Monday, 28 February 2011

My speech after winning Best Actor at next year's Oscars.

"Thank you. Thank you! Thank you all so much. Wow! Thank you. What an honour. Thank you. *Deep breath* Wow! What is so incredible about this is where I was a year ago tonight. Wow! Thank you! Thank you Jeff! A year ago tonight I was performing stand up comedy in front of an audience of about 40 or so largely disinterested people in a function room in Andover who assured me that their town was a shithole. A year ago tonight I had never even been in a movie. I had, weirdly, auditioned for the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and a small part in Nicolas Cage shit fest Season of the Witch. I had, however been deemed unworthy of both roles and my career up until that point was confined, mainly, to children's television, cameo roles and under the radar sit coms.

I distinctly remember getting up the morning after last year's Oscars and watching the ceremony. I had Sky Plus - things weren't going that bad. I remember thinking that The King's Speech was an entertaining TV movie that I'd expect to see on ITV on a Sunday night and being surprised that it had beaten the likes of The Social Network, Toy Story 3 and the Black Swan. I remember being slightly depressed by how anything that portrays the Royal family is almost always highly praised especially when it gives them completely unworthy reverence and forgives their implicit bigotry.

But now look at me! Wow! Thank you! Who'd have thought it? I am officially the BEST actor in the whole world. Suck on that! Playing the role of Wesley Snipes was an incredible journey and one which I am grateful to David Fincher for giving me the opportunity to do. I accept that I was a brave choice and that there were many other actors who would have been more obvious for the role. Most especially, Wesley Snipes but also Idris Elba, Jason Statham and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. It looks like you made the right choice though Finch! I properly fucking nailed it! I would thank the crew but let's face it the camera was pointed at me and not them for a reason.

Someone told me earlier on tonight that I don't actually get any money for this award - I just get the statue. I'm not being funny but that's well unfair. Even the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year gives it's winner £500 or something. Anyway, I guess I'll see you all at one of the after parties right? I know I've only been in movies a short while but I get the feeling we're going to get along great. I'm going to spend the evening guessing which of you is properly coked up. Right now, my money's on Mila Kunis what was in the Black Swan and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She's just got that look in her eyes hasn't she?

I won't be staying for long though. I have to get back to London to watch Leyton Orient in the Champions League Quarter Finals. Oh and I have a casting for a Lenor advert as well. Fingers crossed! THANK YOU!"

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thursday's blog post.

My left pectoral is hurting because yesterday I went to the gym for the SECOND time in a WEEK. Have you ever met anyone who's been to the gym twice in a week? No. I didn't think so. That's because you don't know anyone as cool as me. Right. I'm going to have a game of 'random article'. Stand well back. This could get dangerous...

The first random article that's popped up on Wikipedia is 'Housedon Hill'. Essentially, it's just a hill in Northumberland, not far from the Scottish border. I bloody love that part of the world. Growing up in Newcastle, when I was a kid I had a fair few day trips to the Northumberland countryside. I remember going to a market in Alnwick and getting really excited because I had bought a bullet. Apparently it's ok to sell a child a bullet. Not understanding how gun play worked I thought that if I threw the bullet on the ground it would cause a massive explosion. So I did. I was, of course, disappointed. But given what I thought would actually happen it's probably one of the most reckless things I've ever done. That and killing that tramp last year.

My cursor is hovering over 'random article'. Let's hit that bitch. Ooooh. 'KC and the Sunshine Band'. Apparently they were formed in Miami, Florida (been there!) in 1973. I think the names of the hits sound funny if you say them in a Yorkshire accent with a deep voice and imagine you're talking to your elderly wife. No matter where you are, try it now... "(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty", "I'm Your Boogey Man", "Get Down Tonight", "Give It Up", "Please Don't Go". It's best if you imagine that with these last two he's talking to her about tea... "That's The Way (I Like It)" and "Keep It Coming Love".

The most striking sentence in the whole wiki entry is this...

On July 28, 2000, Jerome Smith (rhythm guitar) died accidentally while working as a bulldozer operator.

That's all it says on the matter. If he simply died operating a bulldozer then I could be happy imagining him spending his millions on 'diggers' and getting a bit carried away when messing about in the grounds of his mansion. But, no. He was working as a bulldozer operator. I guess that's what happens when your band has 34 members, past and present. There's not enough money to go round. Sketch groups beware. Perhaps he did have enough money though. Maybe it was just his dream to be a bulldozer operator and the band was just his day job. One more thought, and apologies to the family of Jerome Smith if they are reading this. How do you die in a bulldozer? Bulldozers cause destruction but I would have thought that they're actually quite safe places to be in. Perhaps his was destroyed by a larger bulldozer. Perhaps that was operated by KC himself. I imagine, as is always the case, tensions in the group grew over the years. KC probably had a lot more money because his name was in the band's title. Maybe he bought a larger bulldozer to taunt the other band members and went on bit of a rampage. Isn't it time the FBI looked into this case again?

One more pull on the 'random article' lever I think... Well this is crap. I've got 'Raw Score'. Here is the Wiki entry in full...

In statistics and data analysis, a raw score is an original datum that has not been transformed. This may include, for example, the original result obtained by a student on a test (i.e., the number of correctly answered items) as opposed to that score after transformation to a standard score or percentile rank or the like.

Often the conversion must be made to a standard score before the data can be used. For example, an open ended survey question will yield raw data that cannot be used for statistical purposes as it is; however a multiple choice question will yield raw data that is either easy to convert to a standard score, or even can be used as it is.

Can anyone come up with something funny about that? No. Didn't think so. Actually I reckon there are many comedians and writers far better than I who would come up with gallons of hilarious and life affirming material on that. There's probably the makings of a game changing and award winning Edinburgh show in that Wikipedia entry but I have neither the skill nor the inclination to find it. I'm off for a dump. Bye!

Monday, 21 February 2011

I went to the gym.

Today I decided to go to the gym. Well, that's not exactly true. About 3 years ago I decided to go to the gym and today I actually got off my imperfect arse and did it. Terrifyingly, the gym is 5 minutes from my house and I have a fair bit of time on my hands at the moment (not that I'm not massively in demand) so it'll be difficult to find reasons not to go regularly.

Each step of the way I hoped something would prevent me from being able to actually 'work out' today. First, I was disappointed to see that the bloke who deals with joining was there. Bollocks. Perhaps I won't have one of the necessary documents to become a member. 'We just need your bank details'. Bollocks. I should probably tell you about Imran's (that was his name) haircut. I wouldn't want you to miss out. It was one of those weird jobbies where the front half is seriously matted down with gel and the back half is spikey like a peacock's feathers. I think I have a pretty creative mind but I don't think I could design a shitter hairstyle. Some (usually bad) footballers have it and I always imagine that they've entered the salon asking for 'the most expensive haircut you've got'. This perfectly pleasant man had the worst incarnation I have ever seen. Not only had he used at least 3 pots of gel but the front half looked suspiciously like a comb-over leaving me to wonder if he was actually going bald.

Shit haircut managed to get my membership sorted pretty quickly though but before I could 'work out' I needed to be inducted. Yes! Hopefully there wouldn't be a chance to do that for at least a week. No, I could be inducted immediately. Bollocks. Five minutes later my inductor took my blood pressure (fine) and my heart rate which apparently proved that I was officially a little unfit. Bollocks. A part of me hoped that he might decide that I was already in fact the world's fittest man a therefore really shouldn't be there as it'd be like taking the piss. Not the case.

George, took me to the machines. Suddenly, I'm on a running machine. He turns it on. I'm walking. Fine. He adjusts the gradient so I'm going uphill. Ok, fine. He speeds it up a bit. Fine, I think. We start chatting. Right, so you've just told me I'm unfit and now you're going to stand here with me while we prove that very fact. My main problem with gyms is that I feel really awkward in them and very conscious of my inability. Although he was very nice it didn't make things easier. He asks me what I do. Now that I'm starting to sweat just a little I can't think up a lie in time. It's pretty obvious I'm not a labourer. Because it's the last job I did I say 'comedian'. 'Oh right. We used to have that Frankie Boyle come in here. He never used to say much. Just came in with his headphones on and did his workout.' What did he expect? As a comedian is the pressure now on me to come in every day and try out some routines on the the staff there while I'm on the cross trainer? How about I start with my new bit about the bloke with the shit haircut downstairs?

We try out a couple more cardio machines. Well, I do. He just watches while I struggle to look like I'm actually pretty bloody fit already. Then we head to the weight machines. Bollocks. I am a PHENOMENALLY weak man. Often when I mention that, people say 'oh, me too'. Then we arm wrestle and they are amazed by how easy their victory is. This has happened with 6 stone teenage girls. I get on a chest press after a middle aged chubby woman. I move the setting to a significantly lighter weight and huff and puff my way through about 4 'reps'. Does the gym really have to be so humiliating? If you weigh 60 stones it must be hard to find the motivation to lose weight because if you lose 20 stones you're still 40 fucking stone! I feel like that with strength.

Now that I'm a member at a gym that's all going to change though. Just you wait, bitches! In a couple of weeks I'll be like Slater from Saved By The Bell. Every time I walk into a room girls will scream and I will find at least three opportunities every half an hour to flex my biceps.

For those of you who have wondered whether after my last post I did go down to the nightclub below my hotel the answer is no. I think that was a good choice because this is genuinely what happened at that very nightclub that very night!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Drunk Blog!

That's right motherfuckers. I'm drunk! Well, not really. I'm a little bit tipsy. I reckon I'm at the the stage where I might find it difficult to do more than 5 kick-ups with a football whereas when sober I could do about 7 or 8. So, it's a Friday night, I've had a couple of drinks (4) - why am I writing a blog post and risking a reputation as a writer that's gathering pace by drunk typing? 'Fergus!' I hear you say. 'You are no Hunter. S. Thompson! This will not end well.' Good point, well made - but here's the thing...

I'm in Porthcawl, Wales and I'm on my own. The life of a travelling stand up is something I can't truly appreciate because I dip in and out of it. I can however document a small part of it. Tonight I did a gig at a venue known as the Grand Pavilion. Thanks to the relatively mid to low profile of the other act and myself we were in fact performing in a basement bar below the Grand Pavilion. The gig was fine. It's a Friday night and luckily the good folk of Porthcawl were up for a laugh. What follows is the problem.

Now that the other act has left to stay with his mum in a nearby town (pussy) I am left at the Porthcawl Hotel. Fine, you say. 'A couple of chapters of that soperific Catherine Cookson you've been inhaling of late and you'll be dead to the world'. It turns out that there is only one nightclub in Porthcawl and it is below the Porthcawl Hotel. As I write the song 'Black Velvet' is genuinely booming out below my feet. Surely that's karaoke? No. I think that is a song they still play in nightclubs in Porthcawl. Are there people slow dancing to that right now? Or are they stood at the bar, in serious mode, preparing the moves that will get them laid?

'Why don't you go down there, Fergus? If you can't beat them, join them, right?' No thank you. I hold no grudge against these people. I have spent much of my life among them in shit nightclubs in small towns but to do that on my own, at the age of thirty, would be surely be a suicide trigger. Having said that - I am genuinely starting to twitch. The atmosphere seems to have taken a leap in the right direction, there's some whooping and cheering, and it feels like it might be the place to be. Maybe I'll wander down there and stumble across some people who were at the gig. They'll tell me how great I was, massage my ego and buy me a drink or two. Or... maybe I'll wander down there, look like a blatant outsider who is on his own on a Friday night and summon the Friday night kicking that is so often dished out in these places. Maybe I'll pull! I've been in a relationship for nearly 7 years with someone I love but I see no logical reason why the person whom I belong with isn't in the basement of the Porthcawl Hotel dancing to what I think is now Tinchy Stryder.

Earlier on I had a drink in the 'lounge bar'. I felt like a 1950s American salesman away on business. To complete the image I was reading a book about baseball called 'Moneyball' by Michael Lewis. I recommend it highly but this is a digression. I've taken a gin and tonic (which is now pretty much finished) to my room. What now? Seriously chaps! What now? The music will go on till 2.30am. It's 11.43pm. Do I join them downstairs? I cant. It will bring back memories of when as a 21 year old I desperately scoured nightclubs for romantic (or otherwise) interaction and habitually failed. I am curious though. If nothing else it would surely provide the material for another blog post. My choice as it stands is... at least 2 hours in my room playing Football Manager OR going downstairs and having what could potentially be an incredible experience but what will almost certainly be one of the most depressing episodes in my life. As I sign off from this blog the decision is yet to be made. First! I will have a piss!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Legally Blonde

It's about time I levelled with you guys about a couple of things; 1. last night I went to see 'Hit West End Sensation' Legally Blonde. 2. I fucking hate musicals. How could those two facts co-exist within the confines of one human being? As the lights went up I wondered the same thing.

First, let me explain my reasons for hating musicals. It does not stem from cultural snobbery. I have spent literally weeks of my life watching Neighbours and genuinely enjoy Paddy McGuinness vehicle Take Me Out without irony. Before last night I'd actually only ever seen one West End musical and, weirdly, I'd seen that twice. It was Blood Brothers. Before you get all excited, this was before the least attractive Blue member, Anthony Costa joined the cast. Although Blood Brothers (as I'm sure most musicals do) had it's merits I couldn't get past the fact that people always sang for no reason. You have to admit that it is kind of strange. I think even as a little child I found it odd when kids TV characters broke into song without explanation.

Not only do the characters sing about fucking anything as the Question Time musical proved - 'I've always felt that EU fishing quotas exacerbate the problem rather than deeeeeeeeeeal with iiiiit!' - they also all seem to be singing the same song the whole time. There are of course many exceptions. I'm sure you could pick out plenty of unique musical numbers but the bulk of them just seem to be someone singing a sentence with a vague melody that isn't really going anywhere.

My other main complaint has always been the sentimentality and in your face energy of them. I don't begrudge people's enjoyment of that (aren't I nice?) but I can't handle it. I've never thought I'd do well on an 18-30 holiday because of the enforced jollity and musicals strike me as kind of similar.

But Fergus! You judgemental BASTARD! You've only seen ONE musical! That may be true, but that has never stopped me from being absolutely cock sure in my opinions on them. I've seen plenty of performances from the cast of 'Banana Boat!!' and 'Memory Train!!' or whatever on Children In Need or the National Lottery show.

Recently I realised my argument, as this blog is proving, may not be rock solid and that I should perhaps give the theatrical abominations another chance. The press and friends have been banging on about how great Legally Blonde is for a while now and I mentioned to my girlfriend (who hates musicals even more than I do) that we should perhaps go. Unbeknownst to me she booked it. So last night, there we sat - two people who hate musicals about to watch one and we had no one to blame but ourselves.

As regular SERIOUS theatre goers (Christ, we're educated) you couldn't help but notice the different audience. There was an older couple in front of us who smiled at each other after every song and most jokes. This is how I imagine they will tell their nephew who works in London about it in a few weeks time... assign an accent of your choice;

'We went to London didn't we?'


'We didn't like it'


'Dirty! It were dirty and different do you know what I mean?'

'Not many English!'

'No. We went to see Legally Blonde and that were brilliant'


'Oh yeah, it were REALLY funny and most of them were beautiful singers but I wouldn't want to live in London'

'No way'

'Too expensive!'

SERIOUS theatre is full of people who probably think the same things but would say them a different way.

So, did I like the show? I'm confident that I opened my mind nice and wide but at first I found it quite hard going. The show is very much 'tits and teeth' and although that's done with irony it still is 'tits and teeth' and for a battered old cynical arsehole like me that's hard to adjust to. Gradually though I started to enjoy it. I would be going too far if I said that I got swept up in the fun of it all but I certainly wasn't looking at my watch. It's safe to say though that I won't be rushing to go to other musicals. I'm just too much of a prick.

I did of course feel my jaw do it's obligatory tightening at the emotional ending. Maybe that's where my declared hatred of sentimentality comes from. I'm actually embarrassingly susceptible to it. I never cry at real things but often have to fight back tears at Neighbours weddings and Super Nanny. Sometimes I don't think you lot give me credit for just how complex I am.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Poor decision maker.

Top tip! If you, like me, haven't achieved all that you wanted to by your current age then don't watch documentaries about people who have before bed - it's depressing. Last night I watched a Fry and Laurie retrospective, calculated their ages when they were doing various things and weeped. I suppose that gives you an idea of the depths of my shallowness. It's not programmes about Einstein or Gandhi that leave my questioning my contribution to the world - it's shows about clowns.

I'm never going to get anywhere if I continue with the poor decision making of last week. A series of bafflingly stupid choices led me to - eat something called 'crispy rice' and suffer the gastric consequences, spend an afternoon in Wolverhampton, watch the Green Hornet 3D, pay a £40 fine on a train and worst of all pay £9 on nachos which were essentially just Doritos and dip.

The nachos were by far the least defensible choice. I was at the cinema and starving so asked for the £7.50 'Nacho Combo' which (generously) came with a drink. The girl behind the counter asked what dip I wanted. What have you got? Back came the answer - 'cheese, salsa or sour cream'. Let me say that again. I had to choose BETWEEN 'cheese, salsa or sour cream'. Other than the chips those are the KEY ingredients of nachos! Would you like salt OR vinegar with your chips? Would like meat OR veg with your roast? BOTH!! I want them BOTH!! Also, for the record, those ingredients (cheese! salsa! sour cream!) should be all over the nachos - not in a separate little plastic pot. It's emerging that I feel more strongly about this than any other subject. In a week when the people of Egypt overthrew a dictator, propped up by the west for 30 years, leaving the world to question whether it will cause a domino effect bringing democracy to the Middle East or cause those regimes still in power to become more dictatorial and militarised in order to defeat any revolution before it takes hold and also question whether democracy will create a more peaceful Middle East or a more radicalised and anti-Western one... I have chosen to rant about nachos. You should know that I ended up paying £9 just for the privilege of having two dips. Perhaps I should have children just so I don't spend my disposable income on such ludicrous things.

Who's up for a game of 'random article'? That's right folks! It's the game where Fergus Craig clicks 'random article' on Wikipedia and then tells you about what he reads leaving you to wonder if it would actually be less boring just to get back to work instead of reading my blog as a diversion tactic. Get ready bitches!

Right. This game may have died a premature death. I've ended up getting the 1991 Stella Artois Tennis Championships at Queens Club. It just tells me that Stefan Edberg beat a chap called David Wheaton 6-2, 6-3 in the final. I do remember that at school everyone liked Edberg and I liked Boris Becker. This was because even at that age I was a dangerous renegade smashing the system from the inside. I'm still dangerous to this day. So dangerous, in fact that I'm prepared to go for another roll of the Wikipedia dice. 'The guy's a madman!' Damn right I am. Here goes...

Jackpot!! Beninese Hip-Hop! Just when you thought this game was dead and buried it comes out with Beninese Hip-Hop. If you've read all my blogs (who hasn't?) you'll know that I am a big fan of the old hippity-hop. I am not familiar with it's Beninese variety. I do know that Benin is a country though because I am clever. Turns out that Beninese rap is done in the language of Fon which is spoken by 1.7 million people in Benin and Togo. Footballer and all round bellend Emmanuel Adebayor is from Togo so I imagine he's partial to a bit of Beninese Hip-Hop. Perhaps when he's travelling to matches he listens to the Ardiess Posse. I know I will from now on...

Monday, 7 February 2011

Random Article

It's Monday afternoon and I've had a take away Nando's . Time for something moderately productive. I'm going to play a game in which I click 'random article' in this crazy new thing called Wikipedia and then I'm going to tell you what I find. I promise to be honest about what comes up and not skip anything. OMG guys! This is going to be so RANDOM!

Article number 1; 'Brunswick Star'... Right. This is a short one. The 'Brunswick Star' is an emblem in the form of an eight or sixteen pointed star. So far, so dull, so 'who bothers to put this shit on Wikipedia?' What it is most famously used as is the badge for almost all British police forces. BLOODY PIGS! Interestingly (honestly) Brunswick is the English word for the German feudal state 'Braunschweig'. Ah, there is nothing quite like Braunschweig in the Summer time. Wiki tells me that the reason for this star originating in Germany is linked to us having a Hanoverian (BLOODY GERMAN!) descended royalty. With royal arse licking on the rise in this country it's is a timely reminder that the idea of associating royalty with patriotism is absurd.

And now I shall click 'random article' again. OMG guys! Can you feel it too? This is almost as mad as that time we all did poppers!!

Article number 2; 'Wood Lawn'. Exciting! For a lawn to get onto Wikipedia it'd have to be pretty special. 'Wood Lawn' is in fact, misleadingly, a house in Mount Mourne, North Carolina. As far as I can tell the most significant thing about this house is that it was built in 1836. What with USA being a new country and all they seem to get very excited about old buildings. Britain is of course riddled with them. Did you know that the building you are sat in right now was most likely built around the time of Christ? That is why we don't have cool American things in our houses like garbage disposal, massive fridges and showers that don't simply trickle a narrow stream of cold water onto your pale body. My favourite sentence in this Wiki entry is; 'In 1981, a bathroom was installed'. It's nice to think that should I ever do anything remotely DIY like in my life someone might think to document it. The Wiki entry for my flat might say 'In 2011 a light bulb was changed'.

Ok, strap in chaps. Another roll of the dice. Don't say your bored. This one's going to be amazing!

Article number 3... 'Aramoana massacre'. Yes! It's a mass murder! I knew I wouldn't let you down. Right, this is actually quite grim and might be a little tricky to be pithy about. It's basically one of things where a bloke went mental and shot a lot of people. It happened in 1990 in New Zealand. A man called David Gray (not the singer) shot 17 people, killing 13. When things like this happen the papers always go on about it for days. For some reason, I've never been the type to read all of the character analysis. I suppose it's because I think it's pointless and stupid. It's like on a far smaller level when the lady put a cat in a bin. People went on about it for ages. Why? Why did she do it? Why? Can I offer up an answer? Because thanks to experience or the chemicals in their brains some people are a bit strange and sometimes they go through a breakdown and do weird, irrational things which are impossible to defend. Now can we all watch Bargain Hunt?

I'll spare you all the grim details of this massacre. If you're the type of person who gets off on that stuff (Why? Why are you so sick? Why?) feel free to look it up. Rather than belittle the incident I'll offer you an opportunity to do so yourself thereby making you responsible for any lack of taste. May I suggest riffing on this? In the lead up to the murders Gray became increasingly angry. On one occasion 'he was served a cold pie, and became confrontational'.

This may have come to a natural conclusion but I'm enjoying it so here goes! Open your minds friends. As soon I've finished writing this paragraph I'm clicking the 'random article' generator. For those that are interested I have another tab on the go. Are your palms sweating too? I FEEL SO ALIVE!

Article number 4; 'Delhi Gate'... well this is a bit silly. That old house in North Carolina got about 6 big paragraphs. This gate links the New Delhi city with the old walled city of Delhi only gets about 3 lines. You'd think it was more important. Having said that it is only a fucking gate and apparently they're quite a few in Delhi. If the Brandenburg Gate wasn't so up it's own arse then perhaps all these other gates wouldn't feel that they have to make themselves feel worthy by writing themselves' Wikipedia entries. As is the way with anywhere Britain went between 1700 and 1950 (those dates are plucked out of the air) it manages to fit in something abominable that we did. Apparently the Delhi Gate is close to another gate whose name translates as 'The Bloody Gate'. There in 1857, some chap called William Hudson killed the three sons of the last Mughal Emperor during the 'Indian Rebellion'. Nice. Assuming you're British I now want you to turn off your computer and sit in silence for a few hours feeling guilty about the awful things that your ancestors did. Bye!