The Shoe Leather Express

Writing and Comedy from James Harris

Tag: Writing

‘Getting Better Acquainted’

Isn’t it great that spring is here? I’ve had two most pleasant bike rides the last days, people are smiling, and a general mood of blowing off the cobwebs pervades London. It’s upbeat!

Happily enough, a new edition of the Getter Better Acquainted podcast has just been released on which I feature. I think it turned out very well, and we really did get into some depth, thanks in large part to the excellent interviewer Dave Pickering. (I also recommend Dave’s ‘Mansplaining Masculinity’ show here). So if you fancy hearing me talk about my Oxford years, learning languages, rebuilding my comedy career and even having a good-natured argument about Jeremy Corbyn, now’s your chance.

Enjoy the spring!

News from gruntville

Hope everyone has had a good start to the year. It’s been a bit sticky, hasn’t it really, with cold weather and Bowie dying. I’ve been listening to a lot of his back catalogue, particularly ‘Lodger’, an album I always want to be better than it is, given how much I love it. He recorded it when he was close to my age.

Still, I’ve been busy as my ‘artistic season’ comes to an end and I gear up to go tour-guiding again. Firstly I’ve done several podcasts so far this year. I was featured by the charming Richard Wolfenden on his comedy one, and am linking below to Paula Varjack and I being interviewed by Dave Turner for his Lunar Poetry Podcast. In this podcast I read an extract from my novel Midlands. Yes, it’s done!, and I’m now actively submitting it. In fact it received its first rejection the other day; I should really open a sweepstake on how many it’ll end up with. In this respect Marlon James is an inspiration to us all. Anyway, for now my faith in my manuscript is undimmed. Ask me in a year though.

Comedy is ticking along as ever, and in January I reached the final of the Max Turner prize, so I can finally write ‘Competition Finalist’ on my comedy CV. I also did my first ever show in Spain at Gordy’s Comedy Night, Madrid. Despite having a cold, it was a blast, and they’re real nice folks! In London, I’m basically performing the same set night after night, which isn’t how I like to work, but hopefully I’ll be able to spread my wings soon over a longer set. After all, I’m off to Edinburgh this summer with Andy Quirk, Nick Purves and Andy Onions so I better have 20 ready by then! I’ve also started helping run the Monday night ‘Famous First Words’ open mic  along with Andy and Nick in Finsbury Park, and I’m hosting my next one January 29th: there are still slots available here. And you can see all my upcoming shows here.

I’ve also got to find time in all this to make a living. To that end, I’m pleased to say I’ve been accepted onto London Metropolitan’s Interpreting MA and will be studying to be a German, French and hopefully Russian interpreter part-time for the next two years. Potential better remuneration awaits!

Phew, having written all the above, it’s no wonder I’ve been feeling a bit knackered and, to be honest, disgruntled. What I’d actually like to do is crawl in bed with a beautiful woman and not surface until May, emerging only occasionally for champagne and toast, but duty, and specifically the duty of heading to Brighton to do Stand Up and Slam, calls.

In the meantime keep going everybody – all manner of beautiful things await us in our lives! Keep your pecker up, as the great Harold Pinter once told me.