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European Comedy Tour Journal, Day Seventeen: Zurich

03:30 - We are still in the same bar playing darts for measures of aniseed spirits which the loser must purchase, all the doors are locked and a haze of indoor smoke, a strange sight in the 21st Century, chokes the air.

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.

Day: Seventeen

Date: 12th November 2014

Destination: Zurich (Switzerland)

Subject: Daniel Sloss


My subject curiously opened his day by purchasing a curry sandwich, after greeting his morning breath with cold spiced mush and damp bread he immediately regretted his life choice and transferred the masticated pulp into a napkin throwing the rest of his sandwich under a bus in rage. I really don't know what kind of experience he expected to have.


We have missed our train. We stood at platform six as advised by the screens to catch the 12:18 to Zurich but to our confusion 12:18 came and left but the train to Zurich didn't. It transpires that not possessing the ability to comprehend French through the metallic din echoing from ceiling mounted Fisher-Price baby monitors can cost you 160 Swiss francs. We found a gentleman who had replaced his initiative with a high visibility vest and exercised his inability to serve a purpose. I think society could have found a better use for this man by perhaps sitting him on a half stacked library shelf in order to keep the books vertical. Daniel tried to seek compassion from the rail worker regarding us not getting the memo about the platform change but it is extremely difficult to evoke human emotions from an inanimate object.


We gambled on getting another train ticket without taking the precautionary measure of learning a second language and are finally Zurich bound. I have listened to Daniel spit acid about the unhelpful gentleman for the first 45 minutes of this journey, he has managed to viciously deconstruct the entire political regime of Switzerland based on his interaction with this one man, and thus expressed his hatred for a whole nation of people with an impressive level of vitriol.

It's nice to see my subject with an axe to grind, as a young, middle class, white male of privilege he has never had to deal with hardship or discrimination, it must be tough for him because success without struggle holds no reward, so then where can he find true happiness without such perspective? That said, he holds on to these minor setbacks with excessive venom and spite and places them in the empty void where a person's problems should go in order to provide a ying to his yang.


I found a packet of chocolate coated popcorn in my bag that I had forgotten about acquiring last night, as I was enjoying this unconventional treat on the train while Daniel simmered, I could see him eying them inquisitively. It dawned on me that he must be positively ravenous at this stage in the day after only sampling a swab of curried mush for nutrition since his previous evening's supper. In offering him some of the confectionary I took mischievous advantage of his hunger by holding out my flat palm with an offering, but would withdraw the offer when he reached for it with his appendages. As I raised my palm towards his face he soon realised that he would only get to sample the snack if he ate it direct from my palm. Daniel pondered on it for a moment before giving in to my bad sportsmanship and trading in his dignity to snuffle his ration face first from my palm on a crowded train. My hand now has human saliva on it but it was worth the compromise to make him look like the tip of a proverbial penis. Daniel contorted his face in disapproval at the taste and texture of the treat and removed it from his mouth with a napkin as ladylike as possible. I sometimes feel that Daniel is so precious about the signals his brain receives from the receptors inside of his mouth that he would sooner die of slow agonising starvation than inconvenience his palate.


We've been kidnapped by a group of ex-patriots from every English speaking nation, we got scuppered up after the gig by a cheerful horde comprised chiefly of Australians, Americans, Irish and Brits who seem bent on getting us drunk, a scheme I don't oppose being the victim of. Daniel seems to be reinvigorated by their company, I think he's delighted they aren't Swiss after writing off that entire breed thanks to their ambassador at the train station.


We are still in the same bar playing darts for measures of aniseed spirits which the loser must purchase, all the doors are locked and a haze of indoor smoke, a strange sight in the 21st Century, chokes the air.


My subject is highly inebriated and has discovered there is a microphone behind the bar, the captors have become the hostages. Those who were in attendance for his earlier performance are enjoying his ad libbed remarks but the one or two who are unaware of his résumé as a stand up comedian are glancing at him as though he is just a very confident young man who is up past his bed time, drinking on an empty stomach.

Signing off...

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