I keep seeing a lot of Graffiti Response Team vans around my area at the moment. The teams are dressed in full nuclear reaction boiler suit garb and they have a go at walls with big scrubbing brushes and the sort of venom you find only in heads of neighbourhood watch schemes. I’m not sure if this is an efficient way to respond to graffiti. Essentially you are just cleaning the pallet allowing them to re-spray whatever they like on it. These people are becoming the graff artists eraser. I honestly think the only way you can retaliate to graffiti is by doing bigger graffiti over it. Isn’t that how graff gangs would respond to each other? I’d like to see lots of graffers jump out of these vans and spray over pre-done graffiti with their own stuff to show them whose wall it is. Big letters saying ‘Haringay Graff Team Just Served You Fools!’ I think graffiti brightens up an area. There is a long strip of purposefully graffed wall on Holloway Road and it stands out because its the only bit of the street that isn’t dirty and has piss on it. I myself own some spray paints. I spent a while being entertained by the idea that I could show some skills with it, but instead I managed to spray one tunnel in Canterbury before I got too scared and never did it again. It looked good though and I did it while wearing a hoodie and listening to Pete Rock and CL Smooth so it was authentic if nothing else. Sadly the tunnel got painted in a garish orange as a response to my art. Philistines.
I have a habit of making myself get more worked up about certain things than I should. I had to take my driving test too many times because while confident on the road I already assumed I would fail and then would get in the car with the instructor a bag of nerves and fail it in seconds. There was also the one test where an old man crossed the road in front of me on the zebra crossing while an ambulance switched it sirens on behind me. I failed that one because I took too long to decide what to do. That seemed really unfair at the time. Run over the man or block the ambulance? That’s not really a choice. Although I realise now, much later that I should have run over the man as the ambulance was just there to get him. Apart from that one the first test I got into the car so bored of doing it and not caring, I passed. Well it was that and the fact that I did an intensive course in Blackpool where they only have about 4 roads and a Pleasure beach that is the most miserable strip of land I have ever been on. When I think of a pleasure beach I imagine a paradisaical island of white sand and blue sea. In Blackpool they seemed to have imagined fat ladies doing the can can, kids gambling, Bernard Manning tributes and the Doctor Who experience (which is one dalek and some sticks of rock. To be fair going to Blackpool is like going back in time so I suppose that’s what they are banking on).
There are a handful of gigs I manage to work myself up about in the same way. One is the Comedy Store. Everytime I do a spot there I seem to be able to convince myself I’m probably going to mess it up and as a result get on stage completely unready. It never helps to walk in via all the pics of all the acts that have played there, Eddie Izzard, Robin Williams etc. It also doesn’t help that two of the worst deaths I’ve ever had were at the Store and the worst heckle too. One death was a 5 min spot where half the audience got up and went for a cigarette when I went on stage. I couldn’t compete with the general chat over me and it went horribly wrong. The second experience was a late show 10 where the same thing happened only nastier and more drunk. Oddly the worst heckle was a fairly nice gig, but I had a stupid part of my set where I asked the audience to heckle me, so I could respond in a certain way. After two easy ones (‘You’re shit’ and ‘Get Off’) this woman at the front stood up and said very loudly ‘Suck the Blood from my bleeding c*nt you motherf*cker‘. I was not expecting that, and neither were the audience. There was a pause and then the biggest laugh anyone had got all night. I couldn’t really come back from that one so early in my comedy career and just sort of shuffled off. Lots of acts and agents have since heard of the demon heckle and Omid Dijalili once started telling me the story about it before I had to tell him I was the victim in the tale.
The other gig is the Glee in Birmingham. I have done two tens there previously, the last one being about two years ago. One went well the other went not very well at all, and the latter was the sort of experience that had stayed with me for a while. So last night I returned for my first 20 set, and I was a tad worried. I had really worked myself up into a bit of state about it, having spent most of yesterday going over my set about 50 times in my head. I got the venue far too early and paced around backstage like I was on a circular treadmill. I almost made myself dizzy. I shouldn’t have been worried at all. Everyone at the Glee is so hospitable and lovely and I was looked after the second I arrived. The crowd were not as busy as usual were on top form. I ended up having a great set, doing my material in a completely different order to how I’d planned and the Glee peoples even let me run over a tad because I was enjoying it so much. It just goes to show that I really shouldn’t wind myself up about it. Although I am now convinced that it was only nice because it was a Thursday and that Fridays will be a nightmare. I really should stop thinking sometimes. Although some would argue that I haven’t ever started.