Madonna performs stand-up like a virgin: it’s short and shit, as it should be.

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So trending on the Internet right now:
Just what colour is that ffing dress? Nope.
An oily arse with a side of champagne? Nah.
Madonna performing stand-up and doing a mediocre job…boom!
There’s your punchline.
In case you’ve been asleep at your lap-top, the material girl is getting a lot of press for popping her stand-up cherry on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
When I say press, I mean that comics all over the globe are getting their mic cords in a bunch over the audacity of Madonna even attempting to make jokes. If you missed the show here it is:

Since I too dabble in the world of cracking wise, I thought I’d add my two cents to the debate:

Contrary to popular belief, Madonna did not make a mockery of stand-up with her mediocre set.
Nor do I think Madonna performing stand-up is a demonstration of how shit stand-up is, or that it’s not taken seriously. Quite the opposite.
By utterly bombing, Madonna proved that the commonly held misconception “Cor, stand-up is easy, I could do that” is a fucking myth.
Good stand-up comics are hard to come by. Just like anyone who excels in their field, they make it look easy.

Here’s the thing: just like any other art-form, stand-up comedy is a craft. It’s a symbiotic relationship between kick arse writing and the ability to deliver those words in a funny way. In a relatable way. In a way that makes the audience not only feel part of the joke but in on the joke. Good stand-up inspires people to laugh, take life less seriously and feel good about themselves.
Before Madge got in front of the mic, she sat with Jimmy and explained her desire to have a go at comedy because she “dreams of simplicity”.
First mistake right there. Good comedy is anything but simple. Good comedy is layered, complex and hits you by surprise.

Instead of giving Madonna a hard-time for her comedy routine, here’s my feedback. I feel qualified to offer this, since not only do I get behind the mic, I also teach others the art of funny. So here goes:
First of all, a wise stand-up once told me, it takes 100 stand-up performances to know if you’re any good. So, Madonna: one down, 99 to go.

Secondly, who the fuck wrote your set, Darling?
Considering you were on the Fallon show and you’re undoubtedly well-connected, you could have got way better jokes written.
I gotta say, your set was pretty hack. Back to the drawing board on that one.
And next time, set your mic up properly and wear less figety clothes.

But it’s amazing what we, as people, decide to get all shitty about, isn’t it?
What I find hilarious, is that while everyone is in a huff about Madonna doing stand-up, no one is calling her out on her other shit-show this week: forcible snogging Drake during a Coachella performance. If you didn’t get a whiff of that incident here it is:

What the fuck was all that about? I gotta say that incenses me more.
Cos’ let’s get real: if a 56 year old male crooner planted an uninvited smacker on some unsuspecting 28 year-old female, shit would hit the fan. No matter how you dress it up, it’s not a classy move.

But here at Yifof, we don’t want to totally trample over the material girl. After all the two of us share an affinity for the ‘f’ word:

So Madge, if you ever want another crack at stand-up, come see me. I’ll write you a set that’s actually funny.
Since Madonna’s latest escapades went viral on the Internet, sales of her latest album have rocketed.
As she might say herself, “Guess who’s laughing now, bitch?”

Handling rejection: Like. A. Boss…Springsteen that is.

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One of the few things in life that we all agree on is rejection: whether it’s the sinking sensation of being the last kid chosen in sports, being spurned in love, or snubbed for that  promotion, we all know that shitty feeling of not being good enough. But the truth of the matter is; into every life, a little ‘fuck you’ must fall. When it does, it’s how we rise to the occasion that really matters. I’ve had my fair share of knock backs. As a writer, I know only too well what getting turned down feels like. Manuscripts returned, kick-arse ideas no thanked, story pitches stomped on.   When I’m performing stand-up there’s no burn greater than an audience staring blankly, silently, wondering what the fuck I’m going on about.  Most of the time I can handle the word no. It can hit me right between the eyes and I bounce back like a cartoon character, mullered in one scene, perfectly fine by the next.

But every now and then, it ain’t so easy to take life in your stride. When that happens you need to find a coping mechanism, one that works for you.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with a nasty bout of the “fuck yous”:

Some chose to ignore it, happy ostriches. Some stare it straight in the eye and rattle off inspirational quotes, like an incantation, to ward off the ‘fuck you’ demons. Others crawl into the fetal position and wait for the storm to pass.

Truth be told, when I get slapped with the wet fish of rejection, I don’t want quotes. I don’t want to be told it wilI all be ok. Me?  I want to dance.

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So last week, after a particularly gruelling day, where the entire fuck you family decided to pay a ill-timed visit, I  knew there was only one remedy. Dance and don’t give a shit who’s watching.

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Dropping out, tuning in and busting a move is something we should all do more often. There are scores of studies to show  that dancing is the perfect antidote to stress.  So here’s my advice to you: when life hits the shits, if all else fails, dance around your kitchen. Crank up  “I feel good” by James Brown. I’m pretty sure, no matter how ridick you look, busting a move to that little zinger will pretty much put a dent in anything.  I was inspired to shuffle to the God father of soul, when I  listened to the UN’s list of happiest songs. Here’s a link to the playlist, if you’re interested. Keep it in mind for when the fuck yous come to visit. It will get rid of them in no time. Be sure to let me know whatcha think.

http://www.happysoundslike.com/en/index.html

To begin again, with art for healing sake

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Edith Piaf, the infamous and ballsy little singer from France, is best known for belting out her anthem “Non, Je ne regrette rien”. But the truth is, in this crazy mixed up journey called life, we all have moments from our past that have seared into our souls.
Regrets.
Damage that we’d like to repair.
But all too often, people hide their true feelings under a mask that they feel bound to wear.
However, American sculptor and artist, David Best reckons there might be a way for people to heal and pave the way towards a new beginning.
You may recognize Best’s name. He’s the geezer behind the temples created at Burning Man, the infamous festival that’s been going off in the Nevada desert, every August, since the late ’90s. (If it’s made it to The Simpsons, then even your Granny’s probably heard of it.)

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Best began making temples after a creation he was making at Burning Man became a tribute to a friend, who was meant to be at the festival, but had died in a motorcycle accident.
While Best and his cohorts were working, people came by and left tributes to people they had lost. When they were finished, they tipped diesel over it and it was burnt.
Since then, Best has built eight or nine temples at Burning man, an arduous process that can take up to eight months prior to the event to design and organize.
Here’s a rough idea of what it entails:
Build a temple. Invite people from all faiths and beliefs (the temple has no religious affiliation whatsoever) to leave their messages tributes, confessions, dreams, fears, or anything that they’ve been holding onto in life. (For the first temple that Best was commissioned to build at Burning Man, he honoured those lost to suicide.)
People leave their messages on small wooden blocks, the walls of the temple or simply bring tributes of their own. Then, the temple is ceremoniously burned.
A symbolic and physical gesture to remove the bonds you’ve been holding onto and a signal to move forward.
Tonight, 15 years after that first makeshift tribute was built in the hot desert, thousands of miles away, in a much colder climate, the Derry temple went up in flames:

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For the past two weeks, a task force of crew, volunteers, charities and local organizations have been working in all kinds of weather (they had snow and gale force winds to contend with ffs) to build the temple that has taken over two years and a lot of fundraising and efforts from people in Ireland, England and the US to bring to life.
The significance of choosing to build a temple in Derry is huge. Constructed by both Catholics and Protestants, the temple was built to honour those lost in the Troubles, as a way to try and move forward, all without forgetting what has happened in the past.
Understandably, in a place where friction is deep-seated, complex and spans many generations, the temple was met with a mixed reaction. Many people were behind it and applauded the sentiment to move towards a new future. Others were appalled, didn’t get it and thought it was a waste of time.
A friend of mine, Darren McGee, returned from Derry earlier this week after spending two weeks as a  temple crew member:

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(That’s him up on the roof in the fluorescent jacket)

Like many people around the world without a ringside seat to the temple phenomenon, I have read about the concept with enthralled fascination. I know that people fall into  “love it or hate it” camps when it comes to the temples, but to be honest, I gotta say anything that stirs up that much emotion and dialogue in people, can only be a good thing.
What people are trying to do here is admirable. Galvanizing people from all walks of life to come together, to create something beautiful, as a form of release, deserves to be applauded.
After working solidly for two weeks in Derry, the Temple was open all of this week for people to visit and leave their messages.
People were waiting before it even opened.
People of all ages, walks of life and both faiths came. People who had heavy losses came. Not only from the conflict, but from every personal loss imaginable.
School kids came and left messages in this intricate construction built from recycled wood:

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Darren says that the atmosphere in the temples at Burning Man is indescribable. That the energy is so charged, it is palpable in the air. That after days of people visiting the temple, some for hours on end, when it is finally ablaze, the euphoria, the release, is undeniable. I believe him. I only hope the people in Derry felt some of that release tonight.

All I know is this: any endeavour that tries to heal people in a collective way is something to be saluted.
We all need ways to move forward from our past, if we are going to build a fresh start in the present.
A temple may not have all the answers, but I think it’s a fitting metaphor to construct something so intricate, so beautiful, only to burn it. It’s symbolic of life itself. It’s gone far to quickly and for some people, it’s over far too soon. Building a temple is something that I think every city should do.
Apparently, Best is on a quest to go around the world building more temples. I reckon we should all make it our mission to go to one.

For more information:

http://www.artichoke.uk.com/events/temple/
http://www.thetemplecrew.org/
http://www.freerunpictures.com/

YIFOF…Is about to get all fucking grown-up

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Greetings my three readers!
Notice anything different about me?
No, I didn’t get a new hair-do, new smile or a sex change.
It’s a lot more radical than that.
Yup. I took Fuck out of the blogs title.
Fucking hell, right?
After dabbling in the blogosphere for a year, it’s now time to take YIFOF in a new direction.
If you’re familiar with the blog, you’ll remember I started it as an attempt to stop letting social media rule my life. In the end, I quit Face Book, and stopped constantly checking my devices for six months. Then…I went back. But I’m glad I did. Because it was then I had my eureka moment: it wasn’t social media that was the problem, it was me and how I used it.
That was kind of a big revelation, a bit like when a relationship ends and the other person says “It’s not me, it’s you” and you’re like, “Fuck off, you’re the wanker”.
But then, after a bit of breathing room, you realize that you played your part too.
Anyway, I’m off topic. The point is, social media does have it’s place and used well, it’s fucking brilliant.
There. I said it.
It’s definitely not what I thought I would say at the beginning of this journey.
But I’ve learned a fuck of a lot. And for that I’m glad.
I won’t bore you with the all the things I’ve achieved, but they’ve included writing a play, a first draft of a book, finally finding out my food allergies and meeting some damn cool people.
So current status of the blog: YIFOF is in the middle of a rebranding.
God, I love a good buzzword and ‘rebrand’, is the new ‘cliche’.
YIFOF will be a blog that is less me and my challenges and more of what using time wisely looks like, for all of us… on and off the net.
Don’t worry, it will still attempt to be funny and it will still use the ‘f’ word liberally…but wisely. Guess we had to grow up some fucking time, eh?