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
, 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 Review
s 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.