This is my attempt at writing a blog post without a computer. It is without a computer because my computer is broken. I am writing this post on my phone.
“What’s going on with you, Leslie?” you ask. “Your hair is disheveled and differently coloured and quite clearly overprocessed.” (Yes. These are your concerns this far into this post. I know. We are the same in that way.)
I’m growing my hair! And I’m an impatient human and so I decided that I’d change the colours, and then because it was black it didn’t get light enough with one bleaching, and….
Shut up about your hair, Leslie.
You know that thing where I take on too many self-improvement things at once?
So yeah, I’m still struggling with that whole imposter syndrome thing. However, I am realizing that this is very, very normal, and that perhaps thinking about it near-constantly isn’t really helping anything. I spend too much time in my own head. You’d never believe it to speak to me, but…!
Aaaanyway, I am a person and I do deserve nice things and there we have it. Done. Sorted.
Oh golly. (Did I just say “oh golly”?)
Remember that fun little spell back in mid-August/early September, when I did my first three standup sets in a short time and it seemed like The Thing was really happening? That was fun, wasn’t it? A nice memory for all of us to share.
But no! I mean, yes, but also… that is also what the present is like. That is also what my life is like.
Somehow back then I found myself discouraged, felt so certain for a brief period then tremendously uncertain then a bit like I’d probably… failed at the thing. A whole lot of self-doubt, which is not ideal. But hey, at least I knew I had another set happening on January 29th. It was ages away, and yes, I’d definitely do more gigs before then! And then I didn’t.
And then it was January 29th, and it was my first gig in nearly five months, my fourth altogether, and it was downstairs at the Kings Head, Crouch End. It was like starting over. I was terrified. I was terrified and I was a bit hungover because I’d gone to an excellent DJ set the previous night (Leslie, who are you?). And I hadn’t memorized my standup set. And I brought my notes up onstage with me. And it felt weird, because even though I’d only done three gigs before then all I could think was I wasn’t supposed to feel that nervous onstage. I mean, the people laughed, so I knew the material I’d written since my last set was solid. That was a great confidence boost. And it was okay, really. It was a step back into that world I so badly want to properly be a part of. But all I really knew for sure that night was that I needed to do a lot more gigs as soon as I possibly could. I needed to move forward.
I did another gig on Sunday. Slightly over a month later, yes, but still progress. It was part of the Angel Raw night above the Camden Head in Islington. (If you don’t know London, these might just be… words.) Angel Comedy is always incredibly busy, and so it was a packed room. We sat on the floor by the stage. I’d been spending the last number of days intermittently looking at my notes, testing myself on whether or not I knew my material, but I wasn’t feeling overly confident about it. So ashamed had I been previously relying on my notes so much that I’d sort of promised myself I’d completely memorize my set. I didn’t feel as though I had. I was feeling unbelievably anxious. At interval, knowing I was second on in the second half, I thought I might actually die. All the acts in the first half had been amazing and polished, and I was expected to follow all of them. How? As the lovely MC Barry Ferns was talking to the crowd right before bringing me on, my stomach felt like it was completely made of acid. But he spoke for a while and I laughed a lot and then I felt okay. And he said my name. And I hit start on the timer and went onstage.
In the end I brought a piece of paper with a very basic outline on it of what I wanted to talk about. My absolute favourite thing I’ve written so far is a list, and the order in which I’ve arranged the items is very important to me. I didn’t want to mess it up. And I didn’t. And it went over tremendously well, every single thing I said getting laughs. The ones I thought were funniest often getting the best response. The five minute slot being exactly enough time to fit my entire set. The main critique I can give myself (is that… a thing?) is to not nervously move as much, but it was still a vast improvement over anything I’d done yet, and it’s a few days later and I’m still buzzing a bit from it. The lovely feedback from some of the other acts I’d really admired, from some audience members, and from the two friends who’d come to support me definitely, definitely helped.
I have two more sets coming up next week, and another in April. And I’ll book more. Don’t ever, ever let me stop. Slap me in the face if I try.
So that’s been a thing and, importantly, there was Laura.
Laura is one of my favourite humans in the world, and she visited for about eleven days, just left early Monday morning. She was there for my set on Sunday night, which was lovely and is extremely significant because she’s the only person who’s seen me do standup who knew me pre-London. Also she’s wonderful and amazing. We spent nearly two weeks going to art galleries; cooking delicious and often-healthy food; balancing that out by eating an unnecessary amount of Haribo and drinking lots of beers; going to comedy shows; & dancing. It was magical and I’m sad she doesn’t live here. You should probably just live here, Laura.
What else…? No computer, forced to write blog posts on my phone…
… growing out hair, being generally impatient, doing comedy…
Oh! Another one to add to the list of ridiculous shit that could rightly never happen but did because London: I met Carl Barât the other week.
I could go on for a while about how significant this was because I’ve absolutely loved the Libertines since I was eighteen and always always always wanted to meet Carl and the DJ set I previously mentioned was him DJing and I somehow was so close to him that night that I was able to touch his arm but that didn’t get his attention and so meeting him felt overdue in more than one way but aaaahh shut up Leslie… I met Carl Barât. His new band did a gig and signing in HMV on Oxford Street and he said to me when I met him that he’d seen me in the crowd, which blew my mind slightly (I’m a person! People notice me!) and I took a photo with him wherein I look flippin’ excellent and then, not remotely smooth, I awkwardly put my arm around his shoulder to thank him and then he hugged me (buried his face in my neck n’ all!) and anyway shut up, Leslie.
I have shut up. Shutting up is done now.
I’ve sort of been feeling so weird and stressed these last couple of days but, y’know, life is pretty damn good. My ticket is booked to fly to Toronto for my beloved friends Heather & Mark’s wedding, I’m going to visit Ottawa for about a week following that, my unbelievably excellent Mom’s also going to help me get a new computer and I’ll pay her back, and… you know. All the things I’ve already rambled about.
How many dreams can a person live at once?
Is that a really cheesy finishing line for a blog post? I think it might well be.