2011 (Or "Twenty One One" as I'm calling it) does actually bode quite well. Plans are afoot at the comedy clubs I run for a big April New Act Competition which I'm really looking forward to running, I'm off to Fuertaventura at the end of this month for a mini break (All inclusive for £147 - I couldn't turn it down), got The Psychobilly Meeting again in July, Edinburgh throughout August (confirmed) and the threat of the PPBowls garage punk festival again in Italy in October. In other words, pretty much every other month involves a trip away and I know I'm fortunate to be able to do it.
So why, at the moment, am I so lethargic? Well it's poker and cricket again. The climax of The Ashes has coincided with a return of the gambling habit which costs me far more in lost hours of sleep than it does financially. I just about break even online at the moment but the amount of time I have to put in to achieving this equilibrium is leading me to get up about 3pm in the afternoon and I'm not getting a lot done.
I had a couple of nights out between Christmas and New Year with a particularly odd incident on December 30th. I nipped out late for a couple in The Arena tavern and was presented with a surprisingly large pre-NYE crowd of reprobates and ne'erdowells, many of whom I was not familiar with. Two such bone headed galoots approached me towards the end of the night (As I sat quietly nursing a "Directors" ale) and one asked me for a roll up. He was very polite. I rolled one for him. Then he was less polite and demanded one for his mate as well. I rolled my eyes with the second lot of tobacco and as I handed him the two thin white sticks he suddenly declared "Mate - don't worry about him" (pointing to the other one, who for the first time I realised was standing up but had his eyes closed) "He's just f***ing pissed". At this point his mate opened his eyes and called him a bombaklart.
This is a little-known insult amongst myself and my friends and owes itself to the West Indies more than North Herts but I let it go. The subject of the insult then reared up at the vertically comatose insulter and started giving him grief. An argument (of sorts) escalated exceptionally quickly, there was some jostling and as it looked like turning into a fight I took a punt and shouted (in my best patois)
"Blood! You is not a bombaklart! He is just pissed innit! Leave him be and get him out to smoke your stuff!"
Before doing that whippy finger thing we all used to do in the 80s and declaring
To nobody in particular. They both burst out laughing, I was forced to high five one of them and they stumbled out laughing to themselves. I don't think they were expecting an unshaven forty year old white boy cradling a pint of real ale to be able to talk to them in "street". Anyway, it worked. On the way out I said goodnight to the prettiest lesbian in Letchworth and she said "Actually I'm not lesbian any more - I'm seeing how it goes with a bloke". I asked her to have a word with Ami (See last blog).
On Friday I drove to Newcastle on purpose. I was doing The Hyena Comedy Club and it has a reputation for being brutal. It wasn't. It wasn't easy, but it was manageable. Decisions by the staff to provide the performers with free drinks all night did ease the process substantially and also led to another incident. I was introduced to the daughter of the friend of the woman running the night. Still with me? She was one of the waitresses and had, until recently, been living in China with her mother. I remarked that she had beautiful dusky eyes. She responded by telling me I had a fine moustache. I replied that I had been cultivating it for a while, to which she stopped and said
"Cultivating? You sound like yeast!"
There was some laughter, but not as much as when I replied "Well I am rather like yeast - very few women want me in their knickers".
It's rare you get a moment like that and actually think of a decent retort. It obviously backfired - I was introduced to everyone as "Yeast Boy" for the rest of the night, which went on until some time after 2am. I have no idea how I got home (or indeed why I left) but when I got back to the flat provided for the acts by the club (and judging by my phone records the next day). I called up everyone in America that I have ever met.This may well be a good year for T-Mobile as well.