BBC, Celebrity Sighting, Comedy, Edinburgh, Porn
A smiling fiftysomething in a windbreaker stuffed a flyer into the hands of one of my drinking companions, made a brief but enthusiastic pitch, and wandered off.
“Oh my god, was that Peter Duncan?” lots of people said at the same time.
The Blue Peter and Flash Gordon legend himself.
Chief Scout Peter Duncan.
He was wandering around, promoting his own show, “Daft and Dangerous”, which was due on shortly, nearby.
“That’s a shame,” I pondered. “You’d think he’d be able to pay some students to do that for him or something.”
“Nah,” said a BBC producer. “It’s admirable. It shows persistence.”
“He was in porn, you know,” said somebody else.
It’s been a couple of decades since I was last in Edinburgh. I’d never been there as an adult, or during the festival.
I was expecting to spot a comedy celebrity or two, but I didn’t expect to see so many, in such a short space of time, in the same place.
The Pleasance, a nice big beer garden with about a hundred venues around the perimeter, just as nice as it sounds.
“Oh, look, there’s Marcus Brigstocke, and he’s wearing a bicycle helmet! Hilarious!”
“Is that Reece Shearsmith?”
“Fuck me, Simon Bird’s a little feller, isn’t he?”
“I saw Peter Duncan earlier!”
“He was in porn, you know.”
This kind of thing impresses me.
I’m not as bad as some, when it comes to starfucking, I reckon.
One of the actors in the comedy event I was involved with has an ongoing, memorable part in Ideal.
Apparently, walking around Edinburgh the previous night, a random local had approached him, confirmed that he was indeed that guy out of off of Ideal, then headbutted him to the ground.
“Good job he’s not in Two Pints,” somebody said. “He’d probably have got stabbed.”
I met an agent at the bar. First time I’ve met an agent before.
I was thinking getting an agent might be a good thing for me to do, eventually, so I thought I’d sound her out.
I eat up PR girls for breakfast, I thought. I can handle this. Play it smooth, Murphy, play it smooth.
“So who do you represent?”
“What?! OMFG! He’s like my total favourite standup of all time! Really! I’ve been following him since his Deadpan columns! He emailed me once! What’s he like? Can you get me tickets!?!”
I turned groupie. A groupie for his agent.
An hour or two later I was chatting, a little more drunkenly than I’d like, to one of the The Royle Family writers, when Charlie Brooker brushed past me on the way to the bar, and my pants filled with a full-on comedy nerdgasm.
Stewart Lee’s agent!
What an afternoon.
And Peter Duncan!
He was in porn, you know.
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BBC, Comedy, Writing
Just found out that my sitcom pilot will not be getting a reading in front of an audience of BBC producers in Edinburgh this month.
Another chap with a better script (I’ve read it, it’s good) won the coveted spot.
On the upside, Graham Linehan just retweeted me.
That’s possibly the most exciting thing that happened all week.
Pass the breadknife.
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America, England, Health, Nutters, Politics, Vietnam
Those crazy Republican fuckers are right, socialized medicine sucks.
When I lived in America, I had cause to interact with its world-class health service twice.
The first time, I was in LA at a conference.
After a heavy night of boozing, I woke up with a big throat problem, my uvula swollen up so bad I could hardly breath, and went to the nearest walk-in ER.
The doctor diagnosed two serious diseases, both potentially fatal.
He prescribed me $300 worth of pills and pointed me in the direction of the nearest Rite-Aid.
The condition itself cleared itself up within about five hours. I called my mum, an NHS nurse, and she told me I was merely dehydrated due to a massive hangover.
The side-effects of the medication, on the other hand, kept me in a state of constant gut pain for a week.
A few days later, I received a $100 hospital bill and a $200 doctor’s bill, which I duly sent off to my health insurance company.
Several years later, I ran a credit check on myself and discovered that the hospital had been chasing me for five years over the bills, which my insurance company had refused to pay for bureaucratic reasons unknown.
I had a $600 hangover and a big black mark on my credit rating.
The second time I visited a doctor in America, I was in agony with what I shall refer to as “lower back pain”.
I couldn’t even get to see a doctor.
The insurance card in my wallet apparently wasn’t an insurance card, for reasons beyond my ken, and the cunt of a receptionist refused to even give me a ballpark figure of what it would cost if I paid out of my own pocket.
I ended up having to go to an ER again, paying $100 for meds and receiving another silly-big bill that my insurance company refused to pay.
I still have no idea why. The manual the insurance company sent me, explaining what I was and was not covered for, was as thick as a fucking phone book.
I moved back to the UK in late 2007.
The plan was to hang around for a couple months and then head off to Asia for a year. I figured I’d need some shots.
I was 14 or 15 last time I visited my National Health Service family doctor (in the UK, they’re called GPs). Half my life ago. That was enough time for my records to be expunged from their system.
So I called up to make an appointment.
“Are you registered here?” the receptionist asked.
“No,” I said.
“Okay, that’s not a problem,” she said. “We can have you fill out a form. Can you make Wednesday at 2pm?”
I showed up at Wednesday at 2pm, dreading the form.
I had to fill out my name, address, telephone number and date of birth. It took all of 30 seconds. I did not have to provide ID.
After a five-minute wait I got to see the nurse practitioner. She asked me which countries I was going to, then checked on a computer to see what the current vaccination advice for these countries was.
She made me an appointment for the following week to get the first of my shots.
The next week, I showed up, and she gave me the first shots. I was now pretty much immune to tetanus and two flavours of hepatitis. Which was nice.
I had two more appointments over the next two weeks, to receive the rest of my injections. Because that’s how the medicine works: you need to take a course.
Despite it being essentially elective treatment, I didn’t have to pay for any of it.
I then went to Asia and didn’t contract any nasty diseases.
I’ve been back in the UK for some months now.
Recently, I decided to get something checked out.
I’d had it for a while, but I’d self-diagnosed using the internet and figured out it was the kind of thing that is so trivial that doctors often don’t even bother treating it.
But it was beginning to annoy me, so I called the same GP and asked for an appointment.
“Are you registered here?” the receptionist said.
“No,” I said.
“Okay, that’s not a problem,” she said. “We have nothing tomorrow. Can you make it Wednesday at 2pm?”
I showed up Wednesday at 2pm, filled out the same form with my name, address, phone number, and date of birth. I did not have to provide ID.
I asked if I could officially register with the practice. I was told it might be a problem as I lived outside the surgery’s catchment area and I might have to pick somewhere closer to my home.
I waited for five minutes before I could see the doctor.
I went in. The implausibly cheerful doc took all of 45 seconds to confirm my self-diagnosis, tell me there was nothing to worry about, and refer me to a specialist.
He then called through to reception and asked them to officially register me with the surgery, without being asked.
The next day I went in, filled out a form, had a five-minute medical.
Didn’t have to pay anything for anything.
In my limited experience, there is nothing worse than the American healthcare system, and I’ve been to hospital in Vietnam.
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Death, Nutters, Religion
George Sodini, the whackjob who shot 12 women at a gym yesterday, had been blogging about his plans for months.
His site’s down, but there’s a mirror here.
He basically went nuts through a prolonged case of drydick, by the looks of things. But his last entry interested me:
“Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid. People judge but that does not matter. I was reading the Bible and The Integrity of God beginning yesterday, because soon I will see them.”
That wonderful Christian doctrine of vicarious redemption. Gotta love it.
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