Award-winning comedian John Robins is welcomed to the stage for 30 minutes of stand-up about the trials of relationships and modern technology.
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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Thank you very much. Hello, everyone.
I'm John Robins, and thank you very much for having me here.
A remarkable vibe!
A relatively good vibe.
That's what I like in a room, just a sort of, you know,
"We like you but you're going to have to earn it!"
So, er...the show begins thus.
My girlfriend went away for four weeks to Australia,
and in the run-up to her going away,
she was very concerned about how we'd cope, OK,
how we'd cope with the emotional wrench of being apart
for that long, how we'd cope with the time difference,
how we'd manage to stay in touch regularly over that time,
and there were a lot of discussions about that before she left.
..sort of less worried about that, to be honest.
But she was very concerned.
What I was mainly thinking in the run-up to my girlfriend
going to Australia for four weeks was...
"Whey! Weeey! Lads, lads, lads!
"Down the pub! Glug glug glug!"
That's a pint glass, by the way.
So the minute she's out the door, I'm straight on the old blower.
The iBlower 6!
Scrolling down through the Rolodex of legends.
Who's first for the big swig?
Michael. Yes, please!
Hey, Michael, it's Robins! Lads, lads, lads! Glug, glug, glug!
A pint glass, yes.
Mate, she's gone! You and me, four weeks, drinking till dawn!
What? Why are we whispering?
I know it's after ten. Ten is the hour of legends.
What does it matter if it's asleep?
Oh, I thought you'd bought a dog!
Because Bonnie is a dog's name.
But you can still come round, can't you?
A week on Friday?!
No! I'll be dead a week on Friday.
Swigged to death in my prime.
Well, can't you get a baby-sitter?
Well, put it in the boot!
And it turns out, he's not available, right?
A lot of the big dogs not available!
Have to scroll down a bit further through the Rolodex of legends.
I then find myself wandering into the realm of acquaintances.
At one low moment, I even considered joining LinkedIn!
And it begins to dawn on me, in my arrogance,
I've just assumed for the past three years my mates have been
huddled round their calendars waiting for the master
to free up four weeks of drinking time - turns out they've moved on!
Their girlfriends aren't away, their kids exist... Eg, right,
they've got jobs now. Proper jobs, like adult jobs.
Not adult jobs...adult jobs,
eg, right, a girl I kissed when I was 17,
I found out recently is now headmistress of a primary school!
What is that?! That's not a job for bright young things!
We're still young! Her name's Layla!
Layla's not headmistress of a primary school!
Sue is headmistress of a primary school! Gill! Pam! Not Layla!
Layla had a tattoo, she had a lip piercing,
she looked as if she'd like it up the...
She can't be...headmistress of a primary school!
So I put the phone down and it hits me
like a train that the only thing that makes my life fun
and engaging and bearable has left not just the country
but the hemisphere for a month,
and I'm passing my bathroom and I caught my reflection in the mirror,
and there was just this moment of utter self-awareness
where I saw my reflection and thought, "Oh, God, no! Not you!
"Not you and your thoughts for a whole month! I hate you!
"You're the reason we had to get a girlfriend in the first place!
"Cos this doesn't work! We tried this. Remember this?
"This goes to the Polish shop at four in the afternoon,
"buys cherry vodka and drinks it on the way home!"
And my mind begins to fill with all the everyday things that lose
their magic when she's not there,
because that's what I think love is, you know?
We've been told that love is this sort of Facebook cover photo
of a couple drinking a cocktail at sunset in front of
the Eiffel Tower, but when did that last happen?
Love is a daily thing, you know, it's a domestic thing,
it's those little injections of fun that make you realise you're with
the right person, like when they sneak behind you when you're
washing up and jib you in the ribs, and you're like, "Argh! Jesus!
"Don't want jibbing in the ribs while I'm washing up, actually!"
But secretly you want them to cos it's fun.
And you flick a bit of water out the washing up at them.
That's what keeps the darkness at bay!
Or when you talk them down from the ledge when the binbag splits.
That's why we have people in our lives, isn't it?
The other day,
she was emptying the bin and I knew it was going to split cos she
doesn't buy heavy-duty binbags cos she doesn't listen to me, and she's
lifting the bag out of the bin
and the main sort of refuse heft zone is staying where it is.
Meanwhile, the bag itself is just stretching,
getting clearer and clearer till it's little more than a shadow,
and I think, "Well, that binbag's going to split but I can't tell her cos I've learned,"
and she takes it downstairs and about halfway down I hear
this cry, this shrill... Shrill is the word.
A sound I've not heard my girlfriend make before,
cos I'm not much in the bedroom.
I thought, "Well, that binbag's split, hasn't it?
"Time to go and lighten the atmos
"with a few choice quips about why we use heavy-duty binbags."
My favourite thing in the world is when it'll be like
a Tuesday night, a week night,
and we've stayed up late watching something on Netflix, and I've not
mentioned how hot any of the female characters are,
cos I have learned, turns out no matter how fictional Kalinda from
The Good Wife, she is still a real world threat to our relationship.
And an episode ends, and we turn to each other and both of us
wants one thing more than anything else on Earth...
One of us will say, "Can we watch another one?"
And every time, the response is the same. "Yeah.
"We can watch another one. And maybe another one after that."
Yes, please! More of that in my life!
However, you take her out of that scenario...
a much bleaker scene awaits.
Without her, that is me sat on a beanbag
surrounded by empty cans of diet Coke and half a bottle of rum,
at quarter past one in the morning,
watching credits roll, thinking, "Oh, God.
"You're going to watch another one, aren't you?
"Oh, John, you've already watched five in a row! Christ, man!
"You have no self-control, John!
"You've got things to do tomorrow.
"God, you're a child!
"Hm. And you've got Bombay mix all down you.
"How have you got Bombay mix all down you? Ah.
"You ate that Bombay mix, didn't you? Oh, John.
"That's been in the drawer since we moved in.
"John, you've just eaten the previous tenant's Bombay mix.
"Does Bombay mix go off?
"I don't suppose it does, really, does it?
"It goes soft.
"Like a biscuit.
"Cos biscuits go soft, but cakes go hard.
"People don't think that's important
"but it has ramifications for tax purposes,
"cos there's VAT on biscuits but not on cakes.
"Or is it the other way round? Is it VAT on cakes but not on biscuits?
"Oh, God, not this again!
"Oh, God, the endless biscuit-cake VAT debate that rages in your brain!
"Christ, man! Google it or forget about it!
"Oh, you, always, you - your thoughts going round and round!
"Your head is like a sewer, man!
"In 1997, I read an interview with Johnny Vaughan.
"He said the only way he could deal with the mornings was to get
"in the shower as quickly as possible.
I've thought about that interview every time I've had a shower since 1997!
"That's over 7,000 times I've thought about Johnny Vaughan in the shower.
"Imagine being me!
"My girlfriend asked me why we never had sex in the shower
"and I'm not man enough to tell her it's because he's there!
"Put another one on. Block this out. God.
"Oh, it's going to be two more rum and diet Cokes.
"You never pour singles.
"You always pour home measures.
"Like they talk about in health reports.
"What they never mention is that home measures taste better,
"cos it's got more booze in it.
"That means My Fitness Pal's going to hear about this sordid little affair."
For four weeks, My Fitness Pal was my only pal!
Don't know if you're familiar with My Fitness Pal.
It's an app, and you put into it all the food that you eat
so you never have to exercise.
And the reason it's my best friend is cos it'll tell me
when I'm approaching my daily salt limit,
but says absolutely nothing about eight rum and diet Cokes.
Which, if I'm honest with you,
is all I'm really looking for in a friend.
Just someone who every so often taps you on the shoulder and goes,
"Hey, there, cowboy, just FYI,
"that half bag of 2012 Bombay mix
"has put you within nudging distance of 2,600 milligrams of sodium.
"Now, what's that, I hear you ask - well, these aren't my figures -
"these are EU figures.
"2,600 milligrams of sodium is your daily salt limit, so, er,
"maybe steer clear of the old salt from here on in. Not a problem.
"Not a problem. Catch you later, Captain Big Dick.
"What's that? Bottle of Captain Morgans?
"Fucking go for it, you legend!
"There's no salt in it, mate!
"Yeah! Tis the genius of rum!
"Last thing you want on the high seas is a salty drink.
"Especially when you're already surrounded by 'seamen.'"
You're welcome. You're welcome. You're welcome.
That joke is included in the ticket price.
Now, we did have one tricky day.
Requires a bit of back story, the old tricky day.
You see, my girlfriend is making a stand.
And she's refusing to buy an iPhone.
No way, Jose!
You're not going to snare her in your corporate web, Apple!
Because she's read articles, actually. Hm. Hm. Hm.
Articles that you and I probably haven't taken the time to read.
And, the way she's avoided having to buy an iPhone is she's got
a six-year-old Nokia and an iPod Touch.
Take that, Apple!
How do you like them apples?
And her thinking on this is very simple, OK?
She's going to use the six-year-old Nokia for calls and texts
and the iPod Touch for internet when she has access to Wi-Fi.
"I've got a question, John." Do go ahead.
"What does she do for internet when she doesn't have access to Wi-Fi?"
Great question, and I'm going to field that one first, if I may.
When she doesn't have access to Wi-Fi,
she will check the internet on my iPhone.
And it's a system that suits us both cos it tends to only really
come up about 20 to 30 times a day.
And the more I suggest life might be a touch easier were she to
buy an iPhone, the more it hardens her resolve not to,
and in fact, me telling my girlfriend to buy an iPhone
has made it onto her list of the most passive-aggressive things I say.
Which includes, amongst others,
"I think you look best in whatever's quickest to put on..."
..and, "Did you know you can control individual radiators?"
So, she's on my phone a lot, right?
Two weeks after she left, I received a text from my girlfriend.
What a lovely treat.
Always nice to receive a text from your partner when they're away.
I'm going to repeat the text for you, OK,
and we're going to play a game - just a little, fun game, all right?
What we're going to do is we're just going to see if we can spot
where in the text it moves to all capital letters.
Not going to tell you when. It's just a fun game. It's a fun game for us to play in our own heads, OK?
The text said,
"Hey, I must have left myself signed in to Gmail on your iPhone
"because I can see everything you've looked at on the internet for the past three months."
Fuck! Fuck! Shit!
The bed, mate!
That can't happen!
Let me tell you a little cautionary tale.
I use Yahoo mail and my girlfriend uses Gmail.
I don't know how we make it work - we just do.
But Yahoo mail, big funny Yahoo mail, you sign into that,
what you got there? I'll tell you what you got -
got your e-mails, nice. Crucially, once you've finished reading those,
when you close that window down, you are out of there.
Your business with Yahoo is now at an end.
However, unbeknownst to me and my girlfriend -
that is the crucial word in this story - unbeknownst -
when you sign into Gmail,
Google, right, cos he's nice,
signs you into a myriad of other services, OK?
Signs you into YouTube, all right?
Cos that's clear that they're affiliated, isn't it, cos of the name?
Signs you into Google Circle, whatever the merry fuck that is.
Now, I'm no IT whiz, but I'm pretty sure Google Circle hasn't worked out the way they planned.
As far as I'm aware, the only person actually using Google Circle
is a guy I kind of knew at uni,
and like every week, I get a little message going,
"Hey, James wants to hang out on Google Circle." And I'm like, "Well, he ain't gonna!"
And his photo's intense.
And then, somehow, Google signs you into the internet itself.
What it does from there on in, is keeps a list...
..of every website you visit...
..every search term you enter,
..takes that list, hides it in your girlfriend's internet settings,
that list gets deleted every never...
..presumably so that when your girlfried is on the other side of the world
trying to work out how to set up an out-of-office automated reply,
she goes into her internet settings and goes, "Right, how do I do this?
"Oh. Huh! Bloody internet history here. Didn't know they kept that.
"What have I been looking at?
"That's very strange.
"I don't remember doing...
"a Google image search for Kalinda from The Good Wife nude.
"This can't be right.
"I never spent an hour reading Amazon binbag reviews.
"God, I think my internet's been hacked!
"But by who?
"Some kind of horny dustman?!
"Hang on! Kalinda from The Good Wife.
"This is John's internet history!"
So she starts sending me screengrabs,
so she's got some fucking Wi-Fi...
..and she's just sending all of the boring stuff I've been wasting the last two days of my life with,
but I know what she's going to find
if she goes back to two weeks earlier!
I know what happened the night she left when none of my friends were around! I was alone in the world!
I had been to the Polish shop!
So I need to get online ASAP, delete the trail, delete the trail!
So I run over to my laptop, I turn that on, but it needs updates - course it sodding does!
£1,200, it needs updates every bloody week, so I'm on my phone
and I'm desperately double-tapping
between these screengrabs she's sending,
these chronicles of a harrowed man, and my open internet windows,
and I'm scrolling back through them and eventually I find the one
where I'm signed into her Gmail as her,
and in the top corner it says, "Want to sign out?" And I'm like, "Yeah, I think so!"
And I hit "sign out" and as my finger hits the screen,
it dawns on me, that's where you need to be to delete the trail!
And I haven't got the password to get back in!
And then I had my first-ever panic attack.
Oh-ho! They're a treat!
Cos it turns out a panic attack is where you can't breathe and you think you're going to die.
It is drowning and falling and drowning and falling.
I'm just... Fuck off, Google! Fuck off!
I didn't invite you round my house!
You're not my friend, you piece of shit!
I only wanted Google for the calendar...
..and the image search sometimes.
The calendar's good.
You put into it all your appointments.
Gives you a little reminder.
Christian holidays. It's great.
I haven't missed Whitsun since 2009.
But I felt so exposed.
It's worse than someone having access to your thoughts,
you know, cos I think we'd all agree,
you don't have control over your thoughts, they just pop into your head, you dismiss half of them
and think, "Oh, that's a bit racist!"
For two weeks, I had this terrible fear that she would see my internet history as like the real me,
a kind of sort of secret diary that I was keeping from her,
but, you know, my internet history isn't me. It has no nuance,
it has no context, it has no humanity.
It's just boredom and childishness.
And grisly horniness.
And she came home, she opens the door and immediately it became clear
that we weren't going to have to have any type of conversation
because she'd done the most amazing thing my girlfriend's ever done for me,
and it may sound like a small thing,
is what she'd done is once she'd taken screengrabs to tease me about the fact
that I once spent two hours watching Fruit Ninja Walkthough videos on YouTube...
..she deleted the entirety of the rest of my history
without looking at it once, and it was amazing for two reasons.
Firstly, because it meant that in an instant, she had seen and understood the internet for what it is,
which is a two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional people,
a place that can often be full of emojis
and absolutely devoid of emotions, where the way it's designed
can often be geared to display us in our worst possible light.
And secondly it was amazing because it meant that she never, ever
had to face up to the depressing reality
that shortly after her leaving to go to Australia for four weeks,
her boyfriend was Googling, "Layla, fit headmistress"
Instagram, Facebook and BeBo.
Thank you very much!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Thank you, folks!
I've been John Robins. Goodnight, goodbye!
Subtitles by Ericsson