Wednesday, 27 April 2016

BORN TO PERFORM Part 2: Hey I wanna be a ROCK STAR (Not In the Nickleback way).


Hey I wanna be a ROCK STAR – but not in the Nickleback way.

Hello people. We are back for part 2 of my Born to Perform mini-series. Thanks to all that all read the blog last time round. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, feel free to check it out- it’s just placed below this. Just to recap: I am talking about all my artistic pursuits before reaching stand-up comedy.  This blog will entirely feature on my music abilities and when I tried to become a rock god.
It was incredibly similar to acting, comedy and anything in my teenage life, I pursued music as a means to get some groupies. And it was equally similar as I failed to attract said groupies.

Love Music:
I always loved rock and metal and that bored through everything I ended up doing: I always listened to music on the way to school, during lessons and the way out of school. I would be so involved with my music, I would rarely take a moment to remove my headphones from ears when engaging in a conversation. They would be lucky if I even pressed pause.  I loved music viscerally. I loved Metallica, The Beatles, Megadeth, Pixies and Guns And Roses. And the Spice Girls.

I went to music festivals regularly by myself, had long hair and was a mosh-pit aficionado. I went to gigs often. I remember that my year 10 tutor took my iPod off me once during tutor time and I melodramatically claimed that I would never be happy EVER again if she took it from me. She did exactly that and I haven’t felt happiness since. I was deeply in love my music and I dedicated much of my young life to it.  

My long hair shows how much of a rocker I was. 

Guitar Hero:
From my love of rock, I found something which suited both my gamer and my inner Gene Simmons, as I found a game called Guitar Hero: where you used a plastic guitar controller to feign being a rock star and also feigning that you’re talented and popular. You play guitar in time to famous rock songs, as well as joining in with all-night drug romps, fighting your bandmates and disrespecting the roadies that worked for you. I was fully immersed in the game.  I played and I played. I became an expert fast. I slayed songs like Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd , Slayer’s Raining Blood (bane of my life) and of course Through The Fire And The Flames.  I got really good for the games and bought some more, including Guitar Hero Metallica, Rock Band Beatles and My favourite: Guitar Hero  John Cage: 4’33 (a very easy yet very expensive game)*.

I became one of North Yorkshire’s best (and only) Guitar Hero player**. I would rack up high scores like no other. Some of the guys in my year started to hear of my great talent on Guitar hero. For example I got a very high score on Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold on Rock Band. Check me out dad – I told you I am not an embarrassment.  

“Did you complete Through the Fire and Flames?” hushed the kids at school. Yeah I did- big what? It was easy – I could do it blindfolded***. I was playing it cool to my guy friends, but I would be absolutely mortified if any girls found out – as they might find out that I may have been a bit of a nerd. And I could not let them, under any circumstance, allow them to find out that I’m a nerd. There was no way they could have known that I was nerd: certainly not from my Elder Scrolls themed metalwork in tech class, my Buzz Lightyear Lunchbox nor even my  intricate knowledge of Harrison Ford’s career.  

But one fateful day, I was talking to a girl called Claudia who was trying to flirt with. It was going well; I was charming her (probably with my pre-prepared lecture about Indiana Jones). But then a mortifying moment, a guy called James came up to Claudia and I and innocuously asked me “Hey are you the guy that completed Through The Fire An The Flames?”. I stood embarrassed when I should have been standing with pride.  I believed that he, and he alone, ruined the illusion of my being cool.  If there were to happen to me now (which it won’t because I am a responsible adult****)

But then I realised: I spent so much time and effort into learning how to play a fake instrument, imagine what if I do the same real instrument. Then girls may find it even cooler. THEN I CAN PLAY THROUGH THE FIRE AND FLAMES IN REAL LIFE. From this, I wanted to play guitar for real.

This was the kind of rocker I wanted to be. 

Guitar Zero
“You want a guitar for Christmas?” my mum chimed, “Do you know how expensive they are?” My family were sceptics – they didn’t know how much I wanted to be in a rock band. None of my immediate family play any instruments and yearned for me not too either.

“We know you Matt” chastised my brother “and we KNOW that if you did get a guitar for Christmas: You would open it on Christmas morning, play with it for two months, and then give up”. Then he laughed. Then my mum laughed.  They laughed simultaneous at my genuine plea for a guitar. Because they had given me grief about playing guitar- I thought I would tenaciously learn the guitar and get good at it – just to spite my family members. Not to play guitar for my own satisfaction, but just rub the fact in my family’s face. And that’s what I did, I vindictively learnt guitar.  I’m glad they did tease me, otherwise I would have entirely given up on the guitar after two months, as predicted.

So I got the guitar and started taking lessons with a man in my village called Andy. He was a like a hippy grandfather who taught me my way around a guitar, whilst dressed comfortably in his dressing gown, with a fag hanging from his bottom lip, on a Saturday morning. After a couple of months, I went into the family living room one night to show my family that I learnt Day Tripper by The Beatles. I was super proud of myself as it was a hard song! My dad had just wanted to watch Fred Dibnah on Tv but family obligations deemed he must watch. I played each note in the correct order and expected roars of applause. Instead my dad was annoyed of the price of the lessons after what I just produced. He proclaimed: “12 Pound for half an hour son?! It’d be cheaper to have Paul McCartney come down and play for us.” My family weren’t the most supportive. But they were at least funny about it.

Finally Rocking Out.
I continued to play guitar and I slowly became better, but I put the dream of being a famous guitarist on hold as I tried my hand in another route to being famous. I joined a band. But I did not play guitar. Oh no. I did something I have MORE inexperience at.

Workstation gang. This caption contains free eyebleach. We look like victims on a documentary. 

I became the singer in a band. There was a great time for me as I was able to perform in a group with my friends and I got one step closer to creating a dream come true. There was one drawback in the fact that I couldn’t quite sing. I thought that all singing was being energetic onstage (which I could do really well). No. How did I join the group – well my friends Dan (drums) and Charlie (guitar) decided to start a band and were looking for a singer. I said “I could do it”. I didn’t know that fact. They didn’t know either. Apparently that was enough for the band, and I got the gig.  It was uproarious union.  

We forged history on that day as we decided on the band name: Workstation Deviation. The titans of rock knew that something great had occurred that day. The band title sounds like a bad political rap group or a shit app to play on your phone at work. I thought of the name. It illustrated that we don’t stand for “the man” and we are truly rebellious, whilst none of us have done nothing immoral in our entire lives. We hadn’t even been morally ambiguous. We had just been good little rockstars.

Looks very marketable. I would be a t-shirt with that on/ 

 We rehearsed together starting off with American Idiot by Green Day and Buck Rogers By Feeder.  I was pretty Rock and Roll as I often late for rehearsals. I didn’t do drugs and didn’t drink (I was like 14 years old), but I was Axl Rose level late for things. It seemed like I had followed the traits of all the bad rock stars. Where was my Grohl-esque talents? I seemed to gifted the same rock and roll savageness of The Jonas Brothers, but for a fraction of their budget.  

We played a handful of gigs: here were our highlights:

1)      Our Debut Gig:
One day, Mrs Drake, a Food Tech teacher walked past the rehearsal rooms in which we were rocking out to our 82nd imperfect rehearsal of American Idiot. She stops by the door, probably in awe, looking at raw and immense talent. She asks if we can play a set at an event later in the week. We were thrilled and we said yes.

We decided to play the song. We were three teenage lads and I believe we were all appropriately terrified. This had been one of my first performances outside of academia or school-time. Something we were genuinely passionate about. The night consisted of our school performers: poetry, some dancers, and I believe we were the only musicians except a couple single together.  We were going to rock the joint. There was a scattering of teachers were at the gig, therefore, we changed the swearword from the first verse. We were proper  rock and roll. Ozzy Osbourne eat your heart out.

We were introduced onstage as a very special  band.  We were pumped. Charlie’s guitar rocked as Dan smashed beautiful beats. We rocked out. I sang through the means out-of-breath saying Yorkshire things to the style of Green Day: “Durnt wunna be an Imerican Ideeot. Bloody heck, get my tractor, my flatcap and my gravy!”

 But I got overexcited  too fast. I was bouncing onstage like Hayley Williams and I accidently put the swearword back into the song. The band was shocked, so shocked that Charlie’s plectrum snapped in two. Then, realising my transgression went full Ozzy and started -running around the stage to incite mosh-pits. My Inner rock demon had been unleashed. Unfortunately, this was just after the first chorus and Dan the drummer saw me venturing to the stage left rapidly, and assumed that I had left and he stopped playing out of confusion.  The song stopped, we were confused and that was our first gig. Has anyone got the number to the Rock ‘N Roll Hall Of Fame.  

The thing I remember, absolutely vividly to this day, was that our head of year – Mrs. Garnett trying to politely give us advice. “You really need to practice. And then practice some more.” She stared at me “You REALLY  need to practice”.

We did well.  

2)      Battle Of The Bands-
All good bands start out by playing at Battle of the Bands. And those bands turned up to play against us at the Richmond Youth Club in North Yorkshire. In all fairness, this was our second gig ever and we were by far the youngest there. Some of the bands there were the sad uncles who were 40 years old and still desperate that their pop-punk band is going to take off at any given moment.

I had brought my family along and to this day I remember the faces of my family’s feigned proudness and illusive confusion.  I had requested that we should play Enter Sandman by Metallica, but we stuck to what we knew- vaguely sweary American Idiot.

I remember finishing the set with glee. We played well together and we had fun. It felt like this was something that I wanted to do. It had a lot of hard work built up to it but it felt genuinely great.

We didn’t win though. Bastards.

3)      Headlining the Christmas Concert
The Christmas concert was the bastion of talent. It was the flagship of fun. It was the last afternoon before the Christmas break, and we were allowed to miss lessons to watch our friends perform.
We were auditioned by Mr Speakman, who was the head of Keystage 3 and also looked like a human Cheese grater, with the temper of one too. He was an intense, abrasive and incredibly grating (especially if you were made out of mozzarella). “Next!”.
I remember we turned up and by this point we had two new members, Jonny on bass and Tyler on rhythm guitar and there were considerably more tensions in the group. It’s as if someone had dropped a Yoko on us. An example of this had been the change in the band name – against my will. We had gone from Workstation Deviation to Socio-Static. What the bloody hell was wrong with Workstation Deviation? It’s one of the best names in rock history. It has angst, it has a rhyme and it has marketability. Will it look good on a t-shirt or a teacup? Yes it does! THEN WHY DID WE CHANGE IT SOCIO-STATIC. It was like they wanted the band to fail! This wasn’t the only change within the group.

I mean does this look marketable?

I don't think so. 

 My musical tastes and ambitions seemed to be different from the ambitions of the group. Because I am a visionary - they were grounded. I was artistic soothsayer- they were trying to fit the lyrics to a beat. I was the Kings Of Leon - and they were talented. Tensions rippled through the group. But we learnt to play Blur’s Song 2 which I did well at because I put lots of effort in it and I had a vivid stage presence which was entertaining. My energetic jumping around the stage worked well with this song.
We were beckoned to the stage. We performed the song – but as I was inadequate with the mic stand. The Mic kept on slipping down. I bent my waist down accordingly. I didn’t know how to fix it. I ended up bending down staring at the ground, uncomfortably singing the words of the song to the floor. It was surreal, but I thought it was the best course of action. The song ended.
“You know you can adjust the mic stand?”
“Yeah – but this is what rock stars do” is the sassy response I wish I had said. Realistically I just crumbled and walked away. But my mic faux pas must have not been a massive transgression, as we got the gig. We were superbly excited, we were going to be the heroes of the school! But unfortunately, snow postponed the gig until the spring term.
After the Christmas break, on a cold winter’s morning the band approached me out of the blue and formally kicked me out of the band. I took it remarkably well, but that might have been the ludicrous amount of smack I had taken to inspire my creative genius. I was totally fine with it- until I saw they still played the Christmas gig with a newer, better replacement of me who rocked Song 2. They rocked the post-christmas concert like the rock god I wanted to be. I was a distorting and isolating feeling.

Et tu, Workstation Deviation?

Like all bitter musicians*****, I then worked as a solo artist for a bit. I could play guitar. I couldn’t sing. But MAYBE I could perhaps do both. I couldn’t do both. Although I did play guitar in my uncle’s Irish band during my university years, which was great fun. But there was a moment shortly after the band’s break up which gave me some inspiration to be a different kind of performance.
I was able to have my own Christmas Concert experience: in the final English lesson of an English Teacher at our school: a hip young teacher called Mr. Smith who had taught my brother. We celebrated his legacy in style with party rings, dancing in a science lab and plugging in our iPod nanos. And I was able to perform a rendition of both Tenacious D’s Tribute and of Scrubs’ Guy Love with an accomplice- Ben. I got up on top of the science counters and started singing comedically and started to enjoy the hilarity of performing.
Here’s what it looked like.

Mr Smith said to me: “You know- I think you would be really good at comedy”. I blushed and said “Really?” with a hint of befuddlement. He suavely replied “I expect to see your name in lights one day”.
The starving artist in me demands that  this moment was the thing which inspired me to become a comedian.  Unfortunately it was not. It would have been a really nice end to this blog, but alas life doesn’t work well for blog conclusions. But the remark by Mr Smith always rang in my head.  
I guess Mr. Smith saw a comic potential in me which I had yet to learn about- but it was super important for me to learn and tame this comic potential myself. I learned that music was not really for me. It suited me well being an Ozzy Osbourne figure, but working in a group, but I could never orchestrate it in the way that I found best. I still do some music from time to time.  But there was another growing passion in my heart, something which I wanted to do so badly.
And that was comedy- the art of making people laugh.

Born To Perform will conclude with the third and final piece: The path of comedy.

If you would like me to play guitar anytime soon, I will be playing in my musical comedy duo: THE LOCK HOSS MONSTER at International Youth Arts Festival in July.  I play guitar and I am a rock star.

Things always seem to work out in peculiar ways it seems.

The Lock Hoss MOnster - performing at IYAF Festival

*That is a very niche joke. Shall I remove it. No I shan’t.
**Christ is he doing this star-footnote system again. Did he not learn the first time. I wish he used 4’33 instead of this frankly overplayed joke. And yes it is the same niche joke I just did do moments before.
***This, of course, is facetious and incredibly difficult. I cried with frustration many times by being beaten by it. This was second to Raining Blood by Slayer which still makes me uneasy anytime I hear this song.
****Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah right.
*****I’m not bitter now of course. I’m totally fine now.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Born to Perform: Mini-series 1- Trying to be an Actor

Hello my blog-fans, blog-viewers and the people that have clicked on this by mistake. I hope that you are keeping well. 

I know that so many people* have been asking: "Hey! What the bloody heck Matt! Where are all your fantastic blogs. You haven't done one in ages. If you don't write a blog soon - I will go bananas"**. 

So I haven't done a blog in months. I haven't done a blog THIS Year. I'm sorry.  2016 must be a shitty year thus far because of it. How exactly been have you been coping without my witty observations and asinine contributions to society ? I don't know how you deal with it without me***.

What exactly have I been up to? Lots of stuff ****. If you are friends with me on facebook, you will have inevitably been bombarded by me on Facebook about the stuff I’ve been up to. Since January I’ve been running several comedy clubs in Kent, I’ve written an Experimental Comedy show about Game Of Thrones, I’ve written my hour long special Vegetari-Man and I’ve been doing a podcast as well (Matt Hoss: Gig Antic available on ITunes – thanks for asking).  

Available on ITunes. The link is at the bottom. #ProductPlacement.

So I thought I would do a mini-series of blogs to make up for this fact. I love writing blogs, I have plenty I have saved as drafts, but I haven’t had the time to sit down and write them. There were some humdingers too. Maybe I will upload them in due time. 

But the time has come. But what will this mini-series be about? As you know, I perform stand-up regularly and it is something that I genuinely enjoy, and I think it suits me more than anything I’ve ever tried before.  It’s all that I want to do, but I used to do many various art forms, like poetry, writing music and acting: all of them I wanted to take to a professional level, like I want to do with Stand-up.

I’ve  always been really interested in performing my whole life, but I pursued many other forms before arriving at Stand-up, So I thought it would be  interesting to look at my process of becoming a stand-up. Why did I try other avenues of performance before stand-up and how exactly did I get here? How did my previous experience impact my stand-up?

So I will be doing a small series of blogs which each focus on my performance history and how they affected me along the way. Plus there are tonnes of funny stories along the well. This series is called Born to Perform. And  this blog focuses entirely on my acting talent!  

Here we go. 

I used to think that I was a pretty decent actor. I always really enjoyed acting and learning lines, and playing these imaginary moments. But I think my abilities weren’t as great as I thought, I never got the big roles, but I kinda got the ones that suited me- as a person. Which in anything, defeats the point of acting - doesn't it? For example, I once played a character in a play called Artist’s Impression by Josh Hinds, called Noel. Noel was an awkward man who was awkwardly in love with a girl and was too awkward to tell her that he loved her. 

I really didn’t have to act too hard.
The costume designer asked if I could wear clothes which made me look like I didn’t know how to dress without y mother. I was wearing green chinos, uncombed hair and a purple Spiderman t-shirt. Tick – Mission Accomplished. I always come dressed in character.   

This is similar to a character I played in an immersive theatre company which did speed dating with unique characters called You Had Me At Hello. I played Barry:  a video game player, comic book reader and virginity enthusiast.
Barry was literally me, but with a slightly sillier voice. And the same hit with the ladies. 

I believe I wanted to be an actor for a long time. But I now realise that I wanted to perform, but acting seemed like the most logical, but the only experience of performance I had as a child was acting in school plays. I felt like it was the only avenue to perform. But it gave me great enjoyment as it was an outlet to perform.  

I did find with working as a group, didn’t quite fit my style all the time. I love stand-up because all of the work is on you. You are the single person orchestrating it all and you have total free range to say what you like. With acting you are constrained to the limits of what a character may or may not say. In stand-up, I’m only limited by my imagination. And limited by, y’know, basic hygiene levels and standard levels of decency.

In all fairness, I’ve not been exclusively been acting classy, period drama characters: I’ve played some very obscene roles. Very PG-13. For example I played Xanthius, a slave in the Ancient Greek Comedy: Wasps by Aristophanes. It was a hyper-sexualised play. In the first scene, I cradled my fellow slave friend (played by a lovely man called James Whiley who was severely uncomfortable with this) and my character proceeds to sleep-hump his character. Exhilarating introduction to the show. 
Since we were slave boys, our costumes were just a loincloth. I was very naked throughout the play. My character's costume also had a running visual gag throughout the play. Can you guess what it was?

There is more than one big nob in the photo. WAHEY #Lads.

My character had a very big penis. An emphasis on the “CHARACTER”. This was the tone for the remainder of the play.  

Two of my flatmates in first year came along to see this play, and walked out in the interval. 
It was a fun show.

So what I thought I would do, was take you, my dear reader, through some of my acting highlights. If you are a booking agent, get your pen and paper ready. If you are not: become a booking agent and see above. 

I’ve played a multitude of roles, which I would love to discuss with you in my blog. I’ve had to whittle it down, but here are some of my acting highlights.  

Dr. Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest. 

So I performed this in my first year and first term at university. I threw myself at many auditions as I could get. Once, to impress a girl, a signed up a for a Musical Theatre audition despite lacking any ability in singing (despite being in a musical comedy duo at the moment). The girl was worth the potential embarrassment. They asked of me to bring a musical for us to sing along to.  I chose Nothing But A Good Time by Poison (it's technically in Rock Of Ages).

 I gave an underwhelming rendition as I was out of key, forgot the lyrics and kicked over chairs like the rock god I am. It was one hell of a performance, as I bounced around the room, jumping off stage and coughing the chorus when I was out of breath. I didn’t receive a callback. Nor the girl.  

The only part I got, which I was over the moon about, for The Importance Of Being Earnest. I actually think this a monumental foothold for brewing my comic potential. I met some people there who would influence, mould and kick-start my inner-clown. Three guys in particularly who would make a profound impact (Jonathan Maltz, Gersom De Koning Tan and Dan Rhodes) we also acting in the play. The directors helped bring out Chasuble, as we portrayed him as bumbling, loveless fool, attempting to gain the favour of Ms Prism. 

I told you: I never have to act too hard.

If you wanted to take it deeper, the directors (Julia Ripke and Clare Dudley) helped cultivate this nerdy awkward persona, which oozed out of me, but helped vocalise suitable onstage. They found my clown and stapled it to the character. This, again, was unforeseen step towards stand-up and being a version of me onstage. 

The actress playing Ms Prism, Chasuble’s love interest, switched half way through due to  unforeseen circumstances. I had never gotten a kiss through acting. It is the only reason why I took up performing: for the off chance of feigned affection.  I thought if I became an actor, at one point, I would get at least one kiss. I'd settle with holding hands. 

The new actress for Prism came in, and I was  fond of her, So I attempted to persuade the directors that it was my Chasuble’s character arc that he must get a kiss at the end of the show (which he does). Narratively it makes sense. However The New Prism did not like the idea. She particularly did not like me. Ms Prism, once, a warm and flirty character, was changed into a heartless and grumpy person who had nothing but contempt for my character. She entirely changed the character just because she really didn’t like me, which shone through the character. Now THAT IS ONSTAGE CHEMISTRY.
I was electric. The end of the play has everyone getting together, and my advances as Chasuble ends with Prism flatly declining me brutally. It was very funny and  it was a visual representation of what i try and get my stand-up persona to get across. A really fun role.

Creon and Guard #1 in OEDIPUS REX:

Oedipus The King, the play about where the King Of Thebes accidentally murders his dad and banged his mam #Player #Slayer. This was done for my Year 12 Drama piece and I was allowed to perform at the Georgian Theatre in Richmond (which was one of my dreams at the time).  So our class had to pull together and put on a performance of this fantastic tragedy. 

It is one of my all-time favourite tales. It has incest, murder and deceit: it’s essentially like Game Of Thrones but with less tits. As mentioned earlier, I really wanted a role which I could showcase my acting emotions (like kissing a girl onstage).

 I feel a small conspiracy grown against me whilst writing this. In none of my roles I was cast as the lead. None of them let me kiss the girls. But no- I was stuck being the loveless support act- as I played Creon: The Queen’s Brother and right hand of the king. If anything I was jealous of Oedipus. Oedipus was getting laid more with his mother more than I could get kissed onstage. How I yearned to be the incestuous king. Alas I was Creon. I wish I could be incest.*****  

I doubled up as both Creon and the Guard. The only change was how my hair was positioned at the time. Professional.

So in this part of the play, The Guard escorts the shepherd who delivers the shepherd to Oedipus’ palace, delivering the conclusion that Oedipus is actually the son of the woman he is currently married to. However to get the Shepherd to speak, my character had to twist the arm of the shepherd to interrogate hims successfully. 

 It wasn’t a major moment of the show, however a picture was taken at this moment and this is what it kinda looked like: 

This is unfortunately angled photo was published in the school newspaper and heavily commented on about many people who didn’t have access to any of the context. It was simply that picture which was printed with no caption whatsoever. It certainly beats getting a kiss onstage. 

I did find the show as a whole really enjoyable, but I wasn’t at the helm of the ship. I felt like a minor figure in this piece, despite how cool I made Creon be. He rolled a cigarette at one point. I have never smoked in my life.  I loved performing, but even at this moment, I didn’t feel that acting was quite for me (although I didn't articulate it until later. I  pursued if not for a lack of trying). 

But it is nothing quite like this final one:


This is easily the most outrageous play I’ve ever acted in. And  the funniest one. Cabaret Mackbeth was  1930’s cabaret version of Mackbeth, featuring drag queens, a pregnant dominatrix and my character called Gunther. Gunther was in a double act with Helmut. Together, we were german Rent-boys who assassinate Banquo by fisting him to death whilst wearing a PVC-Lederhosens.

My drama teacher made me wear this. She wrote the script and she made me wear this. She wasn’t fired. All my friends and family came along to this. It was the last time they came to see me perform. 

But this role was delightfully weird, and it unleashed comic potential. I loved the outrageous nature of it and  loved the developing process of comedy. I didn’t know it, but this was a building block for my stand-up career. It was liberating in provoking an audience into reacting a certain way, by the way I dressed up, by the way I present myself, and by the way i could amalgamate visceral images by saying something onstage. 

I now do a routine about wearing this suit- whilst wearing it onstage. This performance literally made me want to do stand-up. If you want to see me talk more about it (as I’m holding back some nice stories), you should come and see me live. And partially naked. 

If that hasn’t convinced you to hire me as an actor- I don’t know what will. 

Thank you for reading this- Part 2 two will be coming soon!
PART 2 Will be aboutbeing a musician and trying to be a rock star. 


Also please check out my podcast-  Matt Hoss: Gig Antic as well. Available on Itunes: 

* One person. 
** I'm paraphrasing. That's what I reckon they said. 
*** Please read with rolling eyes and a sarcastic tone.
**** Isn’t this awful like Daniel Kitson. It is. Bridget Christie does this too. But not in a blog, so it’s a homage not plagiarism. Which is a rough quote from Stewart Lee. You’re welcome. 
*****Do not take out of context.