Monday, 28 September 2009

Mr & Mrs Dewar.

Dear Mummy,

You looked so beautiful on your wedding day, but please can you eat something?!

Love your concerned daughter,

Simone x

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Ready For This? High Wycombe.

This was my favourite so far on this tour; a really fun show.

The theatre was really modern and the sound was so crisp, but it did feel very open (and a little empty) and I could only hear the very few people that were sitting around me (I thought it was just a really quiet crowd...).

There were a lot of little mistakes which makes it all the more funnier to those who've seen the show more times than is necessary. The wrong ending was sung during the 2nd movement in Confessions and If I Didn't Have You needed to be re-started 3 times.

There was a guy in the second row (Murray, who turned out to be our bear) who was wearing a really bright and distracting t-shirt and while Tim was talking to him about said shirt someone yelled out "bioluminescnece" which prompted some very hilarious ad-libbing. The funniest for me was the little story about the fish who wouldn't need a night-light while reading in bed.

"Murray-bear" was great. He was wearing baggy black trousers with chains and Tim took one off and attached it to his (zebra/black and white tiger) skinny jeans. When Murray put the bear hat on his "emo fringe" was covering his eyes so he couldn't see and Tim took a few minutes to put this right. I do love the way Mr Minchin plays the keytar as the bear takes off the suit (which was thrown with such force, as was the chair, at John when the sing finished).

Not Perfect was a song that i'd been wanting to hear for encore for a long time, 'twas lovely.

A thought.

I loved the Scooby Doo impression during Storm tonight.

Ready For This? Cambridge.

I really like Cambridge, it's pretty and has a lot of old fashioned bikes with baskets on the front. I had lunch with friends and did a lot of walking. Over lunch we talked to the American's about the differences in common sayings (quite funny) and I was told that I am way too paranoid and I over-think things.

Our tickets said that we were sitting in row E, which turned out to be the front row. It was a pretty good view and my gaze was usually drawn to Tim's hands; particulary good when he played The Good Book, If You Really Loved Me and Darkside. The only downside of sitting front row and slightly to the left of centre meant that the lights were directly in my eyes for Ready For This?, I Love Jesus and Storm.

The bear tonight was a die-hard fan and although he was quite good and threw some pretty funky moves, I think it works better when the he's caught off-guard. Mr Minchin noticed that both spotlights were on the bear and he asked where his spotlight was, cue the most English heckle ever: "it's behind you!".

There were lots of funny little ad-libs about cream. A guy down in front that was 40 but looked about 30 promted Tim to ask what cream he used and it escalated from there. Mr Minchin said that we all had our own associations with cream and that's what made it funny, from the farmers, to those who were fans of the band, to the teenage boys. Whenever there was a slightly awkward pause in the show Tim just had to say "cream" and we all got the giggles.

White Wine In The Sun was sung for encore and it was really, really beautiful. The last time I heard that song live was when I was in Perth and I was sitting next to Mummy and she was holding my hand.

A thought.

Nostalgia is a nice feeling.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Sammy J In The Forest Of Dreams. Epsom.

Yesterday I caught the train to Epsom after work to see Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams one last time. It was an odd town and a very small audience (the entire audience ended up telling Sammy and Heath our names), but it was by far the best performance i'd seen.

It went overtime by half an hour due to plenty of ad-libs that had me slumped in my chair (caused by extensive laughter). The door knocking sillyness must have continued for a good 10 minutes; Farlo and Fish-bucket started eating the set to see if it would make the audience laugh (it did) and then Fishbucket did some stand-up.

Terry the squirrel was a favourite.

A thought.

I hate stage doors.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Ready For This? Brighton.

It's always so nice to jump on a train after work on a Friday afternoon bound for fun. This Friday the train was destined for Brighton to see another of Tim Minchin's shows on his second tour of Ready For This?.

Upon arrival we headed to a pub around the corner from the Brighton Dome (where Tim was to be performing that evening) for drinks and lovely chats with the angry (feet)ers - always such a joy.

The audience were very vocal and seemed to know most of Mr. Minchin's work. Loud cheers ensued after each song was introduced; 'If I Didn't Have You' getting the loudest.

I loved how far the Jesika joke has come along since last Saturday and he seemed to be a lot more confident on the keytar.

Jamie was very entertaining and really got into his role as the dancing bear.

The highlights for me were when Tim's voice cracked during 'Confessions' and he promised everyone a 20p refund for his cock-up, when he descibed life as a spiritual Tupperware party ("everyon'e trying to sell you see-through crap you dont need") and the introduction/"talky-bit" to Darkside (he'd bought a new piano and just like a new car, he had to give it a thrashing).

After the show we went and hung out at the stage door and waited for Tim. We were lucky enough to have a little chat before calling it a night. It was also lovely to say a hello to Chris Cox, who had also made the trip south to catch the show.

A thought.

I am awkward.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Mother Courage And Her Children.

On Thursday I went to the National Theatre to see Mother Courage and Her Children featuring music by Duke Special and his band.

The music, set, staging, special effects and acting were absolutely brilliant but I just felt the play as a whole was just that little bit too long. I've heard this is to be expected of a Brecht play.

Mother Courage is an anti-war play set in the 1600's Europe and tells the tale of a mother of 3 scrounging off the war. Slowly and surely the war kills her children and sends her to poverty.

Duke and his band were wonderful, but there just wasn't enough of their music in the show for my liking. At one point Duke was playing right of centre stage and his profile was projected in black and white onto two huge canvas's on either side of the stage (one inverted), which looked so cool. The closing song gave me goosebumps; picture Mr Special standing centre singing un-accompanied with the exception of a tenor drum that he beated to keep time.

It was great to share the evening with some lovely friends, some of which I hadn't seen in a very long time.

A thought.

I have a few too many obsessions of late. I'm having trouble keeping up.

Mostly About Arthur.

On Wednesday I went to a really beautiful pub in Kensal Rise called Paradise to see Jonny Sweet perform the show that won him "Best Newcomer" in Edinburgh this year. It was wonderful and not at all like your average comedy show.

'Mostly About Arthur' is a memorium about Jonny's late brother who was a blurbist.

Sweet's character is quite a simple man and I just loved the his dialogue throughout the performance. The laughs were mainly at sayings, mannerisms and facial expression (sometimes reminding me a little of Key or Basden) - which I am a big fan of in comedy. I really enjoyed the interaction with the audience too.

I'd recommend taking a look if ever the opportunity arrises.

A thought.

I stalk too much.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Secret Gig. Underworld. Camden. Midnight.

In the wee hours of Monday morning I was at Underworld in Camden watching Amanda Palmer. She started playing at 12.30 and didn't finish until around 3.30; it was AMAZING.

I held a young Americans (Jake) spot in the queue when he went to check if he could go straight through as he was on the guest list. To repay me for the favour, he let me be his +1 and I got to walk straight through too. It allowed me to secure a place close enough that I could at least see her face (that's the problem with being short at standing gigs).

Amanda came out in her underwear and the audience got to dress her by passing up items of clothing. She changed outfits every 3-4 songs which were picked out by Neil Gaimen's daughter, Holly.

Some songs were accompanied by an absolutely stunning and talented viola player, Una, and Neil Gaimen read us all a story from 'Who Killed Amanda Palmer' (their collaborated book).

Set list:

Sex Changes
The Time Has Come (it'd been 2 years since Ms Palmer played this song and she'd forgotten the lyrics. An audience member got the lyrics up un their iphone to help her out.)
Missed Me (with Una on viola)
Blake Says (with Una on viola)
Mandy Goes To Med School
I Google You
Bank of Boston Beauty Queen
(Neil Gaiman reads us a story)
Runs In The Family
Mrs O
Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead cover, AFP on ukelele)
Guitar Hero
Oasis (with puppets)
Girl Anachronism (with puppets)
Bad Habit
Coin Operated Boy
Half Jack (with Una on viola, extended intro)
Leeds United
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)
Oasis (again.. at the request of the bar manager who danced onstage with AFP's "stylist", Holly Gaiman.)

During Delilah (a truly emotional song) I looked over at the balcony and Neil was giving Holly a lovely cuddle and they both had the most content smiles on their faces. It was beautiful. I had tears streaming down my face.

There are some truly wonderful photos of the evening by Hannah Daisy here.

A thought.

If I ever came close to writing such an intellingent and articulate blog like my friend Anna, i'll be very pleased indeed.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Ready For This? Southampton.

Last night I went to Southampton to see Tim Minchin on his second UK tour of Ready For This?. I was left gobsmacked by the grandeur of it all, Minchin is definitely every inch the rock star. Big fuck-off tour truck? Check. Lighting Designer? Check. Kick-arse set? Check. Keytar? Check. Pyrotechnics? Check.

He oozed confidence during the new "talky bits" and I really enjoyed the call-back from the opening joke in Darkside. The piano solo's have been re-written and the audience seemed to love the addition of one of his older songs in replace of YouTube Lament, as did I.

Roll on Friday and Brighton, I say.

A thought.

Travelling on your own is definitely not as fun as when you travel with friends.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Clubbing It 100 Style.

Last night I went to the 100 Club for an allstar line-up; Mark Watson, Richard Herring, Freeze!, Angelos Epithemiou and MC, Dan Clark. It was such a good gig, the type of gig that keeps you awake at night thinking about how good it was.

I've never seen or heard of Angelos Epithemiou until I tuned in to Shooting Stars last week. I loved his little dance in a silver spandex suit, but felt that he tended to repeat the same phrases/jokes during his "talk".

I was little bit disappointed by Richard Herring. Don't get me wrong, the material he did was well-written and funny... it's just that i've seen him do it so many times in the past. His Mars Bar gag was very Stuart Lee-esque (plagerism?).

Freeze! was definitely the highlight for me. Tim Key and Tom Basden made me laugh so much that I was left with a serious case of face-ache (the only other time that happened was the first preview of Andrew Maxwell's 'The Lamp' at Fat Tuesday). The Sir Stephen Redgrave sketch became even funnier when the thrown beer ricocheted off the wall and into the audience. Basden's 'Gang Bang Girl' was accompanied by Key, who waned interest when the lyrics turned "horrid". Their set came to an end with a carefully choreographed dance routine, which was absolutely brilliant. I recieved a text about when i'd arrived home that needs sharing: "I can't get over how unsexy Key's dancing was... IT WAS INCREDIBLE!".

Mark Watson headlined the evening with some new stuff sprinkled among the old, and it was as funny and endearing as ever. I love the honesty and observations in his material as I can always relate; the "it's funny 'cause it's true" kind of comedy.

I wasn't really digging Dan Clark as MC and I have no idea why. There was just something about him that left me feeling cold.

A thought.

1am bed times are not really appropriate for someone that has to wake up at 6.30am Monday to Friday.

Monday, 7 September 2009


I've booked a ticket to Amanda Palmer's secret gig on the 13th September. I think it's going to be ace!

"so here we go, yo:

i'll be starting at 12/midnight late sunday the 13th, the night after the second union chapel show.

there won't be any support.

i have no idea how long the show will go...probably until i get too plastered, and/or - more likely - too sleepy.

most likely it will be an all-requests fuckshow of love. i've been brushing up on lots of old songs and i know i won't play half of them at the union chapel shows since we have a REALLY tight curfew there (10:30)."

A thought.

This might just be the best tweet ever! Oh, and 'cunty' should so be a word... "i know this sounds cunty, but can someone pls open a proper dry cleaners in central oxford? my clean trousers smell like a fucking horse." (tweeted by @BenGoldacre).

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Deloitte Ignite.

Today I went to The Royal Opera House to catch the free 'New Magic' shows. The first show featured Chris Cox and Ali Cook, and the second Barry and Stuart and Pete Firman.

Chris Cox gave a very enjoyable and tight set and had us all in a fit of giggles when he pulled the piss out of one of his helpers (who was a great sport). I sat with my eyes closed for most of Ali Cook's set as I don't particulary like watching somebody swallow razor blades. Being in the front row meant that I ended up with blood in my lap... not very nice.

Barry and Stuart were okay but Pete Firman was definitley the better out of the two acts. I'd seen most of his tricks before but they never tire, he's always such a joy to watch. I lent him a £5 note which he tore and fused back together. Magical!

A thought.

After a high comes a low. It never ends.

Live At The Chapel.

Last night I went to The Invisible Dot presents Live at the Chapel. The Union Chapel is such a lovely venue even if sitting on pews does leave you with a very sore bottom.

It had an ace line-up including Phil Kay, Pippa Evans as Loretta Maine, Lee Mack, Mark Watson and Alan Cochrane as MC.

I've seen Phil Kay give much better performances in the past. I really don't think sticking a beer bottle up your bottom or copying people's laughs is all that funny. I did enjoy his story about overtaking a police car though.

Pippa Evans as Loretta Maine was brilliant. Awesome voice and fabulous attitude; I just adore Loretta Maine.

Lee Mack was the secret television guest that they couldn't reveal and I have to say I was somewhat disapointed... I think I set my expectations way too high. His set was good and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it but i'd heard most of the material before at Old Rope and the Lyric Hammersmith gig.

Mark Watson was by far my favourite act of the evening. He did a lot of observational comedy about becoming a Father and it was wonderful and charming and funny all at the same time.

Alan Cochran wasn't your typical up-beat MC but still managed to warm the crowd accordingly. His material reminded me an awful lot of Jon Richardson.

A thought.

The internet steals time.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Weather Party.

I've been reading about the Weather Party on Lloyd Woolf's blog as well as following all the latest updates on twitter for about a month. I was so intrigued at what this party could bring that I went (oh, and I was gently persauded by a friend).

Long story short, Mr Woolf has developed a bit of a love with weathermen (and women) of late and so decided to put on a "buy a weatherperson a drink" bash. The idea was that we all go to a pub, some weatherpeople show up and we chat and buy them drinks. It was also an oppurtunity to raise money for UNICEF's cimate change campaign.

It was a lot of fun. There was a about 20 of us in a cornered off section of a pub in central London, including an ex weather presenter, Benn, and a Meteorologist, Paul.

£39.22 was raised and there was lots of weather related chat. A graphic designer from Innocent Smoothies was among the guests and he'd made us all name tags ("Hello. My name is....". "My preferred weather is...") and little placard's that needed filling in (I met a weatherperson, and tonight I learned..." and "On the date... I promise the weather will be...") which was then signed by either Benn or Paul, depending on who gave you a fact/prediction.

Hello. My name is Simone.

My preferred weather is sunny.

I met a weatherperson, and tonight I learned that the weather in Columbo, Sri-Lanka, is 9 out 0f 10 times wetter than Islamabad, Pakistan, during the wet season (February to March).

On the date 24.09.09, Benn promises the weather will be heavily raining, mainly in the north, with sunny intervals in the south-east.

A thought.

The comment "she's not overweight. Well, she's about Simone's size... but that's not overweight for a 60 year old" will hurt my feelings.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Duke Special at UCL.

Last night I went to Duke Special's last gig of the year (they're joining the cast of Mother Courage at The National Theatre).

Mr Special was accompanied by a full band which added to the joy. There was a great mix of old and new songs and the very appreciative crowd danced and sang along to all of them.

I loved watching Ben Castle, Chip Bailey and Paul Pilot... sometimes I was so busy watching them play that I completley forgot Duke was onstage. Duke Special has such a beautiful voice and his charming shyness is enough to melt the hardest of hearts.

He came back to play three encore songs (including a Mother Courage preview); finishing by tipping over the piano and diving off the stage. He took ages to come out for the encore but we were assured it wasn't to whip us into a frenzy, he just "needed the toilet so bad".

A thought.

I think everybody should watch this.