Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Time Last Year It Wasn't

So, a leap year, huh?

Well, thanks "tradition" or whatever bollocks means girls can propose to boys today. Thanks for our one day of romance. Now I will be spending an entire Wednesday sitting by the phone waiting for David to respond to my many calls, texts and emails. Wednesdays must be pretty busy for him. I understand.

For this reason, I don't really have time to write a proper blog post because I don't want to use up all my broadbands on this and miss an important incoming tweet from the man himself.

I've put out a few feelers and been getting my back ups in order just in case he doesn't get back to me today. So far I've approached Will Young and Danny DeVito (not in real life because I'm not a good shouter and I've not been allowed within 300 yards of them since 2007).

No responses as yet. Will keep you posted.

Later on today I am aiming to track down (potentially actually) the following men to see if they were waiting for me:

David Beckham - I hear his wife is so small these days that it's not actually bigamy for him to marry someone under 9 stone.

Tim Minchin - I will be dressed as a piano and offering to go on tour with him.

Sheldon Cooper - I'm hoping to convince him my maiden name is Bazinga and offer to allow him to use it too.

John Cena - I don't mind if he doesn't want to marry me as he leads a very dangerous lifestyle but I would quite like to just curl up on his chest for a while and sleep like a lizard on a warm rock.

Robbie Williams - I will present him with the diaries I kept through my teenage years where I faithfully wrote to nobody that if Robbie had just come for a long weekend at my house I could have helped him out with the anonymity he craved after fame at such a young age. And I could have given him some lovely sex. Lovely over excited sex.

Lord Bath and Kate Humble - they have to marry me as a pair and let me live with Keeper Brian Kent who also loves wolves as much as I do.

Obviously, all offers will be withdrawn should Mr Attenborough manage to give me a call today. Unless they're all right with some kind of weekend custody deal.

Monday, February 27, 2012


People quite often say, "Ooh, stand-up comedy? I bet that's therapeutic?" and to a large extent these fictional strangers are right, because in some respects it can be quite therapeutic. I've used stand up to talk about all sorts of nonsense until it no longer seems real any more because I've used it so many times to get laughs. Ex boyfriends become laughter rhythms instead of people, humiliating stories become set pieces and late nights awake staring at the ceiling become countless retweets (I expect).

However, sometimes, instead of being cathartic, it becomes a little obsession that threatens to take over all your thought processes until you've largely forgotten what kicked off the idea in the first place.

Just lately I've become obsessed with looking at things I barely used to notice, which now wind me up to melting point. It all began with a little bit of writing I did on the subject of basil. The herb. Basil the herb. If you want to read it, it's somewhere in the archive of this here blog. I was commenting on what, to my mind, was the superfluous label on the side that read "Suitable For Vegetarians". I just couldn't see the point in the label... I don't really live in a mindset where there could be sufficient sneaky meat in a jar of basil to put me off eating it. Even being carnivorous, you're probably not going to want to eat the sort of meat companies are secreting into a jar of basil. What is it likely to be? Centipedes? Obviously everyone has their food/bug ratio that they're happy to eat without worrying, but how many aphids per jar are we talking about here?

Anywho... this is what kicked the whole thing off. I would describe it as the removal of a base level common sense requirement for survival in our world. It's literally driving me crazy.

After the Basil fiasco, I started to notice how many products had completely superfluous "Serving Suggestions" on them. The basil jar also has a serving suggestion just in case "sprinkle" was too difficult a concept for you to master on your own. Luckily I read it before I blended the entire lot into a banana and basil smoothie. Thank you label, for your infinite wisdom.

We have a jar of mayonnaise in our fridge where the serving suggestion is a plate with some ham, egg and chips on it and a dollop of mayonnaise next to them on the plate. In small lettering it then says "Serving Suggestion" by the pencil drawn cutlery. Who is buying mayonnaise without any idea what to do with it?

Are there hordes of people seeing jars of it for the first time and thinking "What is this?! This looks great, let's take it home now! I hope they tell us what to do with it or we'll just have to guess and put it in the bath..."

Or, are the manufacturers freaking out that their mayonnaise isn't reaching its full potential? Is there a poor executive sitting in a room somewhere pulling his eyebrows out over the idea that consumers would have no idea that mayonnaise is at its best in blob form with a chip being dunked into it?

"They keep mixing it into tuna and egg, why can't they just leave it alone?! I know, a crude diagram on the side..."

It's not just my fridge that's causing brain ache. Yesterday almost became the first day in my entire life where I have shouted at a stranger without reasonable (a court would say) provocation. I was in a clothes shop - not something I do very often - and the battery was dead in my mp3 player. I found a nice jumper that I wanted to try on and so I went to the changing room to do it.

There were two girls in there, one was trying on a dress and the other was helping her decide whether or not to buy it because the first girl was incapable of simultaneously wearing the dress and thinking. As I queued for a free cubicle, the first girl came out of hers wearing a dress that was obviously too small.

"What do you think?" She says to girl number 2.
"I dunno..." She replies, helpfully, instantly failing at her one task in the changing room.
"Do you think it's a bit small?"
"YES" said my brain inside my skull.
"Yeah, I think it might be." Said girl number 2, and here's where it began: "What size it?"
"It's a 12."

Here they both paused. I was puzzled.

"Well, it sort of feels a bit small." Says girl number 1.
"Go and get a 14 then." Said my brain under my hair.
"Yeah, but it's your size." Says girl 2, inexplicably.
"That's what I was thinking." Says girl 1.
"Were you?" Erupts my brain through my ears. "You were thinking it looked and felt a little small, but that you must be mistaken because of the tiny number printed on the label? It hadn't occurred to you that you might have gained a little weight? Or, miracle of miracles, that shops just invent these sizes and they shift and change about depending on the store you're in or the item you're trying on? It hadn't occurred to you that you might need to think about what you're buying instead of just trusting blindly that God gave you the magic number 12 at birth and that everything ever printed with that number on it will fit you? For the love of basil..."
"Well, if it's your size you should get it. I like the colour." We're back to girl 2.
"Yeah, I think I will."

Scene Ends with two casualties: My sanity and common sense. The chalk outline lies sadly unnoticed by the masses.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Funny Business

It's a curious thing, being a "budding new comedian" because comedy clubs, agents and comedians themselves would have everyone believe that each new joke spouter did one of the following things:

Shot to fame.
Rocketed to notoriety.
Burst onto the scene.

The reality is that, unless you have some kind of omnipotent parent, you're pretty unlikely to shoot, rocket or burst anywhere. Comedy is a slow and painful grind. Unfortunately "miserably traipsed from dank club to dingy pub for 8 years telling slight variations on the same jokes before someone noticed just as she was tightening the noose and offered her a chance to play to stag do's for better money on a Saturday in early 2012" doesn't fit as well onto a bio or a poster.

Marketing is marketing. Doesn't hurt anyone and makes the whole industry seem more glamorous and exciting.

Unless you're at the beginning watching everyone else supposedly taking off like fireworks and wondering whether your own lack of uncensored week on week noticeable improvement means you should just give up and go back to the office. Don't do it. Just to offer some encouragement, I have written a helpful guide to starting out in comedy and maintaining the faith that print means nothing:

Shot to fame = Wasn't good enough or experienced enough when first noticed by agents who pushed this comedian into things they weren't ready for. Exciting at first, but caused no end of problems in the long run.

Burst onto the scene = Took every gig on offer and nearly bankrupted themselves playing Penzance for £15 on Tuesday and Nottingham on Wednesday in exchange for petrol money. This is the most glamorous way of saying comedy whore - an approach not to be sniffed at.

Alternative style and unshakeable confidence in their own ability = Incredibly unfunny to the general public but continued to plough doggedly on with the material until they had a cult following. Bit of a dick in the green room too.

Slick and funny = Utterly unremarkable remake of thousands of comics gone before.

A natural = Been going for so long they recite their 20 in their sleep.

Ultimately, as long as the audiences are enjoying what you're doing, you're fine. Keep going, keep writing and keep enjoying yourself. If you're not having fun there's something wrong. I'm almost tempted to update my own website as a beacon of hope to all those who will follow in my barefootsteps...

"Laura Lexx crawled onto the comedy scene armed with seven whole jokes and a perpetually shrill intonation."

"Laura Lexx first burst on to the scene in 2009 where she performed confidently across the London open mic scene. This initial burst was followed by a solid two years of being wedged in the scene's cat flap. Whilst not being entirely uncomfortable here, Lexx is methodically working up and down the country on freeing up limbs and depositing them into the 'scene' side of the cat flap. Catch her while you can, before she dies of starvation or gets pregnant to distract herself from the eternal disappointment of the working world."

"Laura Lexx is not the most successful comedian you could book but she tries very hard, doesn't charge much and is rarely offensively bad."

"Other comedians have recommended Lexx as a star addition to any bill, rumours that this is due to the quality of baked goods on the car trips are unfounded."

Wouldn't that be better? No bitterness, no boasting, no false modesty... just honesty and a nice lack of showbiz glamour. Hurrah for comedy!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Big One

The weekend I have been counting down to all weekend is here, my brother is arriving in a matter of hours and we are off to see the Black Keys play their little guitars and sing us a tune or two. We couldn't be more excited. I'd imagine that, whatever train he's on, he's more excited than me because he knows he's definitely got the tickets and so doesn't have the same niggling worries that I've got. The sort of niggling worries that lead to you imagining an afternoon trying to recreate holograms with tin foil and a pastel gel pen from your school days.

As soon as I've finished this scrawling I will be attempting to turn my room and house into something that looks cool and impressive to the incoming 16 year old. This is going to involve putting away all the mugs and pants that currently adorn my dressing table and digging out some sheet music or some needles. What are sixteen year olds into these days? I suppose I could just find a poster of Lucy Pinder and strew tissues around the floor but I'm not sure that would have the desired effect.

My main task is to get myself to Tesco and buy all the sort of food stuffs that I can offer him in an impressive, offhand kind of way. Like, "Ooh, would you like a Pringle and brownie trifle... for breakfast? Hmmmm?" and then he will go home and say things like, "My sister is so cool" and I will feel validated. Families are complicated things.

I think I will need a lot of bread, a selection of spreads and then things made only of meat and potato in various forms. He'll enjoy that and I'll be able to eat them too which is always a status I enjoy. Every time it looks like he's sad and beginning to realise this is a terrible weekend visit I will just shove a new salty delight into his mouth and hope it makes him forget. He might be 92 stone by the time he leaves but at least he'll be less whiny while I drag him from rehearsal to rehearsal.

I'm beginning to think multi-tasking 19 things into a 3 day span is probably not the way one should orchestrate their lives, but it's not really my fault if everything cool wanted to hang out together for a weekend and I didn't have enough places to put them. There must be something in the air for this few days in February. Or, I am just poor at time management. Yep, that sounds about right.

To Tesco...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This Time Tomorrow

Just recently I've been out and about a lot more than I usually would... back and forth to Brighton for rehearsals and so only seeing my house mates very sporadically. Luckily, the good creator invented a means of communication for house mates so they can passive aggressively keep in contact without ever needing to exchange words.

The white board. The passive aggressive whiteboard.

The white board in our house is used for two main tasks:

1. Commenting on the general heap of washing up.
2. Penis illustrations.

If you have anything other than that to achieve, the white board is not the place for you. I completely understand the need for this device to diffuse social tensions within our abode - without it we would probably be constantly wrestling over the plight of the mug tree. However, it's left me with a deep, intense loathing of the board itself.

I hate every rectangular fibre of that board. I hate the semi smooth surface, I hate the cracking frame and I hate the faintly grey residue of 100 jibes from memos past. I hate the whole thing. I feel sorry for the tree that gave up its life to become the white board that sits in our kitchen and shames us into buying toilet roll and not eating cheese we really want to eat.

There are some great upsides to living with 5 other people:

1. There's always someone around to hang out with.
2. There's always someone around to add details you'd forgotten to your penis illustrations.
3. Forgetting your keys generally just results in irritating someone into letting you in rather than a night in the porch.

There are also some negatives though:

1. You need a passive aggressive white board to facilitate general life.
2. You often can't eat cheese that you're 98% is yours because you didn't put your initials on it so there's a 2% chance it's not yours and someone will leave you a note on the passive aggressive white board.
3. One housemate eats toilet roll. The expensive kind.

I don't think I'd like to live by myself or in a smaller house, I've never lived with less than 3 other people so I don't know how I'd cope without a load of people coming and going. But, I wonder if you could choose your housemates... who would it be?

Obvs, we need some eye candy for at least two of the rooms:

Gerard Butler and David Attenborough.

Then we're probably going to need someone who is an aces listener for all the problems you come home drunk with. I'll take Jezza Kyle so that if I ever get accidentally pregnant he can help me out with identifying the father and feeling bad about myself.

Then, we'll need someone who can cook and clean, I'm plumping for the hairy bikers because between the two of them they can probably do both.

Perfect house?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Must Be The Doctor

This is the blog I've been meaning to write for the last 2 weeks and something has always got in the way. That something has generally been sleeping or going to work in a call centre. For those of you with English as a second language, a call centre is where people go to leak their love of life into a poorly constructed headset.

If you're the type of person who will not buy caged hen eggs because of the cruelty involved in the chickens' lives, please stop phoning freephone numbers to claim free shit that companies are offering you. Everyone involved in that phone call is going to be a pissed off idiot in some respect.

First, the advert offering you a no strings attached mug and pen is going to give you a sense of entitlement that you have somehow earned your mug and pen just by being the demi god you are.

You phone the free phone number and begin your conversation with something along the lines of:

"I'm phoning to claim my free mug and pen that I'm entitled to." You say with the sort of confidence and grandeur that reeks of your own self importance. As though Zeus himself was supposed to have provided you with the mug and pen at birth and, now, thanks to this wonderful advert you've seen on your telly box at 1pm while you're sat at home watching something banal, you can finally inherit your birthright.

"Sure, I am sending you your free mug and pen that you're entitled to."
"It is free isn't it?"
"Not if you count the cost of life draining away as we have this exchange."
"So, it's not free, I knew it'd be a scam!"

And yet you still phoned...

"No, you do not have to pay any money. You don't have to pay any money."
"So, it's free?"
"Good. I hate companies like this."
"You love our mugs and pens though. Now, as an optional extra would you like to get a Faberge egg for 50p?"
"A what?"
"A Fab... a pretty shiny egg worth loads of money. You can have one, but we need 50p for a stamp to send it to you."
"So I have to pay for it?"
"Yes, 50p. And you get a Faberge egg."
"No, I'm not paying for nothing."
"Right, not even 50p and you get a Faberge egg?"
"No. I don't want it."

At this point the conversation ends and the monkey on the phone will be berated for not being able to sell a Faberge egg for 50p. The monkey will try and explain they were talking to something that crawled out of the compensation culture and gave birth to a Big Brother wannabe which they then called Princess Love despite its penis.

On the rare occasion someone decides to buy a Faberge egg for 50p, the smug bastard company ask the monkey to just gently slip the following paragraph:

"Cool, I just need you to part with your bank details and the middle names of all your children and we'll process the payment. Before you ask, no you can't just post us 50p, that's stupid and ancient, if you don't get caught out giving your bank details over the phone how are you ever going to learn to stop phoning up for dumb shit you don't even want but are just getting because it was initially free? Now, you'll get your mug, pen and egg within 14-72 working days give or take a bit of snow and you'll only pay 50p from the details you just gave me. You're on a trial to Egg Pen and Mug World and that trial expires at 19:43 on Thursday 9th February... you need to ring us any time before then to tell us whether you intend to continue with the trial after that point. If we don't hear from you we'll assume you want to continue receiving from us and we'll send you a new mug, pen and egg every day until you die. The monthly cost will be around £40k plus the fringes of your kids and at least 4 toenails. Would you still like to proceed?"


Not even the headset monkey particularly wants to proceed beyond that point. Every phone call end has to be greeted with 19 pubescent supervisors giving the thumbs up so that none of their monkeys uses the window for swift relief in that 8 hour stint.

The only brief joy the headset monkey can possibly look out for is the moronity of the callers finally giving them so form of light relief. So far, this headset monkey has enjoyed the following highlights:

1. Alphabet Delight

Monkey: Could I have your postcode please?
Caller: Yes, it's NW3 5RX
Monkey: Was that X on the end?
Caller: Yeah, X for Quebec.

2. Horny Pensioner

Monkey: Would you like to hear from the Publisher in the future with any other products or services that might interest you?
Caller: Only if he's over 65 and open minded about his products and services.

3. Racism Unravels

Caller: Pleasure to speak to you  my dear, it's nice to be able to call up and speak to someone I can actually understand for once. Whereabouts are you based? London?
Monkey: Mumbai, I take great care with my accent Sahib so that I can have my brother back when my shift ends next week.

It's the little things that keeps the monkeys alive.