John Robins Live from the BBC


John Robins

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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Transcript


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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Hello!

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Hello!

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Thank you very much. Hello, everyone.

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I'm John Robins, and thank you very much for having me here.

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A remarkable vibe!

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-Whoo!

-Ooh!

-Hm! Er...

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A relatively good vibe.

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That's what I like in a room, just a sort of, you know,

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"We like you but you're going to have to earn it!"

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So, er...the show begins thus.

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My girlfriend went away for four weeks to Australia,

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and in the run-up to her going away,

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she was very concerned about how we'd cope, OK,

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how we'd cope with the emotional wrench of being apart

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for that long, how we'd cope with the time difference,

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how we'd manage to stay in touch regularly over that time,

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and there were a lot of discussions about that before she left.

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I...

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..sort of less worried about that, to be honest.

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But she was very concerned.

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What I was mainly thinking in the run-up to my girlfriend

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going to Australia for four weeks was...

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"Whey! Weeey! Lads, lads, lads!

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"Down the pub! Glug glug glug!"

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That's a pint glass, by the way.

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So the minute she's out the door, I'm straight on the old blower.

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The iBlower 6!

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Scrolling down through the Rolodex of legends.

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Who's first for the big swig?

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Michael. Yes, please!

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Confirmed boozer.

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It's ringing.

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Booze brothers.

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Hey, Michael, it's Robins! Lads, lads, lads! Glug, glug, glug!

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A pint glass, yes.

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Mate, she's gone! You and me, four weeks, drinking till dawn!

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What? Why are we whispering?

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I know it's after ten. Ten is the hour of legends.

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Right.

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What does it matter if it's asleep?

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Oh, I thought you'd bought a dog!

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Because Bonnie is a dog's name.

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But you can still come round, can't you?

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A week on Friday?!

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No! I'll be dead a week on Friday.

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Swigged to death in my prime.

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Well, can't you get a baby-sitter?

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Well, put it in the boot!

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Hello?

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And it turns out, he's not available, right?

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A lot of the big dogs not available!

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Have to scroll down a bit further through the Rolodex of legends.

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I then find myself wandering into the realm of acquaintances.

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At one low moment, I even considered joining LinkedIn!

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And it begins to dawn on me, in my arrogance,

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I've just assumed for the past three years my mates have been

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huddled round their calendars waiting for the master

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to free up four weeks of drinking time - turns out they've moved on!

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Their girlfriends aren't away, their kids exist... Eg, right,

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they've got jobs now. Proper jobs, like adult jobs.

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Not adult jobs...adult jobs,

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eg, right, a girl I kissed when I was 17,

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I found out recently is now headmistress of a primary school!

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What is that?! That's not a job for bright young things!

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We're still young! Her name's Layla!

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Layla's not headmistress of a primary school!

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Sue!

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Sue is headmistress of a primary school! Gill! Pam! Not Layla!

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Layla had a tattoo, she had a lip piercing,

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she looked as if she'd like it up the...

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She can't be...headmistress of a primary school!

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So I put the phone down and it hits me

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like a train that the only thing that makes my life fun

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and engaging and bearable has left not just the country

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but the hemisphere for a month,

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and I'm passing my bathroom and I caught my reflection in the mirror,

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and there was just this moment of utter self-awareness

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where I saw my reflection and thought, "Oh, God, no! Not you!

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"Not you and your thoughts for a whole month! I hate you!

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"You're the reason we had to get a girlfriend in the first place!

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"Cos this doesn't work! We tried this. Remember this?

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"This goes to the Polish shop at four in the afternoon,

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"buys cherry vodka and drinks it on the way home!"

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And my mind begins to fill with all the everyday things that lose

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their magic when she's not there,

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because that's what I think love is, you know?

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We've been told that love is this sort of Facebook cover photo

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of a couple drinking a cocktail at sunset in front of

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the Eiffel Tower, but when did that last happen?

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Love is a daily thing, you know, it's a domestic thing,

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it's those little injections of fun that make you realise you're with

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the right person, like when they sneak behind you when you're

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washing up and jib you in the ribs, and you're like, "Argh! Jesus!

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"Don't want jibbing in the ribs while I'm washing up, actually!"

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But secretly you want them to cos it's fun.

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And you flick a bit of water out the washing up at them.

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That's what keeps the darkness at bay!

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Or when you talk them down from the ledge when the binbag splits.

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That's why we have people in our lives, isn't it?

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The other day,

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she was emptying the bin and I knew it was going to split cos she

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doesn't buy heavy-duty binbags cos she doesn't listen to me, and she's

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lifting the bag out of the bin

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and the main sort of refuse heft zone is staying where it is.

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Meanwhile, the bag itself is just stretching,

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getting clearer and clearer till it's little more than a shadow,

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and I think, "Well, that binbag's going to split but I can't tell her cos I've learned,"

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and she takes it downstairs and about halfway down I hear

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this cry, this shrill... Shrill is the word.

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A sound I've not heard my girlfriend make before,

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cos I'm not much in the bedroom.

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I thought, "Well, that binbag's split, hasn't it?

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"Time to go and lighten the atmos

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"with a few choice quips about why we use heavy-duty binbags."

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My favourite thing in the world is when it'll be like

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a Tuesday night, a week night,

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and we've stayed up late watching something on Netflix, and I've not

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mentioned how hot any of the female characters are,

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cos I have learned, turns out no matter how fictional Kalinda from

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The Good Wife, she is still a real world threat to our relationship.

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And an episode ends, and we turn to each other and both of us

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wants one thing more than anything else on Earth...

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One of us will say, "Can we watch another one?"

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And every time, the response is the same. "Yeah.

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"We can watch another one. And maybe another one after that."

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Holy shit!

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Yes, please! More of that in my life!

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However, you take her out of that scenario...

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a much bleaker scene awaits.

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Without her, that is me sat on a beanbag

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surrounded by empty cans of diet Coke and half a bottle of rum,

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at quarter past one in the morning,

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watching credits roll, thinking, "Oh, God.

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"You're going to watch another one, aren't you?

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"Oh, John, you've already watched five in a row! Christ, man!

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"You have no self-control, John!

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"You've got things to do tomorrow.

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"God, you're a child!

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"Hm. And you've got Bombay mix all down you.

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"How have you got Bombay mix all down you? Ah.

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"You ate that Bombay mix, didn't you? Oh, John.

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"That's been in the drawer since we moved in.

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"John, you've just eaten the previous tenant's Bombay mix.

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"Does Bombay mix go off?

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"I don't suppose it does, really, does it?

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"It goes soft.

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"Like a biscuit.

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"Cos biscuits go soft, but cakes go hard.

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"I don't...

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"People don't think that's important

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"but it has ramifications for tax purposes,

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"cos there's VAT on biscuits but not on cakes.

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"Or is it the other way round? Is it VAT on cakes but not on biscuits?

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"Oh, God, not this again!

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"Oh, God, the endless biscuit-cake VAT debate that rages in your brain!

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"Christ, man! Google it or forget about it!

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"Oh, you, always, you - your thoughts going round and round!

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"Your head is like a sewer, man!

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"In 1997, I read an interview with Johnny Vaughan.

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"He said the only way he could deal with the mornings was to get

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"in the shower as quickly as possible.

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I've thought about that interview every time I've had a shower since 1997!

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"That's over 7,000 times I've thought about Johnny Vaughan in the shower.

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"Imagine being me!

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"My girlfriend asked me why we never had sex in the shower

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"and I'm not man enough to tell her it's because he's there!

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"Put another one on. Block this out. God.

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"Oh, it's going to be two more rum and diet Cokes.

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"You never pour singles.

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"You always pour home measures.

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"Like they talk about in health reports.

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"What they never mention is that home measures taste better,

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"cos it's got more booze in it.

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"That means My Fitness Pal's going to hear about this sordid little affair."

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For four weeks, My Fitness Pal was my only pal!

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Don't know if you're familiar with My Fitness Pal.

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It's an app, and you put into it all the food that you eat

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so you never have to exercise.

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And the reason it's my best friend is cos it'll tell me

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when I'm approaching my daily salt limit,

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but says absolutely nothing about eight rum and diet Cokes.

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Which, if I'm honest with you,

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is all I'm really looking for in a friend.

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Just someone who every so often taps you on the shoulder and goes,

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"Hey, there, cowboy, just FYI,

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"that half bag of 2012 Bombay mix

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"has put you within nudging distance of 2,600 milligrams of sodium.

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"Now, what's that, I hear you ask - well, these aren't my figures -

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"these are EU figures.

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"2,600 milligrams of sodium is your daily salt limit, so, er,

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"maybe steer clear of the old salt from here on in. Not a problem.

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"Not a problem. Catch you later, Captain Big Dick.

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"What's that? Bottle of Captain Morgans?

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"Fucking go for it, you legend!

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"There's no salt in it, mate!

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"Yeah! Tis the genius of rum!

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"Last thing you want on the high seas is a salty drink.

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"Especially when you're already surrounded by 'seamen.'"

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You're welcome. You're welcome. You're welcome.

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That joke is included in the ticket price.

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Now, we did have one tricky day.

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Requires a bit of back story, the old tricky day.

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You see, my girlfriend is making a stand.

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Oh, yeah.

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And she's refusing to buy an iPhone.

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No way, Jose!

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You're not going to snare her in your corporate web, Apple!

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Because she's read articles, actually. Hm. Hm. Hm.

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Articles that you and I probably haven't taken the time to read.

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And, the way she's avoided having to buy an iPhone is she's got

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a six-year-old Nokia and an iPod Touch.

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Take that, Apple!

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How do you like them apples?

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And her thinking on this is very simple, OK?

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She's going to use the six-year-old Nokia for calls and texts

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and the iPod Touch for internet when she has access to Wi-Fi.

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"I've got a question, John." Do go ahead.

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"What does she do for internet when she doesn't have access to Wi-Fi?"

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Great question, and I'm going to field that one first, if I may.

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When she doesn't have access to Wi-Fi,

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she will check the internet on my iPhone.

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And it's a system that suits us both cos it tends to only really

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come up about 20 to 30 times a day.

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And the more I suggest life might be a touch easier were she to

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buy an iPhone, the more it hardens her resolve not to,

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and in fact, me telling my girlfriend to buy an iPhone

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has made it onto her list of the most passive-aggressive things I say.

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Which includes, amongst others,

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"I think you look best in whatever's quickest to put on..."

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..and, "Did you know you can control individual radiators?"

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So, she's on my phone a lot, right?

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Two weeks after she left, I received a text from my girlfriend.

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What a lovely treat.

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Always nice to receive a text from your partner when they're away.

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I'm going to repeat the text for you, OK,

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and we're going to play a game - just a little, fun game, all right?

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What we're going to do is we're just going to see if we can spot

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where in the text it moves to all capital letters.

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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?

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The text said,

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"Hey, I must have left myself signed in to Gmail on your iPhone

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"because I can see everything you've looked at on the internet for the past three months."

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Fuck! Fuck! Shit!

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The bed, mate!

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Holy shit!

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No!

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Arrgh!

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That can't happen!

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Let me tell you a little cautionary tale.

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I use Yahoo mail and my girlfriend uses Gmail.

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I don't know how we make it work - we just do.

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But Yahoo mail, big funny Yahoo mail, you sign into that,

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what you got there? I'll tell you what you got -

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got your e-mails, nice. Crucially, once you've finished reading those,

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when you close that window down, you are out of there.

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Your business with Yahoo is now at an end.

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However, unbeknownst to me and my girlfriend -

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that is the crucial word in this story - unbeknownst -

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when you sign into Gmail,

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Google, right, cos he's nice,

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signs you into a myriad of other services, OK?

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Signs you into YouTube, all right?

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Cos that's clear that they're affiliated, isn't it, cos of the name?

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Signs you into Google Circle, whatever the merry fuck that is.

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Now, I'm no IT whiz, but I'm pretty sure Google Circle hasn't worked out the way they planned.

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As far as I'm aware, the only person actually using Google Circle

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is a guy I kind of knew at uni,

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and like every week, I get a little message going,

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"Hey, James wants to hang out on Google Circle." And I'm like, "Well, he ain't gonna!"

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And his photo's intense.

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And then, somehow, Google signs you into the internet itself.

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What it does from there on in, is keeps a list...

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..of every website you visit...

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..every search term you enter,

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every image...

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Every image...

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..takes that list, hides it in your girlfriend's internet settings,

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that list gets deleted every never...

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..presumably so that when your girlfried is on the other side of the world

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trying to work out how to set up an out-of-office automated reply,

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she goes into her internet settings and goes, "Right, how do I do this?

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"Oh. Huh! Bloody internet history here. Didn't know they kept that.

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"What have I been looking at?

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"That's very strange.

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"I don't remember doing...

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"a Google image search for Kalinda from The Good Wife nude.

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"Hang on!

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"This can't be right.

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"I never spent an hour reading Amazon binbag reviews.

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"God, I think my internet's been hacked!

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"But by who?

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"Some kind of horny dustman?!

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"Hang on! Kalinda from The Good Wife.

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"Binbags!

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"This is John's internet history!"

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So she starts sending me screengrabs,

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so she's got some fucking Wi-Fi...

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..and she's just sending all of the boring stuff I've been wasting the last two days of my life with,

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but I know what she's going to find

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if she goes back to two weeks earlier!

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I know what happened the night she left when none of my friends were around! I was alone in the world!

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I had been to the Polish shop!

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So I need to get online ASAP, delete the trail, delete the trail!

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So I run over to my laptop, I turn that on, but it needs updates - course it sodding does!

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£1,200, it needs updates every bloody week, so I'm on my phone

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and I'm desperately double-tapping

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between these screengrabs she's sending,

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these chronicles of a harrowed man, and my open internet windows,

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and I'm scrolling back through them and eventually I find the one

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where I'm signed into her Gmail as her,

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and in the top corner it says, "Want to sign out?" And I'm like, "Yeah, I think so!"

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And I hit "sign out" and as my finger hits the screen,

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it dawns on me, that's where you need to be to delete the trail!

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And I haven't got the password to get back in!

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And then I had my first-ever panic attack.

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Oh-ho! They're a treat!

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Cos it turns out a panic attack is where you can't breathe and you think you're going to die.

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It is drowning and falling and drowning and falling.

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I'm just... Fuck off, Google! Fuck off!

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I didn't invite you round my house!

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You're not my friend, you piece of shit!

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I only wanted Google for the calendar...

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..and the image search sometimes.

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The calendar's good.

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You put into it all your appointments.

0:25:190:25:21

MOT.

0:25:220:25:23

Gives you a little reminder.

0:25:250:25:27

Dentist.

0:25:270:25:28

Christian holidays. It's great.

0:25:290:25:32

I haven't missed Whitsun since 2009.

0:25:320:25:35

But I felt so exposed.

0:25:380:25:41

It's worse than someone having access to your thoughts,

0:25:410:25:43

you know, cos I think we'd all agree,

0:25:430:25:45

you don't have control over your thoughts, they just pop into your head, you dismiss half of them

0:25:450:25:49

and think, "Oh, that's a bit racist!"

0:25:490:25:51

For two weeks, I had this terrible fear that she would see my internet history as like the real me,

0:25:540:26:03

a kind of sort of secret diary that I was keeping from her,

0:26:030:26:07

but, you know, my internet history isn't me. It has no nuance,

0:26:070:26:11

it has no context, it has no humanity.

0:26:110:26:14

It's just boredom and childishness.

0:26:140:26:17

And grisly horniness.

0:26:170:26:19

And she came home, she opens the door and immediately it became clear

0:26:210:26:26

that we weren't going to have to have any type of conversation

0:26:260:26:29

because she'd done the most amazing thing my girlfriend's ever done for me,

0:26:290:26:33

and it may sound like a small thing,

0:26:330:26:36

is what she'd done is once she'd taken screengrabs to tease me about the fact

0:26:360:26:41

that I once spent two hours watching Fruit Ninja Walkthough videos on YouTube...

0:26:410:26:46

Yes, sensei.

0:26:480:26:49

..she deleted the entirety of the rest of my history

0:26:510:26:54

without looking at it once, and it was amazing for two reasons.

0:26:540:26:57

Firstly, because it meant that in an instant, she had seen and understood the internet for what it is,

0:26:570:27:04

which is a two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional people,

0:27:040:27:08

a place that can often be full of emojis

0:27:080:27:11

and absolutely devoid of emotions, where the way it's designed

0:27:110:27:15

can often be geared to display us in our worst possible light.

0:27:150:27:20

And secondly it was amazing because it meant that she never, ever

0:27:200:27:24

had to face up to the depressing reality

0:27:240:27:28

that shortly after her leaving to go to Australia for four weeks,

0:27:280:27:32

her boyfriend was Googling, "Layla, fit headmistress"

0:27:320:27:37

on MySpace,

0:27:370:27:41

Instagram, Facebook and BeBo.

0:27:410:27:47

Thank you very much!

0:27:470:27:49

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:27:510:27:53

Thank you, folks!

0:27:550:27:57

I've been John Robins. Goodnight, goodbye!

0:28:000:28:04

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