Tomorrow I will be doing a recording for the BBC TV programme Springwatch. When I first heard from the BBC about this, I assumed I’d been asked onto Springwatch because they’d heard my walking audio Dollops, and perhaps wanted me to recreate the magic of those walks, only for a wider television audience.
Unfortunately, my big presenter break hasn’t happened quite yet, because it turns out that the other two Young’uns have been asked to be on the show as well.
Originally, we had been asked to be on the One Show, as part of BBC Music Day, which is Friday 3 June, but unfortunately we aren’t available that day, so we had to turn the One Show down. But they were still quite keen to do something with us for BBC Music Day, and so we ended up being asked to do a recorded appearance for Springwatch, and tomorrow is the day we record.
Obviously, because it’s a nature programme, there has to be some link between our presence on the show and the subject of nature. They asked us whether we had anything that might fit the show’s remit, and obviously we said yes. I mean, we don’t, but we were hardly going to turn down the opportunity to be on the telly, just because of such a trifling little matter as being clueless about nature. We’d have said anything just to get on the telly. We’d have happily pretended to be devout Christians if Songs Of Praise was in the offing. We’d have told them that we were passionate Josiah Wedgwood aficionados if someone from the Antiques Road show asked us to come on. As long as we’ve got enough time before the show to have a cursory read of Wikipedia, we should be fine.
So, tomorrow we shall be recording our appearance on Springwatch, singing a song, and chatting about our music and how nature plays a part in our music and how it inspires us creatively. I mean, it doesn’t really particularly inspire us creatively or factor in our music at all, but we want to be on the telly, and so we’ll happily make some lies up in order to get on. To be honest, the biggest link we have to the remit of the programme is the fact that I am named after a bird. Yes, my uncle had a much-loved parrot called David, and they named me after him. Hahaha, you see what I did there?
We are recording the programme at 6pm, and so there is still time for us to swat up on some facts about nature. If anyone has any little nuggets of nature information or jargon that we can maybe throw in, to help us seem like as if we’re more knowledgable about wildlife, then feel free to leave a comment.
The programme is the spin-off show from Springwatch, called Springwatch Unsprung, and will be broadcast on BBC Two at 630 pm on Friday 3 June. So that’s two things you’ve got to look forward to in June now: The Young’uns on telly, and even more excitingly, my audio Dollop visiting the Co-op shop. Yes, the month of June is really hotting up.
Obviously, if anyone from the BBC is reading this, I am of course only joking about our lack of nature knowledge and our general irrelevance to your programme. I am pretending to be ignorant for mildly comic effect. Don’t worry, on the night, you will see that I am fully clued-up about wildlife, and it won’t be a case of us coming across as clueless, bumbling idiots, making tits out of ourselves. Of course, on the subject of tits, I could regale you for days. Whether it be the Blue Tit, Willow Tit, Marsh tit, or the European Crested tit. Although we’ll be lucky to see a European Crested Tit where we’re recording, as it chiefly resides in the ancient pinewoods of Inverness and Strathspey in Scotland. It is uncommon for the Crested tit to stray from these locations, although, there have been some rare sightings in England, so you never know. But anyway, I don’t want to bore you with my vast bird-based knowledge. The point is, as you can tell, BBC, you have nothing to worry about.
Regular Dollop listeners and readers (I feel as if you should be given a collective name, maybe Dollopees – suggestions welcome) will be aware that there are a number of recurring elements in these Dollops. Obviously each Dollop is unique, innovative and different (especially Dollop 140 – am I right Clair?), but within the Dollop framework there are a number of themes and characters that keep cropping up, so much so that it might be worth putting a glossary section on my website so that newbes can look things up if ever they think there might be a reference or in-joke that they don’t get. Then, if I ever make reference to kettles or teenage pregnancy league tables, they’ll be able to understand what the heck is going on.
As well as the many recurring themes, and of course the classic catchphrases – “I wouldn’t imagine it would taste very nice” – There’s all the regular characters who pop up: the aforementioned Clair, Chastity Payne and her tattooed nipple, Mavis Crumble (inventor of Mavis Crumble’s Fart Game), pedantic Jools, and sex obsessed Chloe.
Among the reoccurring themes and characters, is Michael Wackington’s passionate extolments of the co-op. Ever since I mentioned shopping at Sainsbury’s (my nearest supermarket) Michael has been trying to promote the virtues of the Co-op. Since I have been, albeit fictionally, banned from Sainsbury’s, this gave Michael the perfect opportunity to once again sell the Co-op to me (not literally, I’m not making that much money from folk; I might have to up my fee a bit, maybe ask for more money, and tell them that I’m happy to lose the standard sacrificial goat in return). But anyway, he’s not suggesting that I buy the Co-op, only that I buy from the Co-op. Here is Michael’s latest comment.
“I have just returned from the Co-ops agm in Manchester where it was revealed that in the autumn Co-op Members will get 5% of all own branded goods plus an additional one percent for a local community project. It will be worth your walk to the co-op now plus it will be great opportunity for you to conduct your social, good morning /good afternoon / good evening experiment.”
Well, Michael, even though my ban from Sainsbury’s is really just a fabrication, done for mildly comedic purposes, I think that I shall nevertheless reward your persistence and thus venture to the Co-op the next time I need to shop. And fear not people, for I know you are all interested in gcand excited by this development, I will record my Co-op-based adventure for the Dollop. So it looks like we’ll be going on another walk together soon, and I’ll once again be playing the “good morning” game, perhaps with the extra drama of doing the game at 4pm as opposed to 3pm (I’m always evolving, always innovating). I might also introduce my idea about asking people for the time, once they have said good morning, and then, once the time is given, say “good morning” to them again and see whether they still respond with “good morning.” But that will only be one element of that day’s Dollop, because there is even more excitement.
One of my reasons for shopping at Sainsbury’s, other than it being the nearest supermarket to me, is because it is a big store and they have staff on hand to help me around the shop. So, another element of the Dollop will be to record my time in the Co-op, meaning that you get to experience the drama unfold live, as I ask the Co-op staff for assistance. But the question is, will they live up to their name, and be cooperative? There’s only one way to find out: you’ll have to listen to the Dollop!
Unfortunately, you’ll have to be a little patient, because I’m away from home until the 5th June, so it’ll probably be the Monday after next when this special Dollop happens. If you’re a particularly busy person and you’re not a Dollop regular, make sure to mark the date in your diaries so that you don’t miss it. Monday, 6 June, Dollop 157.
Well done Michael, unlike the salesman who came to my door today, you know that to sell something to someone you need to have commitment, fortitude and be passionate about the product. And that my friends, is me linking very neatly and effectively to the next thing I planned on talking about today. This is the kind of slick writing that comes with the sort of experience you get when you write 146 consecutive daily blogs.
This morning, the doorbell rang. That’s right Dollop nerds, the weird haunted doorbell, as talked about in Dollop 33. In fact, the doorbell also sounds a bit haunted now, because the batteries are dying, meaning that the pitch of the tune drifts up and down in a strange spooky sort of way. It’s quite a long doorbell ring, about fifteen seconds, and it’s rather loud too. Often we’ll answer the door, long before the doorbell has finished its deafening, spooky tune, meaning that, for the first ten seconds after answering the door, we can’t actually hear what the person on the other side of the door is saying.
“Today, I answered the door just after the door bell had finished, to find that the man who’d pressed the doorbell was walking back up the drive. He saw me open the door, and turned back around, saying that he’d assumed there was no one in. But he’d waited less than fifteen seconds, which seems like a very short amount of time to stand there before deciding that it’s a lost cause.
The man explained that he was a salesman from Ringtons tea, and that they were visiting people’s houses to see if anyone would be interested in the Ringtons tea delivery service. Then, before I could say anything, he added, “I’m really sorry to bother you, and I understand it’s not for everyone, so I’ll leave you be,” and began to turn away.
I was so shocked by his diffidence and lack of confidence, that I nearly called him back to tell him that I did want to avail myself of the Ringtons tea delivery service. But then I considered that maybe this was his clever tactic. He was being an anti-salesman, pretending to be all shy and nervous, in the hope that it would blindside people into signing up to the scheme. So I let him walk off, and closed the door.
But a part of me was interested to know why he’d been so sure that I wouldn’t want his tea. Did he take one look at me and assume that I couldn’t afford it, possibly like the shop assistant in Sainsbury’s with the Muesley did, as mentioned in Dollop 9 (remember that Dollop nerds?)?
Or does this man think that he’s got a special power that allows him to deduce whether a person likes tea or not, just by looking at them? But he was wrong, because I do like tea. If only he knew that I am a big fan of tea, and have even written a song about it. If only he knew that one of the recurring themes of my daily blog/podcast has been kettles. Unless maybe he was aware of my Dollops, and assumed that it was pointless trying to promote his tea to me, thinking that, regardless of his sales pitch, I’d still just imagine that it wouldn’t taste very nice. So he decided not to bother trying to convince me.
Of course, there is another potential reason why he wasn’t particularly pushy about selling tea to me, which immediately sprung to my mind. You might have instantly thought of this yourself already. Maybe he’d seen the recent anti-rape video published by Thames Valley police, which uses a cup of tea as a metaphor for sex. In order to illustrate the point about sexual consent, it uses the analogy of giving someone a cup of tea. For instance, it explains that, if you offer someone a cup of tea and they accept then that is fine. But if you offer them a cup of tea and they don’t accept, then you shouldn’t force them to drink the cup of tea. There are a number of other scenarios outlined in the video. If you offer someone a cup of tea, and they accept, but then, once the kettle is boiled and the tea has been poured, they suddenly decide that, actually, they don’t want a cup of tea after all, then it is not fine to force them to have the cup of tea. Or, if you offer someone a cup of tea, they accept, but then once the kettle has been boiled and you’ve poured them the tea, they have fallen asleep, it is not acceptable to wake them up and force them to drink the tea, or try to force the tea down them while they are sleeping. The moral of that story is get a better kettle that boils faster, rather than relying on a stupid kettle which is controlled by a pointless phone app and takes ages to boil because it keeps getting disconnected from the WIFI network (which, as Dollop nerds will recall, we discussed in Dollop 38).
Maybe the Ringtons salesman saw this video, but for whatever reason never made it to the end, and so didn’t realise that the cup of tea element was just an analogy for sex. Maybe he wasn’t aware that it was an anti-rape video, and thought that the police were cracking down on anyone who tries to thrust tea on people. Given that this is the nature of his job – to persuade people to buy tea, using a variety of sales tactics – maybe he freaked out and lost his bottle, and so is now terrified to pedal his tea in fear that the police will arrest him. I guess we’ll never know the real truth.
Well, we’ve covered a lot today, haven’t we? I’m exhausted. I think I need a cup of tea.
I was in my usual Sainsbury’s again today – I know, it’s been far too long, and I’m sorry, as I’m aware that many of you listen and read these Dollops mainly in the hope that there’ll be another anecdote from Sainsbury’s just around the corner, but instead you have to put up with me blabbering on about revenge porn and eccentric martial arts practitioners. The lady helping me around the shop was someone new. We got chatting a bit, and she asked me if I had any plans later this evening.
It’s only now when writing about this, that I’ve realised that this might have been her propositioning me. At the time, I just took it as trivial small talk, but perhaps I’ve just inadvertently rejected the woman who would have been the love of my life. Perhaps by unconsciously spurning this woman, I am responsible for the death of one of more people. For all I know, me and this girl might have had children, but now, because of my inability to read her subtle come-on, I have destined them to never being born. And what if one of those children would have grown up to discover a cure for all the world’s diseases, or find a solution for world peace, or a way to eradicate the effects of climate change? Oh dear, what have I done? Hang on, I think I best pop back to Sainsbury’s, and make sure that she wasn’t asking me on a date. I don’t want to be haunted by the notion that I might be in some way responsible for future global disease, warfare and ecological disaster. I’ll be back.
OK, I’m back. It turns out that she was just making trivial small talk. Still, it’s a weight off my mind. At least the world’s problems don’t lie at my door any more, if anything, it’s down to her, as now she’s rejecting me, potentially dooming the world to all sorts of untold horrors. I tried pointing this out to her, but she freaked out and called security who escorted me out of the shop. So, I might have to walk those extra couple of miles to shop at the co-op after all, Michael.
The trouble is, in a trivial small talk situation with a stranger, it’s difficult for me to know the kind of answer to give when someone asks me a question about my life. If I was to give a truthful answer to the shop assistant’s question, “do you have any plans this evening?” then the answer would be so unconventional and odd that it kind of transcends the general parameters of the small talk framework. We are merely passing a tiny amount of time, a few seconds in between walking to find the next item. It’s difficult to truthfully answer her question in the few seconds we’ve got. The purpose of this small talk is merely superfluous, requiring basic, general kind of chat.
If I was a normal person, then my answer might be something like, “I might just watch a bit of TV and chill.” But my life is a bit weird, and so if I was to give an honest answer to her question then it would be: “I’ll spend an hour or so writing up the conversation I’m having with you right now, over-analysing it in immense detail in the hope that it will be funny and entertaining for the few hundred readers of my daily blog and listeners of my daily podcast. I’ll then do some work for a DJ set that I’ll be doing a folk festival in August. Currently I’m mixing Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars with Northumbrian pipe music. How about you?”
“Er, I just thought I might watch a bit of TV and chill.”
I found this kind of odd conversational exchange would happen quite a lot when I had an office job. I was so out of touch with the subjects that everyone else was chatting about. “Did you see X-Factor over the weekend?” “what about the football?” And I’d completely draw a blank. Everyone in the office would say what they’d been doing over the weekend: watching x-Factor or strictly, going to the football, shopping, taking the children out … Then it would come to me and I’d say: “I got drunk with loads of Dutch, German and Polish sea shanty singers in Holland.” And oddly, even though I think that all that is pretty interesting, it would kind of put the kibosh on the conversation, because it wasn’t relatable.
So when the shop assistant asked me what I was doing this evening, I just told her that I’d probably watch a bit of TV and chill. It’s just a lot easier, especially when you’re just talking in brief statements, in between walking to the next isle to get the next thing on my shopping list. But maybe if I’d been honest with her and told her about mixing Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars with Northumbrian pipe music, she would have found me more interesting and might have been more amenable to the idea of a date. Hmm, maybe I should pop back to Sainsbury’s again and tell her. I mean, it would be a shame if the only thing stopping us from having our planet-saving children is that I lied about my evening plans. What if it turns out that her three favourite things in the whole world are Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars and Northumbrian Pipe music? I might be her perfect man, and she’ll never know. Maybe the world might be saved from ecological disaster, disease and warfare after all. Hang on, I’ll be back.
OK, I’m back. Yes, it looks like I’ll definitely have to make that two mile walk to the co-op now. She told me that I was a weird stalker and called security again. As I was being dragged out, I tried to explain to her that I wasn’t a stalker, and shouted to her that she’d understand everything if she went to my website, where I’ve written all about her and our meeting. To be honest, I’m not sure that this statement really did anything to put her mind at ease, in fact it probably just corroborated her opinion of me as a weird stalker.
Well, it’s true what they say: careless talk costs lives. For if I had chosen my words more carefully, then I might have got married to this shop assistant, and went onto have children who may have been responsible for saving our planet. But more importantly, in this instance, careless talk also costs nectar points, as now I’m unable to cash them in, given that I’ve been banned from shopping at Sainsbury’s. I hope you heed the moral of this story my friends.
On Friday I wrote about the neurosis caused by trying to think of something creative, interesting and funny to publish on the Internet on a daily basis, which is the purpose of this daily blogging project. I mentioned that it was often difficult to know what will go down well with people, and sometimes I am surprised to find that a blog I’m not so sure about gets a really positive reaction, and other times I create something which I think is amazing and it garners very little attention. Often there is just no knowing how your audience will receive you and how much of an audience your work will gain. I have hundreds of people who listen to and read these Dollops, and overall, I think this project is going reasonably well.
But yesterday, something happened to bring out my neurosis once again, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt it particularly acutely yesterday. I’m sure that, just like me, millions of writers, broadcasters, comedians, artists, musicians, PR people and countless people working in the media, spent yesterday scratching their heads, feeling lost and confused. The cause of this head scratching and confusion? It’s a viral infection. A Viral infection that has its roots in Texas, but has rapidly engulfed the planet.
Perhaps you’ve been infected by it too. At the very least, you’ll likely know about it. On Thursday, a Texan woman called Candace Payne, posted a video on her Facebook page. She had just bought a Star Wars Chewbacca mask, she put it on, and began to laugh hysterically at the sounds the mask was making, and the way the mask looked. That was the crooks of the video. She posted it on her Facebook page purely to amuse her friends. Two days later, that video smashed Facebook’s record for most viewed video, having been watched by over 91 million people.
91 million people! That is more people than live in the UK. The most popular UK radio show is the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show with Chris Evans, which gets 10 million listeners. The most followed person on Twitter is Katy Perry, who has 88 million followers. This woman (a stay at home mom from Texis) has had her video watched by more people than the number of people who follow Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Barack Obama, and countless other celebrities onTwitter.
These major pop stars which I’ve just cited have had millions of dollars thrown at them in order to create their music and their videos. They have legions of people responsible for things like branding and marketing. They have people working with them to write and produce their songs and videos, to style them and think about their image. Their PR team does all it can to create a buzz around them. They are given media training, often told what to say and how to act. Because that is what you have to do to be massively popular. Yet here is an ordinary woman, a complete unknown person as of three days ago, who makes a four minute video of herself in her car, two minutes of which simply consists of her laughing hysterically, and she’s suddenly the biggest thing on the planet right now. She is doing interviews with major media,. She makes it onto news networks all over the world, including the BBC.
It is believed that the biggest selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, sold 66 million copies. More people have watched this ordinary woman’s Chewbacca mask video than the number of people who bought the world’s biggest selling album.
A part of me is horrified by this. There are so many talented people agonising over their creations, who are creating the most wonderful things: radio and TV shows, theatre productions, songs, podcasts, blogs … There are so many amazing comedians and musicians and artists out there who will never get anywhere near the recognition or audience that they deserve. So many people struggle to get noticed above the tumultuous noise of everything. Yet, somehow, a loan woman in Texas, without any forethought, sits in her car, presses record on her phone, pulls out a Chewbacca mask and begins to laugh hysterically, and the world goes mad for it. No marketing, no branding, no script, no artistic direction, no PR, no years of honing her talent, no real disearnable talent, skill or ability … Nothing!
I suppose there is a part of me that is a bit aggrieved that I’ve spent everyday this year trying to think of interesting and entertaining things to put on the Internet, and yet I have an average of about 3 to 400 people reading and listening to each episode. The Young’uns Podcast gets about 2000 listeners per episode. And somehow, this woman puts on a mask, laughs, and gets over 91 million people watching. However, as well as being baffled and a bit aggrieved by the amount of people who’ve watched the Chewbacca mask video, I am also excited and joyous that this kind of thing can somehow happen. The weird capriciousness of it all is wonderful. There must be so many PR and marketing people utterly bamboozled about this. And these are the top dogs of the PR world, who know all the buzzwords and blabber on about brand awareness and the importance of running a campaign that is synergistic. Yet even they are left completely flustered about how an ordinary woman with no profile or brand equity, or any of those PR and marketing props, has managed to gain such notoriety overnight. And that is crazily and hilariously beautiful. It is so uncynical and pure; unless of course the whole thing was very cleverly engineered by a PR team, in which case it is terrifying and depressing. But it’s lack of any external influence, and complete absence of any formula, rime or reason, makes this whole thing so incredible and exciting.
all this woman wanted to do was share her happiness and laughter with her friends, and the world wanted to join in. The word is crying out for authentic, unpretentious, none-branded, unfiltered, unbridled fun, that exists purely in and of itself, with no strategy or marketing/PR formula. Because life is full of people trying to sell us products, trying to market things at us, wanting to ram their agendas down our throats. Maybe this could be the planet’s great moment of awakening. The end of capitalism! Yet, alas, this woman will no doubt be snapped up by some advertising company to sell products, be paraded on TV chat shows and be the next big thing. Her laugh will be sold as a novelty ring tone, they’ll release a novely pop record that features sampes of from her video, with the sound of her laughing to a dance beat. She will be the biggest thing on the planet. Until, eventually, inevitably, the tabloids will start writing scandalous stories about her – “Candace Payne, the real woman behind the mask.” She will be slandered and defiled, meaning that she becomes unmarketable, gets unceremoniously dropped by everyone, and consequently falls into a life-long depression, while everyone forgets about her and moves on.
Meanwhile, the same writers, musicians, artists and comedians will still be doing their thing, completely unknown by the majority, but loved and valued by a precious few, and if I can still be one of those people, all those years later, then I will be very happy.
Thanks for reading. I know this has been a bit of an unfunny, uncoordinated jumble of thoughts. In fact, I think this might have been the first Dollop without any jokes. Feel free to leave a comment if any of you did manage to spot a joke or anything funny in today’s Dollop. I tell you what, as a reward for persevering with this boring drivel, why not treat yourself to watching a hilarious video of a woman wearing a Chewbacca mask and laughing.
I got a comment today from Delyth Forkington-Smythe (probably not The Delyth Forkington Smythe, although you never know) who responded to yesterday’s Dollop simply with, “honest!” I hope she didn’t do this in the hope that I would base an entire Dollop around her, as I did with Clair’s “different!” comment yesterday, because I won’t be doing that. I am attempting to temper my neurosis in this Dollop.
So, I have spent the entirety of today in deep reflective meditation, in order to calm myself down after yesterday’s neurosis. I found a guided meditation session on Youtube, closed my eyes and prepared to relax and become utterly blissed out. It was all going so well, but then the man conducting the meditation session, guru John Smith, instructed me to think of positive images. He asked me to imagine the most beautiful flowers, to think about a wonderful sunset, and to envisage the smile on a baby’s face. Sadly, this reminded me that I am blind and so have never seen any of those things, and this realisation caused me to fall into an anguished depression. But then I punched Michael in the face, and that cheered me right up.
We’re playing a free festival in King’s lynn, Norfolk today. By free, I mean free for the audience, we’ll still be getting our standard fee: 50 quid, a tub of jelly babies and a sacrificial goat. Well, we’ve won two Folk Awards now, so we can get away with charging such fees. I mean, we’ve had the sacrificial goat on our rider for years. The jelly babies and the 50 quid came after the prestige of the award wins and was wangled by our unscrupulous, hard-nosed agent.
It’ll be interesting to see how many people turn up to watch us, as our performance is on at the same time as the FA cup final, plus it’s forecast to rain, and the festival is outdoors without any covering. But if no one turns up then I won’t take it personally, after all, I’m not the kind of person who gets paranoid or neurotic.
The last time I was in Kings Lynn was 2005, when Sean and I went Hitch Hiking. We got picked up by a man in his sixties called Stephan, who, as well as offering to take us to a good pick-up spot a few miles down the road, also suggested that we went back to his house first for some food and drink and to freshen up. However, our time with Stephan brought us a lot more than mere repast.
We got to his house and he offered us food and drink and we got chatting. He told us that he was really into his martial arts. “Stand up boys,” he requested, “I’ll show you what I can do.” We were both a little concerned. After all, we had only just met this man. He had picked us up and driven us to his house, which was a bit off the beaten track. He had then plied us with food and drink. Had he deliberately done this so that we’d be too bloated to run? Maybe that was the reason he hadn’t eaten or drank any of the food he’d given us – so that he’d be nimble and energetic enough to practise his martial arts on us.
“Stand up,” he excitedly instructed. Nervously, we stood. “Now, let me explain what I’m going to do and what’s about to happen.” My god, this man was a premeditating psychopath, who got a perverse pleasure in explaining his planned dastardly deeds on us before he carries them out. He’s like a baddy in a film. Hopefully, just like in films, his narcissistic prevarication would prove to be our saving grace. There are so many scenarios in film and TV where the baddy spends so long bragging about how great he is and blabbers on about what he’s going to do to his foe now that he’s captured them, that he ends up squandering his opportunity to execute his plans, and is thwarted. The baddy could have easily won the day, but his garrulous hubris is his downfall. Maybe we could keep him talking for so long that we’d eventually get discovered and saved, or we could use the time to hatch an escape plan.
He explained that he was able to put energy into parts of his body in order to facilitate him being able to attack and defend easily without even having to tense his muscles and use any real physical strength. Fortunately, his way of proving this to us was fairly inocuous and non-combative. It involved us feeling his arm in order to ascertain that his muscles weren’t tensed, and then for us to try and move his arm. Upon inspection, it appeared that he wasn’t tensing his arm muscles, yet when we tried to move his arm, it wouldn’t move. Then, he would declare that he was about to dissipate the energy, , at which point we were able to move his arm, although we couldn’t identify any muscle change. At one point, both Sean and I were trying, while he gleefully shouted, “go on, harder, pull it, push it, bend it,” but even with the two of us trying, we couldn’t move it. But as soon as he said “I’m releasing my energy,” we were able to move it again.
This was a really fascinating and interesting experience, although goodness knows what his neighbours must have thought. If they’d have looked out their windows just a few minutes earlier, they would have seen a man in his sixties escorting a couple of teenage boys into his house. Then mere minutes after we’d disappeared inside, they heard him shouting, “go on boys, pull it, push it, bend it, go on boys, harder, harder, can you feel my energy boys?! Can you feel my energy?! Can you feel it boys? I’m releasing my energy now boys.” They would either think that there was something disturbingly kinky going on, or that we were playing some kind of advanced and weird version of the game Bopit.
So that’s the story of when Sean and I tried to pull a man in his sixties in King’s Lynn. Well, that’s that story of when Sean and I tried to pull a man in his sixties in King’s Lynn; I might tell you the other ones some time.
Doing these Dollops has really brought out the neurotic and paranoid part of me. Yesterday’s Dollop garnered an interesting reaction from Clair, who I believe has listened to all 140 Dollops so far. All of her comments have been very positive, but her comment on yesterday’s Dollop simply said, “different!”
It didn’t strike me as a particularly positive response when I first read it. But of course, how much can really be read into one fairly neutral word and an exclamation mark? Different could mean anything: refreshingly different, surprisingly different, disappointingly different (which in some ways could be seen as a compliment; I mean, one failure in 139 successes is surely a good thing, right?) Plus what is the exclamation mark meant to convey? Surely the use of the exclamation mark denotes that the person is wanting to exclaim the word. But all it really does in this instance is adds further complication, because I have no idea what is being exclaimed: anger? Shock? disgust?
I assume though, given that all Clair’s other comments have been positive, that her “different!” is suggesting that she didn’t enjoy yesterday’s Dollop. But I don’t think it’s really that different a Dollop. I’d argue that there have been Dollops this week that have warranted the “different” tag more than yesterday’s . Surely, walking down the street at 3 in the afternoon saying “good morning” to people is more different? Or Friday’s Dollop in which I went on a walk and spent all the time getting distracted by things that were happening in the street, and utterly failing to address the actual subject I was meant to be talking about; surely that was more different?
Doing this project has been a really interesting experience for me. There have been so many days when I’ve dreaded and despaired about having to sit at the computer than think of something to write. There have been lots of times when I’ve just started writing anything out of sheer desperation, and then been astounded and really enthused by where my brain is leading me. Yesterday, the subject of revenge porn came from one little joke. I certainly hadn’t planned to write about it beforehand, it simply came out of the writing process, and ended up being the main subject of the Dollop. But this is often what happens when writing these Dollops, and so I certainly didn’t view yesterday’s offering as being at odds or divergent from the subjects covered in previous dollops. I’ve written about having sex with ninety-year-old women, killing cats, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage an? David cameron, trips to the supermarket, and my kettle. If you’re new to these Dollops, all of that wasn’t in just one crazily weird post. So I don’t really think yesterday was so outlandishly different.
OK, enough of this prevarication, I’ll be honest, I’ve been rumbled, the game’s up. I knew someone would spot it. I fancied a day off yesterday, so I took on the services of a ghost writer. This time though, it was a living ghost writer rather than the dead, literal ghost writing poltergeist from Dollop 34, (remember that Clair? We’ve had so many happy memories over the last few months haven’t we? Where did it all go wrong Clair?) Anyway, lesson learnt. I have sacked the ghost writer, and I am back, hence the notable improvement in quality and clearly demonstrative return to form, which I’m sure you’ve noticed Clair. I should have known better than to think that I could pull the wool over your eyes.
There have been so many times when I’ve released one of these Dollops and worried that what I’ve written is utter rubbish or devoid of any comedy. But then this negativity is instantly obliterated by someone’s positive comment. But this is what this project is all about. It’s about forcing myself to create something everyday, despite my mood, my energy levels, how busy I am, or how inspired I am feeling. It’s a bit of an exercise of attrition, and not just for me, but also for you, especially if you, like Clair, have managed to listen to them all. As I half-jokingly intimated in the very first Dollop, I know that I have the kind of obsessive personality that will mean I will persist with this project, even if everyone stops reading and listening. So far, I’m pleased that there are still hundreds of you out there, although we’ll see whether this egocentric rant changes that. Plus, I am aware that we’re not even halfway through this project yet.
Anyway, apologies Clair for making you the centre of today’s Dollop. I hope you’ll keep listening, and hopefully you’ll survive until the 366th Dollop. I’m not usually this neurotic and paranoid, honestly. No really I’m not, no, I’m not, shut up, I said I’m not!
We are doing a couple of festivals this weekend. If you’re at Shepley Festival on Friday then you will have the opportunity of seeing our first gig with a married man in the group, as this will be Sean’s first gig since his wedding. See if you notice any difference in terms of the performance. Fear not, if you are worried about The Young’uns becoming really bland as a result of this matrimony, I am still single, and so will still be showing off in a desperate bid to impress and be liked.
Returning to gigging will probably result in quite a few more visitors to this website and blog. The numbers always seem to rise whenever I’m gigging, and then dip down again after a period of none-gigging; how quickly they forget. When we won the folk award this year, the number of visitors to my website quadrupled. Yes, very funny, I can hear you making your own rubbish jokes about quadrupling meaning that I got ten visitors to my blog, but actually the joke’s on you, because I got twenty, so there. Anyway, on the day of the folk award win I got loads of people flocking to my website, and the same for the day after, but within a week, the numbers had returned to normal. This might be because these people are very fickle and quick to move on to something new, or it could just have been that these new people found my blog, read that day’s entry, thought “that was a bit rubbish, but I’ll come back again tomorrow and see if he produces anything better,” which they did, only to find that blog post was also rubbish and so eventually gave up after a few tries. If only they’d stuck it out a bit longer, then they’d have got to hear me saying good morning to people in the street at 3 in the afternoon, and ruminating about killing and cooking cats. It is clearly their loss.
But it does generally seem that visitors do pick up when I’m gigging. Obviously this is partly caused by people seeing us performing and then searching for “David Eagle blind” or “David Eagle autistic.” Maybe I’ll try and deliberately engineer people’s curiosity in order to bring more people to my site. I could, for instance, speak with different accents during the gig, causing people to Google me in order to find out where I’m from. Or could hobble around the stage, leading people to search for “David Eagle leg” or “David Eagle limp.” Actually, maybe that’s not such a good idea, as I’d rather people didn’t type “David Eagle limp” into Google, as it will probably take you to a rather humiliating revenge porn video of me that an ex put up. In my defence, I was very tired and under the weather.
I really don’t understand the concept of revenge porn. I think that if I put a video of me having sex with someone on the Internet, surely I’d just be humiliating myself just as much as the other person. Unless you’re really confident in your sexual ability and truly feel that this video will paint you in a good light, then it’s a bit of a risk to put it out there. Before I could publish the video on the Internet, I’d have to sit down with someone and get them to watch it with me first, and I’d have to ask them to give me an audio description of what was happening, and ask them to be really honest about whether I’d be massively humiliating myself by posting this.
“And be honest, do I look big in this.”
“No, sadly not, not at all. And I’m not sure about the part when you shouted, “the eagle has landed,” I think that just makes you come across as a really big prick, which is ironic considering …”
I’m pretty good at audio editing. So if it was audio revenge porn then I’d be confident about being able to make it more flattering towards me. I could extend and loop certain sections to make it seem like the event had lasted a lot longer than it did. I could probably take her very occasional noises or statements of encouragement and paste them into the audio at various intervals, to make her sound as if she’s enjoying it a lot more. I could also overdub some bits after the event, so that I said things like, “Could you handle another hour of this?” and “OK, so that’s what I can make you feel without moving, now I’m going to start moving.” But when it comes to video, I couldn’t do any of these clever editing tricks, and so it would be massively humiliating for me if I released a video. So don’t worry, your secret is safe, Michael. Having said that, if CD and gig sales are flagging then we might be forced to release it in order to boost interest in the band and get the sales picking up again. Sometimes my jokes make me feel a bit physically sick; that was one of those times.
I wonder if anyone finds this blog by typing in “blind porn,” “David Eagle porn,” or maybe even just “eagle porn,” which is something very different. Sorry to have wasted your time if you clicked on this website hoping to see some hot sexy bird-based action. Keep popping back from time-to-time though, as you never know.
After yesterday’s social experiment, in which I walked down the street at 3pm and said “good morning” to people, to see if they would unquestioningly say good morning back, I have been thinking about ways of developing this fascinating social study. Some ppeople would be happy to stick with the tried and tested format which has clearly been a massive success with the audience (I don’t want to brag, but I got 3 Facebook likes for yesterday’s Dollop) but I am not the kind of person who sees that sort of success and then becomes afraid to change and develop things, getting stuck in a rut; I am constantly reinventing myself and evolving. Who knows, the next time I do this new and improved version of the Good Morning game, I might even get four Facebook likes, or, maybe even five! I don’t want to get too carried away, still, I suppose it’s important to aim high and dream big.
“So yesterday’s results indicated that out of everyone who spoke to me in the street, all of them said “good morning” back. Oops, sorry, maybe I should have issued a spoiler alert for those people who hadn’t got around to listening yet, perhaps saving that particular episode for a special occasion; maybe you were planning on having a David’s Daily Digital Dollop party and inviting all your friends to join in the fun with you.
I think that next time I play the game, I should push things even further. The first part will be the same. I will go out onto the street at about 3 in the afternoon, and say good morning to people. Then, when someone says “good morning” back, I will ask them for the time, and then, once the time is given, thank the person and say “good morning” to them again, and see if they still respond with “good morning.” I think this will be both entertaining and a worthwhile social experiment. I would imagine that some people will still say “good morning” the second time, perhaps just out of politeness or maybe simply as an automatic, unthinking response. Perhaps I could then put my findings from this research to a psychologist and we could discuss them on the Dollop. When I first set up David’s Daily digital Dollop, it was very much with the Reithian philosophy in mind, of entertaining, informing and educating. And I’m sure that if you are a regular Dollop reader/listener then you’ll agree that you’ve all learnt some valuable lessons over the last 4 and a half months, even if what you’ve learnt is simply how much of your life you’ve wasted listening to and reading all these hours worth of Dollops; although I think some of you might have suddenly had that collective realisation yesterday – three Facebook likes indeed.
When I was talking to my housemate Ben about yesterday’s social experiment, he reminded me of something that happened when we were both at university together. We were on a walk, and there were lots of cyclists on our route. Every time a cyclist drew level with me, I would wait about a quarter of a second until they were just passing me, and then shout, “excuse me, do you have the time?” Most of the cyclists would look round, surprised. Some would give an apologetic shrug, and others would scowl at me. But quite a few of them actually tried to glance at their watches and shout back. Looking back now, I suppose it was a bit of a reckless thing to do, given that it could have caused a cyclist to have an accident, as they had to look back over their shoulder and then glance at their watch before shouting the time back at us. This is why I was surprised by the amount of cyclists who actually managed to do this.
Ben was trying not to let his amusement show, and kept hiding his face, brimming with tears of laughter at the sight of the suddenly startled cyclists. But then, one time I did it and a man looked back over his shoulder, completely surprised to hear a voice from behind him, and nearly toppled off his bike. Ben involuntarily burst into loud laughter and fell to the ground and began helplessly rolling around in hysterics. Ben’s reaction caused me to also start laughing really loudly. The cyclist threw his bike down and came running towards us, shouting and swearing, and saying that he was going to kill us. Ben, sensing the danger, tried to get up off the ground, grab me and make a run to safety. But he was laughing too hard to manage the getting-up-and-running part, although he did succeed in grabbing me, which caused me to fall to the ground, and we both promptly began to roll to safety, down the hill and into some bushes.
We both lay there while the psycho cyclist yelled that he would find us and sort us out. Fortunately, the man must have eventually got back on his bike, because the shouting stopped, and we deemed it safe to crawl out of the bushes.
Hopefully the man doesn’t find this Dollop and decide to come after me, because it would be very easy for him to find me, given that my gigs with The Young’uns are advertised very publicly all over the Internet, plus I broadcast what I’m doing every day in this blog. If the man does still feel angry about that episode and wants to get his revenge on me, then it would be simple for him to strike. If he was able to be a little patient and wasn’t in a big hurry to get his revenge, then he could simply wait until I was in his local area and strike then, saving him the need to even travel. I mean, he’s waited for twelve years, so what does another few months matter?
Please, if you care about me at all, then make sure you don’t mention this Dollop to anyone you know who is a cyclist, especially if they were likely to have been cycling around the Scarborough area in 2004. Thank you.
So, providing that I’ve not been killed by a psycho cyclist, (or by anyone else who wanted to kill me and decided that now was the perfect time to do so, given that they’d likely get away with it because all the suspicion would be focused on cyclists in Scarborough) I’ll be back tomorrow.
After the “success” of Friday’s walking audio Dollop, it’s time for you to once again come with me on another audio walking adventure, as I take you down the mean streets of Sheffield. During our journey I tell you a story about an odd experience with a taxi driver, and I conduct a social experiment with members of the public.