In Newcastle the pic n mix is 80p/100gm. In London it's £1.85/100gm.
I think we know who's winning.
On July 1st this year, I hosted the 2016 Conference Awards.
It was a right lark!
I sang this little ditty, reproduced here by kind permission from myself.
The accompaniment was written by my oft partner in crime, Duncan Walsh-Atkins.
There's so much more to a conference,
Then people seem to think.
You slave away for a year and a day
Just to see it disappear in a blink.
No one realises how much you do
Just choose some flowers and a big venue
But worry not, I'm here in your defence
Cos there's so much more to a conference...
You've got to choose the topic, let the vision flow!
Haggle with the venue like a dynamo!
But on reflection
Wish you'd gone with bits of paper on a lecturn
Listen to the client
Respect the client
Then slightly ignore the client
But still fill them with confidence
Cos you know how to organise a conference!
Big questions need to be answered
Like where the hell did you put all the lanyards??
And what is going to be the main course?
A meal that shows no remorse!
Maybe duck or goose or horse!
Naaa let's stick with chicken in a white wine sauce!
Those final touches can be so important -
Oooh! How about stilt walkers?
Or a gospel choir!
What about a chocolate fountain?
SHUT UP BRIAN.
You know your AEO from your i2i
Your DDR from your...BMI.
Marketing and Financing and tiny detail organising
How you don't go mad is quite surprising
Does anyone care?
No one sees!
Except for Claire and Rory!
So enjoy the Conference Awards
Treating you all like ladies and lords
Celebrate the winners, no need for moaning.
We can't all be great at geo-cloning!
There's no space for intolerance
Cos there's so much more to a conference!
Swaying from side to side, like a baby being treated like a baby by someone that once watched a cartoon about how to hold a baby, I slept with one eye open. The Caledonian Sleeper sounds like something from an Agatha Christie novel - the name of a murderer who attacks during slumber.
There was no murder, apart from the pig that made my complimentary bacon roll as I stumbled out onto Euston station at 6.30am.
How strange to fall asleep in one country and wake in another. Like a visceral Christmas, only without the tangerine.
Do you struggle to say "No"?
Are you one of hundreds of people doing too many things because you can't get that tiny word out? Have you got an outfit you didn't want, a diary full of terrible parties and a credit card bill of things you don't need?
It does feel awful to say NO, as this article from Life Hacker tells us - but sometimes it is exactly what we should say.
"Do you want another drink?"
"Do you want to stay the night?"
"Do you want to watch Anchorman 2?"
You can't go to all the dinner parties, fill out all the spreadsheets and do an extra shift or seven just because someone asks you.
Need some practise? Try this simple improv exercise:
Make a circle with 10 people.
One goes in the middle.
One by one, people jump into the centre and demand something of the person in the middle.
"Can you file this report?" "Can you pay my mortgage?" "Will you be my best friend?"
The person in the middle has to reply with "No! But I..." and complete the sentence.
The person requesting help has to respond with either "Thank you" or an irritated "Fine".
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Discuss how it makes you feeeeeeeeeeeeel.
Ask if anyone wants to play it again.
Everyone shout "No"!
Everyone laugh like the end of an episode of Thundercats.
Simon Feilder, fellow comic, was writing his Edinburgh show which is comic code for watching telly. For inspiration, guys! And look what he found.
Yes - it's true. When I was 11 I was on Finders Keepers with my brother, the fantastic musician Charlie Evans. We were a great team. I answered the clues and he found the things. A modern day Holmes and Watshisface. Neil Buchanan was the host. All I remember was he had bad teeth and bad breath. And he left wearing an Art Attack jumper. I guess he was "Doubling Up" that day.
So thank you, Simon. Thank you for finding my little cherub face, poking out of my safety helmet. With hope in my eyes, knowing I could win at Finders Keepers. I still pull that face today.
... throw them back and say "I didn't ask for lemons!"
Yes, on occasion, folks, my smiley disposition drops and I go from full blown joy to miserable wreck.
I cry, stomp my feet and feel the world may have turned on me. That secretly everyone hates me and has been plotting for my demise since that very day I was removed from my mother at lightening speed.
On these days, I recommend you do three things.
1) Cry! Wear mascara - it makes it more dramatic.
2) Reflect! Why am I crying? Am I angry? Sad? Or do I actually just have something in my eye?
3) Get out of the bed/house/brothel! Change the sights, change the perspective. Maybe that will change my mind. Or at least I will have moved a tiny bit that day and therefore deserve the doughnut.
One of the big myths of life, mainly created by our wonderful Social Media flourish, is that everyone is having a great time, all the time. So when we're not having a great time, we think WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I MUST BE FAILING AT LIFE. I do not always have photos of me smiling in a pool. I am not always in a car with 4 friends playing loud music. I actively avoid parties but then worry that I have no pictures of me at parties when everyone else seems to always be at parties. Side note - does anyone actually really like parties? I have never met anyone at a party who wasn't planning their escape from said party.
Take note, child! YOU ARE NOT FAILING. You are you. The tears of a clown are a real thing. But don't let them ruin your (neurological) make-up. We are complicated things. Monkeys with jobs. I know I can be kind, generous and trail blazing WHILST being the BFF to all the SAPs (Super Awesome Peeps) but sometimes I just want to eat a banana and throw shit at passers by.
It's like a traffic jam of mind misery. You can't imagine getting through to the other side. Will you even get a break at the service station? And if you do, will it have an M&S? The misery jam will pass. You just got to sit it out. Hopefully without a Magic Tree spoiling the view (why do people want their car to smell like a toilet bowl?).
So when life gives you lemons, have a look and then send them back with a handwritten note
"I didn't order these!"
Because lemonade, like Stepford-smiles, is SO 1972.