Monday, August 10, 2009

The story so far

Still days of waiting (not my strongest skill). So, let's resume the recap where we left it last time. As you might remember, I had a half an hour slot booked for Edinburgh! Yeahh! Now the only little problem was to fill the half an hour, give that at the time I had only a 5 minutes set. As a punter I have always loved themed shows, like those that Richard Herring is so good at. My first thought, consequently, was doing such a show. I have always been interested in the subject of language and I stumbled across the idea of Globish, i.e. the idea that what non-native English speakers speak is not English but a completely new language, that should be taught as such. This idea has been formalised in a book called "Speak Globish, not English" by a French guy called Jean Paul Nerriere. According to this guy, even the native English speakers should start studing this new language if they don't want to remain isolated from the rest of the world! I found this idea brilliantly wacky so I came out with the project of a show where I would teach the poor native English speakers how to "unlearn" their own language in order to escape their pitiful linguistic isolation. Writing it now, I still find it a brilliant idea. But I wrote a routine about the subject, I tried it in front of some friends and it didn't work. The problem with themed shows is that you can't really split them in chunks of 5-10 minutes, so if this is duration of the slots you are given by comedy clubs you'll have no way to test and improve the material. I guess that the way Richard Herring and the other comedians specialised in themed shows overcome this problem is by doing a lot of full length previews. But when I booked my slot I didn't have any preview booked, at the end I managed to organize only three of them, one of which at a friend's flat during a party! Now I feel quite well prepared never the less, but thanks to the fact that in the meantime I changed my strategy completely. I decided to simply "sew" together my routines with the (quite loose) thread of identity. Not only this allowed me to reuse well tested material, but also to test the new material in chunks of 5-10 minutes. Writing a themed show from scratch was probably a challenge too far at this stage. Maybe I'll do it for the next Edinburgh, if I survive this one. So, amazingly, from the most narcissistic, solipsistic and megalomaniac of activities I actually got a lesson in humility. I just hope I'll not get too many more of those.

1 comment:

  1. Globish reminds me of a project called "Basic English" Unfortunately this failed, because native English speakers could not remember which words not to use :)

    So it's time to move forward and adopt a neutral non-national language, taught universally in schools worldwide,in all nations.

    As a native English speaker, I would prefer Esperanto

    Your readers may be interested in the following video at Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

    A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at