Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 18 – Friday 21st August

Nobody bats an Eye

It never occurred to me until today that Edinburgh is full to bursting with every conceivable freak and weirdo and what’s brilliant about this? Nobody bats an eye!

bare chested clown

Bare chested clowns with no shoes on, walk up and down occasionally poking complete strangers on the bum and we all smile thinking, Oh it’s just a half naked clown touching someone up, that’s Edinburgh!

Imagine if it happened in the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow! The jails would be full to bursting or the mortuary!

I was handing out some flyers when a man carrying a twelve foot cross (I suspect it was a religious thing) just walked past me and all I could think was: “There’s a guy carrying a twelve foot cross, that looks cumbersome”

man with cross

 

 

 

 

 

at that precise moment however, I was distracted by a guy juggling chainsaws on a unicycle!

chainsaw unicycle

 

 

 

I watched that for a few moments, shrugged my shoulders and then just carried on flyering.

 

 

The Pitch

flyerers 1

 

 

 

 

 

When you’re handing out flyers you have to engage with your potential audience and one or two performers have asked me about what to say when approaching people at first.

I use a number of lines depending on how I think they may be received.

Here they are:

If it’s a couple: “Hello there sir, can I lure you and your lovely wife in, to see me show?”

Or, if it’s a group of girls: “Hello there girls can I lure you into a wee room to talk dirty to you?”

flyering 2

Sometimes, depending upon how they’re dressed, I might say:

“You look like discerning cultured types, would I be right?”

If they say no, I reply

“Great! Then come and see this, it’s an hour of pure filth!”

Or, if they say yes (they’re probably complete wankers), I reply

“That’s a shame, because this is just Filth!”

wankers club

 

 

 

 

As the show is called “Growing Old Disgracefully” I often pitch to people who are in the same age range as me (nobody under 25) as I suspect they may be more able to identify with my material.

Couples, especially, are always prime targets.

flyering 1

I may approach them with something like:

“Hello you two lovebirds, are you interested in some essential relationship advice?”

This peaks the interest of the girl who is always the main decision maker in these cases.

I then sell the show to her on the very real premise that I am divorced / useless boyfriend material and that her man will benefit from watching my show.

I know these lines all sound cheesy but IT WORKS!

However, when all said and done, it’s about the energy you are giving out and how you say the words.

Be positive, maintain eye contact and Smile!

To paraphrase Al Capone, “You will go a lot further with a flyer and a smile than with just a flyer alone!”

al capone

 

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 17 – Thursday 20th August

Finding your voice

It’s now well into the third week of The Fringe and some of my fellow comedians are starting to have sore throats.

sore throat

 

 

 

 

 

It’s common amongst entertainers at The Fringe to experience this as they do multiple shows each and every day for about four weeks fitted around a debauched and drunken lifestyle where the adrenaline normally drives all night bevvy sessions!

drinking session

 

 

 

 

 

I used to experience voice problems where my vocal chords would completely sieze up and I would be unable to let out not much more than a whisper.

Crackpot curecrackpot cures such as Slippery Elm Leaves and Liquorice Root just don’t work and if your vocal chords have seized then gargling salt water is pointless as you run the risk of drowning.

 

 

I went to see doctors and speech therapists at the hospital and they told me my vocal style and lifestyle choices were only part of my problem but the real issue was anxiety!

Fuck off, what have I got be anxious about?

In reality, quite a lot!

fear

Stand-up comedy can be tough, not simply because when you go on stage you run the risk of dying on your arse but also because I am self-employed, I have no sick pay or holiday pay and if I cannot work then I cannot earn!

 

That’s pressure!

Especially if you sometimes don’t feel very funny or you lose your mojo from time to time.

And it can happen!

Mostly, when it does happen, it’s down to fear, fear of failure!

 

Sometimes this can be a good motivator as you are so shit scared you go onstage and rip the place up, at other times, however, you go onstage and you are so full of fear it manifests itself as pure aggression!

anger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When this happens you’re doomed.

You’re on-stage and you’re saying all the same words and doing all the same routines that normally work for you, but the vibe is all wrong, your inflection is off!

And when this happens the audience simply look at you and ask themselves what’s this fuckin’ nutter’s problem?

This happened to me once on a cruise ship in the Adriatic.

Dying on your Arse (Again)

There I was, being paid £800 per week to do two x 30 minute shows on a floating five star hotel and everything was on the house. I was in heaven and I remember thinking at the time “This is the life, stick in here and don’t fuck this up!”

rolling in it

 

 

 

 

But, that’s exactly what I did do, I made a complete arse of it!

I died on my chuff and that’s bad enough but when you die on a cruise ship you can’t get off the boat!

Then there’s the passengers. They have absolutely no problem whatever in coming up to you the next day and telling you how shite you are and saying you ruined their holiday!

angry mob

 

 

 

 

It got so bad and embarrassing on that particular trip, that I locked myself in my cabin and only ventured out at 4 o’clock in the morning to forage for food like a fox!

fox in bin

 

 

 

 

The Sore Throat Cure

It’s not just comedians and actors who get voice problems it’s also teachers and anyone else who has to speak for a living and the biggest obstacle is getting them to accept that anxiety is in fact part of the problem.

Most people won’t admit they are anxious, they look upon that admission as a weakness or some sort of failure.

But whether you admit it or not the key to avoiding excessive voice problems is to relax!

lotus

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you do have a sore throat try to keep it moist using steam, from a warm drink or bowl of hot water, but be careful not to burn yourself. You may also want to think about buying a facial steamer, they work very well.

steamer

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth and try not to get stressed over it, as this will only make things worse, the breathing will also help you to relax.

And, when you do have to speak, breathe in before making any sound as this will stop your voice breaking.

Finally sleep and take a nap as often as you can and this will help to rest both you and your voice.

have a nap

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 16 – Wednesday 19th August

The Edinburgh Diet

Some performers say they lose weight during the Fringe due to the long days which consist of performing at various shows, flyering and walking around the centre of the city which is all hills.

lose weight

I cannot personally identify with that because I eat and drink too much of the wrong types of things and at the wrong times.

Edinburgh Chip shops in particular are immense and I am powerless against them.

The Clam Shell on The Royal Mile is more than a chippy, it’s doesn’t just sell food it sells weapons of mass destruction!

clamshell

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy a thing in there called a “Wolfdog!”

wolfdog

A “Wolfdog” is a large hotdog. It seems to have a higher meat content than your average large hotdog and tastes good but what they do at the clamshell is, inject this thing with cheese, wrap bacon all around it and serve it with a large portion of chips, a perfectly healthy end to the day after you have consumed six pints of lager.

 

The French / Scottish fusion take-away van on the Grassmarket has taken a leaf out of the Clamshell’s book by concocting “The French Hotdog”.

french conncetion

 

 

 

 

 

It is two hotdogs in a toasted French baguette topped with onions, melted cheese and sweet chilli sauce.

french hot dog

 

 

 

 

It’s delicious but impossible to eat as you end up wearing most it and apart from the Baguette, what exactly makes this a French Hotdog? I bet you couldn’t buy this anywhere in France!

My all time favourite take-away food however, in an Edinburgh Chippy, is a “Haggis Supper! (Haggis and Chips)

You can’t really get the same thing in Glasgow.

In Glasgow when you order a Haggis Supper you get a long haggis pudding (similar to a black pudding – shown below on the left) and chips but in Edinburgh they serve a half bung end, which is a full haggis cut into two, dipped in batter and deep fried (shown below on the right).

glasgow haggis

edinburgh haggis

 

 

 

 

 

The Edinburgh haggis is a lot better as it’s softer, the Glasgow haggis tends to go rock hard very quickly if it’s left on the heated shelf for any length of time, whereas the Edinburgh Haggis seems to be much more resilient.

In Edinburgh, it’s served with chips, then, it’s covered in salt and sauce.

Now that’s also the fundamental difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh!

And, as a Glasgow man, I feel like a traitor to my kind because I prefer my chips drizzled, Edinburgh fashion!

In Glasgow you get salt and vinegar on chips but in Edinburgh you get salt and sauce (my mouth is watering as a type this), the sauce in Edinburgh is brown sauce watered down with vinegar so you get more bang for your buck, and it’s really thin and runny so don’t eat before a show unless you have a change of clothes.

Is it any wonder I’m a fat bastard?

The Glass Cheque is no more

 

AG Barr, the company responsible for Irn Bru has announced that there will no longer be a 30p deposit refunded when returning a glass bottle to the shop!

irn bru

 

 

 

 

 

In a world of falling oil prices, this further weakens the Scottish Economy and given that my garage is full of empty Irn Bru bottles significantly reduces the value of my pension pot!

pallet of bottles

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I heard the news at first I was very concerned for obvious reasons but thankfully when details emerged it will be phased in so be advised people that you have until the end of the year to gather these valuable assets together and arrange a cash transfer through your financial adviser or local shop.

gingeys

This process known, in financial circles, as “Gingey Mooching” will be consigned to History in 2016 and, looking back on recent changes to the regulatory framework, it seems inevitable that Gingey Mooching’s days were numbered when the cost of carrier bags was set at 5p

carrier bag

 

The Humble carrier bag is an essential element in the process of Mooching as they’re used to transport the Gingey’s or Glass Cheque’s to the shop and with each carrier bag now costing 5p this applies addition cost pressure to the already significant risk of being caught in the act and having to suffer the shame and indignity of forever being branded a “Gingey Moocher!”

 

 

In the immortal words of Bob Dylan “The Times they are a changin'”

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 15 – Tuesday 18th August

Funny Money

An old friend, whom I have known since primary school, came along to see the show tonight. I have known this guy since I was ten years old and although we were never particularly close it was very nice to see him at the show and to have a chat with him afterwards.

old school

 

I like to delude myself that I am not really one for doing the whole looking back thing and tell myself, if there was ever a school reunion I would probably not go anywhere near it, as I presume they would ignore me now, just as they ignored me way back when.

But that’s utter bollocks!

It’s always fascinating to catch up because, being a nosey bastard, I always want to know other peoples stories and to compare them to mine, because, I always wonder if my life has been a success.

mr nosey

 

 

 

If my life is a success then I suppose it’s measured in relative terms.

My old school friend works for a wealth management company! He is part of an organisation that manages the money of very rich people.

rich man

I asked him about the possibility of becoming a client.

He asked me seriously, If, I had 20 million pounds sterling in the bank, saying that they wouldn’t consider anybody with any less than that!

 

 

 

I said I was well on my way to making that sort of money, however, at the moment I am 19 Million, 999 thousand and 600 pounds short (£19,999,600) and even that 400 quid is earmarked for things like the repayment of the loan for my divorce, my mobile phone bill and sky TV.

However, I added, holding up and shaking the bucket “there must be at least fifty-four quid in here!”

He listened, nodding empathetically, then after a short pause said “maybe we could get together again in another 37 years, that should give you enough time to save up the rest!”

Cheeky fucker, I will take my 54 quid elsewhere!

And I did! I had to spend it on diesel on the way home.

Drat! Foiled again!

Lost in Translation

The show tonight was also attended by a large group from New York City!

new york

I love Americans and they are fairly easy to perform for as the language and references are easily understood by everyone given they are the dominant culture in The English speaking world.

 

 

Occasionally, however, I’m compelled to translate words such as, Jobby or Bawbag (which doesn’t really have a direct literal translation), but it’s never normally a problem.

The Fringe however attracts everybody and sometimes you get people coming in who are not good English speakers and that’s an issue as, being Scottish, I am not a great English speaker either!

confused audience

 

 

 

 

 

And I wasn’t alway’s a big hitter at The Fringe, it takes time to build up an audince.

Years ago, when low fringe audiences were the norm for me, I got Two people!

That’s not the lowest fringe audience I ever heard about. The wonderful Irish comedian and good friend, Kevin Gildea once performed a fringe show to an audience of One man!

audience of one

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway back to my two.

One of the men was Spanish and the other fellow was Portuguese

Now it transpired that The Spanish guy didn’t speak any English at all but The Portuguese guy was multi lingual, he spoke English and Spanish as well as his native tongue.

At least Kevin’s one man audience was an English Speaker

I was in trouble here, so the Portuguese guy suggested I tell the joke to him and he would translate and tell the Spanish guy.

A brilliant Plan, so we ploughed on.

I told the joke to the Portuguese guy, as follows:

“Two men walked into a bar, blah, blah!”

two men bar

 

 

 

 

 

The Portuguese guy looked back at me with a completely stony expression, sighed deeply, shrugged his shoulders, then turned to his friend and said:

“Dos senora’s entrar uno Bodega, etcetera, etcetera!”

bodega

 

 

 

 

When he finished the joke, the Spanish guy pissed himself laughing!

This is how the show progressed.

I would tell the joke, the Portuguese guy, singularly unimpressed would turn to the Spanish guy, tell him the joke and Spanish Guy would laugh, he was having a great time.

spanish laughing

 

 

 

 

I think I may have split the room.

But I enjoyed it immensely as well so two out of three ain’t bad.

Result!

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 14 (Day Off) – Monday 17th August

The Mandatory Day Off

After doing shows at The Fringe for 13 straight days, the day off, in the middle, is needed.

exhausted

By this point in the run, most people have done 11 shows, but I always do a couple more previews before the start of the Fringe itself and can honestly say it’s going well and all of my friends seem to be having a good time also.

 

 

The crappy weather hasn’t materialised, we had a bad July in Scotland but, so far August has been great, with only one day of bad weather that I can think of.

And Edinburgh is Jam Packed with people making it easier than normal to get a decent sized audience.

The Big Finish

I have found that I also have an additional bonus!

On Friday and Saturday nights, if I time it just right, I can get my show to finish with a bang as the Tattoo fireworks at the end of the early show go off just as my show finishes

“Ladies and Gentlemen did you enjoy the show?”

Rapturous Applause (obviously)

applause

 

 

 

 

 

“Thank you and Goodnight, I have been Raymond Mearns”

BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!

The fireworks go off at that precise moment!

fireworks

What a great sound effect for absolutely no outlay.

Makes up for the fact I have to park my car in Livingston as you can’t get near the Grassmarket for all the buses full of geriatrics!

Treating Myself

Anyway, Monday 17th is my day off and just as ladies might book a spa day or get some beauty treatments, on my day off, I pampered myself by driving to Aberdeen (a 318 mile round trip) to buy a second hand guitar from a guy on Gumtree!

gumtree

It’s a Gibson Les Paul Custom!

Now for those of you unaccustomed to the vagaries’ of Les Paul Customs, it’s quite a nice guitar, though a few years old, but in good condition!

I have always wanted to own a Les Paul Custom and now I do. I RULE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gibson custom

 

 

 

 

When people find out that I play the guitar they often ask me “if I ever use the guitar in the act?”, and I always answer, “No!”

They ask “Why not?”

“Because I am shite!”

And now that I have a Les Paul Custom that would only raise expectations if I stepped onto a stage with this beast strapped to me.

People would gasp and say, “Fuck Me! Look, a Gibson Les Paul Custom, this guy must be amazing!”

jimmy page

The Les Paul would demand silence. A hush would descend upon the room and the audience would stare in silence, so silent you could hear a tenner drop.

Only for me to ruin the moment as I start playing and make this fine instrument sound like a glue sniffer’s banjo!

People point out that Les Dawson was a shite piano player and he used that in his act, not realising that to be as shite as Les Dawson required classical training!

les dawson

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I insist that I am not good enough, I mean it takes me all of my time to concentrate on the comedy, let alone worrying about if my guitar sounds okay or is in tune.

Furthermore, I think that maybe the guitar would only confuse things as I suspect that if I did use a guitar in the act I wouldn’t know if, when the audience laughs, they were laughing at the quality of my comedy or the shitey-ness of my guitar playing!

laughing2

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 13 – Sunday 16th August

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Sunday was still a Fringe day! I went and did my show as usual at The Beehive Inn, in Edinburgh and it went well, though I spent most of today doing something, completely different!

standup

 

 

 

 

Earlier today,  I started working on a speech based radio program on a community station just outside Glasgow.

 

radiohostMe and my good friend Bob Cochrane, who works as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, have joined forces

to create; “Better Out Than In!”

“Better Out Than In!” is intended to be a light hearted show about a serious subject “talking therapies”!

 

 

It’s hoped we can use the programme as a way to spread the word about mental health issues and the need to face any emotional or psychological problems that people may face from time to time in their lives, especially Men!

john wayne

Big hard men from inner city areas who work hard and play hard and never bother to show their tender side or get emotional and would rather die than admit they maybe have an issue with relationships or substances or the way they traditionally handle problems in their lives!

Bob and I are hardly big hard men! Well we’re certianly big, you see we’re a pair of overweight, middle aged blokes who first met each other about twenty years ago when we were both field sales reps in the telecoms business!

raymond and bob

We have very similar backgrounds and at the time we were both married with kids and living a fairly normal life except that Bob was also a Clyde FC supporter so he always had more anxiety in his life.

Since then, we have both seen our marriages crumble to nothing and our careers change direction, I went full time as a stand-up comic and Bob went and got a psychology degree and trained as a counsellor.

Bob listens to his customers and I talk to my customers, when Bob’s customers pipe up it’s because they are maybe in some trouble and when mine pipe up then I am definitely in trouble!

I considered a career as a psychologist myself after my marriage failed in a bid to better understand my own beliefs and behaviours, but I doubt very much if I have the mind-set for it!

Nobody, who has ever seen me do stand-up comedy, especially when I compere shows, would ever in a million years believe I could be a counsellor.

Imagine, if I was a counsellor and I heard a hard luck story?

I would probably snort and say “that’s nothing mate, listen to this hard luck story, this happened to me! Now shut up and get a life!”

getalife

I don’t think that’s going to help very much!

I can safely say that I am no loss whatever to the counselling profession, Thank God!

 

 

 

The show takes the form of me and Bob talking about our troubles and Bob goes into the machanics of his profession, and helps us to understand the reasons why we feel the way we do and why we say and do the things that sometimes can be bad for us!

It’s a brilliant show and really helps me personally, to understand a lot more about issues surrounding, anxiety, anger, depression, addiction and the things related to that.

At the same time we hope that listeners to the show will maybe identify with some of the things they are hearing about and make a choice to face up to what ails them and hopefully, get the help that is available out there, to cope and manage things a bit better.

The show goes out every Sunday afternoon on Camglen Radio 107.9FM in Glasgow between 2pm and 3pm. However, if you are not within range of the transmitter, then fear not, you can also listen in on the web via www.camglenradio.org

camglen

Each week we hope to build on Bob’s knowledge and experience in a way that is informative and entertaining, we really hope you can tune in and join in by emailing us when we are on air if there is anything you feel you can contribute.

healthynhappyCamglen Radio is a community based radio station set up by Healthy n Happy, a community development trust whose primary purpose is to improve the lives of people living within the areas surrounding Rutherglen and Cambuslang!

You can find out more about Happy n Healthy by going to their website: http://www.healthynhappy.org.uk/

 

 

Despite the fact we were both nervous, as it was our first time live On Air, It was a good first show!

nervous

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 12 – Saturday 15th August

Getting to the Halfway Stage

It’s the second Saturday of The Fringe and this means that after tonight we have two more Saturdays to go. It feels like we have been here forever and still have a mountain to climb!

mountain to climb

Today I was visited by a lovely lady who produces radio and TV programmes for the BBC! She has cast me in quite a number of things over the past few years and today we had a nice long chat after lunch just Me and Her and Her Indoors.

Earlier in the day, Me and Her Indoors, were driving through to Edinburgh and we were chatting about esoteric things such as the meaning of life and how we are the architects of our own destiny and all that sort of stuff.

 

The conversation focussed upon how we, as individuals, draw misfortune upon ourselves because of how we presume we are perceived, In a nutshell, I have issues in my life because I think I am not likeable!

All of the psychobabble aside, my understanding about where this comes from is that I was very ill as a baby and never got enough cuddles so, it follows, I believe that somehow I never deserved to get them and have carried this core belief into adulthood (wipes a tear from his eye).

the couch

When we met the TV producer, the conversation resumed and I then had two women, one either side, psycho-analysing me, it felt like I was getting ganged up on!

 

 

Therapists

It’s curious that when you insert a hyphen into the above word they become the-rapists, because that’s what it feels like they are doing!

Sadly, I can’t go back in time and demand attention from my parents to fix all of these things so I just have to live with it.

time machine

 

 

 

 

As I get older, I recognise the irrationality of my core beliefs and for the most part I am getting better at overcoming it, but it never quite leaves you and your buttons can be pushed, especially on-stage!

Those who stare blankly

The show tonight was brilliant!

I didn’t do any flyering today as I didn’t want a cast of thousands disappointed at my door, and so only about thirty were turned away, the additional benefit of this no-flyering policy also meant that the majority of people in the room had intended to come and see my show in advance and were, well, Fans!

fans

 

 

 

 

 

You see I am likeable, Get it right up ye!

Anyway there’s always one!

At every show there’s always one person, normally a dude, who sits there in the audience and never cracks a smile all night, it’s eerie!

miserable

 

 

 

 

 

The other sixty-odd people are laughing their heads off and pissing themselves, they are all animated and extremely happy, except this guy!

This guy, who sat in the second row tonight, with a beard (I am not saying he’s gay and the woman with him was his cover) No, I mean he was bearded, but more than this his face was cast in granite for the entire performance save for two or three occasions where he smirked.

bearded man

And despite the hoots of laughter all around the room, this guy’s face is the only face I can see!

You fixate on that face and that’s the face that pushes your buttons, inside you are saying: “Oh No he absolutely hates me, he hates how I look and he hates what I’m saying!

God Forbid, what if he is a reviewer?

If he is, my wee Glaswegian arse is grass!

 

What you gonna Do about It?

Nothing!

I am going to forget about it and follow the advice of a lovely wee lady I heard at a gig four weeks ago!

I was closing the Sunday Afternoon, kids show at The Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow (I know some of you at this point are thinking Kids in Glasgow must be hard as nails).

Trust me, I do this show often and they are always a delight, but don’t get in touch to try and book me for your kids birthday party, it’s not going to happen!

Anyway there was a young lady, in with her dad, she was about four or five years old and when one of the other comics asked how she should deal with some abuse she had suffered on twitter about her looks, this wee girl piped up and said: “Just think nice thoughts about yourself and you will be okay!”

Aahh (sighs contentedly)

lotus

 

 

 

I think I will leave things on that nice positive note!

Have a lovely Sunday.

 

PS. If you are at all interested, I will be doing a radio show on Sunday 16th August called “Better Out Than In” on Camglen Radio 107.9 FM in Glasgow or on the web http://www.camglenradio.org/ between 2pm and 3pm.

I am doing it in conjunction with my good friend of many years Bob Cochrane who is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and we will be talking about Therapy!

camglen

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 11 – Friday 14th August

The Smell of Success

At the Fringe today I had the pleasure of guesting alongside Rod Hunter and Les Sinclair in their show “Old Men in Black” which is on every day at 2.40pm in The Beehive Inn.

The room was full and the audience demographic was mostly 50 +.

pensioners

This made for a great gig as the audience had a better understanding of the material coming from three middle aged comics that they clearly identified with!

They call this demographic, the “Grey Pound”!

 

They’re all loaded and when we put the bucket out at the end we had a very nice surprise as the level of donations made the gig quite worthwhile.

We shared the money out and I was handed some notes, mainly fivers, and put these into my wallet, at the same time, I became aware of the stench of dampness or pish!whats that smell

 

 

 

 

 

I presumed it was coming from either Rod or Les, who had, just completed the gig and, clearly sweated for their grey pounds, though, being a well-mannered person I said nothing, reserving my comments instead till this moment for publication in my blog.

Rod, Les and I, parted ways and I thought nothing more of it until about 7.30 this evening when I noticed the same pishy damp smell again, this time, as I bought a bottle of water from the bar in The Beehive Inn.

nose peg

I got my bottle of water, put my wallet away and left the bar to do my show and forgot about it.

Until about 10.30pm when, at home, I opened my wallet to pay for some Indian food we had delivered to us.

There it was again, the stench of pish and dampness, it was coming from my wallet!

 

 

I took out the notes, about thirty pounds in total, all in fivers and there it was, the most disgusting, grubby, pish stained, Fiver I have ever seen.

It was absolutely Reekin’!

scabby fiver

I accept that the Grey Pound is a major part of the modern economy but for the love of God, do they really have to keep their money in their incontinence knickers?

Anyway, not to worry, by the time you read this it will be the Santander Bank’s problem!

The Audition Piece

Her Indoors helped me to produce a self-tape today for the purposes of securing an audition for a Feature film about to be shot in Ibiza, in September.

The character is a gun toting, drug dealing, Scottish criminal enforcer!

ganster with pistol

 

 

 

 

 

No acting required!

One particular scene had me pulling a gun on two other gangsters whilst delivering dialogue to camera.

To accomplish this I had to learn eight pages of script in the space of 90 minutes, set up a video camera and a tripod, source four different locations and find props such as an airsoft pistol, fake cigarettes and a bag of cocaine. (It’s amazing what’s avaialble on the streets of Edinburgh in August)

I then had to shoot each of the four scenes with Her Indoors delivering the other actors’ lines from behind the camera, upload the wee films onto my PC and then into dropbox for sending to my agent, who will then pass the link onto the Casting Director who, in turn, will decide if I am right for the part and then instruct my agent to ask me to attend an audition down in London, next week!

All in, the entire process took about seven hours of our time. We had to demonstrate significant directing, producing, and acting ability just to get the chance of being considered for a minor part in a low budget film!

movie mayhem

 

 

 

 

Talk about jumping through hoops!

jumping through hoops

 

 

 

 

#DesExposed

des exposed

Today saw the first episode of Des Clarke Exposed broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland!

This is a six part comedy series incorporating stand-up and sketches written and performed by Des Clarke in front of a live Studio Audience.

I was also fortunate enough to be hired as a performer on this great show!

professor mearns

You can  listen live on BBC radio Scotland at 13.30 each Friday over the next six weeks, or listen to the repeated shows a few days after. Failing this you can click on the BBC i-player anytime to listen again.

 

Des will be exposing himself a lot through August and September, shame it’s on the radio, you will just have to use your imagination!

Here’s the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b065xbd6

And here’s a link to a wee clip of the recording that we filmed:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02zjpf6

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 10 – Thursday August 13th

Raking It In!

Everybody seems to agree that the Fringe this year is busier than the last few years and that’s great.

Edinburgh always has a great vibe at Fringe time and the weather, thus far, has been glorious, however, and I dont wish to put the voodoo onto anyone, are we about to hit the wall?

The school holidays are over and the weather is forecast to be “shite!” (It’s a term meteorologists use to describe a Scottish summer).

A Scottish Summer

a scottish summer

 

 

 

 

 

Enough said.

Now for some Positivity!!

Audiences do seem to be bigger and more people are on the street and this is really encouraging, added to which, I have just received the second of two statements from BECS (British Equity Collecting Society) telling me that I have earned an income from royalties on television shows and films I have appeared in, in the past, that have been repeated all around the world!

Fuck Me! Have I hit the big Time?

Well maybe.

I am advised that I have earned the princely sum of 8p, owing to the fact that someone has watched an episode of Rab C Nesbitt on Netflix in Venezuela within the past twelve months!

reb c nesbitt

To that man in Venezuela;

I will tell you this, ya bammy Venezuelan walloper!

I salute you! Thank you for choosing to view one of the two Rab C Nesbitt episodes I appeared in.

 

And, as if that was not enough of the International Globetrotting Actory Pish.

I seem to be making a splash (no pun intended) in Belgium, where £1.32 was earned in royalties, from a rerun of Rebus!

rebus

 

 

 

 

Is it just me or does a “rerun of rebus” sound like a gastric calamity?

Go on say it! A Rerun of Rebus, a Rerun of Rebus…. oh, okay on with the blog.

Notwithstanding, £1.40 is better than a kick in the clackers!

What is it my old mother always says? “Money goes to Money” – Kerching!!!!

kerching

 

 

 

Now excuse me whilst I fuck off down to the cashpoint!

Family Matters!

Talking of my dear Old Mother, the ubiquitous yet dear departed, Frank McCourt once wrote; “a mother’s love is a blessing” and with this sentiment, I absolutely concur!

She’s a diamond, my Old Dear!

She’s 74 years old and hobbling on an arthritic knee, but she can still clean my house from top to bottom, although, admittedly, with the disabilities these days, it takes her fuckin ages!

old woman working

She called me today and asked if she could come through to see me at The Fringe.

I always say No. Partly because I can probably do without the responsibility of trying to sell my show and look after her needs at the same time but the real reason is because, when she does come to my shows, she heckles me so much that I absolutely and spectacularly die on my arse!

Now, anyone who has ever seen me do my schtick will tell you that I “am great with hecklers!” I can shoot them down easily, but how can I shoot down my own mother, well I have a go but when I do, her comebacks are devastating!

Comebacks like “Don’t you talk to me like that! I’m your mother, you’re not that big you can’t get your arse leathered” or the classic during my 2012 Fringe show “You’re a lying bastard, you never ended the marriage! She left you! Because you’re a fat alky!”

At this point I tried to appeal to the better angels of her nature

“Mum! Please! For god’s sake, I’m dying here!”

And she came back by standing up and addressing the whole room

“He was that pished it took him a week to notice”

“She’s lying, it was only four days, five at the most”

The rebuttal was too little too late, the crowd were ecstatic, it was comedy gold.

old woman finger

 

 

 

 

It must run in the family.

I mean, what a double act that would be, If only you could script it?

She is adamant, however, that she is coming through to The Fringe!

So, I will let you all know the date, so you can come along and bear witness to an hour of unconscious comedy greatness!

The Heckle

the old guys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being heckled by your mum is the exception to the rule, you cannot be horrible to your mum, it’s against the rules of humanity.

You can be horrible to somebody else’s mum, that’s within the rules, but make sure the cunt’s not in the room with her as that can be a problem, especially in Paisley (but that’s a story for a later blog so stay tuned!)

When you get heckled, you are being challenged!

You are the guy onstage!

The guy in the arena, all pumped up!

Full of piss and vinegar!

You’re the fuckin man!

The alpha male!

Have I made my point?

alpha male

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway.

When you’re heckled and the crowd laugh, with the heckler, then you better come back with a show stopper or you’re dead in the water!

Some of the best heckles that I have ever heard of are as follows:

phil jupitus

Phil Jupitus (great comedian and somewhat portly fellow) is onstage talking about the traffic helicopter reporting on a traffic jam going into the Blackwell tunnel and wondered what could be causing the gridlock, when a guy shouted “you got stuck in it Mate!

Audience 1         Comedians 0

 

A comedian whose name escapes me said onstage, whilst dying on his arse, at The Stand in Glasgow: “What am I? Fuckin invisible!” Only for an audience member to pipe up “Who said That?”

Audience 2         Comedians 0

Or possibly the best one I ever heard about was when the late, Eric Douglas, God rest his sweet soul, was onstage at The Comedy Store in London!

Eric Douglas was one of the sons of the legendary Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas, famous for many roles including Spartacus!

eric douglas

Eric is onstage at The Store. He is being heckled by the audience and not taking it too well at which point he says “how dare you heckle me, don’t you know that I am Kirk Douglas’ son?” At that point, with impeccable comic timing an audience member stood up and said “No I am Kirk Douglas’s son” only to be followed by a second audience member who stood up and repeated the phrase. Replicating the famous “I am Spartacus” scene  from his Dad’s most iconic of movies! Poor Old Eric was fucked!

Audience 4         Comedians 0

PS. Did you know that the collective noun for comedians is “A Heckle of Comedians”?

You see, you learn things on this blog, “Every Day is a School day”

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 9 – Wednesday 12th August

Black Wednesday?

Black Wednesday is the first Wednesday of the Fringe and is traditionally regarded as the day that’s hardest for attracting an audience.

I have been doing the Fringe on and off since 1997 and to be honest I have never heard of this.

black wednesday

Ignorance really must be bliss, because when everyone else was putting the voodoo on themselves and presuming they wouldn’t get anyone in, I carried on flyering and filled the room.

However, now that I know all about Black Wednesday, I will probably bomb next year on this day as the knowledge becomes self-fulfilling.

 

It’s all in The Mind

That’s par for the course, as I can talk myself into and out of anything and can sometimes trigger psycho-sematic illnesses if I am stressed or over-anxious.

stress

 

 

 

 

 

I never believed it was possible but there have been times on my life when I have had big problems especially with my voice and stress makes it worse!

There was an occasion a few years ago when I was supposed to do a gig in Coventry on a Wednesday evening prior to going across to Leicester Jongleurs for shows on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

coventry

 

 

 

 

 

It was during the summer holidays and in those days I often took my son Michael with me who, at the time, would have been about eleven years old.

We had a twin room booked at The Grand Hotel in Leicester but I only had a single room booked for me in Coventry and because I didn’t know the promoter very well I didn’t have the courage to ask if I could get a twin room to accommodate the both of us.

I knew about this issue weeks in advance and rather than call the promoter and explain the situation I did nothing and fretted and worried about it every minute of every day for weeks until the Tuesday evening before we were due to set off I was struck down by a mystery pain in my side.

It was absolute agony!

agony

I had to go to Accident and Emergency, the pain was so bad that the Doctors considered giving me a pain killing injection but they had no idea what was wrong with me. They didn’t doubt I was in genuine pain but they were totally baffled.

I couldn’t possibly go to Coventry the next morning so I called the promoter from my hospital bed, explained I was at Death’s door and he was very understanding, he wished me well and said he would book someone else for the gig instead.

About a minute after the call ended I found that I was miraculously cured, I got up Lazarus like from my hospital bed, got dressed and left!

True story, what a nutcase!

Room Service!

When we got to Leicester, we checked into the Grand Hotel and we had a great time, although, Michael had a better time than me.

the grand leicester

 

 

 

 

 

I went to do the gig at Jongleurs in the evening and left Michael in the room telling him to stay there. He had some snacks and drinks with him so everything should have been fine.

jongleurs

 

 

 

When I came back after that first show on the Thursday, there were 8 empty Pepsi bottles on the table and a load of chicken bones on a plate. Michael was lying on his bed with his hand’s behind his head looking like a model of contentment.

pepsi bottles

chicken bones

 

 

 

 

“What’s all this shit?” I asked

Michael looked at me, surprised I didn’t know about his amazing discovery and said “Room service, they bring it up to the room for free!

“Free my arse, I have to pay for all that when we leave”

Actually, I wasn’t too worried, it made me smile and I thought nothing more of it until we went to check out and I found out, when I got the bill, that he had been watching porn on the quadriga system all weekend as well!

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