Simon Amstell. £6.00. New material.
In hindsight, there were various other words in that sentence, but in the excitement of the moment my brain developed an uncanny ability to filter all important words out. ‘BOOK TICKETS’, I pressed.
This is how, a 3 hour journey, a battle with a tube map and hotel swap drama later, I found myself at Camden Stables Market waiting outside a glorified shed with a crowd who’d only wear clothes that were pre 1980 and wouldn’t be caught dead reading NME.
I adore Simon Amstell. I can have whole conversations in his past quotes and following a few cocktails, quite frequently do. Over the course of about 3 years I’ve managed to build him up into an amazing god-like figure. Since the phenomenal presenter left Never Mind The Buzzcocks, I’ve followed everything he’s done and when ‘Spaced’ actress Jessica Hynes declared that she wanted to ‘kiss him and wrestle him at the same time,’ I breathed a massive sigh of relief that it wasn’t just me harbouring these barmy feelings.
So, on Tuesday, waiting for Simon’s ‘work in progress’ show, when a very human looking man in geeky glasses with an incredible mop of curls began walking towards me, I completely lost it. He eyed me suspiciously, went through the door and into the venue.
All I could do was open and close my mouth like some sort of loony goldfish. I turned to my friend who was equally as stunned. “Im going to cry.” I said pathetically, “Simon was here" i screeched, pointing at the floor, "with his coat, and his glasses..and his hair!”
After ten minutes of squealing, (I failed to realise that Simon was on the other side of a very thin stable door,) the door opened again. Out came my god. ‘Hi,’ he said to me, then he turned to my friend ‘hello’ he said, before striding off towards the bar to stock up on green tea. My music journalist persona vanished. Infact, I’ve not acted so starstruck since I went to see Steps at the age of 9. ‘GET A GRIP,’ my brain urged as they opened the door to let the crowd in.
Rationality kicked in, and I’m thrilled to say I didn’t leave him thinking I was an obsessed moron. His stand up is always so brutally honest, thrusting every awkward aspect of his life under a blinding spotlight.
‘I’m a sex pest.’ He admits, ‘I went travelling on my own and I thought about sex the whole time, apart from the twenty minutes in the Anne Frank museum, and even then there were these two men in there…’
He is the most frank comedian I’ve ever come across and his failed relationships and inability to ‘talk to humans’ makes you feel a great deal better about your own life.
His stories are often so painfully embarrassing, that at times you can physically feel the whole room cringe. The delivery of each anecdote is perfectly timed, and about halfway through, my sides are already aching and my makeup is attractively smudged across my face.
“I met a man at a boat party in Switzerland, things were going really well, I was telling him about my yoga and meditation. He came back to my room. I decided it would be a good idea to play him my meditation CD. I played it and he fell asleep. That was that.”
At the end he holds a Q&A session, as an aspiring journalist, I should be waving my arm, notepad in hand, pen poised for an exclusive. I’m not. I’m still in awe, question-less. There’s the usual dull ‘when are you back on tv?’ and ‘what are your thoughts on Blue singing at Eurovision?’ But, then someone pipes up, “I saw you. On Valentines day, with a man. How was the date?”
Although Simon looks awkward, his face is beaming. “He looks like me doesn’t he? But smaller!” He proceeds to tell the whole room about how he’s struggling to tell his new boyfriend that he loves him. “The other morning we woke up, and he said ‘I love kissing you’ and I said ‘I love kissing you too’ so I’m nearly there! I just need to get rid of the word kissing. But I need to be careful, because without the ‘you’ it’d just be ‘I love kissing’ and that’s not quite the same.”
And with that, my hero retreats shyly to a corner at the back of the room, engrossed in conversation, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the leaving crowd. It's a far cry from the confident presenter who's just wowed a room of fans. There are definitely two sides to Simon Amstell, but I’d happily wrestle either of them.