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Saturday, April 28

Running Low

People often ask me how I manage to do all the things I seem to pack into life. There are two answers to this. Firstly, if you set your sights on doing all of these things and get used to the constant task switching involved, it starts to become pretty normal. In fact, the more you do, the more you feel you can do. Perhaps some of the quality of each individual thing you do can get lost. For instance, the quality and regularity of my housework, when I lived in Newcastle, was fairly low.

The second and most important reason I can do it all is my enthusiasm. If I'm really into the idea of doing something, then I'll just go for it. I'm generally a big cheerful sod, who will just go for lots of things with a general sense of carefree optimism.

Yet this week, I've lost it. I've run out of optimism. I've run out of my will to get on with stuff. I have, as a reaction to this, had a run of very good nights out (with one exception I'll come to in a moment), but that hasn't actually motivated me or removed the combination of misery and ennui that's bringing me close to hiding under the bedclothes for a month, pretending to be ill.

This sort of misery is probably good fuel to the comic mind - comedy comes out of a resistance to bad things in the world. Well, some does. In fact, the sort of stuff I'm trying without the guitar at the moment seems to be fuelled more by bad feeling than by the love of life. On the other hand, when I was in the honeymoon period of my last relationship, I did seem to get more audience enjoyment as I was clearly broadcasting good cheer on a stadium-sized scale. Still, I could build up a lot of hate and try that instead... just who to hate though? I don't know. At the tail end of my last job, I could have named names. In this job, which is definitely a huge component of what's bringing me down, I can't so readily point a finger at anyone. It's circumstances that are the problem, and though I could rationalise the what and the why of where we are, I can't actually break through into a feeling that anything will ever be ok ever again...

So, it's probably irrational depression type feelings, rather than logical judgment operating at the moment.

Generally, the nights out have been great. Last night was just another nail in a miserable coffin, I'm afraid. It should have worked out well, but sadly, it failed to hit the spot. We went to see Count Arthur Strong and, though I enjoyed some of what the guy was trying to do, and felt like it was a show packed with comedic detail, something didn't really work for me. I couldn't blame the audience - some of them were laughing heartily before the show even started. A lot of them were clearly aware of what they were there for and why there were there. They'd paid their money, they knew that you have to laugh to enjoy it and they looked for the funny.

Maybe I was a little restrained in my enjoyment by the absence of an interval and the sudden realisation that I needed the toilet, after all. This, when sustained over a 70-minute-long show, can be slightly stressful. However, I think the real problem was the lack of progression within the show itself. There was a definite sense of it not really going anywhere. It just stopped at some point after an amusing, but not entirely climactic Eminem spoof. That was that.

The person I was with didn't really enjoy it that much, either, despite being something of a fan of the act in question. The idea that seeing this person live was a lesser experience than hearing him on the radio, edited and sanitised, was perhaps a depressing one. However, people have off nights and maybe the timing was all to pot at this particular stage in this particular tour. I don't know.

My co-show-watcher was an ex-work-colleague, so maybe it didn't help get into the mood for comedy to discuss the various stresses that still exist around the work place and to discuss how those stresses can be alleviated by no longer working there. It can't be that simple. It never is. I'm committed to a certain life-plan at the moment, and, to be honest, I'm not sure that the end result will be particularly enjoyable. There's got to be something wrong with that, especially if the journey to that destination doesn't seem to be much fun either. D'oh!

The work thing is the front problem. The house, and the effort and money required to keep it moving, is an issue too, but the work is problem number one. I pretty much left the office in disgust last night, having suddenly reached the limit of my patience. I went to B&Q for some DIY supplies, trotted around some shops nearby, went to the nearest Starbucks for some sustainance and then sat in my car at the venue for 40 minutes listening to the radio before it was time to go in. I still had 20 minutes or so to sit and try to write some stand-up material, so I did that too. Essentially, my post-work life had turned into time-killing, it was a sad reflection of how I feel my in-work life can be.

Post performance, I headed back home, via my ex-girlfriend's place where I picked up the laundry that had been done for me (that truly is a good deal) and then gave up being around people. I went home and watched 3 episodes of the Vic and Bob series of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). This is not very good, to be honest, though Emilia Fox is very lovely and Tom Baker probably excites me just as much (though not, necessarily in the same way). What works quite well, though, is the pacing of the script and the use of a brilliant supporting cast, including the likes of current Doctor Who - David Tennant, Peter Bowles, Hugh Laurie, Charles Dance and so on. The script is passable, written by Charlie Higson, with some good lines in it and a lot of pedestrian ones. However, the real make-or-break on the show is the performances by Vic and Bob. Occasionally, they work, but occasionally, the combination of poor direction, poor rehearsal and, which could fix it, poor editing, makes the show jitter along, rather than flow.

But, for mind-clearing, I'd have to say that I made a good choice. I watched without pause and without losing enthusiasm for watching the next episode. Eventually it was late and I was tired.

I wanted to get up this morning, but I needed to sleep. I slept in. I had lunch soon after waking - for it was that late. Then I ripped out the kitchen sink. Everything around that was basically chipping stuff off walls, or putting stuff in rubble sacks. I really need to do some more of that. Perhaps tomorrow I'll go and design the kitchen in terms of which units will be in it.

My heart's really not in it at the moment. I feel tired and down.

Sorry to be a miseryguts online... again!

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