November 30th 2020
There are two days left of this lockdown, I didn’t like the use of the word ‘this’ just then, it suggests another is imminent. Lockdown II has seen me write this diary every day, OK! Fine, I missed one the other Saturday, stop going on about that already. I love typing with no plan of where it is heading, as I type things just come to my mind, I love that my Dad was right, if you write for long enough the funny will take care of its self, I think it has. I have zero idea how many people have read any part of this Diary Of A Locked Down Comedian but that doesn’t matter. I am writing, every day. I am getting better with each entry, page, paragraph, even word and that is the whole point.
Maybe I’ll start writing the Diary Of A Tier Three Comedian, certainly sounds like the level I am at in the world of comedy. I could turn both these diaries into books, maybe scripts, I think it’d be a decent show to watch, wouldn’t need a big cast either. Before you know it this pandemic is responsible for more of my unfinished ideas.
The only downside to this lockdown is that while I edit chapters for That Bloody Book, it’s in capitals because it is the working title for the book I am writing about Dad & I. I know what the title is going to be, it was obvious from word one and Dad actually came up with the title, even after death Dad is a massive influence on me. Anyway, as I edit I re read what I have written years ago and am shocked at the poor quality of the content. So re read, re write and re edit. That is kind of what the government wants from me, isn’t it?
The book is going to serve as a tribute to my Dad and it’s been a long time coming. The original idea I had had was a huge comedy show, using the comedians he wrote for that are still around and introducing some of the newer guys a part of the show which I just know Dad would have enjoyed. I spoke with the legendary agent Michael Vine, we met and discussed the format but it soon became apparent to me that this wasn’t close to the tribute befitting my Dad. He was backstage, a behind the scenes guy. It had to be a book. Perhaps the greatest tribute of all is that the book isn’t even finished yet…sounds like something an Adams would (n’t) do.
One tribute did materialise, shockingly, in 2019. Some 6 years after its first thought. A tattoo.
I was going to get myself a tattoo on the underside of my left wrist. I wanted something to remember Dad by. Forget the books, records, photos and lessons, the laughter, tears and wisdom. I wanted more and I had lost his money clip that mum gave me and figured I would be pretty unlucky to lose a whole wrist. So happy with the idea of a tattoo to serve as a reminder of him I turn my thoughts to what kind of tattoo it would be. Words, of course, you were all about words and example, the example you set me in life was ideal, you taught me everything I know although one afternoon with him springs to mind.
Dad and I were sitting in the lounge, you were reading the paper and I was badgering you with questions. I can’t for the life of me remember how old I was, it certainly started with a three. I always ended up sitting on the floor I was most comfortable there and don’t ask me what the question was, I have no chance of recalling that information. What I do remember. Vividly, was Dads’ answer.
“I don’t know.”
That’s what Dad said. Three words that stopped me in my tracks and left me staring at him, open mouthed. He carried on with the newspaper, oblivious, for a good minute or so before he looked up and saw me, in complete shock. Sounds ever so dramatic but that is exactly how it was.
“What?” Dad asked.
“Dad, in my whole life you have never, ever answered one of my questions with ‘I don’t know.’ Ever!”
“Well, son, I don’t know everything-“
“No, sometimes I was just making it up!”
“WHAT? No, Dad, stop talking…”
I don’t know how this conversation ended. I do know that it changed nothing, you were my hero before that as you are after. I look up to you, well as best as a son could with a father who stood barely five foot six inches tall and I wanted something to remember you by. So, back to the tattoo.
Momentarily I think a tattoo of the word ‘tangents’. Seems apt, no?
I was in Norwich, at a tattoo parlour talking with the artiste. We discuss font, size and pain. I love you but I am also a big wuss and this has to hurt, right? Yes. It will hurt the underside of my left wrist is the most tender part of the human body to ink for life! Great choice Adams. I still want it, I make an appointment for a week later I would have the words ‘What would Dad do?’ on my wrist.
I called an old friend Lee, he has a load of tattoos and I figured maybe he could help me out with some questions I had. He told me nothing I didn’t already know and didn’t even try and pretend that it wouldn’t hurt. He did, however, have one question for me.
“Paul, I promise I am not being facetious but what would your Dad do?”
“Oh, Dad would NEVER have a tattoo. Oh….”
For a little while I thought about having ‘What would Dad do?’ tattooed on my wrist as planned but adding a second tattoo crossing it out. Yes, it is funny but I would tire of that same gag for the rest of my life. I shelved the whole idea. The appointment was cancelled and ‘What Would Dad Do?’ is now the screen saver on my phone, which, coincidently, is always in my left hand.
In 2018 I was flying from Dunedin in New Zealand up to Aukland, as I was ordering a coffee I noticed that the barista had a lovely looking tattoo.
“Is that a sound wave?” I asked and after she told me it was I asked
“My best friends laugh.”
I loved it, what a beautiful tribute. I boarded the plane and as we flew from the south island to the north it hit me. Yes, I know dear reader, it hit you in the coffee shop, I was admittedly a little slow. On this occasion. I knew what was going to be my tattoo, a sound wave of Dads’ laugh, but there was no recording of that laugh. Damn it. Until I was going through an external hard drive I was about to throw out. A video of my, then two year old nephew Jakey. A ball flew in from out of shot, hit Jakey on the head then, with perfect timing, Jakey stumbled. There was laughter in the room. I watched happily three or four times and was about to throw out the hard drive. I know, I KNOW, another occasion where I am perhaps the slowest in the room.
I had it. I had Dads’ laugh, within a couple of weeks my great mate Andy Buenger did what had to be done to get me a digital image of Dads laugh it was then over to another friend Hayley at Aimee Rose Designs she produced two great pictures of the sound wave, one hangs on Mums’ wall in the kitchen, the other was sent to Demonink in Welling. On July 9th, 2020 I met with Aaron and, eventually, I had a permanent reminder of my Dad.
I love it.
Although it sometimes starts a conversation with a complete stranger, I am not a huge fan of that but there is an upside! I get to talk about my Dad and I am a HUGE fan of that.
Shots of Coffee: 8
Reading: Billy Connolly Tall Tales & Wee Stories
Listened to: Radio X, Liam Gallagher & the Zac Brown Band
YouTube Tip: Matt Damon & Jimmy Kimmel @ the Emmys