In a recent confidence-crisis it wasn’t the “voice” of my favourite authors I found myself mimicking, and the style I suddenly reverted to didn’t come from any book I was reading. It was stolen from my boyfriend. It was his voice, his tone, his metaphor that was creeping into my work. There’s almost a joke in that, because the way we write is so vastly different. I don’t think I could ever really write like him and he couldn’t write like me. But I admire this style and his choice of words. I love the way he writes and sometimes I wish the way I wrote was more like that.
There’s a certain fragility to having this much respect for someone you know, especially someone you know well. It’s one thing to respect someone’s work from afar but to admire it at close range, to be the person who critiques first drafts, is quite odd. It puts you on the back foot a little because we’re so used to admiring people from afar that we don’t really know what to do when faced with them at close range.
I have this problem quite a lot. I’ve got a habit of deeply respecting the creative pursuits of people I know and of coming to deeply respect the pursuits of people shortly after I’ve befriended them. You’re not really a fan then, you can’t be, because you’re a friend. I’m realising that I have friends, and friends of friends, who are probably going to be quite successful, who will write books that win awards, so this problem is probably only going to get worse.
Take my brother. I’ve been a fan of Fin for years. He’s unreasonably talented.  I’ve enjoyed his drawings since said drawings were (surprisingly elaborate) infantile scribbles. A couple of months ago he started a web comic (of sorts) and now every Monday and Friday I eagerly await the next instalment. The odd thing is that sometimes I’m eagerly awaiting them in the lounge room while he’s writing them in the office. The upside of this is that, while being a fan, I’m also genetically allowed to be awfully, awfully proud of him when he succeeds, something that’s always a little creepy coming from a regular fan. The downside is that it seems a little odd when I constantly tweet about how great his comics are (but I don’t really care because his comics are great).
But then there’s the next degree of separation. During my first year of uni, I became something on a regular spectator on the Newcastle comedy scene. The thing about being a regular on such a small scene is that there aren’t many regulars, and as such you tend to get noticed. I did a couple of interviews with people, accidentally made some friendly acquaintances and all of a sudden I was on Facebook-friend terms with most of Newcastle’s comics. The strange thing about this is that while sitting in the audience I had both come to admire these people and to know them socially, two things that often don’t go together too well. I know quite a lot of comedians but, in the past, I have tended to meet them before I saw them preform. I liked their stand-up after I enjoyed their conversation. Somehow that’s a really vital difference.
I got to review Newcastle comedian Matty B’s first full length show because he asked me to. One of my favourite comedians, certainly my favourite non-musical comedian, sent me a Facebook message and said “would you like to write about my show”. In many ways, that’s completely wonderful, in other ways, there is something very strange about it. This person who’s comedy I completely adore (seriously guys, he is great) was of the opinion that my networks, my online presence could be of benefit to him.
There is one pretty major advantage to this, one which I’ve exploited several times in the past: it means you have the contact details of some pretty great people at your disposal. When you find yourself with a stupid, crazy idea you already have the resources to furnish said idea with talent.
And so, inspired by my boyfriend (who used to run live music gigs through his blog), promoted by the artwork of my brother (poster coming soon!) and featuring some of the excellent comics I can, somehow, talk into doing me favours, comes Adventures in Comedy Land.
To celebrate Adventures in TV-Land’s third birthday I am hosting a comedy show. The line-up is exciting: Matty B, Brendan Knott, Ben Jenkins and Zoe Pelbart (plus one or two others yet to be confirmed). The venue is great: The Royal Exchange in Newcastle. The date is in place: February 24. I was nervous about this whole crazy idea and then suddenly it feel into place and now it’s exciting. So if you’re in Newcastle (or can be in Newcastle or want to be in Newcastle or know someone in Newcastle who you can send in your place) come along and meet some people you can admire from afar later.
For full details and to commit your attendance, click here.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year