Existin’, pt. 1

My procrastination is off the scales lately.
I started to write this blog post while procrastinating on packing to go to Leicester tomorrow. Then I didn’t know what to write so I procrastinated by packing for Leicester.
Productive, anyway.

The other week I was booked to do one of my favourite gigs (ACMS, which you’ve heard me giddily ramble about if you’ve spent any time with me) and I wanted to come up with something new! and fun!!, so I dedicated the two preceding days to writing. Day one, I just did a lot of admin. Day two, I started to write… then decided coffee would help. I didn’t have any at home. I decided I’d go to a coffee shop up the road and buy some beans. I got there, and they couldn’t grind them. I ordered an oat flat white, but I still wanted filter coffee for home. Maybe I could settle for instant coffee… no. I decided to take the bus to the coffee roastery Caravan in Granary Square by King’s Cross. I got my coffee beans, and they said I could have a free drink. I ordered an oat flat white. By the time I got home I was more than caffeinated enough, but I’d just bought beans so I made myself a coffee and then felt super anxious.

That’s not even a good story. But I’m procrastinating. Also, I’m insufferable about coffee. I make over a thousand coffees a week; it’s an occupational hazard.

I’m going to Leicester for the comedy festival. For a few days of it, anyway. Around the same time as I wrote my last blog post I applied to do a work-in-progress in Leicester and was forced to figure out what this show is. It’s about identity. I’ve written an absolute ton of material so far. I don’t know what the shape of it will be exactly. I think it might have something to do with conspiracy theories, mainly because I’m obsessed with a book I found in my flat when I moved in over five years ago. It’s called Paul Is Dead!!!! Or…….. Is Ringo Dead???? Do YOU Want To Know That Secret???? (amount of punctuation absolutely accurate). It’s all incredible and perfect (enough so that writing material around it is very difficult), but the best bit is at the bottom of one page where it says HE DIE.

I designed a t-shirt. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration at all to call it one of the best things I’ve ever done.

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So whatever my show is (and I have the Leicester show on February 12th, and a work-in-progress the following day with my exceptional friend Simone — HEY LONDONERS COME TO THIS — so basically I should start to figure it out pretty soon), what I do know is that it looks something like this:

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In case you haven’t figured it out (maybe by the sheer amount of pictures in my blog posts) but I really love show and tell.

Oh, by the way, I’ve been making puppets (because of course I have). Also I painted a picture of the world’s best pizza mascot because I’ve realised the true joy of doing a thing like standup comedy is the fact that I can do whatever the fuck I want. And, worst case scenario, if it doesn’t work I still have a painting of Ricardo the pizza mascot. I genuinely think it might be the best painting I’ve ever done.

For those of you who aren’t comedy people and might not know: Edinburgh Fringe is what life is all about.
Okay cool now you know!!!

At the end of last year and beginning of this year, I got very into Vic & Bob. I mean, of course I did. The grand majority of the comedy I like wouldn’t exist without them.

I’ve been feeling weird lately. I tend to get really bad seasonal affective disorder (then inevitably I end up writing about it when I do my periodic blog posts), but I felt like I’d more or less avoided it this winter, or at least not gotten it very badly. I have my SAD lamp (bought for me last winter by my best friend Nidal, the best person on the planet), which definitely helps. But I think I mainly hid from seasonal affective disorder by getting very into Vic & Bob. Genuinely. I highly recommend them to combat sadness.

The S.A.D. caught up with me, anyway, over the last week or so. Great timing. I am fighting through it. It will go away. THINGS ARE FUCKING GOOD.

I’m rapidly approaching my 300th gig, which is very exciting. I know all I talk about is comedy but I love it so much, I think especially since starting to work on this new show. I was doing the same material for so, so long, and it’s been incredibly freeing to just do whatever I want. I think my stage presence is improving vastly, too, largely owing to Elf Lyons‘ workshops, of which I’ve now done two.

One of the best things in my entire life is Troy Club, which I co-run with my friend Andrew O’Neill. He’s been running it on and off for years, and I find it so amazing that he trusts me to be involved with something so important. It’s the last Sunday of every month (again, if you’ve spent any time with me you’ve heard all about this) and the lineups are absolutely stacked with incredible alternative acts. Andrew wasn’t there for last month’s so it was up to me to run the night, make sure it all went smoothly. It did! Also the glorious Laurie Black was MCing, and she’s brilliant. (I mean, basically I just know really fucking cool people and I want you all to know how great they are. I’ll never believe that I get to have this life.)

The best lineup I’ve ever been on was at Troy Club in September. Fuckin’ look at this:

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That’s me; John-Luke Roberts who is fucking excellent and whose Edinburgh show was one of my favourite things of all time, I think; Andrew; & Siân, who was my roommate in Edinburgh and whom I love dearly. PERFECT. LINEUP.

Is this blog post just going to be me talking about people I like?
YES.

I always think back, actually, to my work Christmas party last year when, more inebriated than I can properly describe, I was sat on the floor with my beloved friend Gemma and she told me that I always talk about all the amazing people I know, but that I don’t sing my own praises nearly enough.

I’m pretty good!!!!!!!!!

It took me about four days to feel like myself again after that party, but that’s neither here nor there.

Back at the beginning of November I went to Nottingham because my incredible friend Katie Mitchell was managing a venue and had asked me if I wanted to do a show. My actual show didn’t happen (my self-promotion isn’t necessarily great, but also I was so completely bored with my Edinburgh show by then that I truly didn’t mind), but she and I did a little work-in-progress that was an absolute joy. The whole weekend was wonderful, too, just chilling out in a beautiful city I’d never previously visited. She came down to London in January and we did full-length WIPs at the pub around the corner from my house. We might do a third round of WIPs together before August.

On Halloween I went with my excellent flatmate Andie to see the Dresden Dolls, whom I’ve loved for years. They played at the Troxy, which is a beautiful venue in East London, and it was fucking astonishing. Astonishingly, thanks to Andrew who was the support act, we ended up in the afterparty. It was incredibly fun, me absolutely exhausted but having the time of my life, just inventing stupid dances and not caring how I looked and laughing a lot and hanging out with great people.

I MCed a gig the following night, after having worked all day on two hours of sleep. It was genuinely the most fun I’ve had MCing.

IT IS A VERY GOOD LIFE.

My Mom came to visit me back in October, for my 32nd birthday. She stayed in an Airbnb about seven minutes’ walk down the road from my flat. I think it was her fifth visit here, and we did more travelling than on some previous visits. Because her mother, my Grandma, passed away at the beginning of last year, it seemed high time Mom finally visit Scotland, where her parents were from. We went to Edinburgh — it felt weird to be there outside of Fringe time, especially when I discovered Pleasance Courtyard is normally a car park — and we had a day in Glasgow. The visit was wonderful.

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Christmas was great, too. All I wanted going back to Ottawa, apart from to spend time with family and friends, was to chill the fuck out, and I did. I also finally ended up going through the boxes I left in my parents’ garage when I moved out of my Centretown apartment over six years earlier, and getting rid of the grand majority of what was in there. There’s something incredibly therapeutic. Plus I regained some cool fuckin’ stuff.

It feels in a lot of ways like my life is making so much sense and I have an actual idea of who I am and I realise I’m good at things and holy fucking shit, apart from the fact that my brain: 1) doesn’t know how to deal with winter; & 2) doesn’t know how to deal with things going well and panics all the damn time.

It’s fine.

Sleeping enough might help.

I’m going to Leicester in ten hours. Please come if you’re around. I realise you probably won’t be (especially as I imagine the grand majority of people who read this probably aren’t in this country), but… y’know. Still try? I made a poster and everything!

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I don’t know if it’s because I’m writing a show about being a REAL PERSON!, but I actually am starting to feel like one?
(It is because of that. That’s why I’m writing it.)

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