ADAM Robertson spoke with Scottish comedian Zara Gladman on the 10 things that changed her life. 

1. The internet

IT’S maybe an obvious one, but I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for the internet. I wouldn’t be doing my comedy show but even before the recent stuff, it had an impact on me when I was a teenager.

I used to have a website and I think it helped fuel a lot of the obsessions that I had growing up whether it was music or comedy, there’s a limitless amount of stuff online.

It started impacting me as soon as I got it and it’s still having a huge impact now.

2. Zoology

I STUDIED zoology at the University of Glasgow. Before I went to university, I was really quite quiet and shy but when I got there it was quite a formative time. I found other people with the same interests and I think zoology in particular encouraged me to travel to new places.

Even within Scotland, I grew up in Glasgow so I was always a bit of a city kid, but zoology took me to Loch Lomond, to the north of Scotland – I went all over the place.

I also made friends for life. I’m still close with people that I studied with and it was zoology that led me into comedy. The first time I did stand-up, it was about crayfish which is what I did my PhD on.

3. 2014 independence referendum

IT politicised me. I was living in London when the Edinburgh Agreement was signed. I was working down there but then I moved back not long after that. It was during the campaign, and I found the city completely changed.

I think possibly as a result of the indyref, there were all these pop-up events – music, poetry, comedy. There was an amazing sense of community and possibility so I really got involved with that. I had an amazing summer and also my activism again encouraged me to start performing because that was my way of contributing.

I got so consumed by it and it was such a devastating blow when we found out the result that I actually gave up comedy not long after and it’s taken me a long time to come back to performing so I think that whole period had a huge impact on me, on my politics, my performing and my outlook.

4. The Beatles

I’M a Beatles obsessive. I have been since I was a teenager. My friend Katie and I at school used to watch videos of John Lennon at lunchtime and cry about him. We went to International Beatleweek together in Liverpool when we were 19.

I’m still a huge fan now, but I actually don’t listen to them that often. I take it personally when people slag them off because they are so fundamental to the fabric of my being. They were my adolescence and when I do listen to them I get very emotional.

I saw Paul McCartney for the first time at Glastonbury in 2004 and I stood for seven hours without eating or peeing so I could be at the front. They basically introduced me to music.

I think when I was a teenager I consumed such a huge volume of music and I don’t do that now so when I do listen to stuff, it’s not at the same volume. I listen to a lot of podcasts now, I do listen to music but not at that same obsessed level.

I think maybe that just happens as you get older you get a bit fatigued with it all. I do think when I listen to them, it takes me back and I have this emotional response.

5. Lockdown

THIS happened for me almost immediately after a breakup. So he moved out and then I spent lockdown on my own and I wasn’t able to do any of the things you’d normally do after a breakup like go out and see your pals. It was such a strange time.

I think maybe with the isolation, I started to go a bit mad, and so I channelled that energy into comedy. I was making silly videos – having not done any of that in years.

It kind of pushed me into doing comedy again and then I got into TikTok and that’s led me to where I am today. If lockdown hadn’t happened, I don’t know if I’d have done any of that.

6. The Lord Of The Rings

THESE films have been a constant in my life since they came out. I watch them at least annually, they’re kind of a comfort blanket and I find they can be a useful barometer for me to judge if I’m going to get on with someone. If they’re into these films then we’ll probably get on fine.

On top of that, my biggest celebrity spot came in 2010 when I was in my local Sainsbury’s in Partick and I saw Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan in the booze aisle. It was wild and it was Hogmanay so nobody was paying any attention.

I still regret not saying anything, I just kind of looked at them and was like: “Oh my god, why are there hobbits in my Sainsbury’s”.

7. Smack The Pony

IT’S a sketch show for those that don’t know. At the time, I didn’t really think about the fact it was female-led, I thought it was really funny. I loved the music videos, I loved the characters.

I was obsessed with it and would watch it with my friends. It still stands up for me and it’s mad to think it came out 20 years ago. I can’t think of any equivalent, long-running, woman-led sketch shows that have happened since then so I think we need more of that.

It was never on my radar to do comedy watching it. I just watched it as a young girl and saw these women being hilarious and it’s still one of my favourites.

8. Glasgow International Comedy Festival

IT’S kind of cheesy but even though I haven’t done my show yet, it’s already had a big impact on me just being a part of it all. It was the team there that gave me a confidence boost to go for it at the Òran Mór which is an amazing venue for a first-timer.

I got to hang out with Elaine C Smith at the press launch so even if my show bombs at this point, I’ve already had an amazing time – but the team are so supportive of new acts and they genuinely care about bringing up new acts. That’s very cool and it makes me feel good to be a part of that.

9. Meadow Road’s morning roll

MEADOW Road is an amazing coffee shop, I visited a lot during lockdown. All of the staff are total legends but my favourite thing that they do is the morning roll. It’s actually vegan even though I’m not but I put square sausage, black pudding, tattie scone and a bit of ketchup on there.

It’s delicious and it’s saved my life after I’ve had a boozy night. It’s a crispy Morton’s roll as well, so that’s essential because I love those and I was really nervous when it looked like those might disappear. It’s the perfect roll and I’d recommend it even if you’re not vegan to give it a go.

10. My heated blanket

IT’S a total game changer if you’re working from home. I hate the cold. When I was a student, I lived in a freezing, damp tenement and I just hated the cold in there. I’ve yet to live in a tenement that is warm.

Maybe this is controversial because they’re old and beautiful – but unless they’re properly insulated, they’re shit to live in, so that’s my hot take.