Cufflinks and the arts

I had a nice change of pace last night, and did something I don’t normally do – which is go to a live comedy gig at the Warwick Arts Centre near Coventry. I was there to see Paul Chowdhry on his ‘Live innit’ tour.

Both the comedian and a trip to this particular venue are not that something I’d have sought out or organised by myself if I’m honest. Truthfully I’d never heard of him until last week – but when you have a seriously generous mate offering you a free ticket then who can say no?

Although I’ve been to the Warwick University campus before it’s been a very long time and the whole place seems to have come on a bit since I last had a look around. I have to say the facilities are pretty darn good for the most part.

Parking was free, without hassle, and right next to the venue – although how to get to where you needed to be was a total PITA. The event was awfully signposted both inside and out.

Even when inside the building there was absolutely no way of knowing exactly how to get in to the show or even which part of the complex the show was in. You had to go up to a selection of ushers who pointed you in the vague direction of where they thought you should be going and then you dutifully trudged over to there only to be told it was a completely different door entirely.

When we finally found our seats though the show was swiftly underway – and after a (rather amusing) warm up act and a little intermission the main show started.

All I can say is this man is not afraid of taking the p**s out of his audience, and he goes after any race creed or colour with equal satirical wit. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to get savaged.

Much of his act was based around the fact that recently the Daily Mirror had featured his face in relation to a Crimewatch photofit. After an act of terrorism people had likened him to the offender (link) and he was spirited in his reaction on Twitter.

(From the Mirror article regarding his social media response) The comedian posted: “Can you b****y b******s stop messaging me about Crimewatch, the b*****d looks nothing like me.”

PC terrorist

For the most part I really enjoyed the show – and I like a comedian that’s not afraid to offend occasionally. The world is too politically correct at times and I don’t think that this is something that he could be accused of.

I laughed and clapped a lot.

I have to say though the thing that I loved the most about it is the sea of colour that filled the auditorium when the lights went up. I noticed as people filed out not only how varied the ethnicity of his audience was, but how many mixed race (and faith) couples were in attendance.

We can be forgiven at times for thinking that there are so many things that divide us as a species (particularly if we get sucked into the negativity of the 24 hour news cycle) but when I sit for a few hours in a room full of people all laughing together regardless of their religion, colour or background it really warms my heart.

The UK is a diverse and tolerant place and regardless of what the media likes to tell us, for the most part we all get along just fine – and that’s a great thing to see and be a part of.

In other news yesterday and today I’ve been out walking again.

I’m taking it steady (before anyone panics) and so far my foot seems to be holding up. I’m cautiously optimistic that my more sensible than usual approach to injury is bearing fruit and that I’ve avoided a resurgence of Plantar Heel.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to readers that whilst out and about I’ve also been mooching around charity shops. Primarily I’m looking for ties and cufflinks – which are currently my new favourite things.

I found this really cool little spring loaded pair for a pound today.

They have a little gold chain hidden between the ends that’s only exposed when you pull the links away from eachother. When you let go they snap back into place.

I’ve never owned a pair like them before and really like the fact that they’re a bit worn and imperfect.

Oddly they remind me of my grandad (a rather comforting thought it seems) and for the life of me I can’t think why – because I can’t ever remember seeing him wear cufflinks.

I’m not entirely sure why all of a sudden I’m zeroing in on items that look like this. Previously I’ve been very focused on ‘baggy and scruffy’ as my go to fashion choice – and now I’m exploring ‘fitted and smart’ with a real passion.

I’ve actually got enough shirts and ties to wear a different one for pretty much every working day of the month now – which some may see as overkill, but I see as making up for lost time.

You see – I wore the shirt in this photo (and one or two others) with the same pair of huge jeans almost every day for a few years before I lost weight.

I felt completely trapped in them because there was no alternative. I couldn’t look smart even if I’d wanted to back then and I think that because of this I convinced myself that I didn’t want to because it just hurt less if I blocked the thoughts out.

Now I’m experimenting in a way I’ve never felt comfortable with before. Whereas in the past I felt that by changing any aspect of my appearance I would bring unwanted attention to my size and shape now no-one really notices.

I get an occasional ‘you look smart’ comment or ‘that’s a loud shirt’ quip – but on the whole I fly under the radar and can experiment in public without anyone thinking it’s odd or that I look strange.

If I decide that I want to look like a mint humbug for the day with bath tap cufflinks and a pink tie then why not?

The freedom to be who I want to be is here – and it’s now.

Who would have thought that a few years ago, drunk, diabetic, morbidly obese and waiting to die that today I could be a man happy to walk 3 miles to find a worn pair of cufflinks?

Times change – and they change for the better if you want it enough.

Today internet I just feel happy to be me, to be alive, to have wonderful friends, to have the love and warmth that they bring to my life and normality.


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