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This programme contains adult humour and some strong language.
Ladies and gentlemen, please will you welcome onto the stage...
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Thank you. How are you? Are you OK, you all right?
Well, this is fun, isn't it? This is sort of a fun thing to be doing.
This is fun, right?
I'm quite lonely - let's start with that.
Nothing can be done about it, people of Dublin. Nothing can be done.
I bought a new flat about two years ago.
In this flat, in the bathroom, there are two sinks.
I thought that would bring me some joy.
It is a constant reminder...
And so what I've had to do, this is what I'm doing now, I'm actually doing this.
I'm using both sinks.
I now, every day, brush my teeth in the left sink,
and, in the right one, mainly cry.
I think the problem comes from the inability to just be purely in the moment, without fear.
I think we're all stuck in the past,
looking to the future, and it's in the moment where true joy exists.
It's in the moment where love can occur,
It's only in the moment where you can be fully at one with the universe.
I was in Paris recently with a new group of people,
one of which was quite a sort of kooky, interesting girl.
Although, in hindsight, not that interesting. I always get fooled.
I think, "Oh, she seems fascinating."
Is she, Simon, or does she just have short hair?
I get fascinated and end up thinking, "I'll talk to her for the rest of my life."
Bored after ten minutes. "You should grow your hair and stop misleading people."
So she suggests, at about three in the morning,
that we all run up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
I guess telling you that now, it sounds exciting and fun, but at the time I just thought,
"Why would we do that, what's the point,
"and when we get there, what will we do with our lives?"
I'm analysing what the point of it is, and it seems a long way to go,
and everyone else is just not analysing, they're just running,
and I'm running as well because of the peer pressure, cos I'm fun.
And we're all running, and everyone else is just at one with the moment,
at one with joy, at one with the universe.
And I'm running, and thinking,
"Well, this will probably make a good memory."
Which is living in the future, discussing the past with someone
who, if they asked, "What did it feel like?"
"I don't know, I was thinking about what I'd say to you."
I think it comes from childhood.
When you're a child, you're free, you're in the moment, you're not worried.
It doesn't occur to you what other people might think of you.
You don't analyse every moment, you just live moment to moment,
and then something happens where you realise you have to think before you act.
We get taught we have to think before we act.
When I was 15 - and this happened when I was 15 -
but I think it's too odd a story if I was 15, so it's better if we say I was 11.
I was in my grandparents' house, and I used to have a good relationship with my grandma.
She used to really validate me in my life.
I used to do drawings and doodles, and she'd say, "That's nice!" I'd do another drawing,
"Oh, that's nice!" Another drawing, "Oh, that's nice!" And at one point,
I distrusted the consistency of her reviews.
So I did deliberately bad drawing to see what she would say.
She said, "Oh, that's nice."
And I thought, "I can't deal with this inauthentic sycophant."
So one day - and I know now that I did this because I wanted to do something
where she couldn't validate it, where she couldn't say, "Oh, that's nice!"
But when I did it, it was purely unconscious. It was in the moment.
One day I ran up to my grandma,
and I mooned my grandma.
But I was only 11, I'm just 11.
It wasn't even like a cheeky, playful little moon and run away - funny, funny.
It was a violent, bend over, "Here's my arsehole, Grandma,"
and apparently a bit of balls as well.
She didn't say, "Oh, that's nice!"
Although I think she wanted to because she's generous and encouraging.
She just couldn't quite get there with my arsehole in her face.
She ended up saying, "Oh! OK."
It was still encouraging, still a sort of, "Oh, I see what you were going for."
So that's why I can't enjoy Paris.
I did fall in love about five years ago.
Fell in love five years ago,
but with somebody I invented, which isn't ideal.
And he was based on somebody who existed,
but because I had such low self-esteem,
I took every negative attribute I felt about myself,
converted those into positive attributes and projected those onto him.
Thus he would heal me and complete me in my life.
Initially I just liked him because he was really thin. I really like that.
Like, thinner than me - ill thin.
I don't know why I like that.
I just like the idea I could go on a date with someone,
and it could be their last date.
A lot of it is narcissism, really.
I realise my type is me, but better.
Which I think is OK.
I just need to find somebody who wants himself but much, much worse.
I went to see him in this play that he was in,
and he was really vulnerable on stage.
Vulnerability to me is quite sexually appealing.
You know there are people who are more like, "We know what we're doing,
"we've done it before, everything's fine." To me it's more sexy
if someone's a bit more, "Oh, I feel faint." You know?
It's hot, right?
I went to see this play on the press night,
so I could perhaps meet him afterwards. And weeks had been building up to this moment,
and all I could manage when I saw him at the party was a polite nod.
And I don't know if he saw it, he didn't nod back,
and then I felt awkward about approaching him at all.
And an hour went past and I couldn't approach him, then I saw him leave,
I saw him leave the theatre,
his rucksack on his back, his little beanie hat on his head.
And as he got further away,
it became harder and harder to move, and he was gone.
Three weeks go by of sadness, pain, regret.
I've turned him into the only person I can possibly be with in my life.
A lot of it was ego.
I just felt like he was going to become a great actor,
and he could make people cry, and I could become a great comedian,
and make people laugh. And if we were together...
..we could be like a two-man Robin Williams.
All the talent of Robin Williams,
but in two separate thin men.
I didn't know how I was going to meet him again.
And then, I was in a shop in Covent Garden that sells vintage clothing,
and he was there, in the shop.
I felt in that moment that God had brought us together.
I don't feel that now so much,
because it feels like the thought of a deluded moron.
And I don't want to attack religious people who may be here this evening.
It feels like an unkind thing to do, to attack religious people,
and it feels too easy, and the battle's already been won.
It just feels rude. If you're at a party,
and someone says, "I'm a Christian, I'm a Muslim, I'm a Jew," it's very rude to say,
"Oh, how ridiculous!"
I feel at this point we have to treat people with kindness
and love and respect, in the same way you treat a child running around a party,
saying, "I'm a helicopter!"
You say, "Good for you! We're all having fun! I'm a choo-choo train!"
I'm not an atheist. I'm a big fan of Jesus Christ -
there's nobody more thin or vulnerable than Jesus Christ.
And he's bleeding as well, it's very clever of them.
But I'm not an atheist for this reason.
This is the main reason I'm not an atheist.
I think I'm God a bit, and here's why.
That actor was in that shop at the same time as me.
I don't believe in coincidence.
I think coincidence is a word we invented for something we don't quite understand yet.
I read a book called Illusions: Adventures Of A Reluctant Messiah.
On the cover of this book is a blue feather
cos the character/author of this book believes in the philosophy
"thinking makes it so" - we create our own reality.
He tests this by visualising a blue feather in his fingers.
He believes, like Buddhists, that everything has already been achieved.
If he feels he has the blue feather already, it will come to him
because there's nothing opposing that idea. Later in the book, it appears.
I tested this myself with a white feather.
I felt I had the white feather in my fingers.
Not that I needed or desired the white feather, it had already been achieved.
Later I was at a picnic, I put my hand in a packet of crisps,
which is something I wouldn't normally do.
I pulled out a crisp, with a white feather on.
Which is disgusting.
But there he was, in the shop.
I don't know how you feel, maybe you think,
"He walked into the shop at the same time as you with his own legs."
No, I put him in that shop with my God mind.
Now, some people will say, if we do create our own reality,
what about the Holocaust, what about victims of child abuse -
did they create that in their world? And the thing you have to understand about that
For whatever reason he was in that shop, I knew I had to approach him
because this was a moment, and I couldn't have any more regret, um...
I also knew I couldn't go up to him with my personality.
I don't know if you can tell fully from the tone of my voice,
this is not a voice that lends itself to getting sex or relationships.
What you need is a less anxious, a cooler voice.
I don't know why there's so much anxiety in my life.
The other day, a guy approached me
and I wasn't sure if I'd met him before, and in the panic of the moment
I just said, "I've got that jumper."
And I didn't.
I went out with someone for quite a while who wasn't that keen
on that aspect of my personality.
And we were in a supermarket together,
and a friend of his, who I hadn't met before, approached us,
and because I hadn't met this guy before, I got instantly nervous.
The friend says, "What are you up to?" And I say, "A bit of shopping.
"We've got a pineapple."
An hour passes, and the boyfriend says to me, "What's wrong with you?
"Why do you always have to try to be so funny all the time?"
I said, "It wasn't funny - it was factual! There WAS a pineapple."
He said, "You deliberately chose the most humorous object in the trolley."
Well, I'm gifted.
I'm so awkward all the time - a ridiculous way to be.
But even though I believe that we're all one,
I still feel like a constant detachment, even with people I'm close to.
My mum and I have a good relationship,
but there's an inauthenticity to every conversation.
I feel like I should be able to tell her anything, but there's an awkwardness to it.
And I think it's because I came out of her vagina. that's sort of always there.
"Have you done your council tax, Simon?"
"I came out of your vagina, let's not pretend that's a normal thing to have happened.
"I came out of your vagina, I sucked on your tits - you want to talk about tax?"
With my grandma as well, still an awkwardness.
It's cos my mum came out of her, I came out of my mum - there's a Russian doll awkwardness.
I didn't want to be that person any more.
I didn't want to be that guy in front of this actor. In my ideal world,
I would have been able to go up to him and just say, "Hey,
"How are you? I saw your play the other week. It was great."
"Oh, thank you.
"Oh, of course, I remember the nod."
"Why are you crying?"
"I've got too many sinks."
"I don't know why, but I feel I need to ask you
"if you'd like to get some coffee with me or a juice or something.
"I don't know, maybe if that works out,
"we could move to the country together?"
"OK, well, let me just purchase this effortlessly cool cardigan
"and we can talk to an estate agent."
Here's what actually happened, because of my personality.
I saw him there, he hadn't seen me. He was a metre away from me. There. That thin
And, for some reason, what I thought would be really cool and seductive,
would be to just stand in the middle of the shop
and shout his full name.
He turned round, alarmed. I could see the terror in his eyes.
But I'd started at a certain volume, so it'd be odd to get quieter.
I'm just shouting at him about the good reviews that his play has had.
He's going, "Oh, I don't really read reviews."
He's all timid and vulnerable, which is why I love him!
And I think the difference between us,
because I think we were both quite shy as children...
I say "I think", I did a lot of research on him.
But he retained that shyness that makes him beautiful and sensitive.
I decided shyness was something to be overcome.
I think it's in our training.
He went to a really good acting school in London, where he was taught
to nourish his sensitivities, nurture his vulnerability.
That makes him a great actor.
I went to a Saturday morning stage school in Essex,
Where we were taught that whether we were singing, dancing or acting,
just do it loud.
So I didn't become good at any of those things.
But when I danced, people heard.
So I'm there, still shouting at him.
I realise I've got to make some sort of lasting connection with him.
It occurs to me to ask, "You must be very busy at the moment. Do you have a night off?"
He says, "I have Monday nights off."
I know of a very cool club night that happens on Mondays.
It's very cool to me, because it is such a contrast
to the Essex nightclub I went to for three years in Romford.
Three years, between the ages of 18 and 21.
Three years, every Saturday night in Romford.
Three years, every Saturday night in Romford.
Because nobody told me
that London was close.
You had to wear black trousers to get in, black shoes,
an untucked shirt. I don't like it when the dress code is basic dick.
I think it's...it's restricting.
One time - I don't know if I was being rebellious or that it'd be OK -
I wore black trainers. I thought that'd be all right.
The bouncer looked at me and said,
"You can't come in like that. You look like you've come from a gym."
Which gym do I look like I've come from?!
He's such a basic human being,
to him there's only two forms of dress - club and gym.
But now I was in London, talking to this actor.
I suggest this wonderful avant-garde club on a Monday night.
which he hadn't heard of, which meant that I could say,
"Well, I'll e-mail you the details."
That casual. He said,
"OK." I then had his e-mail address. He gave me his e-mail address.
I'd triumphed over this fear of rejection, of being in the moment.
I had his e-mail address.
And then this final moment, where we seemed to level out.
Up until now I'd been his crazed, desperate fan.
Just as I was leaving, he said, "Do I know you from something?"
I said, in as quiet and modest a way as possible,
"I sort of do this small pop show on Channel 4.
"It's on early in the morning you haven't seen it."
Thinking that he might say, "Of course! You're really funny!
Not, "Oh, OK."
In the same tone as my grandma when I showed her my arsehole.
But I had his e-mail address. I went home
and I composed the most beautiful, funny little e-mail.
Six friends confirmed it was a beautiful, funny e-mail.
I pressed send. And this is very much the end of this story.
He never e-mailed back.
Ideally, in this situation, laughter is better than pity.
But you're quite right. It's not a funny ending, is it? It's not funny.
He didn't e-mail back even something negative
that I could do something with. Just indifferent.
Not funny, is it? It's not funny.
So, not only did he ruin my life for five years...
..he's ruined this.
Fucking Martin Clunes!
It's my fault for chasing this fantasy of this quiet, mysterious actor type.
That's what I have always gone for. Some sort of...
And I didn't know what it was, I didn't know why
I kept going for the same sort of weird, vulnerable, quiet person.
And then I realised it comes directly from being about 15 years old
and watching the teen drama My So-Called Life,
starring Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano.
You may whoop and cheer, but that programme has left me damaged!
Everyone I've ever gone for has been some version of Jordan Catalano.
I watched the DVD to see what I was to do about this.
And, er, I wanted to watch the DVD to see what it was about this character.
I figured that it was these three things.
Number one, he has about four lines in every episode.
Number two, he has long hair that sometimes falls over an eye.
And he'll tuck it behind his ear.
Which is amazing, isn't it? It's just amazing.
And the third thing is that his main character trait
is that he is dyslexic.
And that's all I've ever wanted.
A near mute,
with long hair
and learning difficulties.
There's nothing wrong with those things. I don't want to offend anyone.
If that describes you in any way, I'd like to meet you.
Recently, I went to see a play in which there was an actor that I fancied,
because if you don't seek some therapy, life repeats.
This time, I was slightly better connected, I knew the playwright. We went to eat after the play.
I was sat next to the actor I fancied, talking to him
about some of the things we're discussing tonight.
Thinking makes it so - we can create our own reality.
Even if you don't buy into that in a spiritual sense, you see we live in a culture
where you can order stuff online and it comes within the next day or two. We live like that now.
So it's frustrating to not be able to order a specific human being
and have them come towards you. He says, "Who do you want?"
I say, and I hadn't thought about this for a while,
I say, "I want Jared Leto!"
He then says, in that moment, "I just did a film with Jared Leto,
"where I played the younger version of his character."
I didn't know what to do with that.
I'd only just ordered him.
He then says, out of his mouth,
"Do you want to see a sex scene I did as the young Jared Leto?"
I say, "Yes."
He pulls out his iPhone,
shows me himself having sex as Jared Leto,
with long hair and naked, and I say, "Oh, that's nice."
It's so close to the fantasy, I don't know what to do. The root fantasy!
That's the young Jared Leto. It's even closer to the fantasy
than the actual Jared Leto in real life now,
who, oddly, I met about three years ago in Thailand at a full moon party. I didn't realise it was him.
I thought it was someone who looked like him, so I said to him,
"You look a lot like Jared Leto. Do you know who Jared Leto is?"
He said, "I am Jared Leto." I wasn't ready for that.
So, all I could manage to say was...
.."Your beauty in Requiem For A Dream detracted from the narrative."
He thanked me and walked away.
This was so close to the fantasy.
Also, there was the fear of rejection, as there always is.
I felt there was a flirty vibe between us, but wasn't sure. And I have to be sure.
Running up the Champs-Elysees with the people in Paris,
one asked if he could come back to my hotel room that night.
He said the Metro wouldn't get him back to his hotel.
I knew he was making that up, and liked me a bit, but I didn't know.
We were in my hotel room under the covers, half naked, I'm still going,
"My God, but what is this? I don't know what this is.
"What is this? My penis is in his mouth, but is he joking?"
It was too close to the fantasy. There was a fear of rejection, I didn't know what to do.
So I did what I always do - I ignored him completely, became friends with somebody he knows quite well
and now, every Sunday, she is teaching me piano.
It's too close to the fantasy, it was too much for me.
I should've remembered what my mum used to say about how you can be or do anything you want in this life,
because everyone you see on TV or on film,
they all shit!
She used to say that a lot.
She would point at the television and say...
"Shit comes out of them.
"You'll be a star."
I feel like we're all damaged, in a way. We're all sort of damaged.
You're damaged. We're all damaged. You look quite damaged. You damaged?
A little bit, yeah.
And I don't mind that so much.
I feel like that's where the good stuff comes from.
Comedy exists, because we have tragedy.
That's the way it works - tragedy, plus time, equals comedy,
although I realised what the formula really should be
is tragedy, plus time, plus joke.
You can't just be involved in an horrific tragedy
And I feel special in some way, if I feel broken.
If I'm broken, there's a journey to be healed, a journey to be fixed.
I feel like I'm an interesting, unique human being.
In the meaningless of it all, I feel unique, I feel special.
I like that I've got an osteopath appointment once a month,
where I go because I've got bad posture.
Something happened in my past
and I guess this man is healing me each month,
bringing me to some sort of neutral state. Some pure, neutral state.
I asked him, because he's quite a sensitive, sweet man, "Why did I end up with bad posture?
"Is it because I was quite shy as kid and I ended up trying to make myself invisible from the other children?
"I ended up all hunched over and scared?"
Even though what I do now is extrovert, still, inside,
I'm the same scared, crying child. I said,
"What's wrong with me? Why did this happen to me? What is wrong with me?"
He said, "You have very tight hamstrings."
Yeah, but isn't it more that I'm a genius recluse? Isn't that the...?
"No, the tendons behind your knees are quite restricted."
"But isn't that the physical manifestation of a tortured soul?"
"No, it's your legs."
Similarly, I got ill few weeks ago, and this happened the day before.
I've got a cat. Obviously, I've got a cat.
I really thought the cat would end my loneliness.
It has only become a mascot for my loneliness.
So if anyone does come round, they go, "Oh, you've got a cat, are you quite lonely?
What's he called?"
I woke up and the cat had peed on my bed.
Because I was still half asleep,
I ended up putting my hand in the cat's pee.
I then went to grab the cat to put its head in its pee.
Not as an act of revenge. My mum had just told me
that's how you teach it not to do it again.
It doesn't work. It doesn't remember the great moral lesson of Tuesday.
It just ends up with a head covered in its own pee,
wandering around, wondering how that could have happened.
In the process of grabbing the cat, the cat scratched my hand.
The same hand where the pee was.
There was then some blood coming out of my hand,
and maybe some pee getting into my bloodstream. And I thought,
"I've got cat AIDS."
I tried not to think that cos I believe that thinking makes it so.
I woke up the next morning
and I couldn't stop vomiting into my toilet.
So violent was the vomit, it was going into my toilet,
it was all around the toilet as well, splattering all over the floor.
My cat came and put my head in the vomit.
I felt so weak and thin and pale.
I saw myself in the mirror, I thought,
On the way to the doctor, I wondered,
"Should I mention what happened with the cat?"
I felt a bit embarrassed about it, but I thought it could be relevant,
it could be relevant to what happened this morning.
I told her about the vomiting and I said,
"I don't know if this is anything but my cat yesterday peed on my bed.
"Some got on my hand and there was blood. I don't know...
"I've heard about cat AIDS."
She looked at me...
in a way that I thought doctors were trained not to look at patients.
"No, there's no way you could have cat AIDS.
"You're not a cat."
The problem is that we feel like were living into the future.
Really what we're doing is living into the past.
We're constantly repeating moments from the past, hoping for better endings.
When I'm with my family I feel like if I can just heal the past,
maybe then I can live in possibility, then the future can be a blank page
where anything could happen. Until that point,
I'm going to repeat moments from the past.
It was recently my grandpa's birthday party, his 70th,
at this restaurant in Essex. Everyone was there,
apart from my brother's girlfriend, who he's been with for four years.
She was not there on account of a couple of the family members
having a problem with her not being a Jew.
We mustn't judge them for this.
This is just because they, personally,
have a very strong belief in racism.
And that's their belief. What can you do? Nothing.
You're very lucky in Ireland, I don't suppose you've ever had
any sort of religious conflict or anything.
It's a nightmare, it's a nightmare.
You can't imagine, you can't imagine, Dublin...
That's their belief.
And we mustn't judge them because they live in Essex,
where there's not much to do. So there's a lot more time for racism.
I live in London now. God, if I had the time.
But every day, I'm walking through Oxford Street,
I see people from ethnic minorities, I think, "I should do something," but I'm so busy.
And you know, it's unfair for me just to be on the stage attacking them.
They have their perspective.
They were just trying to protect their children.
As they saw it, it was a bad example to their children.
They could end up marrying gentiles, and their kids wouldn't be Jewish.
Then they wouldn't be able to go to a Jewish school and then where would they learn paranoia?
And nobody's ever caused a drama about this in the family.
We just sort of try to keep the peace,
we try not to say anything about it
because it's genuinely believed in this family
that when my mum got divorced, which was quite a drama, it was the direct reason
for my grandpa becoming diabetic, so no-one's allowed to say anything.
So they say these offensive things and I'm sat there going,
"If this was being televised, people would boo you."
And then, near the end of the dinner,
because I've been on a few courses to try and make my life happier,
I say to these members of my family, in a sort of sweet and polite
a way as possible, "Isn't it a shame that my brother
"couldn't bring his girlfriend tonight? Isn't it sort of a shame?"
So they get quite defensive, and say,
"We thought she would be here. Why isn't she here?"
And I say, "Oh, isn't it because of that time
"that you said, 'She can't be here?' "
And I ask, "Just explain to me,
"why is the belief more important than the feelings of a human being?"
And it's so sad cos she's a brunette. She could pass.
And then my brother comes over and just start swearing at them
and it becomes a bit intense and I say, "No, it's all right,
"Calm down, I've been on a course."
And this is at the point when the cake is supposed to come,
we should be singing Happy birthday, and now my grandpa is crying,
partly because of the drama I created
and partly because he can't eat the cake.
And it's a tricky business, the whole thing's the tricky business.
It's then suggested that we go back to my mum's house
and resolve this and I feel very awkward about the whole thing
because we don't have drama in this family and now I've created one
and I've got to resolve it. We've got to debate about who's right or wrong,
and as a child, I was quite into debate and opinions,
and now I just feel like debate and politics is the opposite of truth,
the opposite of beauty, the opposite of joy.
What I was younger, I went to see the Vanessa Feltz talk show being filmed.
There's nothing we can do. It happened, it happened.
The subject up for debate that day was, "Should I murder my husband?"
At the beginning of the show, the floor manager told us,
"The best opinion today will win a bottle of champagne."
So there's everything to play for.
Should she or shouldn't she murder her husband?
20 minutes go by and people say some very interesting things.
And I, at about 14 years old, stand up and say,
"I think you shouldn't murder your husband
"cos you could go to prison."
And I won a bottle of champagne.
And whether it's a lowbrow, stupid,
daytime TV show debate like that or a highbrow, Question Time
political debate, it's the same inane,
nonsensical, cyclical, boring topics. And we go round and round in circles
debating the same things over and over again.
Somehow we take out logic and prior knowledge from our collective minds.
I think it's quite similar to what happened to me
when I did magic mushrooms a few years ago.
Somehow I was able to say to my friend, on mushrooms,
and I think it's the sort of conversation we all have constantly,
that stops us from progressing at the speed that we could.
"Isn't it odd how when you say to someone,
" 'Oh, do you want to meet up for some dinner next Thursday?,'
"the dinner is a lie? What you're really saying is,
" 'It'd be nice to meet up. I haven't seen you for ages.' Why do we have this dinner cover?
"How do you know how hungry you'll be on Thursday?
"Why can't we say, 'It'd be nice to meet up'? There should be a place to meet,
"the meeting place, an indoor place, you walk in, sit down,
"there's just chairs, you sit down and you look at each other and you meet
"and it's truthful, it's authentic, it's beautiful."
And then I thought, "After about half an hour there,
"you could get a bit hungry."
And I invented the restaurant.
So I didn't want have this debate with my family,
who was right or wrong. It's a very difficult thing.
We continue to debate because there's no truth, just perspective.
Their prospective was that it was a misunderstanding
and the one time they met her, she hadn't said hello to THEM,
and I had to explain that she was the shy new guest
coming into this family. We are hosting HER,
WE have to say hello first. That's how it works.
I don't know if I only know that from presenting TV shows,
where you start with "Hello and welcome to the show",
you don't stare at the audience.
I had to explain it to them like they were children.
I said, why can't we learn from Lumiere, the candlestick holder from Beauty and the Beast,
who sang Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest, not Is She A Jew?
But this is unfair because I realised in everything I was saying,
what was underneath my words was essentially,
"Why can't you just be less judgmental and more like me?"
which is judgmental.
And arrogant to try and change someone's perspective
just so that the world can seem better for you.
It's important that we have these contrasts.
Nothing gets created from things being the same.
It's from life's contrasts that anything happens.
I realised in the end that I couldn't change them,
all I could do was change my perspective on them
and then move on with my life. All you can really do in your life
is change yourself and that's hard enough.
I really wanted to change myself a lot last year
cos I felt I wasn't getting enough sex.
And that's a fun thing to do. Is a shame not to have more of it.
And the reason I wasn't achieving the getting of more sex
was because I would see somebody at a party I really liked
and I'd think, "Gosh, well, he seems just about perfect.
"Who knows what could happen? I could end up spending my life with him."
And what I would do every time to woo him, to pursue him,
to make him see that I was the one for him,
is I would go home and hope that I saw him again.
Because, for me, to go up to someone and say, "Hello, what's your name?"
a perfectly lovely question, nothing wrong with that question.
It's a delightful, curious question,
but to me it would definitely come out like
CREEPY VOICE: "Hello, what's your name?"
So I couldn't talk to people. I couldn't talk to people.
And then I saw the film Waking Life.
I don't know if you've seen it but one line stood out for me.
"Actual self-awareness is the knowledge
"that you're a character in someone else's dream."
I love this idea that it could all be a dream, somebody else's dream.
It makes everything so silly.
There's no need to fear anything, no need to feel anxious about anything.
It's all a dream and if you're playing a character that isn't serving you,
that shy, anxious character who can't talk to people,
let go of the character. Become a different character.
I was out with a friend, walking through the streets of North London
on a Sunday afternoon. In the time that we were together,
he got the phone numbers of about four different girls.
His thing is he's able to go to girls and say "Hello, what's your name?"
They exchanged phone numbers and then later, they have sex.
That's a better system than mine.
I said, "You've got to do this for me."
He then spots this guy that I've been looking at
and before I can run away scared of what might occur,
he just saunters up to this guy and says "Hello, young man.
"You look like a fun chap. What are you up to today in your life?"
And this young student guy says, "I'm meeting some friends in the park."
And my friend says, "Well, we must join you."
And for some reason, this guy doesn't say...
I think it's cos my friend said, "We must."
And so he went, "Oh, well, if you're in charge of the world, OK."
Cos that's what my friend's putting out,
that his character can grab someone from the universe,
throw them in his hot tub and fuck them.
We're now sat in this park with these people
and everyone's acting nonchalant, like it's a normal thing to have happened.
But at least in my head, I'm screaming,
"But we're all strangers!"
I try to chat up the one that I like. I say...
"You look like the cool one in the group."
Because I don't know how to talk to humans.
So my friend then rescues me and says,
"Why don't you two exchange phone numbers now?
"We must move on with our lives."
So we do exchange phone numbers because he's told us to.
We walk away and I acknowledge
that what's happened has been quite special.
Generally in life, we feel we're in control
but we're just ants wandering around,
hoping to avoid bumping into each other, as humans,
hoping to avoid doing anything that might embarrass us,
and this was a moment of grabbing a moment from the universe
without any fear. We're not in control of our lives,
you're not in control of your lives.
I aware half of the people in here are only here because the person next to you likes me.
WHOOPS AND APPLAUSE
Maybe more than half, maybe...
And I'm not in control of my life. Even being here tonight,
it's just that something happened in my childhood, a moment of fear,
I responded with something funny and that worked.
So I carried on and now I'm here talking to you,
into a microphone... QUIET: ..which I don't need.
Just cos it gives the impression I'm definitely a stand-up comedian.
QUIET: I'm just a man standing.
And unless you grab these moments,
life just is cyclical and repetitive.
Do you know what I was thinking about
when I was in the toilet the other morning?
"Again?! It's always the same, isn't it?"
Once, about six years ago, I had a green shit.
And it looked at me as if to say,
"Perhaps everything will be different now".
It wasn't. It wasn't.
Goatee beard, huh?
Do you think that's going to help?
I don't know, you think, you shave that bit and that bit,
and we're all still going to die.
So I asked my friend, "What do you want me to do now?
"Text him next week and see what he's up to?"
He said, "No! Just text him now and see what he's doing tonight."
I said, "This is a bit keen. Shouldn't I play hard to get a bit?"
He said, "You don't play hard to get. You just picked someone up in a park!"
And he was right. This stupid game based on fear, this hard-to-get game.
We don't play it in any other area of our lives.
In a supermarket, if you think, "I fancy potatoes,"
you don't go, "Oh, best to avoid eye contact."
You grab the potato, bloody eat it.
The only difference between a potato and a person is a fear of rejection.
That's not the only difference.
Everything's a choice between fear and love.
We may as well choose love, because death is coming.
Death is coming.
Death is coming.
So I texted him there and then, because death...
And he was free that night. He was free that night.
We were going on a date that night.
We'd met that day, we were going on this date that night.
I feel alive, I feel like I'm living some sort of dreamlike existence.
My friend then gives me tips on how to have sex with him that evening,
because that is what this is about, grabbing this moment from the universe
without judgment or fear.
We still judge ourselves on sex, and we add so much meaning to it,
as we add meaning to everything.
Sex can just be fun. It can just be fun.
It can just be fun.
No-one ever says, "Oh, you're playing all that tennis. Where's it leading?"
"Did you enjoy your tennis game?"
"Well, it was just meaningless, wasn't it?"
His tips were...
don't talk about the past, don't discuss the future.
This is just about this moment.
Just keep saying the words "spontaneous" and "adventure".
"Aren't we spontaneous? What an adventure we've been on today.
"We met today and we spontaneously decided to be here right now.
"What an adventure it has been. What an adventure it could continue to be.
"Aren't we spontaneous? When was the last time you were spontaneous?"
He taught me two things that day.
One, some confidence - cos why be timid?
Death is coming.
We can just have anything we want in our lives, and the only thing to fear is death,
and that's happening anyway.
The real problem, I find, is that we're getting older,
and we have to be here for that.
I turned 30 last year,
and it was a bit of a crisis leading up to it, culminating in this.
I was at the theatre, and I saw somebody who turned out to be 18. OK?
So he was 18. All right?
But he was so thin!
And he was with a woman who turned out to be
his mother, but she, it turned out, was a fan of mine, so that's good.
She likes my work, I like her son. Great.
Also, I've worked hard since the age of 14 to get to wherever the hell I am today,
so if she's taken enjoyment from my work, I think I've earned her child.
We get talking, and they're uber-middle class.
I'm from Essex, and this feels like I've arrived.
We're talking about the play, poetry, having a wonderful time.
I don't like to caricature, cos it feels crude and untrue.
I wouldn't say this if it wasn't the case.
He is speaking in that stereotypical way we imagine posh people speak,
like that sort of "Fwoh-fwoh-fwoh", like that.
He's actually speaking like that,
like there's no need for him to be able to speak,
like his mouth is full of pound coins.
I don't know what it is.
But I'm having a lovely time with both of them,
and then after the play I meet up with just him outside the theatre. We're sat on the steps.
It's about 11:30 in the evening.
There's a frisson between us, romance in the air.
His mother comes round the corner, and I feel awkward.
I think, "The mother must love him and is protective of him."
And she just says to him, "OK, goodbye, darling. See you later."
Leaves me with her son. So I thought,
"Well, she's given him to me."
So I took him.
He took me to this restaurant that he knew.
We went to this restaurant and spoke for two hours.
And he was actually much more mature and intelligent than you'd imagine for 18,
and all those other things that people like me say.
We started meeting up for these kind-of-dates.
They weren't defined as such, but they were dates.
Eventually, I invited him back to my flat.
I felt strange and torn about inviting him.
I wasn't sure if it'd be a bit too much for him.
I'm not good at making the first move, like in terms of the first kiss.
And I thought I would have to, cos I'm the responsible adult here.
And then we were sat for, like, three hours on my sofa, just talking,
and I couldn't make the move. I felt awkward about it.
And it was hard for him as well, cos he's straight, so it's difficult.
But everything is seemingly leading towards this kiss.
We're edging close to each other on the sofa.
And I realised I had to kiss him,
because I found myself fiddling with his hair.
And I thought, "I've got to do the kiss now, because that's a precursor to a kiss."
If you don't then do the kiss, you're just a weirdo who likes hair.
"Oh, it's been lovely touching your hair this evening.
"Let yourself out."
So I leaned in, and I kissed him on the lips and said,
"I've just kissed you on the lips.
"Is that OK?" And he said,
POSH VOICE: "Oh, yah, that's fine, that's fine."
And in that moment, I won £7.
I leaned in again, I kissed him again.
I said, "I've just kissed you on the lips again,"
because kids love repetition.
But we were having a laugh about it.
I tried to make it fun, and I was making him laugh.
He really liked that I kept doing,
"Who is it? It's me."
He loved that.
And it was a really lovely experience for both of us.
Don't regret any of it. It was a wonderful, beautiful, sensual evening,
and I don't feel any shame or regret about it.
There's one thing that makes me feel slightly odd about it,
and it is that he did describe what we had done afterwards
"A bit nervous at first, but, in the end, lovely bit of rumbly-tumbly."
Now, look, it's not ideal being with an 18-year-old.
Nothing we could do about the fact
if I'd met him five weeks before that, he would have been 17.
Nothing we can do, nothing the police can do. No-one can do anything!
I realise now that as well as being a worry about getting older,
it was also an attempt to heal the past.
When I was 18, it seemed impossible
to be with another 18-year-old,
so this was a moment of trying to heal
that broken moment from the past.
The great lesson in all of this came a few months ago.
I had received a big bill to do with my flat.
It was frustrating, it felt like an injustice.
It was just this stupid, boring bill. Nothing I could do about it.
And I was really annoyed by it,
and I got in this minicab
and I started telling the cab driver about it.
He said to me,
"Is there anything you can do about this bill?"
And I said, "No, there's nothing I can do. It's a real injustice."
And he said,
"What do you mean, whispering, wise cab driver?"
And he explained so absurdly simply
that if there's nothing you can do about something, then you do nothing.
In that moment, the feeling of injustice, of frustration,
it was lifted, it was gone. There was nothing to do.
I realised I'd made it up that it was an injustice,
I'd made up the frustration. It was all a story.
And it's the same with the past. You can't change the past.
There's no need to heal it. It's a story you've created.
All you can do is let go of the story.
You can't change yourself. All you can do is let go of the story of who you are,
let go of the character you've created from fear.
You can't change other people.
All you can do is let go of your limited perspective of them.
I really tried hard with my family
on that stupid debate about my brother and his girlfriend.
And they stuck with their perception, as they have a right to do.
They said, "It's not our fault, it's your mother.
"She would rather that he was with a Jewish girl."
And my mum said, "No, what I've said is in an ideal world
"he would be, but I'm happy that he's happy."
It sounds positive, but she's creating another world
where he's with someone else.
So I said, "We've got to let go of this idea of an ideal world.
"The world is how you perceive it. It's ideal if you want it to be.
"And they're in love. Surely love is the ideal."
And I won a bottle of champagne.
Thank you very much for coming. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
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