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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.277 3 Oct 2019

Open Mic Car Park

Image of Vince sat on a white plastic chair whilst performing his Car Park routine, wearing a black and red polo shirt and black jeans. Some of the audience are sat behind.
A stand up comedy routine captured at the point Vince is sat down. Click the image to play the video via YouTube

The recording of my second 5 minute Open Mic Stand Up slot performed at The Studio Theatre within The Point, Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK on 17 October 2018.

This original routine was written and performed by me.

This time I had a whole month to prepare and decided to once again script a brand new routine. Particularly as the venue and many audience members would be the same as the month before.

Once again the inspiration came from one of my previous podcasts, this time Podcast 002 - Electrohead which had a driving theme. However to make it more 'stand up' friendly I interlaced the car park routine with some of the puns from later in the podcast. Then I decided the performance would be more visually interesting if I sat during the car park routine and stood for the other bits, frantically leaping up and down as the routine developed.

You can find the original podcast within my Podcasts section on this web site. Click on the blue vSectors button above and choose Podcasts for a link.

The video and sound was again captured by my wife, Lynda, on my Apple iPhone X and lasts 6 minutes and 43 seconds.

The video was edited in the Apple Macintosh iMovie application using customised stock title cards.

This film was uploaded into the Comedy category of YouTube on 10 Nov 2018 and at the time of publication had received just 25 views.

You can read the routine by clicking the button below to toggle between hiding and showing the transcript.

The full transcript will appear here

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.277 3 Oct 2019
Filmed on 17 Oct 2018
Uploaded to YouTube 10 Nov 2018
© A Film by Vince 2019

Brand New Noise

By Vince

Emerging from a darkened place
A brand new soul, a brand new face
Welcome to the human race

Fingers counted, then the toes
A dimpled chin, a runny nose
And all wrapped up in warming clothes

A gurgle, sigh, a friendly hiss
A cuddle here, a gentle kiss
This early life is full of bliss

But then a noise to breach a dam
A ripping sound, a thank you Ma'am
My son, indeed, you are a man

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.276 1 Oct 2019 [first publication]

The vinceunlimited Hillman Avenger Story

The First Car Is The Cheapest

A photo of the author sat in a black tee shirt and blue jeans on the bonnet of a silver blue Hillman Avenger

How do you define your first car?

The question can actually be read in many different ways. Let me explain.

A black and white photograph of the author aged around three holding a model car sat on a doorstep with his mother
The earliest photograph of me holding a car so it must be mine

Take a look at the adjacent photograph. Here you will see a very young me sat in black and white next to my mother on our front door step. In my hands you will see a small toy. A fifties style car the make and model of which I cannot recall, nor determine from the picture.

I don't remember that car but by the look of my tight grip it looks very much like mine. Is this my first car?

The first toy car that I definitely remember owning and which became my favourite one was a red Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Corgi toy. So was this my first car?

But toy cars don't count as a first car, do they? One needs to be able to get in and drive. Well, I could do that in the go-kart that my brother and I were given. I may only have been around four or five years old but it was me doing the driving, providing all the self-propelled forward motion, steering and braking. In doing so I learnt width judgement, the consequences of speed, under and over steer and when ignoring all the above what happens when the corner is tighter than the grip. So surely my first car.

Then motorised transport came into my life. You can read about the origins of this journey in my Bikes section because like many others in those days I started on two wheels. On the road since my sixteenth birthday on a borrowed moped, then at seventeen my own trail bike, followed by a small road bike then mid sized tourer. You will also have noted that I finished this section of my life with a crash, a girlfriend, thoughts of future passengers and a story involving a bicycle and a Hillman Avenger. My first actual car. Or was it?

It was certainly not the first I drove as I had been driving for about three years by then. I started as soon as I was legally allowed at seventeen.

The first I got behind the wheel of was a Vauxhall Viva. Not the latest, rebadged 2016 Chevrolet Spark, but the much earlier HC version that Vauxhall produced during the 1970s. It was red and new and light to drive through its enormous steering wheel. I had already garnered a good sense of road craft from my year on mopeds and a trip or three on my Yamaha Trail bike. And crucially I couldn’t fall off it. Driving a car should have been so easy.

The trouble was that it was owned by a gross, un-sympathetic, interfering Driving Instructor and I couldn’t afford many or even regular lessons.

I hated every moment of the driving not because of the car but because of the instructor. He would arrive late, squish down in the passenger seat with his plump thighs overhanging both sides of the wide seat usually with his used handkerchief dripping out of his side pocket hanging over the handbrake.

He would then fuss and panic about someone driving his car and constantly grab at the steering wheel and gearstick then pump his feet up and down on his new toy, his dual pedal set up.

I already knew how to meander through traffic from my year and some of biking, I was aware of my surroundings, familiar with junctions and traffic signs. I just needed some practice at the bits of a car that were different such as clutch changing using my foot and steering with a big circular wheel. But I was not free to plot my own course without unnecessary intervention, or pull to a gentle stop without my passenger stabbing the brakes.

I was just seventeen and didn’t have the life experiences or confidence to change instructors or the funds to do back to back lessons and as a result every two months it felt like another brand new start. Just let go of the controls you gross, pig-headed bastard.

Overall I had just six lessons, one every two months or so during the year before I was advised by Mr. Slob to take my driving test and inevitably failed it. I can’t remember exactly why but do recall it was only a couple of minor issues. The main thing I needed was regular, unhindered practice.

I was also under pressure from work. My job required me to visit various construction sites around the local counties and my white collar image was being smeared by the arrival in motorbike clothing and helmet. Plus I was unable to transport the required oddments and official documents that my role dictated. The boss wanted me driving and I had colleagues' cars awaiting my piloting.

I finally got my chance when my mother persuaded my dad that I could be added onto her car’s insurance. With the assistance of my older brother in the passenger seat and a couple of L plates I could get all the practice I needed.

It was a first generation white Triumph Herald 1200 with bright red seats and I took it out as often as money, my brother and time allowed. I even took my friends, Jeff and Spike, in the back a couple of times. Although regretted it when they gesticulated at a passing police car which got me a lecture about how I, as the driver, should be in control of my unruly passengers.

But it did the job, I got the regular practice needed and re-hired the Viva to pass my car driving test.

Not that I swapped my exciting twin wheeled vehicles for a car immediately. Why should I? I already had 120mph travel potential and a 0-60mph time of around three and a half seconds. Cars were dull, slow things that in my budget were rusty and unreliable with excessive insurance premiums. And besides that I had started driving anyway. Virtually every day. In nearly new cars, fuelled by a large on-site petrol tank.

I worked in a small to mid sized building services company. Our task was to design and build the intricate pipe work and associated plant that courses its way around commercial and industrial buildings and my role was to manage or assist in the supervision of these projects. The company needed me to deliver tender offers, visit the sites for meetings and help with previously forgotten small deliveries. And so leant me the company cars for this purpose.

I particularly took advantage of tearing around the place in John's blue facelift model Vauxhall Chevette 1.3 L as he was generous enough to let me have the keys, thanks John. Malcolm was less forthcoming with his near identical green model. In fact I was more often offered the mid-size executive 1.6 Vauxhall Cavalier Mark 1 LS of Senior Engineer Jeffery. And once had to deliver our MD Peter's BMW 525 E12 post facelift model to Salisbury. I saw 125mph on the speedo. Err, it was just under the 130mph on the dial, officer.

However time was moving on, I had done all that I needed to at that moment on two wheels and as explained in my Honda CX500 article the market for potential new female friends would be increased exponentially by having my own four wheels so I advertised my bike for sale and included a thought that I would consider a swap for a car.

I had a reply. Some chap had a car and wanted a bike. We agreed that any difference in value would be included in cash and he duly arrived in his Hillman. I can't recall who got some dosh with their vehicle but he took away my shiny 'as new apart from the frame reshaped' bike and left me the keys to his slightly tatty Avenger.

The front three quarters view of the silvery blue Hillman Avenger showing its twin headlamps and registration plate GKV 880N
My Hillman Avenger in all its glory when first purchased by me

I had received not only the keys but also the car. A Hillman Avenger GLS with vinyl roof. This pleased me immensely as for a start it exceeded the company cars I had use of in virtually every aspect. It was a GLS model, not a mere L, or LS and as anyone around this time knew this was important.

It had four headlamps, velour seats, Rostyle wheels and it's black vinyl roof. Plus an enormous 1.6 engine as big as Jeff's one.

It also had some extras not normally on these models. A bit of surface rust and a distinct lean towards the front right hand side. But let's not forget, it was a GLS.

Driving the car felt good. It's soft, probably knackered, suspension wallowed it around to suit it's big comfortable presence. There was a dashboard full of dials and accomodation to easily fit five adults. The multi headlamp set up lit up the darkest of night lanes and the powerful engine provided prompt passage to wherever you chose to travel. Everything worked and I was a happy owner that summer.

I loved having the car and was the first of my gang to have one. Yes, Spike had occasional use of a huge four wheel barge that had Vauxhall VX 4/90 written on the back. It was an FD series and actually his Dad's car. All the others were still tootling around on just two wheels. I became the go to guy for transporting numbers greater than two.

In fairness the others didn't have cars because they were still at school, or sixth form college as they put it. I was the only working one with a wage, although a fairly meagre one as I was doing an office based apprenticeship. But at least I could run the thing.

Four friends sat closely on a sofa. Jeff in a blue shirt, smoking, the author Vince in a black jumper and grey trousers brandishing a half completed Pot Noodle, Theresa in a dark top and Jackie in a checked shirt.
Jeff, not the Senior Engineer version, Vince, Theresa and Jackie, pictured at another time completely. The Pot Noodle is irrelevant to the story. But in the interests of complete disclosure was a Chicken and Mushroom version.

The most memorable of these journies happened at the beginning of August that year. My good mate Jeff had been dating Jackie for a few years by now and a suggestion was made that I could get together with Jackie's friend Theresa. A plan was hatched for us all to go to the British Biking Grand Prix together, ostensibly to help with the marshalling but mainly to snuggle up in handy pairs in a tiny overnight tent.

Jeff had just been signed up for his Polytechnic, err University, course and was already there sorting out his new accommodation so I was tasked with collecting the girls, passing by the big school to pick up Jeff and then for all four of us to travel towards Silverstone.

The problem was that it was fresher's week so Jeff was therefore torn between his long planned trip to the races and getting in on the first social events with all his new poly buddies. He felt he had no choice but to choose his new social contacts meaning I had to take a very tearful girlfriend and her sympathetic bestie onwards to the racing circuit where the only racing certainty was that the threesome in the tent would end up as a sad, sob fest.

Our weekend duties were also squarely curtailed. Without Jeff we could hardly form a reliable marshalling team for a major Grands Prix event so we were asked to 'assist around the pits area'. A euphemism for don't get in anyone's way. We didn't have much to do and sat around watching things happen. At one point I had popped to the loo and Barry Sheene was told off by the girls for 'sitting in Vince's seat'. In the Yamaha pit area.

But I should be reporting on the car. Well it was near perfect. Plenty big enough for three adults and all the camping equipment that we could muster and very comfortable on the long trip. The only issue being the windcreen wipers that decided to stop working just as the rain started to. Oh, and the fact that Jackie threw open the passenger door too hard when the car was parked facing downhill resulting in a slightly bent front door where it met the hinge and a bit of a gap where it now couldn't meet the back door. A judicious slam and a bit of securing rope and it closed providing access wasn't needed any more on that side of the car.

It wasn't quite the end of the car. That would happen later that year as autumn, winter and my circumstances started to take it's toll. The ownership coincided with a dramatic time of my life. I decided I had made an error in joining a company in the construction industry. I wasn't planning to stay beyond my apprenticeship so immediately junked the job. It was the week before news headlines reported the first time unemployment had reached the milestone of one million. I was out of work, likely to be staying that way, poor and had only just left home to stay in a shared house with some of my old school buddies.

The car was parked, unused, at my parents house and when the tax ran out I popped it up on the front lawn. Not as dramatic as it might seem at first because the lawn had become a regular spot for many of my brother's many broken down vehicles.

However, my car wasn't welcomed. Possibly in fairness because I wasn't living there any more. I was asked to move it.

As usual it fired up first time but then immediatly became sick and started to wet itself all over the floor. That day I learnt three important things. Firstly why antifreeze is a critical component in a coolant system. Secondly that you cannot trust a previous owner to know about the first thing. And thirdly that if you are oblivious to points one and two the ordinarily very durable metal crankcase can be split in two.

I had no funds to repair the car and had to come up with a solution. And it looked like I found one in my new friend Stuart. He offered to take the car off my hands and give me a bicycle. This pleased me because I had never had a bike, could actually afford to run one and there was more talk of a cash value to make up the difference. And I desperately need cash at that point in my life on the simple grounds that I had precisely none of it.

Sadly the deal didn't go down too well. Newly discovered ex-friend Stuart arranged to take the car promptly then procrastinated about the bike. It appeared he didn't have one to give me, or didn't want to part with any he did have and spoke about building one for me. I had previously envisaged a shiny brand new racing bike but was now looking down the barrel of a rusty frame fished from a canal, bent spokes and a soggy seat. The bike, when it was finally delivered wasn't that much better. It was a recycled frame with a lovely hand crafted paint job with a unique paint run effect. None of the components were of any quality or purchased recently from a store. And when the cash differential was raised Stuart disappeared and so became someone I never saw again. Shame really, he seemed like quite a nice guy.

So, in summary I had started with a fairly new motorcycle and ended up with a crappy bicycle. But in between loads of fond memories of my first car. Because that was what it was.

And that's how it should be because, as anyone knows, the first car is the cheapest. Queue the song Rod.

Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.274 20 Sep 2019
The header image shows the author sat on the bonnet of his Hillman Avenger 1.6 GLS, taken by a member of the author's family in 1981
The second image shows the author aged around three to four sat with his mother, Lilian on their doorstep and must be dated around 1964/5
The third image shows the front view of the Hillman Avenger, also from 1981
The final image shows the author and his friends Jeff, Theresa and Jackie, also from 1981 but a bit later

Bog Standard

So, I needed to use the toilet because I was in Britain. If it were the USA I would have opened this piece with I needed to use the bathroom, despite not actually needing a bath. Anyway I was headed for the loo and confronted with the first of many choices.

Three doors. One marked with a stick figure of a human, stood face on despite not having an actual face. A figurine defiantly splaying open both arms and legs. Or there was another near matching faceless individual but this time with only one fat leg and apparently partially hiding behind a triangle. Plus another poor soul with a tiny pin head but no arms and seemingly sat down on an exercise ball.

At least the one on the exercise ball gave some clue as to what was in there. It said accessible toilet. Presumably indicating that the other two doors were totally inaccessible and therefore not really doors at all.

But I'm educated so was aware that the term accessible is a more delicate and inclusive term for disabled because, presumably, anyone who may need a little mobility assistance is clearly far too mentally sensitive to deal with long held terminology. Unlike the pointlessly ‘inclusive’ word accessible, which because of its careful curation will obviously never be considered the same way.

But right now I had a pressing need and I decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt to enter one of the rooms to carry out my business. And I choose to attempt to enter one of the presumably inaccessible rooms.

I chose to venture into the one marked with a twin legged human shaped figure as I wasn't hiding behind a triangle at the time and it appears that I may have chosen wisely as there were a row of other men doing exactly what I needed to.

They were all standing in a bit of a row, closely facing a wall of steel, steadfastly staring intently at the wall whilst nodding glimpses to the task in hand in a way that implied any sideways diversion may start a contretemps, or nuclear war or something.

For my purposes I had to join them, but deciding which two to slot in between created an anxious moment. Previous decisions had led to various unsettling outcomes. From barely concealed harrumphing to enforced banter with complete strangers. Or unintended splash back from either or both sides or the Niagra scale watering during the automated flush cycle. Or the awkwardness of suddenly being unable to enact and having to slope away without having 'performed' implying that the visitation was nothing more than sightseeing.

Then there is the issue of the order of completion. Pick badly and you may be left with a decision to be made if nearly all the others complete apart from the guy right next to you, thus presenting a choice on whether to remain standing shoulder to shoulder with a complete stranger whilst the rest of the wall had cleared, or to shuffle sideways as if to suggest the neighbour is in some way undeserved of your proximity. I tend to just 'style it out' and have even been known to shuffle ever closer just to see the effect. The effect being that they finish before actually finishing and beat a hasty retreat.

And I still had the unenviable task of closely staring at an out of focus wall from short distance interrupted by casual glances downwards to monitor operations whilst noticing the channel below is freshly running past with a dirty orange liquid which nasally is anything but fresh and seemingly sluicing various and peculiar detritus which clearly never emanated from a human appendage. All whist wondering if someone will arrive on the scene and push you facewards into the steel trough.

I decided to use one of the cubicles instead.

But which one? There is usually a handy guide to which are vacant. A green for go or red for wait based on the attitude of the door lock. In this case too many were apparently occupied, displaying their 'keep away' red warning flash. One was red but the door wasn't closed fully, hmm? And one was a bit indecisive, mostly green but a bit of red showing. Thankfully one was pure unadulterated green. It became my cubicle of choice.

However, the door was not fully opened so I nudged it carefully to see if there was already an occupant, albeit one who cared less about the intricacies of public cubicle door fastening.

But it swung open. No one inside but due to the hinge arrangement immediately swung back three quarters shut again. I made a quick mental note that the green/red cubicle that I had previously discarded may have been a possible venue after all. But I was here now and once more pushed open the door to reveal my newfound personal peeing point.

I closed, and locked, the door behind me and stared at the ominously closed lid. It's at this point I'm always minded to think of the generally accepted polite notion that one should always 'put down the seat'. Apparently for the ladies. Not that any were likely to be passing by this place of gentlemen of course, but nonetheless some well-meaning soul had decided to adopt formality and fully drop the seat and additionally close the lid. I wish he hadn't.

The trouble with seats in combined male/female facilities and particularly men only establishments is that those who are prone to overshare their wastage all over the pan, seat and surrounding county are exactly the sort who do not think of others and raise the seat first. The polite aiming sort, who make attempts to keep splash back to a minimum are the ones who are most likely to raise the plastic ring. The accepted practice of lowering the seat to assist a future female visitor should be reversed to everyone raising the seat afterwards in case an inconsiderate oaf is the next to arrive.

For there is nothing worse than picking up the edge of a closed pan only to be confronted with a dripping under belly. You will not be able feel you have fully rinsed that off your fingers for about a month of intent scrubbing. However, you will have learned a lesson and in future always tear off a wad of toilet paper in order to raise the lid. I am an expert so dutifully spent six minutes trying to extract a bit of tissue paper that didn't tear off into a fingertip sized sample from the wall mounted dispenser which must have had a bit of a cob on because it steadfastly refused to give up its contents without a battle.

The raising of the seat cover then presented the next issue. A blocked but still well used bowl of sewage. No previous indication of such a surprise treasure find. The loose fitting seat cover, with broken hinge and only two of the four rubber feet still in operation managed to suppress all notion of this hidden swamp and amazingly all associated aroma with the integrity of a spacesuit.

I thought of flushing this horror that had now hit me hard in the nose but reasoned that adding more liquid to this may actually result in a tsunami of effluent all over my trainers. And I didn't want that.

I remembered the half-caste green/red cubicle and exited my current position to head off in search of this Eden.

However because of the epic struggle I had with the tissue dispenser I had been in there for a few minutes and now the joint had become more crowded. The line of reprobates had grown to a full complement and I could hear the harrumphing and muttering had increased exponentially. The trouble was the ones waiting for a gap in this queue and one immediately shot into my vacated cubicle as I exited. Before I could even explain why he shouldn't. He was turning around and undoing his trousers as he entered and I heard the squish as he crashed down onto the seat without pause.

"Aww, shit!" he audibly exclaimed presumably accurately describing what he sat on. He then flushed, accompanied this time by the expletive 'bollocks' presumably to describe what had just been unintendedly washed. The seepage slewed gently out past the door.

I washed my hands and left the premises. After all, actually having a pee didn't seem all that necessary now.

Public toilets are a disgrace. Not always where they are needed, too often closed, unhygienic, badly treated, poorly maintained and seemingly unsafe. It’s time I took a good look at the loo and sorted something out.

Despite all the above these establishments provide a service we all need at some time. For some of us many times. We seem to be getting it all wrong so I wish to propose that we give the industry a big shake and get it to clean up up it's act.

The first requirement is that they should be there, where you need them. Too often one cannot find the facilities in a city centre. We know that they are often within large shopping malls or at rail stations but these obvious places aren't always available throughout the wide conurbations of our large cities.

Furthermore the smaller the city, or town or village the less likely there is a guarantee of a place to spend the penny. Legislation should be there dictating the siting of loos where councils or communities are failing to provide these places.

The next requirement of public toilets are that they should be open. Always. All the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. And twice on Thursdays. Whatever we do to improve our toilets will be pointless if one is stood outside a locked door with a bladder based imminent pressing need.

Next up on my bullet list is a redesign of our toilets. At present the buildings are often dark, dank intimidating places. Security can be suspect and the basic Victorian architecture and styles seem to contribute to this. As a society we still seem to be too culturally sensitive to a basic human need. We all pee and poo. Absolutely without exception.

So why are we hiding this function away in dingy facilities? Let's build modern, open, light buildings. I agree the actual place of discharging should have some personal privacy but why is the waiting area hidden from view? A glass fronted building would provide a greater sense of safety to those who feel vulnerable entering the building.

To achieve a good balance between privacy and security every cubicle should be fully equipped with everything needed when in there. In other words each should be like a disabled facility, large, spacious, fitted with a pan, sink, mirror, waste disposal bin and hand rails. An extra advantage of this way would be that there is no need to discriminate between the non able bodied and the not yet non able bodied.

Furthermore the facilities should be entirely gender neutral. A common place for male, female or any other way folks choose to see themselves, because we are all people. The advantage of gender neutrality would mean that couples or groups can visit together with the ability to wait for each other in the open glazed frontage area, possibly on provided comfortable seating.

One issue with this new design would be that some may complain that this would be more expensive to construct. I agree this would be the case but we do not live in a land of such struggling poverty that this couldn't be done if the will was there. I agree that lining up men, shoulder to shoulder staring intently down into a common trough is an efficient use of space but it is also de-humanising, subject to splash back from every angle, therefore un-hygienic and frankly embarrassing, particularly for those with abnormal biology or a need to wait patiently for nature to take its course.

Also too many males clearly see the rapid, casual nature of peeing an excuse to speed through the process and therefore skip the important bit of washing their hands afterwards. This all too common, disgusting habit is one reason many may not wish to share their facilities. But I have a solution.

The doors to these individual cubicles should only operate once the hand washing equipment is used, or make the toilet door exits only openable by the use of an adjacent hand sanitiser.

On a similar note the toilet flush mechanism should be automated or foot operated, to minimise cross transference of germs.

And we should all 'leave the lid up'. In fact it should 'spring up' after seating. Not in an ejector seat kind of approach but a slow elegant rise.

And the hand washing facilities should be controllable, sensor operated affairs and not timed to dispense soap when no water is available, or end up with an inadequate breathless cold air dry that leaves hands still wet afterwards. I have dry skin and damp hands exacerbate this condition, particularly in winter.

Yes there are now some 'unisex' facilities being built and welcome they are too, albeit a bit cramped for my liking but overall we can do better. And we should.

Let's improve the loo.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.273 13 Sep 2019
No photograph was included as you may have been eating your dinner

Vince's First Open Mic

Image of a grinning Vince in a white shirt over a black tee-shirt performing his first open mic stand up routine using a stand mounted microphone. A large video display behind Vince shows his name, Vince Poynter, in bold black lettering on a red background. The room is otherwise dark.
Performing my first open mic five minute set in The Studio Theatre at The Point, Eastleigh. Click the image to play the video via YouTube

The recording of my first 5 minute Open Mic Stand Up slot performed at The Studio Theatre within The Point, Eastleigh, Hampshire, UK on 19 September 2018.

This original routine was written and performed by me.

The story starts on a Saturday, 15 September 2018. I was visiting Leigh Road Recreation Ground because there was an interesting display of World War II memorabilia. Whilst visiting I wandered over to The Point, Eastleigh, a community based entertainment centre, to see if there were any interesting comedians due to perform.

The outstanding comedic performer was Hal Cruttenden, booked for 20 September. However all tickets had been sold but I took a brochure for The Point to see what else may be available. That evening I saw a piece written about The Comedy Lab, a regular meet up for those interested in comedy both performing and writing including collaboration and on the Sunday I made contact to see what the arrangements were.

it transpired that the group met on Wednesdays but once a month they hosted an open mic evening and as it happened the upcoming Wednesday would be one such night. I was invited to come along and also offered a slot to perform if I should so desire.

I made a rash decision on the Sunday to have a go despite my complete lack of experience, my complete lack of a set, a full time job to be carried out that week and a day booked off on the Monday to visit the Southampton Boat Show.

I had performed a stand up routine before [see below]. More than seven years before. But I had harboured a desire to try it out properly. My problem was my distrust of traditional comedy venues which I understood were mainly pubs. I rarely drink and do not frequent many public houses and was not familiar with those establishments that I discovered over the years which offered comedy. The 'safe' environment of a cruise ship was much more to my liking. The Point in Eastleigh was both local and generally known for it's professional, stage performances alongside community style activities and dance routines for young people. Assurances from the organiser of the Comedy Lab also suggested the crowd would be comedy fans, not overtly fuelled by hops based liquids and, crucially, supportive of new talent.

I needed a routine. I didn't figure in the two to three days that I would have time to write and learn something from scratch so had to develop something I had already done. As a first open mic set I wanted to do something related to a first routine so looked to adapt my previously published Podcast 001 - Beginnings. You can find this within my Podcasts section on this web site. Click on the blue vSectors button above and choose Podcasts for a link. I figured that at least I would be familiar with the structure and some lines. Unlike the other 7.3 billion people on this planet that hadn't downloaded it from iTunes.

I had to edit it down to under five minutes, remove references to it being a podcast and other irrelevant stuff then learn it sufficiently to perform in front of a crowd. I made a concession by producing a 'set list' which, on the night, I placed on the floor in front of me, which explains some of the glancing in that direction.

The video was captured by my wife, Lynda, on my Apple iPhone X and lasts 5 minutes and 29 seconds.

The sound was captured direct by the iPhone but had to be adjusted in post production as the auto level set too low after the initial walk on applause.

The video was edited in the Apple Macintosh iMovie application using customised stock title cards.

This film was uploaded into the Comedy category of YouTube on 25 Oct 2018 and at the time of publication had received just 49 views.

You can read the routine by clicking the button below to toggle between hiding and showing the transcript.

The full transcript will appear here

Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.272 21 Aug 2019
Filmed on 19 Sep 2012
Uploaded to YouTube 25 Oct 2018
© A Film by Vince 2019

Brexit Food

Type: 2-3 minute sketch with 3 actors, set in a meeting room.

A top down photograph of a slice of buttered bread with a cross pattern of brown and red sauces implying a union flag pattern
Good, old fashioned, classic British cuisine using only the finest ingredients and prepared with such loving touches

Brexit negotiations are on the mind of many at the moment, with countless negotiation committees in session discussing the minutiae of details

Chairperson: "Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen, that was an excellent discussion about Brexit trade negotiations this morning but can I suggest we now take our break and convene for some well earned lunch."

2nd Person: "I agree. I'm feeling really hungry after all that and can't wait to tuck into a big plate of Spaghetti Bolognese."

Chairperson: "Whilst you still can I suppose?"

2nd Person: "Why? Is the menu changing?"

Chairperson: "Well. It will after Brexit."

2nd Person: "The menu?"

Chairperson: "Obviously. All the European foods won't be available after Brexit."

2nd Person: "That's hard."

Chairperson: "Yes. No more Spaghetti Bolognese. Nor Lasagne or Pizza come to that. Or Salami. Or Chorizo. And you can forget Danish pastries and Belgian chocolates. And give up on your German wine."

3rd Person: "Some advantages then."

2nd Person: "French Fries?"

Chairperson: "Nope. Not unless they accept our food trade in return."

2nd Person: "So no Danish bacon either."

Chairperson: "None."

3rd Person: "So it’s true then. Brexit does means breakfast."

2nd Person: "So what have we got that we can trade for this?"

3rd Person: "Well for a start there's our cheese."

Chairperson: "But the French already have a thousand cheeses."

3rd Person: "But not Cheddar."

2nd Person: "Do you think they'll negotiate on this? It all seems to be a bit one sided."

3rd Person: "Nonsense. By the time they realise they will have to give up all the great British dishes they'll be eating off our plate. As it were."

Chairperson: "So what exactly do we have to trade with? Yorkshire Beef and Cornish pasties?"

3rd Person: "Yes. And that's just the start. There's also..."

Chairperson: "Yes?"

3rd Person: "You know. Everyday great British food. Like lamb."

2nd Person: "Half of which we get from New Zealand."

3rd Person: "Or there's... Oh this is hopeless we’ll have to send a memo to the cabinet."

Chairperson: "They won’t have a clue. You may as well just email the sofa."

2nd Person: "So, like the sofa you could say we are stuffed."

Chairperson: "Or more importantly we won’t be. Look what they can bring to the table. They have Schnitzels, Moussakas, Belgian Waffles, Sauerkraut, Duck a la Orange, Danish bacon, Paella, Irish stew, Goulash, Stollen cake, Stella Artois, Carlsberg. The list goes on."

2nd Person: "And if Scotland gets its way on independence you can add Whiskey, Salmon and deep fried Mars Bars to the list."

Chairperson: "And what have we got in return?"

3rd Person: "Tennent’s Lager and Werther’s Originals?"


You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me at any time of the day or night for more information or just slip me a little note at our next meeting.


Related Link

Author: Vince Poynter
First Published here, Version 5.271 16 Aug 2019
The photograph is of a piece of buttered white bread emblazoned with red and brown sauce trails designed and photographed on 29 Apr 2012 by the autor and first published on on the same date under the title Born & bread


A compilation of eleven photographs showing the concept of the MashTop product, a mashed pototo scoop in an edible wafer cone. On the left are five variants with mashed potato toppings and other ingredients on a cone. The first has two frankfurters with pepper, the second with mackerel and gravy, the third frankfurters with beans, the fourth beans with gravy and black pepper and the fifth with beetroot. The central photograph shows the author smiling whilst holding one of the cones. On the right are five photographs showing cutaways of the cones showing the internal contents. The first is a full size showing the mash and frankfurther cone with an internal filling of red jelly and dark chocolate pieces plugged with a Malteser, the second is a close up of the same product concentrating on the filling, the third close up showing a filling of red jelly and smarties, the fourth close up with pieces of Rocky Road and red jelly and the fifth close up with apple pieces

In April of this year I posted an article proposing the concept of a novel range of mashed potato based take away outlets, arguing that it was more healthy and offered greater choice than traditional burger, curry and fish & chips franchises.

I even attempted to differentiate my idea by suggested a slight change in the packaging of the take away product by proposing a circular polystyrene container. However this change is not radical enough. It still has the unpopular use of a one time wasteful box. So I set about attempting to find a solution to appease environmentally minded people.

I found a solution to this by merging two traditional take away ideas - Fast food and ice cream.

A photograph of the MashTop concept showing a mashed potato scoop with two frankfurters poking out, covered in black pepper in an edible wafer cone which has been cut away to show a sweet treat inside including a Malteser and two dark chocolate chunks within some shredded red jelly.
The original concept for a MashTop showing the edible cone cut away revealing a tasty sweet internal treat

I propose the uniquely novel idea of a brand new food product which I have called The MashTop.

The basic concept is a scoop of mashed potato atop an edible wafer cone.

With the mashed potato top additional elements can be added to complete a tasty meal such as the use of frankfurters shown in the adjacent close up photograph.

Other toppings could include slices of various cooked or processed meats or even fish fingers. Samples are shown within the banner photograph above.

Carrots, baked beans or sprinklings of peas could be vegetarian options or even be included with the meats.

Toppings could include peppers, gravy or selected sauces.

The other novel concept, which really sets this idea apart from what is already available, is the hidden sweet treat internally held within the cone.

The large photograph shows a filling of red jelly with chunks of dark chocolate and a Malteser plug. But many other mixes could be added such as illustrated by the banner photograph.

Other sweets could be utilised such as Smarties, Jelly Babies, chocolate raisins or maybe healthier options like apple, orange segments or grapes.

The major benefit of The MashTop is the complete lack of environmental waste because the toppings, internal contents and the 'container', the wafer cone itself, are all edible.

Additional benefits include ease of use, convenience, the ability for customers to select their own choice of fillings and being quick enough to prepare to be called fast food.

As the original designer and so first user of this concept I am uniquely qualified to report on the success or otherwise of this concept.

For the purpose of this article I simply used products that are easily available at large supermarkets and I used no more 'cooking' than boiling a kettle.

I used a freeze dried potato mash option and warmed the frankfurters by emptying the water from a tin and adding boiled water.

With more effort in a full kitchen fresh potatoes could be peeled, boiled and mashed but the end result would look little different.

Because I like the way I prepared the food I was personally satisfied with the taste and texture of the mash based topping.

It was as easy to eat as a classic ice cream and didn't spill anywhere.

The interaction between the mash, frankfurters and the room temperature cone was admittedly a bit unusual because this is not the normal way of consuming food. However it was perfectly acceptable.

The only change I would make is a thicker wafer cone as the moisture from the mashed potato was easily absorbed around the cone perimeter. This would be less likely the quicker the product was consumed. Alternate thicker, stronger cones were not available in the supermarket that I used.

The internal treats were lovely as expected and no such differentiation between the cone and sweet filling was experienced.

When reselecting a different more substantial cone I would also seek a larger size. The standard small cone wasn't able to accommodate much filling and the mashed potato based topping was only a small meal. Ideal for a snack between meals or for children but probably not enough for a main lunchtime meal. Maybe cone size options could be offered at the retail outlet.

Overall I feel the product has serious potential as a new fast food option.

A complete meal in a take away cone. Two courses, no waste.

Do you like this idea? Perhaps you have some comments. The idea is not patented and therefore free to use. Try it. Enjoy it. Sell it. Sell millions. Make millions. Thank me later.

And finally if you think I haven't also thought of serving other fast food meals such as burgers in a wafer box then you really don't understand the breadth of my inventiveness. Another great idea, just dropped in as an afterthought? You're welcome.

Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.270 11 Jul 2019 [First Publication]
The header image is a compilation of eleven photographs showing the concept of the MashTop product, along with the author holding one of the cones, taken by the author and his wife on 23 Sep 2017
The additional image is a close up of a cutaway MashTop, taken by the author on 23 Sep 2017
I had the idea of mashed potato based fast food outlets a few years ago but only publicly posted this as an idea in April 2019
The idea of the MashTop was fully developed by me by 2017, as can be seen from the date of the photographs. This article is the first public airing of the idea. Had I created the article immediately and not spent ages updating my web site as a vehicle for such thoughts I suspect that by now there would have been a sea change of fast food container use and as a result there would be no plastics found in our environment, Polar Bears would have been brought back from near extinction and David Attenborough would be having a nice quiet retirement. For this delay Mr Attenborough and all Polar Bears I am sorry.