Sandi

Published: 42 articles

Notable Things From July 2018

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The most notable thing about July was that it was ridiculously hot for anyone who’s lived in the UK all their life and 2018 looks set to finally replace 1976 as the hottest summer anyone can remember (unless you’re under 45, in which case insert your hottest year here [  ]). We’ve stopped saying “I don’t want to complain but..” before talking about the weather, mostly because we’ve lost the ability to form words with our mouths due to heat exhaustion.

My mind can’t write in this heat, it can’t think, it can’t sleep and that is my excuse for not hitting my (self-imposed and completely unrealistic) deadlines this month. However, I do have the best tan I have ever had and I went to Greece in 1992 – I look seriously alive and I’ve been sensibly wearing factor 50 and all that.

I’m seriously missing ice cream. Our van freezer seems to freeze any type of meat hard enough to bang a nail in yet it can’t keep ice cream any firmer than a restaurant chain milk shake (other restaurant chains are available). So we now have ice cream when we’re out at every opportunity.

I feel sorry for anyone who has booked a holiday abroad this year. I really do think that the UK is one of the most, if not the most, beautiful countries in the world but just suffers with crap summers. It also hasn’t escaped me that we’re lucky this has happened the year we decided to give up the 9-5 so I’m not sweltering in a cubicle. (I’ve never worked in a cubicle of course, that only happens in America, but I liked the way it sounded. If we did work in cubicles I probably never would have left my corporate job because I’d have been quite happy in my solitary little life hiding, undisturbed, away from office politics and photos of Susan’s sixth baby).

Ants also. July was notable for ants. I’ve been working outside, as I am privileged to be able to do (not privileged at all, I gave up a secure job to do this but check your privilege and all that) and they crawl all over my bastard laptop and have probably made a nest in there waiting for the perfect moment to destroy it just before I hit save on my 2020 Edinburgh show notes. They’re not allowed in the van and get killed if spotted; I don’t like killing them but I heard once that they set off alarm smells if there’s danger so I want to send a message to the rest of their cult that they are not welcome in my front dinette with matching cushions (which converts to a spare bed at night in keeping with most caravans – they put beds everywhere).

Oh, and the consultant told us that Jeff’s cancer has gone. So that was also notable.

What Happened to the Fucking Net?

Towards the end of last November I resigned from my £42k a year job because I hated it. Me and my husband had decided we’d follow John Burrough’s advice – “leap and a net will appear”.

The net would take the form of us selling our house by the time I finished my job (three months, that can happen, right?) and then Jeff would give his one week’s notice and we’d travel the country living off the proceeds of the sale until I was making enough money from comedy bookings for us to eat once or twice a week. If we were careful we could manage two years before the money ran out and we both got real jobs again.

Two years to make it!

By some miracle, the net appeared! Just has Julia had promised. At the beginning of December we had an offer on the house. We were, like so many people on Facebook these days, feeling blessed.

My notice period dragged from 2017 into 2018 until eventually it was the end of February 2018 and I was packing up the house so we could ride off into the sunset waving goodbye to all the silly fuckers working jobs they hate so they can pay a mortgage on a house they’ll probably never own. Smug, smug, smug little me.

It was also the end of February 2018 when my husband Jeff was diagnosed with cancer. “Which cancer?” I hear you ask. Everyone asks that, I don’t know why. I assume people have a personal rating system for cancer where some are worse than others. I don’t think it makes a difference to the canceree; whichever it is it’s about to play shit with their lives.

It was lung cancer. [Ooh, the bad one]. This is off the chart for most people’s cancer rating systems, somewhere between I-wish-I-hadn’t-asked-now and dead.

Actually, we have discovered that Jeff is young and fit (everything’s relative, the average age for a lung cancer diagnosis is 70), so he will be cured by the end of the summer and we can carry on our merry way. That’s how we get through each day, firmly believing that he will win this fight. Why would you live any other way?

How am I? Well bless you for asking.

I’m pissed off.

We chucked in our soul sucking jobs to live outside of societal norms and experience more freedom before it was too late. Most people wait until they’re retired but not us, we could be dead before then. We were prepared to take a risk, certain that the Universe would reward us for our bravery with a life of peace and abundance. The timing is almost comical. In the words of every child ever; IT’S NOT FAIR!

Fuck you, John Burrough.

I Think About George Michael Every Day

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I do.

I wasn’t a super fan. I have many of his songs on my Amazon Music playlist and I think he was an amazing artist but I never saw him live.

Yet every morning at around 6.20 a.m. I think of him. Every day.

Why?

Because I once saw a documentary. I think it might have been about Geri Halliwell. I’ve always admired her for her unconditional drive which made an average singer/dancer very famous. I feel the same about Madonna and Evita. Women with absolutely no talent who have made a success of their careers through sheer determination (and hard work probably/possibly?). I think these three women’s passions were to be famous in spite of what they had to do and who they had to trample over on their way up. This fascinates me as I’m a firm supporter of the idea that you can get wherever you want to go in life but there are always sacrifices to be made. And trampling over people is not a sacrifice I’m prepared to make, which is probably why I’m not rich. Or famous.

As a comedian, I encounter the odd ‘trampler’ but most of us are just trying to find our way in a difficult but wonderful business, trying to ignore who’s getting what gig; why they’re getting it and we’re not. That is a perilous road to travel along so we try to focus on our own progression and take responsibility for our own journey rather than worry about anyone else. Yet it’s always difficult not to compare yourself with others, isn’t it?

But I digress.

Why do I think about George Michael every day?

On said documentary, they were interviewing George while he was having his make-up done by one of those there professionals you get access to if you can sing like you mean it. She was painstakingly blending his foundation into his hairline so you couldn’t see the join and I thought, I should probably do that. I must look like I’m wearing a mask. So I do. Every morning. And when I do I think of George.

It’s not weird.

June is a busy month for me. I’m off to Wales, hosting the Heart of Devon music festival again because it was fabulous fun last year and appearing at Oceanfest along with my Comedy Avenger buddies. Checkout my gig list for details!

 

The Day My Mum Told Me I’m Ugly

I was doing a writing exercise the other day and the premise was that you had to write about a time someone was mean to you. I wrote about a time my mum said something which had quite an affect on me, although she wasn’t actually being mean. It was the most mean-like thing I could think of. Lucky me!

When I was around six or seven I went to ‘The Common School‘ – not because it was full of common people (although aren’t we all common people?) but because it was situated in the middle of a common. It was a lovely old Victorian school and there were only three classes; a select few of the mainstream school were chosen to go there.

My mum used to walk me to school and during our walks we would chat about all sorts of things and put the world to rights. One time my mum told me that I shouldn’t worry about looks because what was important was your personality. I’m sure she meant for me to take away from this that, when I chose a mate, I shouldn’t take account of how good looking he is. I hope she meant this. Perhaps she’d had a row with my dad the night before and was reflecting on how her life would have been if she’d married a nine to five two point four children likes DIY and only drinks at Christmas kind of a man.

At the time, I didn’t consider this possibility. What I thought was that she was telling me that, due to my shortcomings in the ‘looks’ department,  I could definitely not rely on them to get me a boyfriend so I should perhaps concentrate on the inner me.  Maybe this is why I was always trying to be ‘the funny one’ at school.

Anyway, as I continued with my free writing I began to consider why I was taken out of the mainstream primary school my sisters attended and sent to the Common School. I realised I’ve always thought that it was a school for the more gifted children; the special ones. But it occurred to me at that precise moment of writing that I may have been sent there because I ‘had problems’. What if that was the truth? I expect I was told I was going to a ‘special’ school because I was ‘special’ – they always say that to children who aren’t towing the line. No one would have said to me “Sandi, we’re sending you to the Common School because you’re a total fuck up and we need to keep you away from the normal kids”.

The worst part about it is I can’t ask my mum because, due to her Alzheimer’s, she can’t tell me. I doubt my dad has a clue what schools I went to or why so this will remain a mystery for ever. If anyone knows why children were sent there in the early 1970’s drop me a line.

And talk to your mums while they still know who you are.

(I kind of like the idea that I was a fuck up, though!).

Beards

I’ve never been a fan of beards. I don’t want to offend any readers who are beard carriers, they’re just not my thing. Until these last couple of years this was fine; beards were the fashion choice of men over 45 and those who needed a beard to disguise a weak chin or other perceived imperfection or to show that they just bloody could because God gave them man hormones. The fact that they carry around in them the last meal of the bearer and smell none too pretty if you get near was of no consequence to me because I had decided, due to my personal preference surrounding facial hair, that bearded men were not for me in the area of romance and life-long relationships.

However, in the last couple of years the hipster beard has attacked the faces of too many men for me to let it pass without comment. (I should point out at this point that I do have a tolerance level for facial hair – I can see the appeal of a tidy goatee (pronounced ‘goh-teeee’ of course). Even the famous prankster Noel Edmonds seems well-groomed and in control of his furry face warmer). The profusion of follicle fecundity which, until now, was the choice of facial wear only for the kind of man who likes to chop down trees sporting a checked shirt and braces (and let’s face it it’s probably cold in Canada where all the trees live so you need something to keep you warm), this profusion of follicle fecundity is stealing the youth of young men around the world.

My singular problem with the bushy beard favoured by hipsters and now infecting otherwise sensible men is that it makes them look 20 year older than they are. Why would you want to look 40 if you’re 22?!  I’ve only met one man who suits this type of beard; in fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s imperative that this man should always sport such magnificent evidence of testosterone (albeit on his chin) and it should be illegal for him ever to remove it. I’ve placed a picture at the end of this piece should you be in any doubt.

Now I have to point out that I very passionately believe that people should wear what they want, look how they want and rejoice in their appearance whatever it is. If you’ve seen what I wear on a day-to-day basis you’ve seen the evidence of said passion. This is annoying because I can’t tell you, the men (or women) reading, not to grow your face as that goes against my principles. So carry on cultivating but please do stop being surprised that it’s ginger when it gets over 1cm long.

To sum up my reasonably balanced argument against the bushy-ageing-of-man beard I will just say that I look forward to the day this goes out of fashion and my good friend MJ (pictured below) can return to being a unique-one-of-a-kind-hipster-before-they-were-hip-very-cool-dude.

 

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Definitely Not a Hipster