This week’s Young’uns Podcastt features our 2016 adventures in Canada. Take a soak with us in a hot tub; come with us as we embark on a perilous boat ride. Kiss a dog, or kiss lots of dogs, so long as you’ve got the cash to splash. We have fun with Pokémon and geese. It’s the return of the Birthday Game. And we meet Don, the drummer in the ridiculously named Canadian band, The Young’uns. So roll up, roll up, step right this way, although mind that pool of blood.
The wait is finally at an end. The Young’uns podcast is back for another series. Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll take you with us to Canada, Belgium, Australia, and all around the UK. We’ll be playing you some of the more interesting bits that happened between the songs at our gigs. We’ll be chatting with and hearing music from lots of our folky friends . And we’ve got some new exciting features, as well as the return of some of the tried and tested classics.
This week we’re in Sheffield, in front of a live audience, with special Sheffield guests Roy Bailey and Neil McSweeney. Now 82, Roy looks back at his sixty years of singing folk songs, and shares stories about his friendship and collaboration with Tony Ben, and talks about his decision to hand back his MBE. Sheffield singer songwriter Neil McSweeney takes us to a land of cocaine and orgiastic revelry. As well as singing and chatting, Roy and Neil battle for glory in an epic game of Space Attack. All that and a lot more will grace your ears when you stream or download this instalment of The Young’uns Podcast. Thanks also to Paul Foster from Colchester for helping with this week’s Young’uns Podcast introductory jingle.
Prepare to enter a world where folk music and pop music collide. Where Michael Jackson flirts with British traditional folk music, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar join forces with Daft Punk, The Watersons share the stage with Van-halen, the Prodigy embrace sea shanties, and the Unthanks experiment with death metal.
At 2016’s Folk East Festival in Suffolk, David Eagle took to the decks to DJ, uniting the two disparate worlds of folk and pop together in unholy musical matrimony. This is what happened. Get ready to hear folk music like you’ve never heard it before. This is The Young’uns In The Mix!
The Young’uns Podcast is back! Our first podcast of 2016 comes live from the Folk East Festival in Suffolk, where we are joined by an enthusiastic audience, guests John Spiers, O’hooley & Tidow, and Sam Kelly. As well as songs and tunes, we play a game of Jenga, have a competition to see who can do the best impression of the characters from the children’s TV show Rainbow, play a geordie drinking game, and discuss all manner of miscellaneous claptrap. And even more exciting than all of that … It’s the return of Herbal Tea Of The week!!!
Being home after three weeks away on tour is a bit of a culture shock. I’ve got used to having constant stimulus and things being busy and hectic all the time: travelling, performing, doing free community events, while also writing, recording and publishing these Dollops; then socialising after the gigs. For the last three weeks I’ve more or less constantly been around people, with barely any time to myself.
My housemates Ben and Elsa are away, so since getting home yesterday afternoon, the only people I’ve spoken to are the delivery man who brought me my curry last night, and the girl from Sainsburies. I assume you read that properly, and realised by the way I’d punctuated that last sentence, that the delivery man only came to my house to deliver the curry; he didn’t deliver a girl from Sainsbury’s to my door as well. Other than a couple of texts and a few online conversations, that is all the contact I’ve had.
You might be hoping that the girl in Sainsbury’s was our friend from previous Dollops with the scant vegetable knowledge, but alas it wasn’t, although this particular girl didn’t know what Bulgur wheat was, but I don’t feel inspired to write a lengthy blog merely based on that single grain-based ignorance. To be honest, I think I’ve maybe milked all the comic potential from Sainsbury’s shop assistants. After all, I am not the kind of writer who gets stuck in a rut. I must move onto explore new comic pastures. Maybe the shop assistants at Tesco will provide me with some material.
Today I have been sifting through the hours of audio I’ve accumulated so far this year from last month’s tour and our time in Australia in March. There is just under 100 hours of audio on my hard drive to tackle. For the other two Young’uns, they can go home and unwind after a tour, whereas I have to experience the whole thing again, sifting through recordings for the Young’uns Podcast. For the last seven hours, the only voices I’ve heard are mine, Sean’s and Michael’s, with the occasional interjection from an audience member. If you come to any of our gigs this summer, please heckle, just to keep me sane, as it’ll mean I’ll have at least one other voice to listen to other than me Sean and Michael, even if it’s just a fleeting interjection. That one heckle could be what stops me from having a mental breakdown.
The other problem is, given that all I’ve done since getting back is listen to the sound of me and my other two bandmates’ voices, there is nothing really new to write about. I can’t write about the things that happened at the gigs, because I’ve either written about them, or I’m saving them for The Young’uns Podcast.
Despite the fact that I’ve spent the whole day sifting through hours of Young’uns gigs for the next Young’uns Podcast, I think that I might have to put back the release of the next Young’uns Podcast to the end of may, rather than releasing it this week, as planned. This is because I really need to spend the time that I’m at home working on another special project, which I can’t really do when I’m away on tour, whereas I can record and release The Young’uns Podcast from on tour.
The special project I am referring to is The Young’uns In The Mix. Young’uns Podcast listeners may remember The Young’uns In The Mix. In August, at the Folk East festival in Suffolk, I’ll be doing The Young’uns In The Mix live.
Here’s the blurb I wrote yesterday for the Folk east website and Programme.
Prepare to enter a world where folk music and pop music collide. Where Seth Lakeman is collaborating with the Spice Girls, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar join forces with Daft Punk, The Watersons share the stage with Van-halen, and the Prodigy embrace sea shanties.
David Eagle from The Young’uns takes to the decks to DJ, exclusively for Folk East, as the two disparate worlds of folk and pop join together in unholy musical matrimony. Come and hear folk music like you’ve never heard it before. Come and dance the night away in the company of The Young’uns, armed with disco lights, samplers and DJ decks, and joined by the amazing MC Squared. What do you get when you cross The Unthanks with Queen? All shall be revealed!
I don’t want to worry Becky and John, the organisers of Folk East, who read these Dollops, but I haven’t made a start on this project yet. I’ve written the blurb, and I can hear everything in my head, but I need to use the very short amount of time that I have to get all this prepared. It’s not a case of just turning up with a few records and DJing. I am effectively going to be wrestling with music, trying to force two very different musical styles to work together. Sea shanties for instance don’t conform to a strict key or beat; the key can often drift during the song, and the beat is not strictly constant, as they’re not performed to a metronome and it’s more free-form. I am not a DJ. I’ve never really DJed live. So for all the bravado of the blurb, I have no idea what I’m doing or how the ideas in my head will actually translate into reality, if indeed they even will. So I need to get cracking, and I only have a few weeks, as I’m busy with The Young’uns at the end of May, during June and in Canada and doing festivals for most of July. And then we’re into August, the month of the Folk East festival. I have just a few weeks to learn how to DJ live and also to experiment with the ideas I have in my head.
It could all go horribly wrong. Of course, there is a possibility that it going horribly wrong might actually be really funny, in which case it will still be entertaining, and could therefore be seen as it all going right. If you fancy witnessing this first, and possibly last, Young’uns In The Mix experiment, then get yourself some Folk East festival tickets for the Saturday. I will also release it as a Young’uns Podcast.
I am not entirely new to mixing disparate styles of music. I’ve done two David Eagle’s Pick and Mix episodes, which mixed things like The Darkness and Basement Jaxx with the grandstand Television theme, and the Chemical Brothers with Flanders and swann. I am happy with the way those two mixes turned out (and I want to get around to doing another one at some point), although they weren’t DJed live in front of an audience. I will also be MCing under the nom de plume, MC Squared.
We’ve just done one of our free community events, performing at an old people’s home in Liverpool. It was a lovely gig and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. But then at the end, chaos occurred.
As we bid everyone goodbye and made to leave, we heard a kerfuffle from behind us, and a cry of “wait” from one of the ladies. Looking round, we saw that some of the residents had started getting money out of their purses. We tried to stop them, but they were resolutely thrusting it into our hands. It was impossible to stop them and hand their money back, as more and more hands kept going, until everyone started joining in. As the enthusiasm for this exercise increased among the residents, the amounts of money that were being presented to us were getting larger and larger, with some people handing over notes. If we’d have accepted all the money that was being thrust at us then we’d probably have come away from this short afternoon performance in an old people’s home with more money than we’d made on any of our actual gigs. We kept trying to hand people their money back, but it was becoming increasingly difficult as more and more people pushed their hands at us and dropped their offering on the table. The table was now covered with coins and notes. Plus, we had no idea who had given what. If we tried asking people what they’d given, so that we could give it back, they either refused to tell us or said they couldn’t remember, which may have been true – after all they are ninety and their memories are probably not brilliant – or just an excuse to stop us returning the money to them.
The staff attempted to step in and reissue the money to people, but they had no idea who’d given what. The place was in chaos. Some people had gone to their rooms, realising that they hadn’t got any money, and were now coming back to give us money, not realising that we’d actively been avoiding taking it for the last five minutes. Some people were pursuing us out of the place, still trying to give us money.
The staff are clearly not going to be able to give the right amount of money to the people who gave it, and so maybe we should have accepted. But it seemed wrong to offer a gig for free and then end up coming away with hundreds of pounds. But is it patronising of us to refuse their money just because they are in their nineties? We refused the money as soon as it was offered. Had we accepted, would staff have stepped into intervene? Regardless, it just seemed inappropriate for us to accept.
But maybe we are going about our performance career in the wrong way here. Maybe we should be using the money from benevolent old people to subsidise our gigs for everyone else. The beauty of this scheme is that the old people don’t have to travel anywhere, because they live in the venue we’d be performing in, as it’s sheltered accommodation. Therefore, with the money they’re saving on travel, they can afford to pay a healthy amount to us. Also, the fact that these people are reaching the end of their lives means that they’ll be able to afford to be extra benevolent.
The three of us wouldn’t need to bother paying for a hotel, because we’d be able to stay in the residential home, either sharing a bed with a benevolent old lady, or taking advantage of any beds that have recently become free due to a resident dying. The bonus of this scheme is that there’ll be some lucky ladies in their nineties who get to have a night of passion with a man in his thirties, which we’d be offering as a free extra. Or maybe we should be charging. After all, I doubt that any of these ladies in their nineties would have ever thought they’d get the chance to spend another night with anyone ever again, never mind someone so young and attractive. I mean, obviously there’s a chance that they might be lumped with Michael or Sean, but at least they’d still be getting someone young. Then, with all this money we’re making and saving from gigging to and sleeping with old people, we’ll be able to lower the fees on our main gigs. I cannot see a problem with this scenario, and I intend to forward this Dollop onto our agent immediately.
I think it’s very doubtful that the staff at today’s home are going to be able to give the right amount of money back to the right people. Perhaps the residents will just decide to split the money between them equally. They may even elect to put all their money on the table and split all of it equally between them, and start a new utopian life where everyone is equal. This idea might then spread into other old people’s homes, and this might eventually filter down to the rest of society. Sadly, this would eventually invariably lead to people being put to death, as yet another communist attempt fails to effectively get off the ground. We thought it would be nice to do some free gigs for people in the community, but we may have ended up accidentally launching a bloody communist revolution, resulting in the possible death of millions. Lesson well and truly learnt. We’ll be sure to only do gigs for lots of money in the future, and hope that the people in the residential home in Liverpool either die or have a collective memory laps before they can set their communist plans to action.
Sorry if you were hoping for some showbiz stories from the folk awards and conversations with celebrities, but I find all of that massively daunting and intimidating. I am much more secure and content being in my own little bubble, writing blogs about having sex with ninety-year-old women. But come on, let’s be honest, you would clearly rather read about fictional communist revolutions brought about by ninety-year-olds in a residential home than listen to me having a conversation with Martin Freeman, wouldn’t you? What? Really? Oh, well, sorry.
The title of this Dollop, Money From Old Folk, is meant to be a sort of pun on Money For Old Rope, but I’m not sure if it works and was maybe a bit too subtle. That’s the trouble with me: I am just too subtle. I’m sick of people constantly telling me that, time and time again. “Oh you’re so subtle David,” they say. I would tell them to fuck off, but I’m far too subtle to do that.
I was tempted, knowing that we’d be asked the same questions by the seven BBC local radio stations we were on yesterday, to give a different answer to the one same question. I could then take recordings of all the interviews and play our different answers back to back for today’s Dollop. But perhaps this wouldn’t have been taking our PR campaign very seriously. Plus, I realised that the time and effort it would take me to visit each radio station’s website, find the show and time that we were broadcast and then edit all the clips together, would probably be ten times more labour intensive than writing a blog post. And it’s not that you’re not worth the time and effort, it’s just that I’m not sure the idea would have really been worth potentially destroying our relationship with BBC local radio for.
If it was commercial local radio then that might be different. I could take a look at each radio station’s sponsors and advertisers beforehand, and then deliberately work their rival businesses into my answer.
“So, how did you meet?”
“Well, it all started in Costa Coffee. That’s where we first met on that magical day. We were all ordering one of their delicious and affordable coffees, and there’s just something about their drinks that promotes a feeling of sociability and an atmosphere of positivity, as if the place is bristling with possibility. All these factors, which I think are synonymous with the Costa Coffee outlets, just created the perfect environment for the three of us to start chatting, and we decided that we should be in a folk group together. I know this sounds fantastical, but that’s the power of Costa Coffee, to make incredible possibilities a reality.”
“Ah, well that’s a great story guys, but I’m sure that the same thing would have happened if you’d all been in Starbucks, which personally I find to be a much better establishment.”
“Well, it’s interesting you should say that, because we realised afterwards that the three of us had actually been in Starbucks at the same time on about ten separate occasions, and strangely, we never spoke. But it was just something about the atmosphere and coffee brewed by Costa that brought the three of us to speak to each other, and that’s when the magic happened. Amazing really. So I suppose that sort of proves scientifically that Costa is better than Starbucks.”
“Well … er … well, not, as, such, because I actually have my planning meetings for this show in Starbucks, and I think that the atmosphere and coffee of Starbucks has led to making my show what it is.”
“I’m not sure you’re helping your case here.”
“no, I am, because we’ve had some great ideas in Starbucks. It was in Starbucks that I had the idea to do a mystery voice competition. It’s quite ingenious, we play a clip of a celebrity talking, and people have to ring in and say who they think it is. And it was also in Starbucks, taking a sip of one of their excellent cappuccinos, that I had the idea to do a mystery sound competition. So, for instance, we might play a mooing sound, and people then ring in to guess what it is. And then when someone says cow, we give them a free pencil. Oh shit, I’ve just given away the answer to the competition. And now I’ve just said shit. Fuck, they’re going to sack me! Fuck, and now I’ve just said fuck. They’re definitely going to sack me!”
“Well, if I were you, I’d get yourself to Costa Coffee where you’re almost certain to meet your next boss who’ll offer you more money to work on a better radio station.”
u“Well, actually, now that I’m going to get fired from here anyway, I have no qualms in recommending Costa, in spite of the fact that we’re sponsored by Starbucks. I shall take your advice. Thank you so much David. I think you’ve really helped me. I was wanting to get out of this shithole and work somewhere else, so you’ve saved my bacon. And when it comes to bacon, then you really should get yourself to Thompson’s Butchers, located on the highstreet opposite the … No, hang on, what am I doing? I don’t need to say this shit anymore. Thompson’s is terrible. They put hideous amounts of water and chemicals in the meat. Haha, this feels great! I feel free! I can do whatever I like. Right, well I was meant to play Simply Red at this point, but sod that, here’s Cradle Of Filth. Haha, I’m free! Thank you, thank you so much David!”
“No problem, although, I’ve just been thinking, and I’ve remembered that actually it was Starbucks where we met, not Costa. The magic happened in Starbucks.”
When we first started, I used to record every interview we did, but now we do so many that I’ve given up bothering. It’s not as if I’m going to listen to these years in the future, and if there ever is a point where I get a sudden urge to listen to our interview of thirty years ago on BBC Radio Merseyside, then something has gone terribly wrong with my life.
I’ve been writing this blog post in The Young’uns’ van, although it has not been as difficult as I thought it was going to be yesterday. It’s been hard writing a blog post at 630 in the morning after four hours of sleep, but Michael has travelled separately in his car because he is seeing his girlfriend afterwards and therefore travelling a different route back, meaning that I’ve actually had some space to write.
The audio versions of these on-the-road blogs should make for interesting listening, as they are likely to be recorded from some rather odd environments. Yesterday I recorded sitting on cross legged on some stairs between dressing rooms, with the laptop on my lap, my Braille display on top of that, and my digital recorder positioned on top of that. People kept walking past me wondering what on earth was going on. At one point my blog reading was interrupted by Adrian from the Unthanks who decided that he fancied a chat. But I hope that these weird locations and odd interruptions will make for an interesting listening experience, rather than an annoying one. To be honest, the interruptions were probably more entertaining than the actual written content I was reading.
I finished editing the audio up until a minute before going on stage, and then uploaded the podcast and published the blog to the website during the interval, which was a close thing given Middlesbrough Town Hall’s slow WIFI. But I managed to get everything online for about 930. But this challenge is just as much a practical one as a creative one, as I am at the mercy of WIFI access. If I can’t get online at our gig in Manchester then the podcast version won’t be uploaded until after midnight, when I’m back home in Sheffield. So far I’ve managed to publish both audio and written versions everyday for 43 days. Maybe if there isn’t any WIFI at the gig I could pop into a starbucks, or a Costa, I don’t mind and I don’t really drink in either of them, but I am happy to use them for their WIFI.
Tomorrow will probably pose the greatest challenge so far to this consecutive daily blogging project. I will be spending the first half of the day in a cupboard. I am not attempting some kind of highly watered down, poor man’s David Blaine stunt, whereby I spend four hours in a cupboard without food or water. I shall be joined in the cupboard by Michael and Sean, from my folk group The Young’uns. The cupboard is situated in the building that houses the radio station BBC Tees, and has been optimistically labelled a studio by the people at the station. It is tiny, can barely fit the three of us in, and has very rudimentary technology.
We’ve been in this cupboard before. There is only enough room for two chairs. There are only two sets of headphones and one microphone. We’ve even performed songs in this cupboard, which involves the three of us squatting at the microphone, very close to each other, while we attempt to sing in a very tight awkward space and position. That is what we shall be doing for four hours tomorrow.
We are doing a series of interviews from this one cupboard for a number of different BBC local radio stations. We will be put in the cupboard and then basically left to our own devices for four hours. A phone will ring on the desk, and upon pressing a button on the tiny unit, we will be connected to the radio station. We’ll then get asked a series of questions, perform a live song, squatting intimately together by the one microphone, with no previous level checks and with no idea how it’s actually sounding. When that interview is finished, we will then be disconnected from that station, the phone will ring again, we’ll press the button to answer, be put through to another radio station, get asked the exact same list of questions, have an intimate squat and a sing, be disconnected, and so the cycle continues.
We start with an interview on BBC Tees at 945 until 1030. At 1030 we are on Bbc Radio Lincs until 11. Then at 11, we get connected to BBC York, until 1130. At 1130 we are handed over to BBC Bristol. Then, straight after that we are contacted by BBC Radio Wiltshire. Immediately following this is a chat and a song with BBC Radio Merseyside, and straight after that, at 13:00, we are connected to BBC Cumbria. At 130 we finally exit the cupboard with a new perspective on life, decide that four hours squatting intimately in a cupboard with the same two people has pushed us to the brink, and consequently disband the group, therefore making the last four hours completely redundant.
If you’re a crazy person, then you could use the above list as a schedule and tune into all the shows. You’ll probably hear three people becoming audibly more and more insane with each passing interview.
We’ve had nearly two months off, and I feel as if I should have been spending that time mentally preparing myself for the moment that I spend four hours squatting in a tiny cupboard with the same two people, being asked the same questions over and over again. Perhaps I could have spent the time developing some technology that is able to do the interviews on our behalf. I could have fed all our answers to previous radio interviews into a computer, and then programmed the computer with a load of key words pertaining to each answer. When a presenter asks a question, the computer will check the list of key words and choose the most appropriate answer based on the best match. Given that I had a couple of months off, I’d probably have had time to make even more complex enhancements to the system, including programming the computer to detect the presenter’s intonation and inflection to register when a presenter might be making a joke, at which point the computer can choose from a series of Young’uns laughter clips, taken from previous interviews, ranging from mildly amusing up to side-splittingly hilarious.
This invention would save us the hassle of having to actually answer the questions. We could be sat outside the cupboard getting on with something else, and we’d only need to interrupt the Young’uns radio-interview-autopilot system if the presenter said something off the general script that the machine was struggling to find an appropriate response for. If such a moment occurred, the computer would then resort to playing out a series of hesitation clips until one of us came back into the cupboard and took over manual control. This hesitation collection would consist of a number of “er” sounds, “hmms”, throat clearings, and other miscellaneous filler sounds.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been spending my two months off on such a project, and so we’re just going to have to resort to the original plan of squatting in a tiny cupboard for four hours. If there are any engineers or computer programmers reading who fancy helping us develop this system, then feel free to get in touch.
After the four hours of radio interviews, we then have a meeting with an accountant. Following this we head to Middlesbrough town hall to do a sound check for the evening’s gig, our first gig of the year. I won’t get back home until about midnight, so I’ll be out all day, meaning that I’ll somehow have to write, read, edit and upload the audio and written versions of tomorrow’s Dollop during the day, in between all the various things that are scheduled. I started writing today’s blog post at 3 O’clock, and it’s now 4 O’clock. I could technically write another Dollop today, for tomorrow, and schedule it to be published for sometime the following day, but a part of me relishes the challenge of succeeding writing, recording and publishing on the road, plus I am too lazy to write any more today. If you are at the gig tomorrow and you see me typing on stage, then you know that things have gotten serious. I think that that might be a step too far, although it would be impressive if I could sing and type at the same time, perhaps typing in rhythm to what we’re singing. This would take multitasking to a whole new level.
Back tomorrow, definitely, even at the risk of being massively anti-social and possibly ruining a gig. At least I’m getting paid for this crazy venture though, hey? Oh, hang on … I am an idiot.
Well, this has the potential to be a rather embarrassing Dollop. Last Friday The Young’uns got a message from someone saying that we’d been once again nominated for the Best Group category in the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards, which we won last year.
I am currently writing this Dollop on the train, heading back to Hartlepool to see the family (does this mean more David’s Daily Digital Dollop podcast jingles from my eleven-year-old niece Lucy? Possibly, but I cannot promise anything, so try and contain your excitement). I have scheduled this Dollop to be published at 8pm, which is after Mark Radcliffe will have announced the award nominations on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show. So, I am just assuming that, by this time, we will have been officially declared as one of the nominated groups for Best Group, otherwise this will be rather awkward. I will be out by 8pm, and so if Mark Radcliffe doesn’t announce our name and it’s been a mistake, then there’s little I can do about it. Maybe I should have written an emergency Dollop just in case, about something completely different, and then, if it transpires that we’re not actually nominated, I could just publish that instead. But I like to live dangerously.
The last time I wrote a blog post on a train was a couple of years ago. I didn’t end up publishing the blog because I never completed it. That’s partly the reason for David’s Daily Digital Dollop; it will stop me half writing something and then never getting around to finishing and publishing it.
I was writing about the person who I was sitting next to on the train. They were listening to music from their mobile phone speaker, and singing along. The music they were listening and singing along to was awful, and it was completely ruining my concentration. Being unable to focus on writing what I was intending to write about, I instead wrote an impassioned rant about the annoying person sat next to me. Don’t worry, being blind I don’t need to have the laptop display turned on, and so I set it to be turned off by default, meaning that unless this person was able to read my fingers, they would have no idea what I was writing. And given the bilge they were assaulting their ears with, I don’t think there was any chance of them having the intelligence or ability to read what someone was writing by analysing them touch typing.
My rant started out admonishing this person for their irritating behaviour. Because I was angry with them, I chose to write the blog as if I was writing directly to them. I made quite a few assumptions about the person, formed purely on the fact that they were angering me, and were listening to mind-numbing shit. It was, in essence, a character assassination, based solely on her music choices and her gregarious behaviour. A lot of unfounded unflattering conclusions were leapt to.
After a good thousand words of insults, I then progressed to analyse my part in all of this. I realised that there was no chance that I would ever say anything to this person, as I would find it too awkward. Also I observed that this person’s singing was making me feel embarrassed. But why? I wasn’t the person singing. It was the person next to me. It was clear to anyone looking that I was not with this person. I hadn’t spoken to them at all during the journey, and I was minding my own business, typing; unless there was another blind person on the train, who mistook my typing for percussion accompaniment, and was getting pissed off with us both for disrupting his journey. But it was I, for some reason, who was feeling awkward, as if I was vicariously experiencing the awkwardness that the person next to me seemed unaffected by. I was being awkward on her behalf; awkward by proxy.
I then observed that one of the reasons for my frustration was because this woman’s attitude to life was so different to mine. I realised that her actions were niggling away at my own insecurities. There was no way that I would have the confidence to sing to music in public. I’d even feel uncomfortable if I caught myself nodding along. I realised that part of my annoyance was actually annoyance at myself for being too socially insecure and self-conscious. I wrote all this in the blog post, suggesting that maybe I could learn something from this woman, and that maybe I could view this situation as a catalyst to explore my own insecurities and social anxieties.
I was really getting into this blog post, typing very fast and writing quite a lot about this person and their actions. But then my focus was interrupted again by the woman getting up out of her seat and leaving. I assumed that she had just gone to the toilet. At least she wasn’t too socially unaware and unintimidated to ignore standard toilet protocol, choosing simply to just urinate in a bag.
I continued writing. But then, after twenty minutes the woman had not returned to her seat. It’s not as if she’d left her seat in order to get off the train. The train hadn’t stopped anywhere and we still had another ten minutes before the next stop. I was getting off at the next stop, and so decided to shut down my laptop and ready myself. As I glanced down at my laptop, I noticed that the screen was on. And then I remembered in horror that my brother had been using the laptop earlier that day, and so I’d turned the screen back on for him. Therefore, the screen had been on all the time, and I’d been typing invectives about the lady next to me and her annoying ways in full view of the very person I was writing about. But I wasn’t just writing about her; I was writing directly to her, aiming my words as if I was deliberately communicating my message to her, so it’s not as if she’d think that I was writing a blog post, but that I was deliberately addressing her, expecting her to read it. At one point she leant against me, and shuffled around a bit. That might have been to get a better view at the bile I was spouting about her. Of course, this leaning and shuffling had led me to up my insult quota even more. Ironically, I was writing about the fact that I was the kind of person who was too socially awkward and anxious to communicate my feelings to the person directly, although this is precisely what I was doing, albeit inadvertently.
There is a chance that her leaving her seat had nothing to do with me, but I’m pretty confident that it did. Of course, being the anxious and insecure person that I am, I felt terrible and guilty about it for ages afterwards.
So, if you’re on a train and you happen to recognise me, don’t come up to me and say hello, sit next to me, play some terrible music loudly from your mobile phone and sing along, while shuffeling against me. It will be my penance, and I shall have my sins absolved by it. It’s the only way to cure me of this guilt.
It’s the last Young’uns Podcast of the year, and the last in the current series until April 2016. So, in this podcast we are clearing out all our old stock, I.E. the remaining gig clips that are still lurking on the computer that have yet to be played, It’s very much the bargain basement equivalent of a podcast, but in a good way, hopefully.
David dons his dog collar to become the Reverend Eagle in order to convey a spiritual message for the new year. Plus, there’s some faeces based banter, conspiracy theories, and we discuss South American cuisine.