Putting My Glasses Down, To Put On My Glasses.

“I think, for me, trying to successfully do stand up comedy again is like trying to successfully drink again. Same energy. Probably, fundamentally, the same motives.” – I had put this up on Facebook earlier, as a hurried scribble, and a precursor to this, my, um… retirement blog, I guess. So here we go…

As some of you may know, I have a problem. Ok, several, but let’s address the two big ones. My drinking, and my stand up comedy ‘career’. ‘Cos I’ve just figured out they kinda go hand in hand. And they’ve both turned out, although beneficial in the first few years, to be quite detrimental to my well being as the years wore on. And that’s when the similarities hit me.

Understand that I didn’t start doing comedy ’til about 6 months after I’d first gotten sober. I think, in retrospect, it was a direct substitute for drunken bravado. ‘Mightiness’, if you will. But not a mightiness you can live 24/7.

In my own head, at the time, it was a kind of therapy. Like a step 4/5, in AA terms, if you like, or are familiar with (I’m not an AA guy, just to put that on record. They’re not the ONLY solution), but it’s basically the healing nature of admitting your sins to others, and ‘God’. Or an audience, if you want to use the umbrella term. Comedy fit the bill. By making a crowd laugh at the harrowing tales of my younger drunken self, I admitted sins, while making them funny, and tiddling the similarity bones of those with similar pasts or misgivings. It lessened the guilt, I guess, and made everyone that bit more connected. That’s how good comedy works. I should know. I’m fucking good.

You have different types of comedians, with different motives, much as you would find different types of drinkers: The ones, firstly, who know how to enjoy it, without ultimately being dependent on it to reaffirm their happiness with life, and would go on to have happy lives at home, regardless. Though this is rare.

Then there are the ones running from the nightmare of whatever awaits them at home, be it a psychotic spouse, parent, child, or even themselves.

You’ve got ones who will spout shite as soon as the pint of comedy touches their lips, or those who have no idea they haven’t an ability to drink, those who drink for the imagined power it presents, or imagined camaraderie with others who are clearly of a different peerage. ‘Peerage’ is all well and good, but take the ‘e’ off the end, and what have you got? You also have the self-absorbed, staring at their reflections in the mirror behind the bar, ’til they fall off the stool.

And you have the players. Those who get off on being the bartender, and the various privileges that entails. You have the wankers just in it for the party, and you have the ones just trying drink for a while, then realise it’s not for them, and move on. Or people who are funny for the first 4 or 5 drinks, then it goes fubar. It’s all well and good killing it onstage for 30 minutes, but how do you live the other 23 and a half hours of the day? Racking up future rides, probably.

Then you have the psychos. Fuck me, they are hard work. And probably the more successful, because no one likes the idea of having to hamper a psycho’s progress, and comedy is full of them. And they can cover their tracks with charm, the fuckers. Or threats. Or claims of victimhood, if they’re loud enough.

To be ‘successful’, in the ‘showbiz’ world certainly, you almost need to BE the psycho, or at best, a narcissist, I think. I don’t have that in me, not that I can truly believe in, at any rate. Comedy’s no longer an art, it’s an excuse to be viewed as something better than the proles sitting watching you, if you will.

Then you have the drinkers who fuck up on it, every so often, can’t handle the backlash, and declare they will never drink again. I dunno how many times I’ve announced ‘retirements’. But I know this is the last time. Yeah. I guess, that’s what I’m trying to say.

I need the art, and comedy is no longer the place for it. The happiest I ever felt was before drink OR performing comedy came along. My teenage evenings consisted of drawing while listening to music, then when I’d finished, I’d learn to play the music on my little keyboard, and get that written down too. That’s the Robbie I miss. He was a lovely guy. Chronicly shy, but y’know, you can’t have everything. I’m going to win him back. I think what drew me to getting on a stage with my opinions was my unhappiness with the world’s cunts to begin with. But a lot of them do comedy now, so I’m out. Also, there’s a pandemic on, so you’d really want to have something else lined up by now.

So, let’s call comedy my ‘alcoholism away from alcoholism’, and announce my need to desist in both.

Drawing and music is the new and old me. And both involve writing. With a twist of divilmint, you fuckers.

Try and do better. Or I’ll draw you.

Robbie

robbie80s

Posted in Alcoholism, Biography, irish comedy, Mental health, standup comedy | 2 Comments

Some Bits – August 2020

Evenin’,
Some artwork this blog, but more as a precursor to some written projects I have embarked on. First up is a new comic strip, ‘Knights of Bob’, a post-apocalyptic (like, next year!) tale of society trying to re-establish all its groups and organisations, even though most of them are obsolete now, and, in fact, have been for decades. This is just a sample ‘splash’ page (there are a lot of flaws in this drawing, I hadn’t planned on drawing it when I drew the monk in the top left), but it sort of just… ‘tumbled out’ of me.

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Secondly, a little late night doodle of the third Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee. Very soon, the multi-media #TimelordVictorious hashtag begins, from September to January, where new Doctor Who stories are going to be output by the likes of Big Finish and Titan comics, and …uh… toys. Which count as media now. Anyway, I intend to grab onto their coat tails, with a couple of my own Doctor Who ideas, including my own Who fiction, and some cartoons. As you may know, if you follow this blog, I have some ideas for Doctor Who that are seriously way fucking better than anything the BBC have put out since 2017, and I’m gonna get them out there. I don’t expect anyone will notice, of course, but that just gives me free license to do it how I want. Whether it gets seen, or disappears like most of my artistic output these last 17 years, doesn’t matter. I’m probably too long in the tooth to start trying to go through proper channels, and if there’s one thing The Doctor teaches you, it’s that you never tell me the rules. My only plan is, in the words of the third Doctor himself, to ‘improvise!’

Hope you like, and watch this space (and time).

Thanks,
Robbie

twee20

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Adventures In (Knockoff) Lego – ‘Utini!’ Edition

So being broke, and um… living in a wee room, I got the Lego urge. You know it. I think it’s the bright colours myself, but I don’t need an excuse. I just needed somewhere close that sold ‘Leading Brand Compatible’ brickery. Dealz is your man. 1.50 euro a pop, for about 30 bricks a set, or twice that loose. You can get basic primary colours OR ‘Pinks ‘n’ Purples’, if ya wanna get psychedelic (note: careful with the ‘micro-bricks’. They’re TOO small enough).

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I had to run back out three more times for more, when I realised I might need a few odd little pieces, and emptied them all into my Dealz brand tupperware box (Everything is 1.50, you can do it on practically no budget. What the hell else you gonna do with 1.50)?

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I haven’t time to do the ACTUAL building myself, mind, I was always more of a ‘foreman’ at heart, so I employed a group of Jawas to take care of construction, with the promise of a reward at the end. Plus I want a droid built, and droids are their business.

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They sometimes work weekends as machine elves, DMT landscaping, which they showed me a little of here…

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Anyway, a droid is what’s needed, so I put them to work, and only an hour later, they had a fully constructed war droid. You can tell it’s a war droid by the prominent use of primary colours, of course. Can’t have too many gay colours going on there, lordy no. Unless the droid is fighting in a gay war, I suppose. Anyway, everyone is quite pleased with the result, I think…

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And there you have it. Probably cost me a tenner, not including labour. Now the gang are off to Mos Espa, for cheap fireworks, psilo-spices, and short-arse hookers. Enjoy, lads! ‘Til the next job!

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Robbie (I’m 50, you know).

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It’s The End… Part 2: Reverse The Polarity Of The New Guy’s Flow.

Second half of me Doctor ‘Oo blog, innit? #FixYou

Chibnall And I

"You are transparent, BBC... 
I see many things... 
I see... plans WITHIN plans. 
I see two Great Houses -- 
House Moffat, House Chibnall -- 
Feuding... 
I see you behind it."

Welcome to the second half of my Doctor Who ‘fix’ blog. In yesterday’s entry, I went into the basics of how important Doctor Who, and indeed any quality storytelling, and its heroes are, particularly to young developing minds, in the bountiful pop culture we’ve enjoyed here in the West, these past couple of centuries. If you can find something appealing to ANY age, and it works for you, you’ve hit gold. Good news (Unless you’re a Cyberman). The problem we now face is that those couple of centuries ended about 5 years ago. Everything good in current year storytelling is getting trampled on by those people who just don’t ‘get it’. Let’s talk about it all as it relates to…

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It’s The End. But The Moment Has Been Prepared For…

My new Doctor Who blog. Hnnng-yez….

Chibnall And I

I started this blog way back in October 2019, a couple of months prior to the start of series 12 of Doctor Who, with a view to re-watching series 11, and picking it apart episode by episode. The only flaw in that plan? Re-watching series 11. Couldn’t do it. I also had no idea what to expect from series 12, and even had a glimmer of hope, when Chibnall went and did it again. This is how people get stuck in bad relationships, folks. I can only imagine what Revolution of the Daleks is going to do to fan opinion. The leaked photo of the new Dalek looks like a piece of gym equipment. Very scary to me, anyway.

This will be an ongoing blog, as much to do with my own story, father figures, heroes, moral codes, and loves etc., as it will be to do with the show…

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Just Nod If You Can Hear Me.

Oh.
You’re here already?
I wasn’t expecting anyone JUST yet, I’ve only just started writing this, could be another hour, no idea. But you’re welcome to hang around while I see where this is going.
Oh, I know. Let’s start with a song lyric:

“When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye…”

This is going to be something ostensibly about mental health. Mainly mine, but who else’s would I be an expert on, eh? Eh? Stop interrupting me with these things, and listen. Ya divil. Fortunately for you, I like divils.

When I was ten, I collapsed and was admitted to intensive care and apparently very lucky to have lived. Luckily, while all this was going on, I was comatose, so I don’t remember much, just a couple of weeks in hospital, a few spinal injections, the purpose of which I’d no idea, but even scarier neither did they, I suspect. No one knew what caused it, but I’d retrospectively put it down to stress.

I’d a LOT of shit going on for a ten year old. A lot of, probably ‘normal’ for 1980, family strife. I was the oldest of four then, and I think even at that age it was becoming apparent that my folks weren’t coping too well. And being the eldest, well, you’re gonna get used as a sounding board by either one when alone with them, particularly if they’ve been fighting. I don’t say this as a dig at my folks, I imagine a lot of people our age had that.

I remember on the day I collapsed, we had had to walk home from town earlier, after going in to buy my scout uniform, ‘cos my ma had no busfare. Or maybe not, maybe there was a bus strike. I’ve no idea, it was 40 years ago, point is exhaustion probably played a part too.

I was also quite a gullible kid, and a YOUNGER kid had convinced me a year earlier, that I was going to die a year on, after I’d touched some decaying flesh we’d found on a dead animal, in an ‘abandoned’ factory. I know. Very ‘Stand By Me’. But I carried that belief / stress for a year too. Yes, alright, I’m an idiot, I know that NOW!

And then there was the depression. A giant heavy depression, like my brain could almost grasp the size of existence, which then became a weight. But I don’t know if the depression was caused by the collapse, or the other way around. Let’s just say, it was a busy summer for me.

The Empire Strikes Back was the thing back then, but every memory I have of the comics and toys at the time, I associate with that darkness. I still, to this day, get flashbacks if I pick up an AT-AT driver, or a 2-1B. No, they’re NOT tools. Stop pretending you’re not a nerd.

I remember walking through the school corridors that year, at the sunlight coming in through the windows, acknowledging to myself that I could live with myself as long as the sun shone, but I dreaded the night. I was also struggling with the whole religion thing, convinced I was getting God angrier and angrier by thinking any swearwords to myself. I was buckets of fun on the school bus trips, I can tell ya.

It was also the year I discovered Doctor Who, but don’t worry, I won’t start any of that nonsense ’til the next blog, ok? Here, have a biscuit. they’re just behind you, yeah.

So, the result of all this is, in that sunny July in 1980, I came out of hospital broken. And I stayed broken. Until 40 years later, to the week.
Hang on ’til I go out for a smoke, back in 5. Shtick on the kettle?

************************************

Right, needed that. Or DID I?

What I want to get to is the cure, so I won’t go into too much of the ‘between’ years. Sex and drugs and rock and roll didn’t even enter the picture ’til my 20s, and I made up for lost time like a fucking demon. When I was 21 I lost my Uncle Michael and Freddie Mercury in the same year. Oof. A bit of respite when I sobered up in my 30s, then back to relapsing in my 40s. That’s about it. I’ll leave it all for the book one day. Or maybe I’m just ready to move on from even thinking about it anymore.

The last 3 years of my life is where we’ll wind this up? Are you ok? You can grab a hoody there if you’re cold, I’ll wait…

Through a series of misfortunes, circa 1980 – 2017, I ended up in rehab (in the ‘care’ of the nuns), for about 9 months, and then homeless, upon drinking in rehab! That’s what we do! THAT’ll show the fuckers!

So then, two years ago now, I’m in the unenviable position of having to use the night-time only hostels around Dublin, my siblings barely talking to me, and understandably so, and then losing my ma a of couple months later, and the chest pains came.

Though the one thing I did have, that a lot of other homeless people DON’T have, was friends. If not for them, I’d have been fucked. And I think I only have what friends I do DUE the grace of the sobriety I got in my 30s, when I spewed myself out into the greater Dublin comedy scene, which would lead on to the most varied and wonderful array of people from all walks of life, and of all different creative spheres. My people. The people I’d hankered for in my lonely teens. The people I could mentally engage with, and belly laugh. That I could have even have female friends. That wasn’t something you saw a lot of back in the day. When I was first engaged to a lady at 30, it was very much the ‘way’ that you had your 3 or 4 mates, and the only woman in your life was your wife. The life I NOW have was a totally alien concept at the time. Sure look, I wouldn’t be talking to YOU here now, if Robbie 30 had gotten married. (This is not a dig my ex fiance if she’s reading, I just meant EVERYONE was like that). Phew. I should probably also add that I thought I was straight until I was 43.

Why comedy. Oh, wait ’til you get this… ready? I did it for therapy.
I know, right? That flashing light is NOT a Tardis. Oh yeah, sorry, no Doctor Who. Right. Cure.

While the chest pain was developing, I’d been lucky enough to get into the hostel I now live in. A few bumps and bruises along the way (there would still be a few more relapses etc) but it’s a great place, this. And they give you a chance, if you stop taking the piss quickly enough. I won’t say where it is right now, but when I have a place of my own, I will sing its praises from the mountain. Possibly with a full band. (I do that now, too). I did the usual doctor / hospital stuff, to try sorting the pain, to no avail, and in fact still it hasn’t been medically resolved. I ended up in hospital 2 or 3 times with it, or it and a combination of vodka I’d taken to ‘kill’ the pain, and that craziness ended in October, when I last drank.

I managed to get on Etalopro, which although didn’t stop the pain, lessened the panic attached with it, making it more controllable, but until recently, it still crippled me the second I stepped outside. This was a temporary dampener, but I don’t think I was going to find my answers there.

Also, I’ve been in and out of AA since I was 26 (my late ma was an ardent flag flier of Al-anon) and although I can see it ‘works’ for some people, it is not for me. I decided, with my last drink, to find MY way to STAY sober.

Now, remember earlier I mentioned friends? One such friend , let’s call him Hunter S… yes, that’s him giggling just now. A beautiful man, in every way. He knew the potential ‘me’. He could see it, he went above and beyond to pull me out of trouble. Like Jacob’s chiropractor, in Jacob’s ladder. My Angel. Would that we all had people like that. I’ve several of them, and I hope I’m that to some.

And then he introduced me to the mushroom. I know, right? At 50?

Now, I don’t want to say this is a miracle overnight cure, but it’s not far off. Last week, as I said, 40 years to the week since that switch got flipped down, after 9 dried grams of psilocybin mushrooms, it was flipped back up, and I’m left with a sensation of ‘where have I BEEN all my life?’

Fear is gone. Worry is gone. Worry of the things you can’t control in life. But that journey started maybe a year and a half ago? Lots of stops and starts, I’d try them every 2 months or so, relapses were still happening. I’d a lot of other shit going on that hadn’t been helping, like having to constantly justify my existence to Social Welfare, despite being homeless, and too ill to ‘work’, or punished for trying to claw your way back to whatever small financial normality you can achieve, it’s all very messy.

But it’s one of the many many things that I feel I no longer need to stress about. Things will happen as they happen. It feels like… okay, I’m really sorry, and we ARE very close to the end, but I gotta nerd bomb you:

Remember that episode of Red Dwarf, ‘Back To Reality’, where they wake up from a simulation they’ve all been playing, all along, and it turns out Rimmer has been playing the ‘Twat’ version of himself the whole time, not realising he was supposed to be a super spy early in the game? THAT’s what it feels like. I was playing the Twat version of Rob the whole time.

I write this blog mainly to offer my own experiences as an example of mushrooms being something you yourself could investigate, if you think it might be for you. I’ve even let my doctor in on the whole process, and he too is curious about it. I think it’s were human evolution, particularly in the field of mental health, needs to go now. Mental Health care, especially in Ireland, is shockingly neglected. The proper help is very rare and hard to find. I think it’s a field I’d like to work in some day. There are plently of people you check out on Youtube etc., such as Paul Stamets, or even Joe Rogan. You’ll find them.

But I’ll finish on my experience of my very first ‘deep dive’, 18 months ago. It is a very pleasurable experience, first off, fuzzy and warm, lots of astounding imagery and visuals, the coloured geometry, the old tribal race memory stuff, Gods, Demons, all of it. Inca, Mesopotamia, Ancient Japan, you see it all. Then the lights kick in. Then your head is opened up, and your ego and conscience separated, so the two of you can sit down and have a proper conversataion. And it knows EVERYTHING about you. Oh yes. And you know what you find out?

You’re not as dark as you think.

You’re not as unforgivable as you think.

You work out how good versus bad works, right versus wrong, and control versus lack of control, and that the answer is love, because evil CANNOT triumph, it would have nothing to triumph TO, and that love can ONLY win, so give what of it you can, when you can.

So, there ya go. That’s where I am today. No fucking worries.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope it helps someone.

Robbie

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Posted in Alcoholism, Art, Biography, Dublin, Homelessness, Mental health, psilocybin | 1 Comment

Revolution.

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Robbie x

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Grammar Nazi Pirates!

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Rob O’ The Bon-Zorbs.

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The Wall

Wrote this last year, might as well fling it into The Void once more…

R's Website

Imagine, if you will, a wall. A huge white wall that They have built. Who They are I don’t know, but in Their infinite wisdom They have constructed a giant wall, as high and as wide as the eye can see. Then They give everyone a Sharpie. And I mean EVERYONE. Anyone who can hold a pen. The well, the unwell, the sane and the insane. And everyone is invited to ‘knock themselves out’. Write what ya like.

So, naturally, by the first hour, there are a few thousands drawings of cocks spurting out little splashes of semen, and a few thousand ‘for a good time, call this number’s. Then there are the people who think ‘oh this could be fun, I can do something creative’. There will be jokes, there will be drawings, there will be ideas, the will be affirmations, there will be opinions. All light enough, disposable…

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Dear Me

An old man opens his eyes.
He can’t see. All is in darkness.
Then realisation dawns.
He’s buried. In a coffin. He survived his own death.

Now, he is trapped. He screams in panic. For hours.

He feels every pain imagineable.

He realises no one who loved him will ever know he’s here. Aware. Not even a god.
In resignation, he closes his eyes, and said ‘Let there be light’ .

And the most wondrous things that ever existed, happened

On the seventh day, he finally rested.

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