Tuesday, 20 February 2018

There's Nothing Fitter than an Outfit Fitter.

Does anyone else ever feel like they’re walking around in someone else’s clothing or is it just me?

(And do you like my mini-dress?)

It may be a byproduct of my labyrinthitis, but sometimes everything I’m wearing just feels wrong. When my dizziness is at its worst, my eyes constantly flick from side to side literally all day and all night - and I don’t use my literallys like a hyperbolic teenager - which makes me feel like I’m in the wrong body; it’s like stumbling across a vat of half-set jelly: I'm the epitome of self-aware.

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve put on weight lately, but that combined with my vertigo makes everything a little skew-whiff. I only left the house once today to pop to the shop and when I did, my gait resembled that alien in Men in Black who takes up home in that redneck’s body; young Bambi on ice had more grace than me.

It must be nice to spend just a few minutes a day not feeling self-conscious; oh, to be a functioning member of society.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Giving Bobby a Bell.

My stress levels were pretty high yesterday, but all tension was soon brushed aside when I confirmed the comic legend Bobby Davro will play Hitchin Mostly Comedy in May.

I’d been gently working on the booking for a few days after being given Bobby’s number by a mutual friend last week. I sent him a text with all the details last Wednesday and chased it up a few days later, but didn’t want to push too hard, as I was using his private number and didn’t want to pester him unduly. I resigned myself on waiting until the weekend had passed before trying again so I didn’t encroach on his downtime too much, but this plan was soon put to bed when I checked my mobile on Sunday evening to pick up the following voicemail:

“Hey David, it’s Bobby Davro calling you; give me a call regarding doing your show. Thanks sir.”

With each passing year, my life gets more surreal. If you'd told Childhood Me that one day I’d be fielding calls from Davro, I’d have given you a weird look and crossed to the other side of the road, just to be safe; I should explain I pictured this fictional conversation outdoors, hence the suggested getaway, but feel free to scrap the last bit if that’s not how you imagined it; the point I'm making is: I wouldn’t believe you. 

While I would never have anticipated the strange route my life seems prone to take, I do enjoy these little junctions, as they make the bad bits more bearable; who cares if your bank balance is in near-permanent minus figures if you take the odd call from a comic legend? That’s my mantra and I’ll stick to it (until the bailiffs take my mantra away).

Spin forward an hour and I had rung off on one of the easiest twenty-minute phone conversations I’ve ever been a half of; Davro's just a thoroughly nice chap. Out chat covered everything from our mutual love of Les Dawson (who he told me had taken him under his wing when he was new) to the importance of good stagecraft, with both of us openly sharing what had led us both to current creative point. I told him how lovely the Mostly Comedy crowd are and how pleased they’d be to see him and he said he’d love to come down.

When I told Glyn about the booking - having kept it quiet until then for the surprise - he was in stitches with excitement, and said how much he'd loved Davro's sketch shows as a kid. It looks set to be a great night. Now forgive me for dashing off, but I just received a fax from Les Dennis.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Read All About Reading All About It.

I’ve been devouring John Grisham’s debut novel 'A Time To Kill' for the past week, which is the first time I’ve sped through a good book in ages.

While I’ve always been an avid reader (or a David one) I sometimes get out of the habit, according to my mood. It doesn’t help that I’ve gone through a spate of writing my blog immediately before bed, which I'd prefer not to do, partly because it cuts into time when I might be reading or - Shock! Horror! - sleeping.

I can’t get a handle on people who don’t read at all, when it’s about the cheapest and most effective form of escapism you can get. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, but find the latter the more relaxing of the two. I’ll often alternate between them - I last read Robert Webb’s ‘How Not to Be a Boy’, which I really liked - but do love a good novel; I’m particularly fond of thrillers: Robert Harris is always a good call. This is the fourth Grisham book I’ve happened upon, having previously read ‘The Client’, ‘The Firm’ and ‘Runaway Jury’ - and second to 'The Client', the current one is perhaps the most gripping.

I wonder if I’ll ever write a novel myself? I like the idea, but think I’m naturally more adept at writing non-fiction - my blog or stand-up being a case in point - or in script form, which I’ve done a many times before, most notably with Glyn. I don’t know if I’d be able to sustain a story for so long, or keep it moving apace. Maybe one of these days, I’ll give it a go; if I copied out Keith Richards’ ‘Life’, substituting his name for mine and Jagger's with my cat, would anyone notice?

Friday, 16 February 2018

"Everybody's Celebrating Being Thirty, Dave."

Today was a day of low-level admin, including finalising the first line-up for St Albans Mostly Comedy (which is good news), putting together a mailing list mailout for next week’s show (in which I mentioned the news of our soon-to-be additional venue, without actually revealing where it was) and generally not doing a great deal, save a little reading, as I hadn’t slept particularly well last night, so writing wasn’t an option.

Within the mailout I mentioned the fact that Red Dwarf celebrated its thirtieth birthday yesterday - something I hadn’t realised until Norman Lovett tweeted about it - which felt pertinent, what with us regularly playing host to both Hollys, which we’re doing again over the next few months. Without double-checking due to laziness, this must put Red Dwarf alongside The Simpsons as one of the longest running sitcoms, though in the case of the former, it’s been a little more off-again on again instead of going straight through.

This is an impressive statistic that’s hard to figure when I remember watching the first series on BBC2 as a child, probably only a couple of years after it first went out. I can specifically remember Norman’s situation-setting introductions as the ship’s computer, obviously with no idea that my path would cross semi-regularly with his in years to come; he’s one of comedy’s genuinely lovely figures, not to mention one of the most instinctively funny people in the industry.

The Holly and the Holly and the Holly.

In compiling the mailout for this and next week’s show, I also reworked the press release for the latter, as it was worth including it. See below for it in its original info-giving state:

Press Release – 04.02.18

mostly comedy
a monthly comedy club, at the sun hotel in hitchin

While 22nd February’s Hitchin Mostly Comedy with HENNING WEHN officially sold out in advance in just twenty minutes, there’s still a good chance of snapping up return tickets on the night.

HENNING is the self-proclaimed German Comedy Ambassador to the UK; prior to working in comedy he studied Business Administration in Münster. In 2002, he moved to the UK to work in the marketing department of Wycombe Wanderers. Around that time, he attended an open mic night and decided to try his hand at stand-up; since then, he hasn't looked back.

Henning's now a familiar media face, having been seen on BBC's QI, Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You? and C4's 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and heard on BBC Radio 4's The Unbelievable Truth and Radio 5Live's Fighting Talk, to name a few. This will be his fifth appearance at Mostly Comedy.

Political comic GRÁINNE MAGUIRE joins Henning on the bill. Her credits include BBC1′s Question Time and Daily Politics, ITV1′s Agenda, Comedy Central’s Stewart Lee’s Alternative Comedy Experience, RTE’s The Year That’s In It, BBC3′s Free Speech, Radio 5Live’s Seven Day Sunday and Hit List and writing for C4's Alternative Election Night, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Radio 4’s News Quiz.

Comic actor KATHRYN BOND completes the line-up. One half of the critically acclaimed Edinburgh and Soho Theatre sellout act That Pair, Kathryn's TV and radio credits include BBC's Call the Midwife, Sky's The Greatest, C4's Blaps and BBC Radio 4, amongst others.

The gig is emceed by Mostly Comedy’s custodians: the “polished, natural comedians” (Camden Fringe Voyeur) DOGGETT & EPHGRAVE. Doors open at 7:30pm, with the first act on at 8:00pm. A waiting list will be taken on the door from 7:15pm, with any returns distributed just before 8:00pm on a first-come, first-served basis. Returns do tend to come up (there were eight for JACK DEE’s appearance in November, which had an unprecedented advance interest) so it's worth a try. For more information on this and other dates - and how to join the club’s mailing list - visit www.mostlycomedy.co.uk.

Date:              Thursday 22nd February 2018
Venue:           The Sun Hotel, Sun Street, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1AF
Time:             Bar open all day. Doors at 7:30pm. First act on at 8:00pm.
Admission:   £11.00. Waiting list from 7:15pm. More info at www.mostlycomedy.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 February 2018


What better way to mark today’s strange Valentine’s / Ash Wednesday mash-up than going to hospital to have a growth on my face investigated?

It was nothing if not romantic; all lovers of love should do this. Why take your wife out for a romantic meal when you can ask her to accompany you to an appointment where a dermatologist stares at your facial irregularities through a giant magnifying glass to rule out melanoma? Move over Cassanova, there’s a new kid in town, and that kid’s got seborrheic keratoses that are more likely to be seen on a man in his fifties; who says I’m not a catch?

The good news was they (for there are two) are nothing to worry about, which was a relief. It was only because one had grown considerably towards the end of last year before falling off - as I said: “catch” - that I went to the GP to be referred to a specialist to double-check it, and while I knew it was most likely not a concern, I didn’t want to rely on my untrained eye when I could have someone who knew what they're doing sign it off; sign it off or chop it off, whichever was necessary.

The other pleasing upshot of today was I discovered my BMI is healthy too, which was a relief as I’ve put on a little weight recently. I’d like to blame this on my facial growth, but that would be wide of the mark; the problem’s more to do with my love of biscuits; I guess there are worse things to be addicted to.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Stone Me, What a Venue.

Today, Glyn and I visited the venue in St Albans where we’ll be taking Mostly Comedy in the Spring.

I’m excited about the prospect of trying it there, as I feel confident that it’s a town and a space that should suit the club well. It helps that the people in charge of the venue are keen and on a very similar wavelength to us as regards what makes a successful event while allowing time for it to grow. The venue’s also a stone’s throw from the station and the time it takes to get to St Albans from London by train is basically the same as the time it takes to get to Hitchin.

Our meeting (and tour of the venue) was very productive, and no sooner had we got back to Hitchin than I was already attempting to book some big names for it; I’m always of the ethos that it’s best to do it straight away so there’s less work to do nearer the time; I would thought we should be able to finalise the line-ups quickly, which would be equally good.

The other exciting mini-event of the day was the arrival of my first newsletter from the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society I joined a few weeks ago. I haven’t received anything of the sort since I was a member of the Paul McCartney Fun Club in the mid-Nineties, and it’s very exciting; I could have opted out of the paper copy of the magazine, but at the same time I know I’d enjoy it through the tangibility of having the articles in front of me instead of just on a screen; I’m a funny old fart like that.

I’ve already been pleasantly surprised about the amount of memorabilia I receive; there’s plenty to keep me busy for the rest of the week. It’s nice to bw a part about something I care aboutl; I should have joined sooner, damn it!

Monday, 12 February 2018

'University Challenged: Week Twenty-Seven' (12.02.18)

I felt terribly frustrated for not coming back in time to tweet along to last week’s University Challenge; all the more reason I was ready and prepared today for it today. Taking the mickey out of overly-knowledgeable, poorly dressed students is all I’ve got.

See below for today’s tweets: 

St. John's Cambridge Vs. Ulster (12.02.18)
8:34PM: A Devine-Stoneman.

8:35PM: Levin's mantra: "mime is money".

8:36PM: Levin wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Fifties’ coffee shop.

8:38PM: McKeown and sibilant answers don't mix.

8:39PM: McDaid is Angelos Epithemiou's McDad.

8:41PM: Going to a #UniversityChallenge recording must be a laugh a minute.

8:42PM: The longer you look, the more pronounced Devine-Stoneman's Adam's apple becomes.

8:44PM: Imagine how stressed Paxman would make you feel while threading a needle: "COME ON”.

8:49PM: "Come on, come on, come on, come on; Take That & Paxman".

8:50PM: Milliken has a collection of illegal knives in his lock-up.

8:52PM: Jeremy Paxman to record a cover of Grange Hill's 'Just Say No'.8:55PM:
Devine-Stoneman's jaw could cut glass.

9:00PM: The Raven by Edgar Allan Po.