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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.272 21 Aug 2019

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

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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.


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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.

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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.

Thirteen Tweets: My Twitter Story of 2013

2013 was a year that saw a greater uptake of high quality flat screen TVs including the introduction of 4K screens, a scandal involving unlisted horse meat found in British processed meat products, the Church of England attempting to disrupt Wonga financial services plus the spacecraft Voyager finally breaching the outer limits of the solar system. So naturally I made comment on all these things.

I also continued to gently mock issues relating to my favourite subjects, technology, cars, news and politics along with many other things that I personally watched and experienced. As usual the main theme was humour and I grabbed opportunities all year round to post such irreverence and gags.

Remember, all entries both past and live can be followed at

1 January 13

Russell Crowe, Russell Crowe, riding through the glen That is why, that this film, watched by all women

It continues... If you want to read the full article click on the blue button:

For those of you that just like the best of the best I have curated this list of my top ten best Tweets of 2013. Based on my personal choice, not based on views, likes, comments or retweets. They are in no significant order other than date of posting.

I got flashed whilst turning round under a speed camera. It was a three point turn
Going to a fancy dress party dressed as a 9mm round of ammo. I'm hoping this will get me in a magazine
[On the new Mr Selfridge TV series] So far in this series he's not sold one fridge
We had a greyhound called Scissors. He never got enough exercise as we were not allowed to run with him
Saw a bald man at the Fringe Festival. That's just not right
I used to transport vicars to church. Lovely vehicle, leather seats, aircon, electric windows. Strangely, no rev counter
There are many stand up comedians operating in London now. Which is an indictment on the NHS
Someone asked me the difference between a Kite and a Buzzard. I said buzzards have brown plumage & yellow beak, whereas kites have a string
Toilet roll's run out. Quite a surprise. I didn't even know it could walk
There's a gap in the curtains. Damn retail outlets everywhere these days

Have I picked the ten best? If you want to know the full story of my Tweets in 2013 just select the Twitter 2013 option above.

Author: Vince Poynter
Curated: Version m5.269 8 Jul 2019
First Published: Twitter during 2013

Defender & Discovery

The title card showing a photograph from an offroad day showing an offroad modified Land Rover Discovery Series 2, model designation L318, in red atop a muddy hill about to descend.
Defender & Discovery. Click the image to play the video via YouTube

Video taken from an offroad 4x4 day at Slindon near Arundel on 12 February 2017.

The photographs and video primarily features modified Land Rover cars, a blue Land Rover Defender Ninety 3-door 4x4 and a red Land Rover Discovery Series II [model designation L318].

Filmed on an iPhone 6+ by the author and his wife.

Edited direct in iMovie for OS X using the stock customisable titles by the author

The video lasts 11 minutes and 36 seconds and was uploaded to YouTube, in the Autos & Vehicles category, on 17 February 2017 and to date has received 119 views.

Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.268 4 Jul 2019
Photographs taken at the event
Video Filmed by Vince and his wife Lynda
Editing and post production by the author Feb 2017
Uploaded to YouTube 17 Feb 2017
© A Film by Vince 2017

Autonomous Vehicles - Part Five - Interesting Questions and Considerations

In this final piece of five articles about driverless, autonomous vehicles I am going to address a few more interesting questions and considerations.

In previous pieces I have already covered the topics of the definition of driverless vehicles, their operation and in-built ethical decisions plus I looked at a future where it is the normality because the majority of vehicles are similarly appointed.

So what else could I foresee?

Let me ask a question that may seem silly at first but bear with me because it has a serious undertone. Will our vehicles eventually let us get into them in the first place?

After all we will programme them to protect us from ourselves. We will demand that these cars can take us to the pub and return us home when we ourselves are incapable of doing so without risk to ourselves or others. We will ask them to transport our nearest and dearest in the safest way possible. We will use them to transport our goods to destinations of our choice reliably and efficiently, without additional supervision. And the elderly and infirm will need to be able to fully trust these machines to protect them when they are unable to do this themselves.

To ensure the highest standards of safety we will programme them with the ability to self learn from errors made and their experience will be put to common use in vast databases to ensure the errors of one can be learnt by the many. In time this self learning will be more efficient within the databases than within human programmers so in essence the learning will supersede human ability. Some characterise this learning curve as becoming 'self aware'.

This could be a frightening issue for those that construct their mindset based on dramatic science fiction stories and who may foresee a future when these advance vehicles refuse to transport their owners because they judge their safety to be more important than the journey. And no journey can guarantee safety.

Or if we send them off to find a parking space will they definitely return to us when summoned back? Or will they consider the effort just too much to bother with? Or possibly will they be too busy picking up a more 'deserving' passenger?

This is all of course something that will not happen because we can, or at least I can, foresee this potential issue.

There is a fear amongst the pre-mentioned sci-fi followers to assume that a robotic future means that mankind will be made irrelevant upon machine self awareness. After all, some argue, if the machines are 'better' than us then why we would we needed? The answer to this is actually simple. Machines are made by mankind, for mankind and without mankind what is the purpose of said machines? I can work this out so I am sure robotic vehicle version 935.8.487 can figure this out as well. Even if it has to find and read this article first.

The above arguments raise another issue. Should we be able to trust future autonomous vehicles to transport our children and therefore at what age?

I believe this is no more complex than consulting current standards of childcare. In other words it is fine to send the car off to take your child to middle school but not send your new born baby fifty miles alone to be greeted by the grandparents.

The same would be for transporting your animals. By all means send Fluffy to the vet, provided the surgery is prepared to accept the consignment and Fluffy is secured in the vehicle with sufficient fresh air and water.

And on the subject of transporting goods this will become commonplace, with the vehicles secured at offset and only accessible by the appropriate person on arrival.

All of which is ideal for drug running businesses across the border. The authorities never suspecting this, mainly as they will rightly assume all the drug transport will be via autonomous drones. But what if the drug vehicle carriers are impounded? Who is deemed legally responsible, the vehicle owner but it could have been stolen, the manufacturer or the software engineer?

Sorry, I have swayed into story time again. Anyway it's fun so let's continue with some other radical thoughts.

What about a future where autonomous cars, who’s owners have died or abandoned their vehicles, still roam the streets? After all that is their raison d'être. Forever left to search for electric charging points, heading off to get serviced and driving around with no passengers aimlessly searching for a reason to exist? If this isn't a side feature in the next Ridley Scott movie I will be extremely disappointed.

And finally, could self driving cars communicating together end up doing formation patterns, just for the sheer fun of it all? I hope the programmers include this possibility. Look out for future photographs of busy motorways from above wherein the cars are precisely positioned to spell out 'vinceunlimited'.

And that's neatly back to where we started off. So, while you still can, drive safely* Vince

I’m sure I will return to this fascinating and developing subject in the future so keep following me on this web site, on WordPress, Twitter and in an appropriate lane on the A31 for more insightful commentary.

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.267 28 Jun 2019
*Message also addressed to all future autonomous vehicles

Autonomous Vehicles - Part Four - The Future

In previous articles on this most interesting of subjects I have written about what driverless vehicles are, how they are likely to be operated and even the ethical decision their makers have to consider. So in this piece I intend to look at the future of autonomy in a world where this is the normality.

I have already addressed priority mode, particularly in relation to emergency priority, but what about our future day to day journeying?

I foresee an important setting to be made at offset is your own, settable, priority mode. Unless the car is singing the same tune as your calendar of appointments within your connected mobile device it will need to know the urgency of your journey. After all at times we are in no particular hurry and don't mind a leisurely drive. During other times economy may be our main driver, as it were. Maybe you wish to avoid tolls, or motorways. Then on some occasions you may be running a bit late and want to get on with things. Or there may be an emergency which you need to attend to and the vehicle would be instructed to travel as fast as is safe to do so.

In a sense we already have similar basic options on our current cars, or at least those sensible ones fitted with automatic gearboxes, although admittedly the actual speed is more dependent on the angle of your right foot. That is what the E-S-M [or similar] switch does in your car, it chooses your selected priority mode and adjusts the car engine and possibly suspension characteristics to suit. Typically, E for economy, S for Strewth this car can shift a bit and M for Memories wherin I remember when we had to actually choose the gears ourselves.

This of course means that when the autonomous vehicles are trundling around those cars set on the more leisurely settings should prioritise those on a speedier setting so every traveller is satisfied. Overtaking will occur in this future but only with the 'permission' of other vehicles. In fact you may notice that in some cases all cars going in opposite directions stop to allow another to overtake a whole queue. Even if you don’t spot this happening because you are resting in a catatonic state in your car, or perhaps reading the latest Rom-com, which amounts to much the same thing.

Also at junctions those cars set to economy or leisurely may wait for those with more urgent settings to pass by first.

This automated priority could be abused by some so don't be surprised if future legislation limits instances of hurrying to create a fairer system.

However, in time we shall become accustomed to this sort of behaviour without entertaining jealous thoughts of others.

But whatever mode we preselect all will be prioritised over the autonomous goods vehicles trundling around, looking for somewhere safe to drop their cargo.

Then there is the case of money. Isn't this always the case? Could wealthy individuals purchase priority? Maybe self appointed 'celebrities' will demand progress to avoid being caught up in a queue with the rest of us? And perhaps the most interesting question of all, what about the old geezer with a classic car?

By classic car I am thinking maybe a 2019 model. You know the sort. One that is not really autonomous at all. This ancient relic has no way of interacting with the then contemporary tranche of autonomous vehicles and will struggle to merge into a gap of fast travelling auto-vehicles seemingly joined nose to tail at high speed on the major roads. Well, fear not. For the rules of autonomy mean that autonomous vehicles have to do all they can to avoid accidents, so even a rogue, manually controlled one will have carte blanche to proceed as they wish and all the driverless ones will just jolly well have to get out of their way.

Now when the majority of vehicles are fully automated and controlled under a vast database of v2v and v2b [vehicle to base/infrastructure communication] systems, will we no longer need visible, plated speed control signs? After all the vehicles will know what speed to travel according to legislation and the road type. So, will top speed be effectively unlimited?

I think not. For a start there are consequences of potential accidents being more dangerous at higher speeds. Autonomy, whilst highly likely to reduce accidents, could not work to prevent them altogether. Mechanical failure, physics and build quality could all still play a part. Road traffic accidents can be minimised by risk management but no matter how much effort is put in they can still happen.

Finally, unlimited top speeds present questions from an ecological standpoint. Even if we have entered an age of unlimited free solar energy, because wear and tear on components would still apply.

So these are a few things we will probably have to look out for in a world of common autonomy amongst vehicles.

I will conclude my current thoughts on driverless cars and lorries in my final piece next wherein I shall be looking at some other interesting questions and considerations of this exciting new time.

Next up: The final article, Autonomous Driving - Interesting Questions & Considerations

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Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.266 27 Jun 2019