<![CDATA[Hooray for Puddings - Wittering on]]>Tue, 01 Mar 2016 19:51:57 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Hit the North!]]>Tue, 13 Aug 2013 04:56:15 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/hit-the-north

Fort McMurray is a strange kind of place. Judging by people's reactions when we told them we were coming here, most of Canada knew this already. This leg of the journey was a last minute addition to the schedule and we were paid to be here. It has never been on my list of tourist destinations and I can imagine that it's not on yours either. It's the kind of place where not much happens. People come here to work, to work very fucking hard as it happens for a lot of fucking money which they spend on big fucking pick up trucks.

One thing that does happen is the Interplay Festival. A small arts festival based in and around the local college. It was here that I was paid to be at. Can you believe that. Actual money to hear me waffle on for an hour. They can read this blog for free if they want....... Suckers!

Actually I had a massively fun time. Yes there were only two people at the first show (there were 23 at the second...Ace!) and yes it was hard work find people to entice in to the show and yes it was hard work finding anywhere to put up a poster but the people were fucking lovely, the shows went really well, we were flown up, put up in a hotel and most of all I HAD A GREAT TIME!

I was in a place I'd never heard of enjoying listening to an ABBA tribute band who finished their set, changed clothes and came back out as a Fleetwood Mac tribute band. Who can compete with that I ask yer? I didn't manage to eat an Elephant's ear (some kind of deep fried batter type thing covered in sugar) or chips on a stick or whatever it was but I sampled some fine local brews and I even had a bit of a dance.

Anyroads, with a couple of decent performances under my belt I can hopefully hit the ground running in Edmonton

Oh...... and here's The Fall
<![CDATA[Victooooooooooooooooria]]>Wed, 07 Aug 2013 02:00:25 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/victooooooooooooooooria
It's flown by, it's been relaxing, it's been like I've been living in a fucking Disney movie....

And that has been better than it sounds.


Sitting out on the deck while humming birds (actual humming birds!!!) fly around inspecting the flowers and occasionally having a brief glance at the humans (actual humans!!!). Watching the evening sun cast the last of it's golden, slow, lazy rays just before it disappears behind the mountains while deer casually stroll about mere metres away from where we are dining. Long sunny afternoons spent aboard a 30-odd ft boat putt-putting through scenery (actual scenery - we're a long way from Winnipeg now Toto!!!). Coffee's out on the deck of the newly opened cafe (Actual decent coffee!!!) walking back home only to be surprised by more deer bouncing out of the undergrowth (Actual undergrowth!!! - ok I'll stop that now it's just getting silly)

This is Vancouver Island. To be more precise, this is Maple Bay which is just outside of Duncan which is not far from Victoria. It is quite beautiful here staying with Penny's relations in their beautiful house which is in a beautiful spot. I even performed my show for them and some friends which was quite well received. That kind of thing makes me feel quite ace.

I also became an uncle for the first time. I am officially "Uncle Travelling Matt" hooray for Fraggles.

Anyway all the tranquility must end and work must be done. Onwards to Fort McMurray, to adventures and to real work.

Anyway, here's The Fall
<![CDATA[The Winnipeg leg or The human/canine bromance]]>Wed, 31 Jul 2013 21:16:41 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/the-winnipeg-leg-or-the-humancanine-bromance
The road from Regina to Winnipeg is straight and flat. And straight. And flat. The towns/villages/settlements along that road also seemed to be closed on Mondays which meant that finding somewhere for lunch was trickier than it should have been. "Historic" Indian Head (Canada has great place names) promised so much but sadly delivered little so we had to stop in the less gloriously named Wolseley. We ate in a bizarre diner/Chinese restaurant/takeaway where I saw a very large man feeding his son/grandson 2 huge plates of chips. I kind of figured that there wan't going to be much of a low cholesterol option in this place. Oh well the old me that still lives inside was secretly pleased.

Back on the long, straight, flat highway that takes us straightly, flatly and... erm... longly to Winnipeg. That's where the whole Fringe experience was going to ramp up the intensity almost straight away. Due to us not knowing that there was a time difference we arrived in Winnipeg with only an hour to spare before Penny's tecg rehearsal at her alloted venue. We had just enough time to drop our cases off at the house we were staying and drive into town to find the theatre. It was massive. you could probably fit the Regina venue that she had on the stage of the Winnipeg theatre.

Before any performances can start there's the small matter of putting up posters....lot's of posters. Everywhere you walk around the fringe areas for those first few days you are accompanied by an orchestra of parcel tape being ripped from the reel punctuated by the gun shots from a battalion of staple gun wielding actors, comedians, musicians, magicians, poets, producers and directors. I found myself climbing up lamp posts and taping things to the side of portable toilets. I didn't stick any inside the toilets although others did (it's such a glamourous life I'm leading at the moment). Of  course once that's done the real business starts.


Not gentle, laid back Regina flyering. Oh no no no! This is pounding the streets between the various venues and flyering the "lines" (That's Canadian for "queues". I'm getting the hang of the lingo you see). You find the shows with the biggest line and compete (I say compete but it is all rather friendly and good natured) with a dozen other artists all trying to sell their show as well. Trying to tread the fine line between being charming, funny and selling the show to people, and being that annoying bastard handing out annoying bits of paper to annoyed people who don't want them. Canadians are generally quite friendly and in Winnipeg they go batshit crazy for the fringe so most tend to put up with the annoying guy with the stupid hat and silly sunglasses and even sillier voice. Which is nice.

Another thing that makes all this easier for me is having a great show to flyer. We were both a little worried because the first show was a little flat. The Audience were probably the quietest I've seen it being performed to and I hope she doesn't mind me saying this but Penny's performance was a little flat too, as a result. I've seen her do it so much better. We went home after that first performance a little deflated but perked up somewhat in the morning when a five star review appeared on the CBC website (CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Things like that help. From then on a buzz picked up about the show and as I went about my flyering business I was getting good feedback and people were telling other people it was a "must see" show. YAY. I think after that the only disappointment we had was when one show was late on a Sunday and during a massive downpour. It affected numbers but Winnipeg can be considered successful. OH and CBC did name Promise & Promiscuity as the Outstanding out of town production.

I'm claiming all credit because that's just how I roll now. Penny has created a monster. I even talk to strangers now and everything. 

As is always the case the people we stayed with were awesome and did everything they could to help us. Sometimes you feel a little guilty that you treat the places you stay as a hotel because you're out in the morning and not really getting back until late. I think they understood though and made us more than welcome. 
I don't know if anyone knows this about me but I'm not the worlds biggest admirer of dogs. They are usually big slobbery, smelly beasts that I find it hard to love. Then I met Guinness. Oliver & Ragan's dog was friendly, un-smelly and very quiet. He was a bit "licky" but I didn't mind as he was a charmer!

This is such a long blog post but I've only scratched the surface of my Winnipeg fringe experience. I've met some great and interesting people with great and interesting stories to tell. I've drunk quite a lot of beer (hurrah) and I'm sure that won't stop.

Anyway onwards to Victoria for a break and then....


<![CDATA[Things I learnt in Regina.]]>Tue, 16 Jul 2013 16:30:58 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/things-i-learnt-in-regina
1. I haven't packed enough t-shirts

2. The fringe lark is a jolly wheeze

The Regina fringe is a small affair, with 18 shows in total spread across 5 venues. That is no bad thing as my first foray into 'working' a fringe was fun. It's a challenge for me stepping out of my comfort zone and actually talking to 'strangers', trying to charm them into a show, and on the odd occasion I have tried some of that self promotion that seems to be required if you want people to come and see your show. The flyering was made easier by the fact that a lot of people seem to have picked Penny's show as one they wanted to see. The show went well, and people came to see it so I'm claiming that as a complete success for me....all me. Forget that Penny wrote and starred in it, if it wasn't for the slightly awkward chap in the hat and brightly coloured sunglasses handing out the flyers the the whole trip would have been a waste of time.

This self promotion lark..... Piece of piss!

Of course it's all fun and games dressing up in fancy costumes and impressing people with your acting skills and comedic talent but I soon found out the serious business is the 'after school' activity of discovering various local brews to sample, meeting excellent new people and generally having a right old laugh (apparently this involves me doing a fair amount of flailing). At least I'm a happy drunk. 

Once again due to Penny's previous tips here we had marvellous hosts. All the Canananadians I've met so far are lovely, friendly people. Even when they deface public property they do it in a way that makes you feel all warm inside. (See picture)
<![CDATA[Canananananada and my first taste of the fringe.]]>Sat, 06 Jul 2013 14:09:16 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/canananananada-and-my-first-taste-of-the-fringe
So that was Toronto! We once again have had excellent, top quality host which makes the transition from on strange new city to another strange new city that much easier. I'm so lucky that Penny has done this before and made so many friends. I haven't seen a great deal of the city but I like the little I have seen. There's a kind of grungy cool about the place epitomised for me by the garish marvel that is the Honest Ed's store. From the outside it's all flashing carnival lights, on the inside it's ful of cheap imported fancy goods. Those from Castleford should imagine Mad Harry's but with more lights and even more tat for sale. There is a Fringe on in Toronto at the moment but neither of us are involved in this one but we did a bit of socialising at the Fringe beer tent (yes!!!!) and we went to see one show. We also witnessed some amazingly agressive helpfulness by and old chap on the "street car" (thats Canadian for tram) who didn't seem to want to believe us when we said we were ok, we knew where we were going. Apparently he knew Toronto better than his own house and I for one am pleased for the daft old bugger... now leave us alone or you'll miss your stop. 
The highlight for this leg of the trip was going to see some football. I witnessed the Ryan Nelson coached Toronto FC surrender a two goal lead to draw 3-3 with "the" Montreal Impact. I bought the cheapest ticket I could which meant I was up in the gods but that afforded me a great view of the city and I could drink my large plastic bucket of "beer" in relative peace. The large beers also meant that at half time I got to play some "wee football" in the small goalposts that were in the urinals. Every toilet should have these.

Next stop, Regina. that means more people to meet, more names to remember (and promptly forget) and more importantly some real work to do.

See ya later
<![CDATA[Good bye to the oversized Granny Smith...]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2013 03:55:23 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/good-bye-to-the-oversized-granny-smithPicture
...the city that never sleeps, Old Smoky, the city of a thousand Grahams. O.K. so I made those last two up but you get the idea. It's my last night in town and I'm sad to be leaving in the morning. I've had a wonderful time and I'm sure my head will be spinning for a good few days yet. Brief selection highlights include the museum of modern art, a very funny improv show in an off, off, off broadway theatre, a boozy brunch with some fabulous people which consisted partly of paying $18 for bottomless "mimosas" (that's american for Buck's Fizz) and tonight I've just got back from seeing a show at the Comedy Cellar. That's the club that's on the start of "Louie". All seven acts were slick and most importantly funny as fuck.
I was lucky enough to go to the Nu-Yorican Poetry Cafe. Seeing people queue down the street because they may get into a poetry gig is a marvellous sight. Maybe I'd built this part of the trip up too much in my mind because it didn't quite live up to my expectations. The atmosphere was great, I loved the dancing (to poison by Bel Biv Devoe none the less) and the party going on during the breaks, the MC was awesome and there were some awesome stories being told by people who needed to tell those stories. I just felt that a lot of these stories were told in the exactly the same way. I don't want to sound like a twat & I really don't want invalidate anyone's voice but I just felt that the shouty nature of the performances let down the words being said. Performance poetry shouldn't be all about shouting your message. The words are strong enough to convey the message and sometimes you just need to let them breathe. Having said that, the highs of the evening were truly fantastic and there wasn't much finger snapping going on. That's always a bonus!

We also managed a little break from the city by visiting the New Jersey shore. Even though I haven't ever watched that show the ubiquitous nature of the odd looking menagerie of curiosities that is the "talent" were clouding my thoughts as we rolled through the picturesque "joisey" landscape (see above picture). Just forget about the orange goons on TV for a moment (I've been told they aren't even from Jersey) because it's quite a super place to get away. A cute b&b and a number of ordinary everyday folk just enjoying the weather and their time away from work. Cute houses on every street, a board walk and we even passed a bingo hall. I could have been in Brid! we also got to hang out with someone Penny met the last time she was here who not only picked us up from the (wrong) station but also introduced us to the delights of deep fried mac 'n' cheese (I only tried a little bit I'm watching my cholesterol you see) and took us back to his place for a night cap in his very own basement bar. 

All in all I've had a great time. It's time for the frivolities to go on he back burner for a spell now. There is work to be done, shows to produce, flyers to hand out, and poems to memorise. I'll be back New York..... oh aye I'll be back.

btw I still haven't  heard anyone shout "I'm walking here!!!!"

Perhaps next time. 

And the biggest, most massive thanks must go to the people whose apartment we have stayed at. Aaaah you guys (I'm doing the double pointy fingers thing here)

Your cat is nuts!
<![CDATA[I'm Tired!]]>Thu, 27 Jun 2013 14:23:09 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/im-tiredI'm tired, my feet hurt, I feel dirty most of the time, I'm sweating... A LOT, I'm using my eyes too much, it's too loud and most of the time there is a strange smell in the air (some places smell like piss). THIS IS NEW YORK! IT'S FUCKING GREAT!

I'm a New York virgin and do you know what? I'm being quite the tourist on this trip so far but why the hell not, I'm having a great time. Just walking around is a bit of a sensory overload. I'm too busy looking around, up, down & along to take much notice of the direction I'm moving in and where I'm actually supposed to be going. I follow Penny, she knows what she is doing. She's ace!

So far no one has said "HEY! I'm walking here!" yet but there have many opportunities where I could have put on my best (i.e. rubbish) New Yoik accent and yelled it myself. Highlight of the yelling I've heard so far was and old lady who shouted "Motherfuckers get out of the way" at some people, probably bloody tourists, they're everywhere. 

So here's to museums, walking, boat rides with hilariously cheesy tour guides, walking, excellent beers, walking, my new hat (it makes me look like a local... really it does... stop laughing at the back), amusing stickers on the side of bins (see picture) and walking, lots of walking and to this big apple bursting my tiny cherry.


Speak to you soon!
<![CDATA[OK New York.... Let's ART!!!!]]>Mon, 24 Jun 2013 22:56:57 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/ok-new-york-lets-art
Bass! ART!
Dirty faced Men! ART!
Vacuum Cleaners! ART!
Tiny Hedgehogs! ART!
Video Twattery! ART!
Potato Peelers! ART!
Dirty Sheffield Children! ART!
Ferrybridge Power Station! ART!
Bricks! ART!
<![CDATA[See you later Auckland]]>Sat, 22 Jun 2013 02:08:24 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/see-you-later-aucklandOK...

... So I'm off on some kind of adventure. It's been a long time planning and a long time waiting but today's the day I leave the the warm, fluffy, treacle-y goodness of my comfort zone. Why? Why? Why would I be so foolish as to step out into the big, bad world? Well getting up in front of people and making them laugh (or groan either is good) is a buzz, it's fun and I want to do more of it. Well that or I'm a glutton for the self doubt, nerves and general baggage that all comes before the actual moment of performance.

Anyroads. First stop is, to quote Alan Partridge, "Good Old Uncle U.S. of Stateside" and in particular New York. I can't quite convey in words just how much I hope I hear a New Yorker shout "HEY! I'M WALKING HERE". If that happens then no matter what comes after the trip will have been a success.
So here's to new experiences, new people and good times! I'm going to try and upload the odd photograph here and there to show you how much I'm having/How hard I'm working/how tired and emotional I am/Just how much of a broken man I've become.
So if you want to witness this through then keep coming back. I'll try and keep this blog updated every now and then. Really.


You calling me a liar?

I'll see you later New Zealand I'll miss you not the rain.]]>
<![CDATA[The Portland Public House 19.05.2013]]>Sun, 19 May 2013 23:51:07 GMThttp://www.yorkshirepudding.me/wittering-on/the-portland-public-house-19052013
A fun night was had at the Kingsland Folk Club. I was pleased with how I went despite the pre-performance nerves which don't seem decrease the more I perform. I was already nervous about being the only poet in amongst some high calibre musicians but it went well and I got some good feed back. That, of course, meant I went home full of myself as well as a tasty vegetarian dhal. Hooray.
It's Monday now though and I'm at work...sigh