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Elephant In The Room

IMG_4095.jpg    Towards the end of 2016, I got to see David Sedaris read some of his essays in Oakland. I assume that everyone reading this knows who he is, but if you don’t, let’s just say that he does what I do, but infinitely better and gets paid lots of money to do it. This isn’t a cue for you to stop reading and Google “David Sedaris.”

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David Sedaris

     So, anyway, I knew that after his readings, David likes to meet his audience and get to know his adoring fans—for better or worse. I also know that he lives in England, which I thought was a massive “in” for me to have more than a minute to try and charm his socks off. Then I would give him a copy of my book of essays, which of course he would love, and then the following week he would write me a letter, because, what, you think he’s going to send me an email or send me an invitation to be on Snapchat? No. David Sedaris would write me a letter.

     I would be invited to the next show as a V.I.P. and we’d go for dinner and a midnight movie, after which we’d laugh and make fun of the movie and then volley sarcastic comments back and forth about the guy manning the concession stand. David Sedaris and I would become best friends and hang out all the time.

     His boyfriend Hugh would be jealous, but not really, because even though David Sedaris and I really like each other, it’s just not THAT kind of a relationship.

     I imagined us in a situation: a mix up over tickets at an airport or something, and neither of us making a big deal about it because we didn’t want the other to know that we had already started writing the story in our head. We would go to a restaurant and a disheveled waiter would approach our table and butcher the dinner specials, mispronouncing every word that he had just read off of the board, as if he was relaying them from a series of foreign language translations that eventually made its way to English. I would look at David and say, “It’s okay, I’ll let you have this one.”

     I’d tell him how an editor at Harper Collins once said that my writing reminded her a lot of his and then watch as he tried to contain his laughter while slowly shaking his head. I would become irritated, but he’d be right, and I would always be fearful that he would throw the “at least I didn’t have to self-publish my stories” line at me.

      So coming back to the day of the show. It was four days after the Presidential Election and held at The Scottish Rites building by Lake Merritt in Oakland. It was the same day that thousands of people gathered to hold hands around the lake in a beautiful demonstration of hope and resistance amid the desperation that gripped every sensitive, intelligent, and caring human being. And the fact that we all had to walk past this massive event was the elephant in the room when David Sedaris walked onto the stage.

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      David was shorter than I imagined and wore colorful culottes, that at first glance I mistook for a skirt. The elephant was still in the room though. He finished reading his first essay, and as the audience laughter started to die down he said, “I’m sorry, but holding hands around a lake? That’s why people make fun of liberals. I mean, at least push Republicans in the lake.” Which he later apologized for and said that if anyone should be pushed into Lake Merritt, it should be the people that didn’t vote. Which I think was generous of him.

     Two observations about him: He spoke for an hour and 40 minutes and I don’t recall him flubbing a thing. Secondly, as he was reading, he would pull a pen from his shirt pocket and edit as he went. If you have ever read in front of a large group of strangers, you will know how difficult this is.

     Now, I’d love to tell you that I met him, gave him my book, and thoroughly charmed him, but the morning of the show I woke up with such a rotten cold that I thought about getting rid of my ticket. I didn’t want to be that guy sneezing and sniffling for two hours, ruining the show. So I took a lot of cold meds and just about made it without a sneeze. I got out as quickly as possible. I figured I’d get to meet him another time.

      Anyway, in my mind, this essay of how I contrived to make sure that David Sedaris didn’t catch a cold, would be his favorite story of mine.

 

 

 

 

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Dom Quinto Swims With The Leaves

    Foreword:  According to sources, Dom Quinto invented the leaf blower in 1957. Later that year, his mutilated body was found in a leaf-filled dumpster. Not one of his neighbors came forward to say they saw anything suspicious. Most strange.

          I live in a thirty-unit apartment building on the corner of a block containing million-dollar house, after million-dollar house. The view from my room is impressive, but fills me with envy. When I first moved in here, I spent a lot of time looking at these houses trying to imagine what kind of lives the inhabitants of these homes led.

           I mean, I could have actually stopped when walking up the street and had an actual conversation with some of them, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, that is an entirely un-British thing to do. We’d rather peer through the curtains and speculate. Also, as soon as my neighbors might discover that I lived in the 30-unit turd in their Utopia, they might shuffle their kids and pets back into their houses, making sure that the security system lasers are engaged to disintegrate any approaching riffraff.

Read more

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Lose Control

   The animations continue, for better or worse. Ha.

This one is my first music video. I created it for Sheila Star. The song is called “Lose Control” and is the lead track on her latest release called, “That Fire.” Click on the link and check it out.

How is this video connected to a drought? A good question. Drop a man from Seattle in the Sahara Desert and he could tell you, or, less dramatically, take a stereotypical and sometimes homesick Brit and deny him the rain, as he lives his life in drought stricken California for a few years. Lose Control? Too bloody right.

Now if you are a Brit and reading this and are thinking “Miss the bloody miserable, drizzly, damp? You must be off your bloody rocker.” I respect your opinion, but you can’t know until you have tried it.

Anyway, enjoy the video and thanks, as always, for being a friend to The Bay Area Brit.

Dead Cold

Well, I’m still putting words on “paper,” my lovely Britophiles, but now the words form scripts for my animations. I know many of you would rather read an essay than watch a cartoon I created, but this is where I am at right now. I hope you stick with The Bay Area Brit on this cartoon ride.

This new short animation was inspired and pays homage to the Norwegian Nazi Zombie flick, “DEAD SNOW.”

I know, right! Frikkin’ Nazi Zombies. Kind of like Donald Trump’s idea of the perfect, mindless voter, but I digress.

Hope you like it. Feel free to share and subscribe on my YouTube Channel if you like.

Cheers, and thanks for being you.

Yes, you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New animation

 

This short animation is dedicated to anyone that has worked in the service industry or had to stand in line behind a high-maintenance customer at a cafe or a bar.

Feel free to share this if you like it. As always, thanks.

cheers,

Matty

Animation

It has been a long time since I’ve written a new entry and for that I apologize. I get a lot of people asking for more cartoons, I hope to go one better than that by offering this one-minute animation that I created. I hope you like it and will continue to follow me. Thanks.

iTourist

    The Bay Area Brit returns! No, that’s no good. The Bay Area Brit—this time it’s personal. Scratch that. Jeez, I thought this would be easier. I’ll name it later. I’m returning to a country that I have glorified and mocked in equal measure. How will I be received? Will anyone care?

                        “You can’t go home again.” – Thomas Wolfe

     And that was when it hit me: I should have ordered the pasta. Oh, sorry, I’m still on a plane on the way to London, and every co-passenger with keen vision can get a preview of my ramblings, I mean witty prose. Or something.

      I suppose when this two-week trip is done and dusted I will look back upon my sojourn wistfully. I anticipate moments of great joy, tears, and reflection with my family. I will also be a tourist. I will be flooded with memories, as I remember both good and tough times in my old Bayswater neighborhood in West London. I’ll also briefly forget why I moved away all those years ago.

     When traveling back to a place that you were once so familiar with, you ask yourself some of the daftest questions: “I wonder if Ali still works at that little market across the street from where I used to live 30 years ago?”

                                               Am I insane?

     Of course he doesn’t, and if he does, I think my eyes would look upon him with such poorly disguised pity that it would just be better altogether if I didn’t go in there. But maybe I’ll have a quick peek; maybe the new guy will know what became of Ali. No, no, forget Ali.

      Visitors to London used to say things like, “Can you believe that this building is over a thousand years old?” Now tourists say things like, “This is the house where Colin Firth punched Hugh Grant in the face for being such a wiener. Can you simulate punching my face? Or, better still, actually punch my face so I can get a great selfie with a black eye.”

NottingHill

        Sorry, Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Tower of London, you had your day. Now, throngs of young people pose in front of the bookshop featured in the film “Notting Hill.” And yes, I’m sure Colin Firth punches Hugh Grant in the face in that film too. I’m pretty sure that people would flock to see any film that has Colin Firth punching Hugh Grant in the face.

      We live in the age of instant gratification. Social Media rules our daily lives. I discovered that although a lot of the museums have wi-fi, they block websites like Facebook and Twitter.

       iTourist is thwarted and not happy. “Screw you. If I’m spending $80 to see the goddamned Crown Jewels in the goddamned Tower of London, I want to send picture-proof to all my homies that I was actually there. Here’s a selfie with Queen Victoria’s crown on my head.”

      There are about 50 uniformed adults that, albeit politely, will tell you that you cannot photograph the Crown Jewels, wear Richard the Lionheart’s suit of armor, or pose with your head inches below the blade of Henry the VIII’s trusty, head-removing axe of choice. So the iTourist says, “Well, then, you can kiss MY Crown Jewels, London.”

      The glossy, black front door at 221b Baker Street stands soberly in the background as hundreds of people take pics of themselves—for free. And you know what? There’s not one single person there to stop the iTourist from knocking on the door, or ringing the doorbell, leaving a steaming poop in a flaming paper bag and running away, or, heaven forbid, breaking into Sherlock Holmes’ digs, only to be massively disappointed that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t serenading Martin Freeman with a violin.

221B

        This is the new London and this is the new tourist. iPhone poised, ready to document every thing they see through their camera lens.

        London is a pulsating, vibrant energy as big and exciting as New York City and just as unpredictable. London was broken when I left and it has been fixed. I mean seriously, central London effortlessly hums along. For a brief time at the beginning of August, it felt like home again. The home I might have never left.

      When Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can never go home again” he was wrong (unless you once lived on Alderaan, because, spoiler alert, The Death Star blew that planet up.) However, whether the home you remember (or want) is the same, well that’s another matter. The main thing is that no matter what the future holds for London in the next few years, it seems for now, tourists are pretty happy that Hugh Grant is getting punched in the face.

Sent from my iPad

 :-p