Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Whole Lotta Thwartin'

I've been having one of those weeks where life seems to be conspiring against me, and this week - as is the fashion in this day and age - I tweeted about it rather than getting on and doing something proactive.

My tweet said 'The thing where you think everything is sorted and then BAM, it isn't. Again. Seriously world, enough thwarting already.'

So far, so banal, but then someone tweeted back saying "There's a whole lotta thwartin' goin' on these days. Makes a good rock song tho."  I concur, and so I decided to have a bash at some lyrics for said song.  It's a work in progress, but this is for you, @LillyLyle.

Spoken (in the style of Ferlin Husky):

This is a song for anyone who ever have one of those weeks where
Things just didn’t seem to go your way.

Sung (also in the style of Ferlin Husky)

There’s a whole lotta thwartin’ goin’ awn
And I don’t know what to do
There’s water pourin’ through the roof n’
I’m pretty sure I failed an interview
(although I ain’t heard back yet,
 so I guess no news..
is good neeeews)
(Oooh – oohs...)

Ah’m movin’ house - or that’s the plan
But stuff keeps going wrong.
My sister’s boyfriend’s van is broke
And so I wrote this song, yeah
There’s a whole lotta thwartin’, goin’ awn.

White van men charged me 90 pounds
To drive ma stuff ‘cross town
I helped them in torrential rain
It nearly made me drown, oh
There’s a whole lotta thwartin’, goin’ awn.

Every plan I try to make
To help ma life go smooth
Is thwarted by an unseen foe
Who wants me not to move!
The milk’s gone off, my new shoes hurt
I think I’ve got a cold
My muscles ache, I broke a glass
I’m feeling really old, yeah
There’s a whole lotta thwartin’ goin’ awn.

And so the lesson I have learned
I’d like to tell to you
Life’s a thwarter, you’ll get burned
Unless you find a way
To struggle throoo – ou – ooo – ough.

(Mine’s gin).

Friday, 15 June 2012

Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times…

Do you ever go to a comedy gig and listen in mild horror as the comedian picks on audience members?  Does it make you hunker down in your seat like a small animal whose main defence mechanism when a hungry bird of prey/tiger/human turns up is to HIDE NOW?

A lot of people endeavour to sit in the middle or towards the back of gigs to make sure this won’t happen to them.  Sometimes it’s out of shyness, or perhaps because you think your answers won’t be very interesting, but let’s be honest – the main issue is that most people don’t like being made fun of.  It’s one of those things that is amusing mainly when it’s happening to someone else.

As you may have guessed I was at a comedy gig this week, and I got asked what I do.  The gig in question was Bright Club at The Stand in Edinburgh, where a load of academics try their hand at stand up.  The audience is therefore filled with people who have PHDs, or at least degrees in difficult subjects like science and maths.  Not that arts degrees aren’t difficult, exactly, but they do essentially involve reading lots of books and telling people what you thought of them with an air of authority – or that’s my experience. 

Anyway the compere at this comedy gig full of people who work much harder at university than I ever did was asking what people studied.  He’d come across a gang of neuroscientists, a couple of mathematicians, my brother (who is studying psychology), and one writer who hasn’t been published yet.  Then there was me.

“Are you a student as well?” he asked.  (I wasn’t even at the front; I was hiding behind a linguistics student who appeared on stage later as well.)  Curses, I thought, I’m not that brainy or anything, I work in an office - not a subject ripe for comedy (remember The Office has a) been done and b) wouldn’t really work as a stand-up routine). 

“I… work,” quoth I, and it turned out he was able to use that anyway – “These people work too ya know! Just because they’re students doesn’t mean they don’t work hard!” – so fair play to him, he's a seasoned pro.

But I was thinking about it afterwards, and wondering why I didn’t say I was a writer.  Now, obviously he’d already had one writer and duly taken the mick out of her for not being published yet and whatever – but ultimately it is what I do, I have been known to earn money from it, and being a temp is not really a career (unless I was as good at it as Donna Noble, but frankly who is).

I’ve concluded it might be because I’m in a bit of a slump.  I’ve had a few writing-related rejections recently – nothing too crushing, don’t get out the world’s smallest violin just yet (anyway it goes with the territory) – and epically failed to regain any semblance of writing routine since March.  I’ve missed several deadlines for submissions and performance opportunities lately and I’ve not finished anything in ages.  On returning from our epic backpacking adventure I promptly started a new temp job with more hours than the old one, started preparing to move house at the end of this month and began working on promotion for Homespun UK.

Essentially life has been getting in my way, so maybe I have been more of a temp than a writer.  This is a problem that needs to be rectified – probably through discipline and sheer force of will.  My gut reaction should not be to tell people, even comedians, that I’m an office temp instead of a journalist or a writer or an editor or a media officer.  I do all of those things and temp on the side, god damn it.  If people are going to take the mick out of me it should at least be for the right reasons.

So, identity crisis over – bring on the hours of hard work on top of a full time office job for no guaranteed reward.

Bright Club is really good by the way, you should totally go.