I am comedian Kai Humphries. Each autumn I tour throughout the UK with my fellow stand-up and flatmate Daniel Sloss. This year we also roll out the tour to Europe for the first time, visiting 18 major cities over 21 dates. To amuse myself whilst we travel between cities (and whilst Daniel snores) I am keeping a journal of our adventures in the style of a scientific journal where my study subject is Daniel and my role as his support act is merely a disguise to cover up my true objective which is to psycho-analyse his behaviour.
Date: 10 November 2014
Destination: Geneva (Switzerland)
Subject: Daniel Sloss
I have checked out of the hotel but await our scheduled 15:30 transportation, I have arrived in the lobby before my subject, made myself comfortable, connected to the wifi and checked what was happening in the outside world beyond the confines of my insular project. It appears there are many cases of public figures making sexist remarks on various media outlets such as ITV2 and Facebook fan-pages which blur the meaning of what it is to have fans. I am warmed by the public's outraged response to such bigotry, it's a response that comes from an educated place, in the past we have witnessed similar if not worse sentiment in the media which has previously been met with public tolerance however I am comforted that my society has changed the line in the sand for what is acceptable. My comfort is coupled with shame that this ever changing line in the sand will soon cross my own previous lack of education. I have been known to use terms such as "man-up" or "grow some balls" or even "stop being a pussy" as teasing encouragement to coerce my fellow people (male or female) into tasks that might require testosterone to accomplish, I didn't consider however that this was an unnecessarily gender specific call for bravery. Being a male isn't a prerequisite for showing courage yet I've been conditioned to make such statements from a place of ignorance. Rather than looking back with the aforementioned shame I'd like to instead show gratitude to the paragons of feminism for showing the less educated of us the error in our ways, it is now down to us to toe the line. We have to be careful in society to do what is right not just what is perceived to be right, for instance if Alcohol was seen as a drug, which it is, a lot of us have to admit to having a drug problem.
Daniel has just arrived looking rather hungover, nodded in my direction to acknowledge my existence then sat at a separate table.
I took a minor expedition to the bakery and returned with some provisions, I placed some in front of Daniel, he mumbled a nondescript syllable, I nodded in his direction to acknowledge his attempt at appreciation then sat at a separate table.
Our friend Ari picked us up and whisked us to the airport, the introduction of Ari into the dynamic injected some life into Daniel who held his own in a conversation about cult rock band, The Beatles, a subject in which he knows very little about but still proceeded to fuel Ari's passion for the topic. I believe if the airport was only slightly further away he'd have been left with no choice but to put his hands up and concede that he was only regurgitating things he'd heard from other enthusiasts and the words coming from his mouth were little more than the sum of their parts. We embraced our host at the terminal who then drove off taking any hope of conversation with him.
We have boarded the flight to Geneva, for the past two hours we sat silently next to each other in departures completely ignoring each other's presence, fixated on our electronic devices. To the outside world we must look like a same sex couple who have had a major disagreement on holiday and are enduring the journey home in an amicable silence with underlying rancour. Little would they know that we are absorbed in jovial spirited conversation together with non-present comrades via the electronic connectivity of a group messaging application. Without any Internet or company in the cabin of the commercial jet we're currently locked into, I pick up my book and Daniel closes his eyes, I visualise this to be the picture for the next four hours.
I have just arrived in my Geneva hotel room after nodding a farewell to Daniel as I exited the elevator and it has occurred to me that my subject and I have quite comfortably spent the entire day together traveling the longitude of Europe without uttering a single word of verbal communication, other than words that passed through Ari or cyberspace. Without the presence of a catalyst we no longer feel the requirement to fill the silence, a silence that would feel heavy around someone less familiar is as welcome as the quiet you enjoy in your own solitude when in the company of someone you have had this much exposure to. There is no discontent or animosity, no loneliness or fear of judgement, no expectations at all, just operating alone as though you are both one person.
I just received a text message from my subject; Breakfast at 11?