STUFF

It’s been pointed out to me that it’s not really fair to say I hate children, as this implies that I feel that way about all of them, even the ones I haven’t met. Which is pretty much true – I’m with the Government on this, guilty till proven innocent. But I’m now making an effort to personalise my hate, to give it a name.

Bratboy is my neighbour’s child and I hate him. He’s over a year old and still wails at all hours of day and night. It’s particularly bad on the weekend when daycare isn’t open for his parents to dump him into while they scoot off to work. He must be a right pain for them to put up with, given that their solution is to bring him out into the corridor to squeal or take him down to the pool so we can all share the misery. The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing (praying) that his parents quality of home life must be awful and that brat boy will probably continue to be a brat long after they or we move out.

I haven’t watched Fawlty Towers for years. I got the DVD as a gift last Christmas and hadn’t even managed to take the wrapper off. I’ve been pretty miserable recently and couldn’t face watching it in case it didn’t cheer me up, proving me to be in an even worse state than I imagined. But I was reading a review of a new Fawlty Towers book (wasn’t recommended) and a few mentions of classic moments got me all nostalgic. We watched two episodes last night and even though I’ve seen all twelve plenty of times, I was laughing to the point of tears. I don’t think there’s any TV show that’s lasted this well. I still laugh at Monty Python but as much for how it must have been received at the time. But in terms of the comedy, Fawlty Towers is timeless and the characters, dialogue and plot are such brilliant creations. Oh who cares, this sounds wanky, the point is that it gave me some of the best laughs I’ve had all year.

When I was doing stand-up on a regular basis, I’d often make jokes about my mum, mainly about her being old, forgetful and ruining large parts of my childhood. This was fun, especially when the jokes hit and the whole room would essentially be laughing with me, at my mum. It was good outlet for all the frustrations I had with her and it was much easier to joke about it than to really pay attention to what was happening at home. Now that she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, (instead of my diagnosis of ongoing battiness) it’s not quite so easy. Confused messages on my answer phone aren’t as funny and the possibility of her giving all my inheritance to George, the window cleaner seems ever more likely. I suppose Alzheimer’s just isn’t a very funny topic for stand-up, not like smoking pot or the differences between men and women. Although, if I had Alzheimer’s, it might be easier to do stand-up as I’d never get bored of my material and would quickly forget the disappointment of a crappy set, only able to recall the brilliant set I had back in 2001 which I’d never tire of telling people about.

I used to have a vocabulary, quite a decent one. Now it seems, I just have ‘stuff’. I don’t think I really used the word stuff till I moved here. Now I have stuff to do in the day, I clear out a lot of stuff, I get upset about stuff, though also sometimes about ‘things’. I haven’t quite progressed to shit yet, as in shit to do, loads of shit, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Maybe that’s what will be on my headstone.

Maggie Gallant rests here: she left a ton of shit behind.