How to be a Human Being (part 2)

Yesterday I started my list of ten things you need to be a better human being (Here is Part 1). Inspired by the constant lists places like Buzzfeed and Elite put out to make sure you fit inside a tiny little box, you know because you’re the same as everyone else right?

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(This is how they make Peter Dinklages)

Let’s continue on with the second half ot things you should know anyway –

6. There are lots of people, all of them are different – Look around you in a public place, every single person is having different thoughts to you. Some of them are worried. They might be worried about money, they might be worried about their family or job, they might be worried that the butt plug they inserted earlier has crept a little too far into their colon. Some of them are happy. They might be happy because they’re thinking about unicorns and cream pies, they might be happy because they just got a promotion or they might be happy because they managed to win that electric steamer on ebay earlier.

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(They may have just freed two thousand slaves)

They might have “Let it go” from Disney’s Frozen stuck in their head and are unable to think of anything else. There is an infinite amount of things that any one person could be thinking about at any point in time and usually we’re thinking about more than one thing. Not a single person will be thinking about exactly the same thing in exactly the same way so why should that be a problem for you. They think God is real, they think Jazz is a legitimate music genre, they think green trousers with a blue jumper is a fine fashion choice, they think Starship Troopers 2 was an excellent movie with a revolutionary form of storytelling involving old scenes used in the previous movie and actors recast in different roles from the first film. Genius. They are different, we are different and you should accept that instead of forcing your ideas onto others. Your ideas are no more legitimate than anyone elses. You wear socks with sandals for christ sake!

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(I don’t get it are your feet cold AND hot? Are these to prove you’re married and can’t make footwear decisions without your significant other around? Is it some kind of secret signal to people like you? Do they stop alien foot diseases? I just…I don’t….)

7. Equal does not mean “the same” – Men and Women are different. I’ve checked. There are things women have that most men don’t and there are things men have that women see too much of. Don’t ever think they’re the same. What they should be is equal. They aren’t, I get that, the world is still dominated by men but day by day we’re getting there. Things are much better now than they were years ago but still not great. Sexual stereotypes are everywhere in every form of media and you shouldn’t be swayed by them, women aren’t weak and men aren’t idiots, women don’t enjoy periods no matter how absorbent their tampon and men aren’t completely clueless when it comes to childcare (if you leave your husband with your baby you will not come home to it dead). HOWEVER there is no problem with holding the door open for anyone, this is called courtesy, or sending poetry to the person you have fallen for, this is called romance, just don’t send it with a picture of your dick or an RSVP containing a cutting of their hair.

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(I WORE YOUR FACE! WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME?!)

8. Teach your kids how to be people – I don’t care how much you don’t want to grow up if you have kids you need to teach them how to be good people. You can’t expect them to behave themselves when you’re screaming at them across a crowded McDonalds because they’ve spilled their Red Bull and you can’t remember their name correctly so you assign them a number “FUCKING 7 COME HERE! JESUS IF YOU DON’T STOP HITTING YOUR BROTHERS I’LL COME OVER THERE AND SMACK YOU SO HARD YOU’LL BE PISSING BLOOD! DON’T YOU DARE SWEAR AT ME” I know some of you are reading that and thinking “what’s wrong with that? sounds like a typical Sunday for me” and I will be happy if you don’t ever read my blog again. You can’t expect children to behave without setting the example for them. Be their hero, play with them, feed them right, teach them manners and give them security. Let them develop the confidence to become their own person without you beating it into them while swearing and forcing junk food into their screaming mouths.

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(I don’t understand it, I left him for just a minute. He’d already had his pro plus and his bag of sherbert so I don’t know why he was so angry. He’s only 5 why wouldn’t you give him everything he asks for!)

 

I was on a train platform and a guy shouted at his son “IF YOU DO THAT AGAIN I’LL KNIFE YA!”, I checked my surroundings and no this wasn’t the canteen queue in a prison or the pre bout insults of a cutlery duel so I was understandably baffled. Where was this guy going to go with it if his son did indeed do it again? Would he shiv the kid in the stomach right there on the platform? Would he wait until the child slept? If he didn’t follow through with his threat would the kid never believe that anyone would ever follow through with it and gets killed later in life at the hands of an aggressive mugger? Must be a lovely life living under the constant threat of fatal parental violence, bet he grows up stable.

9. Don’t spend money that isn’t yours – Oh you’d like a holiday abroad would you? You’d like to go somewhere nice with sun, sand, low cost alcohol AND take the children? But you just don’t have the money right now do you? No so you know what you can do you can go and get a loan out, pay for the holiday then pay the loan off gradually YAY! Everyone wins! WRONG! What happens if you can’t pay it back suddenly? What happens when you have an extra expenditure every month that you didn’t have before? JUST SAVE THE MONEY, go next year! Jesus why is this a hard concept? You don’t have the money, you don’t spend the money. Debt is the leading reason for people to be stressed, stress is the leading cause of death in first world countries. If when you went to get the loan they showed you a graph of how much more likely you were to die following the first loan repayment you wouldn’t take it out.

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(After 3 holidays to Ibiza John wasn’t looking forward to his 26th birthday party in Fuerteventura)

10. Don’t be a cock – Everyone is going through life and everyone is dealing with their own problems. It’s actually our job to make everyone else’s life easier. Crazy though it may sound people don’t want to help you with your problems then not get that reciprocated when they come to you with theirs. Help people pick up shopping when they drop it, give up your seat to someone who looks like they need it more than you, don’t eat the last piece of cake without asking you selfish prick! THAT WAS MY CAKE!!!

(I know it was you Van Der Beek)

The biggest thing in all of this is that you shouldn’t need a list to tell you to be anything. Just live life the way you want to, treat people the way you would like to be treated and don’t force yourself on anyone, physically, spiritually or mentally.

Purchase out.

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Geronimo!

We’ve just had the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who (give or take a break, a bad movie and some spinoffs) and only now have I realised how much I like the basic messages behind it. 

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(Time travel does wonders for your career) 

My girls are pretty young and I have started to encourage them to watch the show. After a lot of “it’s for boys”, “isn’t that the guy from Harry Potter” and “why are those aliens made of rubber?” they have finally got into it and I am so glad. Let me tell you why.

There are a lot of programs aimed at adults and children these days, most of Cartoon Network is focused on capturing that 14-35 year old male market who have yet to find out that their parents won’t tolerate funding their video gaming habit forever, but none do it while teaching true values most parents will agree with. 

The thing that I love the most is that there’s this overriding message that you have to live with the consequences of your actions and that usually the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. I really can’t emphasise how much these basic lessons are missing from most children’s upbringing. 

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Today there’s a massive sense of entitlement. Children are taught by every single media outlet that THEY are the most important person in the world and the world owes THEM something. Reality shows teach everyone that you don’t have to work hard to do well because success will just land in your lap one day and in fact the more awful you are the more likely you are to get on TV. We’ve had to stop letting our girls watch certain programmes aimed at children because they re-enact the spoilt attitudes of the main stars. 

However there is one last bastion of hope. Doctor Who. Life is full of hard decisions, you will make right ones and you will make wrong ones but you will always have to live with the consequences. Often there is the choice between the easy path and the hard path, very rarely is the right thing to do the easy thing to do. I love that intellect and reasoning is heralded as more important than brute force and ignorance, I love that violence is regarded with disdain and dreaming big is encouraged and I love that the key to happiness is always being yourself. I love that everyone is important.

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(and I love that bowties are cool)

I’m not saying that the media is responsible for every problem we have I’m just saying that the low brow programming we are spoon fed is exacerbating the situation. So next time you’re thinking of putting on Xfactor or Beauty School Drop Outs why not treat yourself to something more British than tea and a love of queuing. Switch over to Doctor Who and switch your children to a hero we all look up to.

ALLONS-Y! 

How to Die Gracefully

Every comic who ever graced the stage has died at some point. Eddie Izzard is famous for doing it for years before finding his voice. Having an audience not laugh at your material is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a new comedian. It takes guts to get up on stage and getting nothing but silence back can knock your confidence and sometimes this can be enough to make even the most promising new comic quit there and then. So how do you recover from stage death?

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(Whiskey and crying go together like gin and…..crying)

1. Stay positive – It’s very easy to get out of a gig you’ve done badly at then immediately start telling yourself that you’re rubbish or you’re not good enough to be a comedian. This is one of many gigs you will do in your career and, trust me, one of hundreds more you’ll die at. Remember the gigs you’ve done well at.

2. Learn from it – What happened this time that was different to other gigs? If you’ve got a recording of it go over it and see where the audience does react. Is it how you stand? Is it your tone of voice? Is it the material itself? Comedians need to be open to changing aspects of their set if it’s not working properly.

3. Use any fee for something nice – If it’s a paid gig use the money to buy yourself something you want. You might not feel great about the gig but you’ll feel great about getting yourself a new DVD or pair of shoes. Turning the negative feelings you’ve got from the experience into a positive physical gift to yourself goes a long way to changing how you remember the night.

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(I remember an audience and then nothing but latex and lube, so much lube)

4. Call someone you trust – Immediately afterwards call someone you know will make you feel better about yourself. You need positive reinforcement and as a comedian it’s other people who usually give it to you. If you have a significant other call them, if you have an insignificant other call them, if you have a rival comedian who will give you gratuitous placations but secretly love hearing about your horrible experience call them. There and then all you need is to hear someone’s voice.

5. Never blame the audience – They came to see a comedy show and your stuff just didn’t tickle their fancy, that’s ok they are well within their rights to laugh or not laugh at whoever they want. It’s not their fault if you weren’t to their taste. This is something a lot of bad comedians choose to do in order to feel better about themselves but blaming the audience only stops you learning from the experience.

6. Success is about falling 16 times and getting up 17 times – No matter what you’ve heard from anyone there is no such thing as an overnight success. Even the youngest of comedians has spent 5 years honing their jokes and their performances then taking their routine to hundreds of audiences across the country. They will have failed as much as you have, maybe more, and the “overnight success” you’ve heard about is really just regular hard work. Every time you fail see it as one less time before you succeed.

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(Unless you’re parachuting)

7. Go home and write something – When you get back from the gig immediately pick up a pen and write something. At that moment you’re going to be feeling some pretty strong emotions and that is usually when a person is their most imaginative. Doesn’t matter what it is. You could write a blog about how the night went, a new piece of material based on the service station you stopped at or a poem about how jealous of the other acts you are. Whatever you do just get it out of you.

8. Sleep on it – You might find it hard to get to sleep after having a bad gig, I tend to stay up for the rest of the night rewriting things and trying to analyse where I went wrong but it’s never good for you to do that. Sleeping will help you process all the subconscious feelings you’ve had about the gig (shame, disappointment, arousal?) and give you more of an objective view about the whole event. You’ll feel a hell of a lot better in the morning.

9. Don’t dwell on it – If you don’t have any more gigs booked already then get some in your diary. You need to get back up on stage as quickly as possible to prove you can do it. It doesn’t matter what the gig is, open mic, headline slot, bar mitzvah, you just need to purge the bad one out of your system. You keep doing this and you’ll find you forget the bad ones as soon as you get off the stage.

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(Or in fact as you perform them while the rain turns the ground underneath you into a dangerous blend of slippery and electrified)

10. You’re not alone – EVERY SINGLE COMEDIAN DIES. No matter how good they are, no matter how many gigs they do or where they do them they have died and they have died a lot. Comedians are creatures of ego and we try not to remember the bad ones so we don’t tell people about them but every one of us has died horribly at one time or another. If you’re not dying you’re not trying as one famous comic once said. You need to realise that not only have we all been there but we are all still there. Even the greats have bad days some times so you’re in good company.

And there you have it my top ten tips for new comedians on how to die gracefully and get over a bad gig. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to these so keep the feedback coming and if there’s a How To you’d like me to make let me know and I’ll try my best!

The Retrovirus

Yesterday I bought some of these:

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Next week we are off to the Boardmasters festival and we needed something in case the British Summer defaults back to Autumn. We got two blue ones for us parents and two red for the girls because we are one fucking rock and roll family. Our plan is to find a fat man wearing a yellow coat and chase him through the festival.

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(WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA tubby! We’re going to eat your cherries!)

The funny thing is my girls are too young to know who Pac Man is. They don’t know why Lucy and I giggle when we make WAKKA WAKKA noises and chase each other, they’re just happy that we’re running around the apartment in colourful clothing and being loud. I love this massive resurgence of nostalgic, retro merchandise. Everytime I go into a shop these days I’m surrounded by stuff from my childhood, like when I visit my Dad’s house only with happy memories.

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(Oh the old crying shed, how I miss your cold, detached embrace so much like my father’s but with less disappointment)

My new favourite possession is my Super Mario hat and while I understand that it does make me look like an american tourist I like to think it portrays me as a childlike figure of fun, a jester almost, instead of an out of work long distance lorry driver.

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(or future body double for Michael Moore’s assassination) 

The influx of retro clothing and products comes from our love of the past. Right now the world believes that it’s going to hell so what’s the best way to feel better? Remember the good old days. Remember when you’d buy a sealed pack of stickers for less than the cost of a new car? Remember when you found porn under bushes outside your school left by some perverted but thoughtful shrub goblins? Remember when the word blowjob meant something else entirely?

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(oh yeah that’s it baby, get it right down to the master chip)

I have to say for me this has meant I can wear a lot of the old clothes from my past. Except the purple shell suit my mother bought me thinking it was “cool” at the time. Just in case she’s reading this Mum shell suits were never cool and boys wearing purple ones were destined for a life as a rentboy, also spending my childhood afraid of naked flames was not character building.

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(Shellsuits: The real cause of forest fires)

All I need now is to find a shop stocking Sonic the Hedgehog underpants and my wardrobe is complete.

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(Fast and obsessed with rings, oh yeah baby hold on because I’m going to smash your eggs)

Idol worship

Being a father to two is a full time job. You think it’s just going to be a case of not screwing up but really it’s the level of not screwing up that you have to account for. Example: When burning your hand on a toaster you are not allowed to scream “FUCK!” at the top of your voice as this will then be repeated to other adults in every socially unacceptable situation.

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(Where the fuck are my fucking werther’s originals Grandma, Fuckety Fucking fuck fuck)

You haven’t experienced embarrassment until your child screams “DOUBLE BOLLOCKS!” at the top of their lungs in a checkout queue at Tesco. The only option you have there is to feign some kind of seizure and hope everyone forgets your spawn’s faux pas while the paramedics lift you out of a pool of your own sick.

Now in that situation you haven’t damaged your child in any way, you haven’t abused or neglected them. You haven’t left them around the medicine cabinet after describing your anti psychotic medication as “Daddy’s special sweeties” what you’ve done is exclaimed loudly after damaging your own body, yet you have created an image in the little angels’ minds that they are now also allowed to say that word.

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(Today I learned some new words with Daddy so now I’m off to see my cunting friends and their bastard parents)

You don’t want to set that kind of example for your kids you want them to look up to you like some kind of hero or God. I’ve tried replacing swear words with food items but that led to me shouting out “Goddam fucking biscuits!” outside an Aldi when my car got rear ended.

So now I just try my best not to swear in front of them, it’s a struggle especially when they have some kind of magnet attached to their elbows that forces them into my groin when I’m lying on the sofa. 

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(Oh blimey! Cor you really got me there! Right in the macaroons! Oh boy does that sting, gosh golly am I going to be aching for a week. Excuse me while I go and throw up)

My youngest has just been given a helmet, knee pads and wrist guards so today I am going shopping for a sports cup.