Ted Shiress

Keepin’ The Juices Flowing

Posted on | September 24, 2016 | No Comments

As mentioned previously I’m not gigging quite as much as previously, still just like a singer chewing gum I am trying to do the necessary to keep the ol’ creative juices flowing. I now attend a writers’ group where I knock out a creative piece bi-weekly. I did something similar a while back and made the mistake of sharing such rookie attempts with you – but this time I will only share the funny ones. (Often getting paid to be funny I think it’s now just a logical entailment that I am professionally funny.) So here are three for your enjoyment.

Should we keep it?

Last night nothing seemed to have a consequence, so passion and wine made our decision for us. The alcohol was flowing and our hunger was palpable. in the heat of the night we made our choice. Everything felt perfect, consequence was just a high scoring word in scrabble with no meaning. But now we wake up, sobered in our conscience knowing that there may be something there, living. Something there, waiting to grow. And all because of one decision we made under uncontrollable lust. And now we have another decision: do we get rid of it now? We might think we can keep it but we can’t.

Oh why didn’t we throw out the takeaway before going to bed.

My ‘Cheat’s Attempt’ to work with a set opening-line

“These are dark and evil days,” the mouse told me as he nibbled my ear, it was then I realised I was tripping, tripping hard. I then remembered Steve telling “Control the trip with positive thoughts, Ted” but that just meant the mouse now was saying that in between mouthfuls of lobe. What beats a mouse? A cat. Time to think catty thoughts and all will be OK.

A cat I said, a cute cuddly cat, not a lion! I was now engulfed in a lion’s mane a whisker away from his teeth. Its roar was bursting my eardrum like I was in the engine of a jet plane, I was certain I’d turn deaf.

It was after that I realised acid isn’t for me.

The Curse of The Music Nerd

“No, I think you will find Bob Dylan wrote it”, “Yes this song is OK but their first few albums were less commercial” are a few things I say uncontrollably. Why can’t I go out and let background music be background music?

Why can’t I worry more about how my drink is mixed and less about how the butchered version of one of my far from favourite songs playing is? The answer, I am a music nerd.

Do you want vinyl they ask, before I launch into a diatribe about digital sound, appropriate this would be were I not in a carpet shop. And the last time I heard someone recommend a certain tweeter I was there for ten minutes speaking about a speaker.

I am cursed by my love, not a love of a person but of sound.

What The *Ahem* Is Happening?

Posted on | September 22, 2016 | No Comments

Woke up this morning with a stiff neck – not the best of things but nonetheless far from fatal and something that normally comes with a fun story of how it happened. So, what is this epic tale of adventure that climaxed in mild muscular discomfort? Coughing!

To fill yourself in watch this video I made a while back…

Yes, I have this recurring ‘splutter’ that no-one can figure out; it’s a thing that comes and goes – annoyingly it always seems to go when I’m seeing a doctor about it – and no-one can shed any light on it. It was the other night I was out for a few drinks and I had a particularly bad fit and due to the already excessive haphazard way I move somehow did my neck a bit of no-good.

There are so many things that bring it on that I expect wouldn’t and vice versa that I don’t know where to begin. There’s times when I eat something spicy thinking it will make it much worse only to find the chilli functions as a muscle-relaxant and helps (so, wehey – I clearly have to eat lots of curry!). The only one thing that definitely seems to make it worse is taking a large drink after a rich meal – this particular episode was triggered by downing a pint of water after a three-egg omelette plus dessert (but I love my food so I’m not giving that up!).

Doctors and speech therapists don’t have a fucking clue. My GP has referred me to get a chest x-ray and see a speech therapist; the chest came back as all clear and the speech therapist sent me on my way after declaring it was ‘not her area’ – then what the fuck is?! After telling the speech-therapist food sometimes encourages (but does NOT cause it) we then took ten minutes discussing the fact that faulty swallows can sometimes cause a splutter, and this is added to by the fact I swallow often to regulate saliva. All very well but I explicitly stated this was a separate issue proving the meeting a complete waste of fucking time! (Well not quite, as discussing the question of ‘Spit or swallow?’ is always enjoyable!)

And yes, it has impacted my gigging life! I now regularly have to break my sets for a ‘splutter-break’ and explain to the crowd what is going on when I don’t actually know! There was a recent night of comedy mayhem where we did each other’s act, obviously the tension over who was ‘doing me’ caused me much pleasure – but I cringed at my mate saying ‘Remember the cough too!’. Not that I minded him saying it, but it just marked a startling sign that it was now ‘a part of me’.

I’m seeing this lovely girl with spastic cerebral palsy (yes, unlike I’ll have you believe on stage I’m neither a ‘Spastic’ or single) and in comparing notes we agree that athetosis (my form) makes things more awkward on the outside (because all your muscles want to do a bit of everything) but causes far fewer long-term muscular issues (for the same reason). I think this is the only real ongoing internal thing I suffer from, so maybe I’m lucky, but I still want a fucking answer! So if anyone can help, please do!

On another positive note, to compensate for the infrequency of my gigs I am posting a video every two days, so subscribers to my channel would be greatly appreciated!

Pre-Spack Dating

Posted on | June 1, 2016 | No Comments

dateclip
(Pre spack – press-pack, I was trying to morph the words into each other; it didn’t work, let’s move on.)

Once in a blue moon I go twenty-four hours without eating meat, Jeremy Hunt sees his own reflection and a 4×4 driver stops to let you cross. Also once in a blue moon I do something slightly serious on my Youtube channel and when that happens I will unashamedly milk every hit from it I can get.

A while ago I woke up with a mischievous grin (still tempted to murder but in a more playful way) and decided to do a rather predictable (for me) Disability Dating FAQ. In this I’d set out some typical questions people may have around dating disabled people, start to answer them and quickly divert to “give him a blowjob”.

Hahaha yes, very much the type of thing I’d do and no-one got hurt – or blown (sadly). Some viewers then fedback that they’d like to see a more serious version, and bizarrely (I think I was coming down with manful) I had a good think and gave them one.

Then one for disabled people dating non-disableds.

Then one for disableds dating disableds.

But wait, my generosity didn’t stop there! I even created transcripts for all the serious ones so those complaining I’m hard to understand (and deaf people who admittedly don’t deserve such abuse). They can be found in the descriptions like so…

So there they are, do what you wish with them.

Independence Masturbation

Posted on | May 29, 2016 | No Comments

I’ve said in the past I don’t have an issue with ‘inspiration porn’, people who get ‘inspired’ by disabled people doing the mundane- and I still feel those people are harmless albeit misguided and not worth fussing over. However many know pornography comes hand-in-hand with masturbation and I think we need to talk about the concept of ‘Independence Masturbation’ – the idea that disabled people use independence as a form of self-pleasure.

An episode which illustrates this perfectly took place in the gym recently where I was about to adjust the machine I was on, someone started to offer help then a regular punter lent in and said “He likes to do it himself”. To his credit I didn’t think I could be so angered by a handful of modals and pronouns but there is so much here that jarred. There is an implication here that a norm is being broken – usually someone would come running but Whacky Radical Ted does it his way – this is not true nor do I want it to be true. Disabled people cannot rely on random acts of kindness, yes there are a few things I ask when I’m out and I’m grateful when they’re done, but these are optional things not essentials. Everywhere I go without my PA I know I can be self-sufficient – that’s not to say a few tasks won’t be improved without help but that help is always optional – so helping me isn’t a mandatory task.

The word ‘likes’ also struck – and this is where I hope you’ll realise the masturbation analogy was appropriate. Here there was an implication that the task was being executed purely to make myself feel good, and it is true that independence is important to a lot of disabled people. However once we get older we realise independence is about the bigger picture and it doesn’t matter if that involves you doing small mechanical tasks or someone else. (Ironically I would like a random member of the public walking around setting everything up for me but I am fully aware this is an unreasonable ask.) There have been things I’ve done independently I have got pride from, but these are all big things – like traveling to NZ with no-one I knew bar my sister or the first time I went to a gig in another city by myself, whether I had help with the micro-tasks involved in these feats simply doesn’t matter.

I perform said tasks merely to continue being a functional member of society, doing things we consider should be done. It’s that simple.

(I guess I should stop thinking about wanking in the gym.)

DON’T OPEN IT!

Posted on | April 5, 2016 | No Comments

Ever been told to ignore dodgy-looking email attachments? I’m sure you have, but in the days of spam filters and anti-virus it’s easy to ignore such advice if a particular message catches your eye – just like it is to avoid backing up. And so yesterday I received an email saying I owed £900 for a fridge from a lawyer at a firm called ‘Life After Loss’, and weirdly it was addressed to me but at my parents’ address (in London, where I haven’t lived for a decade!). Stupidly my mind started making bizarre connections and asking irrational questions: ‘Why to my parents’ house?, Well, I don’t put it past dad to order something using my email to save him signing up’, ‘I remember my folks buying a new fridge’, ‘Life after loss? Well I lost my grandad two years ago, maybe it’s something to do with money he left’, ‘Yeah it’s probably a scam but why not look at it? It passed my spamguards and if it is still dodgy my anti-virus will zap it. It’ll make for good comedy no doubt!’. And so I downloaded this measly little Word file expecting that the very worst outcome would be AVG Antivirus shrieking “THREAT DETECTED, FILE IS NOT SAFE!”.

I was so wrong. AVG was blissfully unaware that anything was up, but it was. It turned out to be ‘Ransomware’, as soon as I viewed the file (which turned out to be some stupid terms and agreements) my computer started processing like shit and every file on my desktop turned white; I quit and discovered this to be apparent in every folder for every file bar mp3s and PDFs (and that would be just bearable if my entire 500+ manually ripped albums were in mp3 not AAC). I now cannot access my music, my comedy routines nor the original files of the Youtube videos you never watch.

Every folder now contains this html file with this lovely little message.

help

Basically ‘Pay up or you’re screwed’. At first I didn’t believe it and assumed simply googling ‘Maktub ransomware’ would tell me how to zap the problem – and it did, well one of the problems. I found thorough advice on how to remove the bug, which seemed to work and I’m reasonably sure my PC is no-longer infected. Still cleaning the computer is different to de-fucking my files. They remain as inaccessible as the buildings I should spend more time blogging about and nothing can change that. Apparently each attack works in a different way making it practically impossible to break the code, so I’m fucked.

One of the great ironies here is the ‘ransom’ itself, starting at 1.4 bitcoins (588 USD) for the first three days before it goes up. I am no way going to pay this sum as a, they are criminals and b, I’m reasonably sure it won’t work; but had it been something like £30 I’d have swallowed my pride, sucked those cyber-cocks, funding criminals in the desperate hope I get my files back.

So I sit here looking at some of my 500+ cd library no longer able to call any track up in three clicks, worrying about how many of my routines I can remember, apologising profusely to those I share Dropboxes with and feeling a total spaz. So, I know you won’t listen to something like this until it happens to you but: DON’T OPEN STRANGE ATTACHMENTS and BACK THE FUCK UP!

Devoted Ponderings

Posted on | March 9, 2016 | 1 Comment

So BBC3 have just put out a quite balanced (for them) documentary of devoteeism – sexual attraction towards disability, as a disabled person who is as chronically underlaid as he makes out on stage do I see a place for it? Well initially it seems fucking weird, trust me this thing is no fun and I struggle to see how someone would get off on it. But then again aren’t most of the things that turn us on bizarre? I find myself insanely appreciative of the organs females use to feed their newborn – EW, how sick is that?! And when put like that it does seem rather dark – yet it appears to be an urge shared by the majority of heterosexual males.

The question is what type of relationship would you consider having with a devotee, the idea of pursuing something meaningful and long-term with a devotee does initially seem somewhat degrading, but hooking up with one for a quick fuck – hell, I would! If there is any objectifying going on it is mutual – she’ll be taking advantage of my abnormalities but I would be doing the same with hers. I occasionally get contacted by this slightly strange yet perfectly polite American girl on OKCupid who is “into disability” and wants to do “webcam stuff” with me, I have always declined but a part of me feels ‘why not?’. Yes some disability activists may argue that she’ll be degrading my disability but some feminists will argue what I’ll be doing will be degrading her femininity.

However we like to say what we desire in a sexual partner, though are we always telling the truth? Dating more than before, I have discovered that a true romantic partner and a well suited friend who happens to have the right sexual organs are two very different things. The times when I have ‘clicked’ on a date there always been some sort of vulnerability on both sides and that has brought us closer than a shared love of blues or comedy. This is surely a milder form of the same thing devotees feel. The issue with devoteeism is it puts it out there from the start that this is attraction towards a vulnerability/disadvantage which seems rather sick, but when you scratch the surface of romantic attraction and connection it’s quite normal – or a highly exaggerated form of what is normal.

But yes, you couldn’t have a meaningful relationship with someone who just likes your disability and I’d advise strongly against trying, but if such attraction can help build a connection or get you a quick fuck – why knock it?!

FREEZE PEACH!!

Posted on | February 27, 2016 | No Comments

What does it mean to be a liberal? Fuck knows these days to be honest. It speaks volumes how rightwards the paradigm has shifted that a term that traditionally meant central and perhaps a tad to the right now gets used as a slur for ‘left and progressive’. But yes, I’m cool with gays, I support the right for everyone to speak their mind so if you are using the term to mean one who follows the principles of social libertarianism I am a “liberal”.

I am however concerned at how often the term ‘FREE SPEECH!’ gets shouted these days – and yes in my frustrations of just how niche my appeal seems to be I may have been guilty of this too. If a paper won’t print views they don’t endorse someone shouts ‘FREE SPEECH!’, if a comedy club won’t give a gig to a comedian whose jokes they don’t dig someone shouts ‘FREE SPEECH!’ or if I delete that crass comment you’ve left below calling me a retarded spastic someone shouts ‘FREE SPEECH!’. As my understanding goes the right to free speech protects us from being locked up or beaten up for speaking our mind, and this is something I fully endorse. I am constantly sickened by societies that outlaw any sort of freedom of expression, but freedom of expression isn’t an invincibility cloak that lets you spout anything anywhere with no consequences.

The Libertarian argument is the free market and free expression go hand-in-hand but they don’t, when a financial contract is involved one becomes an employee therefore tied to the rules of their employer. When Germaine Greer caused controversy a few months ago for views that were frankly batty and out of touch my initial thoughts were ‘let her air them, it’s a free country is it not?’ but then I realised she was getting paid to share these views and I did a bit of a 180. By paying Greer universities were buying her views so if you believe they were hateful and transphobic they were buying hate and transphobia and reselling them to their students. An ethical supermarket (yes a complete oxymoron but just imagine one exists) may choose not to sell Nestle products and that is fully their right to do so, anyone who complains doing so is undermining the principles of a free society is catastrophically missing the point. This is just as valid if it’s words and ideas being sold as well as food.

And yes, I’m still going to harp on too much about how outfits should be more accepting of less mainstream views on disability because I believe that – and it’s high time I got paid for these brilliant things that fall out of my mouth and fingertips. However I’ll try not to be so crass as to reduce everything to the cry of “IT’S FREE SPEECH!”.

Too Tired To Fake

Posted on | February 25, 2016 | No Comments

Doing the things I do I’ve accepted mass-appeal ain’t a thing I’m likely to achieve therefore I’ve begrudgingly accepted pitiful Youtube hits and just a handful of followers on Twitter. The thing that always causes amazement is on the occasions I do pick up more traffic (usually with a crass impersonation of Trump or Farage) I receive accusations that I’m a fake. It seems like the default opinion of the standard internet-user is if someone is being ‘out there’ with what looks like a disability they are obviously ‘doing a bit’. Yes, given the nature of my stuff I probably ask for this a bit but should disabled people really have to prove they are disabled?

There always is a ‘model’ of how disabled people are portrayed – we’re either superhumans, evil scroungers or the pathetically vulnerable, but the truth is we’re all those things and more; in fact we’re everything! I tire of hearing disabled people getting turned down for a role because they ‘don’t fit a mould’ when there’s simply no mould to fit; and perhaps people would be slower to shout “FAKE!” if these moulds didn’t exist.

I stand by my opinion of I’m Spazticus which was it is a painfully unfunny show made by people with a pitiful grasp on the mechanisms of humour – but so what?! Channel 4 chose to commission a bunch of disabled people doing something they believe in and for that they deserve credit. There are countless shows by able-bodied people that I also find catastrophically unfunny but I don’t attribute that to a caricature of being able-bodied. Admittedly I was worried that the average Joe would watch I’m Spazticus and assume that disabled people are by nature AIDS-degree unfunny but we need to move closer to a world where these worries have no weight. This can only be achieved by allowing disabled people to do what they do regardless of if it fits a glove and encouraging people to judge it solely on its merit as a piece of art. I would have loved it if Channel 4 chose to simultaneously commission a show showcasing disabled people being insanely funny –like Cynic!-, but it came close with ‘The Last Leg’.

So the next time you witness something by a disabled person accept their disability as a given, move on and judge freely.

PS if you enjoyed this blog or thought it was a pile of shit please feel free to say, but don’t go comparing it against some make-believe blueprint of how disabled people should behave.

Five Songs I’ve Played The Shit Out Of This Year

Posted on | December 31, 2015 | No Comments

With 2015 about to be wrapped up I thought it’s mandatory I’d do some kind of list, but with a few of 2015’s offerings yet to be unwrapped I’ll keep it sparse as any longer and more definitive list could well change.

1. Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – “Big Box”
Most people are well aware I’m a compulsive Neil Young freak, especially when it comes to his heavier work with the flawed, shambolic yet somehow perfectly fitting ‘Crazy Horse’, yet most are aware his output since about 1996 has been frequent but patchy. With this in mind I was apprehensive about his ‘new political record’ (especially after 2006’s hard-hitting but unremarkable ‘Living With War’ and 2009’s quite-frankly dire ‘Fork In The Road’) with a band that sounds ‘just like Crazy Horse’. Yet Neil has teamed up with young rockers Promise Of The Real to produce quite a beaut and ‘Big Box’ is my favourite cut from it. Clocking in at 8 minutes, quite a standard length for a Neil-rocker, it offers a hard-hitting attack on corporations and big-chain supermarkets spaced out with a couple of gems of jams. He even loves this band enough to give them a few solos, one minute he’ll be screeching away, then Lucas Nelson will before they’ll come together and harmonise. This track is the tits.

From “The Monsanto Years”

2. Richard Thompson – “Patty Don’t You Put Me Down”
Although I insist the inclusion of a Neil Young song on this list in more surprising than some would believe, a Richard Thompson track is not – his releases are consistent, frequent and brilliant and after many listens “Patty…” is still Still’s top cut. This perfect little rocker proves that this 66 year old still has enough fire and vitriol to burn a navy and yet somehow is catchy at the same time. In this song he initially assumes the position of a confident young male lover unimpressed with the forward advances of a kanieving lover he’s casually courting warning her that “We might be in bed together but the deal’s not signed”, however, as Thompson nuts will know, there’s many twists ahead. There’s the dry sarcasm of “They say you collect shrunken heads would you like to have mine?”, the destroying chant of “In you ten-watt world it’s beyond any pleasure you know, to stick your fingers in the socket and give yourself a glow” then back to the I’m-a-fool-for-you- refrain of “Patty don’t you put me down”. Genius tune, with guitar-work to die for too.

From “Still”

3. Samantha Fish – “Place To Fall”
I don’t know why I never gave The Fish any more attention sooner as there’s not much about this young blonde blues-rocker that doesn’t appeal to me. This haunting swagger-full yet romantic 6/8er is nothing short of brilliant and just about as raw as it gets and if it wasn’t for the subtle backing steel guitar and the occasional second guitar part you’d be convinced it was live. Although reasonably conventional in structure, the shades of light and dark and the way the song rises and falls between the chorus and verse prove Samantha to be an undoubtedly skilled writer. Bitter and sweet, haunting and heavy – this track is where it’s at!

From “Wild Heart”

4. Duke Garwood – “Disco Lights”
Given how niche and limited my touch on current releases is, I decided to subscribe to MOJO this year and Garwood’s “Heavy Love” was one of the first write-ups that really appealed. It described the album’s genre as “modern blues”, implying it was of a blues idiom but not confined to the tired structures that I know [and admittedly love] rather well. Those who know me won’t be surprised that I picked the album’s most conventional cut, but what the fuck – I love it. Set in the refreshingly familiar [for a blues fan] signature of 6/8 its soothing vocals and distorted but perfectly-paced guitar work make it a heavenly experience for the ear and a perfect contrast of heavy and soft. A lovely piece of music indeed.

From “Heavy Love”

5. Steve Earle & The Dukes – “You’re The Best Lover That I Ever Had”
Yeah ok, three out of five on this list are songs from those you’d expect from me but I suppose I love them for a reason! Steve’s 2015 offering initially unimpressed me, being dubbed a ‘blues’ album it fell between two stalls, it wasn’t quite the type of blues I love nor the type of Steve Earle. Then suddenly it clicked, of course it was neither, it was a mixture of the two – and what a creative and beautiful concoction it was. Having recently divorced Alison Moorer, aka Wife no. 7, you’d hope a bit of irony to be hiding behind the title but even if there isn’t this track is still a brooding yet sweet masterpiece. Combining its sweet yet restrained lyrics, toe-tapping rhythm and spot-on blend of acoustic and electric guitar I can’t see how any woman won’t be touched to have this written for them. A blues masterpiece from a non-blues song-writer.

From “Terroplane”

Restaurant Tale #2

Posted on | November 8, 2015 | No Comments

Last night a thing happened in a restaurant, and we all know what happened the last time I blogged a similar tale. (OK, you may not – basically everything went MASSIVE and to be honest it became somewhat of a ball-ache.) So basically I now will do all I can to make you turn away before telling you what happened, therefore my arse is clean in case it all goes a bit front-page-of-The-Echo.

By the way have you seen every episode of Cynic? Quite frankly the hits are shit so if you want to read this story I think I should give you the opportunity to watch every episode first…

Still there? Damn!

OK, have you seen my new set of videos where I joke I was molested by a preacher? They are obscenely unfunny and will turn you away instantly.

What, you’ve made it this far?? OK, here’s the tale…

Last night I went to Lilo’s (although Oz Urfa trumps as the best Mediterranean on City Road sometimes Lilo’s is great for shoving your face full of meat) and upon arriving I was greeted by ‘Panicky Manager’. Panicky Manager insisted I should go next door to its ‘grill house’ which they insist is the same but Tripadvisor disagrees. (I think the thinking was l could drive my scooter into the side-door of the grill house.)
So Panicky Manager got a waiter to show me to said side door, and upon arriving it was obvious I could not drive in, and for five minutes I and said waiter had this conversation on loop:
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”
“Come, come!”
“Hang on, I’ll park”

etc etc. So eventually said waiter gave up and left. I then parked and walked into the grill house which was full and none of the staff knew me or quite understood why I was there (they didn’t understand my reason “I don’t know, some waiter [who’s disappeared] told me to come [come]”.)

They found me a table in the end, by that time they had run out of most items (it wasn’t even 9!), and while the items I ordered were identical to next door on the menu the quality was clearly inferior. RAH!

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