Comedian Paul Currie: Cold water swimming is a life-changing phenomenon

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Belfast comedian Paul Currie


Up and at it - what is your morning routine? How has it changed?

I waken about seven o'clock or 7.30am and lie in bed until 8.30am doing admin stuff on my phone. I'll make a light breakfast, maybe poached eggs with an avocado, then take my dog for a walk. I got the most beautiful lockdown puppy - she's a Bedlington Whippet (they're like a small Irish wolf/ deer hound). She's so calm and brings me so much calm - a true therapy dog. Afterwards, I might head to sea for a swim or quick dip - this became a new part of my routine when I realised the health benefits from cold water swimming. It's the most wonderful, positive life-changing phenomenon to come from the lockdown. People all over the islands of Ireland and Britain realised that the sea was not scary or to be feared, but to be truly enjoyed - and not just in a wet suit. When I performed comedy gigs in Galway, I would visit Salthill pier for walks and witness the 'crazy' skin swimmers, in only trunks or swimsuits, taking a dip and thought it was the most insane concept. Now, I've seen the truth and felt the benefits.


What might you eat in a typical working day for...Breakfast?

Poached eggs on toast, porridge and blueberries and an oat milk latte.


Salad or a salmon toastie from Kaffe O.

Evening meal?

Pesto and veg with mushrooms and pasta or else a big fruit and veg salad or maybe a stir-fry. I'll have fish and chips or Indian as an occasional treat.


Is nutrition important to you?

Yes, very important - it's the fuel we put in our bone machine - we need to see our bodies as vehicles and yet we take better care of cars than we do our own bodies. Would you put junk fuel into your car? No; so, why do that to the one precious vehicle/body we're born with. We need to take more care of our bodies and the planet, as we're all connected.


Have you been able to work from home - if so, how have you found it?

I have not worked from home and I haven't done any Zoom meetings from home - ever. I think screen time is unhealthy for all humans.


Weekend treat?

A big walk with the dog in a forest or on a long beach somewhere.


How do you keep physically and mentally fit?

I meditate and take walks in nature, breathing and being present in the moment.


Have you ever been on a diet - if so, how did it go?

I did and it was great. I had salads for breakfast, I drank lots of water when feeling peckish and I stopped eating after 8pm. It worked.


How do you relax?

Nature - lots of walks in nature... and reading a book, in silence.


Teetotal or tipple?

I'd have a Guinness or a nip of rum and ginger, but only occasionally...


What book are you currently reading?

Nina Simone's Gum by Warren Ellis.


Best Netflix?

None - but Severance on Apple TV is the best TV show, ever.


Most surprising thing you've learned about yourself?

I have discovered that I am a really good doggy 'mummy'. I never thought I could do it.


What are your goals for 2022?

To release an album of my band's music and to write and perform a brand new Edinburgh comedy show. I also want to travel and visit the Ring of Kerry.


What time do you get to bed and do you think you get enough sleep?

I go to bed about 1am... so, no, I do not get enough sleep.


Were you a fan of schools sports/PE or do you have a memory from those days that you would rather forget?

I did not enjoy PE at school. I hated rugby on a rock-hard frozen pitch with mud like broken glass.


Biggest gripe?

Middle-aged 'Lycra cyclists' (all men, for some reason) on narrow 'foot' paths, just speeding along. It's so antisocial. I especially gripe about them in the evening with their bright 1,000 watt LED lights blinding your eyes.


Stairs or lift?



Any new skills or hobbies?

I can paddleboard without falling in, ha-ha.


What would you like to see change for good when this is all over?

I would like to see more arts and green spaces for people and more public and pedestrian areas in cities. And, definitely, more recycle bins.


Has coronavirus changed your attitude towards your own mortality?

I now see it as a beautiful cycle; I have gained perspective through nature and through slowing down and realising how we're all connected, how we're all one race and one organism, of continuous evolution and change within the planet and the universe's continuous timeline and growth. Everything is evolving constantly, every second. We are all connected and we must all make little changes and plant seeds of positive change, now, right at this moment, so we all leave the world a little brighter and a little more positive. And it is getting better, slowly, like a plant growing - you can't see it, but it is moving and evolving, for the better.

Fresh from this year's Festival of Fools, Paul Currie is next up at the Black Box, Belfast, at 1pm today. For other events, follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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