It's A Sign

Monday 6th February 2012

I went up to Norfolk at the weekend to see my friends and my little god daughter who is two and a half. This is the sign on the front of their local park. And it exemplifies why I will always love Norfolk.

That is how well Norfolk keeps the sign that proclaims it's best play area. It can't even do that properly. Kind of suggests the play area didn't have that much stiff competition from the rest of Norfolk. Especially during the weirdly specific years of 1991, 1998 and 2000.

Then it kind of dropped off the map a bit. People think showbusiness is cruel as it forgets people so quickly, but hey, the world of parks is a cut throat business. One minute you're the belle of the parks, the next, no one even keeps your sign looking nice. Oh how I bet that park longs for the halcion days of 1991, 1998 and 2000 respectively.

You might then think that this park might not be up to much, but actually it was pretty cool. It had loads of stuff, and all kinds of exciting part-slide-part-house-part-jungle-gym type contraptions, as well as the usual swings and roundabouts.

The sign just made it look like whatever the opposite of a humble brag is. (An over the top brag which is then forcibly humbled?)

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Plant a Tree

Friday 20th January 2012

My friend Christina does a lot of work for charidee. She doesn't call it that, she is normal. But she also makes helping various good causes part of her normal, every day life. Some of it is so easy that I thought I would help spread the word.

You know how sometimes you want to help charities but you don't want to spend money or start fannying around with a direct debit? Well now you can. You just have to click the below links, it doesn't cost you a penny, AND you still get the good karma. Pretty cool eh? Just doing it once day will make a difference.

Click here to help Japan.

Click here to plant a tree.

Click here to plant another tree.

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Sex Appeal

Thursday 19th January 2012

Bizarrely, the luckiest I have been this year was last Friday 13th when I performed at the Sex Appeal gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

This was the first time I had ever performed at the Bloomsbury and I was feeling extremely nervous. Not least because the rest of the line up was incredibly intimidating, comprising of comedy heavy weights such as Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi, David Baddiel and more.

Walking onto the stage to face the 500 or so people was unreal, but luckily 'Dr Theatre' (or whatever we're calling that bit of you inside that really doesn't want you to mess up too much when it's actually important) kicked in, and I acted like a cool professional. If you don't count the bit where it felt like my leg was shaking, but I don't know if it was actually shaking, it just felt like it was.

I knew the gig would be OK when my first mini-punchline hit, and it turned out to be one of those beautiful, exhilarating  gigs where the audience is lovely. Also, because of the size of the venue, you get those amazing 'rolling laughs' that you only get at the bigger venues, where you have to actually slightly wait for the audience to stop laughing before you tell your next joke, or they won't be able to hear it. Most fun on stage ever. At least since Edinburgh. But maybe ever.

I don't know what the 15 year old me that loved comedy would make of this. The scale of her ambition was reached in 2009 when I did 5 minutes on a Thursday at The Comedy Store and took a picture of her name on the running order. She had no idea that these theatre gigs existed. She learnt everything from TV and hadn't even heard of the Edinburgh Festival until she was in her 20's. How embarrassing. I'm glad I'm not her, oh wait.

I've got off the point. The point is the gig was amazing and Brook are a great charity who give free and confidential advice about sex to young people. One of the reasons I love comedy is that it's a chance to talk about the dirty, naked truth about ourselves. It's important to talk about sex, and to have good information about it available. If you want to, I think you can still donate if you text 'BRCK00' then £1, £5, or £10 to 70070.

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Back To The Future

Monday 26th December 2011

When I was a little kid I loved Back To The Future. I luuuurrrvved it. And that is why I look so ecstatic to receive the annual of it for my tenth Birthday.

I remember this day really clearly because at the time I thought I was awesome. (I didn't know about how dungarees aren't that awesome in those days) I was yet to get that memo. And several other fashion based memos come to think of it. Also, a lot of the common sense type memos seemed to pass me by as well. But my love for all things Back To The Future was pure.

When my boyfriend first came to my parents house and saw this picture of me, he jokingly lamented that he would never be able to make me as happy as I look in this picture.

But he decided he would like to have a good try anyway, and so for Christmas got me the Blu-ray box set. Then we decided to try to re-create the photo, because y'know, we are cool.

I still look pretty unashamedly happy about a Back To The Future based present. But I think my main acheivement in the intervening years is that I no longer own dungarees.

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We Did It!

Monday 10th October 2011

I ran a bloody half marathon! I can't believe it. It doesn't seem real, but it is because I am in agony. We raised loads of money for Scope and you can still donate on my Just Giving Page here.

Before we did it, I genuinely wasn't sure if I would be able to run for that long. I am not one of life's sporty achievers. Even more amazingly we did it in 2 hrs 16 minutes. I really thought it might take me 3 hours. Mile 9 onwards was Hell, but I was surprised at how euphoric I felt at the end.

My boyfriend and I ran together, keeping the same pace the whole way. We crossed the line holding hands, which was really fun and romantic, until the commentator shouted that my boyfriend had finished, disrupting our romantic moment. And then some people rushed over to take his picture, and I felt slightly in the way, even though I had just run a half Marathon, which was an amazing personal achievement.

The race itself had a lovely atmosphere, with lots of people round the edge shouting encouragement. One of my favourite bits was when another man raising money for Scope ran past us and shouted 'Yeah, go team Scope!' Not being sporty or religious I have never really experienced what it's like to be part of a team or something like that before. I guess now I have a bit more understanding of why religious people and sports fans sometimes turn to violence to protect their gangs.

I wore pink ear muffs because (a) my ears get cold (I told you I'm too sensitive for sporty things) and (b) the pink ones were the cheapest ones on Amazon, and it's not like I was ever going to look shit hot running a half Marathon anyway.

My boyfriend had joked that he wouldn't be seen with me in them, and that it looked like I was in fancy dress because they were so stupid. But I didn't care, my ears were worth it. And then when people shouted encouragement from the sides, a few people shouted 'Go Ear Muffs!' And someone shouted, 'I like your ear muffs!' Admittedly someone also shouted, 'Why is she wearing ear muffs?' Which my boyfriend was quite gleeful about.

But the positive affirmation and cheers of the crowd were really lovely and did help keep us going. Again, not being sporty at all, all the peppy, 'Yeah! You can do it! Keep going!' Felt kind of alien and almost cheesy to me. I have managed to cultivate quite a negative attitude, where I feel almost scathing of such overt positivity. But you can't really be negative and expect to excel at sporty things. It's a direct clash.

I'm going to get a comedy spotter to follow me around and go, 'yeah! Good job! You can do it! You're doing really well! Just keep going!' You never know, it might make all the difference.

And you can still sponsor me here. Please do. Scope are great, why not chuck them a fiver?

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Sponsor Me

Sunday 25th September 2011

Go on, you know you want to.

I'm running a half marathon to raise money for scope. That's 13.1 miles (I don't know why we need the point 1 either, but we do). The point is, it's FAR. And if you were feeling lovely, you could sponsor me here:

Scope are a great charity who are trying to get equal rights for people with disabilities. There is more information about them here. If everyone just chucked in a fiver it would raise loads and you wouldn't even miss it. That's a pint in London.

The admin from the Just Giving/Virgin Equivalent site keep sending me emails with suggestions of how to get more people involved. My favourite has been the one to throw a murder mystery weekend at my house and make people sponsor me to come.

I'm not specifically against that idea, it's definitely next on my list after rinsing relatives, spamming facebook friends and tweeting anyone who slows down to read my tweets on twitter.

Anyway, the point is Scope are great and please do chuck them a fiver on my Just Giving Page here.

Go on, you know you want to. All the cool* kids are doing it.

Thanks ever so much xxx

*in this instance 'cool' means 'generous of spirit'

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It's Over Now

Sunday 11th September 2011

The Edinburgh Festival has finished and I can't be sure it wasn't all a dream. It was a brilliant, stressful and fun experience, and I expect part of me is going to miss the nerve fuelled stomache cramps and heart attacks for at least an hour before my show every day.

Plus I got some nice reviews, five four star reviews in total, which is something I never expected at the beginning of the run. And you know -  what would you rather have? Dept and some nice reviews, or money in the bank and your body's fight or flight response still working normally? Exactly.

Before the end of the festival my big poster got re-graffitied, this time in a more positive way. You probably can't see unless you click on the picture, but under Catie Wilkins someone has written 'Is Fucking Excellent!!!' to defend my honour against the Scottish National Party's libel. You can tell they mean it because they've used three exclamation marks. Thanks to @GarryPlatt on Twitter for capturing it.

I don't remember the second picture being taken, but apparently I adamently insisted it was, while very drunk at about 5.30 in the morning, on route being walked home for my own drunken safety. But I kind of think it sort of sums up my Edinburgh experience:

You go up and put yourself out there, leaving you wide open and vulnerable to criticism/graffiti by people that don't like you. Then luckily you get some nice reviews as well, so you try and cling to them and your management stick them on your posters. Then you get really drunk and apparently insanely proud of yourself and insist someone takes a picture to remember it forever.

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Half Way

Thursday 18th August 2011

We are just over half way through the Edinburgh Festival and my show is causing quite a stir amongst the Scottish Nationalists. Well. With upwards of one of them anyway.

I think its funny that out of all the posters on offer they have only picked on mine. Like my show is definitely the one that most represents Scottish oppression, and not that it just has a handy white background or anything.

I wonder if it will confuse people who are choosing which shows to see, and if I will start getting an audience of English people who hate Scottish people and think I am some kind of rallying point for hate crimes.

I suppose doing a comedy show, you are supposed to get used to being misrepresented in the media. But honestly, I am nothing like Edward I. All right I am tall, but nobody calls me Longshanks. I mean, sure, at school they did call me Daddy Long Legs, Four Eyes and Mrs Bean, but that's clearly totally different.

Apart from this (and partly because of it) I am having a lovely time in Edinburgh doing my show. The shows having been going well, people having been coming and laughing. I've had some lovely four star reviews and I sold out for the first time on Saturday.

Do come and see me if you are in the Fringe based vicinity. I promise I don't even have any jokes about Scotland. Well one. OK, two. But that's it.

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Tuesday 14th June 2011

I was invited to the press night of Derren Brown's Svengali, at the Shaftesbury Theatre, and it was an absoultely fantastic show. There were mind-bending tricks aplently, and not witchcraft. Definitely not witchcraft. He asks everyone not to talk about what's in the show to people that haven't seen it (like in Ghoststories) and I am honouring that magicians code. But not because I'm scared of the consequencies. Definitely.

I also got to go to the after show party, which served the most amazing canapes I have ever tasted. Me and the group of people I was with managed to stand quite near the kitchen door, so we got first dibs on everthing that came out. I am well on my way to fulfilling my new ambition to just become the character Liz Lemon.

A couple of the waiters got wary of us, and started moving past us quickly, but then they changed their minds again, and resigned themselves to feeding the Homer Simpsons near the door.

At one point a couple of children came and stood near us, giggling to themselves that they were genius's for standing right by the kitchen. Then after a couple of rounds of this, they got bored and moved off. But we stayed on, hoovering up all the food. Those kids were quitters.

I honestly had never felt more like Liz Lemon in my life. But I don't care. It was totally worth it. If I close my eyes I can still taste those canapes...

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Come As Your Teenage Self Party

Sunday 29th May 2011

Sometimes the good ideas really do come thick and fast don't they? And what could be a better idea than a 'come as your teenage self' party? Exactly.

I don't mean to boast, but I really do know how to party like it's 1996. 1996 was great. The Spice Girls had just started being taken seriously. It really felt like anything could happen.

I was a grungy/indie-kid that really liked Blur and Oasis (why couldn't they both just get along?) and thought that the Courtney Love style baby doll dresses were the thing to wear.

Also I used to dye my hair this fetching colour which I think simultaneously said, 'I don't really get on with my parents' and 'I am not that well liked, but I don't fully understand why.'

Loads of people got really into the spirit of the party, and had really awesome costumes. I was particularly excited to see an Ash 'Girl From Mars' T-shirt and crimped hair back on board.

There is something weirdly liberating about dressing as your teenage self. It sort of forces you to assess what you thought and wanted from life at that time, and then judging your current situation, to see how it fits the teenage you's aspirations.

And to be honest, I have passed my teenage self's dreams for life with flying colours. She wanted to be a writer and do comedy, and ta da! (Of course most people update their dreams and ambitions as they get older) but I have really held true to that adolescent one.

I have learnt many things from this experience. Well, mainly that actually. And that spin the bottle can still be surprisingly fun.

Also, it turns out that you can take the garish hair dye away from the teenager, but if you decide to hilariously dabble with what you used to look like and put the garish hair dye back on your hair, you can't take the garish hair dye back out of your hair as quickly as you would like.

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