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: http://tinyurl.com/63mlcrm
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: http://tinyurl.com/63mlcrm
Tickets for POINTLESS ANGER, RIGHTEOUS IRE 2: BACK IN THE HABIT at this year's Edinburgh Fringe are now on sale here: http://tinyurl.com/6fclh2l
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