Sunday, 30 August 2009

Stories For The Starlit Sky.

Last night it was back to Regent's Park at midnight to see the latest and last installment from Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn.

The story was a story within a story. It told the tale of a young boy with insomnia and the story that his Dad had told him in an attempt to send him off to sleep; a whimsical naration about village assassins.

A truly lovely evening was had.

A congratulations.

To Tim Key and Jonny Sweet who each won an Edinburgh Comedy Award yesterday. Well deserved if you ask me. I am overjoyed by the news.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Early Birthday Wishes.

I received my first birthday card from my Grandparents today and it was beautiful:

It's easy to see you're someone who's special in so many ways...
You're thoughtful,
You're considerate,
You're lovely inside and out - and most of all,
You're someone who makes others feel special in return...

So on your birthday,
Wishing you all the happiness you bring,
Because you're a wonderful granddaughter,
And you're loved very much.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa. I love you!

A thought.

It's inevitable, in a months time I will be the outsider at work. I couldn't care less.

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 8.

My last day in Edinburgh was a little bit of a let down. I tried, unseccessfully, to get tickets for Party and The Hotel, so spent the day sight-seeing instead.

In the early evening I met up with a friend at the Pleasance Courtyard and saw Tom Basden again. We had better seats this time but I did feel that he was rushing through. He has such a lovely voice, he's another musical comedian that i'd like to hear sing serious songs.

After a long cab ride accross town I arrived at the HMV Picture House to see Amanda Palmer. Upon approaching the queue I spotted her giving an impromptu performance to a small crowd of fans a little way up the street. I think she was singing Science Fiction from Rocky Horrow Picture Show.

We stood our way through a mediocure band and an interesting and very alternative dance troup before Amanda took to the stage accompanied by a brass band. She sang a few solo songs and one Dresden Doll's song before reading out a short story from her and Neil Gaiman's new book (Mr. Gaiman came out after her reading and treated us with a story too!).

As much as I wanted to stay, it was impossile if I wanted to make my coach. It was a rather rushed goodbye to a city I adored. No doubt i'll be back same place and same time next year.

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 7.

Another day and another early show, this time it was the Collings and Herring Podcast at the Underbelly. Andrew and Richard work so well together and it helped that Mr. Herring was on fire (his words, not mine but it was very true).

I spent the early afternoon packing and then it was off to the Pleasance Courtyard for an evening of entertainment, first up was Pippa Evans followed by Sarah Millican and Tim Key.

I had seen Pippa's preview in London and was quite worried that I may be disappointed. I almost feel ashamed to have thought that; it was truly lovely show. It was based around a variety show (a shambolic one at that) in which she played all the characters, Loretta Maine even made an appearance!

Sarah Millican was another preview i'd seen in London and to be honest, I think i'd enjoyed the preview more. Maybe it was due to the fact that the material was new and exciting for Sarah and myself when I saw it in London....?

Tim Key's 'The Slutcracker' was absolutely frickin' brilliant! I'd caught the preview at The Invisible Dot prior to the Fringe and thought it good but the final cut was something to behold. The set, the slides and the interaction with his sound guy, "Fletch", was made of awesome (Stephen Merchant was in the audience!).

I had bought a ticket to Ali McGregor's Late Nite Variety Nite but it clashed with Tim Key (which was pointed out to me earlier in the day). A few friends were going to see Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams at midnight and as it was now do-able, I did it. We secured front row seats and I was lucky enough to be plucked from the audience to join Sammy on stage for a very breif dance.

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 6.

We were up early to catch Robin Ince's celebration of science show 'Carl Sagon Is My God, Oh And Richard Fynman Too' with Isy Lawrence and Peter Buckley Hill. Robin's passion and Isy's rants were a great way to start the day.

In the early afternoon we went to Robin Ince's Book Club featuring Ali McGregor, Helen Arney, Amy Butterworth and Carrie Quinlan. We were read to from some utterly ridiculous books and were treated to some lovely music.

My first ticketed show of the day was Sammy J's '1999'. It told the tale of a teenage boy and the way he dealt with his bully, all accompanied by some truly humerous songs. I think it's very hard not to like Sammy's comedy.

There was a quick dash up the stairs of the Underbelly to see Heath McIvor's 'Randy's Postcards From Purgatory'. Although I enjoyed Randy's tales (through Heath's excellent puppetry skills) the room seemed dead and lifeless.

After making a quick pitstop at the flat for some nutrience, I headed to the Guilded Ballon for Axis Of Awesome. The onstage banter between Benny, Lee and Jordan was so, so funny. My favourite song was 4 Chords, love it!

The last show of the evening was 'Purple Ronnie's Stand-up Poetry Club' at the Udderbelly with Luke Wright, Phil Jupitus and Dockers MC. It was a very cool gig but I just needed my bed and started to a get a little fed-up towards the end.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 5.

I think I may have fallen asleep before my head hit the pillow but I was up at a reasonable hour (through excitement I think) and managed to make it to The Early Edition. Alongside Marcus Bridgestoke and Andre Vincent were Carrie Quinlan and Phil Jupitus. I wish I could start every day with a show like this. I love the way they don't care about offending or trying to be politically correct.

Next up was Party which I had been looking forward to for ages. It was written and stared Tom Basden (as well as Tim Key) so I was bound to enjoy it, turns out I enjoyed it a lot (surprise!). Long story short it was about a group of youths starting a political party and having to work out policies, roles, names etc. Tim Key's character Duncan stole the show; a stunning performance.

We'd caught wind that Adam Hills and Jason Byrne were doing Comedy Club 4 Kids and figured this was an oppurtunity we couldn't pass up. The show was hosted by Tiernan Douieb and also featured David O'Doherty and it proved very, very funny (especially for my friends and I who are children at heart).

We got a quick bite to eat before heading back to The Bongo Club for Simon Amstell; a show I found somewhat disappointing. I had seen a couple of previews and I just seemed to enjoy those shows so much more, I felt he kept losing his way and only half-finishing his jokes. I think this was largely due to the fact that he contributed so much time and effort at The 24 Hour Show.

The next show of the day was Camille O'Sullivan's 'Dark Angel' at Assembly Hall. Camille seemed very calm and didn't really show much of her quirky side during this performance. Her stunning voice filled every inch of the very large and beautiful venue. My favourite songs were 5 Years and These Shoes.

My brain was obviously not function properly when I thought it would be a great idea to have several glasses of wine when I got back to the flat and go out (again!) to catch Fordy's Lock-in. I didn't know any of the comedians except for Carl Donnelly (who just sat at the bar on-stage and sipped his beer) and I spent the entire show extremely bored. The wine gave me an excuse to speak my mind and I did quite a bit of complaining.

After the show we went upstairs to catch Brendan Burns headlining Just The Tonic. I hadn't been all that impressed with Mr. Burns in the past as I found his comedy very aggressive. However after his great contribution the previous day, my views seemed to change and I thouroughly enjoyed his set.

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 4.

The 24 Hour Show was, by far, the best 24 hours of my life. It's so sad to think that this was Mark Watson's last one (however i'm hopeful that he'll do something equally awesome for future Fringe Festival's).

The show started 20 minutes late due to a few technical hitches and so we could celebrate (we ended up celebrating by singing a Christams Carol. I can't even remember how that came about!) every hour, on the hour, we came up with a new time zone which was named New Scottish Time (20 minutes behind British Summer Time).

Tim Minchin sent a video that was played towards the end of the day. In it he said he didn't know what to say because we may have decided that we weren't going to use verbs. He certainly hit the nail on the head in terms of what goes on during these epic shows.

The best way I can descibe the 24 hour show is to draw similarities to Telethon (a comedy Telethon...?). Nothing seemed to be planned, if you were there and you could contribute then the stage was yours. My favourite contributers were Tim Key, David O'Doherty, Andrew McClelland, Chris Cox, Brendan Burns, Simon Amstell, Dan Walmsley and Teirnan Douieb.

My highlights included "What's the New Scottish Time Mr. Wolf", Teirnan Douieb leading us in an electric boogaloo and The Lovely Band singing Creep. The only thing that annoyed me was when Paul Foot showed up late in the day and drew attention to himself by announcing that he'll purposefully leave 5 minutes before the end.

Twitter played a very important role in the day with tweets being sent out every few minutes which allowed people at home, work etc to join in on the fun. We got lots of re-tweets and feedback about New Scottish Time; very amusing.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 3.

I was up early and down at the Pleasance Courtyard to see John Hegley's 'The Adventure Of Monsieur Robinet'. It was quirky, insightlful and a little bit abstract; I loved it. The story he read in French about a potato (interpreted by an audience member) was brilliant.

I rested most of the afternoon and mucked around with my friends in the flat before heading back to the Pleasance Courtyard for Jon Richardson. A lovely tight show full of laughs. I do like listening to Jon and "his ways".

In between Jon Richardson and Geraldine Quinn my friends and I got stuck in a lift. After a bit of panicking and speaking to an un-helpful engineer we manged to open the doors and jump the short distance down to the ground floor. We ran all the way to the Underbelly and made it to the show just in time. I enjoyed the songs (Geraldine has a great voice), but felt the stand-up was lacking.

Next stop was Pleasance Dome to queue for prime position at The 24 Hour Show. Exciting!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 2.

After having a proper night's sleep I headed down the road to The GRV to see Martin White's 'Accordian Of The Gods'. It was the first show in his Edinburgh run which resulted in a few technical hitches. "B flat" was such a laugh, I can't wait to hear that song again.

Today was the day in which Team Tiernan were finally going to show their support in a 3D way rather than purely virtually. I had only seen Tiernan MC in the past, so it was rather different seeing him do a solo show. I really enjoyed it, a lovely and charming performance (after seeing the show, I now want a badge that says "I am not a concept"). I assume he appreciated our support judging by the smile on his face when we posed for a photo.

Next up was Pajama Men all the way over at Assembly @ George Street. I'd heard only good things about thier show and although I did enjoy it, I wouldn't rave about it. After speaking to a friend who had seen it on an alternative night, I have come to the conclusion that they had an off night. I felt they broke character a lot and their mimes where quite sloppy.

David O'Doherty's O'Doh-Party was one of my highlights of the Fringe. His light-hearted comedy and silly songs are such a joy to watch. He played in a kick-arse venu too which just added to the charm.

The last show of the evening was Daniel Kitson at The Stand. It was a work in progress and i'd heard mixed reviews. It went for a whopping 2 hours and 15 minutes and I have to say that I was a little relieved when it ended. The funny bits were extremely funny, but it really needed to be edited. He seemed to be quite distracted at times and lost his temper with an audience member which made me feel very uncomfortable.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Edinburgh Fringe. Day 1.

Going to five shows on the first day in an unfamiliar city isn't really the smartest thing to do. There were two shows which I nearly missed (one due to start time failure and the other due to getting lost).

The first show that I went to see was The Hotel. We assembled at the Assembly @ George Street and were guided to a charming little hotel about 5 minutes away. All the guests were encouraged to explore their surroundings. We started off in the restaurant; a very stereotypical restaurant which slightly silly changes. We were serenaded by the waiters who while not singing, created a bit of un-ease among the guests with their bickering and non-sense.

From the restaurant we made our way to the caberet room to hear Pippa Evans as Loretta Maine. It was such a joy to catch her doing what she does best. Other rooms included the chill-out room, the kitchen (where I was scared by one of the chefs and screamed the place down), the wellness centre, the business centre and the meditation room.

My favourite room was the administration room, it was here that I had my scarf taken away by a set of eyes behind a white wall, measured from nose to tit and was felt up by some hands prodruding from a walk-way. The lost and found room was right next to the administration room and in an attempt to get my scarf back I was stared at, shouted at and had a door slammed in my face.

Our stay ended when a "catagory C" broke out and all the guests became stuck on the staircase and the owner of The Hotel had quite a disturbing and public meltdown.

From The Hotel we made our way to the Pleasance Courtyard to see Tom Basden 'Now That's What I Call Music-Based Comedy'. The room was quite stifeling and we were sat on an angle that made it a little hard to see the white screen at the back of the stage, but overall I enjoyed the show. He left out two songs from the preview (Gang-bang Girl and Wan Nee), which I missed a little bit. His new musical instument, which consisted of a fan taped to a cap and a wind-chime was brilliant and I also enjoyed the queuing song at the end which I hadn't heard before (in saying that, i'm not sure it was the right song to end the show).

Next up was Chris Cox at the Pleasance Dome. I had seen Chris's preview back in London and as much as I had enjoyed it, there had been quite a few things that were a little... clunky. This was not the case tonight, everything worked 100% and he played to a very apreciative crowd.

I walked the short distance from the Pleasance Dome to the Udderbelly to see Rhys Darby. All in all I enjoyed the show, however sometimes I did think that fame had gone to his head. His sound effects and physical comedy had me in stiches. It was his last night at the Fringe and he over-ran for a good 10 minutes before smashing up his set and bending a microphone stand.

The last show of the day was Adam, Jason and Friends. Our "friends" included Sowetto Gospel Chior (This Little Light Of Mine gave me goosebumps), Jamie Kilstein (who had a few unpleasant heckles) and David O'Doherty (his ROFL joke was brilliant). I do love the madness that unfolds when Adam and Jason get together, it's almost like watching a hyperactive child and his very lenient and playful Dad.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Robin Ince vs The Moral Majority.

On Tuesday night as part of the Camden Fringe Festival, I went and saw Robin Ince vs The Moral Majority.

It was one of his many preveiws that he's doing before he heads up to Edinburgh. It was clearly a work in progress, but I enjoyed it regardless (he left the middle out apparently). His material about religion was excellent, I especially liked the bit about having "a rape for Jesus".

I look forward to seeing the completed show soon.

A thought.

I seem to patch things up with one friend only to annoy another.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra/This Ambitious Orchestra

I've had a busy but nice last couple of days in London town.

On Thursday evening I went to Covent Garden with Karena as she wanted to check out a food stall run by a blogger she liked. After we'd located Eat Like A Girl, had a little chat and tasted her smoked salmon we went and schmoozed over frozen yogurt at a quaint little cafe.

On Friday my friend Georgie (who's visiting from Australia) and I went and had dinner on the southbank and then went wondered around London by night. We walked from the London Eye to Big Ben to Trafalga Square to Leicester Square to Piccalilly Circus and then to Green Park. It was the most fun i'd had in ages.

Last night I headed over to Kilburn's 'The Luminaire' to see The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra and This Ambitious Orchestra. I'd seen The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra quite a few times in the past, so I knew i'd like them but This Ambitious Orchestra were a great new discovery.

MFMO played all my favourite songs (I do love 'Maybe' so, so much) and also indulged the audience with a lullaby which was written and arranged by Martin White and sung by Catharine Rogers. I think the song was called 'I Sleep Among The Tall, Tall Flowers'; a great finish to an amazing set.

This Amibitous Orchestra had come all the way from New York and as some band members hadn't been able to make it, MFMO had stepped in. Their songs lacked the whimsical element of MFMO, but they made up for it in rock. The audience were more than willing to bop along to their twisted love melodies, as was I.

A thought.

I'd love to date a musician.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Kick The Plug.

Last night I went to The Wilmington Arms in Farringdon to see 6 Day Riot headline Kick The Plug. The other band performing were called The Mariner's Children (an alternative folk band) who were equally as awesome. I will definitely be checking them out again.

6 Day Riot gave a brilliant set, a lovely mixture of old and new songs and finishing up with one of my favourites 'Ya da da'. The space was just right and I liked being able to feel the music; the double bass and drums pounded on my chest. It was a perfect summer's evening in London town.

A thought.

Twitter was unavailble for a few hours this afternoon and I was absolutely lost without it. I am a twitter addict. Ben Goldacre wrote my favourite tweet(s) today:

"OK hivemind: someone once told me that Daily Mail readers make up the majority of listeners on Radio 4 . True? Provable?/
Because if true, since it's mostly made by Guardian wankers like me, then Radio 4 is like the Guardian marching into the Daily Mail's kitchen/ ...flopping it's cock out and starting to shout in a VERY PATRONISING VOICE."

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

School For Gifted Children.

Last night I went to Robin Ince's School For Gifted Children at the Roundhouse. The line-up of Scientists/Comedians/Broadcasters/Musicians was a dream come true and included Andrew Collings, Marcus Chown, Natalie Haynes, Gavin Osborn and Simon Singh.

Andrew Collings taught us all how to "Secret Dance" while on public transport. He was joined by an audience member, Rose, for a brilliant display of physical comedy. Marcus Chown didn't disappoint (loved his set at 400 Billion Stars too), he gave a recount of Scientists and the awards he thinks they should have one (very funny stuff!).

Gavin Osborn, Natalie Haynes, Simon Singh and Robin Ince were all on fine form and I absolutley adored Mr Ince's material about trying to find out how his son's mind works.

After last night i'm already looking forward to 9 Lessons And Carols For Godless People.

A thought.

Is it a little bit sad to sit outside a venue and get extremly excited as all the performers arrive? I so do that.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

The Return Of Two In One.

Last night I went and saw another two shows in an evening. First stop was Leicester Square Theatre for Sammy J and the Forest of Dreams and then onto Soho Theatre to see Reggie Watts.

Sammy J and his smutty puppet friends had me crying with laughter, albeit I laughed harder at the fuck-ups than anything else. I think it's definately one of those shows that I could see over and over and still enjoy. I woke up this morning with 'In the Forest of Dreams' in my head which made me want to sway in time.

Words can't describe what Reggie Watts does; an incredible talent who's in a league of his own. Breaking down jokes and delivering somewhat weak punch lines in theory wouldn't work, but it did for Reggie Watts. The Time Out Sydney review puts it quite eloquently:

"I'm staring at a blank page, wondering what to write, and in a funny way it makes me wish I were Reggie Watts. He would love a blank page, or a silent room, or an unsuspecting innocent mind. He would appraise it the way a vegetable carver eyes a radish - as an opportunity. An opportunity to fill an empty space with endless random oddness.

That is really the best way to describe what Reggie Watts does. He escapes categorisation; his show comprises offbeat comedy, social satire, physical theatre, beat boxing and song, though not enough to actually be any of those things. He appears on stage with a keyboard, a couple of microphones and a loop machine, and proceeds to amuse and confuse in equal measure.

Mostly he just talks. And talks and talks. And then talks some more. And the talking isn't about anything and doesn't really make sense. And it might pass through a number of different accents and octaves. But then again, it might not. And in between the talking he plays songs, which will generally have a bit more narrative than the talking, but not necessarily. There was a heartfelt rambling ballad about the funny side of seduction and a hip hop parody that had the whole audience chanting "shit fuck stack". But sometimes he was just making sounds, which was the most impressive of all. Watts is a vocal maestro with a ten-octave range who can create any sonance audible to the human ear somewhere in his oesophagus.

In fact, I wonder why he makes weird semi-comedy instead of just creating awesome music? I suspect he enjoys messing with our heads too much. And I will gamely admit that it is fun to have your head messed with, and that's really the best reason to experience the show. Seeing Reggie Watts is a bit like sexual or chemical experimentation - you're not entirely sure what just happened, but you think you liked it and you'd probably do it again."

A thought:

I don't have the time or patience to talk to people who don't agree with me. If you agree with me however, I have all the time in the world.