Now I want to be his friend.
He is a very intelligent and funny man. His comedy was humorous, honest and extremely philosophical. You don't come across this in comedy too often. I went to see Russell Brand's "Scandalous" tour earlier in the year (which was insanely funny, buy the dvd!) who is similar in many ways regarding honesty, philosophy, sexuality. But I felt more of a vulnerability from Amstel. Brand is out there, over the top, sure of himself. Amstel is more of a shy, considered character. I was able to see a lot of my own character within him, which instantly made me connect with him, relate to some of his stories, willing to take on his ideas, his message "Do Nothing."
He thinks and considers things regarding overcoming the 'self' and living in the moment (as oppose to the past and future). He seems to be of the slightly obsessive personality type (projecting a series of qualities on to a person who he barely knows and falling in love with that character). He is awkward in social situations (all of which is sounding familiar). He want's to know how he an overcome all this.
"Let's run down the champs elyees to the Arch de Triumph," One of his friends called whilst drunk in Paris. It was 3 in the morning, the roads were clear, she was living in the moment. "All I could think at that point was, well it'll probably make a good memory,"
Simon's message that evening was disguised within his humor, I took it on board as an enlightening talk (as opposed to a stand up) knowing that I, like Simon, will probably be unable to over come the self, and live in the moment. A lot of people left discussing his sexuality, which he was in no way shy about, why should he be? yet people seemed to be taking this away as the main issue raised - again similar to Ol' Russ' stand up. (Both Brand and Amstel do kind of make this point though - Tragedy + Time = humor.) There are always going to be people that find tales of sex slightly uncomfortable and controversial. Even though the message was disguised, it was still out there, and I would suspect that when Simon's sexuality became a tired point of conversation, people began to discuss the philosophy behind his show. Not in depth, I hazzard a guess that conversations did not extend to the Plato/Socrates denial of the material world.
What I took away with me was a flicker of inspiration, a sort of inward confidence that I was to go away and start living in the now, not the past, not the future. I was going to go away and live exactly as I pleased because none of this is real, it is only moment and once that moment has passed in will cease to exist, so grab it. Grab it regardless of consequence. Let go of all moments past that cause embarrassment, or hurt, that cause you to throw your hand to your face and cry 'why did I do/say that?' - of which I have many. YES SIMON YES I AM GOING TO LIVE, IN FACT LETS BE FRIENDS AND WE'LL BOTH LIVE. I was absolutely elated! I was going to learn acceptance...
"I was in a cab and I was complaining about a bill, it was outrageous, but I couldn't do anything about, so I asked the cab driver, what on earth should I do about it, to which he replied, "Do Nothing," and he was right. He had summed everything up. Acceptance. I need to just accept that it has happened and it is there."
So embracing this new found spirit, I decided to take Simon up on his open invite to Big Hands (a great bar with a killer juke box on Oxford Road) and I would become his friend. We would discuss the 'self' in depth and get on super great. But, I didn't go. I failed to follow Simon's advise and live in that moment. I also failed on another level because as I was considering going I thought "That would make such a great memory." God damn my ability to take advantage of moments, rather than consider taking advantage of a moment and allowing anxiety to take over... or afterwards thinking "You should have just said/done..." Maybe this is why we drink and drug. Let go of inhibitions, just be in a moment (and then forget it!) Not that I am condoning losing control or the behavior it results in.
Simon gave a great show, that was incredibly funny and immensely deep.
There is also a great song by The Specials called do nothing.
In other news the Manchester Literature festival is in full spring.
Checkout this blog for reviews www.manchesterliterature.blogspot.com
Lookout for my review on Jenny Uglow's talk entitled "Words and Pictures".
Will be posting more next weekend