The Shoe Leather Express

Writing and Comedy from James Harris

Month: May, 2015

After the election

The whole city felt built on vanity that weekend, and
Even to write a line like cracking rocks. To tell lies
Though was easy, and they did so, the white-shirted
Traders unsure why their hearts were unmoved.
David Cameron meanwhile just didn’t get that
A certain person didn’t want to hear him talk about money
But more to watch boats on the crystal-sludged Thames.
Down there, a man was building a sandcastle
On which he’d written ‘Take pic, leave tip,’ and as he chiseled
From time to time the brown coins rained down.

Image at

       Image from mazz_56 at pixabay.

Showreel in excelsis

It’s been a while since I updated here, but that’s what blogs exist for isn’t it, to not update them or at least to apologize for doing so only sporadically. Memorials to good intentions, they are. Life has been busy and intense; in April I did a run of shows in Germany and, for the first time, Italy – my spring fascist tour you might call it – and a performance at one of Germany’s biggest comedy clubs, the Quatsch.

London comedy has been, as ever, tougher. I both reached and flopped in the semi-finals of the ‘Amused Moose Laugh Off’, one of the UK’s biggest comedy competitions; the audience reaction to my set, constructed as both an example and parody of contemporary UK comedy, brought to mind the old Bill Hicks line about people looking at him like dogs who’ve been shown a card trick. Pearls before swine? Friends have advised me that failing in front of this particular audience was a badge of honour, but I always think blaming the audience is small time; I should have got ‘em, I could have been a contender, or at least on some late-night Channel 4 highlights programme! Imagine! Still, it’s always weird for me though to hear that my comedy has been ‘too smart’ for an audience; I’m just talking about what interests me, not aiming to be clever, and I think audiences are always very smart things. Maybe I was just crap.

Better news arrives in the form of my fantastic new comedy showreel. Thanks so much for Ian Buckley for filming, Paula Varjack for editing, Live in Berlin for staging and all those who made it possible. I’ll be thinking this summer about what my next move for comedy is – and yes, we are still taking bookings. In the meantime, enjoy this; 2.26 minutes of distilled me; comedy whiskey, as my friend Chris likes to say.