Tag Archives: Google

A comedy award winner in tights; fifth Fisting Day; and confused linguistics.

spectacularspectrumofnow_logoLast night, my comedy year was completed when I went to The Spectacular Spectrum of Now (image above) – Cassie Atkinson and Neil Frost’s quarterly show in London’s King’s Cross.

It was billed as a Psychic Strippers show and – sort of – delivered on both. But I went because the bill was such a cracker – Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award nominee The Story Beast, the very talented Katia Kvinge and Beth Vyse, very intelligent musical comedian Luke Courtier and Fred Strangebone as a walrus. There was also a bit of nudity at the end though I am not sure if this was 100% planned or not.

Michael Brunstrom last night - as Mary Quant

Michael Brunström last night – as Mary Quant

But the cherry on the cake – if cherry he be – was this year’s Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award winner Michael Brunström re-performing the act he sadly did NOT include in his Edinburgh Fringe show this year – 1960s fashion legend Mary Quant talking about her time on an Antarctic whaling vessel, dressed in a pageboy wig and tights, holding a home-made harpoon and speaking in what I still think is a slight German accent. Michael Brunström tells me it is not a German accent, so maybe it is a residual Chaucerian accent. But it is the second time I have seen it and I can but dream of a third time. Comedy gold.

After this welcome oddity, I went home to find an email from visual artist Marc Seestaedt, one half of the Berlin-based performance duo Sticky Biscuits who insinuated their way onto the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show in August this year by gatecrashing a live Grouchy Club show and auditioning unasked.

They are very good at self-promotion.

Which is what the email was about.

Hey John it said. This Wednesday is International Fisting Day (yes, that’s a thing that exists) and, if you feel like mentioning it, this video we did  is just right for the occasion.

I, perhaps foolishly, DID think he might be making it up but – No – tomorrow is, indeed, the the FIFTH annual International Fisting Day. Further than that, dear reader, I could not bear to investigate. But I should mention that Sticky Biscuits’ video is perhaps not for people who are easily offended. I might also say it could make some people uncomfortable. But I won’t.

But now to grander things – linguistics.

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that the Facebook computer translated

Тетка на идише шпилит, лучче, чем мы с тобой на иврите. Кроме того, она стендапистка и , реально классная!
as
Aunt in Yiddish nail, лучче than we are with you in Hebrew. In addition, she стендапистка and, really cool!

And Google Translate rendered the same
Тетка на идише шпилит, лучче, чем мы с тобой на иврите. Кроме того, она стендапистка и , реально классная!
as
Aunt Yiddish spiers, better than we are with you in Hebrew. In addition, it stendapistka and really cool! 

Which left me none the wiser.

I did two years of Russian at school but can only barely read Cyrillic.

However, my eternally-un-named friend (who neither reads Cyrillic nor understands Russian but has a Monk-like ability to uncover the truth) told me that стендапистка should, in fact, have a gap in it:

стендап истка

And, indeed, Google Translate successfully renders this as meaning:

Cleaning the stand-up – presumably stand-up comedian or stand-up comedy.

Thus the sentence becomes:
Aunt Yiddish spiers, better than we are with you in Hebrew. In addition, it is cleaning the stand-up and really cool!

It still means bugger-all, of course, so the linguistic mystery remains.

But I just thought I would clear that up slightly.

до свидания товарищ

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British government accused of weakening copyright to help Google – and fat, bald man breaches copyright

Copyright symbol

In the latest issue of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain‘s weekly e-bulletin, this interesting piece appears under the heading

________________________________

INDUSTRY NEWS

________________________________

A committee of MPs has issued a report strongly criticising changes in copyright law and warning, “There is an underlying agenda driven at least partly by technology companies (Google foremost among them) which, if pursued uncritically, could cause irreversible damage to the creative sector on which the UK’s future prosperity will significantly depend.”

The report, by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, quotes Viscount Younger of Leckie, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Intellectual Property, as saying: “Google is one of several search engines … and I am very aware of their power, put it that way. I am also very aware, I think, that they have access, for whatever reason, to higher levels than me in No. 10, I understand.”

Changes to copyright law follow a review by Professor Ian Hargreaves, a former newspaper editor, and include new exceptions (i.e. free use of copyright material) for educational purposes, private copying, parodies and pastiches, and “user-generated content” in which consumers can download material and incorporate it in their own creations without permission or payment. There is also a plan to introduce “extended collective licensing” which could enable copyright collecting societies to give permission and accept payment for works by people who are not even their members.

The Writers’ Guild keeps a close eye on such developments through its affiliations to two expert bodies – the Creators’ Rights Alliance and the British Copyright Council. Both organisations have made detailed submissions to the Government that have been endorsed by the Guild.

Read more on the Melville House website, the Creators’ Rights Alliance website, and  the British Copyright Council website.

********

I, of course, am all for maintaining strong copyright laws – otherwise everything I write could be nicked and passed-off by others as their own creation. The irony is that, in  re-printing that Writers’ Guild of Great Britain’s piece, I have broken their copyright.

In my heart, the importance of copyright and irony are nicely balanced.

Perhaps more interesting, though, is the sentence quoted above from a British government minister saying that Google “have access, for whatever reason, to higher levels than me in No. 10, I understand.”

The italics are mine.

What reason is being hinted at here?

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Janet Street-Porter is wrong; Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Jimmy Carr are right

"Kiss my ass" - the cry of bad law-makers

The English legal system and British government out grazing

Am I alone in wondering why Starbucks is getting so much stick about not paying its taxes in the UK?

And Google. And Amazon. And (getting surprisingly less stick) Vodafone.

Yesterday, Janet Street-Porter (whom I rate vary highly) wrote a piece for The Independent headlined GOOGLE, AMAZON, VODAFONE AND STARBUCKS MIGHT NOT BE BREAKING LAWS. BUT THEY DESERVE TO BE PUNISHED. 

Why?

Why should anyone or any company be punished for not breaking any laws? Should you be punished for not breaking the law? Should I be punished for not breaking the law?

Admittedly, Starbucks’ PR is utter shit.

Saying they will, out of the goodness of their corporate heart,  pay a flat sum of £20 million totally unrelated to any percentage of their profits is simply shooting themselves in their very large, clown-like feet.

But, if the law allows them to do what they have been doing – paying only 1% of their UK profits in tax over the last 14 years – then do not blame Starbucks, blame the British government, blame Parliament and blame the taxman.

If the law is not what the government and the public want, then change the law. And do not change it retrospectively.

If I park my car outside a house and the government or local council does not want me to do that, then paint a double yellow line on the road. Don’t paint a double yellow line on the road and then fine me for parking illegally on the road before it had a double yellow line and when parking there was perfectly legal.

Jimmy Carr got crucified in the same way.

His accountant sorted out his tax perfectly legally and in the most efficient way for Jimmy… and then the government complained he was wrong in acting perfectly legally…

If the law is an ass, then don’t blame the people or companies who ride the ass. Don’t ask people to kiss the English legal system’s ass. Change the law.

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Comic going to hell at Edinburgh Fringe offers hug for £5, tongue kiss for £20

Craig Shaynak. He’s amiable and now he’s Google

I woke up this morning to an e-mail from amiable American actor, comic, raconteur and fat, bald, loud American guy Craig Shaynak. (Look, gimme a break – it’s the name of his website – fatbaldloud … )

I can vouch for the fact that he is amiable because, several years ago I wrote a review of one of his Edinburgh Fringe shows which I thought was constructive. But, of course, being a sensitive performer on the receiving end, he took it as being critically critical…. Nonetheless, he is still friendly when we bump into each other in the street in Edinburgh every August.

I highly recommend his show this year I Am Google, which has picked up 5-stars. Either I was wrong all those years ago or he has got much better. Almost certainly both.

His e-mail this morning, though, was a general e-mail to Free Festival performers. At the risk of him suing my ass off for breach of copyright and my past failings, this is what it said:

________

We’re past the halfway point now and things are crazy in Edinburgh as usual…

While the Festival has been fun, a few of our own have had some setbacks. There have been some missing props and performers left without a place to stay. (Someone get in touch with Lewis Schaffer if you know of a place to stay!!!!) 

________

At this point, I can reveal exclusively that Lewis Schaffer has a couple of days respite from homelessness on the streets of Edinburgh.

Because comedian Janey Godley rushed back to Glasgow when her daughter collapsed in the street, my spare room became suddenly empty and Lewis is now staying there until Sunday, when Janey returns for her Monday night, one-performance-only play #timandfreya at the Pleasance.

But enough of this blatant though worthy plug.

Craig Shaynack’s e-mail continues…

________

Recently, one of my personal favorite acts, Abigoliah Schamaun has endured a burglary. I thought it would be nice of us to pitch in and try to help her recuperate some of what she lost… Please read the message from Abigoliah below and see if you can’t pitch in and help. We’re all in this together!

********

The burgled performer Abigoliah Schamaun

Hello all,

So after having one of those great nights at the Fringe where my show sold out and meeting my favorite comedian ever, I got home to my flat to find it was broken into. Someone had crawled through my window (which LOOKED locked but apparently DIDN’T lock) and stole £300, my MacBook Pro, my digital camera and my camcorder battery, but not my camcorder (weird right?)

The police were called, the room was dusted for finger prints and it was concluded that someone did come through the window. However, he or she was wearing gloves so we can’t identify them based on finger prints. The Fringe community and others have been really helpful, finding me new accommodation, offering couches for me to crash on and what not. The only people who were not helpful were the landlord and the letting agency. They are taking no responsibility for the un-lockable window and refuse to give me back part of my money.  But, like I said, the Fringe community has been really sweet. So thank you for that! On the upside, I have new jokes for my hour long show!!

Craig suggested we do a fundraiser online so I might be able to recuperate my losses.  I know we all have spent a lot of money to be here so if it’s out of your budget, I understand. Unfortunately, I did not have insurance and any amount you can give will go a long way. If you do donate to my cause, I’ve arranged prizes:

£2 a big bear hug

£5 a big bear hug and a kiss on the cheek

£10 a big bear hug and a kiss on the lips

£20 I will give tongue

£100 prize will be privately negotiated (I have no shame as well as no laptop)

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to read this and if you can help at all you can make a donation to my PayPal account.

See you around the Fringe!

Abigoliah Schamaun

________

I have removed Abigoliah’s contact address in case she gets the wrong type of response, but will happily pass on the details of anyone who wants to genuinely get in touch.

Fringe Abigoliah: Going To Hell

I think her £20 and £100 prizes represent the true Spirit of the Fringe and almost count as a Cunning Stunt in Malcolm Hardee Award terms – a Cunning Stunt does not always have to be a conscious publicity stunt, as Stewart Lee proved in 2010.

But Abigoliah did, perhaps foolishly, fall at the first hurdle of publicity: she forget to plug her show in the e-mail.

Her show, perhaps appropriately enough, is titled Girl Going to Hell.

Now, £100? That’s almost the price of two cappuccinos in Edinburgh in August.

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North Korea – my undying admiration for their supreme leader Kim Jung-un

The admirable flag of the supreme leader’s admirable country

A former criminal once told me that it was possible to make money – a lot of money – from crime and not be caught. But only if you had an aim. And most criminals, he claimed, are aimless.

“It’s like gambling,” he told me. “People get addicted to gambling and they may make a load of money, but they throw it all away because they don’t know when to stop. If you have an aim to make £100,000 or even £1 million, you could probably make that. But then you’ve got to stop. If you don’t have a specific number as your target, if you don’t stop, if you just keep going, then eventually, if you’re a criminal, you get caught and, if you’re a gambler, you lose what you’ve won. Because the odds are increasingly against you.”

I do not think I ever had a career aim. I found it more interesting to take things as they came along. As a result, at parties, I have never been able to coherently answer that inevitable question: “So what is it you actually do, John?”

Someone also told me, “You should achieve everything you want to achieve by the time you reach the age of 40,” though, sadly, they suggested this to me after I had passed the appropriate age.

I was once told: “John, your CV has no focus.”

I took this as no bad thing.

Better to die in the gutter with multiple memories than to live in bored comfort and regret unexplored avenues.

I have always thought the Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” was a rather attractive prospect.

I am writing this blog in longhand on a British Airways 747 flight from Beijing to London. I will re-type it all out onto a computer when I return to the UK and will post it on my blog later tonight. I took no computer, no iPad and no mobile phone on my trip to North Korea. I am not that mad.

North Korea does not allow foreigners to bring into their fine, tightly-controlled country any mobile phones or any electronic device containing GPS. China is not that paranoid but, of course, blocks access to not only Facebook, Twitter and other Western social networking sites but also to all the main Western blogging sites. This blog of mine (hosted by WordPress) alas cannot be read in China. Their loss.

As I write this in longhand on the 747, I am 2 hours 45 minutes into a 10 hour 45 minutes flight back to the UK.

According to the electronic in-flight map on the seat-back in front of me, we are just approaching a set of white cartoon mountains.

Aha!, I just wrote in longhand, this must mean  we are just about to fly over Tibet. But now a wider map shows me we are flying westwards somewhere between Irkutsk in Siberia in the north and Ulan Bator in Mongolia the south.

Just south of both those cities on the very small map is the Chinese city of Chongqing.

At Beijing Airport this morning, I unexpectedly bumped into Ben, who had been in the group I went to North Korea with last week.

He told me that, last night, when another member of the group Googled “Chongqing”, it came up with nothing. The name seemed to have been blocked by the Chinese authorities. An entire city temporarily wiped from existence, presumably because they did not want people in China researching beyond the Party line on the on-going Bo Xilai scandal which, to me, seems less of a scandal and more of a future thriller movie plot.

Ben told me that, even before he went to North Korea, he had started keeping a diary.

“You should write a blog,” I told him.

“I don’t think my life is that interesting,” he said.

“What are you doing when you get back to Britain?” I asked him.

“I’m thinking,” he said, “of starting up an internet radio station… My uncle used to be a weather man and wants to do the night shift.”

It is good to have an aim.

China seems to know where it wants to go and is getting there.

North Korea is perhaps like a floundering gambler with no target. It has changed little since I first went there in 1986. Except for the small matter of mobile phones, presumed ICBM tests and the possession of nuclear bombs.

“Do not treat us as children” was the North Korean reaction when the US complained about their recent rocket launch. That is always a good rule-of-thumb, I think, when dealing with people who have nuclear bombs and a volatile diplomatic tendency towards brinksmanship.

On landing at Heathrow Airport in London late this afternoon, I picked up a copy of the i newspaper. It contained a small piece claiming that the official North Korean website was built using a template which cost just $15 – less than £10.

Typical propaganda in the Western media, trying to belittle the great land of the supreme leader Kim Jung-un.

The business page of North Korea’s website says the country “will become in the next years the most important hub for trading in North-East Asia” and promises that workers there “will not abandon their positions for higher salaries once they are trained”. It also says the country has “a government with solid security and a very stable political system, without corruption”.

In the circumstances, I would just like to state my undying admiration for North Korea’s 28 or 29 year old (opinions vary) supreme leader Kim Jung-un.

I think it is better to be safe and cover all angles.

We live in interesting times.

On its website, the North Korean government is currently offering “an exclusive business trip” to the country from 11th August to 18th August 2012. They say they will “facilitate visit to factories and meetings with commerce officials in charge of your professional area. All passports are invited to apply except for: U.S.A., Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan due to special protocol in bilateral relations. The number of visitors is limited to 10.”

Now THAT is a trip I would like to go on.

The website adds: “Participants will be accompanied during the entire visit.”

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North Korea – the Leaders’ spectacles

A woman walks in front of the Great Statues

Did I mention the loudspeakers on the street lamp posts and the small speaker vans roaming the streets?

At 7.15am, sweet and sickly music drifts through Pyongyang, like unavoidable muzak. Freedom means your own choice of music. There is no choice of music in the morning streets of North Korea.

Last night in my hotel… rock hard bed; no mattress; cold water; no hot water. Our young female guide slept in the lobby because there were no spare rooms.

In the morning, we are taken to see the giant statue of the Great Leader Kim Il-sung on Mansudae Hill, which I first saw when I was here before in 1986. And, in fact, as of today, there are now two statues – of the Great Leader Kim Il-sung and of his recently-deceased son the Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il.

What surprises me is that, in both statues, the Leaders are wearing spectacles.

Kim Il-sung’s statue was not wearing spectacles in 1986.

Our North Korean guide, a little surprised that I had remembered the statue so well, explains that the original Kim Il-sung statue was replaced at some unknown time by a new one in which he wore spectacles and was smiling.

“The Great Leader felt he looked too stern in the first statue,” the guide explains “He wanted to smile at his people.”

So now both statues smile.

Then we are whisked off to a gigantic flower exhibition packed like sardines in a thimble. And to the Great Leader’s birthplace.

We are also taken to the American spy ship USS Pueblo, captured in 1968 and now moored on the river bank in Pyongyang. It is guarded by armed sailors. Do the North Koreans really dream the Americans will try to snatch it back? We are shown round the ship and treated to a film on the perfidy of the American Imperialists, but we are not allowed to enter the ship’s code room, the entrance to which is blocked by a uniformed, unsmiling North Korean sailor.

Why? I wonder.

Do they think there are still secret messages lurking there, un-decoded since 1968, which we could use to undermine the people’s paradise of North Korea?

As we leave the Pueblo, there is an American standing on the bow, like Leonardo Di Caprio in Titanic. On the river bank, a cameraman is profusely thanking a North Korean minder. We are told the man on the bow is a reporter for the (right wing) Fox News TV channel in the US and he is recording a report.

Have the North Koreans totally lost the plot?

Yes, of course they have.

We are taken for a ride in the metro. Only a few stops because, as I understand it, only a few stops are decked-out in the Stalinesque marble-and-chandelier manner.

Our first train is relatively empty. Our second is packed tight, not dissimilar to the London Underground in the high tourist season but even more like the Tokyo Metro with people pushing and elbowing to get on. I stand by the door, my back protected, slightly separated from our guides/guards by the shoulder-to-shoulder throng.

A small, wiry man perhaps in his mid-thirties pushes onto the train and sees my white Western face.

“Where you from?” he asks.

We have been told (true or false) that English is now taught in all North Korean schools.

“England,” I reply. “UK… London.”

“I love your country,” the man says, pushing past, looking into my face. “I love your Par-lee-ment. Our country is…”

His last word is, annoyingly, inaudible. It sounds like “putrid” but cannot be: it is too sophisticated a word for his limited English vocabulary.

I hold my finger up to my lips, as if to say, “Quiet!” and glance sideways towards our guides to warn him they are there. Then he is lost in the stuffed carriage.

I do not know what he said, but it was not complimentary.

Short and slippery slope, I think to myself.

Later, I ask one of our guides where Kim Il-sung used to live. I am told he used to live in what is now his mausoleum: the very grand Kumsusan Memorial Palace (currently closed for unknown reasons)

“Where did Kim Jong-il live?” I ask.

“I do not know,” I am told. “It is not known.”

In fact, anyone outside North Korea can see inside what used to be Kim Jong-Il’s compound on Google Earth. You can see the swimming pool, the water slide, the personal train station which linked into the metro system and, one presumes, into the above-ground rail system.

That is what is so mystifying about the North Korean paranoia about GPS positioning. You can bring a computer into the country; you can bring a WiFi-enabled Kindle into the country; but you cannot bring in mobile phones or tablets, because they have GPS positioning. They have not yet twigged that the more modern digital cameras have GPS. They are obsessed with the danger of people with GPS-enabled devices.

But anyone with a GPS iPhone or iPad is not actually a security risk who is going to help the Americans target their cruise missiles. Because the GPS positioning we use comes from the American spy satellites anyway. Anything I can do on an iPhone or iPad is something I do courtesy of the CIA and the NSA.

The North Koreans are obsessed by people seeing into secret above-ground areas, but seem to ignore the fact that the satellites can see everything anyway and, going to any computer in my home, I can see Pyongyang in detail on Google Earth.

In the evening, from my hotel window, I see another big fireworks display taking place near the river, by the Tower of the Juche Idea.

… CONTINUED HERE …

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I am worried that I was wrong to give advice to this comedian on how to blog

Lewis Schaffer shows his true colours

I was going to blog about something else today. But then I looked at my e-mail Inbox.

I may have a rival daily blog. I am worried.

When I was a student, in the dim and distant years of the last century when people still used quills and wore flared trousers, I got myself a summer job in the press and publicity department at Penguin Books. One day, they had a visit from a man who was starting up a publishing business in Malaysia. He had asked if he could look round the  Penguin operation at Harmondsworth to see how it was organised on the ground.

Very politely, they told him everything they could to help him. All about their relationship with their printers, their distribution system, the economic set-up of the company and so on.

At the time, I wondered, Why are they doing this? They may find in the future that they have trained their own business rival.

I still do not know why they did it.

Last week, Lewis Schaffer, the not-yet famous American comic based in London, phoned me, asking advice.

“I think maybe I should scale down all the online stuff I do,” he told me. “What do you think, John? Maybe I should stop Tweeting on Twitter, stop doing stuff on Facebook, stop all this social networking stuff or scale it back. Or maybe I should increase it.”

This was classic Lewis Schaffer; it went on for about ten minutes.

I was watching the climax of a movie on TV. I kept watching and listening.

Occasionally, I would say, “Mmmm,” or “Ah.”

I know from experience that it comforts Lewis Schaffer as he talks. He does not phone for advice; he phones to talk. At one point, I managed to get a word in and perhaps foolishly gave him some advice:

“You should blog,” I told him, still watching and listening to the explosions on the TV screen. “You are a natural blogger,” I told him, still on verbal auto-pilot, “I think you should give up performing your own comedy shows. You should be a ‘meeter and greeter’. That’s what you enjoy. You should meet people at the door, shake their hand, greet them, find out about them, have long chats with everyone, make friends with them. That’s what you like. You don’t do shows because you like being on stage; you just do it to chat to people. Don’t bother to perform a show on stage. Why bother? It just gives you stress. Just welcome people to the show but don’t do the show. Blogging is performing without the stress of performing.”

“Who do you think I should blog with?” Lewis Schaffer asked. “Who do you blog with?”

“Wait a second,” I asked him.

Five people got machine-gunned on screen.

WordPress,” I told him. “I think you should either use WordPress or Blogger.

“Blogger has the theoretical advantage that it is owned by Google, so it might prove better at some point in the future, but Google picks up everything on the WordPress blogs anyway. I used to blog on Blogger, but I preferred the templates on WordPress. Really, it would be better for me to blog on both. To duplicate the blog and have it running on both. But there have been so many blogs now that it would be too complicated to go back and duplicate everything and I don’t think it would be very effective to start duplicating now.”

“What about Janey?” Lewis Schaffer asked.

“Ah!” I said, “Janey Godley… Well now…”

“Janey is another league entirely. She has a man who duplicates her blogs on I think it’s something like 170 or 180 or more different websites. When she was at her blogging peak, I know she was getting over 500,000 hits every week, because I worked it out for her on about three occasions over a period.”

“Jesus!” said Jewish American comedian Lewis Schaffer.

I paused.

Another three people died on screen and a car went over a cliff.

“Janey’s main blog is on Blogger,” I continued, “but it doesn’t really matter because it’s everywhere. Do a Google Search for “janey godley” + blog and you get some idea. She also has a widget on the homepage of her website which links to her blog and updates every time her main blog is updated. But she tends to Tweet now,” I told him. “She blogs less but could Tweet for Britain in the Olympics.”

“I don’t know, John,” Lewis Schaffer said to me. “I think maybe I should scale down all the social networking stuff I do. What do you think? Maybe I should stop Tweeting on Twitter, stop doing stuff on Facebook, stop all this online stuff or scale it back. Or maybe I should increase it. What do you think?”

This was classic Lewis Schaffer; it went on for another ten minutes.

I kept watching and listening to the movie on the TV screen.

Eventually, Lewis Schaffer talked himself out.

But I woke up this morning and there was a Google Alert in my mailbox.

Lewis Schaffer seems to have started a daily blog three days ago. It is on WordPress. His latest blog is about stress and worry. It is headlined The Power of Worry. It includes the words:

I was happy with my gig.  One old guy did walk out in front of the stage and gave me and the audience of 150 a big, theatrical yawn. I can make people walk out in seconds but I climbed on top of a table and shouted at the guy “Do you think you hurt me by leaving? My wife left me and took my kids!” 

I think Lewis Schaffer has found a way to write a blog about worrying… about which he will worry. He can be very funny when he does not worry too much about being worried. And often when he does. And he does, still, have the best Holocaust joke I have ever heard.

But what if the increasing number of people who read my blog decide that his blog is more interesting? Should I be worried? Or should I just print a photograph of Lewis Schaffer, naked, with this blog and hope it puts people off?

These are testing times for me.

I highly recommend Lewis Schaffer’s ongoing twice-weekly comedy shows in London and his blog (if he keeps it going). Just never ever give him your telephone number. Truly. Just do not do it.

POSTSCRIPT

There may be more pressing things to worry about, though. Just as I was about to post this blog, I got a text from comedian Bob Slayer, on his way back to Britain from Australia. I am looking at it now, with rising fear. It says:

Landed in Brunei. 3.5 hours til flight, so going on 2 hour tour. Unfortunately is wrong time of day for monkey tour so going to food market. Maybe to eat monkey?

Now he is safely out of Australia, I will go and re-post those two blogs I temporarily removed about his exploits in Oz.

But I pity the poor people and monkeys of Brunei.

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