Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Positive thinking.

Christ, my farts stink today. Which is a good thing. Each sniff reminds me that I am a living organism who eats, digests and excretes food - it makes me feel alive! That's me trying out positive thinking, one of my New Year's resolutions, and this is me trying out another - writing more.

But when you're trying to think positively what do you write about? How many novels go 'there was a man with a great life who met a woman with a great life and thanks to a lack of obstacles, together, they went on to have exponentially better lives'? My creativity engine has for much of my working life been powered by hatred and misery. Soz.

When I was seventeen I went through the entirely unique experience of suffering teenage heartache. I've always thought it was that heartache that gave me the drive and 'I'll show you' mentality to get myself into a half decent drama school. Then in my early twenties I found myself in a God awful call centre job and living above a kebab shop which made me a) miserable and b) fat. It was a desire to get out of that situation that led me to pour a great deal of effort into a comedy double act and ultimately made me the mid ranking performer I am today. When that double act came to a depressing end the creativity train trundled out of my station again and I achieved some success as a stand up until I ultimately came undone when faced with the 'white middle class guy in comedy glass ceiling' and an inability to write new material. Trapped in my own negative thinking about stand up and my acting career I found the new creative energy to write a book that has an affectionate pop at the acting business. You'll notice that it has stormed its way into the top 500,000 in the Amazon sales ranks.

In each instance it was a sort of anger that drove me. But now, as you can see, that has all gone. Now I'm the sort of man who sees joy in every moment and smells roses in every fart. What will become of this new positive prick? Will I turn into a gormless ball of happiness with nothing to write about? Will I no longer need to define myself by my career, move to Costa Rica and become a contented surfing instructor? Or will this new positive outlook and smiling face open up all the doors that until now have been closed to me, doors which haven't responded to my cynical demeanour and arid sense of humour? Are you in fact reading the words of the next Phillip Schofield? Possibly.

I don't think there's anything wrong with, where possible, trying to see the positive side. It's something as I've got older I've found more and more difficult though. In relative terms I'm someone for whom life has been one long blowjob. That has never stopped me from indulging in a good shoe gazing session. Now my challenge is to continue to write but to do it with a little more joie de fuckin' vivre. Wish me luck.

An afterthought - I've now realised that this puts a lot of pressure on my next post being an account of a my favourite ever trip to a craft fare or day at the seaside.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

There's a London pub actually called London Pub.

It's near Russell Square in a small area which seems to have been left as a historical relic of grey 1960's architecture. There's plenty of hotels here which must specialise in disappointed tourists with poor research skills, easily swayed by the phrase 'central London'.  And what's one of the things everyone tells you to do when visiting London? Go to a 'London pub' of course.

Well here it is. London Pub. Having received a tip off about this place, my assumption was that it's clientele must be foreigners who've misunderstood that piece of advice and thought that it referred to a specific place. The sign above the door encouraged that line of thinking. There's a badly drawn picture featuring Big Ben, a beefeater, a London bus and somewhat unimaginatively the word 'Waterloo'. Walking in, I was surprised to find actual real life Londoners. There they were dropping h's, wearing council work clothes, drinking at 3pm... the real deal!

Here's my overall impression of this pub - it looks as if it is ran by the state. Everything about it creates the impression that it is a functional drinking house funded by a Communist regime's 'Ministry of Pubs'. I felt as if I had walked into HMRC or Birmingham Central Library. Here, for example is the wifi password...

That is the sort of bureaucratic kerfuffle you'd usual only expect to come across when trying to pay a council tax bill.

The beer selection wasn't bad but I suppose, when you've got an entire government department of civil servants working on it that's to be expected. The layout of the place was in keeping with the 1960s buildings in the area. Green banquets, cheap wood paneling, a red carpet of the kind Jennifer Lawrence is never likely to set foot on. 

On the TVs was darts and below one of those was what I decided was a Dutch couple. Going to a 'London pub' had clearly been on their itinerary and this was it. They shared a plate of fish and chips and didn't say a word to each other in the entire half an hour I was there. I assumed they were contemplating their bad choices in where to have their pub trip, where to eat Britain's most famous delicacy and, judging by the silence, who to go on holiday with.

You'll notice from the wifi picture that 'London Pub' is connected to the Royal National Hotel - another suspiciously functional looking name. I wonder how long this place will last. I'm sure the hotel provides a fair amount of ill informed custom but it's a pretty big building in an expensively central location. Surely the fact it hasn't yet been turned into a Wetherspoons is an oversight soon to be corrected.

Would I prefer that? No. Wetherspoons are everywhere. This is something so odd, so unique, that it deserves to stay as an example of what a pub ran by Ken Livingstone would look like.