Posted on | April 3, 2014 | 2 Comments
I should at least attempt to resurrect this blog not at least because posting gets me hits and every hit is a chance of someone viewing Cynic – did I mention I’ve got a new mini-sitcom?! (For those who don’t follow me on Twitter that was a joke as I’ve been plugging it a lot.) Another great gain I made from my last blog is it got me chatting to Gregg Judge which led to me being a part of his team Disability Activists for Assisted Dying – a cause which Serious Ted (the guy who you don’t see on stage and only tweets on my account occasionally) does believe in.
I understand that the right to die, even for people at a very end of their life, is a highly sensitive and emotive issue. Nonetheless it is one that must be discussed openly, explained thoroughly and not shoved under the carpet where it will rot and become the smelly offensive taboo it isn’t. It must not be confused with voluntary euthanasia – this bill is specifically for those who are very close to death and just want a speedy and dignified way to bring the process to its end. The bill is not about promoting judgements to whether a life is ‘unliveable’ and ‘worthless’ it’s simply about making the inevitable happen as effortlessly and painlessly as possible.
Currently the law encourages those in this situation to look at assisted dying as such a last resort it’s absurd. Fully mentally competent adults are forced to look for and consider (read: heavily encouraged to opt for) every other alternative before they are allowed to make the final decision and apart from anything else this is incredibly patronising. This is a decision no-one is ever going to take lightly and a law won’t make any difference to that, in many ways it’s quite laughable that some may think the only thing in between a person and their decision to take their own life is a sentence in a rulebook.
One factor that makes disability and the right to die such a delicate issue is just how broad the spectrum of disability is and that it encompasses individuals that perhaps shouldn’t make such decisions independently. However this is why there are numerous safeguards in place to protect such individuals, the bill states the patient has to be mentally competent and there will be tests to prove this. Therefore there is absolutely no chance of those who are not in a position to make such a decision being able to make it.
As usual the classic ‘slippery slope’ argument gets brought up against assisted dying which is ‘if you allow the terminally ill control over how they die the floodgates will open to all types of voluntary euthanasia’. This argument is really logically no better (and only just morally) to ‘If you allow homosexual people to marry people will then start marrying their dogs’, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest either and to do so is just as absurd.
This bill isn’t about judgement, it isn’t about lives being unliveable all it’s about is allowing people who are in the later stages of terminal illness to reach their destination in the most dignified and pain-free way, which is why I urge all people to support it.
To find out more please visit http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/
Posted on | November 29, 2013 | 2 Comments
When you’ve taken a hiatus from blogging there will be one thing that causes you to start up again, and for me it was this awful Huffington Post article by maverick disability campaigner Simon Stevens.
One of the most shocking aspects of the piece is not his arguments but the lack of logic behind them. He claims to “truly believe all disabled people as well as everyone else ‘can’ work” and that he defines work ”as the ability to perform an activity for which an organisation or another person is willing to pay money for.”. This is on the surface a shrewd move – by defining his own terms in his way they will become immune to being critiqued, however he fails at that. The word ‘can’ is the trick here as he hopes you would confuse ‘can’ with ‘can do with competence’. Yes I ‘can’ walk up stairs, I ‘can’ make a sandwich and I ‘can’ kick a football but I can’t do these things with any competence and often decide not to due to the sheer frustration they cause. And similarly some people are far too impaired to work with any competence.
Simon attacks both Sue Marsh and Nicky Clark (the latter who I’ll admit red-handedly I’ve previously been far too critical of after shaping my judgement on a minor dispute we had on Twitter and then reading opinions of some like-mindedly angry and eccentric bloggers, but we’ve since chatted and she’s cool) for some very mild comments concerning the right to die. He says he fears “the real future of disabled people on the wrong side on that line in the sand, unfit for work and society, is a bleak one indeed.”, this is nothing but a slippery-slope argument at its worst. There is nothing to say those who suffer the depression onset by being incapable to work will therefore kill themselves.
He also criticises Sue for telling her “follow[er??]s” how “miserable it is to have a minor impairment” and I could happily spend a whole blog just critiquing what’s wrong here but I’ll try to be brief. Firstly, ‘minor’! Disabled people, quite rightly, get up tight when you go around comparing other people’s severities and who is he to say what’s minor? This is trolling at its worst. She has Crohn’s, and while I’d hate to prescribe how disabling this is to her I can see how being told it’s a ‘minor impairment’ could cause rage. Secondly, does she do this? I follow Sue too and I’ve never seen her say anything morbidly depressive like this. Yes we both share a certain cynicism – one I feel is healthy and should be encouraged around disability – but to confuse that with an overall depression and general negativity is a gross misjudgement.
Admittedly it took some time but I learnt to accept others have their own unique way of viewing their own disability. I find it easy to draw a crowbar between loving life and an indifference to disability – yeah I’d rather not have it but I’m over it! – which is why I don’t like the idea of Disability Pride, but I accept to others who see less of a separation Disability Pride is a good thing. Simon’s problem is he can’t see any other way but his own, to him there isn’t a difference between not being completely in love with your disability and wanting to enter the garage with a set of keys and a hosepipe.
Although it is unjust (even by my standards) to pick at someone’s insecurities, Simon’s weaknesses inform his most venomous opinions. If you’re familiar with his articles or follow him on Facebook/Twitter you will know that every couple of hours he’ll inform you about how ‘proud’ he is to be himself. Plus he is very open to talk about his imaginary friends and show you just how full his bedroom wall is of pictures of himself, whereas I choose to look up and see Neil Young rocking out on my wall, he chooses to see himself swimming with dolphins. He has admitted he gets very little out of relationships and therefore one can tell he needs this constant self-gratification to get by, these constant reminders of how ‘proud’ he is are more of a way to convince himself this is true than you. It’s not fair to criticise him on this however one must bear it in mind when he goes on the offensive about disabled people campaigning for the right to die and suggests they’re weak, implying he’s somehow better than them.
Yes, I’m an egomaniac too but I’d like to think it’s something I’ve learnt to self-parody. If I smash a gig (which obviously happens all the time!) of course I have to tell Facebook all about it but I always qualify it with either an overtly-disgusting comment about the sweaty disposition of my genitalia or a refreshingly-honest acknowledgement that I am being an all-out dick. I feel doing this makes my comments much less needy, admittedly still ‘wanty’ but ‘wanty’ in a way that’s hopefully humourous so no-one takes it seriously. Simon’s consistent reminders of how great he thinks he is seem to lack any sense of self-awareness and come across as pleads for others’ gratification. Again I don’t want to attack him on this but should we take barbed comments about others’ mental wellbeing from a man with such insecurities?
This man isn’t evil nor malicious at heart but he’s become so great at convincing himself he’s the business, without actually believing so deep down, that he’s just a parody of himself. And I pity him for that.
Posted on | October 9, 2013 | No Comments
Who’s a naughty boy for not updating his blog in ages? (Yes, ‘Ted’ is the right answer if you hadn’t gathered.) I no doubt deserve multiple-beatings; but, knowing me, I’d insist they’d be administered by a young curvaceous member of the opposite sex.
Sadly we are all aware that those beatings will not take place, and one of the many reasons for this disappointing fact is that I have still been putting words out on the internet (and not just words, words in a coherent structure too!). With gigs still not flowing as my ludicrously high expectations would like them to be one can find the river of inspiration to write material similarly lax-flowing too. However there is an answer to this and that lies in the reservoir (ok, this metaphor has become tedious now) known as Youtube, and armed with a new webcam I have resurrected my Youtube channel.
Since this blog gets many more hits than my videos I will now divert said current (sorry, I said I’d stop) over to planet Ted’s Youtube Channel.
(I am aware that my words are easier read than heard which is why I’ve applied the waffle-busting checks to these videos as I do to my routines. In fact, I’ve probably gone on far longer in this blog than necessary so to now absorb sharp rants in a drunken dysarthric -not a word, but I just invented it!- delivery will be easy.)
1. In [sort of] Defence of Bieber
Spending far too long watching live clips of ageing/dead guitarists on Youtube I am aware of how often Justin Bieber gets discussed in the comments. As much as I love ranting I am aware that there’s a time and place for it, and that is not when you’re trying to enjoy a dynamic by a now dead guitarist. Why is Bieber labelled as the Antichrist of music as if he is solely responsible for destroying it? There are lots of awful people making awful music and he’s just one of them.
So if you want to see me asking these questions with more sexually violent imagery this vid’s for you…
2.’Happy’ World Cerebral Palsy Day!
I felt I had to put something online to at least acknowledge the monumental day which was the 2nd October since I didn’t do much else to promote (or whatever verb I should use) it. So here’s me thinly pretending to raise awareness about CP while I crack dick jokes (my act, basically).
3. Gym Jealousy
Yes, my perspiring ways are landing me in hot water (well, sticky warm salty water) again and my natural bodily functions have been getting me some unnaturally unjust feedback again. “Use a towl”, I do! “Wear deodorant”, I do! “Wipe the machines down”, I do! Maybe I should invite them to see one of my sets just to see how naturally sweaty I am. Some people just sweat a lot and unfortunately I’m one of them, if you can’t accept that maybe gyms aren’t for you? Anyway this is me getting angry, and nearly getting sweaty about that.
Posted on | September 25, 2013 | No Comments
To have a good gig can be a matter of fate and you need the stars to be in the right place – when I say stars I actually mean ‘audience’, though far from stars they can be. Doing stand-up at festivals is often quite a privilege, even if you’re not getting paid in cash the free ticket usually equates to a respectable fee. If that isn’t enough, there’s having access to the ‘artists only’ porterloos – you can identify these easily by the absence of bodily-waste overflowing from the pan. (This isn’t too vital for me as even when not performing I get to use the far-cleaner accessible toilets, in fact performing makes me feel guilty I’m hoarding the bog-privileges.) However the ‘free’ ticket often comes at a price: that being the feeling that you’ve died on your lower-cheeks, even when you didn’t.
The main difference between a comedy club and a comedy tent is the former is somewhere people pay to go to while the latter is often somewhere people wander into when there’s no band on stage that they want to see and they need thirty minutes away from the beer-tent. Yes, the emcee will try to inject some energy into the room, get the audience to practice whooping as loudly as they can and make as many come to the front as possible, but most of the time this just isn’t what they want. The comedy tent is, for them, a mid-afternoon hangover cure.
It is likely that the ‘comedy’ tent will magically turn into a music tent after a certain time. By ‘magically’ I mean the complete opposite as it is often obvious that the room is laid-out to accommodate loud music and a physically appreciative intoxicated audience. A sign of this is a fenced-off area of no-man’s land between the stage and the crowd. This space is essential for the safety of bands, god knows what they could collide with if it wasn’t there, but it is prone to ruining the emotional safety of comedians. Even if the tent is crammed full of punters in full comedy mode [unlikely] who will react vocally [the right kind, that is] to your jokes these couple of metres are all it takes for that feedback to become very muted.
These are the facts and they’re all fine and dandy, still they are facts that shouldn’t be overlooked. More often than not in a well-attended/laid-out comedy club audience noise is a fair indication of how well you are doing – if the laughs are loud you’re cooking and if they’re quiet it may not be your night (though, if you have the ego of most comics, that’s definitely the crowd’s fault). Providing you aren’t contracted to do a certain length of time, a muted response is a fair and valid reason to take an early exit, you don’t particularly want to be there and they don’t want you to be there either. However it is a mistake to apply this logic in a comedy tent.
There is very little indication of how well you’re actually doing which is why it is vital to plough on and maintain [or feign] the composure of a comic on top form. If the punters aren’t convinced they want comedy they’ll have less desire to see an act flapping in the wind with a demeanour of being out of one’s depths.
To reiterate the original point, I’m not snubbing festival gigs – they are great for a number of reasons, not just the free ticket, and they can go well. Just act like everything’s going well and don’t take it to heart if every gag isn’t greeted by a wall of laughter.
PS in the interests of shameless self-publicity here’s my latest Youtube video. I recorded it just after playing Brisfest therefore I was fully equipped for not letting nil feedback affect my delivery.
If you don’t like such plugs remember to ‘like’ me using the Facebook box on the left to keep up with all my new posts. Yeah, be Ted’s bitches, good blog-readers!
Posted on | September 11, 2013 | No Comments
The last few 9/11s I have managed to rattle the cage of some of my more right-wing Facebook friends (no idea how they got there) by posting something along the lines of “9/11: the tragic day that right-wing America used as an excuse to be dicks to the East” and one or two of my less-educated more-conservative Facebook friends (no idea how they got there) saw it fit to berate me for a point I did not make. Therefore this time I decided to post the more tongue-in-cheek
What followed was the most beautiful masterclass in irony and online rowing which I will now share with you. Enjoy x
PS I’m not too hot at the mechanics of the ol’ click-drag-copy-and-paste thing so go easy if it’s a tad shoddy in appearance.
Posted on | September 8, 2013 | No Comments
A while ago I discussed the understated point of remembering to factor in the return journey after an out-of-town gig; this being why I find such blogs/articles telling rookie open-slots from Cornwall to take chances on unknown gigs in Aberdeen* annoying. (*that was a made-up and slightly exaggerated example.) I still feel this way although I have accepted traveling is important if you want to get out there (sadly having an awesome blog isn’t enough!) so I will take an out-of-town gig whenever I can. On the flip-side of this lies the importance of promoters to be as forward and honest in their disclosure of the night’s running times as possible.
Some acts can drive and to them going on 45 minutes after the email said just means hitting the pillow 45 minutes later, but for those who can’t be trusted at the wheel the implications are much more severe. I always book my gigs in accordance to if I’ve got a lift or if the train times will work and often if there isn’t a train at least 45 minutes after I’m scheduled to finish my set I won’t apply for it. Round trips usually cost me £20-60 which is a sum I’m happy to pay but adding the unexpected price of a hotel just because you got told the wrong time is too much. That’s not to say I won’t consider a gig with an away-sleep, I just appreciate the warning.
Twice recently I have done gigs where I’ve been on stage considerably after I was told I would be; one gig last month I was instructed to turn up for a prompt 7.30 start only to be told the gig never starts until 8.45. In this instance I was lucky to have a generous friend who drove me there. That friend, a working man and a father, had to make a considerable effort to get me there for the ‘start’ time and when told we were the first ones to show up and nothing would happen for at least an hour I could sense he was less than pleased. (He hid it well though, he’s a better person than me!)
The second gig I was told I’d be off in ample time to make the last train but after bombing it in the opening-acts car straight after my set I only had two minutes to spare (hardly ample!). I’d have no issue if there was a reason for the delay, audiences can turn up late or equipment can go wrong, but in both instances it was clear I was just told an incorrect time.
It’s a known secret that the times you give the audience are at least half an hour out (if it says is starts at 8pm the compere won’t walk on stage until 8.30 at least) but the times the organisers keep are always quite rigid – try going over your time and you’ll know all about it! Therefore it should be fair to assume these would be the times they give you – and don’t get me wrong many do, but some clearly don’t.
I’m not saying promoters should change their running orders just in case one act doesn’t drive, just more transparency about the genuine running orders would be appreciated.
PS on a totally unrelated note do you ever find the best thoughts come when you’re on the toilet? Using a warped yet pragmatic logic would therefore entail that the worst thoughts come to you when you’re stuffing your face. It occurred to me while I was recently stuffing my face with a delicious ‘hoagie’ at Cardiff’s New York Deli that I completely forgot to mention it in my ‘new top eats’ blog. This is bad enough as it’s somewhere I love and eat at regularly but even worse as they’ve been far too kind to me as to have the WalesOnSunday feature about me in their window!
This is a truly wonderful place in the centre of town which shows off American snack cuisine at its finest – and largest. The beautiful irony is it’s a place you’d go for, and pay for, a light sandwichy lunch and walk out feeling you’ve had your main meal. Plus everything is wonderfully fresh and prepared straight to order to. So yeah, go there! (Sorry about the dude in the window.)
Posted on | August 21, 2013 | 2 Comments
‘Has it been almost 18 months since you told us where you like to eat in Cardiff?’, I hear you ask. And yes, it has been that long and I feel it is my duty to update you to my current and new favourites. So below is that list.
(I have not included places that I put on the last list but that’s not to say I’m not still considered part of the furniture at many of them. So please, read this blog in conjuncture with the last – otherwise Madame Fromage and The Potted Pig will stop treating me like the true gentleman I am [not].)
I would add that I love these places, know the owners personally and wish them all the best therefore think of these as positive recommendations not critical reviews. Perhaps you could nit-pick one or two minute imperfections in them if you were being a complete phallus but I love these places and below is why.
Oz Urfa (City Road, Roath)
This is a new place I that I just can’t get enough of. Being a Mediterranean place specialising in kebabs on City Road one cannot say it is alone and to stand out it would need to be something truly special, but luckily it is! The quality and the freshness of food makes mockery of all the other Turkish joints on City Road (yes, even Troy!), the stuff are lovely and the food is incredibly cheap. They actually make their own baklava which, to my knowledge, no other restaurant on City Road does. I’m even so fond of it I bigged it up on Tripadvisor so read that if you want to know more.
KL Canolog (Wellfield Road, Roath)
I used to think Wellfield Road couldn’t get better for eating places but it has recently proved me wrong, especially with the arrival of this wonderful Malaysian café/deli. Run by a loving Malaysian couple this beauty would stand just as strongly in a street in Malaysia, and it is no wonder demand now led them to open in the evenings. Plus it’s one of those few places where you can feel comfortable popping in at any hour for a coffee and cake or a three-course main meal and not feel remotely out of place – or be subjected to frozen meals.
Mirchi’s (City Road, Roath)
It’s hard to know where to go for your standard Anglo-Indian affair I’ve been in and out of favour with a few establishments and it’s fair to say the variation is minimal. However if you fancy something a bit different (and spicy!) you can’t go far wrong with Mirchi’s. Mirchi’s is a family run Pakistani establishment (the liberal in me feels slightly uncomfortable describing something as ‘Pakistani’ but he shouldn’t worry as this place is) specialising in some of the most vibrant, flavoursome and meaty curries you’ll ever taste. They do the freshest naan I’ve tasted and you can tell it’s fresh because it’s made right in front of you.
Although I said I’m not going to be critical I think it’s fair to note that the service is a bit shambolic at times, at busy periods you can wait a lot then to find your main coming as you’re barely half-way through your starter. And try to pick a big table as they’re never in a hurry to take your finished plates away. However you quickly get used to it and the food is definitely worth it!
(There’s no nice way to say this but as the food is so hard-hitting and spicy I don’t recommend going if you have a long car journey the next morning. Know wha’ I’m sayin’?)
.cn (City Road, Roath)
Chinese takeaways are a craze that has largely passed me by, not that I don’t enjoy proper Chinese cuisine but the stuff most people get when they ‘have a Chinese’ is often a very poor and bland representation. Luckily .cn is far from your average ‘chinky’ and is quite a special establishment itself. If you come here looking for your usual takeaway order you’d likely be disappointed – no crispy duck (although it’s probably not duck) pancakes, no sweet and sour chicken with its unmistakeable MSG getting you in the back of your throat and no frozen spring-rolls. Instead .cn offer all the types of meat you can think of –and many that you can’t- in wonderfully fresh flavoursome sauces that penetrate all corners of your mouth – bar the back one reserved for MSG.
Pigs’ intestines, duck tounge, chicken gizzard you name it it’s on the menu; I even once made a [not set-worthy] joke about me making a ‘pigs’ ear’ of a dish only to be told I should order some – yes they’re on the menu too; they’re quite rubbery but not bad. Luckily they have more ordinary sounding meat dishes too. Plus all dishes are between £6-10 which is incredibly reasonable given their ample size.
Café Citta (Church Street, town centre)
As this is Cardiff’s no. 1 ranked restaurant on Tripadvisor I don’t need to say much about it but if you’re after a pizza in town there is no better place. Everything is fresh and well-prepared to the max – if you don’t believe me you can see for yourself as everything is made right in front of you. It’s run by a family who are so friendly and warm, clearly into their food and always have time to talk to their customers. (Although do note, they don’t share the same taste in music so if you want to compliment them on playing some Little Feat make sure you get the Americana-loving husband!) What I would say though is being so small and so popular it fills up quicker than a fast-food eater’s arteries so either book early or take advantage of its all-day opening hours by going mid/late afternoon.
So those are my current favourites, no doubt some will get better, get worse or eventually disappear, but in the meantime visit them!
Posted on | August 7, 2013 | 2 Comments
Judging by the fellow tweeters with disabilities I interact with (yes, a few do talk to me!) I get off fairly lightly as far as pain goes, yeah I get the odd graze from a fall but that’s about it. I’m lucky for this in many ways but the trouble it causes is that when pain does come a’knocking it leaves one few places to go. A couple of weeks ago I did something to my back while working out that caused minor discomfort for a few days, then an ever-so-slightly careless descent from standing to sitting one evening turned that minor pain into something more major. (Don’t worry enough time has passed for me to feel better enough for this blog not to be a plea for sympathy, but feel free to give some if you desire.) Read more
Posted on | July 12, 2013 | No Comments
I’m not going to labour this point as I touched on it in my diatribe against The Undateables, but could people kindly refrain from quoting these sadistics (typo intended) of how many people say they won’t date/shag someone with a disability? These do no good and just make the likes of me feel sorry for themselves and even less inclined to approach a member of the opposite sex.
By asking someone if they’ll have sex with someone with a disability you are giving NO other information about the person other than they have a disability. This leaves it up to their own perception of disability which could be very severe (eg severe Down’s Syndrome). So why not ask less biased questions eg ‘Would you consider sleeping with someone incredibly attractive with a disability?’ or why not mention that the person with a disability may be an irresistible flirt? Failing that, try mentioning that them and the person with a disability might be into exactly the same music?
Yes, I often complain about my lack of pumpy de la rumpy but deep down inside I know the predominant reason is because I still don’t feel comfortable spelling out to women that I find them hot… I’m a dude, due to men’s utterly stupid campaign of labelling women as ‘sluts’ if they are generous enough to be up-front about their sexual desires it is usually our shout to make the moves (women don’t want to be called ‘sluts’ and you can’t really blame them).
Plus, as a general rule, all men are largely unattractive and undesirable to sleep with and it is our prerogative to come up with enough bullshit to convince them otherwise (‘bad guys’ are experts in bullshitting and ‘bad guys always get laid’. Coincidence?). I’m pretty sure that if you gave hetrosexual women a poll asking bluntly if they’d sleep with a man you’d get less than 100% for ‘yes’. So, we guys, especially if we have a disability, need all the confidence we can find.
Feigning this bullshit and confidence is hard enough so please STOP MAKING IT WORSE!!!
Ted the underlaid crip.
PS no-where in this blog have I intended to be in the slightest way sexist (against women) apart from perhaps suggesting being attracted to men is utterly stupid, which it is.
Posted on | July 9, 2013 | No Comments
Recently I have noticed a couple of friends sharing this clip, Stephen Fry slamming it to grammar Nazis and saying how petty it is to get worked up at the odd misplaced apostrophe. As the nation appears to love the man so much it can be hard to determine whether the topic in question is one he is genuinely passionate about or just one he has agreed to do on the sole basis of being Stephen Fry. (Not saying he’s over-exposed… Actually I am, deal with it.) Read morekeep looking »