Plato said, “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is, of all things, the most shameful and vile.” I presume that, like me, Plato spent a lot of his day playing himself at snooker to find out which of the two hims was the best.
I have written before about my Me1 Vs Me2 Snooker podcast, in which I recreate my lonely teenage years, by knocking my balls around the old green board inexpertly commentating on what I am doing. Many people dismiss it as the self-indulgent ravings of a middle-aged man who has lost his mind, but I argue that it is performance art demonstrating the futility of existence and our daily participation in a competition against ourselves which will only end in stale-mate and death. Only at the end will we realise we have wasted the precious gift of life.
If you want to waste some of that gift yourself then there are currently 78 frames to “enjoy” at https://www.comedy.co.uk/podcasts/richard_herring_snooker/ . I have played drunk, I have played nude, I have tried to hide what I am doing from my wife who hates it.
Others say I am pretentious when I claim the podcast is in fact a representation of the tripartite nature of the soul and the impossible struggle for control over our own impulses, exploring the no-man’s land between sanity and madness. They said what I was doing was rubbish and pointless on every level and (tellingly) refused to even listen to it. I can only presume out of fear of what it might say about them.
But I have now been vindicated. Along with 84 performance and noise artists from around the world I have been invited to participate in Tempting Failure 2016. It’s an extreme arts festival that showcases “transgressive and risk-taking live work”. Many of the artists are doing stuff so dangerous that I had to sign a waiver saying that I would be responsible if I strangled, electrocuted or harmed myself during my performance. Given my performance will just consist of me playing myself at snooker for an hour there is little risk, but snooker is an unpredictable sport.
I am not sure if the Tempting Failure team are taking thepiss out of me, or if I am taking the mickey out of them or whether we were each waiting to see who would blink first, but no one blinked. This is happening. In the kingdom of transgressive art where people are cutting themselves or cooking their own effluent, a man who doggedly plays himself at snooker is actually the most transgressive person of all.
Check out their website and come along if you fancy it: http://www.temptingfailure.com/tf2016. It’s a shame that the cool intro video full of nudity and noise doesn’t periodically cut to me, alone, playing on a 6ft by 3ft snooker board.
The thing I am most looking forward to is seeing the kind of weird nerds who enjoy listening to my podcast (my aim was to have no listeners at all – I started with 30,000, but over 4000 are clinging on) mingling with fans of transgressive art. I don’t know which group will be weirder. I do. It will be my fans.
But I am determined to win the Turner Prize and this is the first step. I am just annoyed that I haven’t yet had a call from the
World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association to tell me that they are recognising Self-Playing Snooker as the superior version of the game and scrapping 2-player snooker and televising my tournaments instead.
Congratulations to Russell Brand who is going to be a father. After all those years of trying, shooting countless trillions of gametes into countless millions of women, at last one plucky sperm has found its way through. It’s a 21st Century Robert the Bruce lesson on the value of persistence. If at first your seed does not succeed, then try, try, try, try , try, try, try and try again.