Wednesday, 29 October 2008

'Peter Sissons? But I assumed he was happily married?'


I have given about four interviews in my life. They were: a festival radio show everyone does in Edinburgh, the Bath University student newspaper after I MCd there about three years ago, something for The South Wales Echo and this, which is easily my finest moment:

'Let's meet the unders 12s!!' (page 15 of the Haverfordwest County v Pembroke Dock match programme, Abacus League first division, September 16th 1991)

Elis James, winger, Prendergast Junior School

Favourite food: Lasagne (cosmopolitan, this is a lad who was clearly destined for big things)

Ambition for when I grow up: Play football for Wales or work in dad's office (clever - simultaneously setting the bar very high and very low there)

Favourite TV programme: Grange Hill and Football Focus (skilfully letting the manager Mr Fehan know I'm a student of the game, and keeping it real for the fans on the terraces with the Grange Hill reference. This was years before footballers were given media training as well)

I should add at this point, that the comments in parentheses were written for the blog - I wasn't offering a running commentary on my own interview aged 11.

Anyway, other than this, before the 'South by South Wales' Edinburgh show, Henry, Matt, Josh and I gave a short interview to the South Wales Echo. Alongside the usual 'let's wish our lads the best of luck at the festival,' the journalist described my working history as 'chequered,' which made my friends piss themselves and my mother worry. I won't go into the ins and outs, but like most people after university I had jobs to which 'I wasn't best suited.' Needs must and all that, but obviously, like everyone else there are some things I'm good at, and some things I have no flair for. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I am very good at the following:

- chatting
- easing moments of high tension with an unrelated anecdote
- parallel parking

Conversely, I'm bad at millions of things, to name but a few:
- personal admin
- being punctual
- knowing what to say in art galleries

'No big deal' you might think. 'Chill out. You don't want to marry Brian Sewell's daughter, do you?' Well no - so that's the third one sorted. However, one thing friends find very funny about me being a stand-up is that I'm now self-employed, which of course means being in charge of my own admin, and more importantly, tax returns. Admin's historically a task I've approached with as much gusto as Peter Sissons would reserve for fucking a dying fox in a lift, yet being a quite laid back sort of chap, having filing as my achilles heel wasn't something I was overly concerned with. Think how bothered a drunk 14 year old would be if you told him his local authority had invested money in an Icelandic bank, or that his cousin's boyfriend had suspected German Measles. That's as bothered as I was. Not even on the radar. I am beginning to care though. It's coming up to the end of my first tax year as a self-employed person, but these three things:

- inability to afford an accountant
- tendency to leave things to the last minute
- capacity to make things 'go away' by watching old footage of The Who on youtube

mean that I'm in a bit of a pickle. Oh my giddy aunt. I'm going to prison.

I'm not obviously, and should really, really stop being so melodramatic (and even if I was banged up for tax evasion, it would only be an open prison - like any real man I could do that in my sleep). Put simply, by January 31st 2009* I'll have to TTFU (Toughen The Fuck Up), be an adult, put the kettle on and do boring stuff, just like everyone else in the world has to once in a while. Deal with it, loser. I just... occasionally (and what's wrong with this?) wish I wasn't such a massive fucktwat jizzbuffoon. For example, here's a transcription of a conversation I had with a fellow comedian over breakfast, the morning after a gig in Aberystwyth together a few weeks ago. The conversation offers two differing approaches to life, but only one of us comes out of this looking good:

Comedian: Aaaah, first time coming up? I remember doing my first tax return. Hey get this!! My accountant couldn't believe I was savvy enough to staple receipts to a speadsheet of outgoings I'd prepared for each individual gig! Ha!

Me: (laughs weakly) Some people are such wankers, eh?

Comedian: (incredulous) He said that some people just throw their receipts in a box!! Good luck to them!!

Me: (thinking 'I wish I had a box, hang on...some people have a box?') Gosh... it really makes you think. Who er, are these people? Eh...?

Comedian: My accountant told me that comedians are often worse than musicians, it's embarrassing, bloody embarrassing

Me: Idiots, idiots

Comedian: These people must live in a fancy world!

Me: (busy wondering if I'd still get my excema in this fancy world) Exactly. Idiots

So as you can see, I'm conforming to type, which is nice.

With this in mind, here are some blogs I have planned for the forthcoming month:

'One grandfather a miner, the other a farmer - close harmony singing and the reality of being a modern Welshman'
'Yes actually, I do still regard Ipswich Town as a big club' - a Swansea City fan reports
'When abroad I enjoy drinking, unprotected sex and scuffling with the locals' - Tenerife 1999: My Story

I'll start working on them immediately. Tax stuff doesn't have to be worried about until January.

*Before anyone panic emails me, the online deadline is January, not Friday.

**Having just read this blog back, I feel I should add that this is merely catharsis, not a cry for
help. Please don't worry mam, I'll be fine.

***Having just read this blog back a second time, in my defence I should point out that Ipswich Town won the FA Cup in 1978, the UEFA Cup in 1981, and were twice league runners up in the early 80s under Bobby Robson. They also won the league under Alf Ramsay in 1961-62, before he went on to manage England. I'm not an Ipswich Town fan of course, I just hate it when people get football history wrong.


Nia said...


Henry said...

You are right that the online deadline is the end of January, but you will need to have registered by now in order to complete your tax return online. I rate the chances of you having registered to do this at about 9%.

Arianya~ said...

I am worse than you re: tax. I haven't even registered as self-employed.

Clare said...

This is what I have to look forward to next year, yes that's right, looks like I'm taking the plunge. [Though I am only doing it on the strict proviso that my Dad helps me with the paperwork].

deepmike said...

Do what I do, don't pay any tax. Just make sure that you don't broadcast the fact. Failing that, explore the other avenue I use to avoid the taxman, only be good enough to do unpaid gigs. Easy.

Top blogging El, and good luck with the rest of your beard. xx

PS The word verification to leave this comment was 'pubic'. Just thought I'd share that with you.

ed richmond said...

right, so that lovely live radio 1 interview you did from edinburgh for us when you were drunk and worrying that you'd made a right tit of yourself and i managed to talk you down to being just a minor mammary doesn't even register in the four interviews you have ever done?