Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who fancies winning an iPod Shuffle 1GB?

My friend Jason Forrest, who has a podcast called The Milk Bar, has decided to run a little competition in conjunction with the Doubling Up podcast. Here you go ...

For a chance to win 1 Gb iPod Shuffle answer the following questions. In Doubling up (16/11) which teaxs instruments toy does Lewis impersonate and in The Milk Bar (19/11) what is the name of one of the songs performed by this weeks band. Send your answers to themilkbar@jasonforrest.com or rob@robheeney.com by 27th Nov'09. Search iTunes for Doubling up and Jason and Zoe. My decision is final.

He's deadly serious, so go for it!

blog.info.DoublingUp
tinyurl.com/DoublingUp

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rob's Googlesearch Adventure

Why did I go looking?

What did I expect to find?

Am I fucking idiot? Yes!

For ages now I’ve been meaning to send my ex an email. We were together for 4 ½ years, living together for most of that, and split up last summer. I moved out a year ago this week, and she’s been on my mind.

You see, after we sold our flat early this year, we’d made an agreement to split the money from the sale of our furniture. Since the sale of the flat I haven’t heard from her. I didn’t want to hassle her for my half as I knew she had a new boyfriend. But what with the year anniversary I started missing the futon my parents bought us.

So I .... and this is the bit where you all go, “NO!” .... decided to Google search her.

I don’t know why. I wish I hadn’t. As do you. Yes, you did warn me, but it was too late.

Don’t get me wrong; splitting up was completely the right thing to do, but after 4 years living with someone you are bound to miss their company.

If I’m honest, we should never have even stayed together. You see, after three months together she travelled the world for six months and I waited for her return. After two weeks of arguing we should have broken up, but a part of me insisted we stay together, “That would be like the past six months have been wasted. Fuck that ... why not waste the next four years instead”

Funnily enough, recently I have been talking about her onstage in a bitter way, but that’s only a device to mask the fact that I haven’t written enough good new jokes to drop the ones I wrote about her when we were together.

I thought I was completely over her. A friend of mine reckons you’re over your ex when it stops being painful (mentally not physically) enough to start wanking about them, but that hasn’t happened yet, so maybe not.

Anyway... Google found her for me, albeit on the third page of searches (yes, I did keep clicking). An article for the magazine she used to work for with the headline, “Honeymoon challenge”

Basically three journos were tasked with sourcing her perfect honeymoon (well; as perfect as it could be with the me-placement). Honeymoon? That means she’s married? And it was from August. Seriously? Exactly a year since we split? Surely her tears are barely dry yet.

I’m not sure exactly how I feel, suffice to say I didn't get much sleep last night and felt the need to write about my confused feelings. After my brother’s divorce ten years ago a similar thing happened to him and he quoted the words of Alanis Morrisette, “It was a slap in the face how quickly I was replaced”. I think the only Alanis words that would comfort me right now would be, “go down on you in the theater”* but each to their own. Ah, the tears of a clown.

Weirdly my two closest friends have also found themselves in the exact same position over the past few years. – long-term exes married within a year.

Both really struggled with their self-esteem for ages, then one chose to deal with it by becoming a number one commercial radio DJ whilst the other settled for an HBO comedy special in the States.

So I’m not that bitter. I wish her only happiness. And anyway, who gives a fuck ... my career’s clearly about to finally take off!

I do miss my futon though.

*I kept “theatre” spelt “theater” as that’s how Alanis would spell it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

First person piece for The Isle Of Man Examiner

The life of a circuit comedian is an anonymous one. You trawl the UK, turning up at clubs of varying size, professionalism and suitability – from packed West End theatres staffed by experts, to empty canteens in student unions where you’re greeted with, “You don’t actually NEED a microphone do you?”- to tell your jokes, scrounge free drinks, and disappear into the night.

The best you can hope for is that the next day someone might say to the person next to them at work, “The one with brown hair was funny. I can’t remember any of his jokes …. or his name. He was from the Isle Of Wight.”

But every comic seems to have that one place where they can pull a crowd. There can be a variety of reasons; they once had an amazing gig there, were a resident compere, or, as has happened to me on the island, are the only comedian to come from there.

I found this out when I did two nights at The Cornerhouse, a pub which had NEVER put comedy on before. I had no idea what to expect, so was chuffed and surprised to find the pub full.

I’d performed to Manx audiences before; a couple of ill-advised corporate things when I was very new, the group at my Edinburgh show who draped the three legs over the front of their seats (“We thought you’d be rubbish, but you weren’t”), and, most bizarrely, the entire Marown Football Club in a nightclub in the Alpine ski resort of Val Thorens. 30 of them in an audience of less than 80. Mad!

Myself and landlord Ady thought I would be performing a version of my Edinburgh show.

Yeah .. we “thought”. What actually happened - on BOTH nights - was that whenever I started a routine I was mercilessly heckled.
And not the sort of heckles you’d get in clubs. Personal stuff.
Not "get off you're rubbish", more like, "Your mum's been having an affair with the guy from EB Christian’s for 10 years"
I got weird requests for stories too, "Tell them about when we robbed those empty bottles from Downwards to get the deposits back"
I'm not sure I've ever had so much fun on stage - being able to respond with embarrassing stories from my audience's past.

So I love playing on the island. My only regret is that I never got to play the Venue; once the home of the Crescent Leisure Centre’s “fairground”.

I remember at 16 my ambition was to be heckled on the site of the world’s smallest ghost train by an old lady in a rocking chair going, “Come inside to the shoo-ting gallery. It’s great fun” …. while getting squirted in the face by a skunk. I guess you had to be there.

Hopefully I’ll be performing on the island soon; feel free to come along and heckle … but ONLY with deeply personal secrets. Oh yes, and my mum hasn't been having an affair. That was a joke!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rob's Brighton Shopping Adventure

I like shopping in Brighton. There are loads of decent clothes shops, all very close, all manned by men who like and know their clothes.

There’s one at the top of The Lanes that I seem to have bought from more often than the others. It sells Nicole Farhi, We Are Replay, and DKNY at vastly inflated prices.

I was trying some stuff on in there today when the owner decided to share his wisdom. I’ve always liked how keen he is to help and he once even gave me a discount. But then again, I did have a girlfriend with me then for him to leer over.

“Well?”
“I’m not really sure any of it suits me”
“Why didn’t you tell me at the time?” he huffed, pissed off that I’d wasted his time.

I thought nothing of it and continued to browse. Then I overheard him angrily say to one of his staff, as he folded the shirts, “apparently none of it suited him”. He then mumbled some other stuff, slagging me off for wasting his time, clearly unaware that I hadn't finished shopping.

I didn’t confront him. I didn’t make a fuss. I didn’t tell him what a wanker he was to his fat face.
I simply walked out of the shop, never to return, and took a picture of his shop’s logo for you. I don’t know if the biggest cunt in Brighton has a motto, but next time you’re in his shop trying-not-buying please help make it “it doesn’t suit me”. Try things on, waste his time, then take pride in riling him.

Thanks for your support,
Rob.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rob's Brighton Adventure - 1

I don’t normally write about the funny things I ad-lib onstage because that’s very showy-offy and because I don’t do it very often. I somehow managed to make myself laugh last night, so thought I’d share.

At Krater Comedy in Brighton, there was a girl celebrating her 21st birthday, demanding attention.
“21 … that means you were born in 1988”
All the over thirties gave an "ooh" as they remembered 1988. The sort of "ooh" they'd associate with Typhoo. I too thought back to 1988
“That means you were born at the same time as Salt n’ Pepa’s ‘Push It’ was in the charts”

Anyone who knows me will tell you how my fucked-up brain works when it comes to music (Push It first charted at the start of June, 1988). Not only had I remembered a song from 1988, but one from the right part of the year. The first time I heard that song was when my brother started singing it to me after he’d heard it on the Chart Show. It was a Saturday, early June, 1988. Rather than revise for my sixth form exams, I was getting my new mini ready for its re-spray.

“Which is funnily enough what they were singing to your mum at the time”

Thank you and goodnight.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Nine. Thurs #2



Today was the first day hot enough to lie in the sun. However, after less than an hour, Michelle from Parker’s picked me up for an interview with DJ Fresh on Five – their radio, not our TV.

It was in a hotel that had been converted into the “Golf Hotel” for the launch of the new Golf … way to go with the timing of your new car there, VW.

It was really fun as it goes. We played a game called Couch Potato where I had to guess TV theme tunes before a listener. Party Of Five and Grey’s Anatomy. Even a competitive prick like me is glad he lost! Hope it sells us tickets, although God knows if anyone was listening.

The gig went well too. The two local acts, Martin Jonas and Vittorio both stormed it making it hard to follow them, but luckily I’d got drunk so didn’t care too much. I’m assuming I got away with it.

Last week I attempted to sell my CD for 70 Rand (just over a fiver). Joe told me I was selling myself (well my CD) short and to go for 100 Rand.
“If you’d like my CD, it’s just 100 Rand”
“It was 70 last week!” shouted a woman who’d liked me enough to come back, but not to buy one herself. Cheers!

After the gig I took my drunkenness to the next level with Tabitha (luckily she enjoyed the show) and Chris. Everyone keeps giving me shots (because they’re only about 80 pence). Tequila, Jagermeister, weird combinations of random sweet-tasting things. How can I refuse?
There’s also a lovely feeling of buying a big round and it only costing you a fiver … or one CD if I’d managed to sell any.

Tabitha asked me, “Which comic was it on Saturday with the cock-sucking girl?” The danger of writing stuff on the internet, eh. I don’t know his name, by the way.

These blogs are getting shorter. That’s either because less is happening or because I’m home now and didn’t jot everything down. Hmm.
Five's DJ Fresh!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Seven/Eight - Tues/Weds

Very boring days to be honest.

I walked to the Leaping Frog centre for lunch – almost bloody 45 minutes away – then called for a cab to take me back. Pretty dull day, eh.
The most exciting thing was two myna birds circling and swooping at me on the way there. Pretty scary, actually.
More food and football later. Dull, dull, dull.

Wednesday looked to be shaping up the same way - I think I’ve spoken to SAcabs more than anyone else for the last few days – until Trevor from the club called me at lunchtime.

He took me to Sandton City for lunch. To an authentic Greek restaurant where I ate half a Peri Peri chicken, that most Greek of delicacies. They also sold deep fried Mars Bars!
Trevor showed me the statue of Nelson Mandela in Mandela Square. For some reason they scaled his body but not his head, making him look very odd indeed. Unless, of course, Mandela is 8 feet tall or has an unusually small head

Later on I went to Banjaara; an Indian that Trevor recommended. He asked me to review it against our ones. According to the menu, the Banjaara is a nomadic tribe in North India who wanders from place to place like Gypsies. It is also the name of a chain of restaurants in South Africa with very few Indian staff.

The food’s not too bad. I order a jalfrezi – why can no two menus ever agree on spellings? – and onion bhaji starter.

7 onion bhajis turn up. Big fuckers too! Not like the sort of thing M&S would suggest you have at a party or in the summer. God knows why I felt the need to eat them all, but I did, leaving little space for the curry which was OK, although not a Jalfrezi. And the naan wasn’t actually a naan. It looked like the thin, crispy, pizza base-type garlic bread you sometimes get. Overall 6 out of 10. There you go, Trevor.

I then had a couple of watermelon and chilli Mojitos watching even more football. Looking forward to tomorrow’s gig now. Surely that won’t be dull!
It ain't right, is it?

Trevor, who rescued me

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Six. Monday

I was woken at about 11:30 by a phone call from Chris’s fiancĂ©e, Tabitha. "Still up for seeing Soweto?" I love reliable people. I hardly know any back home!

While I waited for them I tried to check my email, but the internet wasn’t working, so I went over to tell Barbara. She got her son, Andrew to check. (BTW my brother’s name is Andrew. This is getting plain creepy now!). He tells me that they’ve used all of their download limit and need to buy some more. Oops. That’ll be me then.

As we headed to Soweto, Tab reassured me about my safety. “Nobody’s going to rob us at gunpoint.” To be honest, I was more concerned with Chris attempting to drive and program the SatNav at the same time.

We arrived in time for some authentic African food. It was an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring such local delicacies as: pap (maize meal), samp (maize rice), and magodo (tripe) - no prizes for guessing which two of those I tried - followed by jelly, ice cream and custard.

Then we headed up to house 8115 in Orlando West. The house where Mandela lived from 1945 until his arrest, and then again, shortly after his release. Our guide, Freedom, tells us that the house has been restored to exactly as it was when Mandela lived here. Really? Then why is there no bed, or kitchen? And I’m guessing those two plasma TVs weren’t there either.

As we took the scenic route home they gave me a fantastic running commentary. For example, there’s a cylindrical building in Hillbrow next to the centre. It was supposed to be flashy apartments for the jet-set, but never quite worked out that way. In fact, so many people have committed suicide by throwing themselves into its hollow centre (It’s built like a giant tube of Polos) that they’re going to fill it full of sand. I’d recommend a big bouncy castle instead

They drop me off at Fourways shopping centre, and for the first time I walk home in the dark. Barbara will kill me .. if someone else doesn’t on the way.

My night was filled with more football. The first half of Newcastle/Middlesbro’ in a Chinese Restaurant at Lonehill, and then, because everywhere closed, the second half in an “authentic Irish” pub called The Brazen Head. The brazen cheek more like; it’s about as Irish as I am … which would be “half”.

I watch the game with a guy called Graham from The Wirral. He clearly relishes the Scouser-overseas persona even though it’s dubious how long he actually lived there. At one point he makes a joke that it’s been so cold in Liverpool that Scousers have had their hands in their OWN pockets. Hilarious! I’ll have to use that .. because ALL Scousers are thieves. Cunt. Although I’m a big fat hypocrite because I let him give me a lift home. I even got his car started for him… and not the way his idea of Scousers would

That’s that. Full of a cold, no plans for tomorrow, waiting to hear from the club.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Five. Sunday

or day off number one! Time for the REAL adventure

For the first time I made it to breakfast. I'm not wasting my days off!
"I'm afraid I've only got one slice of bread. Would you like toast?"
No problem, Barbara, no problem.

Etienne Shardlow is taking me to the Comedy Underground tonight. Last night he told me that he performs his routine as an 11 year old boy. Sounds intruiging. Before then I've a Grand Prix and two football matches to watch. Oh yes; there's no way I'd do that at home on a Sunday. (Can I just add that without a car my options are pretty limited)

I tried to watch the Grand Prix online, but the internet's not great here so called a cab. After waiting 35 mins for it, I headed what would have been a 15 minute walk to Lonehill Shopping Centre.

Lots of comics out here do material about the difference between blacks, coloureds, Indians and whites.
The only difference I've really noticed so far is that white people tend to support "Man United" whereas black people seem to favour "Man-chis-ter". I don't think there's really much humour there. Although I'd imagine when they play City today it could be interesting. "It's Man-chis-ter versus Man-chis-ter." Hmmm.

I watched the last half hour of the match. At the end it genuinely displayed the score as "Manchester UTD 2 - 0 Man City". Wow. Maybe they really are the only Man-chis-ter team.

An Arsenal/Chelsea game (less than one mile from home. Aah. home) and three Watermelon and Chilli (not as bad as they sound) Mojitos later, Etienne picked me up in a car covered in logos of a schoolboy character. Etienne doesn't drive up everyone's arse. Turns out not everybody does. Just the wankers, he tells me ... like back home, eh

It was lovely to see John Vlismus at the gig. We worked out here in 2004. Typically he didn't remember me, but did remember the DVD of Doug Stanhope material I painstakingly made for him. Then he suddenly remembered me.

The Underground is a really interesting show. Eight comics fill in the gaps around John's ego (you'll remember me next time you fucker!) show performing completely new material. To be fair, John was head and shoulders above pretty much all of them. My favourite had to be a Chinese guy doing a whole set about how Asians behave in strip clubs. A room of bemused non-strip clubbers looking confused really made me laugh.

After the show I had a drink with a few comics including Chris Forrest, who I also worked with in 2004. He said he'd take me to Soweto tomorrow. Nice thought, but I live in London, so I'm used to people cancelling last minute.

As we left, the parking guard told Etienne that the parking guard at another car park wanted a word with him "Why don't you use my car park any more?" "Er. We're at a different venue now"
And with that the police appeared from nowhere accusing us of buying drugs. If we find anything in your car we'll charge you double. Wow. I had no idea the police here worked on commission.

I finished the day watching The Apprentice (sad, eh), then went to bed safe in the knowledge that I had Match Of The Day 2 downloading for tomorrow. Sweet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Four. Saturday

Not much to report from the day part. Saw the fantastic new Star Trek film. The Jo'burg audience clapped it whilst walking out before the credits had even started which was a bit odd. Obviously everyone's busier than me.

We arrived at Carnival City slightly earlier than Friday as Joe seemed hell bent on beating his personal best time. I think he just wanted to make sure I didn't miss any of Fleshback, and clearly isn't a dirty old man.
I chose to watch the second half of the Liverpool vs West Ham game instead. Fans here are quite funny in that they know all the details but have never actually been to a game. I found an old guy slumped by the bar wearing a West Ham top over his shirt, a West Ham hat and a West Ham fan's face. "Know who got the 3rd Liverpool goal?" "Ryan someone" He didn't put a cheese grater to my face, so is clearly not a REAL West Ham fan.

Joe warned me not to do the MILF joke as she was in with her husband. As any comic knows, that's like a red rag to a bull with an ego that dictates they know 'funny'. Of course I did the joke. I did add "sexy" so that she (or moreover, her husband/pimp) didn't get upset. As I left she gave me the thumbs up.

I'll tell you who did get upset though ... the entire audience at Parker's when I called the traffic lights "the robots". Holy mother of shit! I thought I was being nice by patronising them and using their ridiculous words for things, but they weren't having any of it. "YOU call them traffic lights". OK, OK.

Then the line "we were off to the football" offended a few people. "We don't want to hear about football." Well, you weren't about to, but now everyone seems to be shouting their favourite teams at me. Actually the gig went pretty well. They properly cheered me onto the stage and rather than applause breaks, some people chose to shout out, "Go Rob!" I felt a bit daft. It's just me talking ... and I don't have an American comic-sized ego.
I obviously hadn't seen the rest of the night, but they were loving the compere, Al Prodgers, so seemed to have got their money's worth.

Afterwards I chatted with a few acts who'd shown up. Hannes who'd been on before me tried to introduce me to a girl he knows who's a TV producer. "I don't want to know his name!" She clearly hadn't heard the chants. She then proceded to tell me how she didn't want to be there, had been at home before being dragged out, and always swallows. OK.... nutter alert! When I started to chatting to Sam, the bar manager, she appeared to get a bit jealous, kissed me on the cheek and said, "I'm off to put the kids to bed. You do what you want with her. I bet she doesn't swallow"
"I gargle actually" joked Sam.

And that was pretty much that. The Producer took another act home and I was left with the promise of exciting days off. "We'll take you to the Lion Park". I actually went the last time I was here. Aah.

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Three. Friday

Got up at 2 after a well-earned twelve hour sleep, and went over to see Barbara to get some directions.
"I missed breakfast. Well; I slept for 12 hours"
"Yar. I saw your light on at 2"
Ok ... bit creepy now.
"By the way, you didn't close the gate with your remote when Trevor left yesterday."
Yeah? Well I play by my own rules!
"Please do that. I got this text message '3 black men, armed in a van, circulating the area'". Fuck. This shit's for real!

She gave me the directions and I walked through a lovely park to Lonehill Shopping Centre. There were no vans so I was fine.

Had a wander round. I even found a Virgin Active gym who said I could use the gym with my membership card. I'm sure I will ... at some point.

Then I went to Capello for a 300g fillet steak (never order 'medium', they think that means very well done) and went to pay them the £6 by card. My card was declined.
Luckily I had cash. When I got back to the guest house I Skype'd (is that what we say?) Egg.
"There was suspicious activity on your card so we put a security block on it. It was used on the Heathrow Express, at Terminal 5, then in Johannesburg"
"Did you not think that maybe .... I'D GONE ON HOLIDAY! Do I have to tell you before I go now?"
"We were going to send you a letter telling you why we'd blocked it"
Handy!
Incidentally, I may not be a master criminal, but if I was, I doubt I'd flee the country after stealing one credit card, paying for the journey with that card.
And it's not the first time they've done this. A couple of years ago they decided that flowers and chocolates on Valentine's Day was "suspicious activity". Cheers for making me feel like the romantic of the year, Egg.

BTW, As I left the shopping centre, Barbara rang me. "It's about to get dark. It's not safe to walk in the dark. I'm sending my son to get you." Five minutes later, her son's friend Miguel gave me a (short) lift home. Lovely, eh. You can tell me off all you want, Barbara.

At 7:30 there was a knock at my door. A guy wearing a Virgin Active Personal Trainer top was there. Bloody hell ... these guys are keen. Turns out his name is Tom and he's on at Carnival City with me.
"I take it they've warned you...." "Er ... sort of"
Oh shit. This could be carnage.

Joe then arrives in his Merc and drives us there at breakneck speed. He's right up the arse of every car, which is, according to him, acceptable here. He even laughs at how few road deaths we have in the UK. We saw five (seriously) post-accidents en route. FIVE!

Once inside Carnival City (A giant casino themed on a circus), Joe takes me to see Flashback. It's a bizarre show. It's exactly how I'd imagine Vegas to be ... if i could also allow for a budget cut in my imagination. A 40something Bonnie Tyler-type sings 80s songs accompanied by dancers, who then dance topless, before a guy in suspenders does Sweet Transvestite.
"We're on straight after this"
You're fucking kidding me!!! Now I get it.

As it plays out, the show goes really well. I think it helped that I used the line,
"I've never had to follow 6 topless dancers, a transvestite and a singing MILF before"
I say my goodbyes to the others acts I won't get to see and am driven back to MonteCasino by Ceephas.

One of the acts i won't see is an open mic called Alan Green (Not moonlighting from 5Live). He's a lovely guy who reminds me of the sort of person Terry Alderton would bring with him to his gig (bit obscure, I know). "I'm no good at maths, but you tell me 5 jokes and I'll remember them word for word". He then fucks up completely two jokes to me and Tom. Very funny.

On the way back I see a sign for "Bring a girl child to work day". I'll make a joke about Carnval City perhaps not being quite the place for that later. Ceephas doesn't laugh. Maybe not.

The Parker's gig goes well too. They like my opening line,
"It's nice to be here at your little drink drive club. Don't even try to lie to me. The car park's full and I don't see anyone drinking orange juice."
Just like the US (and if I'm honest, the Isle Of Man), drink driving is completely acceptable.

And that was pretty much that for Friday. All in all a pretty good day.

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Two Part Two.

By about six o'clock it was beginning to feel like the longest day of my life. After the interview I'd tried to buy a replacement bike from back home. Skype the shop, ask for the exact same bike I'd already bought from them. Simple.
No, no, no. Skype decided I had no credit left when I attempted to make the call, and by the time (2 mins) I went to their website and bought some more they'd suspended my account. An hour wasted. An hour that could have been spent sleeping. 45 minutes before being picked up, that'd be enough for a quick snooze.
This time my sheer exhaustion meant I was able to nod off very quickly. When I woke I had one of those, "please let me sleep. I'll pay you back for the accommodation and the flights and everything. Please. Just leave me here" moments

Barbara knocked round, "Shall I expect you for breakfast? It finishes at 10 but I can keep it out until 10:30 if you want" Awh. She's lovely.
Mind you, it's clearly not going to happen as I've a whole day pencilled in for my appointment with sleep. Aah sleep.

Joe Parker picked me up and I realised why the club was called Parker's Comedy and Jive. Yup, pure coincidence.
He's been doing comedy for a long, long time. He's been doing it since the days when it was acceptable to say in the UK the things they say on stage in South Africa today.
Parker's is at the MonteCasino, about 1km from the guest house. Joe set the club up last December in a room that's perfect for comedy and, tonight, packed with 300 people supporting the Wet Nose Charity (I think they rescue dogs).

When we got to the door, a girl greeted us as if we, the comedy royalty, were customers, "Can I help you?" Cool as you like Joe said, "Hi. We're the entertainment. This is Rob, he's the international comedian". I like Joe Parker. That's not how I'd have reacted, that's for sure. I'd have been a dick.
"Can I help you? Yes, you can help me. You can get the fuck out of my way. I'm Joe Parker. I'm fucking Joe Parker. As in Parker's Comedy. Look at the sign. That's my name or did you think it was a pure coincidence?"

I decided to watch the first two acts before settling on my set, but that was a fruitless task as I didn't have a fucking clue what they were going on about.

Somehow I muddled my way through 38 minutes and that was that; time for sleep. Well, sleep or the temptation to drink at the bar. Oh go on then.

"What's the best beer you sell?"
"Black Label"
"Cool. Sounds good."
I kid you not; their favourite beer is Carling Black Label. Fuck me; what else you got behind there? Cans of Breaker?

So that's that. First gig done. Feeling very positive about this trip ... and completely exhausted.
Bed.

Rob's South African Adventure - Day Two Part One.



As I queued at Passport Control, a horrible thought hit me - I had no idea who was picking me up, where I was staying, er .. anything to be honest. What if they deported me, or shot me ... that's what they do in Johannesburg. It was on the news.

As it was, there was nothing to worry about. After shuffling past a man that it can be fair to say "has let himself go" (PIC1) I sailed through. Not literally. I literally walked through but without too much delay.

As I emerged from the airport I was greeted by the smiling Michelle from the club holding my name up. I said goodbye to the man in the best shirt ever (by which I mean laughed at him with Michele) (PIC2) and we headed 40km to the accommodation. Although it's called the Dennis Road Guest House I'm in a lovely little cottage.

I was greeted there by Barbara
"That's my mum's name"
"Rob's my husband's name"
"And my dad's"

Typical I go halfway round the planet to stay with the South African version of my parents.

Barbara and Michelle laughed at my suggestion that I may sit out in the 19C sun ("In winter?"), and I decided to catch up on some sleep. After about two hours of dozing I managed to crack it and drifted off for all of 10 minutes before there was a banging on my door.

"Hi. I'm Trevor. Are you ready for this interview?"
The towel wrapped around my otherwise naked, tired and sweaty body should have given him some clues.
"Hmmm. ... take your time then"

We headed off to do a podcast for the SA Times with a guy called Brendan Jacks.
"He's really funny and off-the-wall. It'll be fun"
The podcast (or Jackast as they call it) was OK if stilted a little by Brendan's need for me to only answer questions about my biog. Whenever I deviated and tried to be funny he looked bemused, although I've been told that's his style. He looked genuinely gutted when I told him my story of upsetting the town of Wrexham as he hadn't found that in my biog.
He did say one thing that puzzled me. "Are you doing Carnival City?" "I don't know". Michelle asked me the same question earlier, with the same look on her face. One that suggested it may not be the most normal of gigs.

From there Trevor took me to a shopping centre where I bought supplies from Woolworth's. Apparently they're still going strong here. That might have something to do with all of their products being branded M&S stuff. "Sometimes they even accidentally print M&S on them"
He's promised to take me to an IPL cricket match next weekend too. I'm blown away by just how nice everyone is.
Just before he left he told me he was away all weekend and that someone would come for me later.
"By the way; have they told you if you're doing Carnival City?"
No! YOU'RE "they"!

So back to the guest house and time to prepare for my first gig ......

Rob's South African Adventure - Day One (and two I suppose)

I'm off to Johannesburg for the next ten days and ten gigs. Apparently I'm going to have lots of time on my hands. Brilliant; I can get all that work I've been putting off done ... or I could write a pointless blog about the trip. Welcome.

I was very excited at the prospect of almost two weeks in the sun right up until the point yesterday when I checked the weather forecast - 5 days of torrential rain. Ah well, just so long as it's shit in the UK too.

Wednesday couldn't have started any worse (it could have, but I'll leave that in for dramatic effect). I was half-packed and looking forward to a leisurely pre-flight cycle. For those of you who I haven't bored rigid yet, I bought a bike in October which I was riding on a trainer indoors up until 2 weeks ago when I ventured out onto the roads. On Monday I cycled into Central London. On Tuesday I very nearly had a fight with a motorist. I'm getting well into it.

So I was gutted when I opened the curtains to see our railings had been sawn through right about the point where my bike should have been. Shit. My own fault, I know. Never leave your bike outside overnight ... as my friends have too enthusiastically told me. But my flatmate leaves his there EVERY night. "Yeah, but mine's shit. Yours is a good one. Well, was a good one"

The leisurely cycle was replaced with trying to sort the insurance and get a crime reference number off the police. If I'd have been superstitious I might have though it was a bad omen for the trip. I did anyway.

Once I left the flat though, the rest of the day played out perfectly. The cab driver took a lovely scenic route through the leafy parts of North London to Paddington, arriving a full 4 minutes before the Heathrow Express left. Perfect. I arrived at Terminal 5 3 whole hours before my flight, you know, like your parents do. I was already checked in, so just needed to drop my bags off.

"Business or pleasure"
"Er ... business I think"
"You didn't just say that to me."
"Oh right ... I'm going there on holiday"
"You don't want to sit in that seat. I'll move you here so you get 3 seats. Check at the gate. If any of them go, ask and they'll move you to another empty row"
And with that, the most amazing check-in guy ever put a "Priority" tag on my luggage.

After a nice Giraffe meal, some optimistic suntan lotion shopping, and an excited Ciroc vodka purchase, I settled down to illegally watch Chelsea Vs Barcelona on my laptop.

(Here's a couple of things I saw that made me chuckle. For some reason it won't let me upload them to the note). http://twitpic.com/4o6e6 http://twitpic.com/4sbs4

Once onboard, I noticed that a woman had the utter cheek to have been seated next to me. I explained to the steward that I was special and he said, "Seeing as you've been so nice and asked me before anyone else I'll move you once we take off". My temporary row-partner was very pleased with me.

After kicking a cheeky kid out of my four seats I settled in for 10 hours of not-as-cramped-as-normal fun. Nothing could ruin this. Even when the entertainment on the seat I'd sat in didn't work. I just found it funny and moved to the seat next to it. I was checking the Chelsea score on my phone. 1-0 as they headed into injury time and I lost the signal. Well done Chelsea, eh.

Then some woman started kicking off. "Why does he get a whole row to himself? I've come from another flight. I should get it." "What do you want me to do? Move him?"

After dinner they did move me. Bollocks. Had they really listened to her? Indeed they had. They'd listened to her selfish moaning and moved me to Business Class, where I would belong if I ever attempted to fulfil my potential.

I was a fish out of water there in that I flapped around for a bit then died. I loved it up there. Stewardess Sue told me how everything worked then brought me some Vodka. Smirnoff Blue Label. Not shitty Red Label like that lot downstairs are drinking.

I watched Inkheart (very shit) and The Wrestler (very good) and drank more Vodka. At one point I buzzed Sue over.
"Another Vodka?"
"No. I was a bit lonely and just fancied a chat .... oh go on then, another Vodka it is"
Boy was I having fun! Surely that's the problem with Business Class - I would want to waste my money by sleeping through this fantastic service and comfort.

The flight flew by (ha ha. I accidentally wrote that). I slept for two hours then headed into the airport ready to enjoy South Africa.

Sorry this one's so long ... it was a very long day!