I want to vomit tearfully, or six months away from Malta
“I want to vomit tearfully.”
That’s what I wrote down in my notebook six months ago, as I waited to board a one-way flight from Malta to Manchester. I had just said goodbye to my parents and brother, and was now in front of Gate 13 (“Bodes well,” I thought), sitting next to a toddler who kept yelling, “Me me me me me!” at his mother as she gave a snack to his sister. Thankfully, I managed not to start my adventure by puking/sobbing on a small child.
You have some silly thoughts when you’re leaving home for good. On the plane I realised I had forgotten to say goodbye to our three cats. I felt a bit bad, before realising that they probably didn’t give much of a toss, especially since I was never their chief opener of tins and pouches.
A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I was “loving it” in Manchester. Because I am an awkward, over-thinking, half-English 27 year old, I found the idea of feeling so strongly towards the act of living in a place to be quite odd. Like a confused robot I thought, “What do you mean, love?”
But I do like living in Manchester. It’s a working city, a city that allows you to just get on with your life without too much hassle. The public transport is good (when sinkholes don’t suddenly open up, that is), there are plenty of green spaces outside of the centre, and rent is affordable so you can actually go out every now and then. Yes it’s not the prettiest city, but while it’s quite grubby in places, it’s also not the dump it’s made out to be. In fact, I prefer the areas that are a bit frayed around the edges to the gentrified SoDoSoPa-esque (see South Park’s episode on gentrification) parts.
Would I move back to Malta? Right now – no. Manchester is far more interesting, and the beer is better. But speak to me again after winter, when I’ll have a better idea of whether I can handle sustained periods of sunlightlessness.
I moved to Manchester to be able to do more stand-up comedy. In fact, I really should be working on a 5-minute set for a competition I’m taking part in on Monday night. So naturally, I’m doing something else.
If I’m honest, so far I haven’t performed as much as I would have liked. I think I half-expected to just swan in and be able to get gigs whenever I wanted, but it doesn’t work like that. There is a fuck-ton of competition. You are vying for stage time with people who are the same level as you, people who are better than you, and people with obvious mental problems who should never be allowed anywhere near a microphone, but who keep appearing at amateur/open mic nights with the exact same “jokes” and then berate the audience for not laughing. As someone who is undoubtedly quite shit but who really wants to improve, the latter are the most frustrating. They take the energy and goodwill out of a crowd (at some shows the latter is a precious commodity) and make it difficult for anyone who follows them.
On a more positive note, the biggest difference between Malta and Manchester in terms of stand-up is that here I can watch and learn from the best, every day of the week if I had enough time and money. In Malta you can only watch working comedians from the London circuit about three times a year, and it’ll set you back €25 each time. Here on the other hand, I’ve watched James Acaster, Alfie Brown and Diane Morgan (Philomena Cunk from Newswipe) for just £3-5 each, and this Friday I’m watching Doug Stanhope for the slightly princelier sum of £30, but he is one of my favourite comedians at the moment and he doesn’t come to the UK very often.
Blogging is hard
This is the first blog post I’ve written while I’ve been here. There have been several times when I’ve come close to writing one, but then thought, “Do people really give a shit?” Probably not, but I hope to be more interesting, useful and entertaining the more I write. So yeah.