Yes, I’m very aware that I only seem to update this blog on my birthdays or when I’ve watched a new episode of Sharpe. I am also aware that this website needs a complete and total overhaul, and I will get around to that at some point this year.
I am roughly 32.67% through my expected lifespan.
Last year, for my ‘I am 25′ blog, I wrote at great length about how the past year had been one of the worst of my life. So, I thought it would be nice if I did something for my 26th birthday, looking back on the last 12 months and what I’d actually got done.
First things first, I’m in a much more stable place mentally. I have a job that allows me enough creative freedom for it to be fun and I’ve been here long enough now that I feel part of the furniture. If you are wanting to be mildly creative and yet you enjoy working a solid 9-5 (with an hour for lunch), marketing seems to be a brilliant career to fall in to. My work/life balance is better and I’m able to see my friends more – both of which have helped make the ol’ noggin’ happier. I’ve burnt myself out a bit, mostly by oddly refusing to take holidays and doing too much at once, but I’ve learnt from that and moved on. I’ve also worked out which of my friends I truly, deeply care for and am spending more of my time helping them get through life with smiles on their faces. It’s been a year where some friends are new and some old friends have slipped off my radar, but their no less the good friends they were in the years before. It just means I get to find them all again.
I’ve gone this far without mentioning Improv. Some of you will be expectantly waiting for me to get to it whereas others will be rejoicing the fact I’ve not bored you to tears yet.
The last year has been a rollercoaster one for my love of improv. It started well, getting regular stage time and feeling valued as a performer. The British Improv Project (BIP) happened and I loved it with all my heart, made new friends of improvisers across the country and have used those connections to play in different cities.
But then it all seemed to fall apart. Stage time dried up, I know longer felt valued and at times it felt like my presence was being taken advantage of. A reliable character to have when you desperately need but apart from that, shown little to no love or respect. My regular moments on stage had gone and I felt that I was no longer wanted. Whether this is true, I highly doubt. But I’d just spent 4 months fighting for my place and thinking I’d earned it only for it to go without a word in my ear.
This is where Tiny Stories Improv turns up. After a second stint at BIP an idea for a show grew and within a month I’d created a whole new Improv group, with the help of some brilliant friends and excellent performers. What I love most about TSI is that I don’t think of it as ‘my improv group’, because it’s not. I keep having to remind the other members that this is as much their baby as it is mine and if they have an idea or a place they want to play then please feel free to talk to us all about it. It’s a collective, and seems to be one that is both great to be part of and fun to watch. In June I arranged us to play at 6 improv jams around the country. As of last week, we played our 9th show of a scheduled 11 in out ‘Tiny Tour’. And then there’s the plans we have for the Leicester Comedy Festival…
I’m massively paranoid that the things I create aren’t good enough, but I’m slowly coming to realise that TSI might be quite good. Improvisers I thoroughly respect and artists who I admire have given me feedback and reviews and I still don’t believe that these super talented people like our silly show. But they do, and it would be arrogant of me to ignore them.
And because founding one group is clearly not enough, I’m producing another improv show that’s happening at the LCF in 2020 and have formed a new company with 3 friends, Splat Improv Comedy, teaching workshops in Loughborough and hoping to get a regular show going there too!
I’m loving my improv life currently and because of TSI and Splat, I feel like I’ve got more opportunities than ever to expand my experience. I’d love to play with more groups as well – and for lack of transport I would definitely be badgering the groups in Birmingham to let me play and the bothering the Notts’ groups too.
I must have done more than just improv in the last 12 months? Umm…
14/48 continues to be a huge part of my life and the people who take part in it are truly wonderful. I’m writing things again and with the guidance and partnership of Mr. Matthew Beames could have something we’ve written together performed soon. I took part in Novel Dreamers, a mad writing challenge set by Steve Archer. I’ve done a bit of recording work, presented a short corporate film and discovered I love presenting on camera, and am part of the ‘Stories from the Smoking Room’ that take place at the Arena Theatre. Something I wrote and recorded was listened to by Dirk fucking Maggs, who is my audio hero, and received some brilliant feedback and praise from him.
I’ve fed ducks from my hand and I think got closer with my brother again. We’ve never really been apart, but we’ve been too busy the last few years and I’ve been 2 hours away and a bit crap.
But what about being 26?
In the last 7 days I’ve done two really 3 really fun imrpov gigs, fired a crossbow, met up with an old, awesome friend from uni, watched Eddie Izzard live and shook his hand afterwards.
I like being 26.