Stand up notes

Lou Reed story

Paddington drug dealers – business cards – made it aspirational

Stockholm Syndrome

City of 20 somethings in shirts on saving the planet earth with 8 flights booked for 4 weekend breaks in early 2022 in a continent you can cover with a train or car in half a day

Bulgaria London NY LA Mars

milk bottles

Woke is a myth – fairytale of new york – cheap and haggard in 90s tv – you’re an old slut on junk

woke murdoch cancelling the royal family after his reporters killed diana

murdoch cancelling football

Deng and Blair

Polish Cultural Exchange – let’s all do the poznan

Arsenal fan in Somali restaurant

London hoeing itself out then trying to wife the googles and facebooks

isn’t it cute when we pretend deliveroo staff aren’t slaves

U.K. Autocorrect

pigeons in central london

200 dead a day

The working week

Trying to keep busy, work hard, have fun after 2-9 years in bed all day

A privileged product of a 13 year recession, Valiantly seeking a 7th profession, Telling a potential new boss I make a great 2nd impression, still rebuilding the skills to have any discretion, Til then as loaded as Catholic Confession, Self destructively inept at any concessions….

So this week I tried to stay as active as possible. I had another job interview for The Black Farmer, a range of organic, gluten free products from a black farmer’s black farm in Cornwall. He’s an eccentric guy, like Debbie at Tomorrow’s People, a Conservative Brexit guy but I watched some of his speeches and he had a charisma, I liked the idea of working for a business with a physical product. I didn’t get the job, and I knew I wouldn’t. In my field, bookkeeping, it is hard to give someone without experience a job that is working from home, I would need if not a little training then a source to question. I spoke too much, I’m really not a natural interviewer, but I took the attitude that I would be constructive towards my next interview, unlike the first one where I was very quiet and restrained. I heard back from 2 or 3 more agencies whether about bookkeeping or temp work, and another employer about an interview, but these were all more inquisitive than actual solid job leads.

On Wednesday I went with my Mum to an art exhibition that had gotten [sic] 5 stars in The Guardian & Independent by Helen Frankenthaler. It was in Dulwich, so we met on the platform at Camden Town. Originally, Mum had said 9:30 which had become 11 which had become 12:30. I went around my old haunts, got chatting with the first nice without being a bit High Fidelity staff member ever at Out on the Floor and bought a latter Bo Diddley record at Sounds That Swing. I gave comic book shop guy some advice he appreciated on his short story free comic, and thought about getting some more Robert Crumb collections. When Mum came we headed to Victoria, but had just missed the half hourly train to Dulwich. We decided to get lunch and I looked for a top rated cafe having bought into the Google corporate controlled view of the universe – so strange how the idea of all maps is associated with a search engine. ANYWAY – Victoria is a tricky place to navigate, we missed a turning and were wandering around before finding the cafe who’s menu mum found overwhelming. We caught up over a coffee I got pissed off at some of her feedback from the interview. I had told the interviewer that ‘women are more entrepreneurial then men because they are willing to give people more opportunities’ and asked if she knew who quoted it when it was her CEO the black farmer himself, which Mum thought was smartarse. Mum was probably right but she’s always very emotionally invested in my job search to the point that it always ends up tense. By the time we finished the coffee we had missed the next train.

On the train to Dulwich, Mum was deciding between which of 3 local nail bars to book her appointment later that week. She offered me money to go on holiday, I told her that I don’t fly, and that a trip to South London was my equivalent to a trip to South America. When she said ‘Oh my god’ on the phone a homeless lady turned on her and started swearing, and when I calmly replied she was on the phone the homeless woman started threatening me, saying if it wasn’t for my Mum she’d do this and that to me, something about her being on her menopause and stressed enough. Mum was begging (ironically) her not to attack me which was ridiculous as she was a 5’5 10 stone thing, if I was ever going to be hurt by a woman it wouldn’t be her. She was just another one in a city that let the broken break, contrasting with the green scenes of the south london national rail where the lack of tube stops leaves things more spaced out. I’m willing to speak to people without fear whereas other people aren’t.

I really liked the exhibition, it was underwhelming at first but the more you looked the more effort, detail and meaning. I got particularly into analysing the Madame Butterfly triptych. I googled (thank you google you self branding soulless money printing thing) the plot of Madame Butterfly, and it was about an American soldier that has a child with a Japanese woman, flees home then returns and pursues her and she commits suicide.

When I looked at the painting it was like a superhero in red,white and blue on the left, fleeing a giant butterfly in the middle, with the Japanese seas beneath her and her ghost rising from the butterfly above. Helen was a New York Jew from a socialite high end background but without getting too much commercial recognition seemed to keep her head together relatively bitter free, working in arts academia. It reminded me so much of an exes work. I thought about emailing her about the exhibition, but I should try to overcome my obsession with the past.

Mum didn’t appreciate the exhibition as much as me though she claimed to, but seemed more interested in the classic pieces in the gallery, we managed to have a minor argument as I walked her back to the train station. I felt because of the job thing she held me to a level of criticism whereas with my sisters she enjoyed feeling like their friend, taking their BS flattery about her being like a third sister. I don’t know, her and I clash but we’re pretty close and dealt with it pretty peacefully.

I ended up having a couple of drinks between Farringdon and Chancery Lane, getting a half where my sister’s boyfriend works and saying a v quick hi. I was in a very chatty-with-strangers mood, able to evesdrop and find the rare central london office workers that don’t talk in acronyms. I ended up sitting with these 3 people in marketing jobs, who found me really funny (I was on a roll). I ended up spending maybe 45 mins with them before heading to dinner. One of them sort-of asked me out on her way out, or at least asked if I’d be around later, she was 23-24 and Jewish and right leaning and in hindsight with a little facebook stalking (thank you global corporation i also associate with looking for anything!) very attractive, but instead I said that ‘whenever I’ve dated anyone Jewish I’ve found we’re both a bit too good at arguing’. When they left I hit that immediate regret and ended up finding her online and messaging her, she responded in a ‘kind of saying yes’ way but it seems I’d missed my shot. But in terms of jobs and dating I’m happy to take the initial failures of putting myself back out there rather than feeling eternally doomed to isolation…. or not even doomed but enjoying it…. seeing a detached dropout pointlessness in reality but that will only circle back to a narcissistic despair. I ended up heading on to The Gunmakers near where I used to work, and they’d redone it to make it a little more generic looking in my opinion, but there I met a group of people and continued my run of saying a bunch of funny things in a row.

That was all on Wednesday, on Thursday I went to Hip Hop Karaoke in Hoxton. FUCK ME HOXTON IS A MIDDLE CLASS SHITHOLE. As soon as you get out of Old Street they’re still doing that ridiculous roundabout work that seems to lead to nothing except getting lost with half the exits closed. Then it seems that everywhere is a new trendy looking bar that’s a bit big and soulless, but most of all no one could hold their drink, people old enough to know better stumbling around like 18 year olds. I was ridiculously early to this thing so it didn’t kick off for a couple of hours (7:30 arrival, 9:30 start). I was chatting to this American couple who I found boring but got stuck with. The audience was really small (40 in a room that could fit 10 times as much) but a lot of the acts were really good. I did Ms Jackson which went well. By the time I left the top floor had an awful 70s disco air.

On Friday, I finally visited Wiley’s new gig venue. It was very cool and white but empty. He was wearing a quite stylish orange matching jumper and shorts, with a small backpack, like what if tracksuits weren’t lame. It was like he was a fan of me, calling me funny with a good soul. He seemed very sober and together when I got there at 8:45, but by the time I left at 10 he was doing balloons and spilling drinks and almost apologising about the big incident. I spoke to his sisters who were really nice, his daughters were also there and maybe 30 other family and friends and 5 other genuine audience members. It’s nice that he has that network, he was saying his sister’s saved him. That kind of old school media shaming really does no one any good. They were interested in me running a comedy night but it would be too much too soon, I offered to DJ there which I think if I chased I would get, but I’m a bit apprehensive, or at least enjoying keeping a safe distance from someone a bit too much like my old self. When I went to sleep on Friday I had a voice in my head telling me jobs were pointless, but I think the opposite is true. Wiley being removed from the dayjob working world, maybe represses a kind of natural socialness he has which comes out in strange ways. This week has reminded me that I can be busy and social and fit in.

On Saturday I went to maybe my first MeetUp, playing football in Hyde Park. It was only a 5 a side game but lasted 90 minutes, I swear halftime was only about 5 mins to make up for a late start. I literally struggled to walk today. We were 5-2 down at halftime but ended up winning 9-7. Apart from dire shooting, I was really happy with how I played. I felt like I grew into leadership, telling players to stay central and with their men, making a wonder save that kept us in it and a couple of goalline blocks or clearances. It was 8 boys and 2 girls, and everyone had a decent attitude. The guy who runs it -George- turns out to be a darkhorse, he’s a pianist who charges £200-250 a lesson (he wasn’t braggy about this just more of my stalkin’ ;-)) and has 80m YouTube views, plus runs cinema clubs and stuff like that. He has an electric powered BMW that was very cool and flashy. Another guy worked in robotics, providing them to doctors to be more precise in operations, using them like videogames you play through headsets. George plays up to 4 times a week in a table tennis fight club. I claimed that I could get a few points off anyone. He brought his bats from the car and we played winner stays on. I nervously scraped two close wins, trying to manage the pressure of the expectations I set, before George beat me 9-1. He was spinning it here, there and everywhere. Everyone took the piss out of me good naturedly. There was another round of people playing George and I ended up having a second game. He offered to give me some tips but I told him to play his hardest, not to be scared of humiliating me. This time I relaxed and got my eye in, making it hard for him and losing 9-6. He left, giving me a look that was a little impressed.

I’ve been trying a keto/paleo sort of thing. I went home, tried the posh wine shop, a big part of my week has been not being scared to spend money, as if that might push me to get back into work quicker. Turned out we didn’t have a bottle opener. By this point my legs were starting to really ache and I changed my plans to go out to watch the fight at the local. I fell asleep but woke up for the 2nd half, watching bootleg streams that cut out. I was so happy for Usyk, I always found Joshua more marketing than anything. A man very good at doing simple things being treated by his employers and the media like he was a lot deeper and more complicated. I also hated that he got Stormzy for his fight against Whyte, when Whyte and Stormzy are both from nearby in South London so it led to stupid fights between gangs about loyalties. If Stormzy had performed at that fight before the 2 fighters it would have been amazing. But who am I to try to bring peace to boxing. Anyway, Usyk is so great that the crowd didn’t hold anything against him – and in an age where the only cuts not being made are to sports – it is nice to see that money can’t buy everything, I get bored of being expected to like athletes based on nationality alone.

Today I had a lot of cleaning and listing eBay items I wanted to do, but my legs were so, so, so, so, sore. I managed to hobble to the gym and do a little strength stuff, but then came home and napped for an hour and a half. I’ve managed to go over a week without being depressed, and knowing it’s so cyclical has kind of helped me except another low is coming. Maybe that takes the pressure off having less energy today.

My weeeeek

I spent my evening pouring Olive Oil down the sink

Just to see if the rumours were true

Now I’m blocked’

I’m trying to commit to being a gym guy – made it 9 days in a row alternating gymming and swimming. My favourite part of gym life is that it encourages me to listen to music. I’ve been REALLY BLOCKED on that for the last year. My record player cable broke and I didn’t replace it. Like I needed silence. Or that I couldn’t relate to anything or engage. Something about the gym makes me think of the right songs, maybe because it’s a poppier environment. I’ve been listening to The Richard D James album by Aphex Twin as well as a bit of Lana Del Rey, who does what she does well even though I don’t always connect with it. With her and Adele and many, many, many of those people it’s like on a subconscious level the Western World is looking for who can fill an unfillable Amy Winehouse shaped hole. But on ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’ Lana’s craft is very well done, catchy and relatable and sticking to her lane of ‘i hate myself and love my man’.

Exercising does level out my moods. I think there’s something quite Nazi-ish about the idea that exercising is a mental health cure all. I see it more like mental wellbeing. Mental Health, particularly when a psyche is broken, cannot be fixed by a run, it requires some introspection, time, a path to become a more evolved person. All things that society encourages now less than ever. It has become a BT Advert ‘It’s good to talk’. Meanwhile more and more people lose their minds as Johnson etc have cut now just all resources but all logic about money, careers, whatever… in a pointless world people’s brains explode trying to find meaning.

I went Swimming and these two girls were chatting loads and one wasn’t even swimming but walking half the length til it got too deep. They were blocking up the slow lane. When I returned to it a woman in her 50s pointed out that I was grunting loudly. I think because I’d been swimming in the medium lanes it had knackered me. I stopped grunting, then found breathing easier and thanked her. We then had some TOP BANTER!!!111!!!!!!!

Another week of applying to jobs, hearing back from an agency once in a while I’ll never hear from again. Meditated and Marinated on that interview from a couple of weeks ago and where I think I went wrong.

I’ve done a couple of open mics. They’ve been shambolically run but I’ve had fun and done well.

I’m back on a full dose of medication, but it’s the lightest Mood Stabilizer that is almost entirely symptom free – most make you gain weight or give you headaches but my one – Lamotrigine – is the easiest to take but because of Big Pharma, a lot of the older and harsher ones are far more prevalent.

I almost left a jumper on a park bench and an expensive umbrella in a pub. A friend works for an expensive umbrella shop that’s been around hundreds of years. I figured I’d save money from all the umbrellas I’d left on the tube. I cracked wise about that scene in Mary Poppins where they break his hat and umbrella. They’d forgotten it. I explained about the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank song – how Mr Banks wanted Michael to invest in the British Empire – railways in Africa, trains across the Nile – that he saw Economics as romantic in the same way Michael saw Feeding The Birds – how Michael refused to give the tuppence and it led to the Wall Street Crash, as people panicked after overhearing the bank manager wouldn’t give him back his money and assumed the bank wasn’t doing that to anyone. The David Lynch like scene in the black and red room. The 98 yr old man Dick Van Dyke also plays then flying after hearing the Wooden Leg Named Smith joke. I was greeted by blank but tolerant faces.

I’ve been able to drink again, had to quit all year to not return to smoking. Saw Mike at Knowhere Special Kentish Town and rambled to mixed reviews in Cross Keys. Met the guy who manages Top Secret and got chattttty.

Called my housemate out on his shoutiness on the phone and general silliness about not taking care of simple tasks. He’s a puppy of a human being. He was nice about it, I’m cynical about how much people actually change but I’m glad I got it out my system. Before I spoke to him I was having a lot of dreams where I lived in very nice flats or houses but had housemates who were causing drama.

Richard Kylea Cowie wears a mask

(this is the first draft of a long story, and the same post will update each day for 1-2 weeks, so when you get to the bottom of the article there will be an unfinished part)

At 11:23pm on 21/02/2021, I received a Twitter message claiming to be from Wiley

‘Hey brother, I would like to speak to you. 07XXX XXX XXX. Ring me in the morning’.

I replied ‘hahahahaa. I’m ringing now just to find out who this is. I know who it’s not’.

I call. Wiley answers.

‘You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit. You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it’ Jay Z, The Story of OJ

Maybe there was some kind of fiddling of the figures by the oligarchs who ran the TV stations (and who were mainly, as some lost no time in pointing out, of Jewish origin)’ Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Seventy Two Virgins

‘What’s gwaning, Nan? Y’alright? Yeah, it’s Kylea, what’s gwaning, what’s gwaning?’ Wiley, Nan I Am London

Google ‘Wiley’ and the first result is a database to search scientific journal articles. Beneath that, the first question in the ‘People Also Ask’ section is ‘Is Wiley Trustworthy?’ This is again related to the Journal but is a question many fans of the rapper have asked for a long time.

The next result is a June 2020 interview from The Guardian on his very-temporary-retirement, Wiley on his final album: ‘I need to not let grime die on the way out’.

Then comes the Antisemitism story. Wiley’s Twitter was soon deleted, but screenshots of the offending tweets have been captured. It is clear from these what a struggle it was for CNN Business or The Campaign Against Antisemitism to capture the nature of the diatribe. There are crying-with-laughter emojis next to the Israeli flag emoji. References to black people being the original Israelis. Jewish people are called ‘cowards’. ‘Jewish people don’t care what black people went through they just use us to make money… a black boy who can entertain is like gold and diamonds to a Jewish man… they prey on us’.

But the newspapers never quoted this stupid, angry quote. Instead it became Chinese Whispers. Calls for Wiley to be banned from social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all banning him. Reports on an antisemitic tirade from NME, Glamour UK, NBC News, The Sun, The Washington Post, Arab News, USA Today. PR Week magazine has given him their ‘Flop of the Month’ award. A petition condemning him has been signed by Niall Horan, Lily Allen and The 1975.

The scale that this story attained is most apparent in a follow-up story from the CNN Business website. It is bizarre how the most important American cable news network has written two long stories on a British rapper who is far from a household name. The only quote from what Wiley said, was that the Jewish community deserved to ‘hold some corn’. The Non-Governmental Organization. The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) translate this as being slang to ‘take bullets’. The CAA fail to mention the term can also just mean ‘looking for trouble’.

This story focuses on ‘A Virtual Twitter Walkout’ in protest of his comments. There is a hashtag involved, the clunky ‘#NoSafeSpaceForJewHate’. The Royal Opera House has announced their support. The article cites a quote by Home Secretary Priti Patel: “The antisemitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent. They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation. Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms.” aid, was that the Jewish community deserved to ‘hold some corn’. The Non-Governmental Organization. The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) translate this as being slang to ‘take bullets’. The CAA fail to mention the term can also just mean ‘looking for trouble’.

I don’t know why I can quote Wiley in 34 words and transmit the nature of the story, while the BBC, CNN, Sky and The Campaign Against Antisemitism can only report on the reaction-to-the-tweets rather than the actual tweets, or misattribute the meaning of ‘hold some corn’, but this will be the centre of my argument. That reporting-about-a-story rather than reporting the actual story can only appear conspiratorial, Jews being conspiratorial is at the heart of all antisemitic propaganda. In an era where politicians are treated like celebrities and celebrities are treated like politicians, to understand the Wiley Antisemitism story it must be viewed from a variety of angles; cultural, sociological, in terms of mental wellbeing and political. Most of all, what does this mean to Cancel Culture? The term is often used as a modern day, ‘Political Correctness Gone Mad’, but here is an example of someone being as-close-to-cancelled as forseeable by Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, politicians, musicians and the global media.

The kind of behaviour Wiley expressed, an impotent and misguided rant, has become bizarrely trendy for a certain kind of rock n roll star. From the 70s punk scene we have John Lydon in his Trump MAGA hat. From 80s Indie, Morrissey’s anti-immigration talk. From 90s britpop Ian Brown (I know he’s 80s really, but I prefer the solo stuff). Wiley’s behaviour isn’t offensive to me, just as none of these others are. A lot of comedians talk about it being therapeutic, but I have been in comedy and therapy for over a decade each. Comedy makes you immune to shock value, and a barrage of drunk audience members coming up to congratulate you over the years makes you realise the general public are more unhinged than the average comedian. Therapy has taught me that as well as mental health there’s mental wellbeing – mental health can be bipolar, schizophrenia etc., but mental wellbeing is universal day-to-day instances like anxiety or stress management, and all of these examples are all at minimum deeply stressed. I also have a degree in Politics, and know how Politics not being on the school Curriculum means the general public, whether rich or poor, public, private or comprehensive educated, are deeply unaware. Also, I would rather have people say bad things than do them. This statement is an oversimplified generalisation, but my point is that Morrissey could never have committed the kind of crimes Bill Cosby or Jimmy Savile did, because he has never curried favour with the media. Details of personal abuse from him would elicit a 6-figure-minimum-sum to any major outlet.

The other aspect of the Wiley story that was entirely ignored or decontextualized by the media was not just that the tweets broke out after Wiley split from his manager John Woolf, but these two had had a very close relationship since the 2000s. Woolf himself compared it to a marriage, ironically in the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, years ago. Woolf seemed reluctant to even condemn Wiley’s comments as malicious rather than deranged. He had seen, particularly over the last year, Wiley’s ability to manufacture drama. Whether with Skepta, Ed Sheeran or Stormzy – Wiley had become a walking soap opera.

Jews have always played a small yet significant role in Hip Hop. From 1982-85, Rick Rubin co-founded Def Jam and produced seminal recordings by LL Cool J, Run DMC and T La Rock. He also produced the 20million record selling New York Jews, the Beastie Boys, who first achieved commercial success then hugely innovative in the sonic progression of Hip Hop. Two Jewish comedy-rap groups have achieved well-over-a-billion-streams-without-hyperbole by not taking themselves particularly seriously, The Lonely Island are led by Andy Samberg and knowingly-ridiculously-named Lil Dicky has recorded tracks with Snoop Dogg, Fetty Wap, Chris Brown and T-Pain.

In terms of British hip-hop culture, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black must be considered the definitive British Soul Album. Mark Ronson, also Jewish, production and musicianship on both Back To Black (downbeat) and his solo work (upbeat) have been adapted by Grime to make the genre the 2010s equivalent of Britpop.

“N.W.A.’s song publishing royalties were always hefty because the band sold so many records … Ruthless took twenty-five cents out of each dollar of publishing royalties. Again, a fairly customary bite. Some labels take 100 percent. The other publishing companies involved (Cube included) also took twenty-five cents. Of the fifty cents left, the lyric writer took twenty-five cents, and the beat writer took twenty-five cents. Dre composed the beats for every song N.W.A. ever put out, so he always got that quarter out of every dollar coming in, less deductions for all his sampling. You wrote a lot of the words, Cube, so some of the time you took a quarter bite out of those dollars. There were quite a few times though, when you had to share with cowriters, such as Dre, Yella, the D.O.C., Eazy, or Ren. So you had to share your quarter … It’s not robbery. It’s not a Jewish conspiracy to rip off the poor artist. What it is, O’Shea, is mathematics — pure and simple. You received every single penny that was coming to you. If you say you didn’t, then you are lying”

It’s Friday 12th September 2019, 5:30pm, Camden High Street. I have just finished a day’s temping as a Kitchen Porter in Friend’s House in Euston, it’s a big square building opposite the tube station – I’d been washing 1,023 dishes, glasses and/or pans for the vegetarian cafe run by the Quakers. I was most of the way through a retraining programme as a Bookkeeper that was government funded, but the course was delayed by 6 months due to the owners being corrupt…… that’s another story. Due to Universal Credit, 67% of my earnings for that day’s pay came out of my benefits too… but let’s get to the point.

My plan was to visit a couple of record shops then go to my friend’s cocktail bar in Kentish Town before the evening rush, nurse a beer, be cheap in opulence. Camden High Street had police tape up, I asked someone who knew what had happened, there had been a stabbing, a fatality. In Out On The Floor records, it turned out the two staff members knew the victim, just a boy – nice, naive, stuck in the middle of a fight that wasn’t his.

By 9:30pm that night I had visited my friend’s bar, rambled, left quickly, wandered around and found myself at the intersection of Kentish Town Road and Regent’s Canal, just north of Camden Town Station. At the gates of the lock, where canal boats stop to level out the water, there is an isolated raised square, with a narrow path connecting it to the canalside. I saw three figures sitting there. I went and sat with them.

They were three Lithuanian kids, metal music fans, leather jackets, cartoonish English accents, offered me a beer. They were over to visit a friend, planning his stag do in Warsaw in the new year. ‘The whores give the best blowjobs there’, he said. This coming out of ten minutes of polite conversation, I wasn’t sure how to respond, but my rambling instincts took over ‘Just make sure…. do what you want… but know keeping secrets stays with you… ‘To live outside the law you must be honest”. He asked who said that, and I told him Bob Dylan. ‘Are you Jewish?’ he asked, I said ‘well, I shrug a lot…. yeah I’m an agnostic Jew’. His friend turned around and lowered the neck of his shirt, and there was a Swastika tattoo. Then he lifted his sleeve, and there was another symbol that he explained was the Lithuanian equivalent. I was too exhausted to feel that scared, drained, tired, listless from the news earlier. I told them that if I got angry or offended I would be giving them the reaction they wanted. As I got up to leave, one of them asked if I wanted to stay for another beer. The other two stared down, I declined and headed on.

Coping with Insomnia tips

  1. Cut back on ‘fun’ – I don’t drink at home, so in 2020 I don’t drink. I was never into drugs. Hangovers always used to be the start of nights of unrest
  2. Go to bed early – I generally go to bed between 10-11pm, that way if I can’t sleep I’ll be up until 1 or 2am, not all night.
  3. Wake up at the same time everyday
  4. Weird boring podcast – One that you’re interested enough in that is a little monotonous and long form. I like old wrestling stories from the 90s about when they were on the road and tried to find the right mix of steroids, alcohol, drugs and to see where the night went.
  5. The statue game – If I’m really not focusing on the podcast I’ll close my eyes and be as still as possible for as long as I can. If that’s really hard I’ll use the stopwatch on my phone then try and do it longer the next time.
  6. Exercise – this is a habit, at the moment I lift a kettle bell by my side every time I have a cigarette, as some kind of yin and yang thing. Then after a few days I’ll have the energy to do this more, do some stretching, press ups, enjoy it. Then I’ll get cocky, stop for a few weeks and be back to square one.
  7. It all catches up – If I don’t sleep, my body will crash eventually and it will balance out
  8. Right treatment – mental health is a minefield in terms of therapy, psychiatry, medication etc. The sooner you look at different approaches the better chance you have of finding one that works.
  9. Samaritans – call BEFORE you feel too depressed or self harming or whatever, 3 o clock in the afternoon, call, say you’re thinking too much and stressy and get it out your system
  10. Meditation – I have the CALM app, I don’t use it everyday but there’s some stuff on there that’s academic, a really good series by a guy who was important at Apple Mac about how nearly everyone thinks their job is pointless, some hippy music and a bunch of pointless celebrities reading bedtime stories that I am too judgmental of to try. But the concept of spending 10 minutes plugged out of staring at screens is a good one.

The Abuse of Comedy – Independent Radio Show – S01E01 – The Veitch case

I have started a show with Ja’el Kamaka, who helped to out sexual predator James Veitch, the British viral comedian.

Ja’el studied with Veitch in New York, and helped to break the story on the 12 cases from there of rape, assault and/or abuse. (see the story here I was on the London circuit with James.

James is still posting on verified social media accounts. He has over 1,000,000 subscribers/followers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube combined. Before the story broke, he had deals with Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco, HBO Max, Hachette Books, WME Entertainment and 30m Ted Talk views.

Find out how the industry sought him out and then dropped him, and how nothing was done to address the issues.

Links to articles on working for Jongleurs Comedy in 2014 as they were going bankrupt:

Live Comedy UK – Election Results, troubled start, constructive advice

Plato’s Five Degenerative Regimes

  1. Aristocracy – those who do not choose to rule but have the expertise
  2. Timocracy – The Aristocrat’s children are given power, not through merit
  3. Oligarchy – The Government distinguishes rich from poor
  4. Democracy – Rule of the masses
  5. Tyranny

Live Comedy UK held it’s elections today (Monday November 23rd), going from a steering group to a board – covering regions, festivals, television, the live circuit etc. Congratulations to Adam Rushton, Liam Williams, Stephen Bailey, Dec Munro, Alex Hall, Pax Lowey, Jessica Toomey, Ben Williams, David Elphick, Carla Speight, Molly Stewart, Leila Navabi, Katy Koren, Charlie Perkins, Esyllt Sears and Raul Kohli. I sincerely hope this does not become analogous to the Tower of Babel.

So far, Live Comedy UK has carried out some polls on class and how to address abuse, and made a nice hashtag and a twitter handle almost identical to Avalon’s @livecomedy. Tez Ilyas, on the original Steering Group, was outed for sexual harassment this summer then targeted by Johnsonite political blog Guido Fawkes who attributed any sexual assaults posted on Twitter that week to him, refusing to remove them when the women that had most the posts asked them to.

I spoke to a representative from Live Comedy UK the day this story was covered in The Times, and explained that if this wasn’t addressed the wrongly attributed allegations would destroy the LCA, the representative agreed with me before blocking me on WhatsApp. When I spoke to Guido a month after this happened, they said this was targeted because Tez was a Corbyn supporter (see Following the outing of British Comedian James Veitch as a serial date rapist, covered in The Hollywood Reporter but no mainstream British Media, Veitch is still verified on Instagram with thousands of likes for each post and no word from the LCA. In the LCA elections, many comedians who tried to register to vote were told they’d missed the deadline.

Earlier today, following the announcement of comedy clubs reopening at a time when 350-600 people a day are dying of Covid and the rate of R is above 1, Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre was the sole source quoted by Chortle. The richest, most upper class and most funded part of the entertainment sector (£16.7m per year to National Theatre and £24.7m to Royal Opera House) is speaking to the right of Johnson about globalized, gentrified ‘art’ on the Comedy Industry’s flagship website. The industry that lionized Kevin Spacey when he was director of the Old Vic. The quote is a plea to infect as many as possible as quickly as possible, where are Live Comedy UK to oppose such a view? Bird said:

‘Closure of venues in tier 3 areas will mean cancellation of pantos and other shows, risking organisations’ long-term survival and leaving theatre freelancers adrift with no compensation.The capacity constraints in tiers 1 and 2 will lead to financial problems for venues and disappointment for audiences. It is unclear why these have been instituted in a sector with no known spread of the virus. As ever, we remain committed to working with Government to secure the survival of our world-leading theatre sector (

The theatre and by proxy comedy sector would rather grift an audience than stand up to our fascist leaders. ‘PANTOS BEING CANCELLED’, ‘NO KNOWN SPREAD OF THE VIRUS’, ‘COMMITTED TO WORKING WITH THE GOVERNMENT’, this is what Chortle – the comedy industry website, takes as our COVID approach.

In a sane world, the Edinburgh Fringe would have 10 times less shows have the more theatre based one man/woman shows in the Old Town in the daytime and the more entertainment based Club shows in The New Towan at night and incorporate the concept that ‘a city is built for lovers and friends’, instead of 1,100 supporters of climate change action indirectly depositing half a tonne of flyers into non-recycling bins. Post lockdown, the fringe will never go back to millions of visitors a year as people become comfortable with avoiding huge crowds tdue to compulsive FOMO.

The parts of the circuit that were being run by sane heads when I was gigging 2011-2015 (e.g. Bearcat Comedy, James Bran when he booked Crack Comedy, etc.) would build on that fallen network of pub function rooms that was left to comedians who headlined because they’d once been on Live At The Apollo, who did half hearted sets in their pursuit of theatre tours at 50 capacity rooms in Millenium Project theatre venues. Those comedians that added zeros to their paycheck by playing the anti-tory-but-not-pro-labour card would be expected to contribute to the work in progress shows that took all the peak spots from comedians that had been loyal to years (Hello Bill Murray and the revolving door of Kitsons, Lees, Delaneys, Amstells, Howards, Pascoes, Robinses and Widdicombes)

Instead, the same arguments will continue. People will complain about class in comedy before bragging for months when they support a comedian who makes 6 figures from having been in the Cambridge Footlights or get a writing gig from their mate from the Cambridge Footlights (Herring, Wang, Graham, Shah, Novellie, TVs Ayoade, the writer from Him and Her, Iannucci, Armstrong, Miller, Buxton, Cornish, Armstrong, Bain, Murray, Mitchell and the ever talentless Webb etc etc etc). We can all enjoy Grace-daughter-of-Alastair Campbell’s new memoir, sociopathically-outing-vulnerable-client’s Psychiatrist Benji Waterstone’s new book deal, we can all vie not for Radio 4 shows that built Boosh, Little Britain, Conchords and Partridge but a podcastized, privatized, 15 minute equivalent with a socially relevant tie in on a trans parrot. We will all build our brands and YouTube channels.

Your king

Of our counterculture,



Vrindavan: City of Widows is available at

Vrindavan is a North Indian city where Bengalis send elderly relatives, not realising or choosing to ignre they are left in shacks with with no electricity, no clean water, no heating inshacks. Sitting by Hindu temples in bright Saris they become photos for tourists. See the parallels to social care, the BBC and the NHS?


“I’ve been single for a year

My ex is a ball of aggression

She downed the vodkas I’d nurse a session

The privileged product of this 12 year recession

Twice broken dam of emotional suppression


Still rebuilding the skills to have any discretion

Valiantly seeking a 7th profession

Telling a potential new boss I make a great 2nd impression

Til then as loaded as Catholic confession

Praying for a Corbyn Accession

Will I flirt with the right to try n make a little money

Can u tell me if that’s funny

Have you been doing it since 2012 honey?”

The Icarus Line Must Die – Film Review

Annie Hardy, Giant Drag: ‘Some very Crowley-esque demons… Robert knows what I’m talking about’ Joe Cardamone, The Icarus Line: At least somebody does’

Annie: ‘The royal family are reptiles… it’s rapture, end of the world, maybe not the end but we’re going to be…. Prepare for  a major economic collapse in America and possible asteroid collision’

Joe: ‘if the world doesn’t end would you like to come to the studio?’

Annie: ‘yes, even if it does end, especially if it does’

As a teenager, I read Buddyhead, a record label and music website ran by Travis Keller and Aaron North (Icarus Line 1998-2004), well known for it’s Gossip Section telling on the narcissism of the LA Scene. ‘The Icarus Line Must Die’ is a 2017 semi-fictional biopic that charts the historical inevitability of 5 people with 50,000 fans finding it financially impossible to build a sustainable audience that can make them money.

Joe Cardamone is The Icarus Line’s singer, songwriter and original member. He is now in his Mid 30s (me too), has been told by important people how much they like his work without it being marketable (snap), is a lot calmer and nicer than his reputation (ditto), has quit all his vices except cigarettes in the evening (are you single? we have so much in common), and is getting married (oh ok).

Joe makes his living through his Record Studio, but the old friends he books are in the same financial position he is in. Although The Icarus Line started as very young looking, fast living musicians the social circle now compromises of gathering rather than parties. Travis Keller’s anti-Hollywood filming style gives LA a more fallen middle-class suburban feel than I’ve seen before. Visiting a friend and former bandmate who is terminally ill, we get a sense of the Trump era being the after effects of a broken system.

Joe and Annie Hardy from Giant Drag share a couple of scenes presenting two friends living on entirely different levels, I enjoyed the film most when Joe was meeting the friends, musicians, record label owners, hobbyists and characters that surround him. We see him playing with his dogs and cooking nice meals. By not being Gonzo, it does capture the Rolling Stones era of Hunter Thompson, before he needed an S.

Joe tries to work with a major label executive’s daughter’s talentless band, before dropping them after rude and entitled behaviour. Seemingly an ideological decision, maybe it is pragmatic before the relationship turns toxic. Even if he made a lot of money and it was a commercial success, you only need to write ‘Steve Albini Nirvana’ into a search engine to see how the Studio Engineer can be trod under the shoe of the powerful who feel betrayed.

Like all worthwhile independent films in the genre it is set in a musical capital*, is shot in Black and White**, and can never quite escape the trap of being art about art. There are moments that lag – an overambitious death threat plot puts Joe at the centre of the story, an impossible place for an untrained actor. The worst part of the film is Joe being told 14 times how great his band is but how they can’t be signed but how the album is really raw. It breaks the rule of ‘show don’t tell’. As the film is set inbetween recording an album and releasing it, this doesn’t give the audience a sense of what Joe writes about, why people are invested in his work.

Aaron North, the original Icarus Line guitarist – is sort-of portrayed as ‘Ron’, maybe more of an amalgam of Aaron with less talented ex-band members who want to get back on the bandwagon without facing Life On The Road***. Aaron, a flawed individual who gained a lot of NME articles and lost the band a lot of money and bookings by smashing instruments, is someone I always rooted for. We are both manic depressives. He reminds me of my friend’s uncle who was in the original lineup of Hawkwind before dropping out after a couple of albums and lots of Acid. Aaron joined Nine Inch Nails for a few years without having to dress like he was in Depeche Mode. In the next scene, an executive who signed Joe to a major label described meeting Joe, Travis and Aaron as like meeting The Stooges in 1969. I wish Ron’s scene had given more balance to flawed people, but this was closer to a caricature.

The final performance at The Echo does portray Joe’s victory, we see a sincere smile, feel an audience engaged. To bump the film up to a 90 minute running time I would have happily watched 15 minutes of concert footage. I understand this is a cult band, so give me a little kool aid! The cast of thirty-something artists who look to an outside observer as trying to be cool and young feel at the end of the film as people not rebelling against any system, but people who didn’t win the lottery and are starting to realise they’re better off for it.

We’re taught as music fans to be 14 forever, to look at music as sport, a competition with a few winners, to cynically judge everything, look for the most attention seeking, spending time compulsively compiling Top Ten Albums Lists. Joe is probably seen as a bit unoriginal for having a bit of Iggy, Nick or Bobby about him. Maybe the arts go wrong by us all not realising we need to build on influences in order to take things forward. In The Buddyhead Days, the most successful indie bands included The Hives, The Vines, etc. In hindsight, they died after they flew too close to the sun.

I rant,

as ever

xoxo gossip boy

*Icarus Line Must Die is available on Amazon Prime, I have my parent’s login (fuck amazon) and you can have dozens of people on an account and get away with it.*


* New York, LA, Manchester are the order of most frequently used, and if you reverse the order you get the average quality of the film, if I see another Woody-Allen-Esque shitshow about skyscrapers, Mongolian restaurants and dating women half your age I will SCREAM.

** Control, Mutual Appreciation

*** my favourite song by The Kinks

Van Morrison Review, Electric Ballroom, 5/9/20 (draft 2)

I’m walking through Camden Market, I’d bought an original NME full issue with the Kurt and Courtney cover for £8 to sell online, with huge unrealistic visions of how this would be the start of my fortune. A sound came on the tannoy of musak that has cost the 7 record shops in the vicinity a sizeable number of customers. ‘Charity gigs at the Electric…. [blah blah blah]’. I stopped by on my way to the station and saw the poster, saw there were tickets, saw there was a minimum booking of 4 and they cost £95 plus booking fee, saw my bank balance and thought of a once in a lifetime chance to see a knight of the realm in front of 400 people.

Weeks of anxiety followed, panicking, realising I knew 3.5 of his songs, friends (what friends?) and family speculating about facemasks and Spinal Tap type odds, selling 2 tickets at a reasonable loss and deciding not to go before a friend tagged along.

Within 30 minutes he’d played Moondance, Got My Mojo Working, Baby Please Don’t Go, Have I Told You Lately. The set was 80 minutes, with no encore. The full band were dressed in black, suits, open collar shirts; a soul singer, double bass and xylophone included. At times it felt like being in the 50s where these influences came from and the present day at once. I almost cried twice, and actually cried once. We stayed seated until the 15 minute version of Gloria that tore the house down and I danced, I never dance except for my Jagger impression. I forgot Covid sometime in the middle. I went to the bathroom during the song the Telegraph reviewer implied was the peak of his performing career.

Within 30 minutes he’d played Moondance, Got My Mojo Working, Baby Please Don’t Go, Have I Told You Lately. The set was 80 minutes, with no encore. The full band were dressed in black, suits, open collar shirts; a soul singer, double bass and xylophone included. At times it felt like being in the 50s where these influences came from and the present day at once. I almost cried twice, and actually cried once. We stayed seated until the 15 minute version of Gloria that tore the house down and I danced, I never dance except for my Jagger impression. I forgot Covid sometime in the middle. I went to the bathroom during the song the Telegraph reviewer implied was the peak of his performing career.

My chain smoking friend left, I’d gone 4 months without until a fortnight ago when one toke on a trip to Amsterdam pre-emigrating there next month. I walked past Quinn’s and shared a joke with my Landlord friend. I went to a cocktail bar for people who hate cocktail bars in Kentish Town and rode the energy, talking to strangers in the garden staircase. I dropped my cigarette pack. I had a 37 minute wait for the 1:48am train to Hendon, seeing foremen in orange jackets fixing the railway opposite and bantering. I made smalltalk (well medium talk) with a Portuguese youngster going to Luton Airport to meet her boyfriend, she had heart tattoos under her eyes. I’m 34 with sisters aged 30 and 24 so I’ve become this benign avuncular figure, though that’s what they all say.

I walked through the mostly empty train of sleeping drunks, seeing the suburb in fast forward. My phone was on 1% and the bus was due in 24 minutes. As I walked a mile and a quarter home two nightbuses passed. I listened to a song Ivan didn’t play, In The Garden. 4.5 times consecutively before my phone died, without earphones, holding it horizontally to my right ear.

“The streets are always wet with rain
After a summer shower
When I saw you standin’
Standin’ In the garden
In the garden
Wet with rain

You wiped the teardrops from your eye in sorrow
As we watched the petals fall down to the ground
And as I sat beside you I felt the great sadness that day
In the garden

And then one day you came back home
You were a creature all in rapture
You had your key to your soul
And you did open
That day you came back
To the garden

The olden summer breeze was blowin’ against your face
The light of the lord’s shinin’ on your countenance divine
And you were a violet colour as you sat beside your
Father and your mother
In the garden

And you went into a trance
Your childlike vision became so fine
And we heard lil’ bells within’ the church
We loved so much
And felt the presence of the youth
Of Eternal summers
In the garden

And I turned to you and I said
No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the father
In the garden”

It hit me two days later. How the performer I had seen had been gracious, said he was thankful for our bravery, laughed at 60s legend Chris Farlowe’s mid song jokes, taken a song request, and vulnerably shown the face of a man who at 75 is fighting the end of a performing career, fragile and built like a bulldog.

IT’S ABOUT HIS IN LAWS! “And you were a violet colour as you sat beside your, Father and your mother, In the garden”. Imagine Miss World (I think technically Mrs Morrison only hosted Miss World and won Miss International) and Mr Grumpy and a storm and the in-laws. They divorced two years ago. Maybe that’s why Jackie Wilson and Garden were sacrificed for the blues.

I rant, as ever