John Gets Mad. Bi-Polar tales 1. (Don’t be a pain in the arse.)

I’m soon going to do a new show based around experiences of mental illness called John Scott Gets Mad. The things I post here are first ideas of what will be in it.

There’s a fair bit of hippy dippy thinking out there that goes along the lines of, “oh but if you take a medication for your mental health problem you’re not addressing the problem you’re just masking it.”

Look the condition I have is genetic. It requires treatment but is also very treatable. If it rains you put on a coat. It’s the Same idea when taking a treatment. Of course you get whack jobs like Scientologist Tom Cruise who claims all mental health treatments are the work of the Devil. Perhaps Tom if you took a pill you might have a moment of reflection on your double divorces and come to terms with the fact that your gay.

Saying that, having a mental health disability isn’t an excuse for being a pain in the arse. Or so my wife keeps telling me.

I once went on a tour to raise awareness on suicide in the highlands of Scotland. It’s really proportionally high up there. Lots of alcohol and access to shotguns.

The woman who organised the tour works with self harmers. She herself was a self harmer. She was also one of the rudest and more difficult of folks I’ve ever had to deal with. If she wasn’t trying to completely control everything we did she spent the rest of the time trying to convince us we were all self harmers. By the end of two weeks I was wondering why she had to self harm at all. I would have happily offered up a quick punch in the kidneys.

“Oh you bite your nails. That’s a sign of self harm. Oh you smoke. That’s self harm”…OK you got me there…”drink, that’s self harm”…Fuck you the reason I’m drinking is to get through the next week with you. The best one was, “If you were a Goth in the 80s there’s new evidence to suggest that’s self harm.” Are you kidding me? The reason I was a Goth in the 80s was because I liked to sleep with slightly over weight girls in fishnets. How can being a Goth be an illness when you’re in a band called The Cure???

But the biggest pain was the obsession she developed over the size of my luggage. Every day at regular intervals. “That case is TOO BIG. It’s too big for the Highlands. It’s TOO BIG for this tour.”

The reason my case was bigger than the other comics was they were all going home half way through. I was away for a full 12 days.

Eventually one night in a calmer moment everyone got to speaking about their families, partners and children. “Do you have any children John?” She enquired. “Yes I’ve got three.” I replied. “Oh really? That surprises me.”

“Oh..Well I should explain none of them are mine…no they’re all in that big fucking case I’m dragging around the place.”

 

I/Mmature Student. 2. Fellow writers. Macbeth.

Ok now that I’m getting the first insights into what the workload is going to be like at Northumbria Uni with my studies of Drama and Script I’m beginning to realise this blog may be a place where I come for a wee break to relax and recharge. I’ve no problem with said work load…but yep we’re going to be busy.

Much to my delight I finally met my fellow writers today.  A great eclectic bunch from India, Latvia, Gateshead and other such exotic places. There are 6 of us but if you include Richard Stockwell our course tutor there will be 7 of us in the room at any given time. That’s a good number, both lucky and magnificent. Obviously Richard is the Yul Brynner leader type. One of my classmates Holly is a Bowie fanatic (there is no other type of Bowie fan) so she’s obviously dead smart/cool/old fashioned. I imagine over the next three years the pair of us will manage to put the other five off The Great Dame David for the rest of their days.

I’m absolutely delighted with the tiny size of our group. Compared to the more common class sizes we can have a lot more feedback and attention provided to our developing skills.

For our first classes we’ve to read The Coen brothers introduction to Fargo. I know, how cool is that. This is my homework! Plus we’ve to read/reread Macbeth. I’m not massively versed in Shakespeare but that is the one play of his I’m pretty familiar with. I’ve got a copy of it in the house somewhere  along with the notes. However as a bit of a cheat I’ve also just downloaded the latest film version staring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and err…me. Honest I was a member of the English army that invade Scotland. I would be gobsmacked if I can pick myself out as I wore a hood over my head for the days shoot. Possibly a good thing as my many friends in the SNP might find my role that day a wee bit hard to stomach. The shoot that day was pretty rough as we spent most of our time up a massive hill or in a bog in Northumbria at the start of February in sideways rain. Most of us spent most of the day slipping and falling on our arses. At one point I was heard to say in my broad Scots accent, “Ahm no sure if this invasion of Scotland is such a good idea. I think someone’s going to get seriously injured here.” Whether this adlib has made the final cut remains to be seen. I’m not so sure improvising is encouraged when doing the Great Bard.

https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/

macbeth-1
Is this a dagger I see before me… I’d imagine so mate. We’re in Glasgow.

 

 

The Ladies of Greggs (poem)

If you’re reading this outside the UK I should explain Greggs are a nationwide chain of bakers who originate from the city I live in Newcastle. I’ve heard several locals refer to them as a good employer. I can’t vouch that 100% you’d have to ask the staff. But the notion of employers treating staff well is a dwindling standard across the globe with some large areas being shoved back to slavery. I think that’s what the deliver us from evil line is about at the end…

 

THE LADIES OF GREGGS.

The ladies of Greggs work hard on their legs.
To bring us those pasties that keep us all fed.
The ladies of Greggs rise early from bed.
They’re the best of all mothers Ive oft heard it said.

With a smile and a cheery, “There ye gan pet.”
To say they seem happy is a fairly safe bet.
But why do they bother to bring us good service.
Most workers these days of their jobs they are nervous.

Because Greggs are an employer of decent repute.
Thats why you dont find them in industrial dispute.

For the cakes that they bake pay a good hourly rate so happiness at work is these ladies fate.

So we’d like to show thanks to the people at Greggs.
Deliver us from evil with our daily bread.

DAVID BOWIE ONE OF US.

 

From Brixton streets of black and Blues and working class of stock
A messianic boy named Jones was born the future king of rock.
The eyes didn’t match, the teeth needed capped, the complexion white and snowey
Yet behind those eyes lay a visionary later know as David Bowie.

David Bowie let them boogie, let the children play
David Bowie such a tease wasn’t really gay.
But it mattered not. He knew the plot. The suggestion was enough.
And a million forbiden lovers cried that there Bowie’s one of us.

He turned a planet feeling blue into a spinning glitter ball
And it wasn’t just the platform shoes that made us all feel tall
Because he blew away conformity. Made the rule book look quite petty
When he told a generation you’re beautiful, you’re changing and you’re pretty.

David Bowie let them boogie, let the children play
A million suburban heroes he birthed if only for a day
He screamed, he bawled, he was outrageous kicking up a fuss.
And from our factory production lines he screamed Rebel! Rebel!
For he was one of us.

He then shot off to Germany to escape that juggernaut called fame.
Ig and Zig and Eno stood watching lovers by a wall
The music did unite them from East and West they came
And a people reunited danced as that wall it took a fall.

David Bowie let them boogie, let the children play
A new Queen Birch named Thatcher tried to take all we had away.
But Davy boy he never flinched as he lifted us from dread
Put on your shoes, you know the ones, they’re revolution and they’re red.
OK the came some albums we’d rather not discuss
But that just proved he’s fallible because Bowie’s one of us

How many days have we left? With Hours you told us Seven
Then on a morning cold in January Look up here I’m in Heaven
From Stardust to Blackstar the circle was complete
To celebrate your legend we went Outside, did some dancing, tears fell upon the street

David Bowie let them boogie, let the children play
Your legacy is like diamond forever here to stay
Your songs will ring forever on the streets where they’ll be busked
And in a million years when they ask why we’ll say because he was one of us

Working class Pt. 2 The Arts.

There’s been much written in recent times about it being harder for working class artists to break through in their field. From problems with a lack of much needed money to gain access to education, to a general feeling that many of the fields are now being dominated by the privileged. I.e. those with money (or their parents money) to spare.

It’s not new the prejudices against the working classes in the arts. Over centuries it has been debated that Shakespeare didn’t write his own work because he was of too lowly a standing. To me the idea it was written by someone of nobility is ridiculous. Why would a noble in all their comforts have to strive to produce the best they could? They can just fall back on being…err…noble.

I think it’s certainly worth noting that just recently we lost two working class giants of their craft in David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Bowie himself left school with little qualification but did attend one of the many now eradicated 60s art schools. Rickman received sponsorship and a scholarship to get him started. All great supportive avenues for us ordinary folks to gain access to arts, now all gone.

On a personal level as a comedian I’ve certainly seen a hell of a lot of class bias in my own industry. Sometimes it’s prominent critics who hear a northern or working class voice and immediately dismiss whatever is being said as “club comedy” A now derisory term invented by a London based, self anointed comedy policeman. It’s a weird term as much comedy comes from and is created in clubs. Sure I understand that comedy designed to please those on a night out isn’t perhaps best suited to a festival going punter. But if that comedy does turn out to actually rock a festival crowd with laughter then surely it’s of some merit somewhere along the line? According to many critics absolutely not. And who is it we find most adept at this type of comedy? That’s right, working class comics. Because it was a working class crowd the comedy was created in front of. Yeah…but what are the working classes doing at an arts festival? This seems to be the notion behind such thinking.

In an attempt to not be judged as just a “club comic” I personally now write social and political comedy or satire as it can be known. How many working class voices have you heard over decades on telly or radio tackling that stuff? No, it would seem some forms of comedy are only to be uttered by those folks in the middle. What would a working class person know about the real issues? I was actually told once by the head of BBC comedy North, and I quote, “Look there’s a lot of good stuff here but you’ve got a wall of Oxbridge school tie to get over before anybody will look at it.” Do we hear a lot of working class voices on BBC Radio 4? Well I suppose sometimes we do, but usually they’re not being spoken by working class artists.  All this does beg the question what would someone from Oxbridge know about the vulnerability of life at the bottom. Or as we would call it, “the real issues.”

It used to be different.  The working classes were celebrated on TV and radio in the 70s and 80s. But for every Boys From the Black Stuff there’s now a Shameless. For every Alf Garnet there’s now Mrs Brown. We’ve been moved sideways in our portrayals from pathos to panto and nobody seems to have noticed it happening.

But it’s not all a negative picture we have here. My dad and many others were always ready to offer the advice for anybody wanting to study the arts, “You need a trade to fall back on.” Bizarrely as I head off to do a degree in Drama and Script this year I do have a trade to fall back on…the performing arts.

The problem with such thinking is those with something to fall back on will invariably fall back on it. If those coming from a more comfortable background can always opt out and go home, then home is where they will go. Working class kids can’t just up tools and go home. That’s actually their greatest asset. Once they enter the arts with nothing to fall back on…they are home.

Once you do find that home I would pay little attention to those outside performance or writing or music or busking who try to justify their existence by intellectualising the game. Art doesn’t come from the brain, it’s from the heart. That’s exactly what your audience will pay for. It’s an expression of joy and awe. Speak up, stand up…shout at the teacher.

 

Stand up comedy set 6. Church of Scotland minister…

just wrote a wee thing that made my wife laugh…It’s never been tried on stage so blame her…

CHURCH OF SCOTLAND MINISTER…

In Scotland we used to have a show called Late Call. And it was a wee five minute slot that came on at the end of the night in which a Church of Scotland minister would come on and try and give you some life advice via some religious metaphor. They’d say things like.

“You know my son came to me the other day after he had been on the internet…and he said to me…Is God everywhere daddy? I said yes he is son. god is indeed everywhere. And he said…So…Is God like Wi-Fi then daddy?

So I thought about that for a minute…And in a way yes he is. God is very much like Wi-Fi…Which is probably why they don’t get him in  Grimsby..hahaha…of course that was a little joke…

But yes God is like Wi-Fi and of course like all Wi-Fi he has a password…

But maybe you’re using the wrong password. Say for example if your password is something like Asian Babes Anal Calamity. Then that’s the very much wrong password.

Let me perhaps give you a wee bit guidance. You know I typed the words God Almighty into Google the other day and I got three top answers.

1.Is God Almighty real,

2. Is God Almighty the movie based on fact?

and 3. God almighty what’s the cure for an itchy scrotum?

Now the second two are much easier to answer than the first one. But if you have the right password then you can answer that first ever so big question…and I’m going to give you the password now…the password is of course faith.

Although if you type that into Google it does tend to go straight to the website of Faith Paloma…that’s the wrong one. Lovely as she is…

But I’d like if I can to finish tonight’s Late Call with a wee joke…It’s not my joke…it’s one I got off the internet…

There was a Jewish man praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The Wailing Wall is of course a traditional place of worship in the Jewish tradition…Everyday they go there for a good old wail…which I suppose makes sense…they’re always moaning about something…hahaha…Anyway this Jewish man is working himself up into quite the religious fervour when a tourist comes by and asks him what he’s doing?

He replies, Every day my son I come here to pray. I pray for an end to war, I pray for an end to hunger and more than anything I pray for an end to this terrible situation between the Jew and the Arab.

So the tourist asks…and does that work.

To which the Jewish man replies…what do you think? I’m talking to a wall.

 

New Year. New Hair.

2015 the best bits.

1st Wedding Anniversary.
Doing a children’s show with Martin Mor
Seymour Mace gets nominated.
Discovering Hip Hip-Hop’s Golden Era
Seeing Public Enemy Live
Gogol Bordello live
The Prodigy live.
Becoming FB friends with a genuine Midnight Runner.

Milk the Cow Podcast and hitting the top of I-Tunes chart thanks to their awesome talent.
Milk the cow rave.
The Milk the cow community in general.
Sod the Tories And have A Nice Week does the best shows we ever have (Huge thanks to all involved. Special mention for my awesome helpers John Gibson and Stewy Robz who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. And big thanks to all that came to see us.)
Lauren Pattison gets signed to top agency.
Blue Collar starts to get put together. Mega thanks to Allan Donaldson for giving me the push needed.
Free Thinking Radicals. launching soon.
Wrote the best Fringe show I’ve so far managed.
Show got great reviews.
The 8 young black people that came to see the show and went into meltdown laughing during the segment on bigotry and race then took me out and got me drunk.
The Tower café gigs and the hippies that attend.
All the old school friends who came to see me in Edinburgh.
Meeting my nephew Sean for the first time.
Bowie’s back
Got accepted to Uni.
Headlining weekends at The Stand.
Jeremy Corbyn for PM
The Durham Miners.
North East Miners Wives Oral History Project
Newcastle.
Jack White.
M.U.F.F. is brilliant. Well done Kai Humphries, Daniel, Jojo Sutherland, Tom Stade and all involved.
HAIRCUT.
A big thanks to all the folk who employed me. Always massively appreciated. x

Scotland continues to complain.

Dr Who IS Scottish.

Ban the bomb.

Refugees welcome.

Being abducted by MI6.

Lesley Gair.

Have a good new year everybody. I’m fully aware it’s never ever plain sailing. I got my worries too. Focus on the good bits. Onwards and upwards. xx