Thursday, 24 April 2014

The New Zealand Comedy Festival - A Flying Start.

Not enough credit is ever given to the geniuses Orville and Wilbur Wright for their ground-breaking and pioneering achievements in utter laziness. On December 17th 1903, these two humble men used the straight forward medium of aviation to secure laziness was a thing that could become almost mandatory for us all in the future. It’s hard to believe that, before the Wright brothers, people couldn’t afford a fat lazy arse due to travel being so insistent on US doing the travelling. The Wright brothers famous “fuck that” speech in the Gettysburg Address changed all that. Orville Wright impregnated Wilbur Wright’s brain with an idea, ultrasound pictures of flight were posted and “liked” and soon the Air-O-Plane was born.
Planes aren’t just about getting from London to somewhere, they’re about science demanding you sit down and drink while it takes you wherever you want to go. Planes are nothing short of a miracle.
I’m writing this in Auckland, New Zealand. I got here after a 28 hour plane journey. It was the perfect way, not just to travel, but to live. I got on board and I was told where to sit. So keen were the cabin staff on me sitting down and not using an ounce of precious energy that they insisted I actually strap myself into the seat. If the caring stewards feared that I might accidentally get up and start moving about, then they were wrong. I spent 28 hours on a plane. Sat down. Drinking beer and wine and eating almost permanently (TIP: always chose a vegan meal. It’s always far better and you get your meal first. You’re welcome). Dear reader, I watched SEVEN films. SEVEN. And one of them was The Wolf of Wall Street and that’s three hours long. That’s over a 10th of the flight already nailed.
Some dickholes cycle to their destination. That’s the kind of archaic, backward, spitting-in-the-face-of-science that makes me sick. What the fuck do these people get out of THAT experience? Exhaustion? Sweat? Unnecessary health? That’s bullshit. And they don’t even get to watch Saving Mr Banks. Why would you do that to yourself? I’m sorry but if you’re so against science and you ride a bike anywhere then you shouldn’t ever be allowed medicine or hospitals. You made your choice. You helmet wearing prick.
And I made mine: 28 hours of not moving. Watching seven films, 3 episodes of Futurama, eating and eating and eating…and at the end of it, I felt great. Yes, I was tired and my back really hurt but no pain, no gain. Which brings me to my point…the last flight I went on was from Estonia and on that flight…I saw the worst thing I’ve ever seen.
God knows what horror the victims of a plane crash see in their final moments but I definitely know that I’ve seen worse. Planes TELL us to sit down and do fuck all but some people just don’t listen. Some people get up as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off. They want to go to the toilet or stand up or change seat. Some people even want to walk about! What are they? Jenny Agutter? (They’re never Jenny Agutter) These people just walk about the plane being terrified of dying of DVT. As opposed to what? I mean, you ARE going to die so what difference does it actually make if it’s from DVT or not? What would you like to die from? Being twatted by a rainbow? Being skewered by the horn of a unicorn? Getting AIDS from Oliver Postgate? Look. You’re going to die so sit the fuck down and die in peace like the rest of us. Anyway, the point is that I was on a plane and I saw the worst thing that anyone has ever seen.
Let’s just think about that for a minute: the WORST thing ever. I want you to imagine what the worst thing ever could be. Just take a second. Have a think. What is the worst thing ever? Well…
When the seatbelt sign switched off, a man unbuckled his seat belt, got up and started doing push ups in the aisle.
Sleep well, everyone.

Hey! I’m in New Zealand. Come see me and lots of other comedians:

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Lost Blogs: The Sound of The Underdog.

"Dear reader, welcome...

 Some Blogs just didn't get written at the time but they still make noises in my head. Here's one of them. From  flipping ages ago".

Is there anything more powerful than music? Yes. The Hulk. But music definitely comes a close second. Music has the power to change the world and to unite us all, although it never has. In fact, generally music only divides us further and most bands want to make the world exactly the same as it was in 1974. I love my friends so dearly but I would rather murder them with my two bare knives than listen to their shitty taste in music. I have a friend who is funny, intelligent and sweet and every time I'm with her I think I'm lucky to have someone like her in my life and when we part I sincerely hope that a motorcycle courier ploughs her into the tarmac before she gets home and puts Ocean Colour Scene on. I mean, why would anyone do that to themselves? In 2014? They were a 90's mistake. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT. Anyway, she'd be equally appalled if I put my beloved Metallica on in front of her. In fact, most music I like is designed to make everyone but me sick. I love heavy metal. It's the single most perfect form of music. It's fun, exciting and it will never ever make you feel sad. Heavy metal is basically better than any person you've ever met. And heavy metal fans are happy, friendly, warm people. They're good people who have great music.

But that doesn't mean they should force it on us.

When I walk around listening to Megadeth, I have my earphones in and my iphone turned up full. I love it. But if I get on a train or a bus or an ambulance or go anywhere in public, that music gets turned way down. I've yet to get on a train carriage and have everyone all agree they'd love to hear some heavy metal right now so I keep it all to myself. And that is how it should be. Music should be shared, it shouldn't be mandatory. But how to deal with those who break that rule? How to deal with heavy metal fans insisting on playing the loudest music on the planet in a place it's not been invited to? Well...

A few months ago after a gig in Nottingham, myself and fellow music fan Bennett Arron (well, he has a Best Of Driving Anthems tape in his car) went out for a drink. It was late but I knew a bar that would still be open. I knew it because it's a heavy metal bar. I knew the heavy metal bar because I'm a heavy metal fan. I like it loud, loud and louder. Bennett?...not so much. But that's OK because this is a heavy metal bar and heavy metal people are the nicest people in the world. The bar has three rooms. One pretty loud room, one deafeningly loud room pretty quiet room. See? They're thoughtful. I mean, you can still hear the music but it's definitely background music. You can easily have a relaxing conversation. I was happy. Bennett was happy. And the quiet room was empty except for us. Us and three heavy metal fans. Three heavy metal fans who got their phones out and started playing THEIR music loudly. Very 'eavy, not very 'umble.

This is completely alien territory for me. Rude heavy metal fans? I've never ever met any. In the '80's in my hometown of Newtownards, there was a heavy metal bar. It was dark and terrifying. NEVER EVER GO IN THERE was generally the plan for me and everyone I knew. Of course, now I look back and think that's nuts. Every other bar in town was run by paramilitaries and we decided that drinking with terrorists was safer than drinking with people who quite liked Dumpy's Rusty Nuts. When I finally went into that bar for the first time it was like I'd found home. Everyone was long haired, smelly and just lovely. I was welcomed with open, unwashed arms. I was bought a pint. And if I wanted to headbang to Judas Priest...well, no one here was going to stop me. How could anyone not like heavy metal fans. They're just adorable. So what the hell went wrong with these three?

Bennett and I ignored them. We hadn't been out together for quite a while and it was great to see him and just chat. Then they played another loud song on their phone. Bennett and I quietly laughed and rolled our eyes. These three dicks aren't going to spoil our night. Then they played another loud song on their phone. But we cared not. It was annoying but Bennett and I rose above it. Then they played another loud song on their phone.

"You know I'm going to have to deal with this, don't you?", I said to my friend.

Bennett closed his eyes, sighed and said "I know".

Thoughtlessly playing loud music in a bar is unforgivable and I was glad Bennett agreed. We'd heard four loud songs from a shitty, tinny phone speaker and, to quote Twisted Sister, we're not gonna take it anymore. They're loud people playing the loudest of music but I must defeat them. Somehow.

I got my phone out and scrolled through my music. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax...all great loud bands. But I'm not just a heavy metal fan. I'm a MUSIC fan. On my phone I have Iron Maiden, The Smiths, The Clash, Faith No More, The Sex Pistols...and I have Girls Aloud.

I also have a better, louder phone. I pressed play on Sexy No No No and sat back to enjoy the disgust on the faces of the only three rude heavy metal fans in history. They turned their phone up. I turned mine louder. I can vaguely hear a guitar solo but it's hard to register it over the sound of Cheryl Cole's vocoder. They turned their phone up again. So I turned Britain's girl band pop sensations up to 11. AND we sang along.

The three heavy metal "fans" switched their phone off. They got up. They left. Such is the power of music.

I switched Girls Aloud off and Bennett and I continued our night in happiness. Just us in a heavy metal snug in Nottingham. And it made me has the power to change the world and divide us all. Sometimes, that's not always a bad thing.

ps I will never come round to your house and shove a Metallica or Girls Aloud song into your ears. But, if you're interested, I'd go for Master of Puppets by Metallica and Miss You Bow Wow by Girls Aloud. Sharing music is a brilliant thing and I recommend you do that right now. Tell everyone what you're listening to right now on Twitter, recommend an album on Facebook for your friends to see. Just keep it down in public, please. Thanks.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sunday In The Park With Jerk.

I come home in the morning light, my mother says "when you gonna live your life right?". Oh, mother dear, we're not the fortunate ones and Legges, they want to have fun. Oh, Legges just want to have fun.

Believe it or not, sometimes I just want to have a laugh and kick my hair off and let my heels down. I get so wrapped up in my lair all day, working out my revenge on everyone, that I forget there's a whole world of fun out there. Life isn't all work, work, work. Well, my life is nothing like that. I'm a very lazy man. But even I know, that while I'm waiting here for my moment to destroy mankind, I could be out there doing literally ANYTHING. Instead of going online anonymously to slag off Steven Moffat, I could be out there anonymously having the time of my life. That's why I liked Sunday. Sunday was just one of those days that reminded me to have fun. It reminded me to let loose. It reminded me that, on Sundays, men play football.

Men love football and to see them playing the beautiful game in the local park on a Sunday afternoon is nothing short of a thing. They shout at one another, get angry at one another and they physically try to take each other down. It's how men relax. 

I'm not a man. I'm just some guy. Being a man looks really hard. You have to fix the motor and respect Alan Sugar and switch over when the scores come on. It just seems really hard work. There's no watching Doctor Who and listening to The Smiths when you're a man. They don't have time for that shit. That's what guys do, not men. Men only need three things in life: Football, sport and football. Anything else is pathetic. Anything else is for guys. Men hate guys. Guys aren't normal. They're disgusting. Guys parade around really rubbing their love of Marvel Comics in men's faces. They have pets instead of guard dogs, they sometimes drink things that are neither alcoholic or isotonic and they play games instead of matches. I know a guy that borrows comic books from WOMEN! (That guy is me) For God's sake, guys can even get married these days. It's broken Britain, everyone. Quite frankly, I think there should be a fence built between men and guys and I for one agree with me. And luckily, on Sunday, there was a fence. A fence between Men and Guys. Score so far: Men 10 - Guys 2.

Jerk (she's a guy) and I were walking through part of the park that has a fenced off sports club in it. It has a running track and in the middle of the running track there's a football pitch. As we passed we heard shouting and screaming like a building was on fire and people were trapped inside with a murderer who had a bomb made of 9/11 but actually it was just men playing football. It was a Sunday morning 5-a-side football match that sounded like nothing else was important except this. Jerk and I were the only other two in this part of the park. It was a nice day and even the matter-of-life-and-death shouting couldn't spoil it. Then the ball came flying over the fence.

"Throw it over", said a huge man. 

Right. Here's the thing. I'm not saying guys are better than men. In many ways, we're not. We aren't as strong as men or as good at fixing things. We don't have great cars or the names of both people we give a flying fuck about tattooed on our pecs. We don't have pecs. But we do have one thing: manners.

I looked at the ball THAT WAS NOWHERE NEAR ME and then I looked back at the huge man. "Excuse me?", I said.

"Throw it over", he said again.

Well, I gave him a chance. "Righto", I said cheerily and half-ran over to get the ball THAT WAS NOWHERE NEAR ME. I didn't want to do a proper run over to get the ball because it was a nice day. A lovely day. A great day to have fun. And I wanted to drag this out for as long as possible.

I lamely kicked the ball closer to the fence of the sports club. Jerk saw me kicking a ball and immediately got excited. Jerk LOVES football. And I forgive her this sin because she's very pretty and she's the opposite of nearly every person who loves football. She never talks about it, she only likes actually playing it. As I got to the fence, I kicked the ball really hard. Jerk's tail wagged at the speed of light and she bounded over to play. The ball hit the fence and bounced back to me. Gosh, I must have missed getting it over the fence. Still, I'll give it another go. I kicked the ball, THUD, and it hit the wire fence once again, SHING SHING. 

The men were just staring at me now but the ball bounced back to give me yet another chance of returning this much needed ball to these big, mannerless men. Jerk followed the ball, too. She ran to the fence as I kicked the ball, THUD, then followed it back after it hit the fence unbelievably for a third time, SHING SHING.

Hey, fourth time's the charm, they say. Let's give this another go. After all, Jerk's having fun, I'm having fun and it's a lovely day. I could THUD do this SHING SHING all day.

"Just chuck it, mate". 

It was kind of him to offer advice but, despite our weak bodies and fun t-shirts, us guys are determined. And quite frankly, I was not giving up while my darling little Jerk was skipping around like a deer. I mean if those men THUD actually thought about it SHING SHING for a minute THUD they'd completely agree SHING SHING. Who is actually THUD enjoying this football? SHING SHING Them shouting furiously at one another THUD or this dog with the waggily tail? SHING SHING.

"Just throw it".

I assured him that this time I'd definitely get it over the fence. THUD. SHING SHING. "Just throw it over". Don't worry, I can do this. THUD. SHING SHING. "No. Just THROW it". Oh, so close. I nearly got it then. Another go. THUD. SHING SHING. "Throw it". THUD. SHING SHING. "Just throw the ball". THUD. SHING SHING. "Throw the ball over".

He must have said "Throw it" at least 10 times. 10 FUCKING TIMES. But that was nothing. Because I kicked that ball THUD and hit that fence SHING SHING easily 20 times in front of these huge men and that very happy dog. The more I kicked the ball THUD and the more it hit the fence SHING SHING the more the men stared at me. It was almost as if I was doing it on purpose. He said "Throw it" again and now that I was sure I had their full attention, I kicked the ball THUD, it hit the fence SHING SHING and when the ball came back I put my foot on it and said "What's the magic word?".

There was a pause.

"Please", said the huge man.

I picked up the ball, walked over to the fence and threw it over. They didn't thank me but as I walked away I clearly heard one of them say "Prick". Yes, I am a prick. But I'm the prick that they made and I'm a prick with manners, a prick with a happy dog who slept like a log when she got home and I'm a prick who won a small victory thanks to his determination to do what's right and having a huge fence between him and people who could easily kick his head in. Sunday was a good day. Final score: Men 0 - Guys 20. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Down and In.

"And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up".

The words of Thomas Wayne to his young son. It's a very inspiring notion too. Life hits us with so many problems and, in dealing with them, we become stronger, wiser, better people as a result. We get fired from our job so we work harder to get an even better job. We lose a loved one so we grieve and let time teach us to keep the memory of that person precious and to love the ones we still have even more. We see the new trailer for Derek so we drag a key down the side of our neighbour's new car. Basically, we cope. We rise up in the face of adversity. But why?

I'm very interested in falling because I've recently become a faller. In a way, it's very nostalgic. In the 70's, I used to fall all the time. That's what it was like back then. Bay City Rollers, Zoom lollies and falling. That was all we did, every day. I'd fall on my way to school, I'd fall going into Mass, I'd fall playing Mouse Trap somehow. Mum would give me a shilling to get a pound of television from Radio Rentals and I'd fall all the way there and all the way back. And do you know what would happen when I fell? Nothing. I wouldn't even notice. I'd be straight back up, buying flares and reading the latest copy of I.R.A. Comic, before I'd even properly hit the ground. That's what my youth was like in the 70's. Long summers, Star Wars and constantly falling over. That and almost permanently being fucked by Jimmy Savile.

But as I grew less attractive to the television presenters of the time, the falling just seemed to gradually phase itself out. Of course, I still enjoy watching other people fall. It's hilarious. Especially when it's someone I know and care for. I genuinely can't remember the last time I fell (probably because I was drunk) but I know it wasn't recently. So, you can imagine how I felt when I fell just a few days ago.

I woke up that morning to the sound of my next door neighbour learning to play the hammer. When I went downstairs, I saw that I hadn't closed the door of my freezer properly and there was water all over the kitchen floor. Water that Jerk clearly spent the night playing in and tip-toed it all over the living room. I had a cold shower (not by choice) and made myself a tea that I somehow lost for two days. I spent 10 minutes looking for it and shouting threats at it. Anyway, it was on the mantelpiece.  The postman arrived with some bills that were furious with me and, while buying some soy milk in Tesco, a fight broke out right in front of me. Two men, inches away from me, punching the shit out of each other. In Tesco. How far we've come from wild west saloons...

THAT was the morning. Then I got on the train to Kettering. 

Getting to Kettering costs £67 and your sanity. Getting the ticket from a machine that argued with me took 15 fucking minutes, so that meant I missed my train and had to take a later one. The good thing about that was it was now slap bang in the middle of rush hour. I took a deep breath, got on the tube with every single person in London and, for the next 20 minutes, just let my face get baptised in the sweaty armpit of a 50 year old man playing Candy Crush. I got off the tube at St. Pancras and had to guess what platform my train was on and where they were hiding it. Once on the train, I was joined by a man who shouted on his phone and gave a series of women a series of terrible reviews. 

Backstage at the gig, I had a moment to think about my day. It wasn't great. How can anyone hit someone like that? Especially in Tesco. Why does such a short train journey cost so much? How do commuters get on the tube every day like that? Doesn't it make them want to walk? Why do people still not realise their loud, obnoxious phonecalls are aggressive and disgusting? It was then that I tripped on a low platform lying on the ground. I didn't fall though. I just stepped onto the low platform and kept walking. It was very dark backstage but I had every confidence that this low platform was long and I could walk confidently on it for quite a few steps.

I was wrong.

It was short.

I fell.

You'd think falling would instantly transport me back to the good old days of the 70's. Spacehoppers! Evel Knieval! Peter Sutcliffe! But, no. This wasn't like the 70's at all. Falling now takes ages. It's slow and insanely drawn out, like life or a conversation with a comedian. My arms flailed, my body twisted, my balance retired. I hit the ground with a corpse's thud and...I just lay there.

The fall didn't hurt but it definitely was a shock. Luckily the shock of actually falling had passed on that long, long journey to the ground. I had already come to terms with hitting the floor even though I tried valiantly not to. But why did I try? Why would I want to stop this wonderful moment happening? I lay there, far away from angry bills and urinating freezers, in the pitch dark on a dirty floor and I was finally free. When you hit the ground, there is nowhere to go. It's only in the walking around world where the options of pain, frustration and failure will find us. But in the dark, on the is where I belong. No hate, no anger and no one to break my heart. It is liberty.

" And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up".

Yeah. And what a well-rounded guy he turned out to be.