“New Year, New Me”

So, a copy and paste from last year?  Yes, probably.  But to quote from the grafitti in the men’s toilets,

“Man without target hits nothing.”

This year’s resolutions…

1. To lose weight.  Got to be done.  “The same procedure as every year,” to quote from Dinner for One.  Who wants to live forever?  Well, who wants to die early?  Not me.

2. Pay off the overdraft.  Making good progress, I am pleased to say.

3. Build up savings.  Germans are big savers, and I think it is a commendable habit to be a saver.  I still have my Postbank Sparbuch.  This week I’ll pay a few € into my account.

4. Travel.  I think it is over two years since I called in on my folks.  Oh well.  Maybe this year.  However, my main destinations are:

  1. Wolfenbuettel to take the Lovely Doctor along and show her old stomping grounds, the old pad and the barracks
  2. Berda in the Netherlands and attend the redheads jamboree.  Got to be done.  I promise to bring my personal favourite brunette along. 🙂
  3. The UK, even if only for a flying visit.  London, maybe even Yorkshire (God’s Country)

5. Job security.  Oh please, God, I know I’m a sinner, but would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a moderately well-off man.

6. Address book clean-up.  A purge is always cathartic.  Ditto Facebook.  Ditto Linkedin.

7. Take part in the stand-up comedy course.  (Joking aside, it should help with developing general public speaking skills.)

8. Keep a daily diary.  So far, so good this year.  A5 seems to be the right size for me.

9. Join a chess club in the warmer, lighter months.

10. Can we do it?  Yes, we can.  Will we do it?  We can but try.

Bullsh1t?  Well in army-speak bullsh1t is about putting in that extra bit of extra to achieve the highest standards.


Hack Topics

To quote from http://www.helpingyouharmonise.com/hack

So, ‘hack’ is the phrase used in stand-up comedy for material on themes that are over-used. It is an insult that includes both lack of creativity (you couldn’t think of anything original to say) and laziness (you came up with the most obvious joke, then stopped working). The term is… as tired and clichéd, but there is a specificity to its usage in comedy…

Eg, why do men always leave the toilet seat up?  Aren’t cats weird, etc? You get the idea.  It’s lazy, indolent, unimaginative comedy.

Then there is hack journalism, which is perhaps more prevalent among local and regional newspapers than among nationals.  Old chestnuts tend to be “heart-warmer” stories, such as fund-raising events for a terminally-ill child to head off to Disneyland or Disneyworld, or variants thereof.  My aim is by no means to belittle the desperation of my fellow human beings, but are these stories of:

  • People sitting for an hour in bathtub full of cold spaghetti
  • RAF officers tugging a jet fighter along the A1 using a rope
  • Women getting their heads shaved for “charidee”
  • etc etc etc

really news?

Why not just have a page or two in the paper for charity appeals, full stop?  Me, if I am going to donate, if I think your cause is worthy, I’ll do so regardless of whatever stunt you take part in, whether daubing Marmite over your whole body, playing a flute through your nose, etc etc.

Am I being uncharitable?

Performing Live Comedy: Some Thoughts

Performing Live Comedy: Some Thoughts

Always good to have a book that you just can’t put down.  Performing Live Comedy by Dr Chris Ritchie is just one of those.  The last book I had that was like that was Tom Bowyer’s biography of Robert Maxwell back in 1992 (pre-Amazon, pre-mp3 player days, prehistoric).

So, what makes Performing Live Comedy (hereinafter called PLC) such a good book?  My aim in ordering the book was to have an easily-digestible “how-to” book.  (I’ve just checked, and there is not yet a Performing Stand-Up Comedy for Dummies out there.  Yet.  Maybe I should suggest it to Dummies and see what they say?)  PLC ticks all the boxes and in a very workmanlike helps you prepare to perform live stand-up comedy, everything including:

  • How to start
  • Creating a kind of persona/image
  • Empathy with the audience
  • Creating a rapport with the audience
  • Using the microphone (something that occurred to me today will reading the lesson at church – Acts 9:1-22, in case you were wondering)
  • Various isms and types

As well as being a very interesting and cogent how-to guide on how to do stand-up, ideal for the would-be Jimmy Carr/Henning Wehn, etc, it’s also a very interesting book for those who have no intention of doing stand-up, but are interested in the history of comedy and the processes and “mechanics” of comedy.

So, end of blogging and back to my book.

Good night and God bless!

Stand-Up: Can I do it?

Let’s start with some words of wisdom.

Self-praise is no recommendation.

Well, that’s what some people say.  People have been saying to me, “You’re a funny guy.  You say funny things.”  Not being Italian (how could I be with my ginger looks?), my answer is not Goodfellas “Funny how?  Do I amuuuuuuuuuuuuuse you?”  More a case of, maybe, just maybe, I should, in fact, give stand-up a try.  Open mike spot?  Who does one in DUS?  Google search.  Ah, found a place.  Open mic for music once a month.  Worth a try.  Email to be composed  tonight as must-do task du jour.

So, stand-up comedy.  Arguably much harder to do than live music.  Nobody heckles a band.  Stand-up nowadays is no longer mother-in-law jokes and, “So this IYFEGian walks into a bar…”  (Vocab point – IYFEG: Insert Your Favourite Ethnic Group.)

  • How do you get into stand-up?
  • Just because you’re good at writing funny one-liners, does that mean you can and should do it live – on stage – in front of an audience – within spitting distance?
  • Is comedy one of things that looks easy, but isn’t?

But heck, what have I got to lose?

Some people are naturally funny.  Some people are naturally good singers or painters.  But music and art teachers are abundant.  I’ve decided to order Performing Live Comedy, by Chris Ritchie, due to delivered to my Packstation tomorrow.


“Why order it if you’re so funny?”  Comedy is a serious business, and it’s all in the preparation.  Fail to plan, plan to fail.  Modern stand-up comedy a version of story-telling.  Can anyone (can you) just stand up on the stage, “cold,” and just tell a story?  No.  There has to be a beginning, middle and end.  What’s my USP?  What’s my spin?  What’s my angle?  Maybe the British Comedy Ambassador to Germany?

So back of envelope gap analysis complete.  Questions:

  • Do I have the place, where Ican try and open mic spot in DUS?  Answer: Found a place, an Irish bar, because I have to start with an Anglophone audience.  I’ll leave it to Henning Wehn to do the stand-up in a foreign lingo.
  • Do I have the talent?  I think I do, or at least the potential.  There’s really only one way to find out.
  • Do I have the material?  Yes, probably.  if I have blog material, I probably have material for stand-up.
  • What’s the worst that can happen?  Five minutes of bored silence.  I can deal with five minutes of bored silence and later being told over a pint, “That was dismal.”

Well, for someone who’d like to be stand-up comedian, I can’t really think of clever punchline to end with which to end this article.  Hang on, I know.  I’m a practising Christian, so it has to be…

Good night, God bless.

Well, I did buy that book on creative writing a few years ago…

So, ladies and gentlemen, Ginge here.  OK, so for those of you who have worked in G2, here are the Big Six:

Number: Mobile or landline?

Rank: LCpl (well, I served Queen and Country on weekends and a fortnight a year a few years ago and reached those dizzy heights.)

Name: Ginge (Hey, I need a bit of anonymity about me, else I’d just be writing status updates on Facebook.)

Blood group: A+ ( I think)

Religion: Practising Anglican (one day I’ll get it right)

Date of birth: 6 October, and I’m not saying which year.

Oh, and I’m male and a redhead.

So, what are my interests?  Quite diverse:

Comedy (the darker, the better)

Long live Henning Wehn, long live the BBC Radio Tees headline challenge, long live Soviet and DDR jokes, long live those who make prank calls to TV and radio stations.

Ostalgie, borders, tripoints.  All due to my years as a pads’ brat.  Geographically I’m into islands, being from one.  One day I’d like to visit Heligoland (Why?  Because it’s there.)  As a linguist (Russian to degree level, fluent German, rusty Serbian and Croatian and night school Italian), I’m into foreign lands and travel.  One day I will go back to Russia.  One day I will travel the Trans-Siberian.  One day…

I have my opinions, I am opinionated, on education theory, having benefited from the worst and the best of the English education system.  I won’t tolerate people who open their mouths without having checked their facts.  Argue anything you like, as like as you’ve checked your facts, eg check the Hoax-Slayer website.  I also avoid narrow-minded prejudiced individuals, so if you rant on about how IYFEGians are scum, keep away from me.

I love cycling, but I am not a fitness fanatic.  I love the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Moors.  One day I’d love to do a spot of stand-up comedy or maybe some comedy writing.  Like Henning Wehn, I find the difference between the Brits and the Germans great comedy material.

“Sorry, excuse me, please!” translates into German as, “Fahr doch, du Penner!”

I love my radio, my Kindle and my mp3 player.  You cannot beat Radio 4, Radio 5, The World Tonight, The Shipping Forecast and Farming Today.  Oh yes, there’s BBC Radio Tees, who like to read out emails from my Kindle while I’m lying in bed enjoying their weekend programmes.

Ramblings over.  Mach’s gut!