Try Anything Once (except line dancing and tripe)

In the spirit of the new PigPog, I thought I’d look back over some of my past creative endeavours. I’ll try anything once, and over the years I’ve dabbled in quite a few different things.

Amateur Dramatics/Community Theatre
Oh boy. This was an assault on the senses. The production in question suggested that the town it was staged in would not only survive a huge natural disaster, but be improved by it. A group of arty types (not unlike the ‘Legs Akimbo’ group from The League of Gentlemen) arrived from London, with an armful of Arts Council funding, to lead us in a series of bizarre songs and sketches. I played a newscaster who stripped at the end of her report. As a fellow cast member reminded me a few weeks ago when I saw her, I was *lot* slimmer back then. I also played a label-obsessed shopaholic and one of yer average slappers on a night out. During rehearsals we also spent a lot of time being trees and pretending we were trapped in a plastic box. Such is the way with this sort of thing. It was a fun time, but a very, very odd time.

Stand-up Comedy
I don’t know what possessed me to try stand-up. Some dark and twisted part of my being convinced the rest of me to script a five minute routine, travel to a club in Leigh-on-Sea, and perform in front of a crowd of pissed Southerners. A darker and even more twisted part of my being decided that it wasn’t enough to simply do that, and contacted a programme on the mercifully now defunct BBC Knowledge that promoted web sites and got a film crew recording me in progress. I can’t remember a thing about it, apart from forgetting my routine halfway through and standing there silent for what felt like about a week.

Certainly my most misguided creative decision. Although it all seemed to go down well at the time, I wasn’t so sure when I watched the video the BBC had kindly provided me. As the nervous, sweaty, lost-lovechild of Bernard Manning blethered away to the audience about being a temp I could have sworn a voice off camera yelled ‘Get off the stage!’. It may well have been me, actually, because I certainly wasn’t in my body at that point.

Writing
After the horror of the attempt at stand-up, I felt an urge to try something creative from the comfort of my own home, hiding under a table, with a duvet over me. So I took to writing. I started initially with daft articles for PigPog, little bits that had I felt I had the ability to take to the stand-up stage again, could have been parts of routines.

I signed up for one of those "You Can Be A Successful Writer and Make A Fortune" correspondence courses, but I got so absorbed in the second assignment on novel writing that I gave it up and attempted to write a novel. It soon became obvious that I didn’t have the skill to string eighty-odd thousand words together, but I stuck with it, and created something that wasn’t a novel, wasn’t a web site, was something quite unique – The MBLM Files. It’s a parody on the pop world, the 80s, and the cult of dead celebrity. We tried to sell it, printed a few and tried to sell them at a book fair. Only one copy was sold. To my Mum. It’s now available as a free PDF download.

Singing/Playing Guitar
I’ve enjoyed singing for as long as I can remember. I have a fabulous voice that rocks really rather hard, unfortunately only when nobody else is listening. I have sung in public on a few occasions, years ago I sang 80s Hair Metal anthem ‘Alone’ with a band, and had a couple of regrettable Lloyd-Webber moments singing ‘Memories’ from Cats and numbers from ‘Joseph’.

Fortunately I’ve developed a bit more taste in recent years, and since acquiring a guitar back in the summer have been learning to play songs by Metallica, The Beatles (Beatallica Rulez! Yeahhh!), The White Stripes, Electric Six and the obligatory Lynyrd Skynyrd track. I haven’t done any proper singing for a while, but plan to once I’ve mastered the guitar a bit more.

I also enjoy drawing and arseing about with Photoshop.