It's almost Xmas. I'm exhausted. My defences and usual cynicism have been gently eroded over an intensive month. I've been holed up, writing until my fingers bleed. On the few occasions I have ventured out into the real world, my senses have been bombarded by a tirade of Christmas music as I have wandered around in the half-light of the Swedish winter. That's the only explanation for how I ended up where I ended up for the last gig of the year.
As the last working week of the year came to an end, with work that still needs to be done, I saw the following post on The Book Of Face from my friend Jerry Prutz, or as he is also known 'That Bloody Jerry Bloody Prutz!':
If you can't read Swedish, here's a quick translation:
JERRY: On Friday, I'm doing some stand up at the soup kitchen by St Lars Church. Small crowd. Max 15 people. Does anyone want to come along and perform?
Last gig of the year. For the homeless of Linköping. Bring a little happiness to the downtrodden, the unwashed, the folk that the good times have forgotten. Why not? My hardened heart was softening with the spirit of the season. Besides, I thought, a chance to meet and mix with people whose paths would never usually cross mine.
I mailed Prutz and asked what category of down-and-out we'd be performing to. Alcoholics? Drug Addicts? Beggars? Outsiders rejected by society?
All of the above, he replied.
On the night, I hauled myself up from the sofa by the log fire in my house, leaving my family who were settling down to a cosy evening together. I reminded myself how lucky we are to have shelter, food, warmth as well as each other. I got to the venue, through the cold and icy night.
At this point that I realised that 'By St Lars Church' meant 'Near St Lars Church' and that 'Soup Kitchen' meant ' Cafe that serves soup'
There was a small crowd of very un-homeless, non-down-and-outs, sipping on bowls of soup looking decidedly the very opposite of downtrodden.
I gave them a show. They got jokes. But to avoid any further confusion, I stuck to soup jokes.
"Waiter, Waiter! There's a fly in my soup!"
"Don't tell everyone, sir, or they'll all want one"
"Waiter, Waiter! There's a dead fly in my soup!"
"Yes, sir. It's the heat that kills them"
"Waiter, Waiter! What's this fly doing in my soup?"
"I think it's the breast stroke, sir!"
And so it went on.
If there are any homeless organisations or 'actual Soup Kitchens in Linköping that would like a free stand up gig. Please get in touch. I owe you one.
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