How to pack for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015

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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.

Sorry Dapper Laughs, we’ve heard it all before

Dapper Laughs - thinking the word Boob

I’m sorry Mr. Dapper Laughs but I’m here to inform you that your comedy has already been done. The punchline has already been punched – just like a woman! HAHA! You see what I just did there? I made a joke about domestic violence and it was funny (presumably) because 2 women a week die in the UK from such abuse. I bet you wish you had thought it up! And this is what I mean, all jokes about women have already been done.

The patriarchy has been in effect for the last 200,000 years, assuming that homo sapiens idaltu were as sexist as you. Even if they weren’t, it’s fair to say that men have been dominating the jokesphere for most of civilisation. I mean, female acts still only account for 17% of all entertainment at The Edinburgh Fringe (keep in mind this is the highest percentage in the history of the Fringe and that we live in 2015). So I think it’s safe to say, that all jokes at the expense of women have been done.

They’re over.

It’s all been said.

After thousands of years the arse in which these jokes have been pulled from has run out of gas.

But just in case, Dapper Laughs, you have been living in a bubble for most of your life and do genuinely believe that your sex offender-esque humour is something new, I have compiled a list of all women-based jokes that have been told through history.

Because we’ve all heard the one about:

How women can’t drive
Can’t play sport
Can’t understand sport
Can’t manage money
Spend too much money
Shop too much
Clean too much
Don’t clean enough
Should clean more
Should make sandwiches
Should only be making sandwiches
Should give blow-jobs
Are great at blow-jobs
Are shit at blow-jobs
Should be doing more blow-jobs
Be having more sex
Be having less sex
Stop looking like sluts
Look more like sluts
Only care about babies
Want more babies
Can only talk about babies
Talk too much
Talk too much about men
Talk too much about other women
Are not funny
Are total bitches
Are total whores
Are total prudes
Are all liars
Are all lying about getting raped
Are all lying about getting punched
Deserved to get raped
Deserved to get punch
Need a ‘right seeing to’
Need a man
Need a husband
Need to be quiet
Need to be grateful

And finally, need to stop hearing terrible jokes about women from men.

There you go Dapper Laughs. All the women jokes. So now that you know your services aren’t needed, you can go back into the primordial ooze from which you came.

Finding a new voice through improv

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It’s been over a year since I stepped into my first improv class. I remember how scared I was beforehand. The course had been an impulse buy that had occurred after a couple of glasses of wine and the finishing of Tina Fey’s book ‘Bossypants’. In between the click ‘buy’ and that moment outside the classroom doors, a month and half had gone by of a scared voice in my head saying ‘Don’t bother. You’ll embarrass yourself. What if you hate it?’

Looking back, I wonder how many times that voice has stopped me before. Was it the reason I didn’t perform at university? Is the voice why it took me years to try stand up? I’m sure we all have that voice inside of us – an awful human quirk that gets in the way of living life wholly.

In the case of improv, I decided to fight back. I stepped into that classroom full of fear but still full of hope.  That voice will always tell you that new situations will be hostile. That newness is unwelcoming and cruel. However, entering that room I found people who were probably just as scared as me. Probably telling their own inner voices to pipe down.

The quietness of the room wasn’t unwelcoming, it was smothered in fear. What had we let ourselves into? Were we all mad for doing this? Nervously, I met eyes with people, who all smiled while shuffling their feet.

Here’s another fact about the voice, it’s very easily drowned out from the outside. Inwardly we struggle for the strength to shout over it, but others seem to act like buckets of water to its insidious fire. In the case of improv, this new voice came in the form of our new teacher Maria Peters.

Maria is the reason I fell in love with improv. Her love for the art form (and it is an art form, Sir. Naysayer) shines out of her. She was the lighthouse that guided myself and others to joyful silliness.

“Improv isn’t about being funny,” she told us as we stood in a human circle. “Improv is about making others look and feel good. No matter what you do, the person next to you will always be there to make you look your best.”

And just like that the voice finally shut the hell up.

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Here’s the thing with improv, the thing that I’ve gleamed from my year in its cuddly hug, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Everything is up for grabs. Go anywhere on the map. Dive for any treasure. If you want to be holding a gun, you’re holding a gun. If you want to be sitting on a rainbow, you’re sat on a rainbow.

Everything is possible in improv and that’s because everyone is making that happen. There’s a collective voice that choruses ‘YES!’

Maria started that loud affirmative echo in our class. Within a few weeks we knew that when we stepped up on stage we could make anything happen. If I wanted to be a fireman I could be. I could be the queen, a llama, David Cameron – anything! I was first and foremost an improviser and that meant I could be it all.

There’s always going to be something telling us that we can’t do something. A voice –whether from others or ourselves. But the real skill is finding that something that drowns that noise out.

For me that’s improv. On and off the stage I have a new confidence. I’ve never regretted entering that classroom, because now I have a new voice that tells me anything is possible.

 

If you fancy trying improv, I highly recommend using Hoopla for advice and SUPER courses: http://www.hooplaimpro.com/

Can Women be Stand-up Comedians?

Are Women Funny?

It’s a tired old question, almost like the old inane question of why aren’t there more female scientists?  The answer to both is, of course there they are, of course there is. The idea that masculinity naturally equals to hilarity, is like saying femininity naturally equates to great cooking skills.

SPOILER ALERT! Women don’t come out of the womb knowing how to make you a sandwich, despite what internet memes have been telling you.

Lately the whole women aren’t funny debate has been concerning me on a personal level. There’s a student stand-up competition going on later next month and I’ve been thinking maybe I should enter it. I mean, my friends think I’m funny, and sometimes when my boyfriend sees my overgrown lady garden he has a good chuckle – I think I could be a contender.

However, part of me is put off, but why?

Half of me reasons that it’s because I have NO SKILLS IN PUBLIC SPEAKING! Every time an opportunity presents itself for speaking in public, or in any group of people I don’t know personally, I always imagine I’m going to knock their socks off with my killer jokes (the punch line is always – VAGINA!) and in the end just stare at my feet mumbling business buzz words – ….Go….Get…Energised?

Yet, then as a feminist I think, do I genuinely think I can’t do this, or have I simply become a victim of the patriarchy? Most the big comedians are men, most of comics on comedic panel shows are men, and then you even have other so-called feminists admitting that women can’t do stand-up. I mean, even if I was a stand-up whiz kid, this isn’t exactly an encouraging environment.

But as I said at the start, women are funny. And I’m not just talking about in the blogosphere – because this blog is basically prove in itself, it’s HILARIOUS! Have you seen my .gifs? But women can be excellent stand-up comedians. And in the name of building myself up to submit my application, I’m going to share with you some of the funniest stand-up comedians with vaginas.

This, of course, doesn’t help with my public speaking phobia, but baby steps….

Mae Martin

Felicity Ward

Celia Pacquola

Dana Alexander