As I hurry to a New Year’s gig for 200 gay men, I think of mum in Mecca. It’s what she’d have wanted for me.
I had been pondering for a few weeks how I was going to make the journey from my home to Piccadilly Circus on New Year’s Eve. The torment would remain the same, whichever route I contemplated taking. It would involve stupid amounts of alcohol, stupid numbers of police, and a lot of out-of-tune singing on the Underground.
I was wrong. It was worse.
I left my house well in advance to be at my gig for 9.25pm. As I drove up the road I saw two girls who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old, wearing white denim hot pants with black fishnet tights underneath their shorts, drinking from glass bottles and then chucking them over somebody else’s garden hedge.
I couldn’t help myself. I wound down my window and shouted: “I’m going to tell your dad.” It must be my age, but whenever I see young girls in the street these days, I either want to throw them a coat or a bread roll. Any look that screams “I’m dying” just doesn’t do it for me.
I got on the Tube and read my book. I really couldn’t face people trying to make conversation with me just because it was New Year’s Eve. I must have looked like a miserable weirdo, sitting there with a scarf covering my face, head down, not making eye contact with anyone. I came out of the station and was met with tourists, policemen and more hot pants. As I scampered as quickly as possible through Piccadilly Circus into Soho on my way to perform the gig for 200 gay men, I thought of my mother, who is in Mecca. I believe it’s exactly what she would have wanted for me. Clearly her prayers have been answered. It was actually the perfect audience: gay men and very old women. There was going to be no fighting or spitting in here.
Afterwards I didn’t hang around to feel the fun of the fireworks outside Burger King. I rushed past people who were having their pictures taken with policemen and just got on the Tube home so I could be in bed before midnight with Humphry. Humphry is my new teddy bear that someone bought me for Christmas. He wears a wonderful wizard’s outfit and seems very happy in his new home, and I have not had to whip him for any racist or blasphemous behaviour, so I think he’s going to be around for a long time yet.
I shall be spending January returning inappropriate Christmas presents and, like every other thin person I know, following a diet. What possesses someone to buy me a toy sports car? Am I a 14-year-old boy? Then to add to this a Batman and Robin bedspread, a Donald Trump tea cosy – I like Donald Trump but not on my teapot – and a book entitled Depression for Comedians? It was obviously purchased in the United States; nobody in this country would be crazy enough to write a book with a title like that.
One chapter is called “How to Stop Drinking Before 9am”; another has the title “Being Depressed Makes You a Better Comic”. Being from America, this book is actually written not by a comedian, but by a professor/ doctor/psychiatrist/serial killer with 26 letters after his name, who obviously bought his degrees off the internet. He’s lost not only his mind, but his sense of humour, too. I’ll definitely be getting £10 back for that.
As for dieting, January reminds me of being at school, where everyone was on a diet the whole time. This was understandable back when you had trampolining on a Wednesday, but if you work at Greggs the bakers nobody will care if you’ve put on a few stone.
I am going to finish off all the Christmas cake, mince pies and trifle, do one hour at the gym, and then I’ll definitely be ready for my white denim hot pants, which I’ll be wearing when I go to Miami next month. If I manage more than an hour I’ll treat myself to some fishnets. You should all do the same. Men included.