Author: jopocalypse

Fringe Diary #6

Fringe Diary #6

Omg who’s pumped for a blog post about me being sick ???

Because that’s what you’re getting !!! Give it up for your host, Josie Parkinson !!!

[crowd goes wild]

[I am rolled out on a sofa]

My guests tonight are: a plastic bowl, for my vomit! and: a lukewarm glass of water!!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(I’ve been alone in the flat for a while now.)

Everyone has different approaches to feeling sick; my parents told my brothers and me early on that sometimes we might be feeling ill because of something psychosomatic. That’s a cool thing to learn early on, but it also means that I don’t so much get sick as I do fall into a crisis of what’s real and what’s not. Am I just feeling ill because I am ill, or am I feeling ill because I’m … feeling … ill?

So yesterday I thought I might just need to sleep it off. Instead I lay down for three hours, slept for 25 seconds and then thought “where does the word ‘spate’ come from?” and got up to find my laptop. By the time I needed to leave for my gig though I was so nauseous I cancelled it and then immediately threw up a lot. I timed it perfectly so I could change out of the top that Hetty had lent me for the gig, because for some reason I thought “no matter what, I am not puking in a chic black rollneck.”
But it was a bit nostalgic, to be sick, I was like “oh yeah! That takes me back.” You know? Yeah!

I’m a bit gutted not to have performed last night, especially since like, in and around the vomiting, I was actually quite good at making jokes maybe or Hetty was just humoring me oh dear she’s a good friend.

Lol um there’s really not much more to say on the previous day unless you want to read about dry toast and podcasts I like? Because dry toast – I’ve had some! And podcasts – boy am I listening to them! But boy – do I need a nap now!

Oh, I’m going to try and hobble over to my gig tonight. I feel sort of bad but I think in maybe a 24-hours-y kind of a way? Hopefully?
Do I look too sick to go on stage? Let me know in the comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fringe Diary #5

Don’t worry, I feel awful!!

– Me, to myself, 2018.

Yeah, I’m feeling the effects of the bad diet and the lack of sleep today, but at least my scurvy’s cleared right up. I am taking it decidedly easy before my two gigs tonight, but wanted to check in here briefly before I fall asleep for the afternoon.

Yesterday was really really nice. I saw KIN, a play written by my stand-up teacher Max Dickins and it was cracking. It was right up my street, in fairness – I love plays set in a concentrated amount of time, in the same place, with a kind of darkly comic edge to them.

Then caught up briefly with Max afterwards who was genuinely so delighted to hear that in the 10 or so months since I took his class I’ve just thrown myself into comedy, and that I’d started my own show. He’s a really lovely person but definitely the kind of male teacher where you’re not sure if you want him to make fun of you or not, because both are devastating and great in equal measures?

You know, like how you don’t actually like learning, you just like impressing men who don’t want to be impressed?

Tried to write some stuff in a café before my first Cosmic Comedy gig that evening and did a lot of sighing over a notebook instead. Adam Hess was there and the barista ushered him ahead of me in the line and I feel like he gave me a look that said “oh no!!! I’m successful?? soz!!” and I considered engaging but I was too tired so I just continued to look like a 5’6″ sigh on laundry day.

(I’m trying a new tactic of just playing hard-to-get with celebrities. Before long I’ll have the Academy at my doorstep.)

Anyway, my gig went well in the end. Cosmic is in a space called The Bunker beneath Espionage in Victoria Street, it’s a really central location and we had a small but lively crowd last night. I’ve not yet listened back to the audio but it was probably the best gig so far? I felt so comfy adjusting my set here and there and just playing with the audience a bit. Comedy is great fun, you guys!!!!!!!!

Okay I need to go and lie down and figure out how sick to be. Love you bye

Fringe Diary #4

Ah, yesterday was lovely, just lovely. But also I think I have scurvy? Like, really really quickfire scurvy?

Or I just ate a really pointy chip and it’s making my gums bleed.

Anyway, don’t panic, Mum and Dad.

Back to yesterday! Yep, fab day, chilled out, got a little taste of the mad world of flyering for punk rock comedy, Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show, which yes I can say five times fast, thank you. I turned up to the Location at 5pm sharp to be ushered upstairs by Kate and Lyris. They handed me a Hello Kitty hat, some flyers, some stickers, a promo t-shirt for their band, Slanty-Eyed Mamas. (They said it would be fine for me to wear.)

Now some of you reading this may think you know me. But you will never truly know me until you have seen me react to someone trying to hand me something in the street.
Usually I will automatically beam like a toddler at anyone smiling at me, before suddenly I realise what’s going on and make a split-second decision (split-second decisions are decidedly not my strong point) whether I want the flyer or not, whether it’d be best to just take it to please the person or leave it with them so that they don’t waste a flyer, and usually what happens is whether I take it or not, I’ll yelp something like “THANKS SORRY YOU SEEM NICE THOUGH BYE!”

So it was nice to be on the other side of that for a change, doing an hour of intensive flyering on the Mile as Slanty-Eyed Mamas (sorry) played some great and obscene music about stereotypes of Asian feminine sexuality. For some reason I only handed flyers to 100-year-old people with furrowed brows, and tiny children.

My gig that night went well, too! I’d briefly met up with my brother, his fiancee and some friends at The Auld Hoose, home to the largest nachos in Edinburgh which ARE THE VERY SAME NACHOS FROM THE PREVIOUS INSTALLMENT OF THIS DIARY. I do know this city! So I was in a cracking mood before the gig, having wolfed down an egg-cress sandwich very much behind a wheelie bin and definitely in the rain, which is my favourite meal. I unexpectedly opened the gig and it was no problem. I felt amped, a little tense but calm and excited for the show, i.e. the ideal mood.

By this point I’d realised that however well the early part of the set goes, to my mind it hasn’t been a success unless I get that big closing laugh. The length of my slot increased since there weren’t as many people, going up unexpectedly went from 5 to 7 minutes. So I did at first just chill out, riff a little, and talk to the crowd, which I’m getting fonder and fonder of doing as I get more confident on stage. But the extra time meant I didn’t find my way to an ideal, heavy-hitting closing line. I got a laugh at the last joke but it felt like a connector, not an ending.

Now … I could have just said “thanks, I’ve been Josie Parkinson, goodnight!” and felt a bit stupid and lukewarm about the gig.

Or, you could do what I did, which was say [and this is verbatim] “I’m gonna go now, so, um could you do me a favour and just laugh really loudly?”

And they flippin’ well did! Listen, here’s proof:


Anyway I have to go wash a bunch of make-up off my face and get to a show. I’m going to be performing at Cosmic Comedy 19-22 Aug at Espionage Edinburgh. Promo GIF below:

win_20180819_13_08_16_pro-animation

Fringe Diary #3

People are way too quick to just get drunk, when they have a bad show, and it’s like guys – have you tried, um, crying into a Choc Ice? Maybe get a second one as dessert? Sort it out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last night’s gig didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped – I’d been looking forward to it all day, as I had a 10-min set and was verrry hungry to perform. It was a late show, in the Bier Keller of Frankenstein’s, and it was such a packed and lively crowd. I didn’t bomb, I did fine, but I just didn’t get the laughs you’d want from 100 people. Without wanting to get into another really lengthy piece of self-evaluation, I think the material I did was good, but the style was too polished and reserved for that crowd. They were all very happy to yell stuff out, they really wanted to be involved. Next time I’m in that situation, I’d do better to perform half the stuff I’d prepared and spend the rest of the spot bantering with the audience, or do a bunch of stuff that requires their participation. The crowd was drunk, their attention span was short, the biggest laughs came from spontaneous stuff going on in the room rather than my more downbeat sarky material which is basically me pretending not to have fun. Which is silly, because I am terrible at pretending not to have fun.

I’m even having fun giving myself homework about this stuff every day. You know how your favourite part of fitness is the bit at the start where you think “I’m going to get fit” and you imagine the fit perfect version of yourself just floating into brunches like “hi, it’s me, but I’m fit and perfect now” and all your friends are like “ah, wow” and you’re like “yeah”? Well, that, but for comedy, is what I’m doing. It’s great fun.

Oh, I saw some more shows last night and they were great! I saw The Russian Comedy Experience which was perfect for jokes about linguistics, bears and dogs in space; I saw my friend Kwame Asante’s simply lovely show “Teenage Heartblob”; and then Demi Lardner’s “I Love Skeleton” which was just the maddest hour of my life and it was just incredible. I am going to see it again next week and I can’t wait.

Anyway I’ve got to go, I want to rewrite all my jokes and then I’ve picked up some ad hoc promotional work. I thought it was flyering, now I don’t know what it is but I’ve been promised a Hello Kitty hat, and also some money ?
p.s. I’m sorry for the slideshow I thought it would be like gently funny
p.p.s. Mum and Dad I didn’t actually cry I was fine but I did eat an ice cream and a chocolate bar but I did have a salad for tea

Fringe Diary #2

Good afternoon!! I sat down to start writing this and immediately wanted to apologise for writing this in the first place when nobody asked me to, and that’s #womanhood

(Sidenote: surely more first-person novels should start, continue and end with: “um, sorry, not to make this all about me, but…”)

Anyway, it’s Friday afternoon, baby! and I have no gigs tonight. Yesterday I tried to just sit and hone my set and for those of you who aren’t writers or creatives, “hone” means I spent eight hours eating toast and listening to podcasts. I produced two (2) new lines so, you know, that’s like one new line for every two slices of toast which is really pretty economical. The gig went better than the previous night, but I’m still a bit annoyed at myself for not having more material that I feel comfortable with, that sounds like “me”.

(Everyone says Fringe is exhausting and I didn’t know if it was because of like performing a lot and drinking a lot and staying up late but it can also be exhausting because of RELENTLESS self-evaluation. Enjoy!!!!)

I needed a picture to spice the post up but didn’t take any yday so please enjoy this evidence of me drunkenly eating nachos at my last stint at the Fringe in 2014. A boy made out with me after this because THAT IS HOW POWERFUL I WAS AT 22

I’ve been toying with some new and more sort of dorky, smiley work for the last few months but it’s not ready, especially not with the Footlights where the style tends to be more “hello I am a Clever Student like a Baby Stephen Fry!!” The Footlights as a group do have a definite voice, though, which I’d never have noticed if I hadn’t grown as a comic outside of that scene and outside of uni, and of the UK. I don’t know if I can even call myself a British comedian, stylistically. Does this sound like … er … a thing? Comment below!!! This is an interactive blog, you tell ME what the heck I’m on about!!

After my show, I hung out with some of the guys from the show, which was lovely, before heading to Stamptown’s variety show at midnight (midnight! I’m such a grown-up). It had loads of clowning in it and although I wish I’d had more energy for it, it was totally exhilarating and a really great refresher course in how comically effective it can be to just play with sound and movement. For some reason, people dancing really energetically to loud music and then the music cutting out unexpectedly for someone to say one thing, before immediately going back to dancing to the music again, can be really funny. I mean, there’s only so much I could take away from it to think about in my own comedy as the show was pretty weird and wild – I don’t think there’s really space in my act to perform ballet butt-naked besides an Elizabethan ruff collar – but it was great to see something different, and cool, and stupid, and really just very, very silly.

So far, so much to think about and work on. This week has been very knackering for me, with more and longer sets than I’ve ever performed at the start of the week hosting two shows in Berlin and performing on a showcase, all to a lethargic over-heated summertime crowd … I went to bed last night at 3am so bleary-eyed, but thinking “lemme back up on that stage!!”

Fringe Diary #1

Okay so it’s been a while I realise, so let me get you up to speed. I moved to Berlin six months ago this week, and it’s really fun and great apart from the fact that I am homeless and jobless and my hair is now just about long enough to look terrible, always. Mmm.. that’s probably all you need to know at this point. 

Oh but I’m at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival now! That’s why I’m writing this. COOL

cofffeeee
from my Very Good instagram

Scotland makes me think of Germany, and both of them make me think of Canada. Scotland and Germany are the first places I travelled to without my family, alone, because I was interested in them. (That’s not true for Canada, but once I moved to Quebec in a dream and it was great.) They both feel like my places, I have a fondness for them that a fair few, but not all, people do. The Fringe was the first place I went as soon as I turned 18 and I was there for the whole festival just after I graduated, working on some short films and kissing absolutely everyone.

Never would have expected that just four years later, I’d be here performing at shows for the Cambridge Footlights and a Berlin comedy club, as a blonde. Life comes at you fast.

I did my first show with the Free Footlights show last night, which I think is mostly there just to help them promote other shows they have going on. (I may need to invent something sharpish. Comedy show titles aren’t hard. “Josie Parkinson: Bangle Monkey.” There we go.)
Performing for a British audience for the first time since January was always going to be great and strange, but performing for an audience for a Cambridge-educated comedy troupe is a different thing. My set went down all right, but having done that show I’m free to rewrite it all with MAXIMAL ENGLISHNESS. I can make cultural references! I can do super-sophisticated wordplay! I can talk fast and miss out my “t”s! Tha’sm’favri’!

Once I finish this (which I really need to do, soon) I’ll be moving on to working on some new and/or better jokes for tonight, anyway. That’s something I love about stand-up that I didn’t love about film and it’s why I will sometimes, in the dead of night, if I’m feeling very bold, tell people that stand-up is like a language. Because my stand-up right now… is like a GCSE French oral exam: the weekend, I play tennis with my friends. It is fun! What I mean is that although I know I’m not great or remarkable now, it’s so easy to get to practise, and hone, and improve – I feel like there’s a clear trajectory to find a way to get better. Film used to terrify me because there seemed to be so many obstacles to actually getting good at making them, you’d have to get so many people involved, so much money, so much time and at such an expense, just to find out you have a terrible film and need to do better next time. With comedy, I can cock up as many times as I want for free! Quel bonheur!

Et tu, Cabernet*

 

23550133_10155228276936872_2160575790951542820_o
Me and wine, back in the good times.

I have to give up drinking.

EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER SEEN ME DRUNK: Yeah, we know!

NOT FOR THAT REASON.

E.W.H.E.S.M.D.: So, not because Drunk You will casually spend 20 quid on a full meal and then eat it from a plastic bag on the dance floor?

NO.

E.W.H.E.S.M.D.: And not because Drunk You is a terrible flirt, as in, all you do is either lurk around the poor bloke or LITERALLY SAY THE WORDS “oh my god I actually got lost in your eyes!”

Mmm. Well, not not that.

E.W.H.E.S.M.D.: Because you realised that you were using alcohol as a social prop that really, as a generally self-confident adult woman, you really shouldn’t need?

Of course not!

No, my brain does this thing every so often where if I have too much to drink, either a) I wake up with a hangover and eat a lot of breakfast and think about the terrible decisions I made, or b) I wake up with a hangover and then have an epileptic seizure and black out and come to with a room full of hunky paramedics and all my loved ones standing around me looking very, very upset.

Option b) is pretty rare but having happened roughly three times in three years, I think enough might be enough.

It’s tricky though, because I have zero memory of any of the seizures, just their aftermath, and what anyone nearby at the time has said, so the idea of changing my behaviour because of something I can’t at all remember, and which forms no part of my experience, is like if your friends said “hi, we just watched Psycho and we’d rather you never took showers again, please, we’re very frightened.”

Okay maybe it’s not quite like that, at all. But it’s still a hard habit to kick when all that you really remember is a mad and dreamlike day; the last one was here in Berlin, at my still very new boyfriend’s place, and most of the day I was just left on a trolley in a hospital in Neukolln with my boyfriend not allowed to come in with me, and I had to explain everything in German even though my head was really foggy and no one had even the slightest sense of humour, even though the seizure happened while we were having sex so at first BF thought that he was just crushin’ it before realising something terrible was going on, which is objectively hilarious. You know what, it was actually a rubbish day, seizures aren’t at all up to the hype and aren’t worth the visit really.

Anyway, it means I have to give up drinking, pretty much forever, unless I find myself jonesing for a seizure for some reason. So I’m searching for a brand new vice, everyone! Please suggest a new guilty pleasure in the comments below, ideally, lo-to-no cost and legal. I need to stay fun somehow.

 

*okay so I captioned this one Et tu cabernet like et tu brute because the first time I went in to hospital after having had a fit my brother was like “maybe you should eat something light, like a Seizure Salad” and I thought it was hilarious and so was going to name it something similar but then went for a Caesar reference even though on a second look that makes zero sense unless you are me. GOOD

Lizard Man

Lizard Man

I hardly slept last night because everything was too funny. Yes, everything.

Okay so to begin with, I need to tell you about my first ever stand-up gig in Berlin. I’d been here a week and got sick in record time. I woke up the morning of the gig and tried to yawn and some kind of hoarse ancestral howl came out instead. “Oh!” I thought. “Well, as long as I don’t have to say any audible words during my stand-up set, we’ll be fine.”

My solution was to cobble together a really high-energy routine and undercut it by wearing a bathrobe and coughing a lot, and then just hope that the steady and unwavering stream of snot making its way down my face wouldn’t affect my stage presence too much. You know: comedy.

Once I staggered to the venue it was clear that it was not at all the right crowd. They were chatty and sarky and it occurred to me to be very terrified. I backtracked from the original idea, got up on stage, and realised that this now meant that I had nothing prepared. But was still wearing the bathrobe with a box of tissues stuffed into the pocket because obviously that part was rock solid.

Of course, I bombed. In a bathrobe. I somehow sounded both way too sick and not sick enough, I was all over the place, I popped weird German painkillers onstage.

 

DSC_0487.jpg
this is actually how i went onstage

After the show, I was chatting to some of the other acts, who were being quite sweet about how terribly I’d done. A young bloke came up to me and said “I really enjoyed your set – it was – you know, there was something very poetic about it…”

He was quite charming, very talkative. As he spoke, I was running the numbers: he was in his twenties, I guess quite attractive, I was obviously gross and sick, but then it was a very dark room…

Then I came back to the conversation and heard him say: “So, I’m still somewhat sceptical, I’m still reading about the lizard people theory; in my view, perhaps Donald Trump isn’t a lizard man in a skin suit per se, but certainly a snake or an insect person…”

Ah.

So that gig was pretty much a total failure, (or not quite – I did get friended by Lizard Man on Facebook) but it was as good a way as any to get my start on stage here. I didn’t take it too much to heart – that was a month ago now and I’ve done many more successful gigs since then, in a newly-created character of a healthy person.

Last night, I was up at Monday Night Mics, my tenth gig in Berlin. Someone from university I hadn’t seen in years came along, which was a little surreal, but really lovely. (Shout out to Chris!)

I go up and do my act, effectively, lot of stories about dating, my rubbish taste in men, and my Berlin romances so far, of which there have been, surprisingly, any!

Partway through my set, a guy walks in. It’s dark but it looks like a guy I’ve been seeing here. “Ah, that’s sweet of him,” I think. He goes and sits down at the back as I finish my set with a joke about that weird lizard man guy I met after my first gig here. Pleased with how I’ve done, I bound towards the back of the room and it’s only when I’m a step from my seat that I realise that this wasn’t my guy, but Lizard Man himself.

“Oh, God!” I announce to no one.

Lizard Man is already coming up to me, greeting me, and I can’t tell if his tone is angry or amused or reptilian.

But he smiles and says, “You can use me in your comedy anytime.”

Phew!

“…It’s actually really good that you’re giving this theory more exposure…”

Ah.

Soon I’m trapped in his own private discussion of the merits of comedy for spreading conspiracy theories, which he is going into with a Quentin Tarantino-style intensity while Chris has uselessly gone off to bum cigarettes from strangers.

I eventually extract myself and run to the toilets, where I text Chris “Omg please save me from lizard man”. This is a request that he either doesn’t see or interprets somewhat creatively, as when I come back from the bathroom, the two of them – Chris from my year at university, and Lizard Man – are playing table football together.

You know: comedy.

Okay

Okay

So those four weeks sure flew by didn’t they?

I was tempted to berate myself for publishing roughly 20 fewer posts than I’d intended to by this stage but guys, I am just TOO GOOD at having adventures. Somehow, sandwiched in between two really rotten colds, I have managed to do something like nine gigs, meet two celebrities, have several **romantic experiences**, make a short film, electrocute myself once and yet take so few photos on my malfunctioning phone that all I have to show for it is the following video that my Sony Xperia helpfully put together from the pictures I happened to get in my first week. (It is honestly a masterpiece, please turn up the volume to watch what my phone’s AI considers “human music”.)

Frustratingly for me, as a comic and sometime-filmmaker, this film is the best thing I’ve never made, as well as being such a bitchy thing for my phone to do. Congrats to Sony.

Catch you later when I’ve written some more stuff okaaaaaay