When I was a pubescent schoolboy, confused and impatient my voice to drop octaves and gain a Blessed boom, I was often accused of deepening my voice when answering questions in class. I would avoid putting my hand up, something I had done so urgently at primary school on any occasion where I imagined I knew the answer, to avoid the digs and tribal jockeying for position that would go with my funereal delivery.
Now grown up, and losing hair rather than gaining it, I still see traces of my impostor work. Possessing one of those rather plain middle class voices, heavily accented in its own way by dint of its vanilla quality, I find my voice culturally and geographically oscillating depending on the company. While not up there with Woody Allen’s Zelig, I can observe my discomfort at being me by the way my accent reflects who am I with, whether an east end cab driver or a fallen nobleman who now uses his castle to manufacture aristocratically styled sorbets (fictional example, not met as yet). Despite the traveling accent, I don’t find my opinions changing to fit in, hopefully I have evolved enough callouses so that I don’t flit in and out of opinions depending on the social engagement.
Death by my opinions at parties or on stage, rather than a life on borrowed bigotries (that is not to say I don’t have my own).
We are all dicks sometimes, I am sure even Francis of Assisi once stole acorns from a squirrel or was rude to a rabbit to impress a monk.
I think about our internet selves. What am I projecting? How much care goes into my display of self. If you follow my Twitter feed, your answer is probably “not enough”.
The problem of social media, where all your friends may be following you, is that you may display different facets and prejudices with different groups. How can you keep up your “kind and liberally progressive” front, when to your other friends you project your “dirty joke and wild ribaldry” persona when in the pub. This is something I presume Richard Dawkins deals with on daily basis. “Do I tell the one about the nun and the tadpole or focus on The Extended Phentoype?”
I may delete tweets, usually those knee jerk fury ones or jokes I realised were bad only upon reflection. In conversation, those mistakes are soon drowned by further noise, but on the internet, a poor thought or piteous punchline hangs around.
Hopefully, most of my social media reflects roughly what I think I am, and I would not shy away from saying these things to most friends or audiences, it is only their banality that might stop me in my tracks.
The danger comes, if you are juggling too many fronts. In the last few months, I have been surprised by a few of my friends updates. Their opinions didn’t appear to match up with the people I had drunk with. Were they revealing the thoughts they kept buried when talking with “bleeding heart lefties”, just so the wine wasn’t bruised by cross words and silences, or was this some internet version of them for another audience, just another front for a presumed audience. Is this like the charming journalist you meet who then bullies and crushes with their weekly column? Is the social self the liar, and the internet self the revelation, or just a smorgasbord?
The Set List Show, a night where comedians are given idiosyncratic phrases and words, and have to confidently and immediately deliver routines based on them, can stoke disturbing sentences and startling thought processes. The comedian, being scrutinised and desperate to avoid failure in front of their peers, finds every smidgen of their conscious, subconscious, and any other available pathway being ransacked, leading to moments of wide-eyed astonishment from the performer, “now I wasn’t expecting to say that.” It is tricking being a multitude, especially when you may kids yourself you are singular (does that make sense?).
Oh well, I had too many friends anyway, I was almost up having to use a thumb to count them.
I am off on tour – Goole, Cardiff, Cambridge, Harrogate, London, Liverpool, Sheffield, Belfast and on and on (and I am bringing Grace Petrie too). Tour Details HERE http://www.robinince.com
My three hour ludicrous DVD is HERE http://www.gofasterstripe.com/cgi-bin/website.cgi?page=videofull&id=19574