Friday, 27 September 2019
Reading time 3 minute 04 seconds
I burp, I fart. I’m a real woman – Kate Winslet
Once on a plane during a skydiving lesson a young lady taught me that to Skydive well you must be relaxed. She suggested that whilst in freefall I should try and fart. The air pressure fluctuates which helps flatulence so it’s always possible. If you can concentrate on letting one go it means your mind is in a good calm place which is important while plummeting to earth.
That day there were 4 experienced skydivers in the plane plus me and my instructor Billy. As we climbed to our 12,000 foot jumping altitude I must have looked nervous because someone pointed to my chest and said what’s that? I looked down and her finger came up and flicked my nose. Everybody laughed and someone let out quite a loud fart. This increased our giggles and then everyone blew off together. We must have all been very, very relaxed.
I then did what everyone does after the bottom breathes. I discreetly sniffed. I was surprised to smell petrol. Should I be worried? Maybe I had hypoxia oxygen starvation and was hallucinating. I had another sniff. It wasn’t petrol, it was aviation fuel which smells more exciting.
When you walk off a plane onto the tarmac that’s what you can smell. It’s richer yet cheaper.
I turned to Billy and explained I must have drank too much last night as I was emitting aviation fuel from my behind.
He laughed and eventually sniffed. Curiosity gets to everyone.
Billy then looked worried and informed the pilot who also had a sniff.
Our pilot was the epitome of calm. He took a moment then announced that we were going down and all of those who needed to leave the plane should do so which our skydiving buddies promptly did.
Myself and Billy were to be the last out and as it came our turn to jump I was instructed to sit down as we would not be leaving. He explained that as I was only a student Skydiver we we’re not at a legal altitude for me to jump. I looked around for the sky police but there were only three of us left on the potential fireball.
The pilot switched off the engines and that was it.
I was told to rest my head between my legs and kiss my arse goodbye. Billy was making jokes. I was in a plane that was plummeting to earth and could be a potential bar b que and my friend, instructor, skydive mentor was making jokes. He clearly wasn’t the cool guy I thought, he was a nut job.
We were unnecessarily going down with the plane.
I wasn’t scared, who had time for that stupid emotion. I was angry.
Billy was smiling. The pilot was laughing. They were both nut jobs. Our sky coffin was no longer flying it was falling, all be it a little gracefully thanks to the skills of the soon to be deceased pilot. They were both very calm so I decided that if I can’t beat them, which I really wanted to do, then I’d have to join them. I didn’t prey, I didn’t cry, I did nothing. I accepted my fate. Those minutes before I became burnt toast were some of the longest of my life. It was so quiet.
The pilot broke the silence when he shouted to brace for impact. Billy put his hand on my head and pushed it down between my knees. I could still smell the fuel and my fart. I let out another but I don’t think it was one of the relaxed ones.
Then we touched down. It was so gentle and the plane just rolled to a stop.
I then heard Billy shout RUN MATTY!
I bundled myself out the plane with the other two and we ran so fast we would have overtaken Usain Bolt. I’d like to say the plane exploded in a fireball just for the excitement but it didn’t. Nothing happened. It was a huge anti-climax. The plane was fixed we jumped from it that afternoon.
Later I realised that I was the student who was not allowed to jump yet Billy could have left with the more experienced skydivers and decided to stay with me. I asked him why he did this and was told that you’ve got to die sometime and he didn’t want me to be alone. I Loved that guy. He is so cool. He’s still a nut job to stay, a selfless, kind adorable nut job.
I now fart on every plane I’m on just to remind myself to relax and to check for fuel leaks, well that’s my excuse. What’s yours?
Picture: Me in my office.
Friday, 20 September 2019
Reading time 2 minute 60 seconds
Radio someone still loves you – Queen
Every week I write these stories of my life to overcome my shyness on social media. This is number 90. You know that because it says so above.
A good friend sent me details of an audition for local radio. The criteria for entry specified I must be able to tell a story for two minutes. I read that a few times before saying to myself that I have no stories. Those words left my mouth, then I wondered what I’d write about for Week 90.
Once I’d realised that I was a buffoon I wondered about the 2 minutes story I would tell at my audition. Here is what I have so far. I’ve gone old school and I’m going to list my CV.
I’d like some feedback from you lovely Facebook Folk on what else I should or shouldn’t say;
• Hello, I’m Mat Wills
• I publish extracts of my life weekly on Facebook for the last 90 continuous weeks read by hundreds of very kind people [that’s you, thank you!]
• I destroyed my dad’s kitchen with a chip pan fire
• I was a bellboy in a posh London hotel. I got drunk with arms dealers, failed to recognise Gary Lineker and I once almost stole £325,000. Twice
• I’ve worked the Black Forest as a kitchen porter where I killed fish, chopped up Deer and destabilised the Germany economy which may or may not have helped bring down the Berlin wall
• I’ve been hit and maimed by a car, a cyclist and a motorbike in three separate road accidents
• I maimed the author Terry Pratchet
• While working in investment banking I mistakenly deleted all their data and may have assisted in a financial crash due to my incompetence in IT systems
• I drank and smoked heavily for over 20 years. Memories of this are slowly returning and I’m starting to write about them
• I once travelled to Australia for the weekend
• I ‘ve travelled the world, which is really just a global pub crawl
• I became a skydiver which did not end well and was my solo Edinburgh 2019 Fringe show Skydive to Stand up
• I tried stand-up comedy
• I had what is considered to be the most unsuccessful internet podcast of all time for two years
• I’ve been in Love with 5 incredibly patient, clever, funny, amazing women
• I had an internet radio show for two years.
• If I get this job feel free to fire me around the two year mark
• I quit stand-up comedy
• I had both my hips replaced
• I retried stand-up comedy
• I re quit stand-up comedy
• I re retried stand-up comedy
• I went drinking in Bangkok and came too in Australia with body piercings and holes in my memory
• I’ve been chased by a crocodile, or maybe an alligator.
• I helped create a successful Edinburgh Fringe compilation show which is still running to this day
• I worked in a Children’s improvisation theatre show
• I went on a silent retreat
• I upset Damon Albarn and we haven’t spoken since, Dawn French and Jenifer Saunders are also not fans of mine
• I cycle, I run
• I’ve squished my left testicle which required surgery
• I eat ice cream every day
• I’ve never been to me
• I Love two cats
• My Name is Mat Wills
Have I missed anything?
Direct message me feedback or write it below. I like to know what I’ve done well and what I could improve upon.
Be kind to each other before you press the Share
Picture: Waving my hands in the air like I just don’t care
Friday, 13 September 2019
Reading time 1 minute 19 second
Don’t give up – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush
I’ve been trying to make people laugh for quite some time now. A good analogy of this that I use often would be that if I was a child and you were my parents we’d have visited the doctor on more than one occasion to find out exactly what is wrong and why was I not keeping up with the other kids.
I performed at a gig on Monday and really enjoyed it. The audience laughed. My stuff was OK but I didn’t really sell it and I didn’t connect to the audience or my material or even to the laughter. I knew what I did wrong and why. It was a valuable lesson. Another one learned the hard way at the coal of face.
An audience member tapped me on the shoulder at the end of the night and said they thought I was an excellent story teller. I was grateful for their thanks. I really was. What a lovely thing to do. Compliment another human being. I’d rather they say I was very funny but I hadn’t earned that.
Then they proceeded to tell me that they believed storytelling was a real art and I was their favourite comedian of the night. I again pointed out how kind they were to say this. I may have even blushed. It was a lovely gesture for them to take the time to say this.
The conversation ended when they announced that I shouldn’t quit. Even though lots of the other comedians had bigger and much better laughs that shouldn’t put me off.
This threw me. They had turned a compliment into a conundrum in my head. Did I look like I wanted to give up? What about my face said this? Did my demeanour express this? I didn’t want to quit until this was announced, was my subconscious considering this? When would it let me know?
They continued. Quitting should be the last thing from my mind. Lots of people had to go through bad gigs and you really were not that bad.
The audience member had turned. I was their favourite a moment ago. They then reiterated three more times so I was sure their point was understood. I was to continue. Don’t’ worry about not making people belly laugh. That might come in time. Just carry on.
I gigged last night. It went OK. As I left the stage I grabbed my coat and left the building just in case someone else wanted to compliment me.
Picture: Me last night gigging by the seaside. What a beautiful country to live in!
Friday, 6 September 2019
Reading time 2 minute 1 second
United We Stand – Football fans anger at losing the terraces in the 1980’s
I’m currently temping in The London as my other half calls it. She’s from The Manchester so my home city is weird to her. Sometimes it is for me too.
As I exited the train carriage a young couple in front of me were walking side by side. They looked to be in Love. It was sickening and beautiful in equal measure.
As we descended the stairs a man on his way up had clearly ignored the contraflow system and was rudely walking into people to get to the top of his personal Everest. People grumbled a bit but moved over to the let the rude person go against the flow.
The young couple in front of me were having none of that. They believed in contraflow and knew that the most efficient way of moving a large group of people away from a platform was to have them relocate as one. They understood that a rouge element could and was upsetting the system.
I then witnessed and was reminded of the beauty in humankind. Most people don’t bother to fight yet great people do and this couple were great because they took a stand! Like the people who stood up to injustice across the globe, from Rosa Parks to Gandhi.
This brave couple said we will not accept this. They stood together side by side, joined hands and stopped.
The man walking up against the flow of people stopped. He would not be allowed to complete his ascent. Today was our independence day!
With only their love, determination and bloody mind belligerence to the rules our heroic couple conveyed in looks rather than words “Turn Around, respect the flow”. I could almost hear sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf scream “You shall not pass”
All of us behind them stopped, bumped into each other then stared in part awe like wonder and part commuter frustration as these two people put a halt to the rogue element in our society. Their sense of what is right mentally grabbed this man so that he starred at them both, saw the futility in his trying to get passed and turned around and marched back down the stairs of frustration.
I cheered. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen and I’ve watched Toy Story 2 as well as West Ham beat Manchester United 4-1 while standing next to Sir Alex Fergusson on a cold November night.
We marched back down the stairs happy that commuter justice had been served.
Almost at the bottom as I was just about to express my admiration, the couple turned around and started to fight their way against the flow of people and climb back up the stairs saying that they were sorry because they went the wrong way.
Picture: I was surrounded by people I love when this was taken and I had a Coca Cola and a plate of cockle, winkles and jellied eels. What more do you need in life?