November 20th 2020
Congratulations on finding this entry, after giving you inaccurate instructions during my daily Vlog on Instagram I find myself incredibly impressed by your initiative. I’d have given up and too easily and gone for a coffee.
I may have stumbled upon something to help me cover some of my monthly outgoings. As a comedian you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out I have been hit hard by this pandemic.
Once, maybe around 2005 I was working on my favorite cruise ship, the Marco Polo, so many great stories about this ship but this lockdown has at least eleven days to run and I may need these tales for another entry, so I will store them away, in my sieve of a memory and not recall any of them until it is too late and both my Diary & the lockdown are long forgotten.
I will quickly mention this particular season in Antarctica, for two reasons, One, I have pictures that I can now show off legitimately, and two, rocket science. It’s a common phrase, at least I thought it was. Fast forward to me standing on the gangway helping guests get from the ship, down some stairs into a small motorboat that will then ferry them to which ever part of the Antarctic we were visiting that day.
Yes, you’re right, I was a comedian on the ships. My only role was to perform twice a cruise and get some laughs. But, this is Antarctica and, please forgive the pun, but it was time for all hands on deck and I was glad I had volunteered if I hadn’t I’d have missed this very funny moment. Shaun who was the ships shore excursion manager and in charge is a great guy from Canada, with a dry sense of humour and if he laughed out loud you should be very proud of yourself. I’d known Shaun for a couple of years and the best I ever achieved was a wry smile. A few though, I am good at what I do! The rest of the guys were performing their duties when we suddenly heard one of the production team utter a phrase that we laughed at then stole and have used ever since.
‘It’s not rocket surgery!’
I am laughing again now, on the day we laughed so hard, that belly laugh, that quickly turns into giggles and because I was some seventy pounds heavier than I am now, my belly didn’t stop wobbling for some days.
It’s important to me reader that you realise sometimes when I write I will drift off on a tangent for a second. I will though always, mostly, sometimes, come back to the original thought.
So, I am comedian and I have no work!
Today I made fifty pounds from Tesco Home Insurance. There was an issue as I tried to renew the policy for my children’s house. The letter started ‘Dear Valued Customer…’ then carried on with a list of varying percentages in areas I would be saving money because I was a ‘Dear Valued Customer…’ After reading about all these discounts I was shocked and stunned to see my insurance was going up by twelve pounds. Yes, I know, that doesn’t seem much of an increase at all, it works out to one pound a month. But I am making no money right now and, I have a lot of spare time on my hands. So I called. After the initial preamble of asking me to prove my identity they told me they were recording ‘this call for training purposes.’ to which I replied
“Sorry? You can’t do that, it’s illegal.”
“No, sir, it isn’t it is only illegal to not tell you I am recording.”
“But why do you have to record this call?” He justifiably asks.
“I am a stand-up comedian and who knows what kind of material I will get out of this.”
The rest of the chat was fine until it became clear that I didn’t live with my children and therefore not in the house I was attempting to insure.
“We can’t insure you if you don’t live in the property.”
I pointed out they had been insuring said property for three years and I sensed that the fun was about to start. I was bought up well by my Dad, I understand that the best way to be victorious in an argument is to keep calm, don’t swear, never raise your voice and make many notes. So not content with them reimbursing me for the month I had just paid for I instructed them to send me a check for the thirty six payments I had made previously because
“as you said, I was covered, you wouldn’t have paid out.”
This all happened maybe a month ago, Tescos called today, I couldn’t talk right away because Michael J Fox was being interviewed, and
“this sounds like a cold call, if it’s important call me in ten.”
Sitting at my desk with a coffee the telephone rings, it’s Tescos. I check my watch, it tells me it has been 10 minutes and also suggests I ‘Breathe’ My Apple watch worries about me.
The nice man working from his home in Glasgow tells me he has looked into my complaint and that it is being upheld. Struggling to remember the complaint I just play along. I can not express to you just how much free time I have on my hands right now. After retelling me the home insurance story I am up to speed but bored, ready to hang up and watch Michael J Fox on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“So for your inconvince we’d like to pay fifty pounds into your account…”
I say yes immediately, I have now made eighty pounds from two upheld complaints and feel I have hit upon a way to recoup at least some of my losses. Just ten upheld complaints a week could bring me four hundred pounds. It’s a thought.
After confirming my account details he signs off but not before he checks my email address
“It’s Paul at Paula Dams Comedy dot com?”
I let it go, the fact he has just changed my gender was so harrowing I may have to lodge a formal complaint and, let us not forget, I was recording this call, I have evidence now. I reckon this could be worth tens of pounds to me.
Think of me as a budget Martin Lewis. I won’t make you thousands but if it’s pennies you’re looking for…
Shots of Coffee: 6
Reading: The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, and Cycling Weekly
Listened to: Radio X, Al Green, Travis and the I Am Sam soundtrack
YouTube Tip: I Was A Comic Once