The Bi-Annual Clean Shave

There comes a time, which by the title is usually once every two years, where I have to shave. I HAVE to. I must completely rid my face of all trace of brown, ginger and grey colours and reset myself to default. I must allow my cheeks to breathe and just remind myself that I have skin around the lower part of my face. Some people could see it as a euphemism, a visual receptor to my willingness to begin a new, refresh my current state of affairs. Well I suppose it can be at times, but mostly… I just get bored.

I’ve been able to grow facial hair to a fairly decent capacity since I was 18 and I’m 31 now. I can’t develop it to the size and length that hipsters do, mostly because I get bored waiting, and I’m pretty sure that most of those guys go to the various hair and beauty shops around East London and get their face-weave done. I honestly have never seen a transitional hipster, that phase between lumberjack anti-establishment beard and nicely presentable facial hair. It’s like they’re clean shaven and suddenly BOOM! Beard.

Here is a stereotypical hipster, waiting around a generic East London estate area, presumably waiting for his Dad to invest in his Crisp Sandwich Pop-Up business.

Here is a stereotypical hipster, waiting around a generic East London estate area, presumably waiting for his Dad to invest in his Crisp Sandwich Pop-Up business.

I haven’t clean shaved for nearly two years and that is with good reason. It has nothing to do with laziness, fashion or my weight… Ok maybe a little bit about my weight but it’s more to do with self-confidence and more precisely, fear. The last time I clean shaved was in August 2013. I did it for a job interview at a theatre in London. I got myself sorted for this swelteringly hot summers day, which was already made uncomfortable by me having to dress appropriately for the interview. I decided, slightly on a whim and slightly because I felt my beard wasn’t looking the best, to trim my beard. As normally happens whenever I need precision trimming, this ended with me trimming a bit too much and ending up with uneven beard. So it had to go. No question.

The problem is that I’ve always had terrible fickle skin. If it was an alibi it’d be OJ Simpson’s glove. Through bouts of Acne and dry skin, my face has always been quick to betray me. This interview was no exception. Everyone gets stubble rash and a few nicks here and there and I thought, for once, that I’d got away with it. From the morning at home, the commute to London, the few hours work I put in where I was working before I went to the interview AND THE SECOND I LEFT…

Here's a completely realistic job interview with a trainee psychopath.

Here’s a completely realistic job interview with a trainee psychopath.

I started bleeding. Underneath my chin. I had to have a a piece of tissue on it during the entire tube journey to Leicester Square. It didn’t stop. I went and got some more tissue and made my way to the interview to be suitably early. It didn’t stop. I talked to my friend in the theatre lobby for a while as they were running behind on the interviews. It didn’t stop. I got taken to be interviewed in an upstairs bar, while a performance was on, nervous, stressed, looking like a lobster from the heat outside and inside the theatre.

It didn’t stop.

There is literally nothing you can do. The interview is already fucked before it’s even begun. You look like a twat because you’re holding several different tissues to your neck which come back with spots of blood from the SMALLEST LITTLE CUT that took six hours before it decided to bleed. So I did the only thing I could. “I’m really sorry,” I said, “I normally have a beard and I decided to shave for the interview and on the way here a cut just started bleeding.”

“Oh, ok,” they said.

The elephant was out of the room and the awkwardness was averted but the interview was long lost. It will go down as one of the worst moments of my life and is one of the direct contributors to me trying to forge my career over the past 18 months. If you’re keeping score, I have still had only three proper job interviews since graduating and that was one of them.

Future beards may occur with sufficient gains in arm ballast.

Future beards may occur with sufficient gains in arm ballast.

So put simply, I don’t shave until I can get in to a position where my utter boredom, or my skin, dictates that I must. Therefore, today I decided was my bi-annual shave. I should be starting some part time work soon to supplement my non-existent income. I’ve had a few entry level career jobs opportunities that didn’t give me a look in and I recently turned 31. So it’s time to shave and to stop hiding behind the beard.

Maybe it is a bit of a “turn a new leaf” kind of thing. Trying to persuade myself that general life and career attempts aren’t just futile exercises in send many emails to no avail. I go in to year two of career forging with a literal fresh face and a few realistic promises that I need to make to myself, which I shall list here.

1) Stop getting pissed at the world, it doesn’t hate you it hates everyone equally.

2) Get your flabby ass to the gym, son!

3) Never grow a beard until you get a job interview, or can look like Triple H.

There’s more but I think they’ll be blog posts for another time.

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Narrative Health Symptomns

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to this blog in a while. This may be painfully obvious to my one follower, but excuses aside I have been rather busy working and earning. Mainly so I can spend some time writing with some financial security (desperately search for a job).

Anyway, enough of that. I’m writing two things right now. The first is a sitcom that I’m about to send to producers. I’ve got a lot of faith in it, purely on the basis that others that have read it/helped me with it also have that faith. I’ve also spent some time around screenwriters at Q&A events and heard advice and stories, so I think I’m best positioned to have confidence in it. The second thing is still in my brain forming but will make up the basis of a stand-up show.

One things I’ve noticed about my comedy is that I’m much more of a narrative comic. I need time to develop an overall arc and punctuate it with smaller anecdotal quips. I find that the traditional starter five minute “spray and pray set” – as I think of it – is quite constricting. I’ve never been that kind of funny guy. So I’ve come up with an overall theme and a few anecdotes have come because of it. Although I’m yet to decide which bits are funny and which are me being a curmudgeonus shit.

Like right now for example, I’m in a hospital. Don’t worry I’m fine, just your usual run of the mill appointment. But the building I’m in has a TB clinic on the bottom floor. I find this weird knowing how contagious it is to have it at a level where the reception desk is. Especially seeming I’m on the 6th floor for my breast reduction… I mean run-of-the-mill appointment.

But I have been having this crisis that only appears when you turn 30. Which is where you realise that youth has gone. That doesn’t mean I think I’m old, but I’m now painfully aware that I’ve lost that invincible feeling you have as a younger person. When I was 22 my main worry about my health was whether Sprite and Wine Gums was the best hangover cure I could get before work on a Saturday morning (as an aside, it wasn’t a bad one). Now on the other hand my paranoia dictates my approach to this and I’m wondering if my Doctor would turn me away for a prostate exam due to my age and me realising I don’t get enough sleep.

This change is probably brought on by the maturity that comes with a furthering career, family responsibilities, financial planning and… Wait, I have none of those. Where does this come from?

TB has been easily curable since around the time of the Second World War. But it is on the rise again. Before this, it was just one of those things that was likely to happen to you so you jut got on with life and didn’t give a shit about it. Now, most people my age were inoculated so it’s not a problem at all and therefore, people don’t give a shit about it. Yet six floors below me is a clinic for a highly contagious disease and I’m sat here wondering if getting a qualified practitioner to rectally probe me is a sensible investment in life!

Somewhere between the age of 25 and now, my life must have taken a very strange turn…

FYI, it’s Movember next month and the time to grow hilarious poor facial hair. But it’s also the time to raise awareness of Prostate and Testicular Cancers and Mental Health issues in men. Especially seeming the lifestyles we all lead and the stresses of living we have without ever having a full medical unless our employment obliges us to, maybe 30 is a good time to start thinking about things.

See what I did there? Narrative.

Link: http://uk.movember.com/

Comedy Voice: Version One

It is really important as a new comedian to find your voice. Of course, if you were writing my twitter profile, that would be burgeoning comedian, not new. Let me just point out the description of that word, as provided by google.

Verb
1. Begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish: “manufacturers are keen to cash in on the burgeoning demand”.
2. Put forth young shoots; bud.

To start with, I’m not sure I’m particularly happy with being referred to as a potential performance career choice as a flower. Not only that but more of a Stuart Hall style flower in the case of number 2. (Those of you who got that joke probably just sucked your teeth like you’re a mechanic giving the bad news on a 16 year old cars’ MOT.)

I do tell bad jokes, and occasionally, controversial jokes. It’s my thing, it’s what I’ve been brought up and practiced in. But very rarely do I do it on stage. Probably because I’m a tad scared. However, point number 1 says that I need to grow rapidly in order to refer to myself this way.

So, next time I’m on stage, I’ll introduce myself thusly:
‘Hi, I’m Sean Cleaver and I’m classed as a burgeoning comedian. Which means I will begin to grow or increase rapidly. So don’t panic, if that happens then it is just a fear erection. However if I move on to the second meaning, “Put Forth Young Shoots” then this is a fair warning to anyone in the front row. If you heckle me, it’s bukkake time.’

Which, if that joke goes out before our PM David Cameron bans all pornography online, most of you will understand. Which brings me on to porn.

This week David Cameron expressed a wish to violate some probable human rights by denying us, the people, access to the more seedier and disturbing parts of the internet. Without first putting in an awkward telephone call to our internet provider saying that it’s for research purposes only.

Of course what Cameron doesn’t realise is that his “hug a hoodie” mantra is going to be like Captain Kirk fighting a Gorn lizard monster once he denies the hoodies option to masturbate into a calm frenzy, working off the several cans of taurine laced beverages he’d consumed that morning between McDonalds breakfasts.

Of course the one upshot of this is that maybe, just maybe, facebook might be forced to ban or block the several thousand inappropriate images that mothers keep putting up on their timelines of children, and therefore mine. Not only ridding me of a personal annoyance, but also the acknowledgement of the personal burgeoning’s of the aforementioned hoodie.

So my voice, I tend to feel after a few gigs and writing cast offs, is one of social commentary, satire and occasional penis jokes. Which, in the least phallic way possible, I’m happy to be rising to the occasion for.

More soon… That’s the writing I’m talking about, not anything else.

Asking for the “sexy” vote. Chortle Student Comedy Award

Last week, I competed in the Chortle Student Comedy Award. Thank you to everyone who came, it was great fun. Unfortunately I didn’t win but that’s not where the story ends…
This week, I get the opportunity to progress through to the semi-final with a little help from you. Please visit the link below and vote for me (Sean Cleaver) in the second London Heat. Here’s a little clip so you know what you’re voting for!

Vote for SEAN CLEAVER in the Chortle Student Comedy Award People’s Vote!

 

You’re all sexy. Please spread the word, because you know how this internet begging thing works by now.

 

Sean

The Pope’s Pink Slip

*Telephone rings*

Pope: Hello. Pope speaking?

God: Hey Pope, it’s God. Sorry to call, I would have emailed but the snow’s knocked out our internet.

Pope: Oh hey, God! What’s up?

God: Listen, I don’t know how to say this but we’re letting you go.

Pope: Oh. Really? Ok. Why?

God: Well, the economy sucks and we’ve suffered. All the cutbacks and savings we need to keep this red wine stuff flowing. And, honestly, this has been a big  PR disaster with you in charge. Sorry man but we’ve got to let you go.

Pope: Fine, but you can’t fire me. I quit!

*Hangs up phone*

Satan: Damn… So close.

The Five Point Guide For Being My Facebook Friend

I felt a bit reticent over creating a post about facebook. I thought it might seem, although I’ve been at it for a while now, that I’m joining the “facebook is dead” and “anti facebook” bandwagons. So I’ve changed my tack a bit on broaching this subject. For some background, I left this particular social network, by choice, for a month. I came back after I lost my phone and the need for any kind of social discourse forced me to reactivate it. It’s amazing in this time of email and ease of communication that you might as well be a hermit in a cave if you don’t have facebook, a mobile phone or both. I personally am a complete twitter convert. So the first thing I did was to attach my twitter account to my timeline, limiting the amount of time I’d need to be on it. But alas, I got drawn in and had to comment on things and like some stuff and I felt as dirty as Hugh Grant must have after getting caught.

But my hatred is still there and the constant feeding my hatred gets is on facebook every day, in fact, every few hours. The thing is even though we all discuss it in private and hate it; everyone still does the same thing. Which made me wonder if my generation skipped this annoying trait of social networking indulgence and just learnt what to do, as every other generation seems born with the ability to generally annoy me more than Jo Whiley does – which is a lot. So I thought it might be best, instead of ranting and just generally venting, to create a small five-point guide for beginners on facebook, especially those befriending me. Consider it if you will as an informal pamphlet on facebook etiquette.

1) Don’t like your own statuses.

This may sound incredibly silly. But, simply put, if you like your own status then you are either really stupid or a completely egocentric garish amoeba. You don’t talk to your friends and say “I’d like some pizza” followed by “Yeah I’m awesome, I like this.” So don’t say it on facebook.

2) Be careful what you get tagged in.

One of the most annoying things is when you get automatically tagged in a picture that shows how many people have visited your profile or what love heart you are. Or more recently what Game of Thrones House you belong to. If you have that much time to waste on these pathetic additions to the timeline then you really need to recheck your life, go to a library and get a book, or simply get out of bed and go for a walk. They aren’t entertaining and they certainly aren’t entertaining me.

3) If you have a problem with someone, keep it to yourself.

Ok so this is probably the hardest one out of all of them. I’m certainly guilty of it. But if something’s wrong with your relationship with friends, family, ex’s, whatever, then keep it to yourself. Firstly, I honestly don’t give a toss if you’re getting annoyed, unless it directly affects our friendship or me. Secondly, don’t follow it up with “I can’t say” or “text/call me” as then you are as big of a twat as the person who was annoying you. Don’t bring your shit into the public domain if you haven’t got the balls to actually mention it. If you’re trying to send a “message” to the dickhead that’s annoying you then try calling him/her and tell them yourself.

4) Speling and gramma

It may shock you to know that 100% of the people on facebook in the UK have either been in education or are in education. If you really have trouble spelling words correctly or using correct punctuation without a character limit, then you should really spend the time you are on facebook over at the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize website to give you a reminder. Unless that is you are intentionally mocking or trying to be funny. In which case stay on facebook and don’t come back into the real world. We did those jokes years ago and they aren’t funny anymore. Slang I will allow as long as it fits the character of the person saying it. For example, I can’t see my status being updated in a language only Snoop Dogg could create or understand. Speaking of which, don’t quote TV people’s catch phrases. People used to do that in public in pubs before and they really were the worst type of fool.

5) Pictures of you. Not your family album

I’ll be honest, when I get married or a have long term partner, I fully expect my parents to pull out the “long lost” baby pictures album to show me at my worst/most naked. I do not expect my parents to jump onto the nearest computer and log in to facebook to show them my baby pictures. The fact that baby pictures exist on facebook in abundance is already well mocked. But consider for a moment the effect this will have on your child. In a completely made up survey conducted by a completely made up agency, because you’ve put your baby and child’s pictures on facebook and haven’t checked your privacy settings, over 1 million completely made up paedophiles have found your child’s picture on a google search and bashed out some completely made up semen. What if your child grew up knowing these completely made up facts?

Ok so that’s a bit extreme and sometimes it’s fine for a family picture or to show that you’ve just had a child, or if they’ve done something really funny (like the youtube videos have). Otherwise, please don’t. I am willing to bet that you have somewhere a physical photograph of a family member (parent or grandparent). Imagine if your child doesn’t have this, doesn’t have the physical connection to that person with an actual photo that they can frame, show off, hold in times of need, talk to and look for inspiration or guidance. Imagine instead that you log on to facebook and can only mouse click backwards and forwards away from it. To me, I think that’s rather sad.

There are probably a lot more things that will eventually annoy me and that I will scorn facebooks’ millions of users for. But until I work them out or they become blatantly obvious, just stick to these points and we can be friends… Virtually, of course.