Friday, October 17, 2014


When someone you know and love goes into labour, the rest of your own day just has to pale into insignificance. Because, however much you achieve today, you're not going to bring another life into the world, so you are not as good as that person today.

I am terrified of childbirth, but I also like that it's still terrifying. No matter how sanitised and app based the world gets, if you want to continue life you still have to get down and dirty and push that thing out. It's a little link back through to the dark ages. When you give birth, you become a doctor for a day - you get that little person that you've kept alive and your body works out how to get it out.

I don't think I want my own children, but I am 100% ready to change my mind. I think it's one of the most frustrating things about being a woman in her 20s; when you say "I don't want children", 99% of people say... "Ah, you say that now!" Like you've pulled that decision out of your butt crack to please some late 80s version of a feminist code you were following. People assume there's no way you could have recognised that you might want to change your mind.

I'd like to want children because the idea of not having them is quite desolate and frightening. Whilst it's a big thing to do, for me, it's also a big thing not to do. I'm sort of hoping that one day I do wake up begging my body for kids because it'll fill the desire I have for the concept of children. I still don't feel like I want to do the day to day necessities of having a baby, a two year old, a six year old... etc. But I do wonder if I'll be sad not to have a 25 year old one day when I'm old and the arthritis is preventing me from writing my wisdom down here.

My boyfriend is very keen on having children. I have told him that if he can find a way to not be 6'3" with the biggest head known to man (too big to go paint balling, ladies and gents, too big to go paint balling) then I'll think of a way I can reproduce him without tearing my innards beyond recognition.

I'm hoping to have ironed out a missing chapter in my book by the end of the day, but, all going well, someone out there is going to finish up the day with a family. That is an incredible thing to achieve in a 24 hour period. Things like that are huge, enormous, stratospheric things to happen in a life but they actually just happen on days when other people are buying toilet paper or finishing a long shift at a boring job.

Your birthday is a great day for you to get a present and to say "Well done you!" for staying alive, but really that day should be a nod back to your parents who had their world paused so that they could slip you into their nest.

I'll stop now and go and have a shower before I really start turning into a slushy mess, but really, wow. Babies, eh? Get it done, Oli.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Comedian Factor

It's Saturday night, the deep voiced guy is really going for it. We've been waiting all year for this.

The final. A number of lucky winners have been hand picked from months of scrupulous searching through the tedious masses of hopefuls. Now, here we are. Here they are. The judges are lined up, their familiar faces shining out from behind the tooth glare and layers of foundation.

There's the industry mogul, famously rude and cruel but undeniably successful. No one could argue with the way his career panned out and even those without a pleasant word to say about the scowling gentleman on the end would jump at half the chance to work with him. It's Don Ward, ladies and gentlemen. As I live and breathe.

Next to him is the hugely successful vision of what each of our hopefuls are dying to become. She's beaten the odds to become the well presented face of up and coming clever, vivacious, hugely popular comedy. A hit with both men and women alike, she looks great, sounds even better and is there to offer insight as someone who's actually done it. Katherine Ryan is ready for action.

Next to Katherine we have the one with nothing to lose. He made it big in the 90s and is ready to criticise his way through the next generation with the acid tongue of someone who just couldn't give a fuck any more. Obviously, a nice boost to his own career wouldn't go amiss so there'll be an attempt to keep the crowd onside but this savvy comedian knows how to occupy the screen. Peter Kay is chomping at the bit, asides prepared and experience dripping from every pore.

Lastly, it's the industry figure that everybody knows and can't help but love in a shambolic fashion. He's been around as long as anyone can remember and is, how shall we say it, a character on the scene. He's certainly been successful, no one can argue that, but how that success has come about might evade some people's memory. A cheery, smily, comedy obsessed face reveals Martin Besserman as our final judge.

We're ready to go.

The first act is up. Belting out a string of carefully traced jokes about their shitty home town. There's an original spin to one or two of them but it looks as though's she's lost the interest of Katherine Ryan who seems to have been hoping for something more exciting. The rhythm is there, the timing is excellent - no one watching at home could argue with the professionalism of the delivery of this act.

Don is bowled over - he loves it. He knows a steady routine when he sees one and this is the sort of thing that would go down a storm at a big weekend club. He's smiling from ear to ear and this girl looks as though she might just have a future in comedy. Peter is scathing at best. He's completely unimpressed by the audacity of the act to come up armed with nothing better than jokes about being from somewhere - don't they have an original bone in their body? Not a yes from Peter.

Joel Dommett is thanking the act and sending on her on her way, relieved and exhilarated, back into the dressing room. He's introducing the next act.

This guy has clearly done his research. Research of one particular inimitable act. The jokes come slow and incoherent, repetition is a key feature. The only feature. Repetition is the only feature. They key feature? Repetition. Rhetorical questions and overusing his own name come naturally to this rookie and he laconically drips lists and concepts onto the stage with seemingly absolute no interest in how he's being perceived. He finishes up his set and Joel shuffles awkwardly on set to firm him up.

Katherine is first to speak.

"I could see what you were trying to do..." she begins kindly. She has positive words for him but she can't hide the disappointment. No amount of constructive criticism can make up for a silent audience... but you can still go home and claim they just didn't "get you". Don't you worry.

Martin loved it. Something weird, something wacky... "Well done!" he enthuses sincerely. "I'd book you for my London club any time. I loved it. You're something different and that's what the circuit needs."

"Don't be ridiculous." chimes in Don, "What works works for a reason, because it works. And this, didn't work. Sorry but you need jokes, you need a certain punchline rate, you need observations, you need punch. You, had none of that."

Peter says something irrelevant that makes the crowd laugh and we're off onto the next act.

The next act looks the party. He's all bouffant hair and skinny jeans. A red chequered shirt that the stylists have picked straight off of BBC3. He's personable, smily and great company for his brief spell. Lad culture, am I alpha enough, why do women want a real man not a weakling like me, I can't get a girl, I'm a geek and I'm camp. He covers it all. He's sewing together "honestly true" stories from his ramshackle life with terrible puns that he cajoles the audience into laughing at. They are loving it. He's just handsome enough to be handsome without being handsome. He's every agents dream.

The judges are unanimous. He's excellent. He's got panache, he's got style, he's got jokes and he's got persona. What a guy. He will fit right in with all the other exact replicas currently lining the charts. Money signs are lighting up behind the judges' eyes. It's going to be a tough act to follow.

Luckily, the next act doesn't seem to be trying that hard to go any further than infamy. The last of our four finalists has a few American influences and he traipses them across the boards without a second thought for the careful touch that his idols used to scatter them. He hammers home cancer punchlines and flips the concept of rape up in the air like a February pancake. The audience make no more noise than a few extremely uncomfortable titters and eventually the camera pans round to Katherine just miming the word "stop". He ploughs on regardless, mining the deep well of baby death comedy between a lighter section on a particularly racist grandparent that, oh no wait, has actually turned out to be dead now anyway so don't worry. The set comes to an abrupt end as the act stabs someone on a bus and Joel tries his best to be professional without in any way condoning anything the act had to say and landing his own career in scalding water.

The judges don't know where to begin. Peter shakes his head in despair, "How could you take something as fluffy as comedy and do that to it?" he asks. "It's like you took the ingredients for a greta cake and just shat on them instead of baking." The audience muster a low laugh but they're too shell shocked to react properly. We move on.

Katherine asks the act politely to go back to being an estate agent. Martin is not impressed and consequently only offers him a spot at his Thursday night show. Don, well Don is thinking.

"You actually don't have no joke writing skill." He concedes, "But what you lack is any kind of respect for you audience or skill at reading a room. I wouldn't be surprised if you got somewhere but you've got a long way to go yet."

Joel ushers him to one side and brings the four finalists into line on the stage. They stand, nervous. There are clearly only two in the running. The girl from a shit hole and the lad with masculinity issues... who is it going to be...?


He had it all... the hair, the teeth, the jokes, the smoothness, the twinkle in his eye and ability to turn his hand to any panel show that needs a jocular guy to sit next to the other ones. Well done lad. You're the king of comedy for a year. Wear that crown with pride.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wolf Eyes Meets a Hufflepuff

On Wednesday I'm going to be in the same room as Paul Hollywood. Having given up harrassing whoever books the comedians for Great British Bake Off Extra Slice to take a punt on someone who, whilst being unknown, is a massive fan of the show, I've got myself a ticket to go along and see the recording of the show.

It turns out that because it's the show that'll be on after the final, Paul Hollywood will be there. Now, I love Paul Hollywood for the following reasons:

1. He's mean in a sexy way.
2. He has the eyes of a wolf that has killed the rest of his pack and isn't even sorry.
3. He makes bread.

Pause. I don't think you've let that sink in.


Imagine the following scenario:

Paul comes home from a hard day at work.

Paul: I have had a hard day at work.
Laura: Oh dear. What happened?
Paul: I made loads of bread.
Laura: Do you have any bread with you?
Paul: Yes.
Laura: *jumps on Paul* Oh my god you taste like bread on your skin because you spend all your time around bread. You are delicious. I love bread.

4. He is not a hugger. His highest form of praise is a handshake.
5. His surname is Hollywood and Laura Hollywood sounds great.

What I can't work out is what to bake on Wednesday for the show. Have I got a better chance of talking to them if I bake something truly awful, or should it be excellent?

If I bake some kind of wedding scenario involving myself and the Wolf will I even be allowed into the studio?

Any help appreciated guys. You're all beautiful.