I can’t believe I didn’t win the Edinburgh Best Joke award

The Pina Colliders performing improv shrort form

‘I can’t wait to get back to London and write down all my Fringe recommendations,” I said to myself half way through our Fringe run.

Two, maybe even three weeks later, here we are and not a review in sight. To my fellow Fringe performers, I am sorry. Honestly, I did plan on telling everyone how amazing Alison Thea-Skot’s show was and how I nearly cried during Alice Fraser’s set but… Fringe fatigue, you understand.

Now the Fringe is over and my well intentioned blog post is about as useful as Cameron’s refugee comments. However, if there’s one thing the Fringe taught me, it’s that nothing in life can’t be solved with a good joke (and a large donation at the end of a show).

I won’t lie to you, I was pretty disappointed when I saw that my jokes had failed to pick up that shiny best joke award. I mean, what is this? A competition based on merit? Unbelievable.

As an improviser, not only was I creating new jokes every night but I was doing it on the spot too. Like some kind of joke robot, I had transcended the human body and reached a humour field beyond our mere mortal comprehension. Not that I’m bragging or anything.

How do you create jokes in improv comedy? Well, if you’ve seen Who’s Line is it Anyway, you’ll know that improv (specifcally short-form improv, don’t worry about the technical terms though. It’s all just pratting around) is made up of games. One of the hardest games known to improvisers is… 185. The rules to this challenge are simple, the audience shout out a word and you have the make a bar joke on the lines of: “185 (things) walk into a bar and…”

I don’t want to say I rocked this game but it’s essentially an excuse to use puns so… it was like butter and jam my friends. Here are the five top 185 jokes of mine that should have definitely gotten me the top crown (and again remember, that the subject of all these jokes was chosen by other people. Any offense is on their heads):

  • ” 185 chairs walk into a bar and one of them says: ‘sorry guys, just have to pop to the toilet. My doctor needs a STOOL SAMPLE!'”

By the way, yes I will be capitalizing all the puns. Please imagine the look of joy on my face as I yelled them at a room full of people. A cross between manically insane and smug.

Also, you’ll notice in that joke that chairs are talking. This is very meta (I don’t know what Meta means but I assume it can be applied to chairs talking) and therefore makes me ABSTRACT and COOL.

  • “185 Jack and Roses from the Titanic walk into a bar and they say: ‘I got a SINKING FEELING about this joke.'”

Oh wait, I just remembered what meta means. This is meta, not the talking chairs thing. My point on being cool still stands.

Also, the audience gave us a really long subject  here so the rhythm is kind off but I think you’ll all agree that by powering through that I am a comic hero.

  • “185 cowboys walk into a bar and one of them looks around and says: ‘hey has anyone seen Cowboy Jimmy?’ and another replies: ‘oh haven’t you heard? He was caught with Billy the Kid.”

Now the audience did not get this joke until a mouthed out ‘it’s a Savile joke’ – at which point they still didn’t laugh and just looked disgusted. But this just shows how daring I am or maybe that I’ve just become a bit of a twat. One of the two.

  • “185 policemen walk into a bar and one of them goes up to a girl and says: ‘hey, mind if I COP a feel?'”

Okay so most of my jokes were about sex but our show was at 1am. I was giving the people what they wanted!

And now finally, my best joke that (like the Savile one) might be a bit too inappropriate is…

  • “185 terrorists walk into a bar and one goes up to a lady and says: ‘hey gurl, you JIHAD ME at hello.'”

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Well it’s not politically correct but at least she didn’t do an illustration of it‘. And to you reader I say – you don’t know me at all!

What can I say? I love puns.

How to pack for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015

fringe

Okay so there’s three days to Edinburgh, time to think about packing. Have I got enough socks? Underwear? Shit, I don’t have enough underwear. Why do I only have eight pairs of knickers? I bet the rest are at Jack’s – being in a relationship is a real knickers juggling act. Okay, I’ll just buy more knickers. And socks, I really don’t have enough socks and it would be nice to have a matching pair again. Maybe I’ll go to H&M or into town to the big Primark… actually, scratch that. Never Primark. And actually, I’m too tired to shop. But I’ll definitely get round to it. Tomorrow.

Okay, only two days to Edinburgh. Time for a BIG wash. Should I separate lights from darks? No, that’s too much of a faff. Just throw it all in together. That’ll do. Now I’ll just put in the washing stuff and… we’re out of powder. And conditioner. Great – off to the shop. Now do I buy a cheap powder and a nice fabric softner or do I go for one of those ‘all in one’ tablets. Hmm… I feel like the tablets are a rip off. OH! This washing gel is on offer, Jack uses this. But does it need softner too? I know Jack doesn’t use fabric softner but he’s hardly a domestic goddess, so how does he smell? Have I ever found his clothes lacking in flowery odour? Can’t actually remember the last time I smelt him. Does he even have a scent? God, what if I’m dating an odourless person? Fuck it, I’ll get the gel.

Right, the day before I set off to Edinburgh. I’m in H&M, things are getting done. OoOoooOooo those flares are nice! I’ve always thought I would look good in flares – fuck it, I’ll get them. Size 14, play it safe. I bet they won’t fit though, just because the universe is a knob like that. Might as well get some tops to go with them. Oh! I can get that feminist t-shirt I saw last time. Maybe this vaguely French one too? Oh and definitely this black top with moons on it. I like moons. Hmm… actually, maybe I shouldn’t get the French one. Am I a big enough spender for three new tops? No, I’m not. Put it back.

Now should I get a hoodie? They’re not really my style but I guess one would be useful. Hmm… £15, for something I’m not even fussed about. I bet Primark will have one cheaper. Yeah, never say never to Primark. I’ll go while I’m up there. Maybe… Oh shit! Socks and knickers! Just quickly shove them in my basket at the till. Great. Very productive. Excellent shopping trip.

Back home, I’ll pack once I try on these new flares. Hmm… a little hard to get them past the thigh. Have to suck it in a bit to get the zip done up. Christ, this is ridiculous. I am a slim(ish) person, how can I need a size 16? Maybe they’ll stretch. They look good but that is because they’re holding everything in. Maybe I’m just not used to fitted clothing; most of my other trousers do have elastic waists.

Fuck it, I’m sure they’ll wear in and I’ll only wear them when I don’t need to sit down. I’ll just go to all the standing shows.

Like this photo, my packing lacks focus.

Like this photo, my packing lacks focus.

Now time to pack. After dinner. Yeah, do it after dinner. After this episode of Him & Her. After two episodes. Three. Might as well finish the series if I’m this far gone. Okay, now time to pack! Although I am tired, could I get all this packing done in the morning? Is that too… rebellious? Am I a rebel?

No I’m not, can’t believe I’m even entertaining the thought. Best get all that washing off the clothes horse. What should I take and what should I leave behind? Obviously the tiger onesie is a yes but should I take a jacket? Hmm… I’ll leave that to the spur of the moment. Yes to that, yes to this, no to that, no, no, yes, yes, yes, fuck it yeah, no, yes, yes. I’ll grab that and just tuck this in the side. Should I pack a nice going out dress? No.

Bag looks pretty full now, that’s as good as the packing being done. I’ll leave the rest to morning Heather.

Morning of departure – nothing gets you in the mood for a long day of travel like waking up to the sound of foxes having sex. Why do foxes have sex like that? Why do they sound like babies crying? Hmm… maybe I should ponder these thoughts after I get the rest of my packing done. Thanks a lot, night Heather.

Okay, toiletries packed. Toothbrush packed (haha, screw you toothbrush I bet you thought I would forget you!). Laptop packed WITH charger – boom. Other electricals get shoved in with their chargers. Towel. Sleeping bag – though this doesn’t mean anything if I leave it on the train. Must not leave it on the train. Speaking of train, best pack a book. I am an intellectual.

Shoes are in there. I’ve got my tickets in my bag, the app downloaded on my phone. What else? Oh yes, a jacket! Big decision time, yey or ney to the jacket. I’m going to go with… YES! Shove it in, shove everything in!

And I’m done. The ordeal is complete. All I have to do now is board a train and write it all up in a blog post. Speaking of which, that too is now done. Cracking.

Goodbye London Zoo!

ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo

For the last two years I’ve been working at ZSL London Zoo. The time has come for me to say goodbye to the place, as I move into the real world where I won’t be seeing penguins everyday – I know, such hard problems in my life.

During my time at the zoo, I’ve been lucky enough to act as photographer. I can’t share all my photos of my time there (one because my contract means I don’t own the copyright, and two because there are literally HUNDREDS) but I thought it would be nice to mark my day of leaving with some few snap shots.

If you fancy seeing a few more of my pictures, you can see a full array on the Zoo’s tumblr page.

I’m not one for mushy goodbyes, so to you zoo I say: stay cool, it’s been real. And cute. It’s very cute.

ZSL London ZooZSL London Zoo

ZSL London ZooZSL London Zoo

Woof Hall, Brockwell park

Dog dressed as a tudor.

Dalmatian having a cuddle

Cute puppy wins

Holiday blues are inevitable. They sneak up on you once you step off your EasyJet flight and make your beloved England seem like a grey misery hole (sorry England but Greece was just SO SUNNY!). To help combat my expected blues, I went to the only event that’s better than a week away on holiday – a dog show based around puns!

Now I don’t know much about dog shows or how they’re organised but I can only assume that this entire event was based around one person going: ‘Wolf Hall… WO-LF Hall… Woof! Let’s call it WOOF HALL!’

Featured categories of the day were: handsomest dog, prettiest bitch, golden oldie, cutest puppy, most talented and… A FANCY DRESS ROUND!

While watching Fly, the oldest dog in the show at 18, win Golden Oldie was emotional (the owner nearly cried and Fly was late due to weak back legs – my ovaries were tearing up!) nothing could ever beat seeing a load of dogs in fancy dress.

Woof Hall, Brockwell Park

Woof Hall, Brockwell Park

Other highlights of the event include watching a dog show off its talent of being able to sit while its owner did cart wheels around him. That act won second place in the talent show. A real show of athleticism.

I also managed to get in a few cheeky strokes of dogs passing by, which is nothing to be sniffed at. And I also enjoyed one non-show dog walking into the area to scoff some forgotten treats. Dogs are truly my spirit animal.

Woof Hall, Brockwell Park

Woof Hall, Brockwell Park

 

Zakynthos, Greece

Zakynthos, Greece Zakynthos, Greece Zakynthos, Greece Here is a bit of backstory to my holiday with my boyfriend. We were originally supposed to be heading to Tunisia, however, less than a week before our flight went out the infamous beach shooting took place. All flights to Tunisia were cancelled and I was tasked to booking a new holiday three days before we had to leave. In a panic, I found one of the few destinations Teletext (yes they’re still at thing and no, you shouldn’t use them because…) had left on offer in Zakynthos AKA Zante. Zante has a notoriously bad reputation. It’s famous for being the destination of every UK lad and ladette who at the age of 18 are looking to get pissed and party harty (I’m so down with the kid lingo). The hotel I picked, however, had reviews on the page from Tripadvisor that said our hotel was tucked away from the noise and party times, that it was quiet and had hardly any British people staying there. Hurray! The day before we set off to our lovely hotel, I checked up on those Tripadvisor reviews to see if anyone had recommended some fun things to do in the area. Now on the teletext website, they pulled through the reviews directly onto their site. When I found the hotel on the actual Tripadvisor website, I discovered that the reviews Teletext had been using were for a completely different hotel that was in Majorca. Our actual hotel was reviewed as a loud party central, perfect for anyone on a lad adventure. My boyfriend and I had accidentally become lads on tour. Zakynthos, Greece DSC00441 Sea bream at Komis Fish tavern DSC00346 Thankfully, as you can probably see from these photos, Zante has for more to it than just cheap booze and clubs. Nearly all the lad horror is located in the Laganas area, where our hotel was situated at the end of. By simply renting a car, joining a boat tour, or hopping onto a bus, we were able to wander freely and see what the real Zakynthos is like. During the days, we visited hidden away beaches, found were sea turtles lay their eggs, ate the best sea food of our lives, joined a boat trip and came face to face with actual sea turtles! We climbed a mountain to visit a Venetian castle, discovered a church built out of bricks from the 16th Century, ate more delicious food, found the friendliest dogs on earth and formed at unlikely friendship with our beloved green car who I called ‘Sprout’. The hotel wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. We were all inclusive and the food they offered was a great alternative for when we wanted to save some money and just tuck into a simple greek salad and chips. Some nights I did struggle to sleep due to louder guests, the craziest thing being that the worst lads there weren’t even from the UK. Congratulations the Czech Republic – you’ve beaten England! Of course, teletext continued to out do itself for bad service by not telling the hotel that we were arriving, which meant we almost had no where to stay. The shuttle that they also provided first dropped us off at the wrong hotel when we arrive and then failed to show up on the way home. But I consider this a vital lesson that I now have to do proper (slightly more expensive) grown-up holidays that don’t just involve getting a good quote off a man over the phone. DSC00380 DSC00396 DSC00406 I think I’ll definitely return to this wonderful island again in my lifetime. The local people were just so lovely and everyone seemed genuinely thrilled when they learnt that we wanted to see more of the island than just its bars. If you fancy checking Zakynthos out, learn from my mistake and head to this part of the island instead. Zakynthos, Greece DSC00448 DSC00464