I like my comfort zone. In fact, I enjoy curling up in a dimly lit corner of it, with peace and serenity washing over me like a warm summer breeze. I don’t really challenge myself – ever. To do so is to flirt with failure. In the words of Homer Simpson, when offering advice and reassurance to Bart and Lisa: “Kids, you tried your best…and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” I pretty much live by these words.
So when I recently agreed to read my 1992 diary to an audience of strangers in a Birmingham bar – as part of my friend’s Oh Dear Diary event – it was completely out of character, and a truly terrifying prospect. My aim was to maybe get a couple of laughs and not get bottled off the stage. Although seeing as the audience were sitting close enough to spit a drink directly in my face, the fear of being taken out by a volley of bottles was completely unfounded.
I think it went reasonably well in the end. And yes, I admit it, I felt slightly exhilarated to have done it and survived.
Not being a master of self-promotion, a friend of mine kindly promoted the video of my diary reading on her Twitter account – but only after I’d made her promise not to oversell it (to avoid disappointing anyone). True to her word, rather than talking me up, she decided to use the General Election result as a hook instead, where she invited people to watch me talking about how “woeful [my] early life was under a Tory government”. I can only apologise to the people who clicked on that link expecting to find a teenage account of the John Major years, but ended up watching an idiot talking about masturbation instead. Anyway, the video is below if you’re happy to lose 20 minutes of your life. You’re never getting those back. Those minutes are mine now.