Saturday, 25 December 2010

Behold my naive optimism!

During the Edinburgh festival this year, I was interviewed by Lovephool TV. We had a chat about my life philosophy in one of the dimly lit bars of Espionage after my show.

My observation and belief is that life is nothing more than a vehicle for inspiration. All of us are a conduit for the best of virtue or worst of vice, dispensing these qualities throughout our lives and into the experiences of others which creates our world. Comedy is a great vehicle to explore these ideas and to communicate them in a lighthearted yet meaningful way, and I hope that my efforts will in some way bear a positive effect.

You can probably tell how knackered I am in this video, I racked up 101 gigs in 25 days and I was fasting. I am surprised I didn't evaporate!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Feeling UP

Recently I watched a lot of upsetting news in the forms of the extremist, ignorant and hateful factions of society. It's been quite nasty and depressing to digest. The more I watch the news and interact with the internet, nothing more than the ugly side of mankind has reached out to punch me in the face.

I watched the documentary BNP Wives, a look at the women in the BNP who campaign for the BNP, some really old and past their menopause, with no hope of finding any real joy in their lives, focussing on giving their remaining time on planet Earth perpetuating hate. I saw more and more about the EDL and even received a hate tweet from this lovely chap -  EnglishPatriot2

I chose to retweet this, I refuse to let such fascism be ignored. This gentlemen is either going to live a painful life of being an uneducated, inexperienced and delusional bigot, or he might grow up and take advantage of the enormous capacity for intelligence every human brain usually comes equipped with.

Also, what doesn't help are the minority of fundamentalist religious zealots whose words and actions manage to represent the entirety of the Muslim community in Britain, which the fear mongering arms of the media love to evangelise into public enemy number one. With all of this going on, I've felt a little overwhelmed by the abundance of ignorance and hate that is pouring into our society, if often feels like there is no hope for any kind of peace or joy. Let's face it, most of us do NOT want to live in the fascist utopia of any these nutjobs, be it in the fundamentalist and ritualistic dictatorship of the religious nutters or the feral Jeremy Kyle Show candidates of the EDL. However, it seems that the voices for the rest of us are washed away in the tides of hate. Unfortunately, a sad fact of life is that one act of hate has more of an instant impact than the opulence of love. It takes years for life to thrive and grow, but it takes just one single storm to destroy it all.

Overwhelmed by this all, I began to despair for the future as the numbers of the uneducated, ignorant, hateful and greedy outstrip the few who can communicate and co-operate. In reality, neither the religious zealots or the fascist right-wing are actually going to win, neither side will get their way, but the fact that they both exist and that the rest of us have to be caught in the middle, is the reality we have to live with.

Fortunately, never too far away is the abundance of art in which humans have communicated the beauty of our aspirations and potential to experience the joys of what is possible. Tonight, I watched the Disney Pixar film; UP.

Without giving too much away in case you haven't seen it, UP is a fantastic story of having a dream, having ambition and experiencing the journey of life with someone you care about. Although, we may not all have an abundance of material wealth or all the breaks and opportunities that we desire, but if you can share your life with someone you love, then even the simplest of everyday experiences becomes a joy to have. To quote my favourite personal development coach; Anthony Robbins - "The purpose of human relationships is to magnify the human experience".

Fortunately for us, even when we are bombarded by all that is wrong, a rich source for all that is right is recorded in our films, books and stories (and video games, check out Shenmue!) that illustrate the virtues of all that makes life such a precious and joyous experience. It's easy to take these forms of entertainment lightly, but the truth is that this is how human beings record and communicate the very best of our hopes, abilities and aspirations, and they remain the library of our accomplishments as a reminder and influence of the enormous capacity our minds have to create a much better world. So, in conclusion, what I am trying to say is that if you ever feel down about the state of the world and need a pick up, reach into the abundant library of good human virtues and sink your teeth into some of this wonderful soul food.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Hopeful romantic or just an idiot?

Today I braved the adverse weather conditions to make it to my gig, the snow in London is pretty impressive and it only compounded the closures/strikes to make travel a hassle for anyone trying to get around the city.

I put on my thermals and as many layers as I could put on before I left, with my headphones in, I sailed through my journey to the Comedy Tree in Putney. When I got to Putney Green station I observed a young attractive lady approaching the stairwell with her suitcase and preparing herself to carry it down. As I approached the steps I saw her lift the suitcase with some difficulty before taking slow, cautious steps downwards towards the exit. I asked her if she would like a hand, to which she hospitably reacted. I took the suitcase and lifted it with a false demonstration of strength as my skinny arms were challenged by the weight of her luggage, it was heavy! Not wanting to look like a weakling, I tensed my biceps and successfully continued with the short journey towards the exit. We walked together, step by step in silence, neither of us making eye contact as we carefully navigated the wet steps on this cold, snowy evening. When we got to the bottom, she gave her thanks, I told her she was welcome, then she left with the only remaining challenge to make it through the barriers with her cumbersome luggage.

Call me a romantic, or just an idiot, but part of my naively hoped that this was a special chance encounter. You know, like in the movies when the woman struggles with something and the chivalrous guy comes to her rescue, then he asks her out, she says 'yes' and then the film kicks off and in the end they fall in love. But it seems, that real life is not like this for the most part, probably thanks to the climate of fear and distrust of strangers.

There are plenty of chivalrous men, but sometimes it can be scary to be chivalrous in case it backfires. I have heard of plenty of stories where men have offered to help with heavy bags, only to be shouted at by ultra-feminist nutjobs who interpret any communication from a man to be nothing more than an insulting and exploitative invitation. I hesitated only momentarily because of this, but because she was young, I took a gamble and my hospitality was appreciated. As we descended down those steps, I could have easily started a conversation with her, but thought against it in the fear that she may interpret my offer of help as nothing more than an opportunity to chat her up, so I stayed quiet. As we parted ways with pleasantries, there was no eye contact, just simple words and we were on our way.

Maybe those romantic movies put silly ideas in our heads that chance encounters in the real world lead to such amazing relationship adventures? Although, I do know that one of my friends, a few years ago, was once depressed, so he went out for a walk in central London, a girl randomly asked him for directions. They're married now.

Anyone have any cool romantic stories? Leave your comments below or tweet me :-)