Posted 20 hours ago

Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

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Josie’s writing is everything I love about her stand-up: sharp and smart, hilarious and incisive, infused with love for the world and the complicated people who live in it. It's almost all first person present tense, with some stories written to a 'you' or with the love interest slipping between 'he' and 'you' as mood requires; I thought there were stories that Long could have toyed with a little and tried in third person and/or past tense, just to challenge herself and see where they took her.

Some of them are downright upsetting and they all address uncomfortable issues with style, tension and resolve.It's definitely a different read compared with almost anything else out there, but I rather like that. I’m not a hardcore fan, but I’ve often enjoyed the comedy work of Long, and really enjoyed Bookshambles, so this was an interesting concept. With everything from teenage friendship to parenthood to leaving London, this debut collection is perfect for fans of Miranda July, Emma Jane Unsworth and Dolly Alderton. I would love to see the ideas and characters in this story expanded into a novel in their own right - I was fascinated by what their back-story was, and would have enjoyed a longer, more satisfying narrative arc than the short story form allows.

It was like this itch that I wanted to scratch but when I started scratching it I was ‘oh, shit, oh no, ha ha, this is awful’.

It really is my baby at the moment and I’m really excited to have managed it because I feel like there are levels of depth of writing that I put in this that I haven’t been able to put into stand up and that felt so deeply satisfying.

She won the Best Newcomer award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has been nominated three times for Best Show. Long’s diagnosis makes up a large part of her current stand-up tour show Re-enchantment, as does the birth of child number two; something from which she feels the work has benefitted. News of the title – set to be published in hardback in June – comes as Long announces her biggest UK tour so far, with 39 dates across 2023. I've been a Josie Long fan for years, and when I learned that her first book was going to be a collection of short stories, rather than a my-life-in-twelve-lessons-memoir-polemic (as we've seen from so many comedians over the last decade or so), it felt so right: Long's work on Book Shambles and Short Cuts, alongside the Radio 4 plays and micro-budget films she's made, feel suited to this genre, and certainly influenced by it.I like it so much better than when she found improv, and talked to everyone about how life was also improv, and kept discussing the details and rules of specific improv games to me until I felt like a coward for not shouting that I do not and will not ever give a f*** about improv”.

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