An open letter to Richard Branson and his trains (Renationalise the railways)

 

I travel on British trains a lot. I reckon trains in India are better. We have the worst and most expensive service in Europe.  

The east coast line went back into public ownership and became the most efficient and profitable in the country. But we can’t be having that. Where is the sense in customer care. But panic not we managed to get rid of all that by selling it back to Richard Branson.

He actually has a sign on these cattle trucks that asks How are we doing? and an address to send your thoughts to him….So here’s the letter I wrote.

HOW AM I DOING.

Dear Richard Branson I thought I’d just send a quick note in regards to your question how am I doing? Well I’m afraid the answer’s not very good. I’m not sure where to start on this subject but let’s first go with the often overwhelming stench of unprocessed shit that often tickles my nostrils when traveling on your bovine Cowperson express.

How can we explain to you that it takes more than an egg cup full of water to flush a toilet that has been blocked since Newark Northgate?

It’s not all bad news though as I’ve discovered a fitting revenge to this situation when passing through Grantham the birth place of Margaret Thatcher and spiritual mother to pus ridden colossal greed juggernauts like your good self.

As soon as your train pulls into Grantham station I take great delight in running through it and flushing every toilet IN THE STATION. Thus depositing the pungent effluent of two generations of an exploited, tyrannized and quite frankly totally constipated work force. Try leading the masses by the nose after that one you creepy haired cat wanker.

If somehow I manage to work up an appetite on your defecation express can I please point out that not even NASA have figured out how to make a cheese and ham toastie in a fucking microwave.

The fact that this service costs £132.00 to go from Newcastle to London and is often so overcrowded I’ve seen people pass out yet still remain upright, packed in like Scousers at a Poundland sale, is yet another moot point. This should be enough reason to have you put on one of your new space shuttles on a one way trip to the moon.

I can’t believe you actually think we want to go into space with you? The toasties would be even worse and there would be shit floating everywhere!

Personally I would like to beat you to death with bags of your own money.

I’ll tell you this sir your trains are well named Virgin because nobody wants to ride on them.

Yours the customer.

Former “in” Bellybutton now supports “out”

A bellybutton who was a longstanding supporter of in, or as they are known commonly an “innie” has now declared to be a supporter of out, also known as an “outie”

When questioned on why they had changed their stance they remarked “I would like to clear up a few myths about being out of the main part of the body. Just because I am out this does not mean  the brain will decamp to Frankfurt. Nor will the bottom lose it’s subsidies. It’s also ridiculous to say that a bellybutton exit or Bexit as we now call it  will damage the genitals “special relationship” with the U.S. As for all this scaremongering that the bottom would be more susceptible to terrorist attacks… well that’s just below the belt scaremongering.”

When also asked if this new stance was perhaps a bid to gain the leadership of the backbone at the next election the bellybutton had this to say. “It would be a wonderful thing to be the backbones leader. It is at least five years away which is an aeon in the body politic, by which time whatever my personal ambitions may be, there will be competition from young thrusting body parts both male and female who will be overtaking me so who knows.  As I’ve said many, many times before that it’s more likely that I will be reincarnated as an olive or shoved back in by a champagne cork or Unscrewed entirely resulting in the bum falling off.”

More recently the bellybutton has caused controversy by accusing the arms and legs of goose-stepping in a fashion similar to the Nazis.

The question of in or out still remains on a knifes edge.

 

How I think you can have a Rebublic AND Keep the Royals.

The first single I ever owned as a child was God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols. A song that probably still wins the title of most subversive UK number 1 ever. A period in our history when a bunch of snotty nosed street urchins had the establishment on the run. A period that has never been repeated.

The lyrics to God save the Queen weren’t just considered inflammatory, they were seen as treason. The song shook  up the system so much that when it reached number 1 in the charts it was decided there was to be no number 1 that week. Through one song these young kids managed to induce an almost Orwellian type of censorship. Number one is two, war is peace, truth is lies etc, etc, etc. Eventually in 2001 the BBC issued a statement announcing that the song had in fact reached number 1.

Personally I feel the song and the LP that accompanied it have  been the most influential pieces of art in my, and many other people’s lives.

So am I a republican? Well yes, but it’s not a title I go giving myself out loud. My main problem with the royal family is that they reinforce the class system. As long as they exist they are the constant reminder that there are people who are better than you. In fact their very existence reinforces the class system with such vigour it’s like having Prince Phillips voice on a loop in your head asking, “So who do you sponge off, so who do you sponge off?” A question he did actually put to a bunch of women’s community support workers. Of course the answer is…the same people as you. Your royal twatness.

Saying this I don’t really despise the royals as people themselves. I don’t think you can. And I can feel empathy for them.  At the last Royal wedding as a republican I would have given William and Kate what they really want…their privacy.

There are many arguments for keeping the royals in place. We’re told the Royals are great for tourism. The problem with that is of the top twenty tourist attractions in the UK only one of them is related to the monarchy, Windsor castle at number 17. Ten places ahead of that is Windsor Lego land. So working on that logic if our next monarch was made of Lego they probably would make a fortune from tourism. The real crunch is they might as well be made of Lego. For all that privilege and status that the royals have, all they had to do to earn it was arrive here via the right vagina.

All this leads me to a suggestion. I fully appreciate the Royals are held in high regard by many people in Britain. So how about we reach a compromise? First thing take away is any powers they have as head of state. You may not be aware but the Queen has the power to sack the entire government and have them replaced by the women’s guild knitting society. Yeah but she would never do that…would she? Try telling that to Australians. In 1975 a bunch of rebels came to power in Australia who were making all sorts of unconstitutional noises and like Darth Vader in the name of the Empire the Queens power to sack their entire government was used to get rid of them.  You can read about it here…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_Australian_constitutional_crisis

And the second thing we do is take away all state funding. In short…We privatise them. If the argument is they generate a lot of money from tourism then can you but imagine the amount of real lolly we could make from them by putting them into the private sector? Come on you know it makes sense Prime Minister!

And I’m not just talking charging tickets to look at their hats. Let’s get properly commercial here. How popular would an event like The Queens Monster Truck Demolition Derby be? You could fill a stadium at fifty quid a head with an event like that. The grand finale being her royal highness herself comes out in a massive Range Rover Monster truck and drives over  a row of Fiat Uno’s while shouting “Buy British.”

As one we would rise to our feet and finally have a real reason to sing that dreary fucking anthem. In the meantime here’s a much better version…

 

 

 

 

 

On the anniversary of Thatchers Death (song)

Anniversary celebrations…

This just popped up as a Facebook memory. I wrote it on the day of her death. Trust me the sentiment still stands.

BYE BYE THATCHER

 

(Sung to the tune of Bye Bye Blackbird)

 

Cut back all our care and dole

So much woe

No tears to show

Bye Bye Thatcher

When nobody weeps for thee

On the street protesters meet

Bye bye Thatcher

 

You showed us no love or understanding

So Satan’s mark upon your arse is branded

Get out of bed, fight and strike

Go rioting ‘till late at night

Thatcher Bye bye

SADO SCOTTISH NATIONALIST POEM.

The following is a poem by an imagined character called Rubber Burns who is a sado-masochist and Scottish Nationalist. He has no resemblance to the author AT ALL!

MY SAFETY WORD IS FREEDOM.
My name is Rubber Burns, Poet, Sadomasochist and Scottish Nationalist.
Although freedom is confusing when I’m bound both legs and wrist.
I discovered these quirks as a teenager, robust and in fine fettle.
When I felt a stirring doon below after falling in some nettles.

It is the Scottish bondage dilemma, for self-government we do hanker
So let’s give a right good thrashing to these effete and Tory wankers.

Because I prefer a battered sausage shared with the clan McLeod.
So bust my Willie with a bicycle pump. It’s what gets me aroused.

Years of bourgeois rip off rules has left the north with no pot to piss in
Even though being beat for mercies sake is the Scots default position.

When I shout Freedom it means stop this, for that’s my safety word.
Having leaders we never voted for to me seems quite absurd.
And I hold nothing personally against the good folks that live down south.
But how can I tell you I love you when you’re pissing in my mouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Perils of Heavy Metal (poem)

The Perils of Heavy Metal.

 

A wesome songs of sexy ladies and blowing up your stuff

C ertainly the champions of heavy metal shows

D idn’t know to be a fan would send my head quite duff

C os head banging constantly, flings your brain right down your nose

 

When a comedy review becomes a hate crime. (And what to do about it.)

As a comedian of 17 years experience I’ve had bad reviews before. I’ve also had a lot of good ones. But a review I came on the receiving end of recently was so unbelievably misrepresentative and packed with lies, slander and libel it had me contacting lawyers and trade union representation. So I thought I’d write about the experience in the hope that should any other artist or performer come on the receiving end of blatant lies about themselves, lies they may find being published online, it might encourage them that there are things you can do about it. Don’t ever take these things lying down or dismiss them as part of the job.

Before I get into what was said about me and how I dealt with it I feel I should maybe put the comedy that was attacked so scathingly into a bit of context for you.

Here’s a review the material in question received from the Glasgow Herald at the Edinburgh festival.

“Given that we’ve had indyref, a general election and Jeremy Corbyn since the last Edinburgh Fringe, you might expect there to be more self-confessed “political” comedians around this year. Oh, a lot of acts will dip a toe in “UKIP are nasty” shallows, but it takes someone like John Scott to dive in head-first and punch every hideous sea creature he meets right between the eyes. Before you know it, he’s chewed up and spat out austerity, Margaret Thatcher, the paedophile scandal, benefit fraud, racism, class, homophobia, Mhairi Black and a sneezing attack on a bus (ok, the last one isn’t strictly political, but it is a great anecdote, so worth a mention). He reserves a special venom for Tony Blair and the invasion of Iraq but somehow, filtered through his comedy-club delivery, it doesn’t feel like a soapbox diatribe or a trendy-leftie ticking off: this is political comedy built from the grassroots up, an informed opinion column with a spiky sense of humour. “
And here’s a clip of me doing some of that material at The Tyne Theatre Newcastle in front of about 750 people.
OK so before we start putting this bad review into some context lets get to the guts of it and let you read it. (This still makes me feel a wee bit queasy.)
This festival of direness is brought to a climax by headliner John Scott. Once again, a set littered with standard observations (on more than one occasion he actually utters the phrase “what’s that about?”) and average stories (“all true, by the way”), the butt of which tends to be his long-suffering wife and/or women in general. There’s plenty of racism and homophobia too, with homosexuality and Islam in particular being used simply as punch lines in and of themselves, constantly alienating and othering specific groups in his audience. His entire act feels strangely anachronistic – didn’t comedy as a whole leave all that dross behind ages ago, when it realised it was much better off without it anyway.”
So there you have it. Within one sentence I am labelled a RACIST, HOMOPHOBE and ISLAMAPHOBE. How someone could reach such conclusions with the material being presented to them simply beggars belief. So how could someone come to write such a thing?
The show that’s being discussed was an Anti- Valentines special at the Stand Comedy Club Newcastle. As for my long suffering wife. Well yes there was material about her that night. Every single word of it run by her before it’s ever said in public, with a couple of the lines written by her good self. Yes I wasn’t being the romantic Scotsman that night. It was an ANTI-VALENTINES show. But let me reassure you whenever I do write or talk about women they are put into a context of strength and having the upper hand with me being the self deprecating idiot.
Let’s try for a bit more context. The reviewer that night was a young woman from Newcastle University Comedy Society. This was the first review she’s ever written (she’s obviously looking to make friends for her future career). Due to some derogatory comments she’d handed in at the interval about the night in question she then found herself the butt of the comperes jokes for the second half of the show. Not from me but from the female  compere.
The review was also scathing of all other acts on that night… apart from the compere. Hmmmmn…
There may be another problem at play here but I can’t prove it. Several years ago a prominent self anointed critic and comedy Policeman did a scathing review of me being a hack and if you Google my name it’s one of the first things to come up. As is his website for most British comics. Sometimes I think new “reviewers” head there first and then regurgitate his critique. I was so upset at this particular possible regurgitation that I’ve now contacted Google on the grounds of the European law regarding the Right To Be Forgotten to see if I can have the review removed from my timeline. If this is what it results in then I believe I have a case.
So how did I react. Well I immediately mailed the website it was published on with a letter that had the heading ” REMOVE REVIEW OR BE TAKEN TO COURT.” I wasn’t joking on this. I contacted the performers union Equity and was advised that on the evidence I could provide of the true nature of my comedy (i.e. someone who speaks out against racism, homophobia and Islamaphobia.) I had a very strong case. And it wasn’t just material I had as evidence. Just a WEEK before the review was published I hosted and self organised/promoted at The Stand Comedy Club Newcastle’s an LGBT special.  Yeah…some homophobe me!
The website I will admit couldn’t be more apologetic and removed the review within an hour of me discovering it. They informed me they were going to have to overhaul their editorial procedures and that the site was really about encouraging the arts in the north east.
I then enquired if it would be possible to get an apology or perhaps even have a meeting with the reviewer but the editors said the buck stopped with them but she would be informed of the severity of the situation. She was out reviewing another comedian THE NEXT NIGHT. So that’s why you find me here writing this blog.
The problems such slander could have caused me in my career are quite monumental. Just the following week I was sharing a platform for The Labour Party on the Stand up For Jeremy Corby tour along side the likes of Mark Steel and Jeremy Hardy. You can but imagine the reaction of the people who trusted me on that platform had such accusations been easy to find with a quick Google of my name.
But the question I really ask myself is how could someone arrive at writing such hate filled lies about a performer? Is it a reflection of our current social media age? Was this an attempt to publicly shame me…or…is the writer just a hate filled little shit envious of those actually enjoying a career in an industry they so obviously are desperate to be a part of. If they read this and do wish to join us in the green rooms around the land you can be assured your crimes will be well documented.
So if you are a performer, writer, painter, juggler…whatever…don’t think you have to take abuse about your work lying down. Slander like this is not just part of our job. The writer in question should be extremely grateful I didn’t take this all the way to court…but hey…I’m generally known as one of the nice guys.