Listeners to yesterday’s audio Dollop were treated to a spontaneous outburst of anger, which stemmed from a combination of things.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s Dollop, I was feeling uninspired and my brain was foggy, although I did manage to come up with something decent in the end I think. Then, when I went to record the audio version, the microphone wouldn’t work and was just generating a series of crackles and hisses. I spent about an hour trying different things to fix the problem, but nothing I tried made any difference.
Ben was due home at 830, and I’d said that I’d make food for his return, and it was now 745. My microphone was making quite an interesting collage of crackles and hisses, and I started to consider maybe just cutting my losses and claiming that today’s Dollop was a weird ambient electronic composition. Perhaps this technological setback would actually prove to be an incredible stroke of good fortune. Maybe someone from BBC Radio 3 would stumble across my composition and commission it for broadcast. I could retrospectively make up some balderdash about what it’s “meant to represent”, maybe plonk a few synths over the top in order to make it seem more of a planned composition rather than just a case of me pressing record, letting the broken mic buzz away for fifteen minutes while I prepared dinner. But then I remembered my limerick about zeak and the leak, and realised what a shame it would be if the world was denied this poetic work of genius. Plus, there’s no reason why someone at BBC Radio 3 or 4 shouldn’t stumble across the Dollop and then comission me to do a poetry series; no reason why not at all.
So I attached my digital recorder to the tripod and started recording. But then I couldn’t find my keyboard in order to load the written Dollop for reading. I stormed around my room in anger, trying to find the lost keyboard, at which point I tripped over the tripod which brought the recorder crashing to the floor, causing the tripod to break into pieces. I then spent another five minutes reassembling the tripod. It was then that I realised that the keyboard had been right next to me all along, meaning that the last five minutes had been a pointless waste of time. Then I lost my headphones, which I’d put down somewhere when I’d been looking for the keyboard, resulting in another search around the room. More swearing ensued. At this point, I realised that I’d not given the warning at the start about their being swearing in the Dollop, for the simple reason that the actual Dollop I was about to read didn’t contain any swearing, although it actually turned out to be my most sweary recording so far.
So if you choose to read the Dollops rather than listen, this is the kind of extra excitement you’re missing out on, and I don’t charge any extra for it. The angry introduction was probably more entertaining than the actual Dollop, although sadly I am doubtful that it would garner the interest of someone at BBC Radio 3.
By the time I’d finished the recording it was 8 o’clock, meaning that I really needed to start making dinner. I then wasted five minutes searching for a knife in the kitchen which I couldn’t find, and so gave up and used an eating knife instead. Perhaps it was fate intervening, knowing that I was too angry to be trusted with a sharp knife. My inability to locate a proper knife caused my anger to resurface once more, and when Elsa walked into the kitchen, she saw me aggressively tearing at the butter with my fingers and angrily slamming it into the wok.
Elsa is normally very quick to read the Dollops, in fact it’s one of the terms and conditions of her living with me. She’ll often make some jocular reference about it when we next see each other around the house. I’d completely forgotten that I hadn’t yet managed to release that day’s Dollop, and so she was massively confused upon hearing the words, “sorry food is a bit late, but I’ve just spent the last half hour with a courgette up my arse.” I was also saying this while angrily tearing into the butter with my fingers, which I was doing absent-mindedly, meaning that the wok was now overfilling with butter which was beginning to spit into the air. The meal was even further delayed, as I then had to spend the next five minutes explaining the courgette-arse reference, and the reason for the weirdness with the butter. Normally when I do something that she thinks is a bit weird, I just tell her that it’s an English thing, and that, being French, she probably wouldn’t understand it, but I’m not sure if she’d be convinced that sticking courgettes up your arse and violently tearing at butter was an English thing; it was clearly the doings of a madman.
I kept my angry outburst in the Dollop, partly because by the time I’d finished recording, it was 8 o’clock and I hadn’t started making food yet, but also because I found my shouting rather funny to listen to.
In 2007, I was recording a podcast in which I was trying to interview a guest over the phone. I made multiple attempts to get through to the person, but each time I kept getting automated messages telling me that the call could not be connected. In the end I had to give up, and that podcast didn’t get recorded.
A few months after that event, I was sifting through old files on my hard drive, and deleting the ones that were no longer necessary. I found the recording of these failed phone call attempts. I was just about to delete the file, when I was caught off guard by the sound of my hysterical voice, shouting and swearing at the telephone operator, coming out with all sorts of ridiculous comments and making the strangest anger-fuelled noises. I began to laugh uncontrollably at what I was hearing. The file was an hour long, and it consisted of me dialling the same number over and over again, and getting a combination of different messages, while I got progressively more and more irate. At the time I was too angry to appreciate how ridiculous and comical I was sounding, but listening back months after the scenario, feeling calm, I found the whole thing hilarious.
I edited the hour of audio down to under five minutes, and featured it on a podcast, which gained me the biggest positive response I’d ever received for anything I’d done. It was a little disconcerting to realise that the sound of me losing control over my ability to speak and conduct myself properly was deemed the funniest thing I’d produced ever before, but then again, this was 2007, so they probably had a point. Essentially I’ve spent the rest of my life attempting to create something as funny as that time when I railed and ranted like a madman.
Feel free to have a listen, and decide for yourselves whether or not I reached my comedic zenith in 2007. I come out with a number of odd statements during this clip, the most weird one probably being: “you get paid enough, I’ll rip off your head,” which was aimed at the automated telephone operaotr lady. Obviously it doesn’t make any sense, but there’s a lot of that kind of stuff in this clip. I frequently threaten to murder the telphone operator. Fortunately there was nothing on the news about her being murdered, otherwise this recording could have been used as evidence in court. And I’d be hopeless at defending myself in court. The Jewry would hear me shouting nonsense whilst angrily tearing at butter, and instantly assume I was definitely guilty.