Dan Robb - A Blog

To make an omelette, you’ve gotta crack a few egos.

Bloody hell, I’m back! And I’m viral!

Well, viral by my paltry standards anyway. But I happen to like my paltry standards (which I regularly live up to) so it’s beer and skittles all Easter weekend for this happy blogger!

Yes, my subtle, understated reaction to 800,000 people signing a petition to save the job of television presenter who has now been sacked garnered some interest on Youtube. Some interest and some insults (I believe the two go hand in hand).

It’s actually a strange new world for me. Up to this point (a point I may well return to in the shaking of a spring lamb’s tail) my sketches have, I think it’s fair to say, failed to set the Internet alight. But my ‘Jeremy Clarkson – An Appeal’ was a relative bush fire. Over 1500 views! Wow, that’s almost as much as some of those videos of people unboxing newly purchased Thundercats toys.

But with this insane popularity (just let me run with this ball, okay, someone’s going to take it off me soon enough) came the naysayers and people who think I’m a foot soldier of a liberal/left mafia dead set on silencing the opinions of the Right and replacing it with a right-on, PC dictatorship.

I was accused of being a racist (Pow!). A Fascist (Oof!). And a hypocrite (Pfffffffttt!). By one bloke. Okay, so I only got 1500 hits and I only have one Youtube ‘flamer’ but a guy’s got to start somewhere, hasn’t he? Hey, I got 15 Youtube dislikes too. That’s something akin to notoriety, isn’t it? From acorns…

And as to the accusation that I am a racist, I suppose this stems from my inference that all of Jeremy Clarkson’s fans are white (and middle-aged, over-weight and male). This is obviously a gross generalisation made by me for comedic effect but it’s also one that actually fits my experience of the Top Gear fans I have met. And speaking as a white, middle-aged, over-weight man I feel it’s actually okay to poke fun at my ‘tribe’. My tribe may not find it particularly funny, but I think they’re tough enough to take my barbs.

As to being a fascist, I don’t want to silence free speech or the opinions of the Right. I would just like discourse on publicly funded television to be based on respect, not nudge-nudge racism. I don’t think making a joke about a ‘slope’ on a bridge is acceptable and I think someone should have got the sack for broadcasting that. But I’m not, nor didn’t, call for the axing of Top Gear for that casually racist joke. I just voted with my feet (or fingers, in this case) and chose never to watch Top Gear again. You want to watch Top Gear, go right ahead, I just feel it gives a thumbs up for tacit racism (ask a Mexican).

So with all of the above in mind, I don’t think my sketch makes me a hypocrite. I think my head may have disappeared up my own arse but I don’t think I’m a hypocrite.

To finish on a lighter, less indulgent note, let’s unite in merry laughter with a celebration of a real British institution; the saucy seaside postcard.

 

Little Willy

Don’t know why this particular postcard appealed. Can’t think. Anyway, I think you’ll agree, it’s classic British innuendo. Nothing too offensive (surely?) just a good old fashioned knob gag. And, to paraphrase Inspector Clouseau, there’s nothing I like more than a good knob gag. Bravo.

Till next time,

take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy

A shattered visage lies.

There’s not that many developmental epochs in a man’s life. There’s puberty (good, good times) and ummm, I think that’s it, isn’t it?

Well, no, not if you count the mid-life crisis. And I’m having one. Right now. It’s a doozey too. It’s not actually dissimilar to puberty, just with a lot less masturbation (I just don’t have the time anymore).

Puberty and the mid-life crisis both seem to provoke similar questions; who am I, what am I doing and where am I going, dressed like this? I suppose the only difference between these two stages of anxious self analysis, is that the distant light at the end of the tunnel in puberty is the rest of your life hurtling towards you, whereas in your mid life crisis, it’s your impending death. Yay.

I’m guessing my ‘crisis’ was all brought about by a combination of births, deaths, turning 41 and being made redundant. In short, a perfect storm within which to inaccurately examine my life at the half-way point.

Having spent the past few weeks lolling about, taking long walks while (as Phillip Larkin put it) turning over life’s failures by a bed of lobelias, I have reached critical mass. And do you know what? I’m done. Who cares? I mean, really. Enough!

Have you ever heard of Sessue Hayakawa? No, me neither. But Sessue was once a very big deal. In the 1920s, he was a Hollywood idol, equal to Chaplin and Fairbanks. Nowadays, it’s more like Say Who Hayakawa? Okay, that pun didn’t really work but you catch my drift; once Sessue Hayakawa mattered, he was a star (and that’s the pinnacle of existence, right? I mean, who needs teachers and open-heart surgeons?) but now he’s dead and almost completely forgotten. The world moves on. It forgets.

And all our little problems, regrets and anxieties, that we think matter, actually don’t. The universe is indifferent to them, so we should be too. I hope you’re paying attention to all this, this is good shit, you know? No really, this is ‘Simplistic Existential Philosophy 101’. Take notes! I could be the next Alain De Botton.

Pardon the segue, but do you think, on De Botton’s passport, under profession, it actually says ‘Philosopher’? And if it does, do passport control officers read this and mutter the words “Tosser” under their breaths? Which reminds me, a few years ago I was watching a documentary about the Cote d’Azur in the 1960s. One interviewee’s profession was given simply as ‘playboy’. How does one qualify as a ‘playboy’ exactly? Did he study somewhere special for that? And if so, where? Anyway, this playboy told a story of how Bridget Bardot moved in next door to him. Apparently, he popped round to say hello (as you would) “and zat iz when we became loverz”, he matter of factly recalled. I think we can all relate to that story, can’t we? Though if Bardot moved in next door to me now, I’d be popping round to tell her to keep her dogs quiet and to stop her incessant playing of the Horst-Wessel song.

Sorry, where were we? Oh yes, I was waffling on about how our problems are rarely as epic as we perceive them to be. Whenever my middle aged, middle class ass starts feeling too sorry for itself I normally ruminate on the message of Shelley’s poem ‘Ozymandias’ (I think we may have now moved into the realm of Pretension. Come on in, the water’s lovely). The poem reminds me that all the literal or figurative monuments that supposedly mark out the grandiose natures of our lives all, eventually, turn to dust. And that, to me, is reassuring and kind of funny. Some might say it’s tragic but I say it’s all about perspective. Like Chaplin said, life is a tragedy in close up but a comedy in long shot.

Which leads me back to my mid-life crisis. I believe the protocol for said ‘in crises male’ (i.e. me) is to indulge in the purchase of a shiny red sports car, which doubles up as not only an expensive but reassuring balm but also as a penis extension. I haven’t succumbed to this particular purchase (for a number of reasons) but I have noticed that I have been buying a lot more lenses for my camera. Is there a Dr. Freud in the house?

I’m hoping to have a new sketch up on the site soon, so look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Till next time,

Take it easy,

Dan

 

 

 

 

Dan Robb Comedy

Unamused.

Happy new year!

January 2014 finds me in determined spirits but, bizarrely, creatively moribund. To be honest, I’m just not feeling the muse at the moment. Haven’t been for the last few months. During the season of ho ho ho there wasn’t much ha ha ha.

See what I mean? That last line seemed hella funny but now, reading it back, eeeshh, not so much.

I’d just like to mention that when I typed ‘eeeshh’, the spell check suggested I actually wanted to use the word ‘Dershowitz’. Ummm, not really, no. And I must never, ever use the phrase ‘hella funny’ again. Ever.

Anyhowze, I am trying to be philosophical about my lack of creative zest. It will return, it has to, as I have big plans for the site in 2014. But it’s a strange one, as sometimes you just can’t squeeze out a creative nugget, no matter how long you sit there, sweating and straining (yes, the scatological inference is intended).

Actually, whenever I think about writing and my creativity I’m often drawn to thinking about crap. When I first started writing, I was like a toddler who had squeezed out a poo and was rather impressed with himself. Yes, the toddler should be congratulated (I suppose) but all he’s actually done is produce a pile of crap. Needless to say, my early efforts at creative writing were not great, more often than not over written and pretentious. But as my girlfriend at the time helpfully pointed out to me “You are pretentious, Dan.” Mon coeur!

I’d like to think that I have grown somewhat as a writer since then and am no longer a toddler flaunting his excrement. My good friend Joe told me a while ago that you can’t polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter. Hopefully even when my output stinks, it does at least shine and sparkle.

Okay, enough with the ka-ka. Here’s to 2014 and creativity.

I really, really want to shoot a short film this year (please feel free to troll my ass off if, by December, I have failed to accomplish this). Last year was certainly a big year; I launched the website, shot loads of material and my son was born. But I want to step up a gear this year (not with the baby making, I’m done with that now, thanks very much). I mean I think I have created some good comedy on this site but I want to create some great comedy. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

Hey, I’m feeling a creative surge coming! Or it could be a bowel movement, it’s hard to tell. Either way, here’s to 2014 and knocking it out of the park.

Until next time,

Take it easy,

Dan

 

 

 

Dan Robb Comedy

Sex and LAX

I got an email yesterday, telling me that my sketches had been accepted into this year’s L.A. Comedy Festival. It’s America’s biggest comedy festival. To say it made my day would be a understatement. Over the moon, frankly.

On the subject of emails, I seem to be getting a lot of junk mails lately with the title ‘Slut Finder’. I’d normally assume that this was somehow due to my semi-regular trawling of the internet for porn but it’s not. I have, relatively speaking, turned my back on porn; maybe I’m growing up, maybe I am finally sickened by the industry or perhaps I am just a little depressed by the image of me continuing to behave like a flesh slapping, sex hungry chimp at the age of 40.

Anyway, back to ‘Slut Finder’. I am assuming that ‘Slut Finder’ is some sort of online service run by entrepreneurial misogynists who promise paying customers the opportunity to meet women with high sex drives but low self esteem. Actually, I‘m hoping it’s all just a scam to steal money off the horny and gullible, as the alternative is just too depressing to contemplate.

Do you know, I think I’ll start my own online service? I’ll call it ‘Twat Finder’ (the name itself should immediately attract plenty of interest). At ‘Twat Finder’, I too will offer punters the opportunity to hook up with sex hungry chicks. But what I’ll actually do is just send customers mpegs of their mothers, shaking their heads at them in a disproving, disappointed fashion. That aught to do it.

Staying on the topic of sex, my good friend Kev has a T-Shirt with the words ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ written on it. I asked him about his T-Shirt and Kev told me that ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ is a farm stall and pub (not a sex shop) just outside of Cape Town. It was originally just called ‘Ronnies Shop’ but Ronnie’s friends painted the word ‘sex’ onto the sign on his house (as a joke) and business boomed.

Sex does indeed sell, as does comedy. And kittens. Sadly, there are no kittens in today’s blog. But Dan Robb Comedy is appearing in the 2013 L.A. Comedy Festival (did I mention that?) so it’s all good, even sans kittens. Happy days.

Take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy

Standing in the kitchen with kittens.

I write this as I stand alone,  in a bar, waiting for an event to take place. It’s an organised internet event and has something, specifically, to do with viral marketing. I think.

I’m here to try and better grasp the intricacies of what ‘sells’ on Youtube and I have taken up my default position of leaning against a wall at the back of the bar. If there was a fire escape, I’d probably be standing by it. With all the coats. Or just my coat, in this instance.

Someone has just said the word ‘giff’. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know what a ‘giff’ is. Wasn’t he in Fine Young Cannibals?

Okay, we’ve just watched a bunch of YouTube clips, many involving kittens (the internet loves kittens, apparently). I am still leaning against the wall, trying my damndest to look like James Dean in ‘Giant’. I think I probably look more like Kenneth Williams in ‘Carry on Camping’.

There is a young woman standing next to me, on her tod. She, like me, is staring intently into her phone, because that’s what you do in the 21st Century when you’re on your own in public. Think I’ll strike up a conversation with her.

Well, that went well. I opened with the fairly innocuous line “Have you been to one of these events before” but might as well have said “Hello, I’m a sex pest, can I rub myself up against you?” considering the reaction I got. The young woman, upon hearing my amicable opening gambit, simply grimaced then proceeded to sit on the floor to avoid any further contact with me. Nice to see I’ve still got the old, magic touch.

You may not be surprised to hear that I am now on my third beer. I’ve been here 45 minutes.

I am taking the reaction of the young lady as an aberrance and point blank refuse to be deterred from ‘having a chat’. I’m not actually trying to network (which is probably a good thing all things considered) just pass the time by, you know, establishing contact with fellow human beings. Call me needy.

Right, interesting looking chap next to me, I’m off to have a chat.

Okay, it would seem I missed a memo, as the phrase “Have you been to one of these events before?” is now obviously understood to mean “I am mentally unsound and may follow you home.” The guy I just spoke to has now made a swift exit to another area of the bar that has the one distinguishing feature of not having me in it. Jesus, I even feigned interest in his bloody dissertation, which was on ‘wrestling’. Wrestling?!?! Why don’t you just write a dissertation on the Klingon art of fighting with a Bat’leth, if you’re really that committed to pissing away your parents’ money? Jesus!

And calm.

Oh good, some people are now going to talk to us about successful viral marketing campaigns. A reprieve from my social Fukushima – Yay!

Well, the presentations are now over and it would seem two things work well on Youtube; one is comedy (and danrobbcomedy is all about the funny) while the other is kittens (danrobbcomedy is not so much about the kittens). Or is it?

Catastrophe

Boom! That’s what I’m talking about!!!!

Yeah, okay, it needs work.

Till next time,

take it easy,

Dan

 

 

Dan Robb Comedy

My sweet Lord.

I am happy. I am happy because my hair is looking particularly bouffy today. And by ‘bouffy’ I mean overly coiffured and slightly 1950s. Some people are less bonkers about The Bouff than others; many have no opinion on it at all, for they are wise and have full lives. But I will always be more than a little happy when my hair grows out and I begin to look like Jack Lord from ‘Hawaii Five-O’.

Jack_Lord_and_Diamond_Head

That is hair. Dear God, that is beautiful, sculpted, suave hair. It must have taken the make-up department days to get Jack’s hair to bend to their will. And the pomade, dear God, the amount of pomade needed to create that rolling wave of a Barnet.

Oh me my, I have just found this…

jack_lord_elvis_and_marie_1973_feb_10_2

That, right there, is hair nirvana. Jack Lord and The King. In one photo, you have two of the best heads of hair ever to have been blow dried. All the photo needs is David Coverdale, circa 1986, for it to possess the holy trinity of hair. Check out David’s locks.

dcoverdale_pinup22

Holy crap. Ohhhh, my. Oh, David.

Woody Allen once said that if he could be reincarnated he’d like to come back as Warren Beatty’s fingers. I think I’d like to come back as David Coverdale’s hair.

My hair has always been important to me (can you tell?). There is, sadly, a direct correlation between my hair and my sense of self. Don’t ask me what’s going to happen to my ego when my already thinning locks start to fall out. I’ll have to get a grip and grow up, I suppose. But until that day, I shall love my hair and the small but pivotal roll it plays in my life.

In my first year of Uni, I grew my hair long in the hope that this would in some way help me shed off my intense, uptight public schoolboy skin to reveal the deeply cool, highly desirable rock god persona that I suspected lurked beneath my brogues and cords. The transformation complete, I looked like a roadie for Whitesnake, and felt like an intense, uptight public schoolboy with long hair. Damn!

Likewise, when I shaved my head for an acting role, I thought the tough, Bickle-esque new look turn me into a street smart, urban animal. Sadly, I just became an actor with a cold head. Love my hair as I do, it does not seem to possess any Samson-like transformative powers. It is, after all, just ruddy hair.

Have I just written a blog about my hair? It would seem that I have.

Right, next blog I’ll set my sights a little higher and aim for profundity.

Actually, sod that, I’ve found my level, haven’t I?

Till next time,

Take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy

A nap in the afternoon.

I am back!

Missed me?

What do you mean, you hadn’t noticed I’d gone?

Well, anyway, I had gone but now I’m back, refreshed from a week spent in the sunny climes of Ireland. Yes, it was sunny. In Ireland.

I may actually be the first person to ever get sunburnt in Ireland. It happened and I have the peeling, red flesh to prove it.

On our little holiday, I discovered the joys of something I thought reserved for only the old and infirm – the afternoon nap. My God the afternoon nap is brilliant! I think an afternoon nap is to your 40s what a threesome in a Jacuzzi is to your 20s. Admittedly I never had a threesome, in a Jacuzzi or in my 20s, but I’m going to take an educated guess and say that the experience is probably pretty good.

And certainly better than the wonder that is ‘data entry’, which is an experience I spent most of yesterday revelling in. And it’s an experience that I’m also going to be immersing myself in today – Hosanna!

There is nothing sexy or enjoyable about data entry. I don’t think it’s ever inspired anyone to write a line of poetry or pen a toe-tapping pop song (yes, I did just write ‘toe-tapping pop song’. I’m 40, I’m a parent, that’s how I’m expected to speak now).

However, that didn’t stop me from trying. This is what I came up with;

‘I’m rolling in your spreadsheets,

I’m entering your data.

Touch my Tab don’t Delete,

I’m an info facilitator – huh!’

As the second verse began ‘I’m fingering your keyboard’, I thought it wise to abandon the undertaking on grounds of taste and decency. And the line ‘I’m an info facilitator’ is possibly a crime against language. The ‘huh!’ doesn’t help, either.

I guess the life of a middle class Englishman doesn’t exactly inspire red-blooded lyrics. I can’t imagine James Brown getting up off of that thing just to put up a pair of floating shelves in his kitchen. I wouldn’t have thought that Jim Morrison conceived of breaking through to the other side while he was vacuuming the skirting board (I don’t dust the skirting board, I vacuum, that’s how I roll).

Funnily enough, on the Brighton Road , there is a dental practice run by a gentleman called Jim Morrison. Part of me hopes that this is actually THE Jim Morrison and that he gave up being the pagan rock God of a generation to be a dentist in Coulsdon. He’s there, capping molars, dressed in a white dentist’s tunic and tight leather trousers, happy that he has left the women, fame and cultural significance behind him for the cosy life of middle class suburbia. Ah yes, the lure of safe, quiet conformity. The lure of the afternoon nap.

There’ll be a spanking new sketch up on the site next week, which excites the hell out of me.

Till then, take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy

Apocalypse Tao.

Once again, I’ve come up with a title for a blog that sounds cool but actually may well mean absolutely bugger all. Let us take a journey then, together, to find meaning. Or I can just type the first thing that comes in to my mind and you can read it, thinking “This man is talking bollocks.”

Still here? Hope so, we’re in a relationship now, you can’t walk away, just like that, who’ll look after the plants and feed the cat?

Okay, ‘Apocalypse Tao.’

Over the past few weeks, I have been lowering myself into the plunge pool that is Eastern mysticism, particularly Taoism and Buddhism. Why is it a plunge pool? I like plunge pools, that’s why. Who doesn’t like plunge pools?

I was always put off Buddhism due to its assertion that ‘Life is Suffering.’ “Yay”, I thought, “let the party begin!” To me, this didn’t feel like a very upbeat, optimisitic starting point, it felt like the mission statement for ‘Eastenders’ – everyone should be miserable.

But thanks to the hilarious challenges of life, I have begun to understand some of the Buddhist Noble Truths a bit better. They aren’t saying ‘Life Sucks Ass’, I think they’re saying suffering is an inherent facet of life, and one should accept unhappiness as part of the deal.

This morning I found the first episode of Tom Jones’ 1969 variety show on Youtube. It’s a fun little time capsule, though you do need to get past some of its rather more antiquated attitudes (“Blimey, it’s a box of birds!”). On this show appear two of my comedy heroes; Richard Pryor and Peter Sellers. Both were deeply troubled men whose unhappiness unquestionably fed and formed their talent (this is particularly obvious with Richard Pryor, who seems almost fragile in his routine).

In Taoism (so Wikipedia tells me), the interconnection of life’s seemingly opposite forces is represented in the Taijitu, the Yin/Yang symbol (stay with me here, I’m sure I’ll drop the didacticism soon). For me, the Taijitu speaks to not only the duality of life (day/night, male/female) but to comedy and tragedy, of joy and pain. Both are integral parts of a whole, opposite yet complimentary, constantly flowing into one another to make one experience.

It’s this insight, the acceptance of this duality, that has helped me come to terms with the more calamitous moments of my life. And, interestingly enough (yes, it is interesting), another definition of the word ‘apocalypse’ is ‘a revelation’. Get in!

So, yeah, life can feel fairly apocalyptic sometimes; it will do, it’s meant to. But that doesn’t mean one can’t weather the storm and maybe even dance in the rain.

Which reminds me of a works do that I attended many years ago. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not much of a dancer. I normally camp out on the peripheries of a dance floor, drinking with intent, while trying to look totally au fait about the fact that I am on my own, not dancing. That evening, though, the girls at work very sweetly wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. I was physically hauled onto the dance floor, where I took a deep breath and tried to overcome 11 years of public school and a lifetime of social conditioning. I closed my eyes and let rip with whatever moves I had been saving all these years. When I finally opened my eyes, I noticed all the girls were backing away, as if I had suddenly turned into Linda Blair (my mother does what in Hull?). Within minutes I had literally cleared the entire dance floor and not in a John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever good way.

It was comic, it was painful, it was Tao. It was also Crispin Glover in Friday the 13th Part 4 (you know what I mean and if you don’t, check it out on Youtube) and one of the most embarrassing moments of my young, adult life. It’s actually up there with the time I fell off the rowing machine at the gym and the people who came to my assistance thought I was mentally deficient.

Anyway, my apologies to Taoists or anyone who has a firm understanding of the concepts I have been tossing around and appropriated.

Till next time,

Take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy

Sunshine.

In lieu of a sketch this week, I am posting another blog. I’m in the midst of finessing a brand new sketch (hopefully the first in a series) and am awaiting the arrival of a vital prop. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. And I’ve been ill. And a dog ate the script.

I actually remember a boy at school using the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse to Mr. Siddall, a terrifying tower of a man who could reduce the toughest child to a puddle of intimidated tears within seconds (whenever he called a pupil “Sunshine” you knew it was time to duck and cover). I’m not sure if I should’ve congratulated said boy for the brazenness of his excuse or slapped him for the stupidity of it (probably the latter).

Actually, no, I tell a lie! The boy in question did not use the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse to Sass (that was our nickname for Mr. Siddall, I can’t tell you why as he might sue me for slander or just call me up and shout “Sunshine!” repeatedly down the phone at me). The excuse the boy used was “I accidentally tore up my homework, sir.” Brilliant. That’s tantamount to making a plea of insanity, isn’t it? I take it back, the boy should not have been slapped but congratulated. And then medicated. He’s probably a lawyer now, working on a libel suit against me, on behalf of Mr. Siddall.

Staying on the general theme of ‘homework’ (I tackle all the big issues here, you know) nothing can compare to that unique state of anxiety that is ‘not having done your homework’. I lived in that state for a number of years as a pre-adolescent. Happy days. I remember watching a panto starring Paul Shane (Ted from BBC TVs ‘Hi-de-Hi’). During a rousing chorus of ‘Chick-chick-chick-chick-chicken’, he caught my eye and gave me a friendly, encouraging smile. And I thought “No, Ted, I cannot smile, I cannot joyously bellow ‘Ho-de-Ho’ back to you for I have not done my homework. Again.”

Christ, I even feigned a collapse once to avoid having to admit I hadn’t done my Latin prep. Yes, I attended the sort of school that taught Latin, yes we called homework ‘prep’, and no I didn’t study the subject for very long. When the teachers realised I was an indolent daydreamer, they threw me out of Latin, into a class called ‘Classical Civilisation’, which is where they put all the ne’er-do-wells. In said class, a bunch of louts and I were forced to read ‘The Odyssey’, which was no bad thing really, especially as most chapters began with the line ‘Dawn came with rosy fingers’. Saucy cow.

Right, before this blog turns into my own smutty version of ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’, I shall draw proceedings to a close. Next week I very much hope to have done my homework and posted a fantastic, joy inducing sketch for the world to treasure. If I fail to achieve this, feel free to call Mr. Siddall.

Take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy

Death and Oates.

I am of two minds about which topic I’m going to amble around today; ‘death’ or ‘the lyrics of Daryl Hall and John Oates’?

I realise that ‘death’ isn’t a topic that traditionally works as a chuckle generator for a purported comedy website, so I’ll start with Hall and Oates and maybe work myself up into lather for the mirth zone that is ‘death’.

Regarding the once fabulously coiffured Hall and Oates (I do miss 80s hair), I am thinking, in particular, of the line from their 1984 hit ‘Out of Touch’ which reads “Smoking guns/ hot to the touch/ we’d cool down if we didn’t use them so much.” I think I’d die a happy man if I had written those lyrics, you know? Really, I would. There’s a poetry to them, a distinctly 80s, florid, extravagant, slightly camp brilliance.

A close second to ‘Out of Touch’ is the line “we’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks” from the Bonnie Tyler evergreen belter, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. Perhaps I just have a gunpowder metaphor fixation? Okay, ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ has just come on and I now feel I could conquer the world whilst looking particularly fine wearing cufflinks and a stick pin. What is a stick pin, by the way?

I think the reason I love this era of music is partly due to nostalgia (though I was a fairly confused, miserable child during the 80s) but mainly it’s because it’s all just so big, so much larger than life. Which nicely brings me around to the comedy nirvana that is ‘death.’ I was listening to an interview with ex-Dr. Feelgood guitarist, the wonderful Wilko Johnson at the weekend. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of the year and said that, since being given the news, life has seemed so much more vivid.

From my own experience of death, I found the moment of a loved one’s passing to be surreal (it’s a challenge to tackle this topic with the sensitivity it demands while Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ blasts into your ears, you know). Well ‘surreal’ was the word I was using until I heard Wilko’s interview, when I realised that death and the subsequent grief wasn’t surreal at all, it was reality, just more vivid. Time slows, sensations are pronounced and existence noticeably vibrates with its own distinct hum. The real suddenly seems surreal because one’s ability to experience it is heightened.

And in those moments, the petty crap we all fret and fuss over falls away and life reveals itself for what I truly believe it is; wondrous, huge, tragic, epic, silly. Much like 80s music. It’s all a divine comedy, it would seem, so we might as well rock out (with big hair) while we can.

Ouu look, it all ties up into a heart-warming sentiment! Group Hug!

I actually initially typed that as ‘grope hug’. Make of that what you will.

Until next time,

Take it easy,

Dan

 

Dan Robb Comedy