Seeing upsides…

Who knew that the trip to the supermarket would ever become a thing.

‘Okay everyone, you stay here. I’m going out.

Good luck dad.

The hunter/gatherer in us all is rekindled, albeit more gatherer than hunter these days. But nonetheless, intrepid people venturing out – some without masks – to get provisions for their family and where possible, more provisions than they realistically need.

One of my forays last week created a very welcome encounter for me.

Not a shelf full of toilet rolls but an old colleague called Norman Lovett who I have not seen for 27 years this May – and I can be precise on this timeframe and I will explain how.

Norman is a famous comedian. Or he was. Like me then, only his fame reached a higher level than mine. We worked together only once – on a tour of Scotland in 1993 and ahead of my debut at the Edinburgh Festival in the same year, marking the start of my abrupt famous years.

I was 26 – and at the time I recall thinking how remarkably old Norman was to be doing something as frightening as stand-up comedy.

And now all these years later, we meet again and to my eye, Norman looks remarkably well preserved – in fact, he looks just as he did on our tour together.

He sort of recognises me but I can see that his memory needs a little jog, so I help him along and quickly things fit in to place.

‘You’re Dominic Holland…

…you’re Tom Holland’s dad.’

I smile because Tom hadn’t been born when we last met – although Nikki had trapped me by this stage and I think she had plans already.

‘You look great Norman,’ I beamed.

‘I’m 73.’ He responded, proudly.

And quickly I started my mental arithmetic because if Norman is only 20 years older than me – then on our tour together, he was younger that I am now!

This makes me shudder and I think of those words again, which I discussed in a recent blog. Words used by the Melbourne Comedy Festival on seeing my show ECLIPSED at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017.


No matter now anyway,  since the virus has put paid to all live gigs – for ALL comedians big and small. A British stand-up called David Baddiel has had his tour cancelled. David was famous and still is. The first arena comedian in fact, playing Wembley Arena and with me in the audience. I went along with some comedian called Eddie Izzard who I expect one day imagined that he would fill such rooms – and he was right.

David’s one man show, “My family, not the sit-com” played to packed houses in various West End theatres and to great acclaim. When I saw it, I told him how lucky he was that his eccentric parents had gifted him with such a magnificent story. An upside of a dysfunctional childhood.

I mention this because, writing this week in The Spectator – David flags up his relief at his tour being cancelled, which strikes me as interesting.

An upside of the Corona Virus, then?

No doubt, losing the tour income will be irksome, but not too calamitous for him. Like me, David is an author but as well as his literary fiction, he has also cracked the adolescent book market and I imagine his books create a nice royalty income, thanks very much. Nice work if one can get it.

And his tour would have been well attended, too. Not in arenas, like in his heyday but decent sized theatres and with more bums on view than velour.

And yet he is somewhat relieved at the tour has closed.

His words…

…part of me is relieved: stand-up comedy, even if you’ve been doing it professionally in various forms for 35 years, is an all-consuming, nerve-racking thing to do. So there’s always some element of ‘thank Christ for that’ to hearing that a gig’s gone down.

I take great solace in this sentiment. I too, have lost all my work and bizarrely, I am also enjoying my less stressful existence. Granted, the stress remains but has shifted to potential financial woes but this is preferable to facing the black void and that on-stage expectation.

I coined a phrase to explain the terror of stand-up comedy…

There is nothing quite as loud as the silence when a stand-up comedian is on stage!

And I take solace in David’s relief because it means that the fear is real, it is shared and it never really goes away. And pride also for me, because I know that as soon as the clever people in white coats get their shit together and get this virus licked (not literally), that I will be back on stage and facing the fear.

Too old – I’ll show you, too old.

It was great to see Norman in the supermarket this week.

But as much as I like him – and to see him looking so well, to be honest, there were lots of things I would rather have bumped in to…

Potatoes, rice, pasta and of course toilet paper – albeit I need less of this now, because I am not gigging.


David Baddiel’s tour will resume later in the year and if it manages to be half as good as his previous one-man show, it will be a great night. Do go along and put the fear of God up him.


I am posting this early – because today is now about Team Dom and Jig-Saw Wars – and if you don’t know what this is – then you are not on the inside. 





27 thoughts on “Seeing upsides…

  1. Anna says:

    I love reading your blogs. You always make me laugh at some point during your writing. You definitely have a talent for writing and comedy. Good luck on the Jigsaw wars. Right now Team Dom is pulling ahead. Stay Safe! And wish Nikki a Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. Amna says:

    I really like ur blogs and love how u write about your boys. Like no shade they all are great but I just wish u write about paddy more, u know. And good luck on the jigsaw wars #teamdom

    • Elisa says:

      I love reading your blogs even if I’m not always able to write a comment, but quarantine is donating more free time so… Here I am.

      Going to supermarket is more than a trip in these days. I don’t know how exactly is the situation there but here – I live in Italy, in the most affected area – you spend tons of time of queue to Enter in the supermarket. Which means that you know when you go out but you have no idea when you’ll come back home and with how much groceries. They continue to refill shelves but people consume more being at home every single moment of the day, so it seems that markets are never full enough. Luckily here people aren’t getting crazy over toilet paper.
      There’s a positive side though, local market are working a lot since people prefer to stay few time on supermarket and buy some products – meat, cheese and all milk products, and everything possible – on little markets near home.

      P.s. I’m proudly Team Dom and giving you all the support. Also, I’m currently working on a puzzle who will take me definitely too long, so I can feel all the work you’ll have to do. Just remember to have.

  3. Melanie says:

    Happy to read that “I’m on the inside”… Happy mothers days to your lovely wife and best of luck on the JSW. I’ve have loads of time these days to readg through your many blogs, always keeps a smile on my face.. But my 5 year old son wonders why Spiderman’s dad makes me laugh so much… He will understand one day.

      • Maria Duron says:

        Enjoyed the respite and giggles from your post and following the Jigsaw Wars! And, then finally watched Ford vs. Ferrari and loved it. Thank you for recommending it. My husband loved it all right beside me and as a supermarket manager feels like he’s on the frontline every day. He’s been calling everywhere to get more potatoes and rice. They’re rationing how much of each of those items just to be sure everyone gets some. I hope you’re staying safe and healthy!

  4. Alysha says:

    It’s crazy what’s going on right now, we’re about to go into lockdown in certain states here in Australia I think. I recently started reading your blog and I’m really enjoying it, so I’m glad you’re still writing even now.
    Thank you for finding the bright sides. Best of luck to you and your family in this difficult time, and happy Mother’s Day to Nikki
    Good luck with the Jig-Saw War! #TeamDom

  5. Lorraine says:

    Good morning Dom glad to see you were up with the lark and busy. A visit to the supermarket has I feel become a bit like going into battle but you can still smile and acknowledge those whose paths you cross – albeit at a distance and maybe just brighten someone’s day in this uncertain time. I don’t feel that you are ever too old to do something that you love – even if it scares you a little! Dying to see what happens with jigsaw wars this evening, at least both teams have the same puzzle, but you have Nikki on your side. Happy Mother’s Day to Nikki, her Mum and of course your great Irish Mammy. Love the haircut ☺️

  6. Sara says:

    Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are too old for anything. I work in adult education, so I know! :0)
    Much as I love Tom I voted TeamDom in JSW because I know you’re going to win.
    Keep well, keep safe.

  7. Pamela says:

    Lovely blog as usual! Wish Nikki, her mom and your mom Happy Mother’s Day! We here in the states celebrate in May! I’m hoping by then I’ll be able to visit my mom! Looking forward to updates on the Jigsaw Puzzle War! Go Team Dom! My daughter is cheering on Team Tom! Team Dom you got this!!!

  8. LizR says:

    Team Dom all the way!!! Did you guys have to disassemble and re-start after somebody *coughTeamTomcough* did a practice run with the wrong puzzle? hahahaha I’m anxiously awaiting the results of this (assumably) fiercely competitive matchup.

    We’re pretty well locked down here in upstate New York, so it’s great to have some funny, relatable people to turn to online for some laughs and perspective. Good luck with any future supply hunts this week (see? there’s definitely a hunting aspect to it) and, more importantly, with the JSW! 😀

  9. Lea says:

    It’s really refreshing to not only read stuff about COVID-19 and how it’s affecting our lives. Of course it is; however, we should accept it and focus on the nice things in life, for instance fortuitously meeting and remembering good old friends, spending time with the family, puzzling (obviously). It will be a harsh time, but all of us can get through it. Although I might sound reckless, but the key word is Optimism.
    Have fun during the Jig-Saw Wars!

  10. Ryan says:

    Another great blog Dom. Good to read something that doesn’t involve Corona in the title. I am looking forward to seeing Team Dom win!

  11. Hasti says:

    I mean… This made my new year a whole lot better.
    It sucks being stuck at home while it’s new year in Iran and everyone is supposed to be out having fun…
    But this made it a WHOLE.LOT.BETTER.
    Thank U❤️
    Also… Happy mother’s day to every mother out there.
    Team Dom gooooooooo

  12. JENNA says:

    loved reading this and i love u and ur blogs and podcast so much keep up the hard work! you family is so funny with the chickens and everything i love it lmaooooooo anyways stay safe❤️

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