Monday, March 28, 2011

Moving Blog Home / Blome

Some of you might be thinking 'where on earth is Tiernan's blog today?' well, considering you are reading this, it sort of is a blog and goes against the whole point I'm about to make. Basically, I've consolidated all my daily blog homes into one large blog base. Why not, from now on, follow my antics here:

Farewell blogspot, its been a joy. See y'all on my website side.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Demonstrating Peacefully

Ignore what you've read on the news today, yesterday's protest was nothing but a peaceful affair full of a happy unity between all those who felt they needed to speak out against the cuts happening in the UK. It really saddens me to read that over 150 harmless UK Uncut activists - the same people that sat patiently watching our gig in Soho Square yesterday afternoon, applauding and laughing away, the same people who were reported on Twitter by customers at Fortnum and Mason being respectful to the shop as they occupied it, posing neither a threat or a menace while making their point - have been locked up at various police stations around London. Once again, despite knowing that they too may be soon losing their jobs, there are reports of police attacking protesters with little provocation, a friend of mine witnessing a huge bulk of a cop punch a man passing by, letting the situation escalate into a full blown scuffle. On top of this several witnesses have stated that they saw a Sky News reporter pay someone to throw a brick at a bank window for the camera. What began as a wonderful day has again been twisted and warped by media and authority so that the people that want to be heard are dismissed as being associated with vandals.

I had a brilliant day yesterday. Starting with a hilarious incident on the tube, as it sat stuck in a tunnel before Waterloo, there was the usual huffing and puffing of annoyance with TFL. Then suddenly a man from Shropshire TUC shouted 'They're kettling us before we've even begun!' and laughter erupted down the carriage. I walked from the station across the river, stopping to take pictures of the incredible march that seemed to go on forever. Banners both serious and humorous (my favourite was 'I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your policies'. Brilliant), musicians playing instruments, the less musically capable playing vuvuzelas, and everyone chanting, laughing, meeting new people and having fun. I darted through bits of the march to meet my friends Suze and Marlon at Trafalgar Square and it seemed as though London was filled with people who had no intention of causing trouble, but wanted the world to know they were unhappy with the way we have all been treated.

Joining the rest of the UK Uncut lot at Soho Square I has some apprehensions about occupying a bank to do our gig in. This is mainly because I am a wuss at such things, and being handed a 'bust card' (note: this doesn't mean I can touch boobs when I like unfortunately), I didn't give the reponse of appreciation that others did, but more a sigh of worry at the idea of being arrested. The police were already crowding round, and several helicopters circling overhead. As we headed towards our place of occupation, we discovered that the cops had done their research and closed all the banks and tax dodging shops in anticipation so we darted back into Soho Square. There, to at least 100 people, Chris Coltrane hosted a gig that featured Josie Long, Mark Thomas, several other acts and myself, that caused a response of exhilaration, excitement and giggles. Each using gags to have a go at current issues, it felt like (and without fear of sounding wanky) we were doing comedy with a purpose, something that was cemented by being notified of this on the Guardian website:


'4.17pm: Jamie Kelsey, a contributing editor of the New Internationalist magazine who is at the demonstration, says that the protest is providing a political education to many young people in attendance.

We're at Oxford Circus at the moment and it's a really excellent festival atmosphere. I just spoke to two teenagers aged 17 and 19 who have come from the comedy show in Soho Square, and they said that what they heard there made them think more than anything they have ever learnt at school. It's their first demonstration and when I asked why they came they said they realised that the demonstration is about more than just the UK.

They can understand the connection between the shops and the banks that people are target ting and the global situation that is effecting everyone. They've heard Mark Thomas and a disabled comedian and Johann Hari speak. For these teenagers the protest is absolutely opening their minds to a much wider picture. It's very exciting.'

And that makes it worth it as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully events like that, the majority of the march and all those who enjoyed yesterday will go away and spread the word that the news isn't telling the truth and there is a point to protesting. Yes Vince Cable today said they wouldn't be changing anything, but at least they know that we aren't going to just sit down and take it. Protests will keep happening and hopefully the worse things get the more people will join in stating their upset. I hope that all those who are currently in police stations for merely standing up for what they believe in and opposing large companies stealing money from this country while disability benefits are being cut, are all ok. Thoughts go to you and everyone who suffered unnecessary violence and victimisation at what would have been, sans police, a truly brilliant day. For anyone who wasn't there, all I ask is you read @PennyRed, @JohannHari101 and @chris_coltrane's Twitter feed as well as accounts of people who were there to find out what really happened and not how Murdoch and Cameron have told the press to say it.

Right I shall get off my high Shetland pony now and return to the non-activism I've been exhibiting all day as I stay on the sofa.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March March March March

Can't blog for long as getting ready to race off to join the march against the cuts in Central London today. I rather foolishly decided, after returning home from gigging in the Isle of Wight quite late last night, that I would merely rock up to the march after a sleep-in, then peruse around town till this at 2pm: It has since struck me that at least 100,000 people will be on today's march and there won't be much chance of perusing anything. So in an attempt to gain back some of my political integrity - not that I had any to begin with - I'm wolfing down my Sainbury's own rice krispies in a fashion that will make only my stomach go snip, krickle and pap (the sounds of a fake) and racing out of the door to get my chanty stomp on. I have a feeling today is going to be brilliant. As I watch from my laptop, already the crowds at Southbank stretch all the way back to St Paul's cathedral. I just hope that it stays peaceful, and by that I mean I hope that the police don't intrude and screw things up. If all is left to its path then I think it should proceed as planned, everyone have a good day expressing their dismay at the coalition and the IPCC can have a bit of a breather for once.

I am a tad worried about occupying a bank later. I hate to be selfish about these things but if I get kettled then I might not make it to my gig tonight and that's a pay cheque I could do with and many people that'll be let down. Its a worrying concern when money overrides my need to complain about people's greed. I can't help but feel its probably a bit contradictory. Then again you could argue that were the arseholes in the banking world less hoarding with the country's cash that maybe we could all earn a bit less and still survive. Or just as likely, I need extra funding for the pub. Sigh. Still if I am kettled at least it will be with other comics I like and Johann Hari who I look forward to meeting. I am bringing some water and a banana so that should sustain me for a while and if all else fails I can pull the excellent 'I'm a diabetic' card and see if it works. It shouldn't work. Us diabetics are pretty resilient. Apart from the shit one in Con Air who makes me constantly sad. He complains that he needs his insulin or he'll die - rubbish, he'd just have high blood sugars for a while. Then he gets his insulin and someone shoots him. As far as I'm concerned he was never part of our fraternity.

Anyway, I hope you're on the march too. Today is one of those opportunities to have a say about the way in which our country is run (into the ground - ooh satire) and for every person that assumes 'oh well there are enough people there already' that's another point on Cameron's score card. Without meaning to get on my high Shetland pony (I'm only small. A horse would be too big) it strikes me as amazing that anyone would be happy with what's going on right now and if you give an iota of a crap you should say so. That's my opinion anyway and everyone's entitled to one. Raaa and other proactive noises. I'm off to go shout 'down with things' and that. See you at the gig at 2pm!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Language is constantly changing. In the time I've been alive 'bad' has come to mean good, 'ming' is no longer just a type of vase and 'shit off' is a valid phrase. Yet today Twitter is in uproar about the acronyms OMG, FYI and LOL being added to the Oxford English Dictionary. I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of any of these phrases. FYI sometimes leaks its way into my emails to save me typing any further sentence or explanation and assuming the receiver can just read the below without further prompt. For that I applaud it's use. OMG however and LOL are both terms that I have only ever used with extreme sarcasm, often to point out the extensive levels of boredom something has caused or how incredibly unfunny something might be. Nat and Tom have a very funny game where sometimes they email each other incredibly dull tweets with the subject line 'OMG look what so and so's written!' only to click and discover that person is 'having a cup of tea' or something as equally mind numbing. Its three letters that can instantly sum up the user's personality in a second. If said in an over the top, taking the piss tone, then you can assume the speaker is a hilarious wit and an all together good egg. If used with serious excitement, genuine concern or in fact any emotion rather than sheer mockery, its likely they are a vacuous waste of human flesh ie Peaches Geldof. If the OED definition uses this as its rightful meaning I will be extremely proud.

LOL similarly should be used with caution. Its extremely rare that anything I have ever read on a screen has ever made me Laugh Out Loud. There have been several smirks, the occasional smile, and millions of non-plussed noises. So when something has actually made me guffaw to myself whilst sitting at my laptop, it feels churlish to merely reduce such joy to three letters. Not only that but I worry that it will destroy the meaning of the word 'loll' which ironically probably describes most users of 'LOL'. Other words that have entered include 'dotbomb' a phrase which I have never heard before and was worried was a new type of dangerous micro weapon, 'ego-surfing' which I am a victim of and often wave my fists in the air wishing I had a name that would disappear into google more easily, and the heart symbol, which will help anyone who only reads Wingdings.

But overall we should look at the positives of all this. Firstly Scrabble will become easier. Especially when playing against elderly relatives who won't have a clue what 'FYI' means as you slam it down on the board, scoring a 9 pointer at least and then as they check the dictionary for proof, lampooning them with a victory dance as you kick over their ridiculous classic words and spit cold tea in their face screaming 'Take that Nan! Your time is up!' Then there are all those school kids who up until now have suffered low exam results for text speak spelling, suddenly becoming high scorers, progressing to Oxford and running our government until the Houses of Parliament are all shouting 'LOL' everytime someone says something that vaguely resembles a joke. Then we have the possibilities that over time all speak will be abbreviated until there is more time in everyone's lives and boring conversations will fly by in seconds, meetings will be reduced to one dullard saying 'SWHROT (So we haven't reached our targets) TCIGIL (The Company is going into liquidation) YAF (you're all fired)' everyone else saying 'OMG' and then they all leave.

All I'm saying is that it can all only be a good thing. I look forward to the day this all progresses and we all end up talking Nadsat, right right droogs?

Quick other note, as I will talk about this more tomorrow, but there is a big protest against the cuts tomorrow. Do you hate the cuts? If you say no, you're an idiot, or very rich. Either way you should probably stop reading this blog as it will either have confused or upset you many times by now. Anyway, the protest will be excellent, and at 2pm I'll be taking part in occupying a bank or tax dodging company shop to do a gig in it with Josie Long, Mark Thomas and Chris Coltrane among others. It will be awesome. Come protest and laugh. Laughtest. Prough. Details below.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mini Beasts

I love Spring. I like all the things that happen when Spring happens. Like the sunshine, the flowers blooming, the birds singing, the tiny spiders in my room and the ants in the living room.....oh. Oh dear. As Nat pointed out when I found the four scurrying scouts preparing to send back word about all the food crumbs on our homely floor, our flat seems to become more and more like a shack everyday that goes by. Her and Tom are still sleeping in the living room due to the mould in their room. It still hasn't paid rent. Nor has it ever made us a cup of tea or even socialised with us on an evening and its starting to feel like a squatter who hasn't even bothered to see if the house is vacated let alone look into its rights. Combine this with the windows that don't open properly, the shower guard that doesn't, the kitchen cupboard door that is falling off its hinges and the odd amounts of dust this place gathers as though we must shed skin quicker than a snake on speed, and you could say our home has a lot of character if nothing else. And now, to give depth to that character two seasons in, we appear to have a small amount of ants that want to hang out. Well we don't want them to hang out. I've never been a fan of ants, yet throughout my life, they appear to be a fan of me. Most places I have lived in, have at some point or another, had a lot of ants maraud through in a blurry black line of food theft. My student house in the second year where my housemates and I had parties of legendary quality, would always be left the day after such an event in a state of sheer disarray. Beer spilt on the floor, mud, mess, general mayhem and yet, through all of this, there would also always be a long line of ants. Starting near the front door and making their way all round the living room far wall, to the kitchen door, through the kitchen and around that wall and out through the back door to the garden. You could have neatly cut around the dotted line they made and pulled half of the house off its foundations.

Joining our new found ant buddies were two tiny spiders I found in my room yesterday. One found its way onto my arm somehow and then found its way flung outside via my pen and some fury. The other one scrabbling around my keyboard as though trying to type a message of help. I disregarded such a warning and flicked it somewhere else in the room thus not really removing the problem. I have never liked spiders either. Too many legs and eyes for any creature and throughly selfish when you consider the plight of the worm which has neither. I'm not a fan of any creepy crawlies, giving maybe a moment's thought for a bee thanks to honey making or a ladybird because it looks all fancy. Butterflies don't hold any water with me, not least because they can't physically hold water with such tiny legs, but also because while they look all pretty wingwise, look closer and they still have stupid horrible insect faces. Something they should really think about sorting out should they ever want to be friends with me. Above all though, spiders are definitely the worst of the mini-beasts. They have powers we just can't understand. I once found one on my arm whilst in an open field. It left my arm by climbing up a web that appeared to be attached to the sky and it continued to climb until it had entirely disappeared. I am still disturbed by this. I am more disturbed by the idea of it raining spiders. I hate spiders. Though I am now worried that the one on my keyboard was trying to tell me something. And maybe the ants in the kitchen are crawling around in the pattern of an ancient prophecy? If the wasps that used to live in our bathroom return and die in a pattern in the bath spelling 'the apocalypse is now' then I'll really start to worry.

More likely however, is that we just need to hoover again. I suspect I'll be seeing many more of the wee monsters very soon. Hooray for Spring. Sigh.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Its probably slightly premature to write this blog during the budget. If I was sensible, I'd write this beyond the aftermath, fill it with commentary on the poormageddon Osborne has unleashed while simultaneously providing a travel guide of the best places to emigrate to instead. However, its sunny outside, and I can only watch Osborne's smug lizard face for so long before having to just hope that 'meeting the target' is slang for someone having him shot. But I'm not sensible and it is clearly actually Spring outside, with a beautiful sunny day to sit outside in, sans jacket, realise I should've had a jacket, and head back indoors again. This is all part of the Spring ritual, much like the first few days of actual summer where you go outside without sun cream, get horribly burnt then complain the rest of the time that its far too hot. I feel to deny any of this would be detrimental to my Britishness and general way of thinking.

I know how the budget will go anyway. We've been told its all about growth but without specifying exactly what growth and we can presume it won't be that of the job sector, nor the NHS or anything that's remotely useful. I am partly worried that due to earlier talk of Britain still keeping nuclear power, and then this 'growth' chat that a vast amount of money will go into creating Godzilla. If only so Osborne feels like he has an older brother. So far the budget appears to have included nothing to actually help anyone who's finding all the food and VAT rises difficult and at the same time done nothing about getting more money off those rich companies and people who keep their taxes offshore. There have, as far as my bored tired brain can understand, been several comments about how tax avoidance isn't fair, and yet there is little to reign any of it in from the people that are really dodging large payments such as Vodafone. Essentially it seems like Osborne needn't really have bothered doing a budget at all. I wonder if he just likes to carry a small red case and advertise just how much he likes to inflict fear and disappointment in everyone.

Oh no wait. The budget's over. There was a slight drop in fuel tax which was nice I suppose. I always feel that any slight decent thing that's done by the coalition hides something else. Growth appeared to not actually grow which means I suppose that its not really growth is it? Surely he should've said to begin with that this budget is all about shrinking? A 10% cut on inheritance tax when people hand over their estate to the next generation, a cut that once again I reckon will only help those who are rich enough to own estate's in the first place. Unless they mean family cars? Gift Aid being reduced seems to mean charities get taxed more and someone clever has just pointed out on Twitter that personal tax allowance being increased by CPI rather than RPI means it's less of an increase than it sounds. I don't understand, assuming that CPI is something you use to ressusitate people, but yes, it all sounds once again like a lie wrapped in a tortilla of clever words and terms. I wish I was more clever.

Oh the whole thing is a bit rubbish. I will probably just abandon it now and sit in the sun. Thank god for sunshine eh? It doesn't cost much. Yet. I fully expect that that'll be in the bit of the budget I miss out on. Thank god none of this comes into effect until midnight on Sunday. I'll go soak up as much as possible till then and save it for the next few weeks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trip To Whiney Street

Dear people. I like you. I really do. As a species you've done some top things. For example the toasted cheese sandwich maker, the slinky, breakdancing, ice cream and Jaws. Those are just a few of the many many things that humanity has done really bloody well with. Oh yeah sure, there are loads of things we've screwed up at including wars, inequality of wealth distribution, sexism, racism, Justin Bieber, that list goes on and on too, but I'm usually prepared to ignore such things in the face of high fiving someone for creating the word 'shizzle' or coming up with the concept of the theme park. However, sometimes, just sometimes, you do a few things that make me lose all faith in the world. Today is one of those something days. This blog is now about to go straight to Moan Town, with a quick diversion via Whingeville and park up in Complaintopolis.

Its Fat Tuesday tonight and on the bill we have a comic who as far as I and many many other comedians think, is a mac daddy and a daddy mac of stand-up. Having been gigging internationally for many years, the last time I watched Mike Wilmot it was like a masterclass in humour, leagues about tons of the stuff you get on the tellybox. In Stewart Lee's recent autobiography, he described Mike as being able to do crudity with an honesty and wit unbeknownst to anyone else on the scene. And yet, and yet indeed, we've barely sold any tickets. I know. The reason? Well I'm not one to presume, but besides a recent appearance on Live At The Apollo, Mike hasn't done as much UK TV recently as many of the other acts we've had at Fat Tuesday and therefore our audience who used to fully trust whoever we booked, don't now want to spend a night watching acts they don't know. It may not be that. It may be that today is National Stay At Home Night, it may be that its because its sunny, but more and more I'm noticing with our gig, and many others, that unless there is the guest appearance of a telly name, it just won't sell.

Thats really sad. Its sad because I'll lose a ton of money, making putting on other gigs quite tough, but more so because there are so many amazing comics that deserve to be seen by brilliant audiences that just won't get that same chance if this continues. I have a long list of acts I would love to book to headline FT but I know full well that if I do, we won't sell much and I'll be out of pocket again. I constantly try and find reasons to quit running my gig. It takes a silly amount of time for very little profit, but when it goes well its so much fun its seems to make it all worth it. However if this is how things are going to continue to go it really seems like there might not be much point.

Its very much the celebrity culture of nowadays which has sadly really overshadowed some of the best elements of live comedy. There used to be nothing more exciting than rocking up to a comedy club and seeing an act you've never seen before tear the roof off the place. Introduce you to new gags and stories, mannerisms and words that would send you into giggling fits. The Edinburgh fringe used to be a place to hunt down new acts before they became big, finding those golden nuggets of comedy within the myriad of shows. Yet now everyone is too obsessed with it being someone who's on the same panel show every week or some similar issue. Don't get me wrong, its great at FT when we get big names popping along, but that shouldn't be the only reason our gig runs. It should run because we always get good comedians whether you've heard of them or not. After 6 years of continuous shows it shouldn't even be questioned that they wouldn't be.

There are still tickets for tonight and there really shouldn't be. If you fancy coming along to witness what will be nothing less than excellent then please grab some here:

Or on the door this eve.

Oh and don't worry people, you still came up with coleslaw, funk and wink murder so you're alright really.