My First Open Mic Stand Up

The story starts on a Saturday, 15 September 2018.  I was visiting Leigh Road Recreation Ground in Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK because there was an interesting display of World War II memorabilia.  Whilst visiting I wandered over to The Point, a community based entertainment centre, to see if there were any interesting comedians due to perform.

The outstanding comedic performer was Hal Cruttenden, booked for 20 September. However all tickets had been sold but I took a brochure for The Point to see what else may be available.  That evening I saw a piece written about The Comedy Lab, a regular meet up for those interested in comedy both performing and writing including collaboration and on the Sunday I made contact to see what the arrangements were.

it transpired that the group met on Wednesdays but once a month they hosted an open mic evening and as it happened the upcoming Wednesday would be one such night.  I was invited to come along and also offered a slot to perform if I should so desire.

I made a rash decision on the Sunday to have a go despite my complete lack of experience, my complete lack of a set, a full time job to be carried out that week and a day booked off on the Monday to visit the Southampton Boat Show.

I had performed a stand up routine before.  More than seven years before.  Just once, on board a cruise liner during a passenger talent contest.  But I had harboured a desire to try it out properly.  My problem was my distrust of traditional comedy venues which I understood were mainly pubs.  I rarely drink and do not frequent many public houses and was not familiar with those establishments that I discovered over the years which offered comedy.  The ‘safe’ environment of a cruise ship was much more to my liking.  The Point in Eastleigh was both local and generally known for it’s professional, stage performances alongside community style activities and dance routines for young people.  Assurances from the organiser of the Comedy Lab also suggested the crowd would be comedy fans, not overtly fuelled by hops based liquids and, crucially, supportive of new talent.

I needed a routine.  I didn’t figure in the two to three days that I would have time to write and learn something from scratch so had to develop something I had already done. As a first open mic set I wanted to do something related to a first routine so looked to adapt my previously published Podcast 001 – Beginnings.  You can find this within my past feed on this site, dated 6 August 2014.  I figured that at least I would be familiar with the structure and some lines.  Unlike the other 7.3 billion people on this planet that hadn’t downloaded it from iTunes.

I had to edit it down to under five minutes, remove references to it being a podcast and other irrelevant stuff then learn it sufficiently to perform in front of a crowd.  I made a concession by producing a ‘set list’ which, on the night, I placed on the floor in front of me, which explains some of the glancing in that direction.

I asked my wife, Lynda, to record the set which she did on my Apple iPhone X.  I subsequently produced a small, titled movie and uploaded into the Comedy category of YouTube on 25 Oct 2018.

I enjoyed the experience and so carried on doing more, different performances at The Point over the following few months in an attempt to find ‘my comedy voice’ and even did another on board performance recently.  I will chart my progress on these routines on my main web site so please visit this if you are interested.

Author: Vince Poynter

You can view the routine by accessing my YouTube channel, the link being https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHOD1mm16as
My original stand up set was on Queen Elizabeth.  It was also recorded and can be seen on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZ0bfn4khd4
This article was adapted from my web site entry within the Videos Section section dated 21 August 2019 where a transcript of the set is available
My web site can be found at vinceunlimited.co.uk/index.htm or if you are on a mobile device and want a more suitable reading experience use vinceunlimited.co.uk/mobile.htm

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Twitter Block

I had some time this weekend to idly look at Twitter.  After I had read the content of those who I follow and then browsed the interesting Twitter Trending topics I started to look for a promising subject to interact with.

The Twitter Trending topics are generally mature discussions by the time they are aired and most angles are covered by then.  Twitter is very much a now thing and subject matter is quickly outdated so getting involved on anything here is mostly futile.

My next point of call may be Twitter’s own selected suggestions.  However these are rarely useful.  With only three suggestions made and each from an algorithm that is too narrow so I usually find these pointless.

If I’m in the mood for discussion I don’t want a viewpoint that is just like my own and I certainly don’t think a conversation with someone who mostly re-tweets other people’s material would be satisfactory.  I appreciate an original thinker, someone prepared to do a little bit of writing.

Finally, in the absence of a genuine random Twitter Feed I look to the suggestions the service makes based on my perceived likes.  In my case these subjects are cars and comedians.  Naturally my tastes are wider than this of course but not according to Twitter.

So I read these offerings and often chip in with comments on the subjects that most interest me.

And, if I have some time, I seek to increase my options by looking at who else is commenting on these subjects and then possibly delve deeper into their feeds as well.

It was during a search like this that I happened upon a user who had themselves commented on a celebrity Tweet.  One that is irrelevant to this tale and now long forgotten.

I checked a little deeper and discovered that this person appeared to use the service in the way that I do.  That is to say original written content, not merely a lazy bunch of re-tweets, pictures of their food/cats or tiresome religious style quotations.  And  I noticed that they had pinned an interesting Tweet to the top of their feed which was a survey about whether a particular, named comedian was funny.

In the way the survey question was set out I immediately anticipated that the author didn’t actually want to know the answer but really wanted to take an opportunity to gather like minded dislikes.

But I noticed the survey was flawed as it offered up three options – Funny, Not Funny or Irrelevant.  You can probably already see why I jumped to the conclusion about the bias of the survey.

Anyway, in a bid to encourage this member I opened a discussion suggesting the flaw in such a survey, positing that one could conclude two answers were correct and a conversation followed.   The Tweeter even posted a ‘like’ on my comment.

They then explained it was only an attempt to measure respondents to see what sort of people they were and I replied with the point that a respondent’s Twitter avatar was not necessarily an indication of who was making the choice.

The author then clarified a point about their original Tweet and them actually seeking an Echo Chamber Effect, which is, to quote Wikipedia, ‘a metaphorical description of a situation in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system’.  They then clearly pointed out that they wanted respondents to think like they did and agree that the comedian was clearly not funny.

In actual fact, although often controversial, the comedian is highly popular so on the spectrum of comedians should generally be classed as funny given such limited choices.

So I took the survey and marked them as funny.  At which point I was able to note that I was the only one who had done this.  Twitter surveys do not let you know the trend or votes until a vote is cast, which prevents forced bias toward a less popular choice.

I wasn’t really such an outlier.  In fairness only eight others had bothered with the survey, a very low, statistically unreliable number, mostly voting for Not Funny.  This contravened an earlier claim by the author that the option Irrelevant was trending.

Then I re-engaged with the author noting this skew towards the idea that the comedian was Not Funny and added a comment that this was a typical response to a comedian’s work in general.  To reinforce the point, I also suggested that, as opposed to comics, poor actors don’t suffer from surveys about the quality of their work.

It appears that this hit a nerve.  A reply came back stating that the survey was over a week old and as I was now responding they assumed that I had actively sought out the Tweet just to be a ‘spoilsport’, along with a suggestion that I desist being such a person and a ending the message with a firm invite to leave the conversation.

A few points to note:

  • The survey was still active and had another day and some hours to finish
  • I found it because it was pinned to the top of the user’s feed.  A place Twitter users can ensure they get maximum attention
  • Twitter doesn’t work that way.  People can join and leave when they wish to.  It is a public forum
  • I could even claim it was my own conversation topic that I was being strongly invited to leave

I felt I had been unfairly libelled about the motive for my conversation and unfairly called a name.  So I decided, as is my right, to politely reply once more.

I noted that they had misinterpreted my intention, that I didn’t seek the tweet but came across it and thought it interesting so started the conversation.  I added that they now choose to terminate it, rather impolitely.  And suggested that I seemingly didn’t fit their narrative.  However I did finally note that I will leave them to it and finished off with a simple message – Be kind.

I had no intention of continuing a conversation that appeared to have reached an impasse.

However curiosity led to me checking to see if a response came and as I was reading the rude comments that were being fired back by the author to their followers, without including me, the feed suddenly disappeared.

I had been blocked.

Unable to see the rest of the continued libel and unable to respond.

It was the Twitter equivalent of someone steaming out of the room whilst shouting back abuse and slamming the door.

Let me be clear.  I do not object to being blocked.  If you can’t handle a conversation that is not feeding your own bias then that is fine.  Everybody has a right to be who they choose to be.

I find it sad, however, that this person does not wish to open their mind at all to a reasoned, alternative point of view.

And downright rude to be libellous without being subject to recourse.

After all, when all is said and done, I took some time to carefully craft an interesting conversation with a low level user of a system where my only expressed opinion was that comedian’s generally get a raw deal and I had taken some of my valuable time to take part in that person’s public survey expressing an honest opinion.  A survey which had hardly received any other traction from a person who I initially thought might deserve more than their handful of followers.  Generally I try to support those with less followers and initially thought I may have discovered another interesting person to follow.

In continuation of my polite attitude towards this exchange I have not sought to belittle the Twitterer on this platform who I had the conversation with so will not advertise their details here.

Nor will I name the comedian who was being subjected to the initial attempted trolling.  In fact it is interesting that although named in the original survey no attempt was made to involve them as no hashtag or Twitter handle was included by the original author.

However, as can be rightly conferred throughout this article I am interested in thoughts about this exchange, the merits and disadvantages of being a comedian and of learning alternative opinions.  So please feel free to comment.

And I promise you, no matter what you think I will not block you.  Because that way I am really blocking myself.

Plus, I know, it does hurt a little.

Be kind.

Author: Vince Poynter

An original article, published here first on WordPress, 26 Mar 2018

vinceunlimited Jokes [Updated]

Hello.  You are looking at a selection of vinceunlimited Jokes.

This place is destined to house all my jokes.  The trouble is that someone left the door open and most have escaped.  As soon as they are rounded up I’ll put them back here, where they belong.

Meanwhile, here are those that I managed to capture in my giggle trap.  And as is the case with all randomly collected jokes they are in no particular order.

All jokes in this section are original and devised by the website author, me.  Or taken direct from their source as discovered in conversation.  Unless otherwise acknowledged.

For a more comprehensive collection buy some Christmas crackers, or go down the pub and listen.

As this is a source of originality you may feel confident in trying to pass these off as your own. I would be powerless to stop this and wouldn’t if I could. They are here as free shareware.  However, if you have difficulty in releasing them to an appreciative audience I suggest that you use the time honoured method of joke distribution.  Tell a kid in a school playground.  There, and you thought you would never come across a website advocating soliciting a child’s attention in public!

Jokes and One liners

Added in Version 3.0 in Mar 2010

I brought a pair of high tech glasses made from memory metal.  The trouble was that they remembered they used to be a Volkswagen Beetle

The legal system is definitely favoured towards the criminal.  I committed a crime and was amazed I could get ID protection.  Admittedly as it was only a low level crime all I got was a badge saying my name is not Bill

I asked the store assistant where she kept the laxatives.  She pointed to the bottom shelf

You know when you are getting old. You start to recite vowels whilst walking down stairs…Aay…Eee…Aye…Ohh…Eughh

It is unfair to mock those with OCD, unless it is done neatly

What is it about IT people that just makes you want to poke your digit in their iSocket?

Don’t you find it annoying when foreigners insist on naming places in their own language.  It causes confusion.  For instance, when they constructed the new airport at Hong Kong and named it Chek Lap Kok I thought they called it Jet Black Cock and for weeks afterwards was musing whether pilots had trouble locating that in the Far East

I hate those TV documentaries late at night where they censor female nudity with a fuzzy camera shot.  For years I thought all women were like that.  I recall the first time seeing a naked girl and thinking “Wow! It’s in focus”

I met a girl on the train the other day.  It was a short romance.  We met at Waterloo, slept together.  Well she slept, I read the paper.  It was all over by Basingstoke.  She never writes, never calls.  I didn’t send flowers.  Then a bloke got on and sat next to me.  When he fell asleep I punched him.  Well. I’m not gay

Thin people are always hungry.  There’s a reason for the expression Fat and Content.  The trouble is I’m two stone over-content

The instructions read ‘Store in a cool place’.  Which explains why I was in Samuel Jackson’s movie trailer

Imagine a Margaret Thatcher voiced Sat-Nav.  “Make a u-turn if it’s possible” “You turn if you want to. This Lady’s not for turning”

My mate had one of those genetic tests to determine how he was going to die.  It wasn’t very accurate.  He got run over by a bus

The Volkswagen Beetle was built by Ferdinand Porsche as directed by Adolf Hitler.   However there is no truth in the rumour that the first models had three gears marked low, medium and Sieg High

Brought one of those Pringle jumpers.  A bit crunchy to wear

I did a consumer comparison test between an Apple iPhone and an actual apple.  The apple won out in the drop and submerging tests.  Next time I’ll be comparing a Palm Pre with a palm tree

I don’t mind that today’s teenagers are unfit.  At least I’ll be able to catch the chubby bastards when they nick my mobile phone

Added in Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

I dated a girl with a hatchback. Still, she’s had traction now

Added in Version 2.01 in Jul 2005

There was mass confusion everywhere and all the city rail stations were closed – In fact the only station open was Panic Station

Added in Version 1.03 in Feb 2005

How did medieval knights ever get on?  They could only move two places forward and one to the right

A conservationist was having trouble recording the number of elephants in his wildlife park so asked his friend if he had any ideas.  He explained that the elephants were difficult to count from his helicopter because their grey skin was camouflaged against the terrain.  His friend was a geneticist so suggested that the elephants could be bred orange by mixing their genes with those of a carrot.  An experiment was tried and was successful so from then on all the new elephants were born orange and could be seen from the air.  To celebrate the success the two friends met up for a meal at the geneticist’s favourite restaurant.  They ordered the roast and were served the meat, potatoes and two veg.  On delivery of the meal all the carrots leapt up off the geneticist’s plate.  “There,” he explained to his friend “I don’t like carrots and carrots never forget”

I used to lay back in my car and scrawl the name of my favourite rock groups on the roof.  They are all headline bands now

First published in Version 1.02 in Mar 2004

Did you hear about the soldier who was drafted into service without his consent?  He was waiting in his school careers office.  Someone called out “Next”.  He replied “Ah. Me”

“My name’s Bond.  James Bond.  The first James Bond.  They call me Premium Bond.  00-7 is my code.  00-6 was my predecessor.  00-gauge is my railway collection.  My archenemy is Scaramango.  He has a habit of wanting to take over the world.  Not his worst habit, that’s his chain-smoking.  I call him the man with the golden lung.  My first boss was known as M.  I can now reveal that his name was Mick.  My second boss was known as N.  I can now reveal that his name was Nick.  My current boss is known as P.  But, as you can imagine, I cannot reveal his name”

“My name is Bond. That’s James Bond.  I’ve been played by Connery and Moore.  I live and let live all ’round the world.  Best of all I’ve seen Pussy Galore”

I used to be a psychiatric case but I’ve recovered now.  I’m a suitcase

My wife is so obsessed with cleanliness.  When we go to a party she takes a bottle of mouthwash

How do blind dates find where they are meant to meet?

If you made a fortune drilling for milk in the Middle East, would you be a milk Sheikh?

After driving across Europe, I knew I was back in Britain.  The washer bottle froze

I’m not saying that the flat we bought was small.  It’s just that in the bedroom we had a wall-to-wall carpet tile fitted

My Favourite Joke

First published in Version 1.02 in Mar 2004

And now, my favourite joke of all time.  Not, original by me, I wouldn’t be so presumptive.  It’s better than mine, so if you are the rightful owner of this joke please advise me and I’ll give acknowledgement.

A customer enters a pet shop and asks for a wasp.  The confused shop owner advises that he doesn’t sell them.  Unrepentant the customer pleads, “But, I saw one in your window yesterday”

[Not So] Famous Quotations

Finally, a selection of not so famous quotes.

First published in Version 1.02 in Mar 2004

Tutankhamen: “Do you normally build the roof first?”

Moses (before speaking to God): “Fire! Fire!”

Joseph: “Don’t look at me, Mary”

The Ancient Mariner: “Anyone for Albatross?”

The Wizard of Oz (to his builder): “I don’t care what you think.  I want it yellow”

Further Chortling

So, that’s the start. With the jokes from my website Versions 1.02 dated Mar 2004 to 3.0 dated Mar 2010.  More will inevitably follow as sure as night follows Thursday morning.  In time this website section will be chock-a-block with all the amusing, fun and clever jokes from the mind and keyboard of vinceunlimited.

If you want more vinceunlimited humour there is loads of it smattered around my Twitter feed.

For more snappy quips, check out my vQuotes page on my website.

Or look at your own knees.  Obviously not as funny as mine.  But that’s all there is for now.

If you can’t wait for more mirth then put finger to keyboard and email me a request.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Jokes section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 2 Aug 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004 with updates as indicated above

The Will

A Comic Stage Play by Vince Poynter

Concept

This is the first part of a stage play, a comedy set in a solicitor’s office.

A family is invited to the reading of the will of a deceased relative who died leaving a substantial income.

The will is read and certain requirements are requested to be made.

Firstly, a large chest is brought out which contains many fancy dress costumes which the potential beneficiaries must wear in order to lighten proceedings.

Secondly, a set of buzzers, lights and scoreboards are produced and a quiz is set up to award points on a pounds for points basis.

The intention is to find out just how far people will go for money?

Will they ultimately kill each other for greed?

Characters:

Solicitor: Randford, a pompous middle aged serious man. Thoughtful and calm.

Solicitor’s Assistant: Trisha, a lazy first year trainee, intelligent but without common sense. Excitable but clumsy.

Wife: Wendy White, a hypochondraic (with reason) in her late 30’s. Fussy and bitter.

Adopted Son: Griff White, a rebel without a cause. Just 20. Scruffy and greedy.

Secretary: Sonia Black, an attractive, mid-thirties woman. Single, principled and intelligent.

Dead man’s friend: Reg Franke, a mid-forties loudmouth who thinks he is funny. Conceals a secret past.

Strange Woman: Anna Daiken, a middle-aged, silent, poetic stranger. Dressed in black to match her character.

Sister: Caryl Sand, a practical and down to earth divorcee.

Dead man: Jack White, died at 40.


 

Act One

The scene is a Solicitor’s office in England, present day. It is a mid sized room of classic design, tastefully decorated and furnished. No wall area is left blank so where there are no full height bookshelves the imperial wallcovering is hardly noticed behind the original oil masters hanging from the wooden picture rail. The room is dominated by the Solicitor’s solid leather topped desk and overbearing leather chair. The desk is tidy, almost unused with an immaculate blotter. A telephone, brass lamp and brass calendar/pen holder are all deliberately laid out. In front of the desk are two simple low backed chairs. Behind this magnificent desk is a matching mahogany hat and coat stand, which with the ferociously posed full-sized stuffed upright brown bear frame the large bay area window cosseted with heavy velvet drawn curtains. The curtains conceal a generous padded matching seating area designed to discourage sitting on the low cast iron radiators behind the hat stand and bear.

A secondary desk is in the corner with a chair either side. This simple arrangement is for a secretary with computer, telephone, filing trays, pot plant and penholder. Many pens and pencils are stuffed into the holder. The filing tray is half full of papers. A jumper lays across the back of the chair. Opposite this desk is a grand leather well used two-seater Chesterfield in front of an ornate fireplace. Simple brass and porcelain ornaments adorn the mantelpiece. A small round, empty mahogany coffee table sits in front of the Chesterfield.

Entrance to the room is from one side behind the Chesterfield through imposing double sized solid wooden doors with chunky brass furniture and a heavy wood surround. On the opposite side is a simpler wooden single door with surround. Both doors are closed and the scene opens in darkness. It is silent.

Offstage a Grandfather clock strikes the Westminster Chimes followed by eight rings. On the eighth chime exactly the double doors swing open in unison and the Solicitor, Randford, enters. Backlit from the corridor behind he stands in the doorway and shakes off his wet umbrella. Without shutting the doors behind he strides over to his desk and fumbles to switch on the desk lamp.

The light reveals this balding, portly, pompous, routine man wearing an immaculate subtly pin-striped three piece suit and perfectly white shirt. His shoes are shiny black brogues and equally as in keeping as his matching tie and pocket handkerchief. Along with his umbrella he carries a neat copy of The Times, the classic sized, broadsheet version. He is finished in an open large brown overcoat and matching hat. This man is around 45 although his gravitas makes him seem older. He exudes experience, remaining calm in all situations and never hurried. He is both thoughtful and punctual with constant references to his Grandfather clock against the “fourth wall” which he compares to his own chained pocket watch whenever it chimes. He approaches the hat stand and places his umbrella carefully in the base. He removes his hat and hangs it on the hook after brushing it clean. He then removes his coat and brushes it off with one hand whilst holding it with the other, then hangs it carefully on the peg. A brush down of himself follows, a quick tie straightening and he crosses to close the door, with both halves being shut simultaneously. He brushes himself once more as if routine and turns to switch on the light.

Trisha enters hurriedly as the light comes on full. She is a clumsy teenager wearing under her sodden long opened sheepskin coat faded patched ripped jeans and a large baggy jumper bearing the words “Save Rhinos”. Underneath is a white blouse but this is as noticeable as the smart short black skirt she carries in the supermarket plastic bag. She is the epitome of modern youth, lazy but excitable, educated but lacking common sense and pretty but understated. The glossy magazine she carries and the personal headphones she wears round her wet hair are her only thoughts as she violently swings open the nearest door knocking Randford face down behind the Chesterfield.

Trisha (Out of breath, entering) “Sorry I’m late Mr. Randford but I…” (she thinks he may not be there) “Mr. Randford… Mr. Randford…” (no response) “Oh good.”

She hurries across the room and through the opposite door leaving both doors open wide. Randford appears from behind the Chesterfield and slowly rises to his feet. He brushes himself down and straightens his hair and tie. He moves to the double door and closes it, then walks over to the other door and looks through before shutting it. He turns and bends to get a brush from a low drawer in his desk which he uses to brush his suit down from top to bottom. As he strokes his trouser legs, bending to reach, Trisha enters suddenly and again knocks him over, this time behind his desk. Trisha has removed her coat, thrown on her skirt and is trying to do up the zip as she enters, throwing her magazine on her desk. Her stereo headphones hang limp round her neck, the player in her hands.

Trisha “Mr. Randford… Oh he’s late.”

She hasn’t noticed her employer and sits at her desk in the corner. She pulls the headphones into place and starts to read her magazine, placing the player on the desk. The door swings shut with a gentle clunk to reveal Randford looking angry but contained, now stood. He again meticulously brushes himself off.

Randford (Contained) “Good morning Trisha.”

There is no reply as Trisha is engrossed in her magazine and listening to her stereo.

Randford (Louder) “Good morning Trisha.”

There is still no response so Randford steps forward and coughs twice. This has no effect either so he reaches out to press the stop button on her machine. She reacts jumpily.

Trisha “Urgh… Oh, Mr. Randford.” (She pulls off her earphones and stuffs them and the magazine into her drawer) “You’re here.”

Randford “Yes. Funny that. I work here you see. Unlike some people I could mention. What are you saving them for?”

Trisha “Sorry Mr. Randford. What?”

Randford “The Rhinos. For what reason are you saving them.”

Trisha “Oh, my jumper. Oh, the black rhino…”

Randford (Interrupting) “Trisha.”

Trisha (Pulling off her jumper) “Sorry Mr. Randford. I’ll make the coffee.”

As she talks and removes the sweater she stands as if to leave. Randford steps back to avoid the flailing arms.

Randford “No time for coffee, not yet. Today is an important day. It is Wednesday the sixth and you know what that means don’t you.”

Trisha (Cheekily) “Thursday the seventh tomorrow Mr. Randford.”

Randford “Trisha, may I point out that you are here to assist me in these six heaven sent weeks which our Government has kindly sent us. To assist me. In work. Not as a Butlins Redcoat but as a Solicitor’s Assistant, with the general idea that you learn how adults conduct themselves whilst away from children. So please learn to keep control of your built in desire to attempt humour. I suggest that you file it untidily away with your glossy Beano magazine and Gutter Blaster in the drawer.”

Trisha “Ghetto Blaster, Mr. Randford.”

Randford “I know what I said dear.” (He sits down in his chair) “Wednesday the sixth. Five days since last Friday. A Friday in which you may recall that we had a visit from a pale looking woman dressed in black. This may have struck a chord with you because despite being dressed entirely in black she introduced herself as Mrs. White. She had had some bad news.”

Trisha “Was she the one who wanted a divorce on account of her husband’s week in Portugal with the Sailor from Portsmouth?” (She sits, her jumper on her lap)

Randford “No. No. If you can recall she came to notify me of her husband’s untimely death.”

Trisha “Why untimely?”

Randford (Rising) “Three reasons. Firstly, he was forty. Now that may seem like old to you but please take it from me that at forty a man is still in the prime of his youth. A sudden death we are advised, but painless.” (He moves around his desk) “Secondly, his business was on the brink of breaking into Europe and without him the deal was not likely to go through. And thirdly, I lent him fifty pence for the parking meter when he saw me three weeks ago.”

Trisha “So why is today so important?”

Randford (Sitting opposite Trisha) “Because today is exactly five days since his death. And his will, which he lodged with me, because people do that sort of thing with Solicitors, stated simply that exactly five days after his death, his wife, or whoever, should bring to this office his old oak chest which contains his last will and testament requests. To be unlocked by this key…” (He produces the key from his waistcoat pocket) “…in the presence of certain people he has named in a letter at precisely o-eight thirty hours.” (He checks his watch and the clock) “Which is why you made those telephone calls for me on Monday cancelling today’s appointments.”

Trisha “Oh yes that reminds me. I forgot to tell you that that man with the Greek accent, Mr. Davros, called back.”

Randford “Davis. Mr. Davis and he’s from Winchester.”

Trisha “Him, yes. He said he was a bit annoyed with the change and mentioned something about inserting a skewer in you from below and you being the biggest kebab in Hampshire.” (She is trying to find the message in her tray) “Well that’s what I think he meant”

The main door opens and a strange black clad woman enters. Anna is without expression and moves slowly. She wears a long black cape with the hood up. Under the cape is a simple long black dress. She carries nothing except the rain on her cape. Her accented voice is classy, deliberate and intense.

Anna (At door) “Mr. Randford?”

Randford (Rising to greet her) “Good morning. And you are?” (He extends a handshake)

Anna does not respond to his welcome handshake and proceeds straight to the Chesterfield where she sits.

Randford (Arriving at her side) “I am awfully sorry madam but I cannot take visitors today. I have an important meeting.”

Anna (With a steel cold look) “I am here for your meeting.”

Randford “I am so sorry but it is invited guests only today.”

Anna “I am Anna”

She turns away and stares distantly into nothing.

Randford “Ah. You are Anna.” (He is at a loss so looks at Trisha) “Anna.” (He points at Anna)

Trisha “Anna.”

Randford “Anna… Oh Anna. A. Daiken. The list. You must be Mrs. A. Daiken.”

Anna (Fizzing) “Ms.”

Randford “Sorry I was mistaken.”

Anna (Turning, annoyed) “No that is me. I am Ms. Daiken.”

Randford (Again holding out his hand) “Randford.” (No response, he withdraws his hand) “Could I offer you a coffee?” (Still no response) “I said would you like a coffee?”

Anna (Looking intently at Randford, she speaks poignantly) “A Brazilian dream, the coffee bean. The making of Empires and Land. For all that you see, I would rather have tea. Darjeeling, Ceylon or Assam.” (Randford is open mouthed, Anna turns to Trisha) “And make it two sugars young lady.”

Randford (Turning) “Trisha. And I’ll have a strong black coffee, please. I think I might need it.”

Trisha “Alright, Mr. Randford. Coming up.”

Trisha leaves the room. Randford pulls up one of the low backed chairs to sit near Anna.

Randford “I am awfully sorry about your loss, Ms. Daiken.”

Anna “Anna. Please call me Anna.”

Randford “Yes. Anna.”

Anna “Death. It affects us all. And each of us experiences a different response. Does the eagle miss his mate? Do the dolphins cry? Can a tiger mourn? When another dies?”

Randford “How poignant. You must have really cared for Jack.”

Anna “Jack?”

Randford “Jack White.”

Anna “Oh, yes. Jack. Jack White. No, not really we weren’t very close you see. We go back, that’s all.”

Randford “Are you local?”

Anna “Everyone is local to somewhere. To which point of reference do you mean?”

Randford “Well, I mean here I suppose. Are you from around here?”

Anna “Perception, scale and time, Randford. Perception is based on common points of reference. Local to you may not seem like local to a small child whose experiences only extend as far as his mother’s home. And if two small ants were both living in this room at either end, they may never meet and therefore not consider themselves local to each other. A matter of scale. And then there is time. If two people both lived in the same house they would be local unless they lived in different times.”

Randford “Time. Yes.” (He checks his watch and clock)

 

…To be continued…


 

Isn’t it just a pain when they end just like that!

No this isn’t the shortest play in the entire history of truncated stagings, it is just simply incomplete.

Has it given you a taste though? Do you want me to pen the next exciting installment? Then I shall, as soon as I get around to it. There are many draws on my time so if you want to get to the nub of this venture send me a message.

The more interest it receives the better chance of completion. It’s in your hands.

Vince

Author: Vince Poynter
From the comedy and stage plays section of vinceunlimited.co.uk dated 19 Jan 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2004
The image was chosen far too quickly by the art department to illustrate a will.  It is of a Jaguar XJ8 wheel and was added on 19 Jan 2018. It frankly has no relevance whatever. Or does it? Nope, nothing at all, just decoration

Company Policy Sketch

Type: 3-4 minute sketch with 2 main actors, plus extras set in an office reception.

The sketch is set in an office reception area.  A receptionist sits behind the desk.  A visitor enters.

Receptionist: “Good morning and welcome.”  The visitor acknowledges politely and turns to enter the office area.

Receptionist: “Would you sign the book, sir.”  The visitor mutters an apology and signs in.  He then makes for the office again.

Receptionist: “And the other book, sir.”  The visitor looks bemused and enquires why there are two books.

Receptionist: “Fire regulations, sir.  It is company policy.”  The visitor accepts and signs the second book, then tries to leave.

Receptionist: “Your bag, sir?”  The visitor again looks confused and enquires why.

Receptionist: “Security risk, sir.  We have sensitive data and equipment.  We wouldn’t want it getting out.”

Visitor: “I’m not here to steal things.”

Receptionist: “It is company policy, sir.  I’ll look after it here if you like.”

Visitor, reluctantly handing over his case:  “Very well.”  He attempts to leave.

Receptionist: “Are we forgetting something, sir?”

Visitor, getting slightly annoyed: “What?”

Receptionist: “Your mobile ‘phone, sir.  It may have a camera attachment.”

Visitor, annoyed: “It hasn’t.”

Receptionist: “I’m not to know that, sir.  I can’t be an expert on all things so Company Policy says…”

Visitor, interrupting: “Very well.  Here it is.”

Receptionist, taking the phone: “Thank you.  And your jacket sir.”

Visitor, bemused: “My what?”

Receptionist: “Your jacket.  I must insist that you leave your jacket.”

Visitor, guessing: “My pockets.  Are you concerned that I might slip something into it.”

Receptionist: “It’s company policy.  I was only reading a paper the other day.  Jacket lapels can conceal recording microphones.  Best leave it here with me.”

The Visitor removes his jacket and hands it to the receptionist.

Receptionist: “And your trousers sir?”

Visitor: “My trousers!  Why do you need these?”

Receptionist: “I was only reading on the internet, the other day.  It appears that some manufacturers are incorporating modern technology in their fabrics that can sense heat and light.  You must have seen those tee shirts that change colour dependant on mood.  I’m afraid it is our…”

Visitor, resigned: “…Company Policy?”  He dutifully removes his trousers.

Receptionist: “Open wide, sir.”

Visitor: “I beg your pardon.”

Receptionist, producing a large torch: “I need to look in your mouth.  Just to check.  Open wide.”

The visitor opens his mouth and the receptionist peers in.

Receptionist: “And if I might?”  The receptionist beckons toward the visitor’s underwear.

Visitor, pulling his underwear forward: “Very well.”  The receptionist reluctantly peers down, grimaces, then gently reaches in to move things to the side.  The visitor winces.

Visitor, now quite exhausted by the humiliation:  “Is that all?”

They are suddenly interrupted by a film crew who crash in through the door.  One person holds a camera, another a boom mike.  There are assistants with clipboards and cases.  The director struts forward.

Director: “Film crew for the office documentary.  Alright to go in love?”

Receptionist: “Just straight through guys.  I’ll sign you in.”

The visitor looks aghast: “What about Company Policy?”

The receptionist is unperturbed.  She reaches down behind the desk and emerges with a pair of rubber gloves.  “Bend over, sir.”  She puts another smaller torch in her mouth and snaps the gloves on.

End

You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author.  An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject.  Contact me at any time of the day or night for more information.  Although, if you contact me at night I won’t guarantee that I’ll open my inbox until the next morning.  Mummy always told me not to open the door when it gets dark.  Mind you, I’m not sure that email inboxes were thought of when she said that.

Vince.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the comedy and sketches section of vinceunlimited.co.uk dated 15 Jan 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2004

Parachute Sketch

Type: 6 minute sketch with 4 actors [one to be a voice off stage] set inside an aircraft fuselage [side view] with background inflight noise continuously.  Props include three seats, two packages and a newspaper.

This is a visual as well as aural sketch and no names are given.  For reference purposes the three actors are sat line astern and referenced as A, B and C below.  The action is as viewed by the audience from the actor’s side.  A sits ahead of B, who sits ahead of C.  They face left (stage right).

Aeroplane pilot (voice off) “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  This is your pilot speaking.  Welcome on board on this internal flight between London and Edinburgh.  Now that we have successfully taken off we will be maintaining our flight path at around ten thousand feet and expect to arrive at our destination in around thirty-six minutes time.  Visibility is good and the weather forecast is fair.  So relax and enjoy your flight.  I’ll keep you informed of future developments.”

B to A: “Isn’t this marvellous.  All this technology keeping us up.  Ten thousand feet and you can see all the land whistling by below.”

A: “Indeed, it is.  Orville Wright would be proud.  We’ve come so far from those pioneering days of aviation.”

B: “Yes.  But it’s reassuring to know that in spite of all this they provide the basics.”  He pats the package beneath his seat.

A (agreeing): “Yes.  The parachute.”  A pats the package beneath his seat.

A and B laugh and slump back into their chairs.  Up to now C has not been involved, merely reading his newspaper.  He did hear the parachute conversation.  He checks that the others are occupied and subtly reaches down to feel for his package.  There is nothing under his seat.  He checks again, in desperation swinging his hands wildly from side to side.  Nothing is found so his hands return to holding his newspaper, that starts to quiver.  Another check, but still no success.

Then C surreptitiously slides forward in his seat and hooks the package from beneath the seat of B, unbeknown to A or B.

B to A: “Wasn’t the meal nice?”

A: “Yes. Three courses and wine.  Very good.”

The pilot on the intercom interrupts the conversation.

Pilot: “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.  I’m sorry to disturb your peace but we’ve just received some weather reports.  A spot of bad weather appears to be in our path.  It’s only a patch of storm so don’t be too alarmed if our altitude and speed drops.”

All three passengers simultaneously swing to look ‘out of the window’ (away from the viewpoint).  They slump into their chairs and look concerned.  A reaches down and assuredly pats his package, whilst turning and smiling at B.  B also reaches down but now there is no package.  He frantically searches around with his hand, much like C did.  Finding nothing, he puts his head between his knees and looks under the seat.  He spots the package under the seat of C.  C has seen this and casually crosses his legs across in front of his package.

B looks concerned then spots the package beneath A.  He slides forward to take the package with his feet but it gets caught up in the seat legs of A’s seat.  The pilot’s voice is heard.

Pilot: “Ladies and gentlemen, please do not be alarmed.  A couple of passengers have reported seeing white smoke trailing from the starboard engine.”

A, B and C simultaneously look out of their ‘windows’ (away from the viewpoint).

Pilot: “But don’t worry.  This is just a vapour trail due to our descent to a lower altitude.”

A, B and C slump back into their seats.  B reaches forward to grab the package beneath A with his hands and starts to pull.  This attracts the attention of A, who turns round quickly.

B is embarrassed so he pretends he was looking out of the window.  B (explaining to A): “The vapour trail…”

A (suspiciously): “Yes?”

B: “Just routine.”

A (now satisfied): “Yes.  Still we’ve still got the parachutes.”

A reaches down and grabs the package from beneath his seat.  He holds it on his lap.  B is disappointed.  Then he has a brainwave.  He points toward the viewpoint.

B (to A): “My God. The port engine as well!”

A leaps up placing the package on his seat and rushes over to ‘look out’ of the viewpoint side.  At this point B snatches the package from the seat of A and sits back smugly in his own seat.

A, returning (to B): “It’s alright.  Just vapour.”

B (clutching the package): “Best to be certain though.”

A spots his package is missing.  B looks away ‘innocently’.  A looks all around and under his seat, then under the seat of B and finally under the seat of C, who is still reading the paper.  He notices the package under C and dives down to steal it.  He then strolls ‘nonchalantly’ back to sit in his seat, smiling and caressing the package.  He holds it on his lap.

Pilot: “Do not be alarmed ladies and gentleman but the suspected engine fire…”

All three simultaneously ‘look out’ (away from the viewpoint)

Pilot: “…on the port side…”

All three simultaneously turn to ‘look out’ the other side (toward the viewpoint)

Pilot: “…means that we have turned the engine off.  There is no need for panic as we are under full control and able to fly on one engine.”

All three slump back in their seats, satisfied that there is no need to worry.

C then folds up his newspaper and places it under his seat.  He notices that his package is missing.  He checks under the seat of B and looks angry.  He believes B has taken his package.

C to B (aggressively): “Where did you get that?”

B (defensively): “Nowhere.  Under my seat.”

C: “Under whose seat?”

C pokes at B towards the eye.  This makes B defend his face and drop the package.  C grabs the package and returns to his seat, holding the package tightly on his lap.  B rubs his eye and looks back over to C.  C menacingly grimaces.  B decides a novel approach and slides down between his seat and that of A.  He puts his hand out ahead as he tries to crawl beneath the seat of A.  Due to his positioning he doesn’t hear the next announcement.”

Pilot: “We have good news ladies and gentlemen.  We have restarted our failed engine and as a precaution will be landing at Birmingham airport in three minutes time.”

A and C look relieved and place their packages on the ground.  They place them to their left, rather than under their seats.  B is still struggling under the seat of A and eventually gets his hand between the legs of A.  B feels around for the package and reaches up into the lap of A.  Naturally A is shocked, but decides to grab the hand of B and give it a sharp tug before letting it go.  This hurts B who emits a barely concealed squeal and scrabbles back out to his own seat.

A angrily turning to B: “What on earth do you think you are playing at?”

B (defensively): “But you have got my parachute.”

A: “How dare you accuse me.”

B: “But it’s mine.”  He spots the package on the floor.  “There.  That one.  It’s mine.”

A (knowingly): “Alright then.  If it makes you happy.”  A picks up the package and tosses it to B, then slumps back in his seat.

B looks smug and looks about as if he needed a friend to gloat to.  He turns to see C.  C notices.

C: “As you are so keen.  Here, have mine.”  C tosses his package into the lap of B and sits back into his own seat.

B looks doubly smug and sets about peering at his two packages, trying to see how to use them both.

Pilot: “Ladies and gentlemen.  Please fasten your safety belts we are approaching the landing runway.  The crew is glad that the trip proved uneventful.  I suppose it is lucky we were not flying over the sea as you would all have been grabbing for the lifejackets under your seats.”

End

You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author.  An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject.  Contact me for more information.  You may be surprised how reasonable I am.  Or it may be a Wednesday, in which case I’ll be like a rampaging bull elephant with a nasty itch on the end of his trunk.  You have been warned.

Vince.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the comedy and sketches section of vinceunlimited.co.uk dated 11 Jan 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2004
The photograph was taken by the author in May 2015 and shows a Virgin aeroplane circling over London and was added in Version 5.056 11 Jan 2018

Dictaphone Sketch

Sketch Type: 5 minute sketch with 4 to 6 actors set inside a six person train compartment (or could be set elsewhere, such as dentist waiting room) with moving train sound effects continuously (unless at the dentist).

The sketch starts with the non speaking roles already seated (or one or two may enter and leave as required).  One man in a mackintosh should be seated prominently, reading a newspaper.  Another man enters and also takes a prominent position.  A young lady is in the scene.

Pause.

The second man looks about, then brings out a Dictaphone.  The others take no notice.  He clears his throat, switches on the machine and speaks.

“Letter please …”

All the others look at him.  The man in the mackintosh glances over his paper.

The dictaphone man continues.  “Letter please.  To go to John Fredericks Limited …”

The others start to lose interest as he continues.  “At Watford branch. For the attention of Mister J. Fredericks.  Dear sirs, I have convened the meeting to discuss your proposals for the new block to be in my office on the twenty-first at ten thirty a.m.  New paragraph.  Please advise your budget costing to me beforehand by return.  Signed, yours faithfully etcetera … etcetera.”

The man smiles sheepishly at the few passengers who have bothered to look up at him as he finishes.  He puts the recorder away.

Pause.

The dictaphone man looks around.  He is clearly bored.

He again reaches for his machine.  “Memo. please …”

All passengers again look up.  He continues unabated.  “… to go to Sam Prendell, reference your planning application for the Woods Green Development.  Sam, please forward your outline proposals showing the extension to the Cricket Club.  Signed etcetera … etcetera.”

He again smiles sweetly as he puts the machine away.

Immediately he gets it out again and continues unashamedly.  “Letter!” He bellows.

They all look.  “To go to Richard Dickens in Shropshire.  Dick, I placed the device in the cloakroom on the fourth floor.  Stop.  It should go off at about four o’clock when the lobby is full.  Stop.  Expected casualties could run into the hundreds.  Signed etcetera … etcetera.”

The passengers start to get edgy.  The man in the mackintosh’s interest grows.

“Just kidding.”  He says.  The others are visibly relieved.

He continues.  “New letter.  No, memo.  To my wife Jane.  Darling, I have some business to attend to early this evening.  Won’t be home until at least ten o’clock.  Love.  Etcetera … etcetera.”

He continues almost immediately.  Letter to go to Mark Chalice.  Mark the agreed time for the Securicor hit is eight thirty.  Kevin estimates two hundred thousand but Peter thinks it could be more.  Stop.  New paragraph.  Don’t forget the cutting gear.  Signed etcetera … etcetera.  Oh, and Mandy.  Make sure this one’s not on our headed paper and remember to use a stamp like I said, not the franking machine.  See you later.”

The tension in the carriage returns.

“Finally.  Oh, what the hell.  Letter to go to Scotland Yard, London.  For the attention of Detective Inspector Robbins.  To read. Robbins.  You are useless.  As you read this letter another poor victim lies with a slit throat …”  The young woman passenger stifles a shriek.

“… Try searching the tracks near …”  He looks out of the window.  “Near Wolverton Station.  Signed.  The Slug.  Train murderer.”

He smiles at those who are now looking at him, incredulously.  “End of dictation.”  He puts his machine away.

The man in the mackintosh calmly folds his paper and puts it down.  He reaches inside his coat and pulls out his own dictaphone.

He says.  “Internal memorandum please.  To Chief Constable Maxwell.  From D.I. Robbins, C Division.  Sir, at last I think we have a break on that Slug character.  I am hot on his trail and I expect a result any time now.”

End

You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. You may find yourself treated like a special friend or a Royal visitor. Unless you contact me after 10 p.m. in which case I’ll be asleep. Not that an email will actually wake me up. I have learnt to switch off that irritating bleep. So it’s safe to click away at your leisure.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the sketches part of the comedy section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 4 Jan 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2004
Interesting fact: Dictaphone is a trademark owned by Nuance Communications in Massachusetts, following purchase of the rights from a company called Dictaphone which was originally founded by Alexander Graham Bell, the dude from the telephone invention trade. However, the term is now widely used to describe all micro-cassette type hand-held voice dictation recorders

Pod 016 Ingreedyents

Tah Dah! Another episode of the ingenious podcast from the stables of the vinceunlimited branding corporation.

In this audio log Vince gets bored and dissects the detailed ingredients list on the back of a packet.

Any resemblance to reality must of course be tempered with the historic facts previously issued in this series.

But fun all the same.

Just press play to enjoy this latest podcast written and performed by Vince because if you just sit there staring at the screen it won’t do it for you.

This podcast was produced by Vince on a harpsichord using the Blackberry Playbook email App. If you wish to receive this podcast series automatically you are indeed a sad case.

Pod 016 Ingreedyents

Pod 015 Chidehood

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In this episode Vince recalls a childhood fraught with danger, jealousy and achievement. And explains how he could be in a zoo right now.

Please press play to enjoy this latest podcast written and performed by Vince.

This podcast has been produced by Vince on an iPhone using the Mobile Podcaster App. If you wish to receive this podcast series automatically subscribe in iTunes, where you can also add a review.

Pod 015 Chidehood

Pod 014 Nine2Five

Welcome to another episode of my podcast.

In this episode Vince puns his way through a life of work.

Press play to hear the podcast.

This podcast has been produced by Vince on an iPhone using the Mobile Podcaster App. If you wish to receive this podcast series automatically subscribe in iTunes, where you can also add a review.

Pod 014 Nine2Five

Pod 012 GeekLife

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In this episode Vince talks about growing up as a Geek then issues an appeal for help.

This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts, available for subscription via iTunes or the back pages of GeekWeek Monthly.

This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com Other ways to waste your time can be had by searching ‘cat’ on the internet.

Pod 012 GeekLife

Pod 006 Characters

Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.

In a change to the 10 minute narrative Vince brings you pieces from his friends Bob and Hans making up a convenient 10 minute narrative.

Each guest brings their special take on their specialist subject.

Just don’t update Wikipedia.

This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts. Nothing more. Nothing less.

This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com. Feel free to subscribe via iTunes and leave feedback for others. Don’t be selfish and keep it all to yourself.

Pod 006 Characters