Friday, September 03, 2021

Comic Cuts — 3 September 2021

A frustrating week, with the frustration mostly aimed at myself. It happens every year when I have to do my accounts. You'd think I was being asked to pull my own teeth out or chew through a limb. I have been self-employed for over thirty years, and have done over thirty sets of accounts, but rather than getting easier — because I know I can do the whole lot in a day, especially now that everything can be submitted online — I seem to struggle with it more and more each year.

Just the thought of trying to work out how many phone calls I've made that can legitimately be called "work" and making sure I have all the necessary phone bills; sorting out postage receipts and making sure that they were books being sent out to Bear Alley customers, not birthday cards of eBay sales... I hate it!

So rather than just getting on with it and working through until I was finished, I have been mixing in bits of work to distract me from the job at hand — sorting through more transcripts and reading interviews and bits of books, and doing a bit of writing just to soften the blow. I'm close to having all the necessary numbers added up and the paperwork all tidied away in folders and envelopes, but, as you can see, I'm writing this rather than filling out the online form and submitting it.

Not that there's much to write about. The patchwork that will eventually be the history of Action that I'm writing has grown from around 11,000 words to around 16,000 words, although that includes quite a few quotes that cover the same ground. I'm reaching the point where I have the broad story in place and then I'll begin editing it all down, and doing the deeper dive I need to into hooliganism and violence and looking at the fall-out. There are things I don't know that I'm trying to explore further (e.g. when precisely did John Sanders appear on Nationwide?) and I'm hoping to put a few questions to some of the folk involved shortly.

After a wait of sixteen months, we finally got to see Lou Sanders appear at the Colchester Arts Centre. She was originally due to appear in April 2020, pushed back to late summer, then again to spring 2021 and finally to last Sunday. We slightly screwed up because we still had our tickets and didn't bother to print out the new electronic ones that were offered (we don't have a printer in the house!). We should have, because then we would have realised that the show was on half-an-hour earlier than the usual 8 o'clock start. We got to the venue for 7:30pm — which is when the doors usually open — to find that everyone was already inside. Spotting a couple of seats in the otherwise packed venue, we headed towards them just as the lights went down and the announcer introduced Lou to the audience.

What can you say about Lou Sanders? She's a force of nature. The show was called 'Say Hello, To Your New Step-Mummy', but this refers to "old" Lou, the squiffy one who got off with (or at least threatened to get off with) a lot of dads. Sober Lou is well aware that this wasn't the best way to conduct her life, so she has gone on a man-ban on the advice of her healer, Jill, her relationship with whom is almost like a long-distance hostage situation conducted over Zoom. As she herself has described the show, "I’ll be oversharing, wanging on about spirituality and giving everyone some much unwanted advice."

Maybe we were giddy about getting out for the first time in eighteen months, but it was a fantastic gig. Lou is chaotic, dizzy, delightful and likeable. Even when she's confessing to something (cheating on boyfriends, a dream about sleeping with her stepfather) that you think might scar her for life, she is only seconds away from some silliness that assures you she's OK.

The second half of the show was a preview of her new show, so I'll shut up and say no more than I hope she brings it back to the Arts Centre once it's finished.

Some while back we saw a dead jellyfish in the river. This week we've seen dozens of live ones. The Colne is a tidal river and we're not far from where it exits into the North Sea, so it's a salt water river. Apparently, these moon jellyfish like estuaries and harbours, so maybe they're fairly common around here and we've simply not spotted them. Trying to get a photo of a blob of protoplasm swimming below the surface of a silty river is as easy as you'd expect. Hence the manky photo. But it's the best of about twenty that I took.

We mentioned the jellyfish to a friend and she trumped us by saying she had seen a seal in the river on Tuesday morning. There is a colony of seals further around the coast apparently, and Mel saw one in the river some years ago, but I'll have to add it to my wish list (along with otters, which other folk tell me can be seen in nearby Ferry Marsh). But we've done pretty well this year, with moorhens, coots, water rats, voles and the tiniest frog, no bigger than a thumbnail, seen during various walks.

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