Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Strange And, Quite Frankly, Pervy World Of 1960s Sci-Fi


Yesterday I made the 13 hour odyssey by bus from Inverness back to London, and this little baby kept me entertained the whole way home.

Apart from when I was talking to the Polish guy next to me who apparently got as far as the boot camp on the X Factor.  Really nice chap.  We had a bit of a 1980s medley singalong as our brains started to crack on the final approach to London, and I'm eating the last piece of his carrot cake as I type this.

[Fun fact: when he worked in the Wetherspoon pub next to Windsor Castle, and a plane flew overhead, an American customer once asked, "Why did they build the castle right under the flight path of the airport?"]

He thinks he's probably going to be on telly this Saturday.  Keep an eye out for the Eastern European who looks a bit like a young Vladimir Putin

And, of course, we spent much time gossiping about the incredibly rude driver who kept shouting at people every time they didn't do what he hadn't told them to.

Back to the book, though, which I bought in Leakey's Second Hand Bookshop (& Café), an Inverness attraction recommended to me by both my friend Simon Varwell, and the couple who run St Ann's House B&B (which I really can't recommend highly enough - they are bendoverbackwardly welcoming and helpful).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Beginner's Guide To Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes With Dodgy Statistics

by Julie Embargo, writing for the Grandian about the male-it crunch

Step 1: Start with a dramatic anecdote to reinforce your point before you've even made it.  Anecdotes are important because numbers are essentially meaningless, and a single real life example of someone you once met can prove anything you want it to.

People who've lost a leg make the best anecdotes (try volunteering down the local hospice and making friends with a few cripples) but if all else fails make sure you keep your most melodramatic acquaintances on speed dial.

In today's article, I've used a "considered suicide".  It's used a lot, I know, but it's more "trusty old friend" than "tired and worn out".  With this one example of a man thinking about killing himself after losing his job, I've already proven that men have been hit much harder than the recession than women.  From this point on, it doesn't really matter what I put in the rest of the article, but I have to use a certain number of words, so onwards and upwards!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Bang! And The Moustache Is Gone

Thanks to all the people who donated to the Hoja Project over the course of this little obsession.  It's raised £312.76 in total.

On Tuesday I finally stood up on stage, on my own, in a room full of strangers, and tried to be funny. With moderate success, I think. I'm sure there are lots of things I could improve on, but given what a state I was in for two days running up to the gig, I'm not entirely convinced I'd put myself through it again.

Having said that, I'm a perfectionist, and I'm not sure I could leave myself at a status of merely adequate without trying to improve on it.

I'm a bit too explainy at times and I say "You know" and "Er" a bit too often, but I'm fairly pleased with the outcome. I didn't die on stage and it sounded like I was getting more laughs at the time than you can hear in the video.  Maybe because it seems much longer when watching it back so the laughs are more noticeably spread out.

I'm particularly pleased that I didn't feel to pressured and nervous during the actual performance, despite the random draw for order of performances, which left me as the last act out of twenty (yes, TWENTY) on the night.  It also gave me the opportunity to watch the atmosphere and rewrite my routine several times over in my head, and also refer back to jokes other people had made (one woman said her Maths teacher had been a pervert, which will help explain the first 10 seconds of my act).

The video, by the way, will be available to watch for a week only before I make it private. If you're lucky it may be up slightly longer than that but I'm offering no guarantee.


Those who want to donate, or even become regular donors (which we'd really really appreciate), you can find out how on the Hoja Project Website.