Week 43: The Fall

Friday 26th October 2018

Reading time 02 minutes 59 seconds 

Everybody in here’s innocent, don’t you know that? – The Shawshank Redemption

My biggest fear is being attacked by little porcelain dolls with pointy teeth. Oh, and going to prison. 

The very idea of prison scares me, and I break out in a sweat if I am sent to Jail in Monopoly.

Recently my day was like any other until my partner slipped whilst walking down the stairs carrying a suitcase. To say she was in a bad way is an understatement and there was so much blood and screaming it could have been a scene from a Tarantino film. Instinctively I knew if she died I was looking at a murder charge and would be spending the rest of my life in the ‘Scrubs’ for a crime I didn’t commit. 

As she lay there waiting for the ambulance I went into clown mode and told her about a podcast I’d listened to which explained if you have had a traumatic experience you should play the game Tetris. The rationale being that by overwriting the immediate negative feelings of the incident you can eliminate the chances of PTSD. She did find this funny, but the laughter caused a lot more pain and seeing her in pain was excruciating for us both.

The ambulance arrived and due to her injuries, they administered gas and air which helped a little. I let her have a go when I was finished.

We were rushed to the Hospital with the blue lights and everything. Hospitals are scary places as the air is filled with fear and all you can do is think as you try to shut out the noise of other people’s misery and await your turn to be seen. Whilst lying there in pain, awaiting to discover if she had a broken neck, my incredibly brave girlfriend asked me “What’s the worst that could happen?”

I thought for a second, took a deep breath and then in detail I told her.

Firstly a Doctor would recognise me from a local comedy gig and subsequently she would follow my stories and pursuits on social media.

As she was attending to my girlfriend she would be on the phone to the law telling them the ‘fall down the stairs’ story was suspicious. She would tell the Police that ‘The Boyfriend’ had form and she knew this because she had recently read that I had pushed a previous partner from a window ledge.

My girlfriend would then die in my arms before she had a chance to tell the police the truth. In a plotline from EastEnders I would be arrested for murder although sadly I am not Grant Mitchell and my Mrs isn’t Tiffany.

A twitter hate campaign would be launched against me, with the overly long hashtag #theboyfriendwholookslikeWarwickDavisdunnit

Warwick Davis seeks to distance himself from me but consequently his career is finished.

In court I defend myself and my main point to the Jury is to tell them I am a struggling comedian and my girlfriend was the main bread winner so why would I kill her? My defence becomes inadmissible in court, due a precedent, and at this point I realise I’d watched too many episodes of Law and Order. 

Everyone in the trial would testify that I was a nice bloke, albeit with some dodgy tendencies, BUT the jury finds me guilty saying that whilst I might be the last person anyone would suspect of murder I had recently joked about it on stage. They had hunted down the handful of people who witnessed me saying this and as they testify against me I hang my head as I am bang to rights.

For the record the undeveloped ‘bit’ I was doing on stage was about marrying, not for love, but so we can have the right to switch off one another’s life support machines in addition to accessing each other’s pension. Nothing says I love you more than I want to kill you and take your money. Like I say it’s undeveloped.

I am sent to prison where I am left alone because I am convicted murderer and classed as a dangerous person by the other prisoners. Or I might be some sort of currency. Either way I’d have to learn to smoke again (which shouldn’t take long). I’m in my cell recalling everything I have lost. My friends. The cats. My freedom. Oh, and my girlfriend.

She curtailed the story, looked up at me and said, “What’s the worst that could happen to me you selfish idiot?” 

Of course, I knew she meant that! Anyway, she didn’t die. There were some broken bones and dislocations and lots of pain. The staff at the hospital were incredible and helped fix her and thankfully no one recognised me.

Picture: My friend put this on his wall at a party with the caption Wills or Warwick? It took me while to work it out.

Week 42: Please Don’t Invite Me On Your Stag Doo

Friday 19th October 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 49 seconds 

I’ll be there for you – Theme tune from Friends.

I have an affinity for South Africans. My step mum was one and so is one of my oldest and dearest friends.

What most people see in my friend is a straight talking, very direct and often rude man. Whilst I also see that in him I also see that he is kind, funny, compassionate and loyal and that’s why he is my friend. We have worked together, we have lived together, we have laughed together, and we have cried together. Well that’s not strictly true as he is South African, and as we all know they are a nation of non-criers.

I have visited his family back home and have been treated like a brother. I like to think that I am the Noel to his Liam. He may think it’s the other way round. 

Given that I love him like a dysfunctional brother, it baffles me that I helped to abandon him on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with no money, no phone, wearing only shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of flip flops. On second thoughts it’s not baffling as it was funny. Very funny. And made even funnier because he got very very upset about it.

It was his stag doo and 12 of us were in a hired van on a ‘road trip’ to the Isle of Wight. The IOW isn’t far, but it felt like it and I wondered at the time why you have to travel so far away for a stag doo? I used it to think it was because you couldn’t sneak back home when you realised how drunk you were or how rubbish the nightclub you were standing in was.

The day after we arrived my friend bought a baseball cap at a golf shop. It was a simple, inexpensive item but he loved it and it became welded to his head. While driving along the windy Island roads later that day I asked for a look at this gorgeous chapeau and as he handed it to me I threw it out of the window. The rest of the van howled in amusement at my comedic act (and bravery) but he went berserk. The driver pulled over and the ‘Stag’ ran to retrieve his hat. By the time he reached it a local pensioner had picked it up and claimed it and a small disagreement broke out over the finders keepers law but eventually it ended up on my angry friend’s fat head.

He was frosty towards me but the remainder of the weekend passed without incident with the cap firmly reattached to his skull.

As the Jolly Boys outing returned home we stopped at Fleet Services on the A3. After fuelling up we sauntered back to the van and one of the party grabbed the cap from my friend’s head and ran off with it. An angry South African man totally lost the plot and ran after him. For a moment it was like a speeded-up Benny Hill sketch and before my incensed friend could gain ground the cap was launched into nearby woodland as the stealer sprinted back towards the van. Everyone else was inside our transport by this point and with the doors wide open the driver put his foot on the accelerator and started to wheel spin out of the car park.

The hat stealing hero was running alongside and was dragged into the van whilst the stag tried his best to catch him, and us. It had the hallmarks of The Fast and the Furious, Indiana Jones and the Italian Job and as we sped away into the sunset all we could see was a despairing, and capless, South African man using language most of us had never heard before. If only we spoke Hovitos!

Amid the laughter we spoke about going back to get him, but we decided against it as he was way too angry, and it would be fun hearing how he made it back home with no money. In hindsight this was a mistake and someone’s very kind (and rather annoyed) wife went to pick him up a few hours later.

Between us as a group we had broken bloke code as you never leave a man behind. Even writing this down I’m breaking the taboo of what happens on tour stays on tour.

It took him a long time to forgive me and I know that deep down like a true sibling the thought of revenge is never far from his mind.

I recently visited him in South Africa and had a great time although when he drove me anywhere I never left the vehicle.

Picture: Amanda Cash is a local Kent photographer who took this. Check her out, she’s great and recently worked with one of my favourite bands The Flaming Lips. Twitter @lipslikesugar67

Week 41: Do You Speak English Or Just Scottish?

Friday 12th October 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 26 seconds

Listening time 31 seconds  

“Help! I need somebody, Help! Not just anybody….” – The Beatles

Me: Have I told you I recently performed in Edinburgh? 

You: Really? Not sure you’ve mentioned it………

Me: Enough of the sarcasm. I have a problem I need your help with.

You: But you’ve never engaged with us previously, you don’t even reply to the kind (and sometimes silly) comments people leave you. Social media is all about engagement.

Me: I’m shy?

You: Says the man who posted almost naked pictures of himself performing in front of strangers!

Me: Please, just help me?

You: OK. Continue (but this had better be good…)

The Scene: The 101 Comedy club in Edinburgh.
The Format: Five great comedians and one mediocre MC. I’m the MC.

Like a lady of the night I stand on a street corner and convince people to attend our show. I’m not a big head but I am good at engaging the public and alongside a very savvy business partner, who does the electronic side of things, together we fill the room. It is an excellent space designed for comedy and we sold out every show. In total over 1500 people passed through our doors.

Towards the end of the festival I received a voicemail from a Scottish man. I listened to it and only understood 80%.

The unknown words have been driving me mad ever since and I’ve become so obsessed with it that I listen at least once a week and play it repeatedly. It’s surpassed its 300th listen this week. Each time I hear it I’m so wound up, confused and frustrated that I have to partake in some heavy breathing to reduce my blood pressure.

I’ve built a picture of voicemail man within my mind and my imagination tells me that he does a lot of work for charity, loves his kids and looks like Gerald Butler. In reality he sounds like an older Kevin Bridges.

I’ve made a permanent recording of it because voicemails are like Kaiser Soze, one day they are just gone. 

I’ve attached the file and there is a link also. It’s what the kids call SFW (safe for work). In other words, and to paraphrase the greatest singer song writer that ever lived, you can listen without prejudice. [RIP George Michael]

And here’s where I need you lovely reader. What does he say? 

Here is the transcript of what I believe it says;

“Hello Matthew, I’ve come to see your show, It was {no Idea what’s said here} at the Hanover Tap the other day, me and the four kids. 

It was a brilliant show, just wanted to say thank you very much and I’ll catch your show another day and if you {No Idea what’s said here} that would be brilliant. 

Thank You Good bye.”

The blank bits are driving me mad. I know I should have just deleted it but I didn’t, so I’ve created a problem that I can no longer solve. 

This article was inspired by my girlfriend who said if I don’t stop listening to this stupid recording she’s throwing the laptop out the window. I may have fractionally tested her patience. 

Some clues to help us;

· He calls me Matthew not Mat. The only other person to call me Matthew is my sister who can only do a Welsh accent [badly]

· He knows my mobile phone number. How did he get this? 

· It’s not one of my talented friends who can mimic accents as I questioned them first. (I’ve also asked my enemies as I keep them closer, they told me to go away as I’m too near and needy. Some of them won’t even talk to me. Enemies are so rude!)

· They bought their kids to the show. Who does this? Are they a good parent? They must be if they are doing all that charity work.

Help! You know I need someone

Week 40: I’m Off To Argentina!

Friday 5th October 2018

Reading time 02 minutes 32 seconds

Don’t cry for me Argentina. Eva Perón.

Excluding Vegetarians, Vegans, Hindus and people with dentures, who doesn’t love a good steak? It’s my favourite food and whilst I know it’s bad for me I’m OK with that as I work harder in other areas to try and balance it out. For example, I’ll eat with a side order of Broccoli.

A while back I was working at an IT company and times were hard because of the 2008 financial crash. The IT industry is a beast though and must move forward or die and the people with me at the time were moving forward very well. 

There was one talented sales guy known as Mark who was so talented that he won an all expenses 5-star trip to Argentina which, as we know, is the spiritual home of Steak. I quipped that if his wife wasn’t free I would go with him.

Two weeks later Mark told me his wife couldn’t make it, as she had to take care of the kids, and as Mark was in sales he only had one other friend who was also busy. So Mark, somewhat reluctantly, asked me to be his travel companion. Before I could even say yes, I had ordered my lonely planet guide to Buenos Aires and started listening to the Evita soundtrack.

As with all things in life there is balance and one day later, whilst at my first Tango for Cash lesson, my girlfriend was taken ill and required an operation. This really upset me as I quite liked her, it was fairly serious, and marginally less concerning her operation fell during the Argentina holiday. I was presented with a choice. Support my unwell girlfriend or follow my Argentine dream.

I did the only thing that a person would do when faced with that type of dilemma and I asked if the date could be moved. The NHS didn’t budge.

Happily I found a slither of hope. I worked out I could be there for my girlfriend, as they wheeled her into theatre, then rush to the airport and catch the flight. My girlfriend would understand, wouldn’t she? She’d only be laying around recuperating off her nut on Morphine and I would be back in 5 days. The Portuguese would describe what I had concocted as an “excelente plano”.

I explained my cleverness to my incredibly ill girlfriend and how I could be there for her AND go to Argentina. The look on her face was pain. Was her problem acting up again? “Yes”, she said. I was. 

It turned out that I didn’t go. Selfish me was gutted but I was there, for my partner through it all. She survived, and during the hours I spent with her post op I occasionally wondered how good that steak might have been.

The Tango remained undanced and the steak remained in Córdoba. I’m still with my girlfriend, who I believe owes me an all-expenses paid trip to Argentina.

Picture: Comedy takes me way too deep into enemy territory