Week 21: Me & Scissors

Friday 25th May 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 14 seconds

I was all about my thoughts, my work, my inspiration. I was always in hair. – Vidal Sassoon

You could argue that a gun shop is not to blame for a gun death as the trigger still needs pulling. In the same way I can’t blame Philip as he had the scissors and nor can I blame his parents for equipping him with such a finely stocked pencil case.

Philip and I were 12. It was the 80’s and we didn’t really understand, or appreciate, how good it was to be 12 or in fact how good the 80’s were. I was so unevolved I had yet to fall in love with the late great George Michael [hallow be his name].

Enter Emma. Sassy and funny Emma. I like people with Sass and I liked Emma which is a bit strange given what I’m about to tell you.

Emma happened to have long beautiful hair and we all admired her like some kind of 80’s version of Rapunzel. Then one day she came into school with a haircut so savage all that remained was a mini ‘My Little Pony’ tail of hair. I joked with Emma that if she ever sat in front of me I would cut the pony off. But we all knew this to be farfetched as I’m not normally a man of my word.

Then one day, in a lesson, she sat in front of me and as she played and swished her pony tail Emma was blissfully unaware of the non-George Michael fan sitting behind her.

I’ve made you aware previously that I am a fool who rushes in and as much as I admired Emma my instinct took over when I saw a pair of scissors in Philips pencil case. I stretched out and I grabbed them. Then I leant over and cut the offending pony tail off. Edward Scissorhands was born.

The look on her face when the hair came away from her head went from shock to anger to utter contempt. I think she may have punched me, if she didn’t she owes me a tap on the nose at the very least. 

The School trouble maker later told me that I’d crossed the line but as I didn’t listen to him when he taught us English I didn’t see why I would pay attention to him now. 

In today’s Broken Britain this story would make the national newspapers with the by-line ‘Hair today gone tomorrow.’ It would be an item on GMTV and (even better) on This Morning with Phil & Holly. It’s likely I would become a trending hashtag and a militant Facebook group would hunt me down like a pack of Beagles chasing a wild fox. 

When it comes to the opposite sex I must confess that I’m not really a traditional bum, leg or boob man as I’m more attracted to Hairstyle. I often wonder if this incident helped shaped that. If you want further evidence I was even engaged to a very talented hairdresser. 

Maybe it’s the reason why I now shave my head so poor Emma cannot exact revenge. 

Fast forward 27 years and I’m having a pint watching football with a neighbour. My sister was there as well although she’s not integral to this part but I know she appreciates the mention and she’s awesome.

I had been neighbours with this guy for a long time, we are talking years, but we’d never drunk together before and things were going great despite the fact that we were watching an England game. After several pints he turned to me and said “I know who you are”. It’s true, he did, we’d been neighbours for years. “I know who you are!” he repeated only with more menace this time. “You’re the boy who cut off my daughters hair!!”

The sins of my past were catching up with me and I had many questions going through my mind. Was he going to hit me? Why did he wait so long to reveal that he was Emma’s Dad? Shouldn’t the estate agent have told me who the neighbours were? 

He looked at me and he could see the shame on my face. I explained how sorry I was about that incident and the next time his daughter visited I would like the opportunity to apologise once again. He told me that I was an idiot, which is fairly accurate although if anything a little kind, then we shook hands and he left.

I never saw him again.

Philip never leant me his scissors again.

Tim Burton never paid me a penny for basing a whole film on my actions.

I still have a thing for Pony Tails.

Sorry Emma. 

This weeks picture – Who is this creeping up behind me? Emma?

Week 20: My Self Appraisal

Friday 18th May 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 49 seconds

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged – The Bible: Matthew 7:2 – Somewhere near the middle…..maybe?

Date: 09th May 2018

Significance of Date: Been a comedian (again) for one entire year

Mission: Annual Performance review

Location: Car (parked)

Appraiser: Me

Appraisee: Me (awkward)

Goals set: 10

Goals achieved: 4

Areas of strength: Used the time well to lose weight, found meditation, not afraid to take holidays, started to gain confidence in writing and performing.

Areas for development: Not used the time well to focus on new career, fractionally disorganised, not put enough miles on the comedy clock, not afraid to take holidays

Manager Comments: 

Mat shows some promise and has received good and bad feedback from his audience and ‘colleagues’ but in order to improve he must work on the following;

1. Find more gigs and perform – The most important part of Stand-up comedy is standing up and making people laugh. Mat needs to find more gigs so he can attempt to make people laugh.

2. Earn money – The most important part of Stand-up comedy is to place value on the craft. If Mat were to try and feed his family on his comedy earnings they would have died a long time ago. I suspect he earnt more money as a child receiving pocket money or on the occasions he washed cars.

3. Writing material – The most important part of Stand-up comedy is to write original funny material. This is what gets you better gigs. See point 1. “Where are the jokes?” What is he afraid of? Failure of sounding rubbish? Everyone does at some point so he must learn to fail better and realise what everyone in Comedy is telling him “It doesn’t matter, just relax”.

4. Make contacts – The most important of doing Stand-up comedy is to create a network of fellow comedians and promotors. Mat hasn’t done this as well as he could have. I catch him occasionally spending time with other comics but what exactly do they talk about that advances either of their imaginary careers? 

Appraisee Comments:

I don’t disagree with any of the above words I’ve spoken to myself and I know that I must try harder. I wasn’t prepared for the management required of me. 

I work harder in an office than I do at being self-employed, that is slowly changing though.

Whilst I always knew it would be tough I failed to realise the scale. 

Having said that I’m enjoying everything and the opportunities I’ve had to make some necessary changes in my life. 

I’m a better performer than I was a year ago and I believe I have a better understanding of my craft (The £7.99 I spend on a Netflix account is not wasted )

Things I know that I still need to work on – in no order of importance are;

1. Find my on stage persona: Probably the most important part of doing Stand-up comedy is knowing who you are on stage . Last year I wrote on my ideas wall. “Who are you?”. One year on I’m still no wiser.

2. Manage my time more efficiently: Probably the most important part of Stand-up comedy is to manage your diary. 

3. Get over my fear/distaste of technology/the modern world: Probably the most important part of Stand-up comedy is to ensure that you have up to date on line information including websites that lists your gigs, and other details, so people who are interested can see you perform. My irrational fear of this, Facebook and other social media platforms is stopping me from promoting myself in the ways people have become accustomed to and as a fool who rushes in I don’t know what is holding me back. It’s me.

4. Write Jokes

5. Plan more holidays

So therefore my goals for the next year are very simple.

1. Write

2. Write

3. Write

4. Gig 

5. Gig 

6. Gig

7. Holiday more

Picture: Is this a big plant pot or am I really that small?

Week 19: Stuck Up A Tree

Friday 11th May 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 17 seconds

Act Your Age Not Your Shoe Size – Prince.

I believe it was Rik from the Young One’s who once said “Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread”. Well he was right. I’ve since been told that this phrase is an idiom, well I am THAT fool who rushes in and I am less idiom, more idiot.

All I generally require is the spark of an idea and I’m up for it. In fact, much to the annoyance of people close to me, I need almost no information when I make a decision.

Yesterday this fool once again rushed in with consequences involving trees, wees and performing comedy.

I normally go running in my local park but yesterday my knees were hurting. Or as my old Nan would say they have been giving me ‘Jip’. I never knew what Jip was but from memory a lot of her body parts gave her Jip. Regrettably I now know Jip in all its forms as it is currently affecting all items north of my big toenail and even that isn’t in great shape.

It was a glorious day and whilst I was in the park it reminded me of where I grew up. That was a different childhood park and it had crazy dangerous hills that I used to cycled down (one of them was called Dead Man’s Drop) and one day I thought it was a good idea to ride down it. Whilst I made the perilous descent my bike hit something and stopped, I on the other hand didn’t and I flew magnificently through the air like Superman until my old friend gravity played its part and my body hit the ground. Was this Jip? No. Phew, I thought, I was lucky not to be really hurt that is until my bike came crashing down on me moments later. Oh….that was Jip.

After a reminiscing wander through my new park I thought it would be a great idea to relive part of my youth so I climbed a tree. As previously stated as soon as the idea popped into my head the decision was made and by the time I thought if this was a good idea or not I was already up the tree asking a man on the ground for help because I was stuck.

How do you get down from a tree? Getting up seemed simple but getting down not so much. 

One of my earliest memories of my Mum was when she looked up after my cries for help while I was stuck in a tree in our garden and said that if I got up there I could get down. Three hours I was up that tree and eventually I got down when I needed a wee. I thought the wee reasoning would not have been required as I’d cried so much. I was five years old.

Damn! Why did I just think of that? It made me need a wee.

Back to the tree dilemma. How was I going to get down from it? It’s not like an ex-girlfriend would pop up and push me.

The man who stopped was in an electric wheel chair. I shouted to him that I was stuck but he laughed then drove off shaking his head. “Oi!” I cried out, “I used to be disabled, we’re meant to help one another.”

About ten minutes later the ‘what ifs?’ kept popping into my head. “What if I had to phone the fire brigade?”, “What if I’m the idiot on the front page of the local newspaper [again] embarrassed for wasting public resources?”, “What if a cat was not rescued because they were helping me?” Is my life worth more than a cats? Who makes that decision?

I was beginning to think I may have overestimated my remaining sixteen summers and that I should have done more with them. For example I’ve never been to Japan or slept in a tent. Is this what a wasted life looks like? Dying in a tree? Oh Swampy you made it all look so romantic.

Moments, that seemed like hours, passed and a Mum with two children walked by. I called out in desperation. “Please help I’ve got myself stuck up this tree.” She just laughed. She was mean. What is it with people? This was no laughing matter. She then repeated the words I heard from my own Mum “If you got up you can get down.” Mums…..

Then a couple joined her and they asked what was going on. I’m not sure what she said but they laughed and within a few more minutes there were about 12 people looking up and they were laughing. 


I had an audience and they were laughing at me. You know what this means.

“Good afternoon everyone, I’m Mat Wills and welcome to the park. I seem to be stuck in this tree.” The crowd laughed hard. Wow, this was a gig!

In Comedy if you have a really great gig it’s known as ‘Taking The Roof Off’. I looked up but there was no roof which could only mean I was on the verge of having my best gig ever. Watch Out McIntyre!

Someone then shouted out that I was barking mad. The crowd laughed again. I shouted back that I told the guy in a wheelchair and that he must have gone to get help. They laughed again. That wasn’t even funny and they cackled. This was audience interaction at its finest.

I explained about having left my mobile in the car and the laughing continued. I even think I heard the word idiot more than once. By this stage who cared. It was great and my woes had left me. 

I told a few more gags but by this point they were beginning to lose interest and I realised it was too much of a good thing and I’d have to exit stage left.

Necessity is the mother of invention so I decided I would have to climb down. I gradually eased my way down and made it to the much lower branch and hung off. I then stupidly looked below me. This was a mistake. OK, I’ll climb back up and have a rethink. No I won’t as my puny little hands wouldn’t let me and I had begun to lose my grip. I fell. The crowd gasped. Thud, tuck and a roll then I stood up and gave a theatrical ‘TaaDaaaa’.

The mean mum asked if I was OK. Of course I wasn’t OK but people were laughing again. I know that laughter is what I want but preferably not like this as it would be much more fulfilling if it had been through some clever word play I’d created and not because I had become some kind of modern day Frank Spencer. 

Although deep down the smiles I’d created were a great comfort and they were a good crowd too. Tough but appreciative.

I’m no longer up a tree but truth be told my knees are now really experiencing some jip.

The Comedy scene on the moon of Endor awaits.

Picture: Me with one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the pleasure to constantly disagree with. He reminds me not to surround myself with people who share the same opinions and that free speech means it’s not all going to be to your liking. His face is hidden because he’s shy and would never give permission to be on “That Social Media Nonsense”.

Week 18: And Then The Policeman Pulled a Gun On Us

Friday 4th May 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 47 seconds 

I hate to shatter your ego, but this isn’t the first time I’ve had a gun pointed at me – Jules Winnfield

My other (better) half believes that I am a challenging human being to live with. She also has a theory that I can be a dangerous fool when we go on holiday, you know like the time I had a Mexican standoff with real guns in Africa. Yes, you heard me you can have a Mexican standoff in another country. I checked.

Pretend for the next few seconds that we are in Scooby Doo, let the world go wobbly, and flash back to a holiday we once had in Morocco. We picked up a pretty cheap all-inclusive deal in Marrakesh. The same all-inclusive holidays that were made achievable for the masses through the Wham song “Club Tropicana”. Without George Michael thousands of British people would still be supporting the local economy of a place by eating and drinking in nearby restaurants. Doesn’t that sound ghastly? 

Anyway, I thought a Moroccan holiday would be like one of those old road movies with Bob Hope but with worse jokes. I was partly right, but it also had guns, fear, wee and lollipops.

We went to the market which is called the Medina. Not a Funky Cold one.

The Medina comprises a series of narrow claustrophobic alleyways and in some respects is like a weird African version of Bluewater. The difference here being it is thousands of years old and the place reminded me of one of the scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the heroine is carried away in a basket. It also desperately lacked road signs although I’m not sure why that’s important as I can’t read French or Arabic.

I realised we were not in the good part of the market as my brain smelt Opium which is a smell you don’t forget once you’ve tried it. Opium tastes like the best chocolate experience ever whilst simultaneously removing all desire to succeed and accomplish anything. I’ve had managers who have had the same effect. 

Curiosity killed the Mat and as we were following the Opium smell I began to realise we were not where we should be. My other (better) half does not like to get lost. Personally I don’t mind, especially on holiday as there is nowhere else you need to be and a bit like Scooby Doo an adventure might stumble upon you.

All of a sudden a chap appeared, like a shop keeper in a 1970’s cartoon, and he offered us help. He then grabbed this random child and spoke to him in Moroccan. I like to think that he said “Look after this poor infidel who has lost his way in our city and by the looks, and smell, of him in life as well. Be a good person and guide him out of this maze. ”I’m guessing he didn’t say that – although I do have the look of a poor Infidel – but I guessed we would be fine. What was the worst that could happen? 

Once upon a time I was chased in a Bangkok bar by a Thai man wielding a machete and I survived that. How hard would it be to survive the Moroccan equivalent of Bluewater? Plus, it was daylight and I hadn’t been drinking for 16 hours with two strangers I met on a plane. 

I wasn’t that worried about being robbed as I only had about £30 on me. My other (better) half may have been slightly more perturbed as she had a ton of cash on her as well as her credit cards and her passport. 

The kid started leading the way and after a short while we stopped to buy a Chupa Chup lolly. This kid can’t be dangerous if he’s into Chupa Chups…..

We walked for few minutes more and my other (better) half noticed that we’d picked up a tail. It smelled like a dead cat [Bob Hope gag for you there] but in fact it was a motorcycle.

The motorcyclist dismounted and swaggered over to us. He called our young guide over and spoke to him in the local dialect. Until now he had seemed happy but now the kid looked scared. 

We might be in danger here I thought so the best thing you can do when trouble strikes is to front it out. So I fronted it out like the legend I occasionally think I am.

In my most jovial cockney patois I said; 


“Hello” he said back. Good he spoke English. Or at least that one word. 

He asked us who the child was and then explained that he was a policeman. The kid now looked really scared. 

To prove his policemen credentials, and I guess ego, he pulled out a weapon pointed it at me and announced, “I have a gun’.

He then pointed it at my head. Like all guns it was intimidating. I was scared and it was a 

good job I was dehydrated as I only let out a little bit of wee. 

I’m unsure of the correct etiquette when having a gun pulled on you. I’m sure I was taught something in school but I couldn’t recall it so instead Samuel L Jackson (in Pulp Fiction) crossed my mind.

I didn’t have a gun though. In fact I didn’t have anything……..except………. I pulled the Chupa Chups lolly treat out of my mouth.

“I have a lolly” I said.

Did I really just say I have a lolly to a man waving a gun at me? That’s ridiculous, I better say something smart to qualify this statement.

It’s a Chupa Chup! I exclaimed with all the bravado and stupidity which that statement can hold.

He looked at me like I was insane. Gun versus Lolly. It was the classic Crocodile Dundee ‘that’s not a knife’ scenario but with a very uneven playing field.

He Looked at me. Who knows what went through his head? Probably, this guy deserves whatever is coming his way. He smiled. Holstered his gun. Spoke to the kid who nodded in agreement. The Copper then said goodbye and drove off. 

The kid looked relieved. I was relived. My other (better) half was relieved. I’d fronted a guy with a gun with only a Lolly which was a dumb thing to do and I didn’t even have one to offer him. 

A few minutes later we left the Medina and we were in a cab heading back to the safety of the George (hallow be his name) Michael all-inclusive resort to survive me being stupid another day. 

Another life lesson learned. Always carry a Chupa Chups lolly, and a smile, and you can front out anything.

Picture: Me in a cab not drunk. Honest!