This Charmless Man

By Mark Walsh

When I’m choosing stuff to go to for this column, I usually pick out something that I think will be “good”. This is actually quite a flawed plan, as I found out this week.

I first attended a Jazz Soc showcase at Sweeney’s on Dame Lane. It was a nice little place that I hadn’t been to before. The gig itself was, well, very good. My only complaint is that in typically cool, jazz style, it starts, and thus finishes, pretty late. The more experienced acts go on towards the end, so by the time the “best” act came on, I had to go and get my bus.

It’s all well and good being very talented at jazz and generally being cool and wearing cool clothes like a cool person with cool friends, but once it gets to half eleven on a Tuesday night, there’s only one place I’m going to be, and it’s not at a jazz gig surrounded by people wearing blazers. I’ll be on my bus home, content and with no regrets, sitting at the front at the top deck, because that’s the best place to sit if you want to avoid seeing people and having an awkward bus chat.

That’s actually a great tip by the way. Bus chats are rubbish, so sit at the front upstairs from now on and you won’t be spotted. Yep, I’m a social diarist giving tips on how to be utterly anti-social. What a world.

Two days later I went to see David O’Doherty, a gig organised by DU Comedy. I admit that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of DU Comedy. I think it’s because often during Freshers’ Week they’ve had people on their stand who thought they were funny simply because they were involved with DU Comedy. The kind of person who’ll wheel out a Family Guy quote and think they’re a barrel of laughs. But this has changed. Firstly, they gave me a free ticket to the gig. Secondly, the people I encountered during the night were all very sound. They also saved two seats for me near the front. So because they were nice to me, I’ve decided that DU Comedy are a great bunch of lads.

I was genuinely surprised by how funny David O’Doherty was. I went with a girl (a girl who had breasts and a vagina – that’s three attractive things!) who loved him and had seen him loads of times before, so I was expecting her to be laughing the whole time and looking at me angrily for not finding him funny. But then I did find him funny, so everything was fine.

However, at one point, he was talking about how much he loves cycling a bike. Then he started asking people about their own bikes. One guy didn’t own a bike. David O’Doherty shouted at him and said “I hope you’re not one of those PRICKS who never learned to ride a bike”.

I cannot ride a bike. I used to go on my bike when I was young, with stabilisers. Then I got to the age where people take off their stabilisers, and I just didn’t go on my bike anymore. I am ashamed of this. I was getting very tense and hoping that DOD wouldn’t see the shame written all over my face and ask me about my bike-riding skills. Thankfully he didn’t.

Later he was talking about dreams, and criticised those who talk about how crazy their dreams are. “Of course they’re crazy, do you expect your dreams to be boring and normal?”

It was unfortunate that he said that. Right before we went into the gig, I told the girl I was with about how earlier that day I was in the shop, about to buy phone credit. But then I actually checked my credit, and I had loads left.

Turns out I’d just had a dream where my credit ran out, and it was so mundane that I’d confused it with my real life.

But aside from the inadvertently personal attacks, it was a very good gig.

Last week was reading week, and as is always the case, I didn’t manage to start actually studying until the Thursday. I went in in the afternoon and was going to stay until late. All was going to plan and I was actually getting through a lot of work. Then at around 8pm, I went home, a few hours earlier than planned, because I needed to do a shit and didn’t fancy doing it in College. Just goes to show, even the best-made plans can go down the toilet.

Anyway, anyone involved in any society, let me know about any events you’re organising that I can attend and review. I’m sick of looking for things myself. My email is [email protected].

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