Monthly Archives: August 2011

Dance My Doormat Blues Away

And we’re back!  Edinburgh was fun, thanks.  Will probably do a blog-recap  of it shortly.  Anyway, back to the day-to-day stuff.  It was a bank holiday weekend here in the UK (hooray) and I had a really good one.  Went to gig in Newcastle on Friday.  Though it’s a long way to go for an unpaid spot (about a 3.5 hour drive), the gig itself was absolutely lovely and the three of us who went from Manchester had a warm glow of happiness on the drive home.  Then on Saturday, had a good sleep in and spent the rest of the day eating nice food, reading a book, and playing PS3–that is living the dream.  On Sunday, we went out to grab lunch with a friend and had a couple of beverages.  Then yesterday (Monday), Karey spent almost the whole day in the kitchen churning out treats both sweet and savoury–whilst I tidied up the place a bit and continued on with my idyllic weekend of reading, eating, and gaming.

Now it’s Tuesday–here at work for a four-day work week  (the lovely after effect of a three-day weekend).  Started the day with a bit of a bump though and although it’s a minor nuisance, I’m really in a funk about it and can’t shake the feeling.  You see, we’ve only been in this new flat for a couple of months now and we’re still trying to settle in/get to know the building/say howdy to the neighbors and all that.  We’ve been buying bits of furniture and decor along the way as we can afford them–trying to make the place feel a bit more ‘us’.  That mostly means me throwing comics and candy bar wrappers about the place and Karey not putting her shoes away and lighting far too many candles.  But, we did get one nifty little item to throw into the hallway outside the door to our place.  Check out this adorable doormat.

We hardly new ye.

We put that sweet little number in the hallway and for a good week  it brought  smiles to our faces as we stepped into the flat.  ‘Bonjour!’, we’d say in response to the confident poodle.

Anyway, a week’s worth of happiness is all we got from it…because some nasty pice of work has stolen it!  To make matters worse, the store is out of stock and the line is cancelled.  Can’t even get a replacement.  Plus, it has the bonus negative effect of making me distrustful of our neighbors.  It seems like such a nice building too!  Not sure who is guilty.  To be sure, I’m going to smear boogers on EVERYONE’S door.  It’s my only solace.  We can’t have anything nice…Even though I’m feeling a bit burnt and negative about this brazen theft, I’m going to try to focus on the positive.  Let’s do a great thing blog!

So, without further adieu, here’s today’s great thing:

168.  Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope” video

Let’s watch it!

Why do I like this video so much? You’ve seen it–it should be clear.   But just in case you don’t dig on the same things I do, here’s why:

1.  Super dancing!  I like the fancy smooth footwork of Monae and her asylum inmate friends.  This is also why I liked the video for “Single Ladies” when it first came out, because the choreography seemed so new and brilliant.  It wasn’t five boy-banders just throwing shapes in synch.  It was specific to the act and a pleasure to watch.  I love  the black and white of their saddle shoes flashing in front of my eyes.

2.  It has a sort of story-line element.  Far too few videos bother trying to craft any sort of narrative nowadays.  Though it’s not crystal clear what is happening here, you can at least see that Janelle Monae and her friends are trying to boogie their way out of an anti-dancing sort of insane asylum.  Apparently, the director, Wendy Morgan–who has directed for Bloc Party and Gnarls Barkley as well, references Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon, an experimental film from the 40’s which I can’t say I’m familiar with.  It’s where she got the idea for the mirror-faced dementors.  Highbrow!  Meshes of the Afternoon

3.  Tuxedos.  I like ’em.  I used to be a cater waiter and maybe if we were all better dancers, this is what our breaks at work would have looked like. Alas, at those intervals we were mostly text messaging people, making fun of party guests, or stealing food and not staging super-jive jamborees.

4.  Originality.  I love that a pop star is using a creative edge instead of a tight top to get attention.  Class act!  I like it when people who could likely just coast on their voice and slick production actually wind up bringing something new to the table.

I don’t have the whole album, but I have picked up a few tracks from iTunes and I like what I hear so far.  Janelle Monae was born in 1985.  1985!!!!  There are grown ups around who were born in 1985!!!   She’s from Kansas City.  This helps in establishing her cool credentials.  It’s good to be from a place with a mythos around it–like Kansas City, New Orleans, or Cool World.  She then studied in NYC with an original goal of heading to broadway, which goes to explain her theatricality.

Another reason to anticipate further magical awesomeness from Monae?  Check out this info from

Monáe has stated that she has an alter-ego named Cindi Mayweather who according to Monáe is from the year 2719.[22] In her first EP she gave her alter-ego a back-story stating that she is on the run after breaking the law in her home town of Metropolis after falling in love with a human named Anthony Greendown. Monáe explained about Cindi, saying “The Archandroid, Cindi, is the mediator, between the mind and the hand. She’s the mediator between the haves and the have-nots, the oppressed and the oppressor. She’s like the Archangel in the Bible, and what Neo represents to the Matrix


The world needs more robots with cool hair! Fact!

I bet she’s kick-ass in concert.  I will only go out to live concerts and risk standing around and being moshed up against for special artists.  She will qualify to be on that list.  Do you hear that Janelle Monae?  Now, come to Manchester please.



Filed under Music

And Now, A Personal Message…

Hello blog-reader.  I’m taking a quick break from the regularly scheduled list of great things to plug the show I’m doing in Edinburgh.

You may or may not know that I pursue stand-up comedy.  I work a lovely and forgiving day job full of nice people and kind policies like flexi-time and good vacation packages.  But, by night, I do stand-up as often as I can.  What you may not know is that  I am ALSO a writer and performer in a Manchester-based sketch troupe called The Tourists.  We’ve done some shows and festivals locally, but we’re really:

a. excited

b. scared

c. humbled

d. chewy

to be part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.  (The cool kids call it ‘The Fringe’).  It is the biggest arts festival in the world. That’s right, smooch, pow, click, THE WORLD!

The guy on the left knows what I'm talking about...

Here are some stats that I lifted straight off of Wikipedia:

The Fringe 2009 sold 1,859,235 tickets[3] for 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues, over 25 days,[2] for an average of over 74,000 admissions and 1,300 performances per day. There were an estimated 18,901 performers, from 60 countries.

Born in 1946, you’d  think that this annual influx of traffic would make this tidy and historic city of Edinburgh feel overly congested…and it does clog things up a bit…but it never quite feels as bad as Times Square at rush hour.


The festival showcases just about every art form that you can think of…from Shakespeare companies to flamenco dancers to rock bands but it is of mega import to the comedy world–especially if you’re looking to beef up your comedy resume in the UK.  It’s the goal of just about every UK comic to have a well-reviewed solo show in the Fringe Festival at least once in their lifetime if not a semi-annual pilgrimage with new material every few years or so.

Last year, I went for up for a weekend to merely view some shows as a tourist (the name of my sketch group!  coincidence…spooooooky), as I have every year since I arrived in the UK, and I managed to pick up about three 10 minute spots.  This is possible because there are SOOO many comedy shows going on every day that the comedy world needs the equivalent of a ‘supply teacher’ sort of agency to fill in for comics who have cancelled spots with late notice.

I shall definitely be pursuing more of the same this year.  I’m hoping to exercise my set quite regularly for the duration.  But the primary reason for travelling up this year is actually because of the aforementioned sketch show.  Details can be found here:

I’ll also be updating that sketch company blog with quickie reviews of shows I’ve seen and notices of when I’m lucky enough to snag some stand-up gigs.

There’s a ton I want to see this year.  Some big US comics are always over for the fest.  Can’t wait to see Hannibal Buress’s solo show.  I saw him last year at the Glasgow fest and he was great.  He writes for 30 Rock nowadays.  Also want to see Lee Camp–a terrific comic outright but he also writes killer political material.  A couple of terrific British sketch groups are on the go…Lady Garden, Wit Tank, Him & Me, etc…  Between picking up scrap of gigs, doing the daily show with the sketch group, and watching shows I hope to be a very busy bee.

Anyway come and see us, The Tourists, if you’re planning on a wonderful journey to the town that best resembles Diagon Alley.

Come for the culture, stay for the fried Mars Bars.

Part of a complete breakfast.

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Filed under comedy, Hobbies