Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Lost in translation - Jesus and the cowboys

When I was a child I found Christmas confusing. As I am born so close to Christmas, I fear the “wonder” of Christmas and celebration of the birth of Jesus may have been slightly overshadowed by the excitement of celebrating my own birth. So I was a selfish child but hey, most children are selfish aren’t they? What confused me the most was the stories about Jesus and how he did so many amazing things like turning water into wine and healing the sick and lame, yet only lived (as far as I could work out) for a maximum of 4 and a half months.

I was so confused by the fact Christmas happened in December and then by April, Jesus had seemingly carped it and I was eating chocolate eggs and making bonnets made out of crepe paper and felt. I appreciate that in retrospect, this seems dumb as fuck but honestly, for kids, it’s a pretty fucking confusing concept. In fact, realistically, telling kids that a virgin gave birth to the Messiah; in a stable; in front of loads of animals and strangers (including weird naked cherubs and angels if you believe the pictures) and then that Messiah went on to do loads of miraculous stuff like making blind people see, and curing leprosy and carpentry is all pretty confusing and hard to swallow as a kid.

To throw in a bit more confusion, I recently discovered that a friend of mine’s little boy was to appear in the school version of the nativity. As a cowboy. What the very fuck!? I appreciate in Cornwall, things are sometimes a little lost in translation and interpretation but I am pretty sure that there were no cowboys in the nativity story I was told as a kid. Admittedly, looking at the story now, as an atheist, I am quite sure that there weren’t any wise men, angels or a slightly confused and worried carpenter present either. In fact, I am pretty sure the story is just that. A story. BUT… that does not take away from the fact there were no cowboys. It’s no wonder that kids are confused about Christmas and Jesus is it really? It’s hard enough getting your head around the fact that Jesus lived longer than 4 months let alone being expected to believe that cowboys, Indians and aliens were present at his birth. It was a stable not the YMCA...

Monday, 19 December 2011


As many of my Twitter followers are aware, I commute into London to work on a daily basis. The journey takes approx 50 minutes into London and then another 25 mins on the tube. It's not a terrible commute. I always get a seat on the train and generally my trains are on time and reliable.

I purchase an annual season ticket. As you can imagine, the tickets aren't cheap, in fact, I have considered Ebaying organs in order to muster up the funds to purchase tickets in the past. Brilliantly, my work offer an interest free season ticket loan for people just like me so I have so far managed to hold onto my pancreas, kidneys, spleen and other desirable transplantable body parts. Being on the ball and organised, I requested my season ticket cheque to be ready to collect last week so I could purchase my shiny new one this morning. The train company website (although pretty flaky) has a "season ticket calculator" which I duly used and calculated the small fortune that I needed to ask work for in order to renew my ticket.

So in I sauntered this morning - in a pretty damn chipper mood if I am honest - but why not? I am fucking organised and "on it" and it's Christmas, I can afford to be a little chipper can't I? As I walked up to the counter and caught a glimpse of the miserable shrew behind the glass, all trace of chipperness was replaced with a kind of heart sinking dullness. What I am saying here is that the utter misery conveyed from the face of the woman behind that glass was enough to penetrate into my very soul. As you can imagine, I had already begun to regret wearing my new fun koala knitted beanie hat and my funky, festive scarf as I cleared my throat and in what can only be described as my "little girl voice" wished her a good morning and asked if I could renew my season ticket.

I pulled out my pre-printed cheque and handed over my existing ticket when a sound so cold and gravelly it could have paved half of Buckinghamshire said "That's the wrong amount - on your cheque, it's for the wrong amount". I started to get irritated - unfair really, I know now but it was 7am. On a Monday and I was wearing a Koala hat and festive scarf and talking to a woman with less life in her eyes than Harold Shipman. I advised her that I had used the online calculator to work out the ticket cost for work to issue me the cheque ad she just said "Yeah well the government have changed everything over the weekend and haven't updated our machines."


Now, firstly, I'm not THE most avid follower of current affairs, but I am fairly up to date with things such as how many organs I am likely to have to auction off in order to get to and from work and secondly, I am pretty sure "the government" don't routinely update rail operators "machines" of a weekend at the best of times.

I cleared my throat which in the small space of time I had spent looking at this woman, had become drier than a nun's chough (must be some kind of Medusa effect) and said politely:
"OK so how much should the ticket be?"

To which she gave the nasally, gravel dragon breath response:

"I have no idea - they haven't updated our machines yet."

Now I GET that public sector people are eggy about government stuff. I do get that. I GET that people are striking due to unfair working conditions and unfair pay to name a few things, but for FUCK's SAKE!? Surely we can't blame the government for everything? Can we?

By this stage I was about as eggy as a catalytic converter. I took back my pre-paid ticket, doffed my koala hat and advised her that I would have another look on the website when I got to work. Then as I walked away from the desk and the poor, poor guy behind me raised his gaze to meet hers, I heard her say:

"Sorry about that, she hadn't checked the amount for her season ticket renewal"

Now I don't very much care if that lady (Give-a-shit-Gertrude as I have nicknamed her) enjoys her job. I don't really mind if she hates the festive season and would rather raise the dead than a welcoming smile but I DO CARE about good customer service. if it is YOUR JOB to greet and help the public, then fucking drop the attitude or find work elsewhere.

The somewhat happy ending to this story is that on calling my train operator's customer service department after checking the website, I have discovered that my season ticket is substantially cheaper than first anticipated.  SUCK ON THAT GERTRUDE YOU MISERABLE SHREW!

Friday, 16 December 2011

The big "Three OOOHHHHHHHHH"

I have a chunk of my set that I have been doing for the past 7 months that says “So I am 30 at the end of this year”. I quite like the material and have been doing it in the blissful ignorance that with each passing month, the big 30 creeps closer, like impending doom. I am 30 next week. A week today I will be celebrating my 30th birthday. That came round pretty quick, for me anyway.

A lot of people have been saying stuff like “Oh don’t worry, you don’t LOOK 30!” or “Hey, don’t worry! 30 isn’t so bad!”

The thing is – weirdly I am not worried. I have been waiting for the big “30 truck” to career into me at full force like a spaceship full of Bridget Jones’ or a tractor full of Kirsty Allsops but so far: Nothing. Not even a HINT of home crafts or magic knickers! I actually feel quite excited about my birthday. I think this may be down to a couple of things:

Firstly, as my birthday is the day before Xmas eve, I decided to have a big party to celebrate last month. Nobody is EVER around at Xmas and by having the party in November meant more people came and generally everything was easier with regard travel etc. The party was brilliant fun and I got to spend some quality time (despite being shitfaced for most of it) with my besties!

Secondly, I feel quite content with my life. I have achieved quite a lot of the things I had hoped to had achieved by the time I was 30 so I feel quite happy that there is nothing that I secretly desired to be doing that I haven’t already tried or aren’t already having a crack at. I enjoy my job, I have great friends and family, a wonderfully supportive boyfriend, I love writing comedy and doing stand up. Life is pretty good at the mo! I feel good about turning 30 as I feel content that I am doing all the things I like doing right now!

A wise old friend once told me not to “settle” for anything. A nice house. A mediocre job. Getting by. I feel quite good that I don’t think I have “settled” for anything. I have worked hard to get where I am. I have a degree. I live in beautiful place and commute into the hustle and bustle of the city. I have a hugely rewarding job and I am writing and performing comedy.

And I am loved and in love - something that I think often gets overlooked or taken for granted.

So, in summary, I think I am quite happy about the fast approaching 30. Looking forward to it, even. Here is to 2012 being as brilliant as 2011 has been for me.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Cancer can suck my balls...

So last night I headed off to Macmillan Cancer Support's centenary gala at the London palladium. Pretty exciting to be honest! I won tickets after taking part in Macmillan's got talent, a talent contest that work did a few weeks ago. Admittedly, I was the only person doing stand up but it was a really good gig despite being sandwiched between singers and musicians. In fact, that layout actually worked really well!

I have worked for Macmillan for nearly 3 years. It's a great place to work and I still really enjoy my job which is quite unusual these days. I have pondered and skirted around writing comedy material on cancer. It's a really tough one as on one hand, I'm all about making light of difficult situations and trying to make them easy for people to relate to, but on the other hand, it is really hard to get the balance right. Cancer is not funny. Cancer tears up lives, families, relationships regardless of age, gender, religion. Cancer doesn't discriminate. I get that. I totally get it and am not immune to the shadow of fear and sadness the big C casts over life. My mum has had cancer twice now. She is lucky to be alive. My grandad has prostate cancer. Not aggressive, thankfully, but another thing to add to a long list of 'old man' related ailments. None of this is funny. What is funny to me are the things that come out of living with or after cancer. People's take on life. The other day at a work conference, I said to one of the delegates, a GP, "yeah my grandad has prostate cancer. It's a real ball ache" and without realising, had made a joke about cancer. My mum often makes (to be fair, usually ill timed) references to the fact she has the trendiest "undercut" around due to the intensity of both her chemo and radiotherapy following the surgery to remove her brain tumour 30 years ago.

My grandad has developed osteoporosis due to a number of factors, one being a knock on effect of the hormone treatment he is on to control his prostate cancer. He now has to take a strong pill every week to help prevent his spine crumbling. My nana recently told me over the phone that "grandad is much more talkative after his acid pill on a Friday". There they are. Stories. Jokes. Waiting to be told to people, usually strangers, to make them laugh, albeit, guiltily at cancer.

I guess the reality is, its not cancer that is funny. It's the way you deal with cancer. It's the humour you find in a terrible situation. It's the story you tell and the way you tell it that is funny. Cancer is a total fucker. You will never find anyone sticking up for cancer in a discrimination row so I say let's all  rag the shit out of cancer! Make people laugh about cancer, hell, people have spent enough time crying about it!

Anything that you are passionate about can be funny. It's the things I am most passionate about that I get the biggest laughs for on stage. I am going to attempt to grab cancer by its ugly fucking horns, rinse it hard, dress it up like a dancing bear and make it dance until people are bent double in laughter! OK, maybe not the bear thing, but I will be attempting to make light of some of the shared experiences of people affected by cancer. Watch this space...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Remembering my first time

It struck me that although my first stand up gig was earlier this year (March) my first real experience of doing “stand up” in its loosest format was when I was about 10 years old.
I grew up in St Just which is a small town near Lands’ End. As you can probably imagine, there was not a whole lot to do when we were kids unless you liked walking around and looking at fields or farm machinery and stuff. Therefore, the excitement of “St Just Football Club Disco" was unrivalled and quite literally mind blowing. Football club discos were held in the football club (who could’ve guessed!?) The younger girls would generally drink loads of fizzy pop and dance, horrendously, to the likes of Shabba Ranks, Snow, Ace of Base and other utterly abysmal early 90s pop, whilst simultaneously trying to catch the eye of the hotter younger boys (who were more often than not discussing game levels on Sonic or Streets of Rage or doing their best Michael Jackson impressions). The older girls would split their time between smoking Royals that they had managed to get one of the older boys with facial bumfluff to procure for them, and being fingered by some ugly rugby lad(s) in the stands of the football club.
Contrary to popular belief about girls in Cornwall, being 10 meant that I fell into the “younger girls” category and was therefore blissfully unaware of said illegal cigarette procurement, bumfluffed boys or fingering. Instead I was quite happily immersed in dancing to Haddaway and swooning over Daniel Prowse - by far the best Michael Jackson impersonator/dancer of his generation.  I remember my friend Natalie’s mum – a notorious alcoholic storming the disco, demanding all the lights be turned on and then slurring very loudly at length at how everyone there was a “TOTAL CU*T” or “F*CKING W*NKER” or some other term that would keep the younger ones amongst us entertained for weeks afterwards as we shouted it across the school dinner hall. Natalie’s mum then turned her attention - albeit a little wobbly, to me. She dragged a stool across to the very middle of the dance floor which was now aghast with 9 and 10 year old kids torn between feeling excited about the fact there was clearly gonna be some shit going down, and disappointed that said shit more than likely meant a prematurely early end to their evening (9.30 instead of 10pm).
Although there was no music playing anymore and the main lights had been switched on, there was still quite a lot of hustle and bustle and lots of chatter. I remember my palms starting to get a bit sweaty as I wondered what in God’s name Natalie’s mum was going to do to me when she turned around and at the top of her voice she said “Do your Jasper Carrott impression! Everyone listen, she’s bloody hilarious!” And with that she pulled me through the crowd of kids, some of whom had now begun knee sliding and/or wrestling, and plonked me on the stool in the middle of the dance floor. I could hear my heart and feel my blood in my ears as I sat, terrified, staring gormlessly at everyone. Now to say that I was a shy kid would be wrong. I wasn’t shy. I loved attention and had always enjoyed singing in the choir and opportunities to do cool drama stuff in school (we did Grease one year – I was the girl who sang “Tell me more, tell me more, like did he have a car!?” a very proud moment for me) but I had never done anything on my own. In front of a crowd: An audience.
What I remember after that is a mixture of fear, excitement and pride as I recited my favourite Jasper Carrott jokes in a broad brummy accent to a small but captivated audience of fellow school mates, stunned parents and a drunk alcoholic. For those interested, I believe the repertoire comprised the classics: “Okk Far Rup”, “He won’t get there any quicker” and “He’s in bed. With his leg”. All classic Carrott gold, in my opinion.  
I can’t really remember much after that. I am pretty sure I wasn’t carried out by a cheering mob of fans or offered a contract by any youth performance spotters. In fact, I think that Natalie’s mum was escorted from the football club, the lights were turned off again and the DJ (someone’s dad) played Inner Circle’s romantic hit classic “Sweat”,  but what I do remember is that I felt fucking fantastic! I felt like a winner! And I think that right then was when I thought : You know what? I quite like this comedy malarkey…
Only took me 19 years to actually do something about it but hey, better late than never.

Blogging smlogging

Sat on the train on the way back from London the other night I realised that I haven’t actually written ANYTHING in the way of a blog since I set my blog site up in the summer. To be honest – I am not massively surprised as:

a) I am helluva busy


b) I am lazy as fuck

However, I have decided to have a crack at writing some stuff to help translate comedy ideas/stories and also just some stuff which I think about sometimes – catharsis if you will…

Peas x

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Fluffy Whip

Here I am sat on in front of the laptop on a rainy Sunday evening. Today I have achieved 3 things:

I have bought some new running trainers
I have listed my old netbook on Ebay
I have bought "fluffy whip" cream

Of the 3, I think we are all agreed that the fluffy whip purchase is by far superior. I didnt have to concentrate on anything, didnt have to put it on and pretend I was a serious runner and didnt have to box it up and post it. Fluffy whip doesent pretend to be something it's not. It merely enhances my life with it's creamy goodness... If Fluffy whip could speak (which I sometimes get tricked into thinking it can but it is just the gas in the can releasing and squirting it out with a loud CHCHCHCHCHCH sound) it would say. "Hey! Why the long face? What is the point in getting so bogged down in the day to day mundane reality of a Sunday when you could just kick back and give a little squirt and feel great!? On fruit, on cake, HELL even straight into your mouth - give a little squirt and life is great!"

To me Fluffy whip feels right. There aren't many things I san say that about after squirting them onto fruit or, indeed, straight into my mouth. Fluffy whip makes me want to be a better person... no wait, that is a line from a film, I think. Yes. As good as it gets, I think... But nevertheless, Fluffy whip does make me feel less inhibited. It makes me feel comfortable with who I am and who I want to be. FLUFF THE WHIP UP!

That is all - Peas x