Sunday, 14 November 2010

No Punchline.

Perhaps I should just stay away from Lewisham Shopping Centre. Perhaps you should too. No good happens there. In fact, it's the very home of insanity. Monday to Friday is bad enough. The weird walking dead of the daytime people with fuck all to do brings a lovely depression to the massively strong floodlights and the Level 42 background music. Plus seeing people walk out of Ann Summers with their secret bags of secret underwear and going straight next door into Greggs for a pie is a lovely image that no amount of booze can destroy. But it's the weekend that Lewisham Shopping Centre's madness comes into it's own because during the weekend it's not just all about Argos or British Home Stores or that shop that only ever sells one thing and always closes down then re-opens the next week selling a different one thing (quite often Peter Andre's Insania cologne). At the weekend it's all about the community.

On Saturdays and Sundays I'm used to seeing face painting for kids, creepy men making balloon animals and the painful choking of community choirs. But recently it's changed. Lewisham Shopping Centre has totally gone 21st century on our asses. It's wicked there now. Boss. Aces. Fucking awful. Now they have things like X-Factah! or Lewisham's Got Talent and I am mesmerised every time I see them. Not that I'm a fan of children singing "Poker Face" but there really is nothing more enjoyable than watching a 9 year old burst into tears after being told by a grown adult that he or she is shit. I could watch that all day. But this weekend has been different. There is crime in Lewisham and the community wants to sort that out. The community want the youths of Lewisham to put down their knives. They want the youths of Lewisham to say no to violence. Hmmmm...but how do we get them to do that? Well, apparently the best way to stop young people getting into violence is by teaching them how to box. Lewisham Shopping Centre had a fucking boxing ring right in between the Sony shop and Adams'. Leaflets were being handed out and young people were all encouraged to start punching each other and to stamp out violence. I looked at the leaflet and it genuinely said that this was a "Punchathon" as part of the "Jab Don't Stab" campaign. It was then that I wondered if Graham Linehan is writing Lewisham Shopping Centre.

It's a fucking surreal place.

Don't forget, it's All Day Edinburgh on Sunday 21st December at The Phoenix. Great comedians in a great venue all day. No word on Ticketweb selling tickets yet (sigh...) but as soon as I know, you'll know. Even better if you follow All Day Edinburgh on Twitter. Acts are being added all the time and it's going to be a fantastic gig all in aid of Shelter. We will also be encouraging the youth of Lewisham to give up knife crime with out "Gags Not Stabs" campaign.

In the meantime, try to figure out how this happened:


Saturday, 13 November 2010


What's the fucking point in helping anyone ever? Not only are you almost certainly rushing to the aid of a prick but every prick on this planet will get in your way of doing it. If you have any intention of ever helping anyone, do what everyone else does. You know, nothing. Being nice and thoughtful is one of the most stressful things you'll ever go through and I don't recommend it. I was going to write about this anyway today but now I'm fired up by what happened to my adorable friend Liz today. A man was getting off a train, she saw a wallet lying there, ran after him and gave it to him. SHE HELPED HIM. THE FUCKING IDIOT. He took the wallet, took the money from it, gave it back to her and ran off the train. Of course he did. Liz is a helper and helper's are shat on. I'm begging you, don't even think of lending a hand or sparing a thought or gooding a Samaritan. There should be a fucking government warning on helping. We had safe sex and stop smoking shoved down our throats and I don't think either of them will kill me. The stress of helping? That'll see me to the grave.

Last week I was walking into Lewisham Shopping Centre, where they film all of George A. Romero's films every single day, and I saw a wallet lying on the ground. My immediate reaction was BRILLIANT! FREE MONEY! but within a half second the guilt hit me. There is no way I can keep this. I must find the person and give it to them because I suffer from being nice. Like a dick. Even though I'm fully aware that the owner of this wallet will be a prick who will never appreciate what I've done, I'm going to get it to them anyway. Did Li Ping teach me nothing? It's not like I want to be thanked. I don't. I did William Orbit a big favour a couple of months ago by pointing him out to his driver at the airport thus stopping poor William from wandering around looking all lost. Did he thank me? NO. Did he even know I'd done it? NO. It was the good deed itself that was my reward. Mind you, that good deed was piss easy, this one was going to be a lot harder.

I looked in the wallet and saw that whoever had dropped it was now down over £200 cash. This had to get back to him. He had several Barclays bank cards so I reasoned that the best thing to do was to phone Barclays, let them know I've found the guy's wallet, they could phone him and he could come get his wallet. No cards would have to be cancelled and no money would be lost. I'm a fucking hero.

Barclays had other plans.

I was told by Arsebot 3000 on the other end of the phone that she couldn't phone him. It was against Barclays policy. All she could do was cancel his cards.

"But you don't need to cancel his cards. I'm at Lewisham Shopping Centre. He probably is too. Give him my number and he can call me and pick up the wallet".

"Yeah. We can't do that".

"Why not?"

"We just can't. All we can do is cancel his cards".

"You can't just phone one of your own customers? You'd rather cancel cards then produce new ones?"

"That's all we can do. Do you have an account with Barclays?"

"No. What's that got to do with anything?"

"You haven't got an account so I can't phone him".

"WHAT? How? What?....SO. You COULD call him if I DID have an account?"


Let's just think about this for a second. Don't you think that we're all better off without this person? It doesn't matter if it's Barclays policy. That's irrelevant. She could still just call him and give him my number but she just couldn't get her head round the idea of helping. This is a person too many. Admit it, if you could just press a button and she would disappear forever that button would be worn out on seconds.

Fuck the woman from Barclays. I'm keeping this wallet. I tried to help and that bastard wanted none of it. That money is mine. I looked in the wallet and right in amongst his money and his cards was a photo. A photo of a woman. A really disapproving, disappointed woman. She knew what I was doing and she hated me for it. FINE. I'll hand it in. Handing it in is a good thing. Mummy always told me to hand things in if I found something and now I'm taking Mummy's advice. The Barclays phone call had exhausted me anyway. I was giving up the will to help. But that photograph gave me such a telling off that I knew I had to do this one more thing. I went to the information desk and handed the wallet to a security idiot.

He looked at the wallet like he couldn't quite work out what it was. He then gave the same look to me. "I found it just outside". He looked even more confused. "It was just lying on the ground". He looked even more confused. "I thought I'd hand it in". His face almost swallowed itself.

"Maybe you could make an announcement over the tannoy?" His face now looked like he vaguely remembered this from his training. He even started to smile. Like he remembered that helping was good. "I'll do it right away", he said and off he went.

That was nice. It took him a while but he finally got it. If he helped someone then they would feel better and he would feel good about himself. Off he went to the tannoy to save the day. I had done the best I could and now he was going to do the same. Good for him.

I was in Lewisham Shopping Centre for a further half hour. No tannoy announcement was made.

So that's it. If I find anything belonging to you, IT'S MINE. I'm not putting myself through that again. Never ever help anyone.

Except Shelter. Always help Shelter. I'll even make it easy for you. I'm organising a little gig on the 21st November at The Phoenix, Cavendish Square, London and it is full of the very best comedy shows from this year's Edinburgh Fringe. The line up includes Tony Law, Paul Sinha, The Penny Dreadfuls, Pappys, Robin Ince & me, Sara Pascoe, Nick Helm, Mat Ricardo, Storytellers, Alex Zane, An Hour of Telly Live, The Trap (even though they haven't done Edinburgh for years) and a lot more. Some we have to keep ssshh about. It's called All Day Edinburgh, starts 2pm and I'll let you know how to get tickets as soon I know. It's very exciting. You'll be helping Shelter but I won't tell anyone.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Scream Test.

Is this supposed to be a fucking joke? How am I supposed to react? What am I supposed to do with this news and how does anyone expect me to carry on? Two weeks ago I had a blood test. I'm 42 years old and I've never had a blood test. I drink too much, I eat bad food and I rarely if ever exercise. I have managed to convince myself that using the Wii is exercise. Not Wii Fit but Wii Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I have not looked after myself and I have psoriasis, asthma, a foot lump, arthritis, a beer belly and funny eyes. I am fucked, basically. So this blood test has had me scared. My big foot is still uncomfortable and the blood test will no doubt reveal that I have gangrene. My cholesterol will be sky high and I will be forced to give up booze. I will be one of those people that find out if they have one more drink they'll be dead. I've heard that story a lot over the years and think it's a blessed miracle that these people discover what will kill them just before that one last final drink. It's a blessed miracle and not a big fat lie. No. And I will be one of them. I will have the dirtiest blood that any medical professional has ever seen. It will be full of cancer and AIDS and bile and faeces flakes that are swimming around my body clogging up my heart. I will have an ulcer the size of a bean bag and an aneurysm that is actually fucking my brain. My liver will be fictional and my spleen will be cursing me on it's deathbed. Everything else I will tick off on my donor card quickly because the warm, loving, gentle grave awaits. But I will have a few blogs still to go and people will comment on my bravery. They will write and tell me that I'm an inspiration. Children with terminal illnesses will wipe a tear while admiring my good humour in spite of the painful inevitable.

I will find this out today because I will go into Dr. Finch's office and he will tell me the results of my blood test. The very results that he HAD to tell me face to face. I go into his office knowing my fate. My bravery, a reminder to the world that strength in times of despair must be illustrated.

And the thing they HAD to tell me face to face? I'M TOO HEALTHY. I'm in perfect condition. I can only imagine that I'm so much the THE ULTIMATE human being that they had to worry me for a week just so I could somehow come close to understanding what it must be like to be one of you pathetic, filthy blooded dweebs.

I mean, they wrote me a letter in cold, you're-going-to-die, black ink (not even a fun font) and they said I must speak to my doctor about an abnormality they found. The abnormality was that I have slightly aggressive blood cells in my stomach that love B12 but my B12 levels are normal so they are passive. COULDN'T THEY HAVE SENT ME A CARD? A lovely card with a smiley face on it saying "RESULT!" and you open it and it says "Your results are A OK, Blood!!" Why a fucking ice cold invitation to dine with The Grim Reaper if I'm fine? And my cholesterol? Do you want to know what he said about my cholesterol? He said "You could cut out the results and frame them". My Cholesterol is perfect. Like the rest of me, apparently.

So that's my tear-jerking, heroic, slip into the next world blog gone. Thanks, Dr. Twat.

My foot is getting better too. What's the fucking point?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Pricks, Trains and Automobiles.

Not blogging is shit. Real life has got directly in the way of me complaining and it's a shame. It's not like the normal stupid things that happen to me have suddenly stopped happening to me. They definitely haven't. And thanks to real life not giving me any time to blog, I've had to keep this in since Saturday. I shouldn't ever keep these things in. Blogging is what keeps me from the High Street rifle massacre that's not that deep within me.

It goes without saying that Saturday's stupidity started on a train. Of course it fucking did. I was on my way to Manchester and was very much enjoying the quiet train journey. There were quite a few people on the train and they were all talking but not loudly or horribly. They were chatting happily to one another and, maybe this says a lot about most other train journeys I've taken, the atmosphere was cheery. I was even reading. A BOOK! I know, I wasn't watching some TV thing about spacemen, I was actually reading a book. This was a lovely relaxing train journey. Up until Stoke-On-Trent.

At Stoke-On-Trent, Fuck Face got on. Fuck Face is a very tired looking business man who has obviously had a bad day. He also looks like every day has been a bad day. Dishevelled, sweaty and red-faced; and that was just his hair. He put his bag down on the seat next to him which just happened to be the seat in front of me and then he collapsed into his own seat. He looked somehow incredibly spiteful of the world and happy to have a seat all at the same time. He phoned his friend and spoke about how many train delays and unexpected changes he'd had to make that day. He had to sit on the platform at Birmingham for over an hour. I could have almost felt sorry for him if it wasn't for him hating the other people near us chatting. He just hated the sound of them chatting. I should say that all the people near us were Chinese.

Oh now we're uncomfortable.

"I'm on China Airways", he said to his friend. "China Airways. I'm on China Airways. I'm on China Airways". He repeated this a billion times more than was necessary but his friend on the other end of the phone either didn't quite get what he was saying or he couldn't bare the fact that his friend is a stupid fucking racist. "I'm on China Airways", he continued while I stared at him. "Can't you hear them?"

It was then that he outstretched his arm and pointed his phone right at the chatting people. I tried to make my staring louder but he didn't notice and went back to his lovely phone call. "It's been like that since I got on. Ching chang chong ching". I slammed my hand on the table and we finally made eye contact. It took him about a half a nano second to completely understand my glare. He went quiet and wrapped up his call. Right after he hung up, I stepped in. "Really?", I said. "Do you think that was appropriate?"

"What?", he lied.

"Your racist conversation".

He sighed like he gets this all the flipping time.

"I'm not a racist", he claimed. "Why were you eavesdropping?"

EAVESDROPPING? You can't fucking eavesdrop on a phone being pointed at people who aren't speaking English and then a chorus of Ching Chang Chong. That's not eavesdropping. That's having awful shoved down your throat.

That's when I reminded him that he was being racist and pointed to the people who he was being racist about while saying "You were being racist about them" very loudly. He moved carriage.

I felt very smug and happy before the inevitable wave of you-really-are-going-to-get-your-teeth-kicked-in-one-day hit me.

But that was just a racist. I'd need a sexist as well to really make my day. I'm not saying that Fuck Face wasn't a sexist, I have every reason to think he most definitely is, but I have no proof. Luckily, a cab in Manchester provided me with one.

Right after the gig in Manchester, I decided to take a cab to the Frog & Bucket to catch The Boy With Tape On His Face. There was a lot of talk about him in Edinburgh but going to see shows in Edinburgh is boring and should never be encouraged. This was my chance to see him. As soon as I got in the cab, the conversation between the driver and me began. Here it is in it's entirety:

"Can you take me to the Frog & Bucket, please?"

"No problem, mate".

"Thank you".

"Lot of good looking women in town tonight".

"Yes. But you know how it is when you get to our age. It goes from fancying them to worrying about them".


"I mean, like a few years ago you'd see young girls wearing next to nothing and you'd go PHWOAR and now you just look at them and you think 'They'll be freezing later'".

"Don't you like women?"

" I do. I just mean that it's easy to worry about these girls. You'd like to think they'll be OK".

The cab pulls over to the side of the road. "Right. Get out. You sound queer, mate".

And that was it. I was thrown out of the cab. Thrown out of the cab for not ogling women. I say that was it. It wasn't quite. It was just so funny and shocking to be asked to leave a cab so soon into the journey that I got the giggles. Knowing fully well what I was doing, I said "Fair enough. How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Just get out".

My day was complete. You never really actually meet racists or sexists, unless you are racist or sexist, so to meet two in one day was really refreshingly depressing. I got another cab about 30 seconds later and told the cab driver what had just happened. He said "That could be one of a million cab drivers in Manchester. But I think I know who he is".

I think it's time to get back to blogging now. Two a week isn't enough. There will certainly be one tomorrow because today I go back to my doctor to discuss my blood test. My blood test that has come up with abnormalities. Abnormalities that he has to talk to me about face to face.