I'm using earphones".

"Yes, but the volume is so loud that everyone else can hear".

"Yeah, that's your problem. It's not like I'm listening to it out loud, I've put earphones in."

"But you are playing it out loud. It's up so loud that everyone can hear it."

"Yeah, that's your problem.

This went on for a very long time. Round and round with her always saying the same thing "Yeah, that's your problem". But let's skip to the end. This is how it all finished.

"That's the thing", I said. "It's not my problem. It's definitely your problem. Why are you listening to your music so loudly?"

This utterly baffled her. Genuinely her eyes raised upwards so much it was like she was trying to read what her brain was thinking. She had no answer, so I helped. "It's so you can hear it, right?"


"Right. And that's why it's your problem. If you had your music turned down a bit then you could listen to it but instead you've turned it up so loudly that all you have is me talking to you and stopping you hearing anything but me". And this is when the insane "Give me your shoe" version of me took over. I started tapping her shoulder repeatedly while smiling and saying "Annoying isn't it? Isn't it? It's annoying. It's very annoying. Isn't that annoying? That's what hearing your music is like".

She was too thick to get anything that I was saying plus I was going mad so I sat down. Gradually, slowly, bit by bit she turned her music down until I couldn't hear it. WHY DIDN'T SHE JUST DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SOMETHING TO HER? WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE ME? WHY CAN'T YOU DO IT FOR A FUCKING CHANGE? WHY DIDN'T YOU EVEN SUPPORT ME WHILE I WAS DOING IT? I. HATE. YOU.

Look, you really are going to have to pull your socks up. I'm writing a show about being polite and I'm turning into my insanely rude self again. If you love me then you'll ask those dicks to turn their music down first before I start frothing and flinging my madness at them. Please, I'm asking you as a friend, help me.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Saturday, 2 July 2011

John Heartfield.

This is a lazy blog. I'm embarrassed to say that I have never heard of the brilliant artist John Heartfield. You probably have and therefore I'm just telling you stuff you already know but I'm excited about discovering him and excited about learning more about him.

John Heartfield was a German anti-fascist communist artist hell-bent on undermining Adolf Hitler. His photomontages, especially the ones used as covers for AIZ magazine, are just stunning especially considering when he was making them. The Nazi's weren't known for their sense of humour during the 1930's. In 1916, when anti-British sentiment was pretty damn high what with that pesky World War going on, he changed his name from Helmut Herzfeld to the terribly British John Heartfield as an anti-fascist statement. A really, really dangerous anti-fascist statement. I LOVE HIM. If you don't know of his work then check it out. We can learn about him together. If you do know about him, please feel free to educate me.

What I'm saying is, that Tate Modern isn't that bad.

Adolf the Superman.

The Cross.

Goering becomes an AIZ cover star.

Goebbels dressing Hitler as Karl Marx. My favourite one.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here:

Friday, 1 July 2011

Curse Sir Walter Raleigh.

I have a question for you. It's about good manners. It's a question that was put to me a few months ago. Basically, I was talking about good manners, and how important they are to me, with Philberto, a comedian who I owed a tenner for months (that is NOT good manners). We were sharing a small dressing room in a gig in Camden. Philberto used the dressing room loo and when he got out he said "I'd leave that 10 minutes before going in if I were you. See? That's good manners". Is it, Philberto? IS IT? No, really, is it?

So, here's the question. What is right? Is it a) Basically turn to someone and say "Just in case you were thinking of going into that tiny room to put your naked arse on the heat left my arse, I just want you to know that I defecated in there and my fecal clumps and splatters made enough aromatic funk to make you choke to death on your own vomit the second that you walk in" or is it b) Say nothing because talking about plops is unpleasant and, if the other person has any manners at all, when they enter the toilet they should realise that we all sometimes make smells and just live with it and get over it?

Let me know what you think the correct answer is. You see, I'm trying to write an Edinburgh show about manners and it seems that people have very different views about what is acceptable. Some people hold doors open for other people, other people don't. Some people keep noise to a minimum on public transport, other people don't. Some people put their rubbish in the bin, other people throw the bin into the street after wanking and wanking and wanking in it. What I'm saying is, some people just don't know they're being rude. Maybe I'm rude all the time and have no idea about it? Here's a good example: I was getting a train from Ladywell the other day and decided I fancied a Diet Coke. I went to the train station shop but a woman ran right past me and got there first. Bit rude that she pushed in front but, as you know, I am very forgiving. She wanted a drink and a snack. Both items came to about £2. Luckily, the woman had more than enough money to cover it. In fact, she had a £20 note. I know this because I saw her take it out of her bra.

Now, it was a hot day, that just adds to the EURGH of what just happened, but even if it wasn't I'm not sure I would accept someone offering me a £20 note from their underwear. The man in the shop certainly didn't want it. He just looked at the Breast Money and said "Oh. I don't have any change. Sorry. Do you have anything smaller?" DON'T ASK HER THAT!!! No one wants to know where she keeps her change. Luckily for the shopkeeper the £20 note was all the lady had. Unluckily for me she was a very confident person. Of course she was confident. Only seconds ago she reached into her bra and whipped out a sweaty £20 note. It was with this confidence that she turned to me and asked "You wouldn't have two tenners or a 10 and two 5's for this?"

I had nothing for that. All of a sudden it looked like a Mexican stand-off. The woman pointed the £20 note at me like a gun, the shopkeeper looked nervous and you could tell he wanted to shut the old, bullet-hole riddled, wooden shutters of his shop while I stood there considering my move. I could have just taken the money and changed it but (spits tobacco) I'm not a coward. The tension mounted. Old women ushered their grandchildren back indoors, a lone beautiful woman stared then made the sign of the cross and the local sheriff pretended he hadn't seen a thing. You could have cut the air with a knife.

"It was in your tits".

That's all I could think of saying. There was no flipping way I was touching sweaty Breast Money and it was SO obvious that the shopkeeper had lied about not having change and the atmosphere was all nasty and...and..and something just had to give. I said "It was in your tits" and it turned out that being rude about someone being rude was the best thing that could have happened. All three of us laughed. I'd said tits in front of two people I don't know, it was odd and we laughed. And neither me nor the shopkeeper had to deal with Breast Money. The shop next door did, though.

See, I'd like to know if you've been rude to be polite. It's my new thing. I've read my book out loud on trains to other people reading their bible (see my last blog) because I thought they MUST be interested, I've asked people what that song is that they're playing so incredibly loudly in public and raved about it so much that they couldn't listen to it, I've offered my seat on a train to an incredibly homophobic young man and my simple act of kindness made him feel molested. All good, I think. But let me know if you've ever been rude in the name of good. I'm writing Curse Sir Walter Raleigh, my show about good manners that will be performed at this year's Edinburgh Festival, and I want a bit of the show to be banter between me and the audience about how we can rise up and be rude in the name of good. If you're planning on going to the Edinburgh Festival, you can get tickets here:

The thing is, I may not always know if I'm being rude or not but I definitely know that when a chance to be rude comes along it doesn't mean you have to take it. You don't HAVE to be rude. Yesterday, I met a woman called Semen and I didn't even giggle. Now, that's good manners.

Tickets for CURSE SIR WALTER RALEIGH at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here:

Kindle owners might like to know that my blog is now available to subscribe and read on your Kindle here: