Irrational Encounters With The Modern World


Feels Like Karma.

This is another one of those strange inexplicable coincidences of the type that inspired me to start this blog. I think you can read too much into things, and find parallels between anything if you look hard enough (which is how a lot of comedy is structured), but this particular one is too similar for me to instantly dismiss.

On Sunday night, I was in Utrecht (Holland) at a music festival and wanted to see Peter Hook’s headline set. As mentioned in the previous blog, my friend wasn’t keen on joining me, to say the very least. She eventually relented and came in with me, albeit grudgingly, when I asked her to do so as a favour because I wanted her company. She hated the band, and found them thoroughly depressing, but by chance we were joined by friends and towards the end of the gig she had cheered up enough to stay for the after-party and ultimately had a good night.

We flew home on Monday, and another friend texted me shortly after I’d landed. I realised she would be finishing work presently, and asked if she wanted to go for a drink. She couldn’t, but reminded me there was a pub quiz on at 9pm, and told me I should join her at that. I wasn’t convinced – it was a long weekend, which started with no sleep and wasn’t particularly restful (a fact, not a complaint). My overwhelming desire was to head home, get some food, and pass out on the couch. She told me she would like me to be there.

I’d asked someone to forgo an evening she wanted to spend relaxing in the hotel so that I could have her company. The very next night, a friend was asking me to forgo a relaxing evening at home so that she could have mine. That’s a pretty definite parallel in my mind, and since I do try to be a good friend, and being very aware that my friend’s presence at the gig had meant a lot to me – again explained in the previous blog – I agreed to reciprocate. I took the world’s longest bus journey, dumped my luggage, changed my boots, grabbed some food and headed back out the door. Tired, but knowing it was the right thing to do.

Thing is, it worked out quite well – we lost the pub quiz (we came second), but did successfully play Beat The Safe. One of our pooled tickets was picked from the hat, and of the two remaining combinations available my friend’s pal blindly picked the right one – winning us the ¬£225 contained within. A three-way split meant we each walked out the pub seventy-five quid better off.

I’m not sure if I believe in karma, or that “what goes around comes around”, but it’s things like this that make me think there might be something in it. I’m going to keep repaying favours.



It’s All In The Name…

There’s a Jewish American, or an American Jew – whichever heritage takes precedence – on the Glasgow comedy scene, and recently we didn’t quite see eye-to-eye on something. Partly this is due to a height difference of about twelve or fourteen inches, but the air has been cleared now so I only mention this in passing. And to make that joke.

Flicking through the guide for this year’s annual comedy festival, I noticed that the show she is co-headlining¬† is titled “Culloden: Funny In Retrospect,” and of course some people will find this a little insensitive – especially those with any love for this nation and an awareness of its history, to say nothing of the many romanticised notions about Scotland that are held worldwide. But is it absurd?

With reference to the Battle of Culloden, I would say that – as a Jew – she’ll be familiar with the persecution of a race of stereotypically tight-fisted, religious people, who then had their clothing dictated to them by their oppressors – be it the outlawing of tartan, or the enforced wearing of badges and striped suits.

If only the title also addressed the Highland Clearances, then we could similarly look at the connections between that same persecuted race being forced from their homes and off the land by those same oppressors, before the survivors were largely driven to settle in someone else’s country.

It’s not really absurd, but you can definitely draw parallels with only the barest of knowledge… Although when I drew this to her attention, she pointed out that it was her comedy partner – a Gentile from London – who came up with the title. Which kind of blows my whole analogy out the water, and that’s a pity as I was rather proud of it.

Anyway, if you didn’t get these analogies, you might like to read up on the Holocaust and the repatriation of its survivors. Because I don’t really want to waste this joke, even though it turns out it’s no longer relevant.