I’m baaaaack! Well…sort of…

Do you ever get bored of yourself? I do. Of myself that is not you, I’m sure you’re perfectly lovely.  

Anyway…. I started Laughter Lines only a short while ago, but for a number of reasons;

1. I love writing

2. I love comedy and wanted to share that love 

3. I’m a lazy writer and blogging was gonna force me to write regularly and not get so easily distrac

Ok, so like my pile of un-ironed laundry, number 3 still stands, but back to points 1 and 2… 

I love writing. I love comedy and wanted to share that love. Writing and comedy are to me, about freedom of expression.  I have been job hunting recently and I found myself deleting my own blog posts, in case a potential employer should stumble across an eye brow-raising post. I soon became bored with restricting my own creativity, with myself and in turn with the blog.

To be honest, I’m still unsure what Laughter Lines is going to become. I’ve had to decide whether it becomes a flashy ‘look at me, I can string a sentence together’ type blog, an ad for a woman desperately unemployed. OR whether  it just becomes an outlet, extension, extract of all the nonsense I think, feel and witness during my average day. 

I think it’ll be the latter, so it’s back to the drawing board and hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it, but if not well…it’s only a blog after all.

Chap-Hop Hooray!

Comedy songs, from Flanders and Swann to Morcombe and Wise, from The Flight Of The Conchords to Tim Minchin, it’s a type of comedy we’ve probably all experienced before. Though I wonder how familiar you are with Chap-Hop?

Chap-Hop very much does what it says on the tin, a fusion of stereotypical British behaviour and interests (think tea-drinking, cricket and the art of etiquette), explored through polite raps and big Hip-hop beats.

Hip-hop (rightly or wrongly), is a genre often criticised for glamourising violence and degrading women and so the juxtaposition of Jeeves and Wooster meets Jay- Z is potential for comedy gold.

On Saturday night I was at the Exeter Phoenix for the Steampunk Ball. What’s Steam Punk you may be thinking? Well it’s tricky to explain, but think a subculture of 19th Century Britain, Victorians, steam-powered machinery and science fiction and you hopefully will begin to get there…

Never one to shy away from dressing for the occasion, I dusted off my corset and Victorian-style velvet, eager to see the headlining act, Chap-Hop performer Professor Elemental.

Professor Elemental was on fine form, energetic, engaging warmly with his audience and very obviously enjoying himself on stage.

A master of audience participation, Elemental actively encouraged the audience to get involved throughout by having them sing back his humour-laden lyrics and even improvising a rap with their suggestions. A particular highlight was his deliciously silly, ‘A Cup Of Brown Joy’, about the wonders of drinking tea,

‘When I say Assam you say lovely.’ ‘
‘Assam’
‘Lovely!’
‘Assam’
‘Lovely!’

‘When I say herbal you say no thanks’
‘Herbal’
‘No thanks!’
‘Herbal’
‘No thanks!’

There are of course other notable Chap-Hop performers out there, Mr B The Genteleman Rhymer, is especially skilled in parodying popular Hip-Hop hits, check out ‘Straight Out of Surrey,’ his homage to N.W.A’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ on YouTube and do catch him live if you can.

But Elemental really impresses with his ability to use humour to deliver positive messages through songs such as ‘All in Together’-a song about celebrating our differences. he also uses humour to touch upon more serious topics in ‘Don’t Feed The Trolls’- a song tackling online abuse.

Elemental undoubtedly held the audience in the palm of his hand throughout his performance, even inviting them on stage for a dance at the end-they happily obliged. Although Mr B and his banjolele also make for an entertaining evening out, Professor Elemental’s talent for breaking down ‘the Fourth Wall’, makes him the Chap-Hop champion. Go on over to YouTube and see what I’m making a fuss about.

A little help….

Hello my lovelies! Now as I am currently in the realm of unemployment, I feel ‘Laughter Lines’ needs a re-design… Can anybody think of an image that I can use for my banner on here? Theatre curtains are great but don’t really say ‘comedy.’ Can pay in coffee (or non-caffeinated beverages), if you can help me work it out…Any thoughts welcome, bizarre ideas appreciated, inevitable innuendos/ inappropriate suggestions expected…

Jocular Spectacular, The Blue Walnut, Torquay, Nov 13th 2014

Reggie and Stan were very lucky to be invited along to last week’s ‘Jocular Spectacular’ at the wonderful Blue Walnut cafe, Torquay. They enjoyed heckling and giving their opinions (which actually nobody asked for) and even met some lovely ladies!

 

Reggie & Tennyson Brown the dog

Reggie & Tennyson Brown the dog

 

 

Stan

Stan

 

Reggie & Stan meet the ladies

Reggie & Stan meet the ladies

 

The chaps will be attending next week’s show too, which we be 27th November, 8pm, Exeter’s City Gate Hotel. It will be the first time the ‘Jocular Spectacular Roving Comedy Show’ comes to Exeter, it’ll be another eclectic mix of comedy and promises to be a great night. You can get your tickets now from the show’s brilliant host Chris Brooks at http://www.chrisbrookspoetry.com

 

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Men About Town

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Reggie Remington-Smythe

‘Why don’t we dress as men?’ Sam suggested one summer afternoon. Her hen night was looming and we were keen to get away from the ‘neck-breaking heels, skirts up your arse’ look so often used to celebrate finding ‘the one’.

This alternative idea really appealed to me. I love make-up and the power it has to transform, I also loved the thought of not freezing to death dressed as a ‘naughty nurse’ (I was mistaken for a hooker the last time I did that, but that’s another story all together!) So my character ‘Reggie Remington-Smythe’ was born and he joined Sam’s character ‘Stan’ and a group of other tashed-up ladies, roaming the unsuspecting Exeter streets.

Reggie and Stan @ 'The Sorry Head' in Exeter

Reggie and Stan @ ‘The Sorry Head’ in Exeter.

We spent the night dancing like fools, hopping and shuffling across the pub floors with surprising energy and complete abandon. I had forgotten how liberating it was to lose yourself in a character! I had sat in front of my make-up mirror that evening with the realisation that this time I wasn’t trying to conceal my flaws, in fact I was trying to highlight and even add to them. I had decided that Reggie was an older man and so I spent some time drawing in his frown lines, broken blood vessels and of course laughter lines, this was also very liberating.

People were very welcoming to Reggie and Stan, buying them drinks and chatting about everything from Sherlock Holmes to where in Exeter sells the best pipe tabacco. Stan even had his photo taken in the gent’s toilets (something a man in drag surely wouldn’t have gotten away with in the ladies!) We also had great fun chatting at length to people we knew, who either didn’t twig who we were or were kind enough to play along. The men we encountered were particularly good at taking our appearances with the good humour that we had intended.

I was surprised by just how receptive the general public were to us, the only negative attention Reggie gained was from a passerby who exclaimed, ‘F’ing weirdo!’ A doff of Reggie’s cap silenced that. I was also amused by a man that pointed to us in the street and shouted, ‘I’m not going where that bunch of dykes is going!’ An interesting assumption I thought….but then I could imagine he was the type of man that spent his days foaming at the mouth, leering at women from his grubby van, but that of course is only an assumption… I was also surprised at just how much skill men require to keep their facial hair out of their pint!

The thing that struck me the most about our evening didn’t dawn on me until the next day and despite all the fun we’d had it was actually a somewhat serious realisation. Around midnight, still dressed as Reggie, I had decided to walk home alone, something I would never normally do after a night out. I felt completely safe to do so and why shouldn’t I? Perhaps I had all this time been making my own assumptions about people-just like that man in the street…