Comedy Homework Script Week 1

Kids and Family

Single blokes have it simple, you like simple things with two syllables like football.  And you get to watch match of the day if you want.

Married men – we like simple things – words with two syllables, like bake off.  We watch it not because we have to, but because we want to and we’d actually quite like to bake a cake, even if it turned out well – in which case our wives would hate us for it.

Family life is more complicated.

Having 3 daughters, for example, I was a bit miffed when someone thought I might have a favourite.  Sarah-Louise, Ruby-May and Devil-Spawn believe me, they are all treated the same.  This guy asked me “If they were all drowning which one would you save?”  That’s a ridiculous question – isn’t it?  I can’t swim!

I love my kids.  And I love my wife.  I heard her start to use the hairdryer while she was in the bath and I thought:  No! she’s actually using the hairdryer in the bath – you’ve got to do something!  So I rushed in and shouted “drop that hairdryer”.

Later, in counselling, this woman said to me “You’re interpreting everything your wife does negatively; try to see the positives in everything she says and everything she does.”  I thought “OK Fair enough”.  I’ll try it.  So we were in the kitchen larking around and I said “oh come here coochy coochy coo – give me a cuddle baby”, and she pushes me away and said “you’re not funny get off”.  And I thought “aww bless her” – “she’s just helping to toughen me up ready to face the hecklers”.

My favourite Song from 1967

Number 3:  (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson

I love Jackie Wilson – I discovered his back catalogue after hearing him referenced in a song by the Dexy’s Midnight Runners.  My favourite is Reet Petite – or as we often refer to it in our house – The lookabar song….(there’s a story behind that).

Number 2:  Respect – by Aretha Franklin.

An absolutely fantastic song and performance with such a lasting legacy.  It must mean so much to so many people.  I also just discovered the Otis Redding original that was recorded in 1965 – a completely different take on the same song.  For most of the day as I was listening through the songs I was absolutely convinced that this was going to be my number one for the year.

Number 1:  She’s Leaving Home – by McCartney and Lennon.

The reason this pipped Aretha to the post was just that I couldn’t stop listening to it.  It’s been in my head now for several days, an earworm that is most pleasant.

I’d already come to the opinion that Sgt. Pepper’s the Album was a massive influence on music from 1967 onwards and knew the legacy of how it had massively influenced bands like the Beach Boys – and so many other artists.  But I’d ruled out Sgt. Peppers the song from the top spot.

Not only is She’s Leaving Home a lovely story – it’s sung as if it’s happening now.  I love the fragility of McCartney’s vocal in the opening verse.  And I found out that none of the Beatles played any instrument on the track (in fact only Lennon and McCartney made a contribution at all, with Lennon writing the chorus – from what I heard) and only Paul and John sang.

I guess songs have to have a personal relevance – for them to be in your list of favourites.  And for me this week this song is massively relevant as Alice is off to University – this week, in fact.  Did this influence my choice?  Undoubtedly!  But I think after listening to it you’d agree that this song stands up on its merits anyway – wouldn’t you?

Have you listened to it yet?  Get it on – have a listen and then if you have time here’s a page for fun.  You could call it a test of how well you paid attention!

The backstory:

So this exercise took up a fair part of Sunday 17th September to do.  It came as an idea from a friend who suggested I play my favourite songs from each of the 50 years I’d been on this planet.

Here is the full list I listened to on that day.  Other than the top 3, the rest are in rough order of popularity:

  1. She’s Leaving Home – The Beatles
  2. Respect – Aretha Franklin
  3. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson
  4. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
  5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
  6. I’m a Man – The Spencer Davis Group
  7. Ode to Billy Joe – Bobbie Gentry
  8. The End – The Doors
  9. Suzanne – Leonard Cohen
  10. The Look Of Love – Dusty Springfield
  11. Chelsea Girls – Nico
  12. Venus in Furs – The Velvet Underground
  13. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
  14. Corcovado – Frank Sinatra
  15. Electricity – Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band

It was a fun journey of discovery as some of these songs I hand’t heard before.  It was quite tough to rank them though – especially hard to decide between number 1 and 2.

What’s your favourite song from 1967 – and what have I missed?  Would be good to have any comments you have.

7 Ways Makings Lists Could Change your Life – A Review

I read this post on the BBC website promoting a Radio 4 article on the Today Programme featuring Jenny Eclair.    I had to do read it twice as it completely rang true with me – all 7 of the points hit home and here’s why there’s at least 7 reasons to make lists:

  1.  Set your thoughts free.  Apparently we can only hold 4 things in our heads at once.  Writing things down in a list that I need to do, or ideas, or anything just helps me live in the present.  I know I might never have that thought or idea again, and no matter how lame it might be – I’m going to capture it – so I can have new ones – hopefully even better ones.
  2. Make you more successful.  At the moment, I’ll confess my lists are task oriented rather than goal oriented but all that is about to change.  A friend (thanks Pete) introduced me to a book which is ideal for keeping and monitoring your goals.  So in addition to my lists of daily tasks, I’m going to have a list of goals as well.  I just can’t wait (and no I’m not kidding).
  3. Save you Money.  For me, I will use a shopping list when I go shopping – but not all the time.  And when I do, I tend to stick to it.  Browsing the supermarket instead, usually means that I come out with junk that I just don’t need.  There’s something satisfying about creating something in your imagination first and then putting it into reality – even something as simple as a shopping list can do this.
  4. Beat self-doubt and bolster your self-esteem.   This is an idea to list your achievements.  I haven’t really tried this suggestion, but it still rings true.  At the end of the day I can see the things I planned to do and which ones are completed.  But I could benefit from listing what I achieved in a day – as quite often these things are not what I planned.
  5.  Ensure you don’t make mistakes.  I love this one, because it points directly to the work of Atul Gawande and his amazing contribution with his book The Checklist Manifesto and the introduction of checklists into medicine to save lives.  It’s really important to follow standard processes to ensure quality – and to improve these processes and checklists helps us do that.  Yes, it’s a specialist list alright.
  6. Help you to stay focused.  As soon as something is written down, I tend to stop worrying about it.  I prioritise my lists and review them – and that way the important things do tend to get done and the rest of the noise just goes away.  Yes, all that helps me focus.
  7. Face up to things you’ve been putting off.  Yes, once things are on the list and they’re prioritised – the trick is to do the important ones – even if they’re daunting.  Or a least start them.  A lot of the time the items on the list will need to be broken down into smaller more granular items in order that the big ticket item can be ticked off one day.

So this article tends to talk about the benefits of writing lists.  I imagine that there are a lot of people who don’t keep them, or only use them occasionally.  I’d be very keen to hear from people who don’t keep them and why not.  I’d be lost without my lists and I’m sure I wouldn’t function as well without them.

But then again, I am a self-confessed list maniac.  Please post and let me know your experience of lists.