Yes, the title is ironic.
A fantastic guest post this week from comedian Angela Barnes.
Maidstone-born Angela was the winner of the 2011 Radio 2 New Comedy Award, and just a couple of weeks ago she played in front of 35,000 people as the only comedian on the Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park Festival bill. This does mean that she can now say she’s opened for Tom Jones - although if his reputation’s anything to go by, there were probably quite a few other women at the festival who could make a similar claim.
Angela’s written us an excellent Dating Disaster story below - why not follow her on Twitter to say thanks?
I’ve Been Expecting You
I had been split up from, let’s call him Dave, for that is his name, for around three months. It was one of those breakups that you knew had to happen, you just wish you’d got in there before he had so you weren’t dealing with the double whammy of failure AND rejection. But it was for the best.
Those days I was often out with my old schoolfriend Katie, apparently the only other single woman left from our year at Invicta Grammar School for Future Wives of Vets and IT Salesmen. We were on one of our wine and woe tours of East Dulwich, and I was bemoaning the fact that, since my split with Dave, I was worried that I had lost my “mojo”. After all, I prided myself on being a red-blooded Scorpio woman, (not that I believe in all that horoscope stuff, but then, I would say that, us Scorpios are notoriously cynical), and that I really felt asexual and was genuinely concerned that I might never get aroused by anything/anyone again. Katie, who had been single for 4 years, gave me the sage advice to enjoy this period of mojo-loss while it lasted, because “once it comes back, the frustration is unbearable”. So off I went home, full of pinot and imagining a future filled with volunteering in charity shops and neighbourhood watch.
Rewind a little bit, and let me tell you about Tom (which is not his name, but I like him enough to bother protecting his identity). Tom was (still is) a comedian based in at the other end of the country. Tom had performed at the the comedy night that Dave ran in West Norwood a number of times, and he was very funny and a Lovely Bloke ™ . Tom had split from his girlfriend around the time I had split from Dave. We had been regularly playing Facebook Scrabble (it was 2007, don’t judge me) and chatting online, nothing remotely flirtatious (remember, this was during my Cliff Richard phase). He seemed a nice bloke and I enjoyed our banter.
Fast forward back to East Dulwich, I headed to bed after my night out with Katie, feeling less worried about my “situation”. That night, I proceeded to have one of the most erotically charged dreams I had ever had. I woke from my reverie and almost screamed “YES! BARNES IS BACK”. I was more surprised than anything else to find that the star of my dream had been none other than good old, Scrabble loving, funnyman Tom. Well, I began to see him in a new light. That day I posted a Facebook status that said “Had a very inappropriate dream about someone I know”. The only one of my FB friends to comment on it was Tom himself “Tell us more…”. How the hell did he know? I never told him it was him.
Our Scrabble chat took a more flirty turn, and I found myself playing words like “romance” even though I could have scored higher elsewhere. VERY out of character. It takes a lot for me to throw a game of Scrabble.
In the meantime, I moved from London to Brighton and began the process of starting my new life at the seaside. But the dream about Tom would often stray into my thoughts, and I would shoo it away, how ridiculous, he lives 200 miles away. However, I sent him a valentines E-Card – it played the tune of Mancini’s Baby Elephant Walk – it was a song we had discussed at length, yet he still didn’t seem to realise that I was responsible (I’m not stupid, I’d set up a fake email account to send it from). He told me in one of our chats that he thought his ex had sent him a Valentines card and was trying to get back with him, because it played Baby Elephant Walk, and she knew how much he loved that song. Sigh. Oh well, it was never meant to be. He doesn’t know to this day that that card was from me.
Skip forward another month. I was asked by the Farm Tavern pub in Brighton to put on a comedy night in their function room. And Lo, the Funny Farm was born. I got busy with organising etc, and tried to put Tom to the back of my mind. But of course, there it was staring me in the face, why not invite Tom to perform at the inaugural Funny Farm? Sure, it was a long way to come, but he could stay at mine, right?! What a cunning plan. If I could just see him in the flesh, work out what I really felt, and begin the process, if necessary, of convincing him to fall in love with me. Tom accepted my invitation and booked his train, the plan was in motion.
Now, when I first moved to Brighton, I kept my job in London, and rented a room for just a 3 month lease, in case it wasn’t for me and I wanted to go back to London. The room I rented was in a lovely house, sharing with 2 girls, one of whom was a very talented artist. The room I rented belonged to a guy who had gone to work in Canada for 3 months, hence the short term let. It was a perfect situation. It was a very friendly and bohemian house, the artist housemate, had painted everyone a beautiful nameplate for their bedroom doors, they were lovely.
Now, the day of the first Funny Farm came around, I was a nervous/excited wreck. I couldn’t eat or drink. That day something else pretty momentous happened, but that is a story for another time. But it was a fraught day. Tom arrived on the train and greeted me with a lovely big hug like old friends, even though, in reality, we didn’t know each other that well.
The night was a roaring success, all the acts were brilliant, it sold out, and I was on top of the world, and a little full of gin. My housemates had gone home after the show as they had top work in the morning, but I stayed out drinking with everyone until eventually just Tom and I were left, and I booked us a cab back to my house. We had been getting on brilliantly. In the taxi, he rested his hand on top of mine and smiled at me, and I knew that my mojo was definitely back.
We got back to my house, we had a couple of nightcaps, and we kissed. Feeling full of gin-courage, I took his glass out of his hand, and lead him up the stairs to my bedroom, you know, like what they do in films. We reached my room, and as I was about to open the bedroom door, he stopped in his tracks, I turned to see what was wrong, and he stuttered “Angela - why do you have my name on your bedroom door?”. Yep, the guy whose room I was renting also happened to be called Tom, and I had forgotten about the beautiful nameplate that adorned my bedroom door. Thinking quickly, I turned to Tom and said in my best Bond Girl voice “As you can see, I’ve been expecting you”, which probably didn’t help the situation. He went completely white, thinking I was some sort of stalker - I hurriedly tried to explain the situation, but I’m not quite sure he believed me. The mood was somewhat disrupted, but luckily, the seduction continued nonetheless, and all was well. He did tell me in the morning that he was expecting me to open the door and reveal a shrine surrounded by his image. I think he was actually a little disappointed. By the absence of the shrine, obviously.
We dated for a bit until distance and other factors got the better of us. But we still like to laugh about our “I’ve Been Expecting You” moment.
Angela is currently performing around the UK - check out her website for tour dates!