Monday, 29 May 2006

Bottling Out

Something else happened yesterday that will have a significant impact on my life.

I have often wondered why I drink. I mean literally why I ever allow alcohol to pass my lips. Orange squash, lemonade, orange juice, apple and blackcurrant, orange and lemonade and probably milk all rank higher than any alcoholic drink in my personal list of favourite tipples.

I now loathe being drunk, and hope never to be so again, which should of course mean that I never will be. I got over the fascination with being hog whimperingly drunk at university, and I see no need to return (although I have done on a few occasions since). Being in control of my brain is particularly important to me now that the OCD is under control, and being shitfaced just isn’t fun any more.

Saturday brought this home to me. I spent the evening, night and small hours with my friends Nick, Adam and Oli - and Oli’s estimable colleagues and Gemma. And we bumped into the unutterably awesome Arky, with whom I was at college. The company was first class, and as always I had an excellent time.

And as always, we had a lot to drink. I ratcheted it down somewhat, but if I was to tot up what I consumed, it would be quite a bit. I didn’t even get much of a buzz, as if I eat a meal when I am out drinking, it takes a heroic amount to get me tipsy. The next day it occurred to me that I had engaged – in terms of the drinking, not the socialising – in a wholly pointless exercise.

I never crave a drink. I hardly ever drink alone, and rarely at home. So alcohol isn’t really my thing (nor is any drug). So the only reason for drinking was to be sociable. And that, dear reader, is sophistry.

There’s no doubt that if I went out with the lads when they were on the lash and drank lime and soda or orange and lemonade they might ask me what’s up, or make a joke. But I’m not a fourteen year old girl – that shouldn’t bother me at all. I’d happily buy them a drink, although I am very much of the view that the whole buying rounds thing is a bit fatuous, and I am sure no-one would expect me to keep buying rounds if I was not partaking myself. If they do, they can f-k off frankly.

And there’s another point – if you’re out with five or six people, you inevitably drink an absurd amount if you are all buying rounds for everyone. Ten or eleven drinks (in fact I didn’t have that many last night) may not make much of a dent in my comprehension, but it sure isn’t good for the wallet or the liver. For a non-alcoholic it is an extraordinary thing to do. And yet extraordinary isn’t the word, as it is very commonplace.

So what’s the main point of this post? The main point is that I have concluded for the first time ever that I have been drinking too much – even though I thought of myself as a light drinker. (Undoubtedly I am in comparison to many others, and I drink no more frequently than every three days, if that.) I really don’t like it that much, and the fact that others might think that odd shouldn’t matter a jot. And if they desperately want people they’re with to be drinking too, they are probably either a) an oaf or b) a problem drinker.

Nor do I need a drink before doing stand up. I had nothing alcoholic to drink last night (well, a swig of Adam’s lager to clear the throat, but only because that was the drink to hand), and it made no difference. And it would be awful to think I had to drink to be funny. (Or that others had to be drunk to find me funny!)

I don’t think I’ll take the pledge. The odd drink will be nice, to get a little buzz and aid conversation. But I think I’ll make it much more infrequent. As I have started a new eating and exercise regime that I believe is going to be sustainable, it makes no sense to suck down empty calories for such little reward, and for so much unnecessary financial pain.

Risk It All On One Turn Of Pitch-And-Toss

Yesterday I took a gamble that paid off.

After my first few stand up comedy gigs, the idea began percolating in my head that I would like to get on stage with nothing planned, and just improvise. Although the possibility of a car crash is very real in such circumstances, and although it’s actually not a form I particularly enjoy when done by others, I wanted to give it a go.

My motivations were several. First of all, it would just be interesting to see what came out. Secondly, I get a little bored recycling material. Thirdly, I hoped it would make me more confident on stage, by making me realise that it was up to me what I said, and that there is no need to stick to any sort of script. Plus if I could get through that, I could get through a lot.

I’d mentioned this to Charlie, who runs the Ministry of Mirth. He called my bluff last night when I went along as a spectator, and suggested I give it a go. After some prevarication, I said I’d do it.

So up I hopped and, to my delight, it all went rather well. The others said that this shows that I am wrong to assume I wouldn’t make a good compere, so we’ll see about that.

The final observation is the main one. Every time I have risked something it’s paid off. Every time I’ve stopped short of full throttle I have underperformed. That tells its own, very important story.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

American Soldier

Toby Keith

I'm just trying to be a father

Raise a daughter and a son
Be a lover to their mother
Everything to everyone
Up and at 'em, bright and early
I'm all business in my suit
Yeah, I'm dressed up for success
From my head down to my boots

I don't do it for the money
There's bills that I can't pay
I don't do it for the glory
I just do it anyway
Providing for our future's my responsibility
Yeah I'm real good under pressure
Being all that I can be

And I can't call in sick on Mondays
When the weekends been too strong
I just work straight through the holidays
And sometimes all night long
You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door
Hey, I'm solid, hey I'm steady, hey, I'm true down to the core

And I will always do my duty no matter what the price
I've counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice
Oh, and I don't want to die for you
But if dyin's asked of me
I'll bear that cross with honor
'cause freedom don't come free

I'm an American soldier, an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand
When Liberty's in jeopardy, I will always do what's right
I'm out here on the front line
Sleep in peace tonight
American soldier, I'm an American soldier

Yeah, an American soldier, an American
Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand
When Liberty's in jeopardy I will always do what's right
I'm out here on the front line
So sleep in peace tonight
American soldier, I'm an American
An American, an American soldier

Kebabilarity Comedy Club

I have a London gig at the Cyprus Grill on 7th June. Kick off is 8pm, and although I expect that will be delayed, you might like to get there for 8 in order to a) get a seat and b) have a chat with yours truly beforehand.

The night is run by Richard Brophy, who is a funny guy, and Matt Dyktynski is also on the bill. I’ve not seen him, but he is quite well known on the comedy circuit.

The Grill is at 193 Fulham Palace Road, SW6. I’m told that the closest Tube is Hammersmith, and that it's about 7-8 minutes on foot.

Bookings and information are available on 07768 137910. This is a small venue, and seats are likely to sell out fast.

Friday, 19 May 2006

Ha, Ha, Bonk

My next stand up gig is this Sunday at the Wheatsheaf, in Oxford. Doors open at 8pm.

I am going to try something a bit different, and it could be a car crash. But you have to experiment and, with comedy, you have to make all your mistakes in public.

I made a post on Conservative Home at 19:41 that I have to confess I find very amusing. Keep your eyes peeled for any precious responses to it.

Please Note

Every human being on the planet, and throughout the history of time, is 'ethnic'.

And every individual is a member of an ethnic minority.

And our ethnicity is - in the great scheme of things - massively trivial.

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Guy Goma

The Funniest Thing In The History Of The World just got funnier.

The BBC MUST offer this man a very good job. Preferably as a commentator; he's better than most of the ones they already have.

Monday, 15 May 2006

The Funniest Thing In The Entire History of the World

This is unutterably wonderful. My only sadness is that I doubt I can EVER be as funny as this on stage.

My next performance is at the Wheatsheaf, Oxford this Sunday. Doors open at 8pm.

Thanks to Peter for the above link and clip. As a former Culture, Media and Sport desk officer at Conservative Central Office, let me tell you that not everyone can speak with such natural fluency about the Internet. Put this gentleman on the A-List!

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Iain Dale

I have been very remiss in not linking to Iain Dale's splendid blog before today. I visit it often, and it's ace. I'm sorry Iain has not made the Conservative Candidates A-List, but very glad that my friend Paul Maynard has.

Iain's link is down below on the right. I'm struggling to work out how to get my links back in place. Blogspot's advice is as clear as mud. Email me if you can help - please!

Sorry my posting has been so erratic. I'm travelling to London a lot with work. Things will calm down soon, and I will post more regularly.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Conservative Home

I have posted a comment on Conservative Home. It’s worth reading what comes before it.

Saturday, 6 May 2006

Oh Man

Oxford have been relegated.

Come On You Yellows

Today is all about one thing.

Yes, I have to write one, possibly two speeches. Yes, I must blog about Adrian and Chantal’s wonderful wedding in France, and how I have realised I must open my mind to foreign languages, to art, to classical music and history. Yes, I am delighted that Richard and Paul O’Sullivan won their council seats, and I am encouraged by the Tories’ progress. But today is all about one thing.

Oxford United will become a Non League club if we lose today. We will drop out of League Two and into the Nationwide Conference, home of part timers and amateurs. Although there might be an element of cool about supporting a Non League side, this is far from desirable, and would put the club in jeopardy.

It gets worse. We are playing Leyton Orient, who are seeking promotion. There is therefore no question of a half-hearted display from a side that have proven themselves vastly superior to us over the course of this season.

I have not been a good Oxford fan. My interest has waxed and waned over the years, and I have little affection for our new stadium. I do not have a ticket for today’s game. But I will be tuning in on Radio Oxford – 95.2FM. I have many very happy memories of watching the U’s, and I would like many more. The team have enabled me to get back in touch with my friends Keith and Robert, and to have some great afternoons with Mark C, Hodge, James, Tom, John, Mark W, Murali, JoJo, Arthur and others. It would be abominable if that was to be put in jeopardy this afternoon.

I can’t really ask you to pray for the Yellows – if we stay up another team goes down, so I don’t think we can ask God to take sides. But I sure hope that whatever happens today, the Yellow Army marches on.

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

I Think I'm Hard Enough

I get more than moderately irritated when people imply or assert (as no-one has recently, is this post indicative of a mental imbalance?) that I would be less than formidable in a street fight.

Certainly I am a sensitive soul. I do not have any great wish to hurt anyone - although occasionally I will fantasise about doing so. I'm not very fit, and I am not hardY - I can't stand being without my creature comforts. I can be moody, but I'm not especially aggressive. And I'd likely walk away from a fight if that was possible.

But I am very big, very strong, very fast and knowledgable. For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known - when it comes to the ability to mix it up if I have to, I am f-king rock hard.
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