Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

Chasing dreams, because I can

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Archive for the ‘Funny’ Category

Eddie Izzard

Posted by Oli on Sunday 1st November, 2009

As the years of my wait for a transplant slipped by and my health got progressively worse, I was more and more confined to my flat in MK unable to venture out without massive exertions. Inevitable, I suppose, this led to periods of struggle with my mood and fight to stay positive (of which long-time readers will recall this being a large part).

Another large part of that battle to keep my head above the depressive waters that threatened to flood over me was the DVDs of Eddie Izzard’s previous UK tours, most notably Glorious and Dress To Kill.

Both of these would never fail to make me laugh and would frequently result in intense bouts of coughing which, if nothing else, made my physios happy as it cleared a lot of gunk off my chest.

Last week, when scouting around the ‘net for things to do with K when she came up for her visit this weekend, I discovered that Eddie was playing at Liverpool’s ECHO Arena. Expecting it to be fully sold out, I nonetheless logged on to the ECHO website and to my amazement and joy I bought us two tickets.

After nearly five years since first coming across him and 2 years of a fight for life, following a two-year recovery period with as many lows as there have been highs, I finally got to see the man who helped me through it live and in the flesh.

There’s really no way to describe a comedy gig comfortable in writing, so I won’t try to. All I’ll say is that if you know him, if you like him, you are duty-bound to seek out his nearest date to you and go see him.

The man’s a legend and my ribs still hurt.


Posted in Day-to-day, Family, Funny, Transplant | 1 Comment »

Shopping & Busking

Posted by Oli on Sunday 4th October, 2009

Those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know that this week I made the fatal shopping error of trying on the coat before you check the price tag. I therefore ended up in a large debate with myself about whether I could really stretch beyond my original price. Luckily for the shop in question’s sales, they had a 15% student discount that handily made my decision for me. So I now own this coat:

Looks even better on

Looks even better on

But the main point of this blog isn’t to show up my frivolous tendencies, but rather to draw a distinction between musicians and buskers, if there is one.

Coming out of the 4th store of my magical mystery tour of the men’s outfitters of Liverpool town centre, I came across an interesting fellow at the side of the street. At first glance he was your ordinary busker, standing in front of a recession-closed store, guitar slung over his shoulder with the case open in front of him in the usual “not begging: entertaining” kind of way.

I should say at this point that I love the buskers in Liverpool. They’re all brilliant and they really liven up the town and help to give it its vibrant feel as you stroll down Bold Street to an assortment of musical melodies that never seem to intrude on each other.

This guy, though, was something else. As I looked again at him as he chatted to a friend before starting up his set, I noticed he had his acoustic guitar plugged into an amp. I don’t know what you call those kinds of guitars – not really acoustic, since their amplified, but not really electric because they still sound like they did before – but he had one of them. Seeing a guitarist with an amp isn’t unusual, either, in fact it’s more frequent that I’d have thought before I came up here.

Then I noticed that in front of him stood a microphone stand with, appropriately, a microphone in it. As I walked past and got a better angle on his set-up I realised he not only had all of the above, but also a large car-type battery plugged up to the amp and a mini-mixer for his two inputs. He even had a wheeled-trolley to carry it all on.

Now, I don’t want to put the guy down at all, but with the best will in the world, that’s not busking, is it? That’s gigging without a fee.

Busking is all well and good but when you stop just short of bringing your own staging on to the street to perform then, for me, that’s kind of going against the grain. Don’t you think?

Posted in Day-to-day, Funny, Random, Shopping | 2 Comments »


Posted by Oli on Saturday 19th September, 2009

The Top 20 things I’ve learned this week, in no particular order:

1) Liverpool has lots of pubs and lot of shops.
2) Drinking as a student is really cheap
3) Cheap drinks are remarkably dangerous.
4) Having a friend who works in a £1-a-shot tequila bar is good
5) Asking her to choose your shot of tequila isn’t
6) Chilli tequila is bad.
7) Banksy graffitti’d Liverpool and – remakrably – didn’t get in as much trouble as the bloke I saw doing it in the town centre the other night.
8) There’s a statue of Billy Fury by the docks.
9) The locals for some reason think he’s called Billy Furry.
10) I don’t look very good in a dress.
11) Cold showers are quite rubbish after 6 straight days of them.
12) LIPA is the coolest school in the whole entire world ever and I have no idea why anyone would go anywhere else.
13) School-leavers this year think “retro” is something from the late 90’s.
14) 3rd Years think that Steps, Five and Cotton Eye Joe are all from the 80’s.
15) All my friends live together 20 minutes away from where I live by myself.
16) My timetable is really, really harsh.
17) It’s not as bad as it would have been if I was a designer.
18) Postal workers suck.
19) Pot Noodles taste much worse than Super Noodles.

and finally and probably most importantly:

20) I’m going to LOVE IT here.

Posted in Annoyances, Day-to-day, Difficulties, Firsts, Friends, Funny, Uni | 4 Comments »

I’m a growed up…

Posted by Oli on Monday 2nd February, 2009

LOVED the snow today. Kati was off Uni as there was no transport whatsoever in London, which was pretty cool. I shot over to the ‘rents very gingerly this morning, trying to catch Gramps before he left for home, but failed as he wanted to get going in case the weather got worse.

Stayed and had breakfast (I left in a hurry) and coffee, then played a little Wii with my bro before dropping him at the station.

Worked all afternoon on various bits and pieces, but since most people work in London it limited an amount of what I could get done.

K and I ventured out to Tesco to grab some dinner stuff since our cupboards were Old Mother Hubbard’s and while we were there we had a little too much fun with snowballs and decided rather than going home we’d go play. We phoned K’s bro nearby, but the kids were showered and changed and not allowed out again, so we phoned S&S instead and decided that we could still play because we’re grown-ups, which means we can do what we like.

So after swinging by KFC for a snow-bound dinner, we headed to the S&S house, wolfed our food down and headed for the play-park, where the game of Snowball Chicken was promptly invented while K built a snowman.

I ran around a lot and felt a little bit sick from bending down constantly to gather snow up, but that’s OK because I’m a grown-up. I also broke the back of the snowman’s head off by mistake when I was trying to make him a better eye socket. That wasn’t quite so OK as K had spent a long time on him and it was bad. I did repair him, though.

We meandred back to the house and tried to make a smiley face from snowballs on the wall, but it looked more like the wall had a nasty case of albino chicken pox. Oh, well.

We got back home, showered and changed and settled on the sofa to catch up with a ton of stuff we’ve got recorded on Sky+, watching A Short Stay In Switzerland, the BBC film about assisted suicide based on a true story. It’s a cracking film with great performances but an unfotunately clunky script.

Suitably teared-up, we head to bed around 11pm and I sack out pretty quickly.

Posted in Day-to-day, Exercise, Family, Friends, Funny, T.V., Work | 2 Comments »

Godsons and the Doctor

Posted by Oli on Saturday 3rd January, 2009

Still awake at 6.30am, I decide it’s not worth sleeping, at least until I’ve taken my Tac, which I’ll need to grab in a couple of hours as it’ll just make me feel worse, so I pootle around the house doing not very much and watching Rocky Balboa still.

K wakes up about 10.30 and joins me in the living room, where I’m busy working on a short film script I’m hoping to put into preproduction next week for a mid-Feb shoot. K showers and has breakfast while I work on her computer (I couldn’t be bothered to move through to the study to work on mine, plus I’m enjoying having the TV on in the background while I work), then I trade the computer for the bathroom and relax in a deep, hot bath to try to revive myself.

We head out about 12 and pop to the shops to grab some flowers for our hosts for lunch and pick up a Christmas pressie package from the Post Office depot in Bletchley, before heading over to Li’l R’s for lunch with him and the fam.

We have a gorgeous lunch of slow-cooked beef which just comes apart at the touch of a fork and truly melts in the mouth, before enjoying a 2-course desert. After lunch we watch the most random comedy sketch in the world which has us all in hoots of laughter. The family have just been to Sweden and apparently this ancient 50’s or 60’s comedy sketch is traditional viewing over Christmas for almost all of Scandinavia. I’m amazed we have never seen it here and am determined to track it down.

I say “track it down” but it only takes a perfunctory YouTube search to come up with this – absolute genius. While we’re on YouTube, we are also shown a few other gems of random content, including this masterful Harry Potter homage/fantasy/mickey-take.

We get up from the sofas and head back to the dining room where we play a game of Humbugs, the most embarrassing game in the history of the world (even more so than Charades) and then Boggle while we wait eagerly for the anouncement of the new Doctor to replace David Tennant.

We sit and spend the majority of the programme trying to second-guess it, ut we’ll all entirely wrong. Matt Smith is a shock at first, looking slightly “individual” as he does, but listening to the interview and remembering his performance in Party Animals, a favourite show of mine that I sadly missed a lot of and has never returned, I think he could be an inspired choice.

The most important thing about him, I think, is that he’s going to be happy to risk things and take his own line with it, not try to follow anyone else’s footsteps. It must be incredibly hard to join a series like this after two powerful and individual performances like Tennant’s and Christopher Eccleston’s, but I think Matt Smith my have the right angle on it to make it his own.

That said, I do think he’s going to end up being a Marmite doctor – you’ll either love him or hate him.

We head off after the prog and get home to chill out for the evening, trying to put on Ben Shepard’s new Krypton Factor, but our Sky+ went screwy so we don’t have it. We fall back on the Top Gear Vietnam special, which gives us a good, pre-bed giggle, after which we hit the sack early and cuddle and chat until 10ish, when we both break out a book (how exciting) although I only get a few pages through before my eyes start closing, hardly surprising given I’ve only had an hour’s sleep from the last 36 hours.

Posted in Day-to-day, Difficulties, Family, Friends, Funny, Projects, T.V. | Leave a Comment »