faustus: (Default)
( Dec. 6th, 2010 11:33 am)
There's a new campaign on Facebook you should all know about.

We can stamp out animal cruelty by changing our profile pictures. There should be pictures of animals licking their jeremys on Facebook until 25 December to support the RSPCA.

My contribution probably isn't worksafe and may put you off your lunch.

You know it makes sense.
I've not knowingly seen John Bishop before - he's in a couple of movies - but I decided I ought to see him as I see everyone else, and he might be great. I bought a ticket for my favourite seat, and pinned it on the cork board with the others.

A few weeks later, in Nottingham, I got a phone call, asking me if I was going to see Bishop at the Carbuncle, which led me astutely to assume that I wasn't, at least not on that date. He was doing a set for a tv show (he led us to believe it was Live at the Apollo, but it was actually the ITV equivalent), and so he'd be postponing to 12 April. The date came, without further delays, and that date was itself, apparently, already a postponement.

I went up to the Carbuncle, having watched a movie and two episodes of Battlestar Galactica and read a novel, intending to work there for a few hours. Naturally it's a Darwin College bus that comes along, when I need to shop first so Parkwood would have done. When I want to go straight to Carbuncle I only get Keynes.

Postponement is only half the fun )

And then I have to go home )

Warning: Contains nudity )

Postscript )
faustus: (Culture)
( Dec. 20th, 2009 02:22 pm)
I stumbled, by chance, onto there being a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in Sheffield, as part of the Tate/National Galleries of Scotland Artists Room tour - of which Beuys at Bexhill was a part. Having got all excited about a Richard Dadd exhibition at Dulwich, only to find the thing was cancelled made me suspicious of a lack of mention of the event on the Graves Gallery website. Searching around the innards, there was a news story, but no other mention - and the Artists Room website, which now should be covering events into 2011, left a little to be desired. I used the contact-us form but heard nothing back from Sheffield, and somehow never found time to ring. Ah well, I thought, at least the Comedians exhibition will be of interest.

It might be that the good people of Sheffield - perhaps - took fright at a exhibition of a photograph who had taken a self-portrait with a whip handle stuck up his own (excuse me), and whose section in the Barbican sex exhibition was hedged with even more warnings than any of the, yanno, female nudes elsewhere. But surely such things would be checked out in advance?

Let's go to Sheffield, anyway.

Let's see if I waste my time )

In the next two rooms are the Comedians, and in some ways you'd have expected keeping the two areas distinct. This is National Portrait Gallery stuff - and was so-so. It seems as if there were no female comedians prior to Victoria Wood - when you expect there would be images of the music hall stars and Gracie Fields and so forth. It's not as if there were no obscure figures - but I think they needed more early stuff.

But it also strikes me that I'm not that interested in portraiture - the Gay Icons exhibition at the NPG was okay, but could have been (and was) a book - but I'm not sure it adds anything to my knowledge of the world. There's no real information on who was taking the pictures - they were credite, but who were they - who were the artists? I don't think it quite ticks my boxes, and I take few portraits myself.
faustus: (Default)
( Dec. 7th, 2009 04:26 pm)
Sat 30 Jan 7.45pm David O’Doherty
Thur 4 Feb 7.45pm Pappy’s Fun Club
Fri 5 Feb 7.45pm Dave Gorman
Tue 9 Feb 7.45pm Jason Byrne
Sat 13 Feb 7.45pm Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Return Letter to Richard Branson
Thur 18 Feb 7.45pm Chris Addison
Wed 10 Mar 7.45pm Jo Caulfield
Thur 25 March 7.45pm John Bishop
Sat 27 Mar 7.45pm John Hegley
Mon 29 Mar 7.45pm Zoe Lyons
Sat 17 Apr 7.45pm Andrew Clover
Tue 20 Apr 7.45pm Katy Brand’s Big Ass Tour
Sat 24 Apr 7.45 Stewart Francis
Wed 5 May 7.45pm Morecambe - The Man What Brought Us Sunshine
Sat 29 May 7.45pm Andrew Maxwell (to book)
Thur 10 June 7.45pm Jason Manford (to book)
Fri 18 June 7.45pm Reginald D Hunter

And Gorman will also be at the Leas - but I'm seeing a warm up gig.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: I would buy an Explorer ticket and go and photograph the beach shelter at Margate and pick up a book by Levinas in Whitstable. To fill up the rest of the day I could check out Horseclans novels in Ramsgate and maybe have a coffee at Westwood Chaos or in Ramsgate. The only thing was to be at the campus on the hill for Sean Hughes.

First - after chatting with my elderly neighbour's daughter - was to go to Boots to pick up this month's pills, and catch a bus out to Margate. It might have made more sense to go to Ramsgate first - but I'm not sure how early the bookshop would open, and the light was with me. Against the law that the bus you catch is late and the one you miss is early, this one kept stopping to mesh with its timetable. Curses.

Margate )

November is the cruelest month )

'I share all your antipathy to the noisy Plebeian excursionist. A visit to Ramsgate during the season and the vision of the crowded, howling sands has left in me feelings which all my Radicalism cannot allay. At the same time I think that the lower orders are seen unfavourably when enjoying themselves. In labour and trouble they are more dignified and less noisy.' )

Westgate on Sea )

Herne Bay )

Whitstable )

The Carbuncle )

The Last Leg )

Have a Nice Day
faustus: (Comedy)
( Nov. 12th, 2009 06:04 pm)
Sat 30 Jan 7.45pm David O’Doherty
Thur 4 Feb 7.45pm Pappy’s Fun Club
Sat 13 Feb 7.45pm Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Return Letter to Richard Branson
Thur 18 Feb 7.45pm Chris Addison
Wed 10 Mar 7.45pm Jo Caulfield
Thur 25 March 7.45pm John Bishop
Sat 27 Mar 7.45pm John Hegley
Sat 17 Apr 7.45pm Andrew Clover
Tue 20 Apr 7.45pm Katy Brand’s Big Ass Tour
Sat 24 Apr 7.45 Stewart Francis
Wed 5 May 7.45pm Morecambe - The Man What Brought Us Sunshine
Stewart Lee got about twenty minutes' of material out of Café Nerd.

I ran into G on leaving the house - he was off to buy a fourth reading lamp, I was off to have coffee with T, my ex-office mate, and had planned various bits of shopping first. G told us not just to have serious talk, but to do ludicrous talk too - I countered that I could hardly tell the difference. I had some problems in finding a free cash point - everyone was slow - but I got to the coffee shop ahead of time.


I ordered a large cappuchino, and as T arrived I said make that two. "Is that large as well?" they asked. Well, yes, otherwise I wouldn't have said make that two, I would have said can I have a small one as well.

Then the coffee machine broke and we had to go to Costa instead.

Justice. For them. But perhaps a pyrrhic victory.

No divi card there, of course, but I learned I got 10% off for the Resident's Card. That amounts to the same thing - but depends on the taste and cost of the coffee. I think I prefer the ambience of Café Nerd. Still, T and I talked about langue and parole, the erotics of signifiers, the films of David Decoteau, and it struck me that the idios kosmos and the koinos kosmos seem to stand in the same relation as the chora and the symbolic order, and oh god, do I really have to write an article on Dick and Lacan now? And all in all, it was three hours before we mention colleagues who were Pissing us Off.

In time, though, we parted, and I headed off to Oxfam, where a minor Oops yielded:

  • Adams, R. (1984a), The Coming of the Horseclans
  • --- (1984b), Revenge of the Horseclans
  • --- (1984c), Swords of the Horseclans
  • Boorman, J. (1974), Zardoz
  • Chambers, I. (1986), Popular Culture; The Metropolitan Experience
  • Millett, K. (1977), Sexual Politics
  • Pournelle, J. (1980), Future History

but none of the pile of Feminist Reviews required purchasing, which was a little disappointing.

I ran into two colleagues in there, one of whom said to the other, "Do you come here often?", which I suggested sounded too much like a chat up line.

I then moseyed up to the Goodsshed, where I purchased chorizo and duck slices from Patrick and three kinds of cheese from Tom's wife (Tom's leg seeming much better).

I wandered home for a bath, via the Carps and Uncle Pete, whom I wished happy new year (it's been a while since I saw him).

Then out again to the Carbuncle, to see Stewart Lee and support (Canadian Tony Law). I didn't leave enough time to do the secret exhibition in the library - maybe Monday week - so hid in the corner of the café and surreptitiously ate my own food.

Someone admired my t-shirt - a red one of Schroeder at the piano with Snoopy, labelled "PLAYER", and asked where I'd got it. I confessed it had been Burton's - imagine my surprise. He paled a little, and I suggested he might wish to make me an offer for it. This he agreed, and I agreed, there needing to be two of us for agreement, so perhaps, rather, he opined, that this was a little too weird and we left at that.

There was also a tramp, or maybe a drunkard, who was hassling customers and he was eventually escorted from the room by security. This became part of the show - as Lee offered to pay for his ticket and joked about the management getting their retaliation in first. The auditorium was more or less full, relatively young, and very male.

Lee actually did well over an hour in the second part, "If you prefer a milder comedian, please ask for one", with basically three or four anecdotes, in part in response to Frankie Boyle's accusation that comedians over 40 have lost their anger. Lee is angry - but even more he is disappointed. The first section was about Caffe Nero's refusal to honour his divi card because two of the stamps were blue rather than red, suggested he had forged then in order to rip off 2/9 of a coffee, then discussed people who move to the countryside for the quality of life and then hate it. The remainder of the show was about how much he hates Richard Hammond, and wishes him dead (just a joke, like the sort they make on Top Gear) and Magners theft of a family phrase and a favourite song - a song he ended the show with.

Lee's style is to obsess on a particular phrase - to repeat and to reinforce, and to re-run through with minor variants: for example "The guildhall, in the country town, with him from Max and Paddy, not Peter Kay, the other one, with the horse, in the field, for the quality of life" or "Give it to me straight, like pear cider made from 100% pears" As was proven 40 years ago - even the word teapot is funny if repeated ad infinitum. Curiously, he doesn't mention that it's comedian Mark Watson in the Magners advert, just a welsh guy. It's very strange to see him stretch a joke to breaking point and beyond.

That's the end of a long week, which began with Reginald Hunter and also included Sarah Millican ("I bought a book called 250 Ways to Drive You Man Mad. It doesn't mention hiding his Battlestar Galactica DVD boxset"). The theatre was full for both - rare for a female comedian, alas. And this week looks busy, too, with a visit to London and, apparently, Manchester.
Have finished Wednesday's lecture in note form - need to add photos and pictures.

Might have got this done sooner, but I missed a bus by about 45 seconds and there's a 40 minute gap. Should have walked but was lazy and had laptop.

I'll try and write up Julie and Julia tomorrow, but it's worth seeing for the cat alone - and Los Cronocrimenes, an old-fashioned and eventually efficient time travel movie. Plus the weekend's viewing.

I got a remarkable two hours in the library this afternoon, having hoped for about four and dreamed about six, but starting the lecture took more of this morning than planned.

Last night I dreamt they'd redecorated the Farmer's Market. The colour scheme was that of the Carbuncle, which I'd discussed Saturday night.

Sunday's Mail on Sunday had an article on Steven Gately attacking homophobic innuendo about his death. Suzanne Moore did not mention Jan Moir by name.

Dave and I did the Mail on Sunday cryptic crossword.

The RIBA Stirling Prize holds a prominent place in my annual calendar for personal sentimental reasons I shall not go into, but I taped digitised it as I'd gone out on Saturday night. Annoyingly Broadcasting House went straight into an interview with the winner the next day without giving me a chance to turn off the radio. Bum.

Saturday night I'd gone to see Reginald D. Hunter live, supported by Steve Hughes. It was notable for a walk out by a middle aged couple some twenty minutes into the support act. They shouted they'd come to see Hunter not him. Curiously, they did not return after the interval. Okay, the ticket does not say PLUS SUPPORT - and maybe should - but it's fairly standard practice as most comedians do the psychoanalytic Edinburghian hour, and need a support for the first half/third.

Saturday afternoon I bought the more expensive copy of The Taming of the Shrew. Barnardo's had a copy at £2.75, but I thought I'd check Oxfam first - and they had the same edition, different cover, at £2.99. I figgered I prefer the cause and couldn't be bothered to go back and compare conditions. I must do a list of my Arden wants list so I can fill in the gaps. A rough count says 24 - the gaps include The Tempest (leant to a friend, now dead) and comedies and problem plays. A dozen or so left to go - Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Troilus and Cressida, All's Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Cymbeline, Love's Labour's Lost, Measure for Measure (odd as I've seen and studied this), Merry Wives of Windsor, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, The Tempest, The Two Noble Kinsmen. A baker's dozen. I must check that the Sonnets are distinct from The Poems.

And so to bed. Dreaming of time travelling.
A big sloppy smile, after watching Sammy J and The Forest of Dreams last night with Dave. He enjoyed it too.

It's a sort of attack on the Disney Bildungsroman, as Sammy J, unable to pay his utility bills, is sucked through a portal in the Forest of Dreams, where all the forest critters are forced to pick berries for the king. Sammy J transgresses the rules and then leads a revolution.

Sammy J is a musical comedian, best known for comic songs like Tom Lehrer's, but here he's acting and singing, and I presume occasionally a puppeteer - all the other characters are puppets, mostly played and voiced by Heath McIvor. I'd seen it at Edinburgh last year, but the comedy booker hadn't been sure it would play on the thrust stage of the Gulbenkian. I think they pulled it off.

What amazes me, as it does with muppets, is that uncanny way in which felt can not only come alive, but also, visibly, die. How does this mechanism work? Identification - some residual animism of seeing spirits in trees - a result of gestalt pattern finding? I don't know. There's summat to be written on this by someone.
faustus: (Culture)
( Jul. 30th, 2009 11:57 pm)
W-e-e-e-l-l - there was a kerchunk of the unexpected when things were going better than they have any right to be, and the cynic in me says that if things are better than they ought to be then... clearly you've misjudged the situation. All I will say that if you've spent some time dealing with someone, and saying how much you want to meet up and that meeting doesn't happen, it's rather odd to ignore texts and phonecalls, to delete an entire email account and to look at the website of the person, all within a couple of hours of not meeting up.

Draw a veil.

I am insanely pleased with my I Pod Touch and the ability to post from the Carbuncle (curiously the Secret Campus does not support them, so Eduroam will allow me to go online at the campus on the hill but not my employer). I am also pleased with my new Macbook, and Scrivener, although the wireless keeps falling over.

Marlowe clearly would like to come to the pub with me - and some evenings I am half way down Oxford Street before I shake her off. In such cases I hear a crying when I get back to Lime Kiln Road and she appears, having presumably waited all along. Failing that the chances are she'll be at the end of the ten foot, or appear over the fence of Guildford Road. She's getting good at walking to heel. Oddly she has stopped going upstairs - with the exception of today - and how Tilda has made this her territory is not clear. I thought Marlowe had stopped yuvving me, but today she was all over me and weally weally yuvs me (and is clearly jealous of the laptop).

Tilda has stopped bringing me presents, but (and she's just appeared there now) has fallen in love with Dave's old bed and has been there more or less constantly for the last fortnight. I will have to vacuum the duvet and put a sheet over it. My sleep is thus uninterrupted by cats - just my thoughts and bladder - but it is disconcerting to wake up and see a cat staring at you via a mirror.

I skipped out on seeing a couple of the Edinburgh warm-ups at the Carbuncle - I wish I'd seen Pappy's Fun Club, but they'll be back - although I saw Adam Hills and Brendan Burns tonight. I can see why Hills is used as a compere, and I can't believe that Burns's miming of singing "The Rainbow Song" via the slit of his penis wasn't offensive. In glorious and hilarious bad taste, in a way that Julian Clary's show wasn't (that was the first night of the tour, pre-Edinburgh, but using the word ring and playing with butt plugs isn't enough to be funny).

Meanwhile I saw the Festival brochure, and little stands out as unmissable - although I note Reginald D. Hunter, Sarah Millican and Stewart Lee. Tickets bought for them. I can't be bothered with Alistair McGowan.

My autumn:

23 Sep: Sammy J. in The Forest of Dreams
17 Oct: Reginald D. Hunter
21 Oct: Sarah Millican
24 Oct: Stewart Lee
6 Nov: Milton Jones
7 Nov: Jim Jeffries
12 Nov: Daniel Kitson
21 Nov: Sean Hughes
27 Nov: Mitch Benn and the Distractions
8 Dec: Lee Mack

I'm going to be a social bunny - sitting on my own in the dark.

Did I mention I might be an extra on the next Ross Noble DVD?

I need to get reading and viewing for the seventies book - it's slow work.

Having sat on two Sofacinema dvds for a month I'm determined to get my money's worth this month, but I'm also trying to watch the second series of Ashes to Ashes which I recorded (then Skins, The Inbetweeners, a fistful of Clint Eastwood movies, and various other films). Today I watched the first half of Blackpool, in which I think Tennant wins against Morrisey in the battle of the Davids and I ponder which things I've seen have had Sarah Parrish rather than Sarah Lancashire. Amusing to spot the Doctor Who exhibition in one shot, but I'm less convinced by the lip syncing - it feels too derivative of Dennis Potter. The author went on to do Desperate Romantics - which I've yet to see, but appears to be about a generation later than even the Next Generation (most of whom died before the originals: cf the dates of the Six Blokes of Romanticism, Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth vs Byron, Keats and Shelley).

I feel the urge to go somewhere this Saturday - maybe to Eastbourne or (again) Bexhill - but I ought to be good and work. I probably ought to do St Leonard's before those bookshops close too.
faustus: (Future)
( May. 22nd, 2009 09:22 pm)
Today has ended up more or less where it needed to be.

The grand plan was to head to the academic library on the hill around nine, but this was scuppered by a) needing to buy, write and post a birthday card to my big bother, b) needing to fill the prescriptions, c) needed to take advantage of the 3 for the price of 1 Jaffa Cakes offer and d) sleeping in until 8.40.

Naturally then it was not until 11.20 that I was on the Unibus - and 11.30 when it left, after the two buses parked either side had long gone. A diversion to buy a notepad - Tesco not stocking anything appropriate - I was in the Library for noon. I did about three hours - which is more than I've managed there since the start of the academic year - and then went to the Carbuncle to buy a ticket for the Ross Noble interview (one packet of Jaffa cakes later).

Thence via charity shops (and a surprise present for two Midlands parties) to Caffe Nerd and more notetaking.

Back to pick up the prescription and home to finish the index I've been working on. I can now go to the pub with no poof raeding. Two packets down.

Off to Lewes tomorrow. Is there really an 8am train?
faustus: (roof)
( Apr. 16th, 2009 09:37 am)
Clement Freud, 24 April 1924 - 15 April 2009

Celebrity chef and foodie, former MP for Isle of Ely and then North East Cambridgeshire, racing fan, patriarch of a significant branch of the Freud dynasty and advertiser of dog food - oh, and deadpan comic genius.
Rather oddly, I didn't know who Rhod Gilbert was until the encore - and encores are a funny thing (ahem) in comedy. You go to a gig, and they play music, but inexplicably leave out their biggest hit, which you shout for on the encore. For comedy you can hardly shout, "do the one about the three rabbis," nor can they repeat a version of something they've already told.

I booked a ticket for Gilbert when I bought a load of tickets back in September, although I hadn't quite twigged he was 7.45 on a Thursday, a day which I am timetabled until 7.00. The class finished in sufficient time to let me catch a (running late) 7.00 bus to the campus on the hill, and gave me time to use the cash point as I was down to busfare and change and anticipated a pint later. I spotted a work colleague from a different faculty, and the solo attender who's been there almost everytime, but no other familiar faces.

There was a support act, which we didn't need, Elis James, but also Welsh. I confess I remember little of the act - much interaction with the audience and talking to people from Wales, and being a tourist in town (and as always the question is what local industry is - a cathedral and tourism, or, given that there are three universities, education).

When Rhod came on, in front of an IF.comedy slide, there were people at the front shouting "Rhod! Rhod! Rhod!", and he immediately abandoned any of his material - the show is "Rhod Gilbert and the Prize-Winning Mince Pie" - until he dealt with the (rather supportive) hecklers, who had apparently done the same thing the previous year, when his show was "Who's Eaten Gilbert's Grape?". Apparently they had brought grapes for him last time - and indeed had at this time as well. Gilbert joked about them bringing a mince pie - and indeed they had brought a packet of those.

Eventually he got back to his act - and it was only then that I realised that one of the "hecklers" was my colleague. Gilbert talked about the Royal Variety Show, and how Charles had had a go at him backstage for jokes about William and Harry vandalising a local busstop - this gave him a chance to comment on Harry's racist shenanigans. The act was about a sort of nervous breakdown at a service station over wanting to know which award the award-winning mince pies had won, and over the countdown to cleaning clock in the service station toilets. In between he talks about how he has decided not to make stuff up any more - he had invented a Welsh town, which one audience member had claimed to have been to, and played them at rugby. Revenge had been got by faking a map and directions, emailing them to the person in question, and them follow them trying to find the town, Llanbobl. (This came with video.) He also talked about having been exhausted by his girlfriend, she having come into her sexual peak, and he being twenty years after her; once he had needed a box of tissues to clean up, now he can just wipe off the top with a torn off corner. He talks about going to perform to the troops in Afghanistan, and how he must be careful not to turn his mobile on, lest the Taliban get hold of his number or, worse, his phone book - he envisions the Taliban ringing up up his mother, and reckons they would hang up before Mrs Gilbert did.

The climax of the routine was a bit of a cheat, but still very funny - sat in the director's chair he'd purchased at a service station with a mince pie, he reads out the letter from the manager of the services, who among other things notes the toilet inspection countdown is not notice for a performance, but a reassurance to customers.

At this point we'd had an interval between Elis James and Gilbert, and within Gilbert's routine. Now he came back for an audience - eating the grapes, more dealing with the hecklers (one of whom had worked at Burton's and had measured Shane Ritchie's inside leg), and going into a routine I'd recognised. He was talking about how after a while owners resemble their dogs, and in fact they'd had to get their dad to wear a hat so that they could tell them apart. Of course, the dog started wearing the hat when their father had gone out, which made life more difficult. His mother was particular upset, because she'd been fooled, and his father was upset, as she'd been unfaithful, and his younger brother was most upset of all. In the end they had to do a DNA test. In retrospect they should have realised: Patch kept pissing on trees, chasing after sticks and never went out on bonfire night. Ah - that was the material that people had written to Feedback about, complaining about jokes on bestiality.

Anyway, it was gone 10.40 when I emerged, and decided to grab a cab back to town as it was too cold to wait half an hour or more for a bus. Very, very funny and highly recommended - beautiful structured, and topped in this case by his presentation with a certificate for the mince pie that had been brought.

Gilbert on candles, on buying bedding and on Afghanistan
faustus: (comedy)
( Dec. 8th, 2008 12:49 pm)
Checking dates of Mark Watson, Clive James and Count Arthur Strong, I also note:

Simon Brodkin and Russell Kane
Phil Hammond
Josie Long
Pappy's Fun Club
Mark Thomas.

Oh dear, I shall be spending money again.
One of the things I enjoy about my comedy course module is having ideas about the topic as I teach. Unfortunately I rarely write them down.

Yesterday was an exception when I suddenly thought, that's like a definition of the Lacanian Real. And wrote down the word Real.

Only I don't remember what was like the Real. I think it's something to do with achieved desired and that which is outside the situation, but I'm not sure.
Minchin should have been here a month ago - but he had to do some Secret Policeman's Ball gig and Mark Thomas substituted. Here we got a post-punk and pre-crusty audience, more mohicans than I've seen in the Carbuncle before. It was also an audience who whooped a lot - and I was thinking - he's walked on stage, wow, so what? Clearly a cult already - a red-tinged Tim Burton, not quite dreadlocked, mostly singing songs at the piano, with some just at the mike and some with guitar, and sometimes backing tapes. After his electro start, and worrying about empty seats (it was meant to be sold out) he started with Taboo", song about prejudice and forbidden words, particularly a six letter one: a couple of Gs, an N, an I, an E and an R. Ah, it's not going to be what you think, I thought, and it wasn't.

He was clearly clever, but I was wondering if he was too clever. His religious "I Love Jesus" draws the audience into questioning prejudice - although lumps Christian altogether. His "If I didn't have you" undercuts the love song, suggesting that if he didn't have his girlfriend then, well, plenty more fish in the sea: "I mean you are special, but within a bell curve." This is a man who has at least some knowledge of science (and can sing a lyric saying he'd rather have dinner with Richard Dawkins than Desmond Tutu), and if evolution is a theory, he'd like fundamentalists to test the theory of gravity, too. Equally he undercuts political earnestness with male desire and self-deprecation and his wife's pragmatism - when watching a DVD with her, he fears his baby has a probably, and she reasons if there's something wrong it'd spoil the DVD and it'll still be wrong when the DVD was over. (He also discusses crossed lines in comedy.)

The interval had a special piece of music in which he sings "It's the interval song", although it would have been smarter not to point this out.

The second half featured some audience participation in "Bears Don't Dig On Dancing", although I think the participant (guitarmadfreak) enjoyed himself in the end. The attacked link shows Minchin wearing what he had in this gig - frilled shirt and bare feet (aside from the song in which he wears one boot). Self reflectively he sing the "You Tube Lament", complaining about the lack of hits. If You Open Your Mind Too Much" is sceptical about psychics, astrology and homeopathy (if water can remember medicine why has it forgotten poo?). I can't find his song on Grauniad critic, Phil Daoust. Oh "Dark Side". [Bonus: his review of Donnie Darko - with spoilers]

Manford, meanwhile, has a Channel Four (teen and twenty-something, with dads) audience, and looks a bit like Peter Kaye (he's from nearby and does similar observational stuff). Again plagued by late-comers, and does the asking members of the audience stuff before he starts (he is his own support act). Not laugh out-loud funny, to my taste, but amusing. Lots of stuff on men urinating, and its politics, and really coming alive in the encore when he confronted the heckler: "You've paid to come to a stand-up gig and you're telling your own jokes and I'm the dick? What next? Going to a brothel and giving yourself a blowjob?" And chiming with Minchin - cut in case you haven't watched 'Taboo' )
Two catchups - I'm behind due to coypu editing.

Of the two, Byrne was the funnier, on his A Different Class tour (I forget the precise title - but it draws on Pulp's Common People period in its iconography). A lot of talk about the differences between middle and working class culture, and the ways he no longer fits into one whilst not belonging in the other. The differences located by patio doors vs french windows.

In the first half, before a rather good support act name long since lost, he made a comment about how odd it was that Sarah Palin doesn't believe in evolution, yet believes polar bears will learn to cope without the ice caps. He also came up with the perfect excuse for the man caught short after getting completely mullered and having to resort to using the wardrobe: "I'm making the snow melt in Narnia". Got some of the biggest laughs I've heard but - audiences - bah. You know the time it starts. Get there in time.

Shuttleworth I've liked in half hour doses, but a couple of hours of character comedy wore thin, and I think creator Graham Fellows anticpates this by adding Brian Appleton, a rock musicologist and media studies lecturer, and Dave Tordoff from Goole. He fits in Ken his neighbour and Mary his wife by use of a mobile, and Tordoff appears "by video link". But the loveable incompetence (songs played on the cheesiest of keyboards with samba and other hideosu rhythms and dubious lyrics) gets tired relatively quickly.Fun, but not quite enough
faustus: (gorilla)
( Nov. 11th, 2008 12:56 am)
- I went to work on Monday afternoon to second mark oral presentations, and chose the worst part of today's rain storm to do it in. It was like a power shower and enough to bring branches off trees - small branches, yes, but branches nevertheless.

Bears had been trying to store hunney pots on them.

It reminded me of day one in Edinburgh: Mark Watson at the Pleasance. I was already soggy waiting to queue up, and then even soggier when I was queueing. The show was very steamy. I then had the best part of any hour to get across to the Assembly Rooms.

I had already realised that Edinburgh streets run north-south and east-west, but I hadn't figured that one axis is higher than the other and they don't intersect. Rather than ascending Nidry Street (which I had earlier descended in search of Graham's venue) I assumed I could take a later right turn. The first right turn seemed to curve back on itself - although I think had I gone further I would have ended up on George IV Bridge, which would have done. There were rather dark sets of stairs through twichells, but soon it appeared there was a sodding volcano in the way. I circumnavigated this, and eventually must had been back on Princes Street, but my map was disintegrating and my glasses were opaque with rain. I waylaid various people to ask directions, but there are several Assembly Rooms and no one had heard of Rose Lane, the street parallel to the one I wanted. Eventually I crossed Princes Street and went up the hill, but I had no way of telling if I were east or west of the venue. I found a posh looking hotel and asked, and I was about a block down. I had about two minutes to get to something you needed to be ten minutes early for.

Edinburgh's Comedy Festival thinks it's a hoot to have several venues with the same name (and it's only now I figure those associated with Cows were mostly on Cowgate - and I went to the Belly Cow when I wanted the Baby Cow every single time). Within these venues are several stages, which to be fair are signposted. But to get in, you need to queue, and the queue is elsewhere, often a different floor, and not signposted. Eventually I got it, but each venue is different.

By this time I was wet, soaked, it fact the kind of wet that makes saturated actually seem dry. My trousers were acting as drainpipes for a good half hour. The people sitting next to me said, "You've been in the rain?"

No shit.

What do you do to glasses when every piece of cloth on you is beyond saturated - and spitting on them will probably make them drier?

For ten minutes tonight, it was that kind of rain. At least my colleague looked guilty about getting me in.
faustus: (comedy)
( Nov. 6th, 2008 01:21 pm)
Charlie Brooker gets it:

So it's here at last. The dawn of the dumb has broken in earnest. Two mistakes occur - first Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross overstep the mark with an ill-advised bit of juvenilia, then someone decides to broadcast it. Two listeners complained, but that's by the by: it shouldn't have gone out. But then the Daily Mail - not so much a newspaper as an idiot's guidebook issued in bite-size daily instalments - uses the incident as the starting point for a full-blown moral crusade. Suddenly everyone's complaining, whether they heard the broadcast or not, largely on the basis of hysterical, boggle-eyed descriptions of what the pair said. Poor Andrew Sachs, who, having been wronged, graciously accepted their apologies and called for everybody to move on, looked bewildered by the sheer number of cameras stuck in his face. Because, by then, apologies weren't enough.

The Mail was so incensed, it printed a full transcript of the answerphone prankery under the heading "Lest We Forget" - and helpfully included outtakes that weren't even broadcast, so its readers could be enraged by things no one had heard in the first place. This was like making a point about the cruelty of fox-hunting by ripping a live fox apart with your bare hands, then poking a rabbit's eye out with a pen for good measure

Lest We Forget, of course, has rather significant meaning at this time of year as we don poppies, whether red or white or both.


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