faustus: (Default)
( Jul. 6th, 2011 12:43 am)
First gig attended at the Quarterhouse - random notes - Dave Gorman's Powerpoint Presentation

I know Folkestone's one way system better than I realise and can navigate to Tram Road car park from the A2 without a map, and back again (see the car park last week helped, mind)

That bar's expensive, but I suppose it was five drinks

The building does indeed look like a cheese grater

I don't think they've quite squared the expensive bits with the cheap bits, and signage could be better

And you don't need all those mirrors

The menu looks interesting

I want to see this show again when it isn't the second time he's performed it

I wonder whether the two or three times I got to the punchline before he did was him flattering us or flabby delivery

There are likely tickets left for tomorrow night if anyone is in the area

After Edinburgh he'll tour in October and November
faustus: (Culture)
( Dec. 15th, 2010 03:56 pm)
So let's update this...
  • Greg Davies (29 November)
  • Jeremy Hardy (30 November)
  • Attend Sekrit Comedy Gig. Maybe (1 December - decided against)
  • Read Seminar 4 of The Sovereign and the Beast (delayed through snow but done)
  • Awkward Silence (2 December - snowed off)
  • Mitch Benn (3 December)
  • Visit Chichester (4 December - snowed off)
  • Jim Jefferies (9 December)
  • Write conference paper (10 December)
  • Jonathan Miller (10 December)
  • Giles Brandreth (18 December)
  • Who knows (25 December)
  • Write single-author monograph book proposal (31 December)
  • Write 20,000 words of a book (31 December)
  • Punt and Dennis (15 January)
  • Steven K. Amos (18 January)
  • Tony Benn (21 January)
  • Russell Howard (25 January)
  • Mark Steel (28 January)
  • Write Survivors article (31 January)
  • Felix Dexter (2 February)
  • Miles Jupp (5 February)
  • John Shuttleworth (7 February)
  • Daniel Kitson (14 February)
  • Dept Conference (16 Feburary)
  • Richard Herring (17 February)
  • Tim Key (19 February)
  • Shazia Mirza (25 February)
  • Mark Thomas (1 March)
  • Write "It's Alive with the Sound of Music" conference paper (21 March)
  • Write Moon paper (Easter)
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: (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.
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.
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.
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.
I was very keen to see this - Hamilton and Hardy are a fantastic combination on The News Quiz (which reminds me, I forgot to do the Alan Coren stuff on Radio 4 last week), I have fond memories of Drop the Dead Donkey and enjoy Old Harry's Game. (Revolting People leaves me cold - as does the current Punt and Dennis written political "comedy".) Hamilton is a great writer and performer, even in situations where it appears he is improvising. But I suspect what he is doing then is reacting.

In the end, he was simply too bitty - in the first half, members of the audience would draw topics out of a hat, and he would talk amusingly about them. Religion. Sport. Science. At the end he asked for questions to be written down during the interval, and he would answer then in the second half. Of the dozen or so, he only really answered three. The News Quiz clearly proves that reactions are only as good as what you are reacting against. Part of his act he did lying on his back. (Has he got a bad back? Was it a joke?) At the end he sang, but not badly enough.

I couldn't help but feel he hadn't found himself the right format. I also feel I was coloured in my reactions by having to give a Paddington Bear Hard Stare to the person behind me who looked like she was going to offer commentary throughout ("My friend works in Poundland"). Funny, but not funny enough.
faustus: (comedy)
( Oct. 5th, 2008 01:18 am)
As Thomas explained, Tim Minchin got a better offer (I believe an Amnesty gig), so he's been postponed and Thomas slotted into his, er, slot. The Carbuncle was 3/4 full, which isn't bad for about a month of limited publicity. This is supposedly his first gig after time spent on his book about Coca Cola (which I will add to the wants list) and there was a certain amount of being too excitable for his own good at the start. His favourite phrases are "The point is" and "The thing is".

The first half is a mixture of new stuff, which sort of fell into itself. He talked about Coca Cola a bit, and their demanding to see his book before it was published (whilst prevaricating about answering his questions). They claim the book is imbalanced - he says they've got a publicity of a gazillion dollars, and he is the balance. He talked a bit about evolution and the Scopes Trial, and how the left missed a step when it didn't support Rushdie twenty years ago. On the other hand, he's going use the controversy about an exhibit at the Baltic (in Gateshead, rather than Newcastle he should note) - I believe Terence Koh's. This features a series of figures with erections - including Christ, Mickey Mouse and ET. The (private) prosecution is based on a charge of outraging public decency, and having experienced others riding on his legal coattails over the British government's refusal to reveal why they dropped the investigation into a Saudi arms deal, is now riding on this. His case is that it hurts his feelings about ET.

The first half was enlivened by a heckler who told him to get a radio mike (the mike wire was getting tangled), and Thomas put the guy down - who felt bullied. Fair enough, but if you heckle, you don't get gentle treatment. There was also a brief comment about Mandelson - third time lucky (this time we might nail the bastard).

After the break he went through the story of his London protests to demonstrate the daftness of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 - legislation which as I recall was brought in to deal with one person's peace camp in Parliament Square (which it didn't because legislation is not retrospective) means that anyone wishing to protest within a radius of Westminster has to apply a week in advance. The police have to grant permission, due to human rights rules, but it still limits free speech (and a cake iced with the word PEACE would count as a protest). Thomas had applied for a series of portests and convinced others to do so, culminating in a protest on Hungerford Bridge at midnight handing out one leaflet, a protest against having to have stewards at protests (one protester - twenty-five stewards) and then 21 protests in one day (a World Record). He has even set up a company to provide protesting solutions. Most beautifully, he discovered that the dedication of the Nelson Mandela statue meant that Gordon Brown, Ken Livingstone and Nelson Mandela had broken the law - indeed had glorified terrorism - and he pursued a prosecution against Brown. The latest news is that Jack Straw is repealing the legislation.

As I've watched Thomas on tv over the years, it struck me that he lost the comedy as he got more political (as did Rory Bremnor), but with this he is definitely on form, and more than the UK Michael Moore.
faustus: (comedy)
( Sep. 14th, 2008 12:17 am)
Jeremy Hardy has been doing stand up for twenty five years - and what scares me is that I've been listening to him (and occasionally seeing him) for twenty four. Give or take. This is the first time I've seen him live, and the Carbuncle was full, with a distinctly Radio 4 audience. Indeed he talks about outreach to younger people - it's called grooming - which is why he's done festivals such as Glastonbury.

Most of his act though is political, and definitely left of centre. Whilst he clearly has little time for New Labour - there's a lovely bit about Jesus not being the one to call it the New Testament and not trying to repeal the fourth commandment - he clearly has even less time for the Tories. There was also a nice bit about how unlikely it was that Iran would bomb Israel as they don't recognise them - although that's strange because the country's the same shape as Palestine so you'd think it'd be easy to recognise... And then there was the optimism that actually there aren't more terrorists - and that 7/7 was local home grown terrorists (although not organic because they use fertiliser...)

There is observational stuff though - and his rant about Dragon's Den - dragons don't have dens, lions have dens (dragon have lairs). As he pointed out, that's the Radio 4 part. It struck me - after seeing various comedies talk with the audience and even heckle or try to get off with the audience (Scott Capurro) - how much of a monologue this was, and there wasn't much eye contact. He's almost shy.

All in all a very thought provoking evening, with the best part of 150 minutes of stand up. Good stuff.
faustus: (comedy)
( Sep. 3rd, 2008 07:16 pm)
I went to the carbuncle today to buy tickets for half a dozen shows and a film, because in person you get charged a pound per credit card transaction and online you get charged per show. I could have a cup of coffee, may be use the library, I thought.

Well I got the cup of coffee. And a slice of cake. And, er, tickets for twelve comedians and three films.

And a replacement ticket for the rescheduled Tim Michin. (I should mention I am already seeing Jeremy Hardy, Andy Hamilton and Chris Addison.)

But I've made a useful contact in the comedy booker.

Coming up - the complete Grindhouse with intermission trailers (but can I deal with Tarantino's film a second time?) and The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Ouch Ouch ouch. The Apartment. Too much.
faustus: (comedy)
( Jul. 26th, 2008 04:40 pm)
Andy Hamilton
Andy Hamilton,
originally uploaded by Andrew M Butler.
There's at least one item I'm going to in the festival then. Tickets on sale Monday.
faustus: (comedy)
( Jun. 13th, 2008 02:16 am)
So the Carbunkle is barely a tenth full, we're told that we can sit where we like - it can only mean one thing: we're paying host to an Iffy comedian. Yes, the winner of last year's equivalent of the Perrier is in town, performing to thirty people. It's a tough gig.

It probably doesn't help his confidence that he's tried to walk onto stage through the wrong door.

He points out he's not been on tv, but there was the Eleven O'Clock Show and a couple of days hosting I@m a Celebrity. Their loss. It's in your face - lots of swearing (lots of C words), lots of material about sex, particularly dirty sex, lots of picking ona couple of audience members and suggesting things about their sex lives, lots of stuff about gay sex.

It has to be said he's got a tendency to milk a joke - but in such a way that it becomes funny again. Having riffed on the unlikelihood of Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in four comedy movies (complete with impression), he bounces off his commentary on Conan to do Arnold the stand up comedian. which lapses into through the second half. The first half - over seventy minutes - includes a long sequence on why Scousers aren't funny, with pitch perfect imitations of them (Liverpool having apparently replaced Glasgow as the toughest gig).

As always the sense of the special moment - the this night only. The audience member who looked like Harold Shipman. The new couple who'd rather be shagging. The mixed aged couple who left in the interval. The interval requested by a woman who needed the toilet ("Don't say anything funny whilst I've left the room"). And he tried out new material and had things to say on racism - that if the n-word (which is doesn't use) is kept so offensive, it gives the racists a gift.

In the end, brilliant - and Australian rather than Irish as I'd anticipated.


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