Friday, 17 November 2017

Godot is Prompt.

My day was very busy yesterday, so I set my alarm for 6:30am. Not to make sure I got everything done. No. I knew I’d get everything done in time. What worried me was not getting enough nothing done.

I’m pretty strict when it comes to doing nothing. I’m probably one of the very few people that has deadlines for doing nothing. And it is always a deadline that I cannot ignore. I must have that nothing done or it’s my ass on the nothing line. My day is full, so how am I supposed to cram 3 to 4 hours of nothing in? I’ll tell you how: by pulling your bloody finger out, getting up early and immediately start doing nothing.

I know people who have written books, which probably means they also had to read them (not always the case). Do you know how long it takes to write a book? Have you any idea how much time and effort goes into that? Because I’d like to know. A fact like that would look great in this blog post but, sadly, I couldn’t research it as I had fuck all to do. It’s a great phrase that, isn’t it? “I had fuck all to do”. It’s a much more positive and dynamic phrase than people give it credit for. Let me reword it for you: “Fuck all HAD to be done. It had to. There’s no getting round that. And who do you think stepped up to the challenge? That’s right: I”. But these authors I know don’t just write a bit of a book every day and then just sit there for hours playing Monkey Turnip on their iPhone or staring at the window (not OUT OF the window. That would almost be doing something, so please be careful). No. They raise children and train for marathons and rehearse plays and talk to their local council and fight crime and don’t argue on Twitter and raise awareness and… Jesus, they’re just so busy. When, just WHEN, do they get time to do nothing?

Don’t act like doing nothing isn’t important. It’s vital. I take time out of my inactive day every day to squeeze in hours of nothing. Sometimes hardcore nothing. Not just putting a film on or listening to music, I mean absolutely nothing. Barely moving. Barely thinking. Just sitting on the stairs (walking down the stairs is normally when the fear of real life hits me) and coming to terms with who I am and, most importantly, doing nothing.

I worry about my busy friends with their deadlines and schedules and success and careers. They’re showbizzing themselves into the grave. I, and the entertainment industry, have given myself all the time I need for self-loathing. I’m used to it. I’ve come to terms with it. But what happens to my busy friends who haven’t had the time to realise they’re awful? Will it hit them in later life? Will they start spontaneously screaming at their child’s wedding? Will they burst into tears on The One Show 2039? Will they collect their own sick every day for a month just to throw it at the celebrity audience at the BAFTAs? These are the reasons I’m still friends with them so I do hope so.

One of the busiest people I know is my neighbour Jonny. He is a fucking human rights activist and works for a company that goes around businesses persuading them to be ethical, he is a father to two children and he is constantly organising meetings with Lewisham council to find town planning improvements. I argued with this human rights activist recently when he said he also paints in his “spare time”. How is that spare time? You’re doing something. You’re actively creating, you’re filling that time by making something AND you’re not focussing on how awful you are. That is NOT spare time. Put it this way: Jonny isn’t on Twitter, he has never watched ANYTHING on Netflix and his Monkey Turnip score is H. This man is a ticking timebomb.

I thought about Jonny when I woke up yesterday morning. I’m sure he was getting up at 6:30 too. Probably to jog his children to school or crochet an Amnesty banner. He definitely wasn’t getting up at 6:30 so he could have a few hours doing absolutely nothing at all. He didn’t put Star Trek Discovery on at 7am and not watch it because he was looking at an Instagram story from Olly Murs and then Googled “Olly Murs” to remind himself who Olly Murs was. He didn’t sit there wondering if Donald Trump has ever heard Suede (he must have though, right? He might not know he’s heard Suede but he must have heard them at some point. Anyway, that thought lasted 45 minutes). And he certainly didn’t fart into all 12 microwaves in Monkey Turnip. He got up and he filled his day, making his and other people’s lives better and, therefore, mine worse. Well, don’t say I didn’t warn him.

Jonny and I planned to meet last night. That’s mainly why I was anxious. I’d put all that time aside to do nothing and then later I’d meet up with a lovely man who never had any time due to the constant good work he puts into life. What a bastard. He’s going to make me feel like shit. That’s not fair. I already make myself feel like shit. Oh, he’s got time for that, has he?

There I was, doing absolutely nothing yesterday morning. Important nothing. Nothing that HAD to be done. I had fuck all to do and, by God, I was doing it. And later he’d be telling me how sorry he was for being 5 minutes late because he was busy saving the world.

Yesterday afternoon, Jonny’s wife called to say he’d have to cancel. He’d got hit by a motorbike and broke his arm and cracked some ribs. He’d be in hospital at least until the next day.

All that running around…

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


MOVIE REVIEW: THE PARTY (Dir: Sally Potter, BBC Films, B&W 71 mins)

Sally Potter’s first full length film since 2012’s acclaimed Ginger & Rosa is a monochrome background to an in-colour story of a troubled man sighing his way through a bunch of genuinely awful middle-class people spilling wine while pretending they’ve never heard of Harold Pinter.

The main protagonist’s inner monologue is left to the viewer’s imagination and yet is communicated clearly with his constant head shaking and his backward glances at the cinema patrons to find out where the laughter is coming from and why.

This tale of isolation and confusion carries on until the closing credits but, due to us living in a populist, popcorn-selling, post-Marvel world, the narrative continues with an extra scene featuring the dishevelled and exhausted figure making his way from the cinema to the bus stop, joining other cinema goers in the queue. This is where the story takes a dark and horrific turn.

The bus queue is made of six or seven blank canvas characters put in place to show the value of the anonymous in social situations, a true juxtaposition to the wine-spilling, shrill, Mark Rothko print owning “cunts” observed by the unfortunate, grey-skinned figure throughout the previous 75 minutes. “Mercifully brief”, he texts to a far-away friend before coughing. The distance of the friend is highlighted tragically in the next few minutes as one of the anonymous lifts his compulsory mask and turns to face the queue to reveal himself as the story’s villain. “Were you all just in the cinema just now too?”, he beams at the silent non-faces.

Fear is now the theme of the piece. Has someone actually spoken to us, the masks seem to ask with their mute body language. Unable to understand totally normal practices at a fucking bus stop, the arrogant offender continues: “Good, wasn’t it?”, he says with all the confidence of a man who happily has no idea what the word good means. “It reminded me of Sartre’s Huis Clos”.

The masks remained silent and afraid while this embodiment of evil and ignorance awaits a response that would never come save for the grey-skinned protagonist’s rolling eyes and the truly moving feeling of “Did he actually just use the fucking French title of No Exit? What a fucking cunt. He’s fucking turning round and talking to us and he thinks he’s the only cunt who’s ever heard of fucking Sartre. The cunting cunt cunt”. That feeling is made even more poignant by the masks’ utter refusal to acknowledge the toxic weasel’s wank ejaculating from the villain’s pointless head hole. The agreed upon silence is broken yet again with the villain's agonisingly plummy noise genuinely offering “You know? Hell is other people?”

The protagonist laughs and turns his back on the villain while the masks stay in their plant pots. “Hell is other people”, says the villain again but this time directly to the protagonist. “Hell is other people. Sartre?”

“Mate.”, the protagonist utters his first words of the piece. “No one wants to talk. People just want to go home”

The villain plays his vicious devil card once again: “I’m just trying to be frie…”

“No. You aren’t”, the protagonist is prepared to end the torment for good. “You’re not trying to be friendly. You wouldn’t have started up a conversation with people who clearly didn’t want to talk if you were being friendly. And you wouldn’t have brought up Sartre like that if you were just trying to be friendly. The French title? Jesus. And we just saw the film, so we know what it was like. Pointing out hell is other people after we’ve just seen that film is like us seeing Jaws and you pointing out that it was probably about a shark or something.”

“But…”, says the villain.

“And who the fuck quotes Sartre to a bus queue anyway? I just don’t believe you think that was ‘a bit Sartre’. I think you’ve seen that somewhere, liked it and tried to pass it off as your own just to be popular here. Because who in their right mind would ever come off with something so clearly obvious and try to pass it off as their own?”

The self-referential description of Potter’s black and white (mainly white) segment of the piece is simply the set-up for the protagonist’s killer blow: “And, seriously, who says hell is other people to a bunch of complete strangers waiting for a bus in the cold? Who references Sartre and hell is other people when they clearly don’t understand it?”

Silence is restored but the sound has been replaced with a feeling of utter discomfort from everyone but the deluded protagonist who believes he has made a stand against the smug. He did not buy into the wine-spilling lives of the awful plagiarists and he made it clear that he would not buy into the forced friendliness of the villain. The evil, lying villain who dared talk at a bus stop.

The Party experience then closes with the protagonist alone in bed smiling to himself. He thinks back to the evening past and his victory over unnecessary warmth at a bus stop. Hell is other people indeed, he thinks as he turns out the light.

The darkness is the only truth of the piece. And the protagonist knows this as his inability to sleep proves while the evening replays continuously inside his roomy skull. Hell is other people? Or is it being alone in the dark realising exactly who you are?

One star. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

As Soft and Gentle As A Sigh.

I enjoyed myself this summer.

I don’t enjoy myself very often these days. Enjoying yourself is a much younger man’s game. I’m 49 so, these days, on the very rare occasion that I do enjoy myself, I know it’ll take me weeks to recover before I can even think about enjoying myself again. Hard to believe that there was a time I’d enjoy myself every day. Get home from school, run up to my bedroom, close the door, lock it, lock it again, put a chair up against it, put another chair up against that, check the door was locked again and then enjoy myself. Every day. Sometimes more than once.

And that was fine. People don’t mind hearing about young people enjoying themselves. It’s just a bit cheeky when young people do it, isn’t it? A bit of fun. But not when a 49 year old man does it. Then it’s disgusting. A young comedian bounces on to the stage and talks about how he enjoyed himself and then got off the bus and we all laugh at the innocent, adorable little scamp. Then I come on and talk about how I enjoyed myself and I am branded a pervert. “Ugh”, the audience say. “Now we have to think about this lecherous creep stalking himself and grooming himself and… Ugh, I feel sick. He probably sends himself dick pics and hand pics. And the poor guy has to go along with it because he thinks it’ll help his career even though this creep is a nobody, which is probably why we’ve never heard of him. He’s worse than Harvey Weinstein and Stephen Fry, if Stephen Fry has been called out on sexual harassment claims by the time this blog is posted”.

Let me reassure you. That is one of the very main reasons I don’t enjoy myself very often: I’m just not that into me. I don’t want to do THAT to me just as much as you don’t. It’s gross. I mean, it’s not that gross. I don’t ejaculate or anything. I never ejaculate. For a couple of reasons. One: I’m vegan. That semen is an animal product. It isn’t for me. It’s for my babies. Two: like I say, I’m 49. Nothing comes out anymore. I mean, if I really try (and I mean really, really try), my future ghost might puff out, screaming “THE TIME IS NOT YET UPON US” before sucking itself back into my penis. Or if I really, really try (and I mean really, really, REALLY try), a couple of teeth might pop out. But that’s it. So, stop judging me.

Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day, so I went up to my bedroom to prepare enjoying myself. I walked over to the bedroom window and opened it. Not that that’s a part of my enjoying myself ritual. It isn’t. It’s not like I open the window and shout “You, boy! What day is it?”, hitting an urchin in the eye with my stuff just as he says, “Christmas again, by the looks of it”. No. I opened the window a bit because it was a hot summer’s day. I closed the curtains! I’m not weird. Well, I closed them almost all the way, leaving just a tiny gap to let some air in. I didn’t want the people I fantasise about to feel stuffy. And before you start feeling sick again, I was joking. I never fantasise. I just lie there completely still not thinking of a single thing until the whole sorry mess (tiny mess) is over.

I used to fantasise. I used to do it all the time but now, at the age of 49, I’m so me that I can’t stop being me. Even in fantasies. Like I could start fantasising about being in a jacuzzi with Lulu and it would start OK. She’d say, “You like this, don’t you, Michael?” and I’d say “Yeah, Lulu. I do”. And she’d say “Yeah. You like it when I touch you there, don’t you?” and I’d say “Yeah, Lulu. I bloody do. And then she’d say “Yeah, Michael. I bet you wish Stephen Moffat was staying on another year, don’t you?” and I’d say “No, Lulu. I don’t actually”. A massive argument would erupt and I’d storm out of the jacuzzi mumbling something about how she hasn’t even seen Pyramids of Mars. So, there’s no point in me ever fantasising.

So, I lay on the bed and began… you know… polishing the rod. Practicing my stroke. Cleaning out the pipe. Whatever euphemism you use. I genuinely tried to come up with a proper euphemism for how it actually is for me and the best I could come up with is “Ceefax and chill”. Really depressing. 

But I was enjoying myself. And I was enjoying myself for maybe three minutes when a butterfly landed on the pillow next to me.

Right next to me. It lay there looking at me. A butterfly saw me masturbate. I hope you’re feeling the importance of this in the same way I did. If not, allow me to repeat: a BUTTERFLY saw me MASTURBATE. A BUTTERFLY! Nature’s Princess Diana. It flew in, lay down and it watched me masturbate.

Do you know how long a butterfly lives for? 48 hours. And for 5 seconds during it’s brief, brief life, it saw me masturbate. To put that into perspective, that’s like you (yeah, you) watching me masturbate for 33 hours. Really slowly.

I am embarrassed and sickened by my first thought when I was, you know, “killing myself softly” while a butterfly watched. I just saw it lying there next to me and I thought “Jesus Christ. I bet this happens to Snow White all the time”. She’s finally seen the guys off to work. Decides to have a little me party and as soon as she gets started, a deer and a pig walk in saying “Do you need the dishes done?”. “Fucking hell”, she screams. “Five fucking minutes to myself!”

I stopped. I had to. Every time I flap my right arm, a hurricane hits South America. HA HA HA! Brilliant! Seriously, I stopped. Of course, I did. I’m not a monster. I cupped my hands around the butterfly and gently carried it to the window and set it free. I did that immediately because, no matter what, that traumatised insect will be dead within 48 hours. Probably now due to suicide. It probably flew out the window directly into a pin.

This was not how I normally enjoyed myself. That poor little animal. Such a short life and yet the horror it had seen. And then my next thought made me feel even worse: How many eyes does a butterfly have?

Oh, god. I bet it has like 20 eyes. 20 eyes just flew in and saw my dick. That’s horrible and depressing. For an insane reason, I tried to calculate how many eyes had seen my dick before the butterfly. I reckoned 33. Mainly medical professionals. And a villain.

Do you know how many eyes a butterfly has? I looked it up: 12,000. A butterfly has twelve thousand eyes. TWELVE THOUSAND EYES WATCHED ME WANK. I mean, I’m sure I burned a few out but it still stands. Twelve thousand eyes watched me wank. Sigh…

When you feel low, you have to make yourself feel better. That’s important advice. If you’ve traumatised a butterfly and you’re feeling worse and worse about it, then you have to do something about it. And nothing makes you feel better than education. Knowledge makes us stronger. So, I did more research.

I looked up the seating capacity of some of the finest, most prestigious concert venues in the UK and I discovered this: The Royal Albert Hall has a seating capacity of 6000. How’s THAT for making yourself feel better about yourself? Don’t you get it? 6000 people. That’s 12,000 eyes. I felt terrible just a few minutes ago but look at me now, people, just look at me now!

For I am Michael Legge. And I have basically masturbated at a SOLD OUT GIG at the ROYAL. ALBERT. HALL. (APPLAUSE FROM EVERYONE WHO READS THIS…)

And yet still the comedy industry ignores me

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Idiot

Yesterday morning I woke up, got out of bed and fell immediately onto the floor. That was not my first mistake of the day. That came later when I picked myself up. Why did I do that? My bedroom carpet is soft and comforting and the floor itself stops me from falling any further. Only getting up again guarantees more falls. Why do we fall, Bruce? Because it’s great. Getting up makes us bitter, angry and pretty likely to seek bloody justice while dressed as a caped gimp.

I lay on the floor for the greatest second of my life and then made the rash decision to get up. As I lifted my equivalent of a body, I realised I was in pain. That’s another stupid thing about getting up: after falling, you don’t really realise you’re hurt until you start moving. I held on to the wardrobe for support and as I raised what was left of me from the floor, my knees held their head in their hands in agony.

I sat on the bed and looked at the floor. Why would anyone want to be anywhere else other than the floor? The floor is our only friend. We can lie on it and nothing worse will ever happen. Next time you fall, think: where is pain and fear and sadness and wankers? Is it down here on the comfy, fluffy, mothering floor carpet? Or is it all up there with the delayed trains and the unpaid bills and the racism and the random American shootings and the Weinsteins and the hashtags and the Brexit and the fucking constant constant. Christ, when you fall, that is the floor giving you a way out. That is the floor reminding you that you are loved and cared for. The floor is freedom. The floor is the only person who gives a shit about anyone.

And I rejected it. My one chance at happiness and I said no. I mean, I’ve fallen loads of times and I’m planning on falling loads more but I bet, eventually, I’ll still get up again. Because I’m a fucking idiot.

My day was awful yesterday. Literally every part of it. A disaster. In fact, it was several disasters. One after the other. And after every disaster, all I could think about was that warm, beautiful floor. I thought about how lovely it was when I fell on it. How safe I felt as I lay on top of it. I thought about a story I once read about a man who was found dead on his living room floor after lying there alone and forgotten for two years and I envied the jammy cunt.

There are only a few things that make me completely happy. One of them is writing blog posts. I can write what I like and I never have to edit it or change it in any way. Not that I blog any more. I don’t. I gave that up years ago. I also like Iggy Pop, being vegan and performing my latest show called Jerk. I love it. And the only thing that yesterday had going for it was that I could perform part of that show at The Comedy Store at a vegan benefit gig. I mean, that’s the best. That’s what I live for. That will make the morning fall and everything that happened after it seem worthwhile. THIS is why I got up from the floor.

I went on stage and I was terrible.

I haven’t felt that amateur in a long time. I remembered feedlines and punchlines. Just not ones that matched up. I tripped over words, forgot where I was, my throat and mouth got drier and drier to the point that I thought I was going to be sick. Being sick on stage in front of vegans is a nightmare. They won’t clean it up as it’s technically an animal product. Instead I just wobbled about on stage, sweating and nearly being sick while the audience remained polite and respectful. Oh, yeah. No booing or heckling. They wouldn’t let me die. Bloody vegans.

I was bollocks. My beloved show was bollocks in front of a room full of vegans and animal rights supporters. Floor! Why did I forsake thee?!

Everyone else on the bill was vegan too but they were funny. I sat in the dressing room feeling like shit with a bunch of really talented vegan comedians that were loved and adored by a few hundred like minded people at a GIG I REALLY WANTED TO BE GOOD AT.

Ever have one of those moments in life when you think “what am I?” That’s how I felt on the way home. All I needed was to be good at that gig. That would have made getting up off the perfect floor worthwhile. Or at least I needed any part of my shit, shit day yesterday to be good. Anything to justify getting up. But I had nothing. So when it’s late at night and you’re alone and you’ve rejected a floor that tried to save you and you didn’t perform well at the only thing you should be good at… what are you? What am I?

I started reading the Iggy Pop biography Open Up and Bleed. I couldn’t really concentrate as I was busy remembering everything that I SHOULD have done at the gig but was too crap to do. Iggy always cheers me up. His energy, his intellect, his stupidity. But this was a tough job for him this time. I held the book in my hand. I even looked at the words. Yet all I could think about was the horror of my act and the comfort of the floor. That’s not a life. Not being prepared for a gig you’re looking forward to is bullshit and lying on the floor isn’t going to improve that. That’s when something in the book caught my eye.

On the 11th August 1968, The Stooges played a midnight show in a town called Romeo in Michigan. It was a 15 minute long set and at the end, for the very first time in his career (but nowhere near the last) Iggy Pop got his dick out on stage.

That was about 12:15am on the morning of 12th August 1968. Michigan is 5 hours behind the UK. I was born at 5:15am on the 12th August 1968.


It really doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just dates, times and Iggy Pop’s wang. I HAVE NEVER FELT MORE ALIVE!

The day started with me on the floor but now I’m standing proud. Because I am Iggy Pop’s dick. And I hope, in your darkest hours, you will be too.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Upgrade Downfall.

Only an idiot would ever go into the Apple Store.

And in I went. Awful. I can confidently say that it is the worst place I've ever been to and I've been to "Troubles era" Northern Ireland and the theatre. It is a massive, massive, expensive warehouse of nothing. It sells nothing. For thousands of pounds. And in I went.

Within seconds, I wanted to burn the place to the ground. If only I could have afforded their pointless and overpriced iMatches and virtual petrol, that place would no longer exist and I would be hailed as a hero. Within 3 minutes I witnessed two iFriends (that's what Apple Store staff are really called. Honestly. Look it up on your android phone) celebrate making a sale by giving two thumbs up to their customers and saying "Fantastic". The customers had bought nothing but it was nothing that came in really good packaging. I came in for a reason but now that I'd seen the iFriends fantastic thumbs, I was too scared to ask anyone if I could buy the thing I came in for. So, like an idiot, I browsed.

All I saw was nothing. Nothing that connects to your phone so you can play music (which you already can anyway) and nothing that can connect to your phone so that you can dim the lights in your living room when you're in Helsinki. Boxes and boxes of nothing. Nothing that costs £150 or £345. I saw one box of nothing that cost £359! And it was quite a small box. Then I started to look at very small boxes of nothing that wrap around your phone to protect it from the moment that you finally snap back into reality and smash it with a hammer. And, as if by magic, an iFriend appeared.

"Hey, there", he said. "Can I help you at all?" I put my hand on his shoulder, looked him in the eye and said "I was about to ask you the same thing".

He now looked terrified but carried on trying to sell me an iPhone protective cover or, as it is known in the real world, nothing. He pointed out that there are leather covers and there are silicone covers. He said the silicone covers were a lot cheaper. They're also a lot smaller and all they do is basically give your iPhone an extra layer of the plastic shell it already has. It was £35. Thirty Five Pounds. "But it isn't a thing", I said. He smiled and asked me to "get his eye" when I'd made my mind up. I had made my mind up. I wanted to "get his eye" and stand on it.

I had to get out. It was time to just buy the nothing I came in for and leave. I walked through the store passing nothing that chooses films for you because why should you have to pick a film as well as watch it? And nothing that can ask your children if they have homework and nothing that can turn your heating on or off via the Bluetooth in your phone if you're in the same room as your thermostat. And... and... a cunt playing jazz piano live in the fucking store for no fucking smug cunt balls reason.

I raged up to an iFriend and asked for some nothing, please. They gave that smile/cry for help that they give everyone and asked what sort of nothing I'd like and I said I wanted the new nothing, the newest nothing, You know the nothing that you put on your wrist and and everyone asks why you bought it and it monitors exactly how lazy you are and it has to tell you to stand up because you've been lying on the floor in your own shit for too long and it sends cheery cartoon reminders for you to breathe and it checks on your heart so that it can email a sad face to everyone on your contacts list the second you finally die. I want that fucking nothing. Also, it tells the time.

The iFriend got me my nothing and took my credit card and I waited. She's going to hand me my nothing and give me the celebration thumbs and the we-have-your-money-now "Fantastic" any second now. Why have I bought this useless fucking thing? It is literally nothing. £399 worth of nothing. Nothing that can survive up to 300 ft below water. Great. I can't even drown it. And what do I get for nothing? Thumbs up and a "fantastic". And here it comes.

The iFriend gave my card back and gave me my nothing in a lovely nothing bag. She looked me right in the eye and said...

"Well done".

No fantastic. No thumbs up. Just "well done". You came in here. You hated every single thing you saw and you saw it for what it was and then you paid nearly £400 to have a bit of it. Just like every other idiot. Yeah. Well done.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

One For Fuck All.

Liverpool can be a lonely place on a Thursday morning, and this was only Saturday night.

Being a stand-up comedian is a lonely job. Being a 48 year old stand up comedian is even lonelier. Even you don't want to hang out with you. But the loneliest I've ever felt doing this job was one Saturday night in Liverpool last year. I remember it well because it was the weekend that The Stone Roses released their long-awaited comeback single.

I love The Stone Roses, and by that I mean that I love The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses. It's a truly great album made by ambitious, fiery, artistic, free young men. Their follow up album was nothing compared to that wonderful, trippy, angry first album and over 27 years since its release. It's all of The Stone Roses that matters. The second album could afford to be terrible because that debut was so superb. It has carried them all this time and anything else they do wouldn't matter unless it was as good or better. To say the least, I was excited about the first Stone Roses music in 22 years.

It was fucking appalling.

Of course it was. How could it not be? Their second album proved that they'd run out of inspiration, what made me think they'd get it back over two decades later? I'm an idiot. It's called All For One and if you haven't heard it then you've got the luckiest pair of ears in town. "All for one, one for all", whines Ian Brown. "Let's join hands and build a wall", forgetting how difficult it is to build a wall while you're holding hands. What did you use to put the bricks on top of one another? Your knob? It's fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking awful. I just didn't "get" it. What happens to all that fire in a young band's belly? How can four men be so full of artistic vision and then release that drivel? I just didn't "get" it. I just didn't "get" the new Stone Roses single. I don't know where that vision went and I don't "get" the new Stone Roses single and then I started thinking about my own life.

I was listening to All For One for about the eighth time and hoping I'd "get" it while walking alone from the gig in Liverpool to the train station. I still didn't "get" it. And I also didn't "get" what had happened to me.

When I was 18, I was in a band. We were a cover band. Yes, that's right. A cover band. Not a covers band. Cover. One song. That's all we knew. It was a cover of Walk This Way by Aerosmith. Walk This Way by Run DMC was incredibly popular at the time but we decided to go for the less popular Aerosmith original. We did four gigs, sometimes performing Walk This Way up to three times in a row. Of course, we were much more ambitious than that. Of course we were. We were young. We didn’t just want to do an Aerosmith cover for the rest of our careers. The band started to write their own music and I wrote the lyrics. Then I was asked to leave because every one of my songs was about masturbation. It was literally all I knew.

That band could have gone somewhere. But then I moved to London and suddenly discovered art. I gave up on the band too easily but art was something that I could really devote my life too. I would be a painter. I genuinely had my heart set on it. But then I just went to the pub instead. It’s the same with that play I didn’t write. And that film I didn’t direct. And that book I didn’t… No. I just haven’t written that yet. But I will. I will. I should do.

And I thought all this while walking alone late at night in Liverpool. At 48, still doing the clubs alone and travelling alone and thinking about that ambitious young man I once was and listening to the new Stone Roses single. I just didn’t “get” it. Then I broke one of my own rules. I pissed in the street.

I left the venue after drinking the regulation comedian’s amount of lager and now desperately needed to wee. I absolutely hate the idea of weeing outside. Don’t know how people do it. But, I was desperate. I knew it was wrong but I went under a very dark viaduct and pissed.

Junkie needles lay all over the ground as I pissed. This did not make me feel any better. How did that young leader singer… that artist… that playwright… end up alone, under a viaduct at midnight, pissing near junkie needles? What would he think of what I’d turned him into? I made him middle-aged. I made him alone. I made him piss on junkie needles.

As I thought all this, I used my piss to move two of the needles together so that they formed a V shape. Then, just above the needles, I pissed two half circles side by side so that the V shape and the piss half circles made a heart. I really did this. In real life. I stood there under that viaduct and thought about getting fired from the band and not painting and not writing my play and I was old and alone and I was shit and really, really… what have I done with my life? I made a love-heart out of piss and junkie needles.

And that’s when I finally “got” the new Stone Roses single.

For more record reviews, listen to the Vitriola podcast with Robin Ince and Michael Legge on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Delete the Internet.

Hello. I am Michael Legge and I have an announcement to make. I am retiring from being angry online as from tomorrow and today I will be having my last ever online argument: With Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

25 years ago to the day, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the then keyboard player in D-Ream, invented the Internet and he is a cunt. I mean, he ruined absolutely everything. If you're young, you may not remember a time when a sack full of every hate-filled thought by every arsehole on the planet wasn't thrown at your front door, but 25 years ago today Sir Tim Berners-Lee decided that that was the very thing that was missing from our lives. Why are people keeping their thoughts to themselves?, he sang in Sack Full of Every Hate-Filled Thought, the follow up single to Things Can Only Get Better, his one and only sarcastic pop hit that the nation didn't get was a joke. Why can't we all read the minds of every single vicious bastard on Earth and openly agree with them?, he kept singing and singing and singing. I can barely listen to any of D-Ream's albums anymore. They sound like the beginning of the end of civilisation. Which they are. And that is the fault of one "man": Sir Tim Brooke-Taylor.

All of that might sound insane but that's only because I haven't slept for days. Maybe 2 or 3 hours a night for at least five days. Right now, I'm writing this at 4:53am after sleeping for 90 minutes. I can't sleep because the noise of the Internet is so constant in my head. I know what Dave Piss in St Albans thinks of non-English athletes in the Olympics and I shouldn't because he's far away, he's horrible and I have no interest. Yet, Mr. Piss's opinion has been posted online, retweeted, shared and put into the sack full of every hate-filled thought that arrives at my door every morning. I know what Kenny Dickhead in Utah thinks of #BlackLivesMatter and I shouldn't because he's far away, he's horrible and I have no interest in him. I know what Billy "The Wanker" Wanker in Blackburn thinks of Brexit and I shouldn't because he's far away, he's horrible and I have no interest in him. I know what Shit Shit in Wexford thinks of abortion and I definitely shouldn't because he's not far enough away, he's definitely horrible and he should always keep his stupid fucking pointless mouth closed while holding his nose blocking any oxygen unfortunate enough to locate his brain. Yet, Sir Tim looked at the world 25 years ago and decided he wanted to connect people, not to the mains like you or I would, but with a tool that means every single person can communicate with every single person in every single subject at every single second of the day, at all times. Sir Tim wanted to connect people. PEOPLE! The very things that should be isolated in iron trunks at the bottom of the sea permanently. He looked at a global forest fire and thought "What that fire needs is a voice".

When I invented online hate in 2008, it was adorable. Cute. I thought it would be funny to appear to be the least supportive member of the comedy community and openly abuse my contemporaries. But we were all younger then. I'm not sure we were ready for this possible huge change in our lives. It was back when Facebook was in its second trimester and the news that an unwanted Twitter had appeared and it was just a different time. They're both products of the regretted fling between MySpace and Geocities, a night that should have been forgotten. Society demanded we accept these horrible twins and let them grow, even though we clearly weren't ready to raise them properly. It was all pictures of cats and dinners then and maybe we thought it always would be like that. But, like The Smiths, pricks started to like them. Somehow, pricks really got into dinners and cats and, all of a sudden, the Internet was appealing to the same people who like violence, porn, far right politics and The Smiths. It was the middle of the beginning of the end of civilisation. 

Over the past few days I've got in online arguments with a joke thief, a pro-lifer abusing women and a cunt. These arguments lasted hours. Hours of whatever I have left of my life. I don't know why I argued with the last one. A cunt is just a cunt (D-Ream, 1996) and there is very little anyone can do about that but I argued with him anyway because that is what Sir Tim's plan for me always was. It's equally baffling that I got into such a long argument with the joke thief. It's not like everything I do in comedy is always so original. As for the pro-lifer? Yes, him targeting the utterly heartbreaking and noble @TwoWomenTravel is distressing but here's the thing: when you argue with a pro-lifer who has gone online to target and abuse women who are making such a brave statement and yet you start looking equally mad, it's time to rethink exactly what it is that you're doing. His views were horrible and, as he attacked, so I attacked him. I almost certainly couldn't change his mind. Can anyone calm insanity in 140 characters or less? But maybe I could have tried. 

One night in 1989, the first person outside of my immediate family that I loved asked me to go to the pub with her. She was the first funny, artistic, well-read alien I had ever met and she still appears other-worldly and exciting to me to this day. I worry about the fictional Michael in the alternative universe who didn't meet her because his life wasn't doing so well when I left him. She bought me cowboy boots. That night while sitting on a kerb drinking beer, she told me she had an abortion. My response wasn't angry or abusive but I did say that I considered it murder. 

I was 20 and even though I was a few years into atheism, I was still very much hardwired to think just as the Catholic Church taught me. Obviously, I felt bad that this person who I loved had experienced this and decided to read up on exactly what abortion was. I wish I could remember what I read now because those books helped me so much. I'm very much a pro-choice person and I'm ashamed of how my brain worked in the past. But, it's amazing what a bit of reading and actual facts will do. And maybe I could have told him that. Instead, I called him smelly. Yeah. I really did.

So, I'm done. I'm even calling off my last fight with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He invented this awful thing so it's his problem. Just like stealing a joke, hating yourself so much that you send hate tweets to women and being a cunt is some other people's problems. I'm not looking in the sack anymore. Neither should you. In fact, stop reading this. If you have to look at anything Sir Tim's invention has to offer then look at @TwoWomenTravel and you will see something truly astounding, inspiring and tragically beautiful.

Sorry this isn't funny.