I have made a terrible mistake. In a way, that's always been the point of this blog. I make terrible mistakes so that you don't have to, but this one is one of the most terrible and horrible mistakes of my life. Worse than the time I said no to tickets to see The Smiths because I already had a ticket to see Nik Kershaw, worse than the time I agreed to do a Harvester advert for £16,000 only to turn up late, drunk, smelly and was docked £13,500 in wages and worse than the time I met Robyn Hitchcock. Any time I met Robyn Hitchcock. These are all mistakes of the past but at the age of 42 I'm still making mistakes. Big ones. And this one only happened because I love Jerk. I love her so much that I wanted to get closer to her, get to know her better, see what she's really like. God, I made such a terrible mistake. I set up a webcam.
The thing is, when you're a dog owner the one bad thing about the relationship between you are your ickle puppy is that the dog can't talk. You never really know how the dog truly feels. Most dog owners would say that if they could have one wish, it wouldn't be for something dickish like world peace, it would be that their dog could talk. This is completely ridiculous. You really don't want your dog to speak ever. I recently had a dream about Jerk and at one point she turned to me and said, in a very polite English voice, "I'm going now".
No-one wants their dog to talk. It would be heartbreaking.
A webcam is exactly the same. I mean, what does Jerk get up to when I'm not around? What adventures does she have? What adorable games does she play? Does she just curl up like a big, cute, lovely, yummy donut that you just want to kiss and kiss and kiss? Awww...it'll be lovely having a webcam and seeing Jerk when I'm out. It'll be really, really nice.
It's not nice.
I set the webcam up through Ustream and left the house to go to my gig in Alton. When I got on the train I phoned Muki who was in Las Vegas. I told her all about the wecam and we both agreed that it was the most perfect and adorable idea that anyone had ever had ever in the whole history of perfect, adorable ideas. Muki clicked on the website and saw... nothing.
That's fine because I had just fed Jerk so she's probably in the kitchen eating. Jerk doesn't scarf her food like other uncooth dogs. Jerk is a lady. She eats her food slowly, enjoying the flavours and she only ever drinks champagne. She is class. After about 10 minutes Jerk finally appeared on screen. And she just stood there. For ages. Doing nothing.
I'd left the TV on, because I'm insane and think that she watches it, and Songs of Praise was quietly churching in the background. But Jerk just stood there. Staring at the sofa. The sofa that Jerk and I sit on. The sofa that was empty. And that's when she started to cry.
At first we just thought Yoko Ono was hosting this week's Songs of Praise but no. She's not Christian so they wouldn't let her, I don't think. And the crying got louder. At one point she howled so loudly it just sounded like she might die. I reckon I'm not a bad dog owner but when you can hear your own dog crying via Las Vegas when you're on a pissy train in South London you feel nothing short of Cruella Deville or Josef Fritzl. Muki's commentary to go along with the visuals didn't help. "Oh, my God. She's staring right into the camera. She's crying and she won't stop staring into the camera. She knows we're watching. She knows!"
This lasted two minutes. Jerk's crying, I mean. Muki's commentary lasted hours. She then got on the sofa and curled up, occassionally squeaking her dog toy, and then fell asleep. It took me a long time to get over those two minutes and I can blame no-one but myself. I did it. I did it and you must never, ever do it. Dogs don't play cards when you leave, they don't watch telly (or if they do they fucking hate songs of praise), they just miss you. You love your dog, you feed your dog, you play with your dog, you fuss your dog, you comfort and care for your dog. Want to get closer to your dog than that? Then be prepared to be horrified. Webcams are for mutual masturbation on Skype, not pets.
As I started to get over Jerk's crying moment, I thought I'd listen to a podcast and as a result spent the rest of the train journey laughing. It was a Simon Munnery interview and he was talking about the worst introduction he'd ever got. The compere was so utterly useless that he got everything mixed up. Simon was going under the name of League Against Tedium at the time and this idiot compere got so confused that he ended up thinking Simon was on first AND he got Simon's name wrong. This meant that Mark Maier, the act that WAS on first, was introduced as League OF Tedium.
That compere was me.
And I'm still making mistakes.
ps. Robin Ince and I are performing Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire at the Glasgow Comedy Festival this Saturday. You can buy tickets here: http://bit.ly/f9Wghe
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