Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Equality! Equality everywhere!

France voted for it, and so did the British. Marriage for everyone.

I'm sure I needn't tell you why this is an awesome step forward for equality, nor why those who believe that their god wants them to stop it are completely wrong. If I read "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" once more I'm going to give up on you all and go and live on an island where nobody speaks English.

My pitch went quite well today; I say quite because while the idea was praised I wasn't actually told I could go ahead - it's frustrating to be told your idea is good but they want to wait a while. However, while I wait I'm going to get busy writing: Newsjack, a sketch show pays for sketch submissions from the general public. If you'd like to know more, then click here, but remember that every sketch is up against mine. And you can't beat me.

This morning has been crazy hectic, with three translations and a crash course in QR codes I gave to my out of office colleague via the telephone. My three translations were down to one and I was starting to relax and try to research where I could watch the debate later when, without any warning, a part-time associate of the school dropped a seven-page business school application in my lap. Spanish being her first language, French her second, and English her third, this is a challenge of epic proportions. Words floundered weakly in the swollen rushwater of sentences that ran on and endlessly on, commas dotted throughout as though a member of the NRA, drunk on moonshine, distilled from rats, had filled a shotgun with them - commas, not rats - and blasted merrily away at the offending sentence.

So that took up a couple of hours and two strong coffees. In a bid to not eat as much I'm drinking more coffee, but I've found that one can buy bags of little dark chocolate squares to dip in coffee and, well, long story short I'm back at square one.

Lunchtime came, and a guy called Rufus came to see me. He's studying a mix of business and management for a specific field, and following my sort-of-comprehension of derivate markets yesterday we talked about that. As it's the area in which he wants to end up we managed to do a lot of work in industry specific jargon and had an interesting debate about nationalisation vs privitisation. As we left, I to lunch and he back to lessons, he told me he wanted to learn about how to inject humour into his English. Public speaking, he said, is easier if you can make your audience laugh.

"You're right," I said. "The most important thing about comedy is - "

I broke off, walked ten paces along the corridor, and whirled round.

"- timing."

I winked and did the old double-finger-pistol-shot. He wasn't there any more, but I did it anyway. If someone had walked in at that exact moment, it would have been hilarious. That's what timing means, and why it's so hard to get right. It almost always happens by accident. There has never been a documented case of planned comedy amusing anyone, this blog being a perfect case in point.

My afternoon was given over to some interesting coaching sessions and learning of the many, many administrative hurdles that foreign students are asked to leap through to be allowed to study here. It seems counter-productive, but then this is a country where the parliament stayed in session for a solid week to debate gay marriage. Over the course of three days - Friday to Sunday - 240 000 words were said, a third of the Bible or almost half of War and Peace. At one point a right-wing speaker was compared to Bree Van de Kamp of Wisteria Lane and the session almost had to be adjourned, such was the violence with which this insult was received. They stayed overnight. Dedication. Take note, British politicos.

I've started reading Finance and the Good Society, which promises to be a challenge as I suspect it's going to try convincing me that unregulated financial capitalism is a good thing, rather than a really clever way of making rich people quite a lot richer than they already are. So far the author has pointed the blame squarely at uneducated people, so I'm sure we're going to get along famously.

Sketch writing will commence now. Ah, the life of a penniless writer. (Actually, if I moved to Canada, I could be just that...)