Hullo good citizens. Here’s the latest Sod the Tories show recorded live at The Stand comedy club,
Hullo good citizens. Here’s the latest Sod the Tories show recorded live at The Stand comedy club,
Ok probably shouldn’t put this up yet as most of it hasn’t been tried yet. Or has existed in some ad libs live. This stuff is fairly harsh. I was planning on my next show being called, “The Worst Things I’ve Ever Said.” but then discovered Louis CK uses that term several times in a show of his. So can’t do that. For anybody this may interest this is what material looks like when your developing it. A couple of good bits and some obvious jokes….
Sorry if a sound a bit chesty tonight, I drive a Volkswagen. As soon as I park and get out I’ve got to put on patches. You combine that with the fact I’m Scottish and I like sausages I’ll be lucky to make it to the end of the show.
Not just that me and a mate just raced each other upstairs and he’s Russian so that’s knackered me.
You know the Russians have solved a big question for me. I always wondered why poor people dress in sportswear. Well now we know it’s because like athletes they do a lot of drugs.
So I haven’t had a drink in over a month now. And it’s not all bad. I really am getting so much done. It’s now become crystal clear to me why ISIS is winning. Hangovers, beheadings and rape to not mix…TBC
I don’t like right wingers claiming to be Christians. Because my mums a Christian. And she’s 81 now so she’s ;like a proper Christian. You know what I mean by proper Christian?
That’s right she hates Muslims. I blame the right wing media. it’s their bad influence. According to Fox News ever time you don’t eat your crusts…the Muslims kill a kitten.
You know how you get a little bit more right wing as you get older? She’s getting into some interesting turf with that. It’s not obvious. It’s just little phrases like, “Oh well there’ s just no pleasing some types of people.” or “Well that’s just typical of that community” or , “Oh yeah why don’t you go and open your own schools and isolate yourselves even further …you Islamic thunder cunts.” Just little things like that.
I’m not religious myself but I think there’s a lot more fun to be had from winding atheists than the religious. they’re so angry all the time, “THERE’S NOTHING!” OK calm down. Have a Horlicks.
You know the best sentence you can say to wind up an atheist? It’s this, “Look I’m not really religious…but I’m quite a spiritual person. That drives them insane. 2You don’t even know what that means” they’ll cry. I reply, “Yes I do. I know exactly what it means. It means I’m afraid of dying but I can’t be arsed going to church.”
It’s the American Christian right that are the real head cases. They’ve just accused Starbucks of hating Jesus for changing the design on their Christmas coffee cups.
I think if you buy coffee at any time of the year from Starbucks then Satan’s already balls deep in your soul.
Do you know people have no rights in America. No holiday pay, no health cover. If a woman has a baby in America she’s not entitled to paid maternity leave.
And yet the American Christians are massively anti-abortion. With those kind of conditions I’m amazed their aren’t women running up out the subway with a lap top in one hand and coat hanger in the other going, “Oh can you pick that up for me. Can somebody get that? I’ve just not got the time.”
You take away a woman’s right to supported mother hood then I’m sorry you’re just going to have to learn to deal with the odd pile of foetal flob.
THE CHRISTIAN MODEL.
And they’re obsessed with the Christian model of the family. I quickly understand their homophobia but single parents get it too. “A woman should not raise a child out of wedlock.”
I don’t know how to point this out to them. But that God guy you’re investing so much time in…He’s a single parent.
Cool has that got all the feminists onside. Cool. Let’s see if I can ruin that. Look I’m all for feminist campaigns. But have you ever been confronted by a really angry one.
I was once at one of my meetings and the subject of pornography came up. So I thought I’d drop in this little anecdote about my mate Jimmy whose mum was OCD. And he knew one day that his mum had eventually found his porn collection because when he returned to it, it was all in alphabetical order.
And a feminist lost it at me. She said, “All pornography is an act of violence towards women.”
So I felt threatened. And what do I do when I feel threatened. I crack a joke. One that I came to regret. So I said, “Actually I think you’ll find that only the really specialised stuff. I’m not into that.”
It’s alright we sorted it out at my disciplinary meeting.
We can’t change everything we’d like to. I think the Whales have had it. The Japanese just find them soooo delicious. Oh they go so nice with noodles. But Japan they’re a sentient being. They have conscious feeling. Can’t be that clever. Look at the size of the ocean and they still can’t find a hiding place. you can hear whale song from 10 miles away. They need to learn how to whisper.
Deep sea world are going to stop using killer whales in their show. They did a film about that didn’t they? Free Willy. Michael Jackson did the theme tune.
Well if anybody had a bit of a free
I saw a Michael Jackson impersonator when I was on holiday this year. Admittedly he didn’t look much like Michael Jackson…but then neither did Michael Jackson.
NO ROOM FOR RACISM.
I saw written on a toilet wall recently the words “There’s No Room for racism.”
And I couldn’t help myself but write underneath, “Actually I think you’ll find room 12B at the headquarters of the KKK…that’s probably one.
The Chilcot enquiry is a bit like Cliff Richard…It’s never coming out.
Here’s the latest Milk The Cow Podcast. I’m not on this but that matters not one jot. This is one of the best things on the net. AGAIN SITTING AT NUMBER 1 in their category on I-TUNES. have a listen. You’re sure to enjoy.
I am writing to you for your help in trying to stop the unprecedented damage happening to the NHS. Please read, share, like, tweet and tell your friends.
As someone who has the privilege of working for the NHS as an A&E doctor, I see firsthand what is happening. Please trust the real doctors and not the spin-doctors.…
The NHS is on its knees and unless things change, it may not survive. It has been attacked, part privatised, demoralised and starved of funds.
We have tried to highlight what is going on; through the media, marches, speeches and endless tweets and facebook posts. But it is not working. Things are getting worse and the NHS, which we all care so much about may soon no longer be able to care for us.
The only things which might save it is if the British public no longer just accept what is happening – but start to fight back. This is above party politics. This is about what we want our society to be like. Fight back for the greatest safety net we have – the knowledge that as a UK taxpayer if we get sick, then we will be looked after; an envy throughout the world.
The NHS was born on the 5th July 1948. Heroes from World War II, no longer wanted to accept a society where if you were rich you would prosper and if you were poor you were left to suffer. It was born in a period of great austerity but money was found because health and welfare was made a priority above all else.
A letter was sent through the door of every citizen. The opening lines were:
“It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone – rich or poor, man, woman or child – can use any part of it. “
This promise is one we may soon not be able to keep.
The NHS has its problems and needs reform. But its ethos was what made it great; patients before profits, co-operation instead of competition.But the last few years has seen a determined effort to undermine all that is good about the NHS – its socialised system of working for the good of our patients.
The government have started a process of privatisation. Billions have been wasted on re-organisations and competition and contracting out of services to the private sector which have destabilised the hospitals we all use. Despite this, the NHS kept going because of the skills and commitment of its staff.
So, to deliver the politically and ideologically driven plan of reducing the size of the state and selling off the NHS to the private sector – the government have started to attack the staff. Harm the staff and you damage the NHS. A damaged NHS is one which the public would go along with privatising.
If this happens, things will become like the USA where they spend double on health care to what we do, but the money is wasted on profit, beaurocracy and excessive wages and the standards of care are so much lower than in the UK, especially for the poor.
Why are they doing this? It has been their plan all along. The extreme right wing in this country do not believe in working together for the common good. Thy do not believe in the concepts of the NHS. They believe in individuals floating or sinking. Jeremy Hunt even co-authored a book on this 10 years ago in which the authors said the NHS is “no longer relevant in the 21st Century.”
The new contracts they are proposing for junior doctors will mean an exodus of doctors from the NHS. Without these doctors, standards of care will fall, waits will rise and patients will die.
They have said this is about 7 day working. That is just not true. The new contract will harm 7 day working. How do you improve care at weekends if you stop incentivising people to work in jobs with lots of out of hours work by saying evenings and Saturdays are normal working hours.
They have also spun the truth by saying there will be an 11% pay rise to basic pay. But Junior Doctors salaries have a large component made up of supplements because they work so many nights, weekends and evenings. If you cut these payments by more than the basic pay rise it is in fact a pay cut. They have also said they are offering pay protection. But this pay protection will only apply to current doctors in their current posts and the government seem to be hoping that current doctors will happily see their future colleagues get worse terms and conditions. But these future doctors will simply leave the NHS and patients will suffer. You can tell the politicans are lying by simple maths my 6 year old can do. They have said that everyone will get an 11% basic pay rise but the pay envelope will not rise. This does not add up without cutting the pay for those doing out of hours work.
There is so much misinformation and so many lies out there – spun by the politicians and propagated by sections of the press. We need the British public to see through the misinformation, lies and spin and to help us.
Public opinion matters. There may well be a strike by junior doctors. During the strike consultants like me will be doing what we can to make things safe. No one wants the strike – especially not the doctors. They have said they will negotiate with the government as long as the government say they will not impose a contract. That can only be fair – but the government refuses. A strike will be the fault of the government.
If the doctors strike, it would be to protect the NHS and not to harm it. Protect if by forcing the government into a climb down so that they do not bring in these disastrous policies which will lead to so much damage to the NHS.
But it is bigger than just this issue. We as a society must think about our priorities. Do we starve the NHS of resources whilst having tax cuts for millionaires and multinational businesses? Do we value and protect the bankers and speculators who have harmed this country so much? Or do we value and protect the doctors and nurses who heal the country?
We must start to fight back. Do whatever you can to let people know what is happening. Campaign on the street, pubs and ballot box. Contact your MP, sign petitions or join groups such as the NHS Support Federation (www.nhscampaign.org). Even if we win the junior doctor battle and even if Mr Hunt is forced to resign, that is only the first battle in a generational war for the NHS .
Remember what Nye Bevan said on the day the NHS was founded. The NHS will last, as long at there are the folk with the faith to fight for it. We as members of the British public need to have the faith and we need to fight for it.
If we don’t, the NHS which our grandparents so proudly formed, will no longer be there for our children. They may never forgive us.
Dr Rob Galloway, A&E Consultant
In the interests of truth and in reaction to the bullshit perpetrated by our established media, I’ve decided to start posting regular news columns here on the blog. They will hopefully be a mixture of information and some funnies. Please share far and wide…
Our first item comes from the pages of Zoe Williams excellent book Get it together (why we deserve better politics.)
Poverty is a thing in this country. The UK is the most financially unequal country in Northern Europe, containing the richest area -inner London- and fully 9 of the 10 poorest areas (the only one of the bottom ten not in the UK is Hainaut, in Belgium) the poorest 20 per cent in the UK are poorer than any of their equivalents in North Western Europe (closer to the poor of Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Average wages have dropped 4% since 2010 and had been flat since 2003. Since 2008, real median weekly wages-income determined by its purchasing power; that is, a calculation of wages relative to prices – have fallen by 10.2 %: only wages in Greece have fallen by more. Our train fares are the highest in Europe, we have the second highest levels of fuel poverty. Don’t get me started on housing. As of 2014 after housing costs, 14.6 million people were in poverty – this is 23.2 per cent of the population, and 3.5 million of them are children (this is slightly over one in four kids). One in five families cannot afford a trip to their nearest beach. 900’000 thousand people went to the Trussell Trust in 2013 alone for food, and this is not the only food bank chain in the country.
Poverty in this country has been rising since the 1980s. We’ve been patching it up with personal debt, which went up three and a half times faster than national income in between 1977 and 2008. But all of us – from the office for Budget Responsibility, to the Centre For Social Justice (a right wing think tank), to the Resolution Foundation ( a left wing think tank), the churches, to the schools, to the activists, to the person standing behind the person at a cashpoint who’s freaking out – we all know it’s there. It’s like a suppurating wound; it hurts, and often we can smell it. Yet something stops us from taking off the dressing and having a proper look.
EDITORS NOTE (that bit about us being able to smell it is very middle class…but we’ll let her off…she’s onside)
Conservatives who like to style themselves ‘caring’ won’t talk about poverty because they don’t think it’s real. Authentic poverty, to them, is the international measure of living on $1.25 a day; it’s the difference between being able to afford clean water and losing your children to cholera. It’s the gulf between subsistence and aspiration, the 50 cents between just about holding it together so that you don’t starve and getting at least one of your children to a point of literacy. That is true poverty, and anything else going by the name is a masquerade. Don’t complain that you’re hungry until you are starving. Don’t complain about work place conditions until you’re in Bangladesh and a building has fallen on your head. In other words, don’t complain until you are dead.
2. THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO POVERTY.
Well thanks for that Zoe and now some thoughts from the conservatives…
DAVID CAMERON SAYS (genuine quote)
Under the present government suicide rates have soared. the government response to this…
In an effort to appear more down to earth George Osborn recently claimed to be a regular player of Bingo. A Newcastle resident said, “Yeah we’ve all been playing Tory bingo. Everyone is desperate for a full house so we don’t get hammered by the bedroom tax.”
In a fresh upset it turns out many politicians have a second job – It’s called being an MP.
TRUE STORY. BENEFITS.
A man in Oldham had his benefits stopped for failing to complete a work capability assessment. Our viewers are probably thinking, ‘nothing wrong with that’, however the reason he didn’t complete the assessment is because during it he had a heart attack. EDs NOTE…(This isn’t satire this bit this is 100% TRUE)
AND FINALLY…IAN DUNCAN SMITH
Ian Duncan Smith says he wants the disabled to work their way out of poverty. Despite many disabled people being able to work. It’s rumoured he recently put his foot on a drowning man to see if he’d grow gills.
3. THE WAR ON TERROR.
News just in…The war on terror has now been officially declared as successful as the war on drugs. Zoo-zoologists have announced, “Perhaps we should have a war on pandas…and then they’d be everywhere.”
THE WAR. A SUMMARRY.
Recently we initially armed some ‘rebels’ to overthrow the Syrian government, unfortunately they turned out to be ISIS. ISIS are a direct result of our wars on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now we’re forming a coalition with the Taliban to overthrow ISIS and help keep the Syrian government in place. Medal of Honour was never this confusing.
That’s just what people want when they’re watching genocide…To be sexually aroused.
In the interests of truth and in reaction to the bullshit perpetrated by our established media, I’ve decided to start posting regular news columns here on the blog. They will hopefully be a mixture of information and some funnies. Please share far and wide.
Our first news item comes from the pages of Owen Jones’ excellent book The Establishment. Over to you Owen.
The status quo may be treated as common sense now, but future generations will surely look back with a mixture of astonishment and contempt at how British society is currently organized: the richest 1000 individuals worth £520 billion, while hundreds of thousands of people have to queue to eat in food banks; a thriving financial elite that helped plunge Brittan into a vortex of economic collapse, which was rescued by over £ 1 Trillion of public money but continues to operate much as before; a reigning dogma that treats the state as an obstacle to be eradicated and shunned, even as the state serves as the backbone for private interests; a corporate elite, dependant as it is on state largess, that refuses to contribute money to the state; a media that does not exist to inform, educate, as well as challenge all those with power, but which serves as a platform for the ambitions, prejudices and naked self interest of a small number of wealthy moguls. More startling to our descendants will be how this was passed off as normal, as entirely rational and defensible, and how institutions run by the elite attempted, with considerable success, to redirect peoples anger to those at the very bottom of society.
Thanks for that Owen. And now over to London and the Chinese state visit.
2. BRITISH STEEL DUMPED ON BY CHINA.
The Conservatives now claim to be the party of the workers. Unfortunately for the United Kingdom, that seems to be the party of Chinese workers. They have sold out British Steel workers so China can dump cheap steel on the UK, which is currently trading on the stock exchange at £7.43 and a bag of prawn crackers per ton.
The Conservatives seem pretty laid back about letting the Redcar steel works close. They probably think they can all just get jobs in the shipyards and coalmines.
That’s the trouble with Chinese steel…it’s so incredibly moreish. As soon as you’ve had one batch dumped on you, you immediately want some more.
The Chinese were treated to a speech on ivory hunting from Prince William. We assume he was advising them how to do it properly.
MORE LEFT WING.
It has been noted in the press recently that the Conservative Party are now more left-wing than Jeremy Corbyn. It’s true. Jeremy Corbyn wants our power stations and railways built by a socialist state. The Tories want our power stations and railways built by a communist state.
NORTHERN POWER HOUSE.
It turns out when the Tories were talking about a Northern Power House they meant that gay night club just up from the train station in Newcastle.
3. CHILDREN IN NEED.
And now some quick stories from the up and coming BBC guiltathon Children In Need…
First Gary Barlow O.B.E. (Offshore banking expert)
4. JEREMY CORBYN REFUSES TO BOW (EVEN THOUGH HE DID)
It’s been widely reported in the British media (And you know you can trust them kids) That Labour party leader and communist berserker Jeremy Corby refused to bow at yesterdays remembrance services despite global news coverage and footage and around 10’000 paparazzi snaps appearing to show that he did.
Even worse Corbyn (it really is hard to say his name without getting the taste of gerbils in your mouth) then refused to attend a posh VIP dinner after the service and instead opted to stay behind and meet and chat to veterans before attending another remembrance service in his own constituency. The bastard.
On another note here’s conservative MP James Warton sending out some Tweets during yesterdays service…Well at least he bowed his head.
Well that’s us for now. Join us again when we’ll be asking why there are more nuclear submarines in Scotland (4) Than MPs that actually want them there (3). Goodnight. Sleep if you can.
HERE’S THE LATEST MILK THE COW PODCAST. WE JUST HIT NUMBER 1 IN OUR CATEGORY ON I-TUNES!!!! I’m on again, but ignore that and listen to the lads. I-Tunes top ten in their category. you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel rightfully outraged, you’ll want to sleep with all of us (probably not the last one…but hey…print the legend)
I’ve known several soldiers in my life. I have two uncles that I’m very fond of who served in the 70s. There’s my old work colleague and friend Jim who fought at the Falklands and saw some brutal conflict that can still haunt him now. I also know a comedian who fought in the same war. There’s another Jim I knew after school in the pub who did tours of Northern Ireland and narrowly avoided death on a particular occasion. Then there’s my new comedy pal Gregor who served in Iraq and always reminds me to fasten my seat belt in the back of a taxi because he’s been in vehicles that have been blown through the air.
I’m delighted to say I know all these thoroughly decent guys because they all have two things in common. 1. They’re all from the same working class background as me. 2. They’re all still alive.
Leading up to this remembrance Sunday elements of the mainstream and far right have been highly critical of people of my own political persuasion. They’ve tried to turn this time of remembrance into a propaganda war of selfish and shallow gains. Attacking everyone from Corbyn down to people wearing white poppies for peace. So before I go any further I’ll clear up some views of mine on the armed forces. I’ve always seen troops as workers like me. They come from the same working class backgrounds. Certain areas in the country that have been hammered by consecutive governments that do not care for them can be natural recruiting grounds for the army as it’s the only job available. As a comedian I’ve done gigs for the army. Just the other week I found myself in front of the Royal Ulster and Scots regiment. Please understand several of my political viewpoints are anathema to some of those guys. But I found some common ground we had a laugh and I was invited to stay back for a drink with them which I duly accepted. I pointed out I didn’t agree with nearly any of the conflicts they’d been involved in and many of them were in agreeance with me on that. This probably wont surprise people that may know someone in the forces.
And that’s the truth of it. Most of these idiots accusing either me or Corbyn or a white poppy wearer of being against our troops don’t actually give one flying fuck about them themselves. They use a dead soldiers name to further their often vile political agendas. From the selling arms to the very people we’re trying to defend ourselves from to inciting hatred of foreigners. And it’s not just in the political arena either. We hear a lot about Help For Heroes these days. But I’m afraid I find that particular organisation just another part of the same hollow propaganda and war machine.
There’s an ex-soldier who sits at the exit of Waverly train station. He’s homeless. He sits there in the winter rain in uniform. He’ll have to use all his training to survive the harsh Scottish weather. He holds a sign telling us he’s ex-military. He never accosts passers-by. He doesn’t ask for money. He just sits there silently, using his trained discipline and self-respect to let the situation speak for itself. Do you know what Help for Heroes will do for him? Nothing. Any money they raise is only ever given to help active service men. Do you know what our photo shopped on poppy wearing Prime Minister will do for him? Nothing. He’s of a political philosophy that says he deserves to be in that position. It’s that soldiers own fault.
I think there’s much truth in the only justified war or resistance to an ideal was World War 2. World War 1 was a bunch of elites having an arms race at the cost of millions of lives. The Falklands was caused by an Argentina despot who’d been helped into power by America to crush socialism in the area. Out own despot Thatcher won an election off the back of that pointless conflict sending working class teenagers to defend our sovereignty while at the same time destroying their communities back home and giving them nothing to come home to. As for Iraq? Half a million civilian men, women, children and pregnant women lie dead under the rubble of Shock and Awe for the price of a barrel of oil. That’s all wars generally are ever about money or strategical power. That’s what my friends and relatives are sent off to fight for by establishment figures who wouldn’t want your average squaddie in the same street as them.
So you can fuck right off with your ideas that my side don’t care for the forces. We care for them a damn sight more than the right. We care enough that we have an ideal that one day they won’t ever have to do what they do for a job. But the right…They’re happy to perpetuate the endless death and suffering. They can go fuck themselves. Remember the living…and fight to keep them that way.
But enough from me. Below is an excerpt from the Owen Jones Book The Establishment (And How They Get Away With It)
On this day we should really look at the words of an ex-soldier…
Joe Glenton was twenty two years old when he joined the British Army. From a working class background in York with few job prospects, he signed up for largely economic reasons. “There are those who buy into the line, the “hero” idea, the idea of the army having a “noble mission”, he says, “but most of it is economics, with soldiers coming from poor communities in the North East, Scotland, poor bits of London, and so on. But the army is sold in a very slick, sophisticated way. If you take a brochure and go into an Army Careers Office, there’s virtually no mention of killing. It’s all “more respect, more mates, more money”, and in quite an abstract, wholesome way, defending your country. He was sent to Afghanistan in 2006 during what he calls the “the big initial re-invasion of the south of Afghanistan” and was one of the first soldiers on the plane.
During his seven months in Afghanistan, Glenton felt his illusions gradually being stripped away. “Over the course of the tour, the rationale we’d been given, helping wee Afghan girls to school, rebuilding infrastructure, was shown just not to be true”, he said. “We’d created an insurgency: it was hubris.” But in part, Glenton blames Britain’s bloody involvement in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on a need to compensate for humiliations suffered by the British Army at the hands of insurgents in the Iraqi city of Basra, which culminated in a pull out in 2007 that even British and US Generals would later term a defeat. “The main reason we were there wasn’t security here in Britain or security there in Afghanistan, “ says Glenton. “It was because of a perception that we’d failed in US eyes.” As far as Glenton was concerned, Helmand was all about the British government proving their worth to the US government after the humiliating failure in Iraq.
It was not until Glenton returned to Britain that his view of the conflict in Afghanistan “crystallized” . On tour he did not have time to think; he had questions, but there was no opportunity to talk about them. “I decided I didn’t want to go back,” he said. “I wasn’t going to sign off, which is like giving notice after leaving a job, but it takes a year to leave the military. But then I had to redeploy, and I told the chain of command that I was not going back. I didn’t even know the process of becoming a conscientious objector, an they denied me the right.” He went AWOL for over two years, and in 2009 was handed a 9 month jail sentence.
“Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration—that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we’re the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.” BILL HICKS
I hope by now anyone reading these short biographies of my favourite comedians will now realise the numbers are not in order of merit. If they were the William Melvin “Bill” Hicks would obviously be number one…by quite a jump. By happy accident I’ve assigned him the Devils number. He’d probably appreciate that. Hell, he actually started out his career as a teenage stand up being part of a troupe of American comedians known as the Texas Outlaw Comics at The Comedy Workshop in Houston. About 95% of us that are Bill Hicks fans sadly became aware of him after his death of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the tragically young age of 32. Had he lived modern stand-up comedy may have ended up vastly different to the toothless and anodyne fare the corporate shills spoon feed us now. However if he didn’t get cancer I’m sure the powers that be would have to have found some other way to silence him…Am I implying he was killed by his own government? Well if I am it’s purely in the spirit and memory of him.
“Isn’t humanity neat?’ bullshit. We’re a virus with shoes, okay? That’s all we are.” BILL HICKS.
If you’re not familiar with his work, and many people aren’t now would be a good time to become familiar. The subject matters of he tackled covered a wide range of social issues including religion, politics, and philosophy all daubed with a jet black comedy style and voice.
He criticized consumerism, superficiality, mediocrity, and banality within the media and popular culture, which he characterized as oppressive tools of the ruling class that keep people “stupid and apathetic.”
“I was in Nashville, Tennessee last year. After the show I went to a Waffle House. I’m not proud of it, I was hungry. And I’m alone, I’m eating and I’m reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me: ‘Hey, whatcha readin’ for?’ Isn’t that the weirdest fuckin’ question you’ve ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading FOR? Well, goddamnit, ya stumped me! Why do I read? Well . . . hmmm…I dunno…I guess I read for a lot of reasons and the main one is so I don’t end up being a fuckin’ waffle waitress.” BILL HICKS.
I remember exactly where I was the first time I saw him. It was 1994 and late at night. Channel 4 were doing a retrospective special on him a short documentary featuring friends and other comics was shown and then they showed the concert film Revelations which was filmed here in the UK. Prior to viewing I had no idea who he was or that stand up could tackle the world in quite the unique (at the time) way that he did. I remember by the end feeling shocked, at times my sensibilities were offended but with an overall feeling of exhilaration. Plus the downer of a realisation, “Fuck…this guy is dead?”
“Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.” BILL HICKS
Bill began his comedy career young. As a teenager he would sneak out of his home at night with his friend Dwight Slade and travel to a nearby comedy club to try routines. Immediately the older comics were impressed by his ability. I’ve seen footage of him performing aged 17 it professionally annoying how good he is. Much of his early material would mock his Southern Baptist religious beliefs. “We were Yuppie Baptists,” he joked to the Houston Post in 1987. “We worried about things like, ‘If you scratch your neighbour’s Subaru, should you leave a note?’ “
A typical argument with his father has been documented as going along these lines…
The elder Hicks would say, “I believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.” And Bill would counter, “No it’s not, Dad.” “Well, I believe that it is.” “Well,” Bill replied, “you know, some people believe that they’re Napoleon. That’s fine. Beliefs are neat. Cherish them, but don’t share them like they’re the truth.”
There’s a bit of a lazy myth I used to hear when I first started going around the British stand up circuit that he was never a success in America and only found fame here in the UK. Well, he had his own HBO special in 1990, had a very successful and televised run at Montreal’s Just for Laughs and appeared 12 times on David Letterman’s chat show. sadly the last appearance he made was dropped from the broadcast.
Hicks said, because Letterman’s producers believed the material, which included jokes involving religion and the anti-abortion movement, was unsuitable for broadcast. Producer Robert Morton initially blamed CBS, which denied responsibility; Morton later conceded it was his decision. Although Letterman later expressed regret at the way Hicks had been handled, Hicks did not appear on the show again.
Letterman finally aired the censored routine in its entirety on January 30, 2009. Hicks’s mother, Mary, was present in the studio and appeared on-camera as a guest. Letterman took responsibility for the original decision to remove Hicks’s set from the 1993 show. “It says more about me as a guy than it says about Bill,” he said, after the set aired, “because there was absolutely nothing wrong with that.” Amen to that.
“The worst kind of non-smokers are the ones that come up to you and cough. That’s pretty fucking cruel isn’t it? Do you go up to cripples and dance too?” BILL HICKS.
I work in the comedy industry full time as a comic. When I started in 1999 and worked alongside a certain Frankie Boyle at the Stand Comedy club. A club with a reputation for promoting edgier or more alternative comedy. I remember thinking that stand up was going to all become like Bill Hicks. That his legacy would be enormous. A thousand comedic voices of righteous indignation. Now I look back and sadly realise he was an anomaly. It was a miracle any of his stuff got through at all.
I’ve immersed myself in more socio political comedy in recent years. When people ask why I say, “Nothing original. I’m just trying to be like Bill Hicks.”
I’m sure there must be some young upstart comic out there who’s brilliant and wont play their corporate game. I hope they break through. We really are well over due another anomaly. The last words here are a final short piece Bill wrote a week before he passed. His is the only biography I’ve ever read where I broke down in tears at the end. The hero dies you see… Christ I’m welling up now. Some funny guy you Mr Hicks.
“I was born William Melvin Hicks on December 16, 1961 in Valdosta, Georgia. Ugh. Melvin Hicks from Georgia. Yee Har! I already had gotten off to life on the wrong foot. I was always “awake,” I guess you’d say. Some part of me clamoring for new insights and new ways to make the world a better place. All of this came out years down the line, in my multitude of creative interests that are the tools I now bring to the Party. Writing, acting, music, comedy. A deep love of literature and books. Thank God for all the artists who’ve helped me. I’d read these words and off I went – dreaming my own imaginative dreams. Exercising them at will, eventually to form bands, comedy, more bands, movies, anything creative. This is the coin of the realm I use in my words – Vision. On June 16, 1993 I was diagnosed with having “liver cancer that had spread from the pancreas.” One of life’s weirdest and worst jokes imaginable. I’d been making such progress recently in my attitude, my career and realizing my dreams that it just stood me on my head for a while. “Why me!?” I would cry out, and “Why now!?” Well, I know now there may never be any answers to those particular questions, but maybe in telling a little about myself, we can find some other answers to other questions. That might help our way down our own particular paths, towards realizing my dream of New Hope and New Happiness. Amen. I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.”
I’ve never really held too much interest or belief in things that go bump in the night. Yes I’m a fan of horror and fantasy but that’s in the world of fiction. I don’t really go in for “based on real events” type stuff. If that’s on the promotion for a film or a book then it’s usually best avoided. But then a thing happened…
About three months ago I was alone in the house I share with my wife. She had gone to visit friends for the weekend. Good, if you’re going to have a ghostly encounter then it’s always best to be on your own. That way you can prove it to no one and the realm of the ghost remains firmly in the not yet explained bracket.
I think it’s important to explain that a couple of nights prior to this event I’d watched the horror film the Babadook. It had spooked me slightly, but in a fun way. I certainly had no problem sleeping after watching. I feel it’s worth mentioning though as maybe that did play a part on my general mood and imagination.
I live in a house built around the 1920-30s. It’s had many prior inhabitants. I know nothing of any dubious events having taken place under our roof. I’ve shared this place with my wife for around 7 years. Nothing unusual has ever happened prior to the events of a few months back.
My wife and I have separate bedrooms. Please understand this is nothing to do with a strained relationship. I’m a restless sleeper and I work late hours while she works early. We love each other very much. It’s fair to say though that my wife’s bed is much comfier than mine. So with her being away I’d decided to sleep for the night in her room. I was just settling into bed when the noise started.
As I’ve already mentioned I’ve lived in this house for a while. I know the noises it makes. I can place where they come from and what’s causing them around 99% of the time. This was a new noise but it was also I initially thought familiar and completely explainable. I live on the second floor of two flats with my neighbour below me. Her front door is right next to mine. So when I heard what I thought was the noise of somebody struggling with a key in the lock of either mine or her front door my first thought was, that’s the girl downstairs coming home. But the noise didn’t stop. My next thought was well she must be drunk, it’s Saturday night, she’s obviously put the wrong key in the lock. But the noise didn’t stop.
After maybe one or two minutes of this I then began to become concerned that someone was trying to get in my door. So up out of bed I got and went to the window. I strained at an angle to see if anyone was on the door step. I could see no one. I’m hearing things I thought. Bloody Babadook.
I climbed back into bed. Now, I’m not entirely sure of the duration of the wrong key in the lock noise I could hear but it did stop. ah well that’s that I thought and began to drift into sleep. Then it started again. By this point I was getting irritable and a little spooked. It was distinctly coming from downstairs front door area. Was I wrong? Is it the sound of a key? It had rhythm to it chk…chk…chkchkchk…chk.chk.chk over and over again.
Once again I went to the window. Still nothing. Fuck this there’s definitely something going on down there. I decided to get dressed and go down and investigate. I actually felt a bit tentative opening the front door but of course once I did there was nothing there. Back up to bed.
Over the next hour the noise seemed to intensify and it began to be joined by others. I obviously understand these new noises would most likely be attributed to my hearing now being on heightened alert. As well as intermittent and fairly lengthy periods of the key noise there were loud creaks and yes bumps that sounded like they were coming from inside the room I was in. Some of them were loud and distinct and always in the background the now fairly constant key noise.
By now I was spooked yet in not panicked…just disconcerted. I decided the only plan of action would be to go sleep on the couch. I’d come to regret that.
Lying on the couch I could still hear the key noise but now it was more distant, as it should have been I was now further from the front door but the bumps and the creaks I could now hear were coming clearly from the room I had just vacated. I must have been exhausted (we were by now into the middle of the night around 3 a.m.) because despite all this I started to drift into sleep. That’s when the next thing happened.
The door leading into the living room where I’d decided to bed down can have a fantastically loud creak if it is allowed to close very slowly. I was now positioned with my head on the couch closest to said door. Just as I was drifting off a loud creaking almost cracking noise started. I sat bolt upright and turned to see the door to my living room opening slowly. It had been ajar by about and inch initially but now was swinging toward me and towards being open fully.
Rather than be dumbstruck I actually said aloud, “You have to be fucking joking.” Once the door was fully open it connected with the side of the couch I was on. I grabbed it and swung it shut with such force the door jammed in the frame. I was now convinced there was someone in the house with me.
I didn’t even run for a weapon which on reflection would have been the smarter move. Instead I took a breath and pulled the door back open. Nothing there. I then searched both my room and that of my wife. Nothing…but the noises had stopped.
As I pointed out I must have been exhausted because despite all this I did manage to fall asleep on my couch. I dismissed the door to the fact this is an old house. I also reminded myself that, yes that door does swing on it’s own it does it all the time.
It was while being out in town the next day that a thought about the swinging door occurred to me. I was so stuck by my realisation that I was eager to get home and test this theory that had just struck me.
I climbed up the stairs and there was the door as it usually always is, slightly ajar about an inch. I gave it a gentle push and it did what I was expecting it to do. It swung back shut on me. I was right in thinking that the door moves on its own…but it swings shut not open. No matter how many times I tried to get it to swing slowly open and stay there it always swung shut on me.
Was that the end of things? No. On arrival home I told my wife of the events she put it down too many films like the Babadook or a rat in the floorboards. I think it’s fair to say she came up with these explanations more for reassurance of herself than anything else.
The following night I was back in my own room and drifting off to sleep. That’s when the key in the door came back. Chk…chk…chkchkchk…chk.chk.chk. It wasn’t just the noise that made me immediately sit up. it was the fact the rhythm of it was identical to the night before. It was as if I was listening to some kind of recording.
I didn’t hang about and headed straight for the couch. while back in my refuge all the other noises started coming from the room my wife was now in. I could hear them actually disrupting her sleep as she was muttering and stirring in her bed. she is however a really deep sleeper and they didn’t wake her fully…but they still went on for a bit.
After that I heard the key noise only once more. A single play of it’s usual rhythm then nothing. And that’s the way it’s stayed.
Just the other week I was telling my mother about this and she reminded me of the footsteps on the stairs that can be heard in the house I grew up in. this reminded me this isn’t the only spooky story I know. But I’ll tell that one another time.
I once heard a theory that perhaps the stone and mortar and general fabric of the buildings that surround us could perhaps record sounds or memories. Like a tape can. I’m starting to think that’s maybe not such a bad theory…and still sounds a bit more reasonable than ghosts.