Newsletter - Sept 2017

Hello newsletter people and also new joiners to my list!

I spent the whole month of August up in Edinburgh this year, doing the Pleasance Comedy Reserve at the Edinburgh fringe. It was my first time up at an arts festival – what a foreign concept! So. Many. Acapella. Groups. Why are they always so happy? Just snapping their fingers, smiling while singing. Why are you so happy man? Is it because you don’t use instruments? Is it because you found a group of people to do this weird thing with you? Stop it already with that shoo waap shoo waap thing. I’ve been to a few acapella shows during my time at uni, and that’s youth I’ll never get back.

I stayed in a flat with fellow showcase comics, one of whom was Danny from Dudley. The first day we met I introduced him to fish sauce at a Thai place and I think it blew his mind a bit. “Who knew you could make a sauce from fish? What is this? Fish sweat? Liquid fish? I’m from Dudley, if it ain’t HP, it ain’t a sauce!” Which was made even funnier because of his midlands accent that tilts up at the end of sentences. And a few days later we had kimchi, which he equally did not enjoy. “Pickled cabbage, man? I don’t even like regular cabbage! What is this shit?” Looking back now I think fish sauce and kimchi might have been a little over-adventurous. Should have eased him into it with ramen/Pad Thai/dumplings. Lesson learned. Hope he gives those a try in the future. I also tried a tattie scone for the first time. Just felt like a Scottish samosa to me.

Showcase pals! Danny's the guy on the right. Hates fish sauce with a passion. (That's now his Tinder bio) Showcase pals! Danny’s the guy on the right. Hates fish sauce with a passion. (That’s now his Tinder bio)

As with most festivals where young people with disposable income congregate, the fringe had street food everywhere. A Westernised version of it. Clean, nicely packaged street food that promises not to give you diarrhoea afterwards. I love street food. I grew up on it. It’s the common man’s food in Malaysia. But holy shit the street food here is all hip and cool and instagram-worthy. I saw a food truck selling creme brulee. CREME BRULEE! That’s not the spirit of street food! No Malaysian kid’s walking around going, “I could really do with a French burnt custard right now. Ooh look he torches it right in front of us!” (I can’t even type out the accent marks in brulee. If your food has accent marks in its name then that’s not street food. That’s posh restaurant food, just served from the back of a van.)

Their instagram page. I can't even Their instagram page. I can’t even

I went to a museum up here and saw two babies that looked like they’ve been through a lot. Who knew the renaissance was a tough time for infants.

I've seen some shit. Me too, twin brother, me too. I’ve seen some shit. Me too, twin brother, me too.

Real happy to be back home. Come check out a show and say hi if you get a chance! I got some new bits about sleeper trains and passing my driving test in Malaysia by bribing.

Nigel

Exeter and Comic Sans

I started writing this from the only trendy coffee shop in Exeter, the exploding bakery, inconveniently located next to the station I wasn’t departing from. I came here on the recommendation of Ronnette, the owner of the bed and breakfast I stayed at.

“Oh you’ll find some good comedy there”, she said, “that place is quite hipster. I tried ordering my coffee with sugar once and they just wouldn’t let me!”

In Exeter I noticed real heavy use of comic sans everywhere (not in the Exploding Bakery of course). However, I didn’t feel the sense of repulsion that often accompanies it. In this town there seems to be something charming about it. When I saw comic sans in Exeter, I didn’t think ewww, get that design out of my face! It felt more like travelling back to the simpler times. Times when comic sans is still considered fun and not uncool, a font used by people who wanted to convey friendliness. “Come to my yard sale!” it would say, or, “Ice cold lemonade, 50p!” Comic sans is an abomination in readability, kerning, and any general guideline for typographical design, but you could say the same applies to handwritten words, which was what comic sans was trying to emulate in the first place.

comic-sans-1 comic sans!

comic-sans-2 more comic sans!

The day I got there, there was a huge fire that burned down a beloved old hotel building. During dinner, I asked the waitress at the restaurant about it.

“Yeah what I last heard was they were trying to get water from the river,” was her response, “and we were told not to do laundry in case the fire brigade needed more water.”

I had a feeling nobody did laundry that day, “Wear your clothes for another day, son! This city needs us!” The city is so small that any loss of any building represented a loss in the fabric of their daily lives. This is not London, where if a fire razed a building into the ground, all people would do is read about it in the Evening Standard during their commute and go, “Glad that’s not MY neighbourhood.”

On the day I left Exeter, I could still see gray smoke rising into the skies.

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