2001: A Space Odyssey at the Astor

I love 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is not a risky statement, it’s one hell of a respected movie.

I’ve seen 2001 a few times but last night I finally had the chance to see it on the big screen (at the Astor on Chapel Street) and it absolutely blew me away. The entire timeI kept thinking: “I can’t believe how good this is in the cinema.” Over and over again. I am a huge fan of going to the movies but I can also admit that most movies are fine to watch at home. Even an explosively big-budget Bay-fest might be good on the big screen, but watching it at home is not going to fundamentally alter the experience.

2001 is the most cinema-worthy movie of all time.

                                                       My face watching the movie

                                                       My face watching the movie

From the opening crescendo of Also Sprach Zarathustra (I just looked it up because I want to know the name of that piece forever) you are transported to a vision of the future and held there right until the same thumping maelstrom of Straussian genius flings you into the final credits, left a blubbering mess trying to piece reality back together again. At every turn Stanley Kubrick leads your senses on a journey through his own prophetic ideas of things to come that has you transfixed from beginning to end. 

And he’s cocky about it too. Kubrick isn’t a director worried about people getting bored; every scene takes all the time in the world, confidently expecting you to be so taken in by what’s happening you want it to go on even longer than it does.

2001 tunnel.jpg

I can only imagine what this movie was like in 1967. There should have been riots in the streets after every screening. To see something this bold and visionary would have been a revelation. Modern technology has only just caught up with some of the kit/gear/tech featured in the film – 16 years after it was predicted to occur – and just try getting mobile reception in the city as reliable as they had in space. At the time of its release, whoever was lucky enough to see 2001 experienced the best of the big screen for all time.

As my friend commented afterwards, the most depressing part of the film isn’t just that its prophecies of internationally-united commercial spaceflight didn’t come true, or that some of the technology is only now being seen everywhere. The most depressing part is that, not only has technology not become as good as predicted, movies themselves haven’t even improved in the intervening time! When a person walked out of that movie in 1967 little did they know they had hit the high tidemark of both hope for the future AND cinema-viewing experience for the rest of their life.

The three distinct acts of the movie are all individually awesome on the big screen. The opening scene on an African savannah is gorgeous. I watched it feeling entertained by its primal beauty mixed with respect for the balls on this director opening his science fiction movie with half an hour of monkeys howling on a savannah.

                                       What Stanley Kubrick thinks of your expectations

                                       What Stanley Kubrick thinks of your expectations

Then, as the movie continued, I finally understood exactly how good this movie is. Every shot and sound overwhelms the senses with its grandeur. Even the close ups of HAL made more sense to me: seeing his “eye” cover an entire cinema screen puts in perspective what the astronauts are going through, trying to take on a presence that is overwhelmingly in control of every part of the ship.

And then there’s the third act. It was always a trip, but this time it’s the real deal. It’s beautiful, it’s mesmerising and it’s confusing. It’s like nothing else. I felt like I was being hypnotised and I couldn’t get enough of it. Even after 50 years, no director has realised that all we need as an audience are some flashing colours,a little ominous music and we’re all thoroughly immersed and entertained.

                                                        This isn't even the trippy bit

                                                        This isn't even the trippy bit

Some directors have attempted this type of visual and aural assault in their movies recently, but it just doesn’t compare. Christopher Nolan is a good example: he uses absurdly loud music to make you feel engaged, but it gets to the point you can’t even hear what the characters are saying. I guess I can give him some credit for trying, but he fails to come anywhere even remotely close to 2001. Maybe he’s hoping the loud noises will make you ignore the dialogue and feel like you're seeing something as epic as a Shakespearean drama, instead his recent movies have the feeling of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

             My face when Anne Hathaway talked about love for 8 minutes straight in Interstellar

             My face when Anne Hathaway talked about love for 8 minutes straight in Interstellar

The opposite is the case with Kubrick. Every single shot is painstakingly put together and combined with the music to leave you feeling more than can be put into words. Honestly, you could take almost any screenshot from the whole film and it would make a cool poster to hang in your room. I thought that before watching 2001 at the cinema and now I’m even more convinced of it.

                        I didn't want to use so many images but they're all so damned good

                        I didn't want to use so many images but they're all so damned good

Another plus-side to seeing this film at the Astor is seeing all the other people that are there with you. I don’t know who they are, but I loved them all.

If you ever have the opportunity to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on the big screen, do it. You won’t be disappointed.

Committing

I hold back from being fully committed onstage all the time. Its difficult to catch because I'm focussed on getting the words out in the right order or stressing about the audience reacting to think about my level of commitment, its not till I get off at the end I look back and think “I should’ve made a bigger idiot of myself there.”

Committing to the bit is the key to any performance anywhere always. Whatever you’re doing you have to do that thing 110% otherwise you won’t even know if it works or not. This includes if you’re playing a character who gives 50% to what he does, in that case you need to commit 220% to compensate.

                                        If your character gives 45% it starts getting technical

                                        If your character gives 45% it starts getting technical

The audience is a really good gauge for this though. Somehow they can tell when I’m not giving it my all and if they sense I’m not believing what I’m saying they don’t want to believe it either. This matters so much, my belief in what I’m saying can change the performance from being someone standing powerfully in charge, talking about issues I’ve considered and feel confident in expressing, to some guy mumbling awkwardly in the corner about my thoughts and my day to no one in particular.

Committing is being present, being exclusively in the moment. This is outrageously hard for someone like me whose natural defence mechanism in any situation is to zone out completely until everything resolves itself. This means in a performance, instead of my whole brain being in the moment I have half my brain there, a quarter of the brain dwelling on an awkward handshake from three days ago and the other quarter imagining all the possible awkward handshakes in the years to come.

    The first image that comes up when you google “awkward handshake"

    The first image that comes up when you google “awkward handshake"

This takes away from what I’m doing and makes it less enjoyable for everyone, including me. One thing I have found again and again is that I don’t regret totally committing once its done, it feels so stupid beforehand and I wonder what the hell I’m doing with my life but once I do it and stand there afterwards I feel so much better about the whole thing. At least now when the bit bombed I can confidently put it bit aside and move on with my life.

This is especially true for any bit that you are less confident on, that lack of confidence can destroy a theme, idea or action before it gets the chance to exist. Instead you need to perform that idiotic idea like its the most brilliant thing you’ve ever thought of and hope the people watching don’t mistake what you’re doing for an actual psychological breakdown.

          Just avoid certain words or phrases

          Just avoid certain words or phrases

Dress up party

I was recently invited to a dress up party and went through the same cycle of emotions I usually go through, mild interest to giving up thinking about it - its a very short cycle. As someone who has slowly devolved my clothing style to minimise any thought being required asking me to specifically dress up for an event is ambitious.

                                                      My closet if I had a nice closet

                                                      My closet if I had a nice closet

For me all situations not involving tracksuit pants are a dress up party, they should just be happy I’m wearing shoes. If I happen to have different coloured tracksuit pants that suit the dress up party then maybe I put those on but I’m still tempted not to out of principle. Who are these people to request me to put effort into come to the party? I am in public socialising with people, thats already more effort than I would like. They should just have a miserable person dress up party, although I might commit to my characters costume and just stay home.

I’ve mellowed with these thoughts over the years though, the key is just to picture it differently in your head. I try to imagine dress up parties as a brief moment of distraction from the unending misery that is the majority of human existence, makes them downright necessary!

                                                     I Scooby dooby doon’t feel sad!

                                                     I Scooby dooby doon’t feel sad!

They also make a party more relaxed because everyone looks stupid together, plus if a conversation dries up at any point you can gesture at some element of the other persons costume and grunt out something in relation to what they’re wearing thus delaying that awkward moment where you run out of conversation by several sentences which gives more time for an external distraction to come along and save you. Now thats something we can all get behind.

The problem - if you decide to become someone who is pro-costume - is you have to actually find a costume - a huge issue I didn’t first consider when switching my stance. The good news is I built up in my head how much effort is required to get a costume so was pleasantly surprised to find out it only takes about an hour of conscious effort. By picturing it being way worse than it really was it made the whole experience not so bad, basically the opposite of sex. And an hour looking for a costume, compared to the amount of time I spend reading lists of movies that I’ll never watch, isn’t asking much.

        Can’t wait to find out what the number 1 Mike Meyers movie is that isn’t what I think it is!

        Can’t wait to find out what the number 1 Mike Meyers movie is that isn’t what I think it is!

When you think about it, all parties are already dress up parties. We are all constantly dressing up and assuming the characters we’ve played our whole lives, our nature and our nurture combining into a character who repeats thoughts and phrases carefully cultivated over years to create a public persona palatable to the people we interact with.

                                                               I'd rather be Batman

                                                               I'd rather be Batman

Picking the right venue

When you’re looking for a venue, its important to remember the three L’s. Location, longitude and latitude - technically the first L covers it. Once you’ve done that, there are some other points which you should also consider:

Lighting
Darkness hides us from our fellow man and allows us to be free. I can safely say that no one should ever see me eating popcorn in a darkened cinema, its the kind of thing that would jerk them awake in the middle of night, confused and angry.

                                                 How could anyone eat popcorn like that!

                                                 How could anyone eat popcorn like that!

Same goes for laughing. We are all more comfortable when we have some anonymity to us, we can laugh however we like and are more likely to laugh at whatever we like without fear of being judged for our interest in more obscure jokes. Otherwise you have to explain to your mother why you laughed extra hard at that bovine mastication joke.

                                                    You filthy audience member you

                                                    You filthy audience member you

Refreshments
Is there a bar? If theres one thing that makes everything better, its alcohol. Short term that is, long term alcohol use is more of a mixed bag.

                       A mixed bag of awesome memories and lots of friends

                       A mixed bag of awesome memories and lots of friends

Food can be a draw card, get people in for dinner and a show, just be prepared to handle waiters bringing in food and people loudly chewing while you perform.

                                                   You filthy audience member you

                                                   You filthy audience member you

Seating
How many seats does it have? The temptation when I started was to get the most seats possible if it doesn’t cost extra. Makes sense right? If you’re not paying for it then you may as well maximise the potential people that can come along. What could be the risk?

                         Damn this light, I can’t see what I assume is my huge audience

                         Damn this light, I can’t see what I assume is my huge audience

Unfortunately potential people coming along is like potential adventures you’re going to have on a night out, it always ends up with you and three friends sitting alone drinking and wondering where everyone else is.

Also, empty chairs can have a surprising impact on a show. If theres an empty row or two between the audience and the performer it can create a no-mans land where otherwise great jokes just fall flat unless you have some sort of Wonder Woman-like joke. In fact it would have to be nothing but Wonder Woman jokes for your whole set which, to be honest, is a very specific demographic.

Temperature
Fun fact, the reason the cinema is always cold is because people are more responsive to what they’re watching when the temperature is lower, it keeps them awake and engaged. If its too hot you don’t laugh as much, just try to find the laughing face in a bikram yoga session.

Thats why temperature can be a quietly surprising impact on how people take in your show, try to keep it cold and you’ll see the difference.

       Its not just the delicious whale blubber that has her laughing!

       Its not just the delicious whale blubber that has her laughing!

Impressionable

When you’re a kid you watch James Bond and you want to be a spy, and then you hear how much Daniel Craig gets paid and you want to be an actor.

Its what a good piece of work does, move you, but for me I think it works too well. I’ll watch something and feel inspired to work hard and earn money and then watch something else and want to quit working and go travelling. Thats far too big a variance in fundamental world view for there to be any truth to either.

It doesn’t even have to be something thats trying to inspire me, anything could start having an impression on me if it catches me at the right time.

     How...interesting

     How...interesting

I should watch more things that inspire me the right way, but to do that I need the inspiration to be inspired, and to do that I need the inspiration to look for the inspiration to be inspired, and to do that I need the inspiration to look for the inspiration to look for the inspiration to be inspired, and to do that I need some sort of brain drug.

   A genuinely good brain drug. No joke here.

   A genuinely good brain drug. No joke here.

Even after all that searching for the right impression, the truth is I’m still only being inspired to do something that I actually kind of want to already do. If I watch fifty films on car racing and one romantic comedy I won’t be running any red lights but I will end up hopelessly in love for 12 seconds before realising I don’t have a comical character flaw that can be cleanly resolved by a budding new romance.

                                My flaws are gonna take a lot more than a girlfriend to fix

                                My flaws are gonna take a lot more than a girlfriend to fix

It happens to me all the time:

  • Watch one comedian and one director talk about their love of music and decide I’ve been listening to too many podcasts recently and everyone I love in comedy or film has such a deep appreciation of music that I’m inspired to listen to more tunes, then I realise I missed the latest Hardcore History.
  • I watch one advertisement about someone in a foreign country learning the language and go online and buy a book about learning languages only to forget why I ordered that book when it arrives on my doorstep.
  • I listen to a Daniel Kitson storytelling album and feel inspired to capture more humanity in what I do, to make any story I tell resonate more deeply and truly with the human experience. That and figure out how to speak in sentences that are lyrically honest, like a young poet speaking to his first love, rathe r than dully monotone, like a an english tutor hiding his disappointment at never writing a novel by pedantically correcting the grammatical errors of students more creative than he ever was.

So if I feel like getting up and doing something, even though I might think I’m too old or over the hill, theres only one thing to do.

     Give up and watch the greatest movie series of all time instead

     Give up and watch the greatest movie series of all time instead

 

 

4 ways to deal with writers block

Sometimes you stare at a blank page and try to write something and this happens.

                                        Theres another three pages of possum hat material.

                                        Theres another three pages of possum hat material.

Writers block doesn’t mean nothing comes out. It just means what comes out is rubbish. Its nonsensical, its outdated and it may have worrying racial undertones. You just can’t seem to get the good ideas tap flowing, instead you sit there writing drivel or staring at the wall - physical wall or facebook wall, lets face it they’re basically the same thing.

           "Look another person I sort of know had a baby"

           "Look another person I sort of know had a baby"

 

So you need to find ways to deal with it. The muse was the name for the greek goddesses that gave inspiration, and sometimes we all lose touch with our inner goddess, that doesn’t mean you just give up. Instead you start without her and hope she joins in. There are some well known tactics to do it:

1. Switch activities

Its the reason this article exists. Not feeling your jokes? Write something serious. Not feeling any writing? Do some admin you’re delaying. Not feeling anything apart from the meaninglessness of existence? See point 3.

2. The brain vomit

This is a really interesting experience, the stream of consciousness. This may require a coffee to get started. You just start writing and you don’t stop, just keep going, no editing either, you take that blank page and use your words to turn it into an alley wall sprayed with vomit and piss. It might take two whole pages, or three, or ten, but you will eventually get somewhere different and disturbing. You can start off just talking about what you’re doing:

                                                                      How it starts...

                                                                      How it starts...

But that quickly changes...

                                                                          Page 8

                                                                          Page 8

3. Quit
Who needs to write anyway? Who needs to do anything? Just give up, its so much easier. After all look at all the people that gave up. Read they’re inspiring story. Whats that? You can’t find any books about those people?

Honestly this can sound lazy but sometimes you just need to chill out, let the brain reorganise itself and the thoughts to clear. That said it should be once every now and then, if you have “writers block” six days a week you may just be looking for an excuse to play Zelda Breath of the Wild.

4. The reward
This you should do always, but especially when writers block has hit. You lower your standards for the day and say you’ll reward yourself for less work. So all you have to do is complete one small task and then you get to relax guilt free. Play all the Zelda you want! It can be surprising because:
(Read the next sentence in the voice of someone narrating a childrens book.)
You’ll find you sometimes do a little more writing than you first expected...

So theres a few tips to slay the writing block demon. Also, in the end you just have to remember that writers block is like life, completely meaningless except when you pretend that its not.

 

Who are you?

The kind of energy you bring to the stage has a huge impact on your show and what your audience expects from you. There are many options, each with their own positives and negatives

High energy
Example:
Kevin Hart

If this energy was a tourist in another country, it would be American. Its all about being loud and non-stop. You come on yelling and you never slow down, forcing the audience to have fun, whether they want to or not. There is going to be singing, dancing, beer pong and group chanting. Anything to get everyone up and about and chanting “best night ever!” over and over again.

Pros
·      Always a fun time, people might say they prefer to be reserved but give them a couple of jagers and they’ll be standing with you covered in facepaint rioting a hockey match.

Cons
·      This humour can lack sutblety. Its hard to get a crowd chant started about Dostoyevskys views on moral relativism.
·      This is tiring to perform night after night, especially if you just received some bad news personally then have to go onstage and act like everything is fine. Thats some psychologically damaging shit.

Smug and dry
Example:
Stewart Lee

You’re intellectual, everything is self aware and meta and you don’t get out of bed for less than a triple entendre. You stand onstage but you don’t care if people don’t laugh. Besides, your gags are more suited to people who studied at Oxford, they love this stuff.

Pros
·      You sound smart, that should buy you time while the audience tries extra hard to get what you’re talking about.
·      Telling people they should’ve laughed at that last joke and then explaining how they got it wrong is one of the funniest things you can do in this style.
·      When people don’t laugh you can just tell yourself you were too smart for them anyway. If no one ever laughs you’ve confirmed you’re too smart for everyone.

Cons
·      “I don’t do comedy but if I did I’d be like Stewart Lee.”
·      Smugness without skill is the least endearing sort of comedy, it means you won’t even get pity laughs. And a pity laugh is like pity love, you say you don’t want it but when you’ve had nothing for a while you’re unable to tell the difference.

Deadpan
Example:
Steven Wright

The one liner is a classic example of this. You’re dead on the inside but you’ve managed to muster the energy to stand onstage and say something, it was either this or Beyond Blue.

Pros
·      The confidence that comes with speaking slowly builds some trust, you just better deliver at the end.
·      You can also get away with saying some very horrible things when speaking this way, the audience realises they can't hate you as much as you hate yourself so they cut you some slack.

Cons
·      If what you’re saying actually isn’t any good the audience feels like they’re watching someone delivering their own eulogy. Almost like the comedians death onstage might be an ominous precursor of whats to come later that night.


Angry Rant
Example:
George Carlin

The classic energy, from George Carlin to Bill Burr, this guy isn’t just being funny, hes spitting fiery truth. They take you on a ride with their deep passion for a topic and you find yourself laughing as the rage builds, this guy is saying everything you believe but angrily and with better metaphors.

Pros
·      The audience feels like they’re doing more than just watching someone tell dick jokes, they’re taking part in a sermon without all the religion. Which is lucky because half these rants are against religion.

Cons
·      Comedians might use it as a cover for actually saying fairly mundane shit, once the audience stops being taken in by the energy they realise they’ve just listened to a white guy whinge about his ex girlfriend for 6 minutes.

The first date conversation

There is something magical about the first date. You spend the day wondering whether you’ll hit it off, then lower your standards to whether she will even show up. Then when you finally meet you wonder whether she will be anything like when you first said hi to eachother, which was probably in a bar drunk.

When I get someones number on a night out and then arrange a date it can be uncomfortably close to a blind date, depending on the drinking levels of that initial meeting. Then I have to play the game of “should I know that information already?”

                                                           “Haha you’re so funny...you.”

                                                           “Haha you’re so funny...you.”

You don’t really meet people in as pure a form as the first date. When else do you do that? Most people are friends of friends or work colleagues who you slowly piece together a psychological profile over months of subtle research, with dating you both go into it being much more direct with your analysis. That side is pretty refreshing.

I actually end a first date knowing more facts about a person than people I’ve known for years. I don’t know how many siblings Bruce from accounting has, or whether Stella the receptionist likes Lord of the Rings - although her lack of reaction to my quoting Saruman suggests she doesn’t.

            “My fighting Uruk-Hai. Whom do you serve?” - “What did you say?” - “Nothing.”

            “My fighting Uruk-Hai. Whom do you serve?” - “What did you say?” - “Nothing.”

This small talk can be hard but its still so much better than via messages. Whether its Tinder or Happn or just messaging in general, its not my style. My tone and body language is 100% of my communication, if not more. I can sometimes be a little dry and sarcastic which is hard to read in message form.

                                                   Surely she can see the sarcasm!

                                                   Surely she can see the sarcasm!

It can take a few goes to work out the tricks and tactics to a first date scenario but I think I cam say that I have. Little things like listening to what they have to say, treating them as a human being and being honest, its so much easier than the elaborate lies of my youth. So thats what I go with now. I just tell them “Hi, I’m George, I’m an aspiring comedian and I live with my parents.”

                                                            My current dating scene

                                                            My current dating scene

Sharing your work

Sending a work email is like jumping out of a plane, I have to throw away all logic and just say “fuck it.” In a skydiving situation its because theres no other way I could convince myself to jump*, in a work email situation its because I know that no matter how many times I go over it, theres still a good chance I’ve left a big stupid typo in there.

                                          Luckily those email addresses didn't work

                                          Luckily those email addresses didn't work

I have to say “fuck it” because if I wait around for it to be perfect I’ll never send the damn thing. So at some point I have to accept that its not absolutely perfect but still send it off for people to see.

If by now you haven’t realised sending an email is a metaphor for sharing your creative pursuit, you are now up to speed.

No one ever feels like what they’ve done is perfect, we all want to keep polishing it away from other peoples prying, judgemental eyes, waiting until its really perfect before letting anyone see it. We all feel like what we’ve done isn’t really properly done yet. I have the same attitude about any joke before I get onstage.
 

                                                                    "We can tell!"

                                                                    "We can tell!"

But I’ve learnt to do it anyway. Especially at the start, you gotta pump that stuff out. Perfection will come with the 50,000th joke, before then I’m just trying to learn how to not suck. And I think that applies to everyone, don’t try and be great at the start, try to be doing something, you can get great later.

Its more fun anyway. Who wants to sit on one idea or concept for a year? How much pressure! Theres no way anything goes as well as it should if you’ve taken a year to start showing it around.

I know it can be stressful, fact is, the best way to not fail is to not let anyone see you try. Its a very appealing option, I can tell myself I’m the best writer/painter/lover if I only ever do it by myself, but I won’t ever be as good as if I share. You learn more from epic failure than anything else, you also learn a lot from medium failure, and medium success, and high success, but you won’t learn anything if you don’t actually show it to people.

So stop tweaking and making excuses, take a leaf out of Roosevelts book, show people what you do and realise how much you suck. You’ll be glad you did.

After the initial tears (of course).

 

*I've never skydived since I assume its like sending a work email

Deadlines

In a past life I had to complete a 15000 word thesis for university, I was two weeks out from the due date with no words done and half the research still to go. Thats when I was told I could ask for a month extension. I didn’t take it.

Apart from the phone not being plugged in this image is exactly what it was like

Apart from the phone not being plugged in this image is exactly what it was like

Even with all that stress I knew a month extension wasn’t an extra month to write a thesis, it was an extra month to do nothing before realising “I only have two weeks to write my whole damn thesis, why the f*ck didn’t I start sooner!” No amount of extra time was going to change that.

So instead I was at uni constantly for those two weeks, sometimes writing, sometimes eating a coffee with my kebab, sometimes napping after a big kebab, but slowly working towards a wet pile of steaming fresh words. It was about 3000 words short with whole paragraphs of unnecessary drivel just to increase the word count but it was in on time. And done.

My thesis (metaphorically)

My thesis (metaphorically)

I didn’t even feel bad about its poor quality, it was all I was ever going to do regardless of how much time I had.

Thats what deadlines are all about.

I did the same thing with comedy. When I decided to take it more seriously I booked into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a full run, I figured I could fail in front of Scottish people, they’ll be nice about it.* This was crazy, scarring, traumatic and troubling, but it got me writing and gigging.

There are other comedians I know who don’t need this, they are driven, motivated people who don’t need anything but their own initiative to get out there and write and gig night after night. They don’t need crazy deadlines, they’re going to be fine.

That ain’t me. I need a gun to my head counting to 10. And it has to be the head. If its aimed at my hand I’d just be planning all the one handed activities I could do while I’m lying in bed recovering.

Hope those hospital beds are sturdy

Hope those hospital beds are sturdy

If you’re like me, add in a crazy deadline.

 

*They weren’t.

Partying responsibly at a comedy festival

Managing your partying is an important part of any festival. It comes down to who you are, you can find out early on if you’re the type of person who needs their beauty sleep with some orange juice for breakfast and a nap and quiet, contemplative meditation in the afternoon before the show, or the type that performs best when they’re stumbling on stage with beers in both hands, pants around their ankles and a black eye.

Unfortunately I’m the former.

This means I can’t be out till 5am drunk off my head enjoying all the sex and drugs I want. I’m no Waleed Aly (Editor note: I’m legally obligated to state here that I’m not basing that on any actual evidence whatsoever). So I have to remember all the rules for having fun at a festival while also not hindering my performance.

Rule No.1
Water water water. My old PE teacher used to say “friends may come and go, but hydration will always treat you right.” He was a lonely man Mr Pine. Had very healthy skin though.

Rule No.2
Sleep. Before and after. This can’t be overstated as both a preventative and cure. There’s a reason Michelangelo depicts God reclining on the Sistine Chapel ceiling in The Creation of Adam, because God knows the importance of a good nap. Be like God. Nap.

Rule No.3
Control the blowout. Accept you may want to celebrate or commiserate occasionally and plan accordingly. Clear the schedule for the following day and party like your life depends on it, when people feel like relaxing or going home you direct derogatory comments at their mothers so they feel obligated to join in. Works nevery time!

Rule No.4
Go hard but finish early so you have time to recover the next day. The easiest way is to drink with the old English comedians who treat drinking as their patriotic dury. You’ll be in bed by 11.30pm with a head full of beer, complaints about wives and slurred puns.

Rule No.5
All food is good, it always helps, but the real secret is avocados. Theres a chemical in them that makes you handle alcohol better. So get some guacamole mixed in with that fireball shot and you are set!

 

The Do's and Don't's of promoting your comedy festival show

There are many do’s and don’t’s to getting the word out for your festival show. Here’s a list on some of the more well-known methods.

Friends
DO
Politely ask friends to come along, a lot of the time they genuinely don’t know about the show and are more than happy to come along if asked.
DON’T
Fake your death and schedule the funeral for your opening night. They won’t be as happy that you’re alive as you think.

Paid advertising
DO
Think about paid advertising, is it right for you and your audience? After all, if you have a show about rats then it makes sense to post an ad about it in Melbourne Rats Weekly in their thriving ‘things to do about town’ section. Just let Glenda know I recommended you and you’ll get a good price.
DON’T
Pay a witch to promote your show with the dark arts. The animal cruelty is not worth the small increase in audience size.

Facebook
DO
Use Facebook, not just the paid advertising but also thinking of communities or groups that would be interested in what you have to talk about. Facebook is the online community noticeboard, use it!
DON’T
Throw books at peoples faces screaming “I LIKE YOU NOW COME TO MY SHOW.”

Gigging
DO
Think to yourself “I’ll gig around, the best way to get people to see what I do is to show them some of my moves. If they like me for my 5 minutes they may be interested to see me onstage for a full hour.
DON’T
Think to yourself “I’ll sleep around, the best way to get people to see what I do is to show them some of my moves. If they like me for my 5 minutes they may be interested to see me onstage for a full hour.”

Flyering
DO
Plan your flyering for maximum effectiveness, unless you’re superhuman you will have a limited amount of energy to exert on flyering, make sure you use it wisely!
DON'T
Stick flyers to peoples backs without their knowledge, turning them into mini walking noticeboards for your show. Don’t do that unless you want an effective flyering strategy that will get people to your show.

Articles
DO
Write some articles sharing knowledge about the festival process, hopefully building some grassroots interest in your own show.
DON’T
Spend all your time playing Clash Royale on your iPhone and then rush through a lazy half formed article masquerading as something useful.

Have you heard of this sarcasm thing?

Nothing can annoy and engage people more than sarcasm. It engages because it requires a little more thought, instead of saying something directly you say the exact opposite and expect the other person to understand you don’t mean it. It annoys for the exact same reason. Luckily, there have been a few studies done on sarcasm, especially in the USA.

                       "First question: What is sarcasm? Anybody? Anybody at all? Please?"

                       "First question: What is sarcasm? Anybody? Anybody at all? Please?"

They had some interesting but expected finds, like sarcasm being helpful for creativity but only when you know each other well. This makes sense, when a friend is sarcastic to you it can help you think in a different way but its hard to solve a problem when you’re busy trying to figure out why a stranger is being mean to you, thats why prisoners rarely solve mathematical questions.

Or there was a Chicago study on how sarcasm is understood across different mediums, when it was spoken there was a 73% understanding that the other person was being sarcastic but in email format that number dropped to 56%. This goes a long way to explaining the negative reaction to a recent email I sent.

                                       Still not sure where they misunderstood the gag

                                       Still not sure where they misunderstood the gag

This is why sarcasm can be so divisive, its all fun and games but there is a definite air of snootiness to the whole thing. Smugly nudging each other as you make fun of something, it's almost like a grown up version of a 12 year old repeating anything you say in a high nasally voice. And unlike those instances the answer isn’t as simple as assaulting a minor. 

Sarcasm encompasses everything from a witty satire of a Russian revolution through the eyes of animals to a kid tweeting “I haven’t done anything all day #winning”. Its this second type of lazy sarcasm that people can hate, its lazy and reductive comedy. Someone trying to sound smart when they’re actually not saying anything clever.

While writing this post I actually started finding a lot of articles from people who hated sarcasm, from this wikihow article on dealing with sarcasm to articles on why it is a negative hurtful thing to do. I don’t know why but I find so much joy in imagining someone sitting there genuinely trying to wrap their head around the idea. They just want to understand what everyone is talking about. Its actually very sweet. I'm glad the articles are quite detailed with their explanations.

                           Lucky they clarified, I almost ruined a big deal I'm processing at work

                           Lucky they clarified, I almost ruined a big deal I'm processing at work

Americans get a lot of grief about their understanding of sarcasm, its often seen as one of the big differences between “British” and “American” humour. While this definitely isn’t true, some Americans understand sarcasm very well, its also totally true considering that in the study I mentioned earlier, even when spoken you still had 26% of university students unable to detect sarcasm. This fact is surprising, considering how dry some of their leaders can be.

                                          “May 1, 2003, the war on terror is finally over."

                                          “May 1, 2003, the war on terror is finally over."

Its also surprising because some of the best examples of sarcasm and satire I grew up with were American shows. The Simpsons is renowned for this, the show is dripping in dry humour. There are too many clips to pick from so here is one that at least summarises why sarcasm can actually be confusing. Sometime you're not even sure yourself if you're joking or not.

Its the nuance of the sarcasm that is a little harder for Americans to understand, it can be difficult to understand that every word being said is a joke even as its being serious. The English style doesn't bother with obvious indicators, they expect you to understand that it's a joke even as they remain completely serious the entire time. I like to imagine that somewhere in England there is briton walking around in a successful job with a lovely wife and kids and the truth is deep down he is just completely taking the piss.

                                                          You can see the lie in his eyes.

                                                          You can see the lie in his eyes.

If you mention sarcasms beautiful offshoot, satire, then the next question will always be whether The Colbert Report is a great piece of satire or the greatest piece of satire. His original show was an amazing example of satire, American style. It was so successful he was invited by Republicans to give a speech in President Bush’s honour, if you haven’t seen it just watch and remember that they hired him because they thought he was genuinely conservative, which is both hilarious and horrifying. Colbert is a genius, simple as that, I can’t resist giving Colbert more than one link, so here is a rarer clip that also works as a brilliant example of sarcasm, when you use the words and attitudes of the person you are making fun of against them.

Sarcasm and satire are popular for a reason, they will always be around. Its just important to remember that you can get in a lot of trouble later if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t realise you weren’t being serious.

                                                                       "Tee hee."

                                                                       "Tee hee."

Boredom

Sometimes I like to wonder how long I’d last in solitary. I’m one of those types that can sit on their own for extended periods of time thinking stupid thoughts that achieve nothing.

          Could you not bother me? I’m listing in my head all the ways The Dark Knight Rises failed.

          Could you not bother me? I’m listing in my head all the ways The Dark Knight Rises failed.

Thats what makes me so shocked when someone tells me they’re bored. Bored! How can anyone be bored in the 21st century?

Boredom didn’t actually exist as a concept until 1852 (thanks Dickens). It makes sense, you don’t have time to be bored when you’re working 18 hours a day to feed your two dozen children and cover any medical expenses to the local white witch.

Or go even further back, its hard to imagine Grog sitting with his wife staring at the stars and screaming out into the savannah “The african plain is so BORING!” Grog was too busy trying not to die from cold or tiger mouth.

After 6000 years of civilisation humans have finally progressed to the point where our population has time to do something other than hunt for, or avoid being, food. It’s the greatest sign of how we have progressed and what do we do with this extra time and amazing luxury? Sit in our houses and complain about having it.

                                                              "I'M SO BOOOOOOORED"

                                                              "I'M SO BOOOOOOORED"

I actually struggle to imagine it, there isn’t enough time in the day to sleep the appropriate amount, eat and enjoy a nice shower, let alone all that "working" nonsense. These people saying they're bored need to learn to enjoy themselves a little more in the shower.

Especially now with the modern phenomenon of the distraction economy, how can you be bored? The issue should be distractions now, not boredom. We officially live in the future where we can just sit there for 10 hours, lights from our magic boxes coldly reflected in our slackjawed gaze, enjoying an article we’ll forget the second we stop reading it. Its great!

“An article about which Australian state represents the different GoT houses. This I need to see! Then                                                                            I'll be happy!”

“An article about which Australian state represents the different GoT houses. This I need to see! Then                                                                            I'll be happy!”

Or you can watch videos, there are 300 hours of content added to Youtube every minute, so if you didn’t like what was on there before starting this article by now you have another 2 weeks worth to get through.

Maybe you could learn something, you can learn how to write code or fold origami, or you could have a laugh watching some comedy sketches.

                                  A classic

You could even go outside for a walk and take in the air and...no lets not go crazy.

The only excuse for boredom is that you’re one of those people that likes hanging out with people. Those sick, twisted, psychopathic, social weirdos. The kind that, when on their own, bang their heads against the walls and froth at the mouth and thats just when they have to go to the bathroom. Personally I'm quite jealous of those people, they must achieve so much. You'd have a thousand schemes, plots and machinations going all the time just to avoid the risk of being on your own for more than 10 minutes and realising you're completely insane. What an unfair advantage in life! 

Really the easily bored should have to pay extra taxes, that way they get to stay busy while I pay no taxes and get paid for doing nothing, everybody wins!

Looks like I'm going into politics.

                                                                       Political reference

                                                                       Political reference

Restrain yourself

Sensualism is the idea that you should just live life without worrying about the future, drinking and eating whatever and whomever you want since you only have one life with which you can enjoy all the finer physical pleasures. The most famous fan of this belief was Oscar Wilde, the legendary Irish playwright who ended up being one of the most quoted people on the planet (not counting all the fake Einstein memes).

The most popular fake Einstein quote on the internet. Who knew everyone was so obsessed with bees and the apocalypse?

The most popular fake Einstein quote on the internet. Who knew everyone was so obsessed with bees and the apocalypse?

Wilde believed in sensualism to the point he based a whole book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, on it. Sure, in the end this leads Dorian Gray straight to hell, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this was one of younger Wilde's beliefs, that life was best spent indulging in whatever made you feel great; wearing the softest silks while surrounded in the richest aromas and eating the most extravagant food.

There is a problem with this theory, though. No matter how expensive and fine the wine, it will never taste as good as water to someone who’s thirsty. Which means, strangely, that to really enjoy the physical pleasures of life you need to hold off from having them very often.

Pictured: the ultimate sensualist

Pictured: the ultimate sensualist

This isn’t a mind-blowing concept. There are books and books that talk about the benefits of restraint. But, instead of just looking at its benefits in terms of health or lifestyle (which are both obviously huge) you can also see restraint as increasing the pleasure - so even from the perspective of a gluttonous aesthete it makes sense.

Restraint can apply to anything: food, drink, partying, sex (that's what I told myself in my teens). Being forced to wait with any of these helps make it even better because it feels more earned. It's tough but luckily the brain has a built in mechanism to help you restrain yourself, the Snooti-Thalamus. Thats the fictional part of your brain that makes you feel good for not being a disgusting pig like other people. Thanks to the ST, you get extra pleasure from not indulging as you look down on all the people that do. Just think of vegetarians/gym junkies.

There's no denying the joy of a binge - its a good way to get so much of something into your system that you get any desire for it out of your system. You don’t actually care about the taste of the garbage you eat or the quality of the filth you watch, you’re doing it just to be a pig. That's great. But by the sixth menulog order of mudcake and icecream dessert and the third season of Pawn Stars you have to start wondering whether this life of excess is the best thing for you. You can just be so much better.

Even if the restraint is forced on you it still works to make you a better person. A classic example is the idea of Sydney versus Melbourne. Sydney has great weather and beautiful beaches, which sounds great. We all want to go to the beach in the sun every day (why wouldn’t we?) but in Melbourne we can’t because we live in an actual genuine swamp that had a city built on it. This means that instead of going to the beach we have to sit in bars and pubs in our filthy swamp and find other things to do. This forced us to develop into the iconic cultural capital of Australia. Unlike those poor Sydney-siders.

Those sad unfortunate bastards

Those sad unfortunate bastards

Its the struggle of living in Swampville, being denied what you would prefer, that made Melbourne more cultural, just like how denying the easy wins can make anyone a better person. That's why the best taste you can ever have isn’t at Vue De Monde; its when you don’t eat for a day or two.

At least, that's what I’ll tell my kids.

Think fast!

Someone cracks a joke about you, you have to say a clever response, what happens?

Hopefully not this

Coming up with something clever on the spot is hard, thats why whenever I do I immediately high five myself which, to be honest, detracts from the witty thing I’ve said. I’m just proud of myself for improvising so well.

The thing is, pure improvisation doesn’t really exist, what everyone does is “improvise”. Look at rappers, they don’t just make up everything completely new every time they freestyle, they do their homework. They sit and work out words that work together, they put in the effort to find obscure rhymes so when they start freestyling they have everything ready to sound like a genius. Here's Eminem talking about using this trick to rhyme unrhymable words like orange and being justifiably proud of it.

Mistreating English is what English is all about

So these rappers are still improvising but only after doing their homework. Its one of those strange ways the brain works, the biggest block to you improvising is stressing about coming up with something. So if you have responses prepared that takes the stress away this results in you actually coming up with something on the spot.

The same goes for comedians, they can have broader put downs for whenever they’re needed but still be free to go for something a little more personal. A good example is Jimmy Carr, who does a nice mixture of straight up insults and something a little more relevant to the person shouting.

Not sure if I should put a language warning here...

As a beginners guide, just refer to their mothers and you fornicating with them and you’re already 80% of the way there, if you incorporate their jobs or hobbies thats even better. For new comedians, a strategy is to look up a list of the top professions/hobbies of people that attend comedy nights and then prepare some heckles for them.

It just writes itself

Of course sometimes it can just work out on its own, someone says they like eggs and you say “same, I like them over easy like your mother”. But you can’t depend on such brilliant improvisation every time you’re onstage, you have to prepare.

I’ll share one trick I have for when I want to think of something new, its extremely obvious but took me disturbingly long to figure out: I look at what is directly in front of me. Since this is usually at my desk the majority of my tweets and jokes are about lamps, globes of the world, highlighters and nihilism.

  • Whats the deal with lamps? I just wish my hopes and dreams could be turned on that easily!
  • I was looking at a globe of the world yesterday and it took me a while but I finally found Azerbaijan. Now I just need to find a reason for my existence.
  • Sometimes I feel like I relate too much with the parts of the textbook that aren’t highlighted.

So if you ever want to look like you think fast, plan ahead. It seems strange, but planning your responses is actually the best way to come up with something on the spot.

Falling for it

The comedian Stewart Lee once talked about the the funniest thing on TV ever, as voted by the UK public. Please remember this is the UK, the country known for its biting wit and social satire, where some of the cleverest comedians of all time learned their trade saying some of the cleverest jokes ever heard. 

This is what was voted number one.

Was that funny to you? People say that all art is subjective - which is true up to a point and will be explored in a later post - but the fact is if you didn’t laugh at that you’re wrong.

The only acceptable excuses for not laughing are:
- You’ve already seen it a million times, four of which were today, or
- This happened to your best friend, he had the golden ticket to stop living on the streets hustling but when he fell over in a bar just like this he was so ashamed of himself that he had a drink that night to forget about it, ended up in a fight and broke his arm so he couldn’t play ball and never made it out.

Stewart Lee uses this scene as an example of audiences clueless to good comedy and instead voting for something lowbrow and lacking in comedic taste. This is one time Lee gets it completely wrong. 

Falling down is comedy at its purest and most primal, it is the third triangle of the triforce of comedy, next to farting and masturbation. You don’t need words to find it funny and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, it transcends race and culture. These are things that we were laughing at as neanderthals in caves; when Gralk was chasing a moose and accidentally rolled down a hill, going “ow oh ah!” with spear and tooth necklace all flying in different directions, you can be sure his best mate stood at the summit looking down pissing himself.

We all loved seeing people fall over at some point in our lives but then some of us decided we were too cool for it anymore. How can anyone stop finding it funny? It doesn’t matter if its babies falling over.

Or a family of ducks being blown around in the wind.

(in case you're worried they're all still there at the end - I counted to make sure)

That is funny to us on the same level as water being good for you and a campfire feeling nice.

On top of this falling over is the great equaliser, sure its funny when anyone falls but when its someone who shouldn’t fall over its just so much better. This includes the rich and powerful and the elderly. If you’re an elite ruler wanting to look relatable then forget skolling a pint, just have footage of you falling over go viral and everyone will see you as a man of the people.

Possibly the best example of a great comedic fall is the epic stack Australian legend Frank Lowy took at the 2015 A-League final.

Its said that that the easiest way to stop something being funny is to explain why its funny but in this case lets give it a shot.

  1. Its a rich old white man falling, over so its someone in a position of authority as well as an older person who just shouldn’t have that happen to them. 
  2. When you listen to the commentators in that clip you get to see something special; absolute silence. Its the collective intake of a thousand A-League employees as they watch the man who did more than anyone else to build the sport potentially hurting himself because of it. Thats the sound of a thousand people collectively thinking “oh shit my paycheck.”
  3. He got up. Unlike the players he was standing with who would have been stretchered off the pitch with someone pumping oxygen into their lungs this tough old man stood up, dusted himself off and stood back on stage with half of the pitch still stuck in his hair.

So next time you see someone fall over and wonder whether you should laugh just do it! Although maybe check on them first if they may have hurt themselves. You don’t want to be the guy publicly laughing at an old person breaking a collarbone - in that case wait until you’re on your own before giggling.

12 Facebook Likes we've all done

Warning - post contains 78 mentions of the word “like”.

Facebook has a little thumbs up logo, called the Like, that you can click to show many things. An incomplete list of what the Like can represent is below.

  • The Vengeful Like
    When your partner screws up so you like a photo of an ex
  • The Bitter Like
    When you see friends out having fun and they didn’t invite you
  • The Remembrance Like
    When you want to make sure the person you added last night remembers you
  • The Sarcastic Like
    When you see an article by Andrew Bolt
  • The Look at Me Like
    When you want someone to acknowledge your existence, even if its just for one split second on Facebook (hint: avoid photos with too many likes where you won’t easily be seen)
  • The “I see what you’re up to” Like
    When a friend said they would stop seeing someone and then you see them out together
  • The “I forgive you for making a fool of yourself” Like
    When you let someone who screwed up know that you are willing to allow them to speak to you again
  • The “You might be on holiday with friends but don’t forget me” like
    When you’re not clingy or worried or anything but people do get up to mischief when they’re on holiday so no harm in giving a little reminder
  • The “Hey hows it going? Its been 6 months since we spoke but I think we should start chatting again - we aren’t super close but we have a thing, I’ve just stopped seeing someone so why don’t we lazily contact eachother and see if anything comes of it” Like
    Where you want to say “Hey hows it going? Its been 6 months since we spoke but I think we should start chatting again - we aren’t super close but we have a thing, I’ve just stopped seeing someone so why don’t we lazily contact eachother and see if anything comes of it.” The name is kind of self explanatory.
  • The Like Like
    Apparently used for when people like things with no agenda whatsoever

“Lets be friends so that I can Like our friendship.” That isn’t a sentence that made sense before Facebook and its little button.

Fights have started and relationships torn apart because of a little thumbs up logo. Its something that seems crazy at first glance until you realise that this “little button” is just a modern version of an ancient human trait. The giveaway. Whether its the wandering eye. the laughter thats a little too loud or the blush, its really just another not-so-subtle sign that reveals more than we want to other people.

The Like causes real stress and intense anxiety. When I show a friend the Instagram account of a girl I like I experience genuine physical stress that they might hit ‘Like’ on one of those photos and make me look like a stalker. If you’ve ever been through it then you know you’ll fight them to stop it happening. You’ll hurt them if you have to.

Its what makes things so calculated, like all things involving the opposite sex, you know you’re overthinking it so you need to overthink it twice as much to make it look like you’re not thinking about it. This means no Liking old photos, no Likes at 1am, no Likes when they have just posted something, no Likes when you should be out doing something proactive and definitely no Liking something that no one else has Liked, that is much too intense - you may as well cut off your ear and send it to her.

Nothing shows how much thought you put into Liking something until you sit on a social media account drunk and start Liking everything you see, you become a digital version of the drunk leaning on everyone and saying “this guy, right here, I love this guy.” The fact you don’t do that all the time shows that you are treating that button like a genuine social indicator.

You wonder if Facebook knew what would happen with the button or if they naively thought people would actually use it only because they like things. There’s definitely no way they could have predicted just how much range that little button could have.

In the end the button is just another method for people to communicate with eachother. If humans have shown one thing its that they have a huge ability to take something that exists and say something new with it. Think of when a kid throws a brick through the window of a girl he likes or someone stays in bed all day to promote world peace, both are crazy and both are taking a medium and changing the message. At least the kid had to get out of bed unlike John “Lazybones” Lennon.

Resolutions

Life tip: If you want to feel good, tell a bunch of people that you are making some big resolutions next year, you don’t have to do them, just say you are going to. Science says it feels the same as actually doing it!

In another example of the laziness of the brain, when you tell someone you are going to start exercising regularly and they say “good on you!” you feel just as good as someone saying “good on you!” after you’ve actually lost weight. Its the classic case of having your cake and eating it too. The downside is if you actually want to change, since you’ve already claimed the good feeling from all your friends you lose motivation to actually do the task.

So is it better not to tell anyone if you want to make some changes in your life? Not based on other groups that suggests peer pressure works. Also it might look dodgy if you’re in a relationship but every Thursday night you have to go “do something”, eventually telling her to “stay off my back” because “you’re suffocating me Samantha.”

This is couldn't be more relevant considering its New Years, everyones favourite time of year for bold resolutions. You get to have the clock set back to zero and have a fresh start - unless you lived through the year 2000 New Year celebration, in which case you’re stuck in a hellish Groundhog Year forever feeling like 1998 wasn’t that long ago.

Just to change things up, here is an amazing song called resolution.

I love making resolutions too, in fact if I’d stuck to the resolutions I’d made over New Years I would be a salsa dancing, Spanish/Japanese/French/Chinese speaking, guitar and violin playing, skydiving bodybuilder/author/poet with training in ju jitsu and karate. My days would involve meditation in the morning and charity in the evenings in between teaching my many skills to others so that can join me on the path to betterment. Instead I had to delete Kingdom Rush Origins from my iPhone this morning because it kept me in bed until 1pm - not that I had anything to get up for.

Failing New Years resolutions is not rare, there are studies proving how few people stick to them. People think this is a good reason to make fun of them by saying things like “haha Mr. Personal Growth” or “New Years resoloser”, Christmas lunch with the family can be rough.

People even make fun of choosing such a cliche date, saying you can start any time, but thats just silly. You need a clear start date, no one is sticking to a resolution they made on Tuesday March 17th. Thats why you always hear about people using months as their starting points for making changes; No-drink November, Dry December, Just-one January, Fewer-drinks February, Midstrength-only March, At-most-4-beers-a-day April - and so on until Oktoberfest.

Let people tease New Years resolutions from their smug towers of refusing to make a change. Luckily its not like you will listen to them, after all, if anyone listened to what anyone else said then we would’ve done something about climate change much earlier. Instead why not take advice on how to actually achieve a resolution for once.

I think I’m going to learn Spanish.

Ciao.

 

Decisions

2005 - A local Blockbuster
The speakers are playing 50 Cent - Candy Shop as a group of red eyed teenagers stumble through the door, heads nodding in time to the music and giggling as they view the New Releases section.
“Hey what about Batman Begins?”
“Oh yeh, I heard thats meant to be good, I read a review for it in the newspaper. They’ve made it more dark and realistic.”
“That sounds crazy for a comic book movie but I guess we can check it out.”
They shuffle over to the checkout aisle to hire the movie when all of a sudden one of them sees a sign.
“Hey, its one New Release for $7.99 but we can pay $9.99 for two New Releases and two Weeklies.”
“Whoah, thats crazy pricing.”
“I guess 2005 is a crazy kind of year.”
“You really didn’t have to say what year it was.”
So the search begins for another New Release and two Weeklies. Yelling out to each other across the aisles as they move from Thriller to Sci-Fi with one friend just sitting in the anime section making suggestions noone will listen to.
“What about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?”
“Nah I don’t really like weird movies.”
“You just have to give it a shot, its like learning to love oysters.”
“I don’t like oysters.”
“But they’re so delicious!”
“No way, maybe if its kilpatrick.”
“Then you’re just covering up the taste of the oyster!”
“Hey what about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?”
Two hours later and they still haven’t watched a movie. They haven’t even left the store yet.

 

Did the indecision in the above scene make you angry?

It would definitely make some of my friends mad. For them the very idea of indecision is so infuriating that they would rather not hang out than have to go through the ordeal of watching friends take a while to make up their minds. These poor people could never be friends with Patrick Bateman.

We all know how making decisions works, I went through it recently with laundry powder. Even though I don’t care for some reason I go online and read reviews (plus comments), toss up for a few days over which is the best type (how is there a difference between front loader powder and top loader powder?), weigh up the pros and cons individually and then how they compare to eachother. Finally I make a decision, go to the store to buy it, get home and instantly regret the decision, go back and buy another brand, throw out the first one I bought, and then never think about it again.

Is there anything worse than having to decide between arbitrary products? If only they had one of everything, things would be so much better. It doesn’t even need to be a good version, I’m happy with a slightly better than mediocre version if it means I don’t have a choice in the matter. Just another example of the joys of Communism...or Aldi. Am I saying you’re a communist if you shop at Aldi? Yes.*

So when you get annoyed at indecision, you’re getting annoyed at the annoying indecision. Which is when you don’t even care but you don’t want to feel like you screwed up. We have the internet now, right? We shouldn’t be getting bad products anymore. So you think a quick check of Google will make you feel better, until you find yourself staring at a forum at 2am reading two people screaming at eachother on what constitutes appropriate fabric softness.

You shouldn’t lump fun indecision in there, especially if it means missing out on the fun of the indecisiveness. When those friends were standing in Blockbuster they were having a great time. Sure, they spent the time they would have watched the movie picking more movies they are never going to watch, but they were there for a good time with friends. Its not like they are going to remember the movie anyway.

So next time you are feeling annoyed at friends needing ages to make up their mind just take a moment and think to yourself “these are the moments I should cherish” - depending on how indecisive they are you may need to take several moments.


* Maybe.