Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Emerging Proms @ The Roundhouse.

Last night I went the Emerging Proms at the Roundhouse which featured The Mariner's Children, Broadcast 2000, Stornaway and Stars of Sunday League.

I'd gone along mainly to see The Mariner's Children (i'd seen them play at a gig when I went to see 6 Day Riot in the summer) who were absolutely brilliant. When I first saw them play they had 3 band members (guitar/lead vocals, viola/backing vocals, banjo/guitar/accordian/backing vocals) but last night they had 6 (celloist, drummer and separate violist/backing singer). Their music is tremendously beautiful.

Broadcast 2000 were my other favourite of the night, i'd definitely go and see them again. The band consisted of 3 percussionists (glockenspiel and two drummers; one of which played a step ladder!), a violinist, a mandolinist (I think it was a mandolin, 'twas a very swanky one of it was), a violinist, guitarist and two vocalists.

Stornaway were good but they played last and I was tired and my feet were sore, which meant my attention kept drifting elsewhere.

All in all, it was a fantastic night of music, but standing amoung the trendy and talented people reminded me just how uncool I am.

A thought.

If I said all the thoughts I was thinking aloud, I don't think people would like me very much.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Comedy Nights @ Lyric Hammersmith.

Last night I went to the Lyric Hammersmith to see one of Richard Herrings oganised evenings of comedy called Comedy Nights. The line-up was ace and featured Paul Sinha, Tim Key, Doc Brown and Stephen Merchant.

It was the first time i'd seen Paul Sinha and i'd heard great things about him. He gave a solid set and he was alright I guess. He lacked the "wow" or "he's soooooo funny" factor, but yeah, he was okay.

Tim Key absolutely stromed it tonight; outstanding! It was the best audience reaction i'd seen him receive and he even got a spontaneous round of applause for his war poetry ( but let's be honest, it is bloody good). the little bits of stand-up in between his poems seemed to have been tweaked and his whole set flowed brilliantly.

I'd never seen Doc Brown before (nor had I heard of him) but I really enjoyed his set. It was a kind of rap comedy and it was very very clever.

Stephen Merchant was his same old hilarious self. I particulary enjoyed his play/skit on choices (with the help of two audience members) in which the BAFTA made an appearance.

Richard Herring (despite thinking he had swine flu) was a very good MC. He was using lots of material from his Hilter Moustache show and it was pure comedy genius.

A thought.

I really dislike how early it gets dark in the winter. It's so depressing.

Ready For This? Hammersmith Apollo.

On Friday and Saturday I went to see Tim Minchin (give the biggest gig of his life) at the Hammersmith Apollo. It was so awesome to see him rock out such a huge venue.

I must admit that I laughed (for all the wrong reasons) when he came out in the first half of Friday's show in wet-look polyester leggings (he'd resorted back to skinny jeans after the interval).

There was some hilarious ad-libbing when one of the usher's (who was stood up the front and to the side of the stage) hand-held radios went off and Tim jumed off the stage and got the guy in a head-lock. He took the radio, jumped back on stage, and told the usher he "could have it back after class". When he threw/gave it back, the usher dropped it on the floor and Tim told him he "was sooooo fired!". Tim realised that he'd got terribly distracted and apologized, explaining " it was a Choose You Own Adventure; that was wrestling and now you can have this" and continued with his stand-up.

During Darkside he had 4 little domes positioned around the piano that shot out coloured flames at regular intervals. It was very cool.

The Saturday show (as well as the Sunday show) were being filmed for a DVD. I don't know if anyone else could feel it, but it was like you could cut the pressure in the air with a knife.

There were a few technical hitches; the micrphone kept crackling and the little domes of fire didn't work dure Darkside (which was superb!)... oh, and he completely skipped a verse in If I Didn't Have You.

Bears Don't Dig On Dancing was fun. There was a plant in the front row and when he got up to dance, 4 other bears came out and performed a kind of "It's Like That - Run DMC" style dance routine.

A thought.

One beer = fine. Two beers = embarrassment.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Karaoke Circus V.

Last night I went to The Albany for the latest installment of Karaoke Circus. As always, it was so much fun.

I wasn't familiar with the song Jessica Hynes sang but she gave the most fabulous performance. Everyone looked absolutley gobsmacked by how good she was (i'm sure I wasn't the only one who wanted her to do another song!).

Jessica, along with Chris Addison, received standing ovations after their songs. Chris Addison sang Common People by Pulp and he "karaoke-ed" the shit out his chosen song. He seemed to be the only person to have memorised the lyrics and practised how he was going to perform it.

The next one is on the 3rd December - i'm so there!

A thought.

I'm losing the battle of the bulge...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

It's Debateable - With Jon Richardson.

Last night I went to Drill Hall to listen to the pilot of Jon Richardson's Radio 4 production "It's Debateable". Jon was joined by Lloyd Langford and had to try and persaude Lloyd and the audience that "all relationships should be made illegal".

I really like Jon as a comic but I always find his sets and shows really heavily scripted and executed, it was such a nice change to see him pulling gags off the cuff at the recording. His banter with Lloyd had me in hysterics. The running joke throughout the evening was that that Jon and Lloyd were sleeping together.

The funniest part of the recording (for me) was when Jon was talking about a meeting he'd had with the production team in which the words they could and couldn't use were discussed "I almost had to walk out of the meeting because I was laughing so hard. Just so you know, there will be no motherfucking in this room".

I have no idea how the subject came about, but at one point Jon started talking about giving blow-jobs to dildo's and said "that phrase should be used when you have do something that is a complete waste of time". Ha!

There were a group of young girls that were sitting front and centre that would "awwwww" really loudly when anything nice or sad was said; it was so annoying!

A thought.

I need an off switch for my brain.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Ready For This? Oxford.

I'd planned to go up to Oxford for the day and explore before the show but I had an awful lot of trouble getting out of bed. I did manage to see a little bit of town, and the bit I did see was very nice indeed.

The New Oxford Theatre was quite an old theatre (despite it's name) and had a big dropping orchestra pit between the stage and the front row. My friends and I were sat in the front row (surprise!), but tonight the bright lights that usually shine in my eyes (and the reason why I no longer like sitting in the front row) were blocked by Tim's head as he performed (win!).

I laughed lots in Canvas Bags last night especially during the line "sobber or on the floor spastic" because at the exact moment that he said spastic he tried and failed to kick the microphone stand up (he kick's it over at the beginning of the song). During the introduction of the song Tim seemed to ramble and after clocking this, he still continued his introduction but just mouthed it (I love sillyness).

The bear last night (Robbie-bear) was extremely cocky. He was chosen by Tim and told to get up on the stage, he jumped onto the stage and took his jacket off as he strutted the length of it, threw his removed jacket onto the floor near the piano, took a large swig of Tim's wine and then went up to Tim and gave him a really patronizing hug and stroked his hair (Robbie was quite a lot taller). When Tim went under the bear hat to give Robbie-bear instructions, he pulled out halfway through, giggled and said "he's such a cunt".

Just before the start of the song Tim said to the audience "why are you looking at me like that? It'll be fine" and then mouthed HELP! Robbie-bear danced on cue but mainly just skidded on his knees from one side of the stage to the other (his backward roly-poly's were funny though). He took another swig of wine before removing the bear suit and leaving the stage (he was even heckled to "GET OFF THE STAGE!).

If You Really Loved Me is my favourite part of the show (my second favourite part of the show is when Tim says "Mr Wippy van man"). I just love the piano solo's, it's certainly a sight to behold (oh, and it also sounds bloody good!).

Tim knocked over his water bottle during Darkside and had to mop it up before the encore (White Wine in the Sun), saying that the accident had occured during his "rock and roll frenzy".

It was a lovely night that was slightly spoiled by the fact that I got home at 2am and started work at 8am.

A thought.

Do not listen to comedy CDs on a packed train by yourself. Trying to stifle the laughter will make your tummy hurt.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Sean Lock. Warm-up.

Last night I went to the Pleasance in Islington to see Sean Lock try out new material for his up and coming show. The first half seemed to be old material and the second (slightly shakey) half, new material.

The first half was good but I did find the gags a little bit dated (Sachsgate? Really?) but I loved the stuff about his family life. I'm a sucker for jokes about the wife and kids. The second half was a bit all over the place, but i'm sure some good will come out of it eventually.

A thought.

The Pleasance Islington is a bloody good venue.

Friday, 16 October 2009

We Need Answers (14th, 15th And 16th Of October).

For the past 3 days i've been down at Stephen Street Studios in London to watch the recording of We Need Answers hosted by Mark Watson, Tim Key and Alex Horne.

Tuesday's recording (with guests Vanessa Feltz and Simon Bird) was one of the best in the series so far. The on-set banter between Simon (from the Inbetweeners), Tim and Mark was very funny. There were a lot of childish jokes, my favourite being "after you answer this question, Simon, you'll be a man". When it became apparent that Vanessa was going to lose, she chucked the biggest tantrum i've seen a grown-up give.

I'd gone to this recording on my own and when the warm-up comedian (Stuart Goldsmith) asked the audience if anyone had been to a recording before, I answered yes. After the usual questions of "what's your name?" and "what do you do?" he asked if i'd come along with anyone... when he realised I hadn't he got the audience to give me a round of applause. I've never felt my cheeks become so hot, so fast.

At Wednesday's recording i'd come along with friends and sat towards the back but that didn't stop Stuart from finding me. I got a round of applause because I was from Australia...

I didn't know the celebrity guests tonight (a presenter from Radio 4 and a Rugby player). The physical challenge great with both contestants having to shout sentences from their autobiographies; the person that reached the loudest decibels won. I was hoping Tim Key was going to have a go using the lines from some of his peoms ("NO EVA" or "YOU HAVEN'T EVEN GOT A FARM MATE"), but he didn't. Alex Horne was on fine form tonight!

Tracy Ann Oberman and Jake Arnott were the guests on Thursday's show. Tracy Ann was a brilliant contestant and I loved the physical challenge!

Mark asked me if i'd been to every single recording after the show (I almost have) which was a little bit awkward and embarrassing. Next week i'll have to try harder to be inconspicuous.

A thought.

A conversation between two awkward people is bound to fail.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


Last night I went back to South London for the latest installment of An Event Of Some Kind hosted by H Anthony Hildebrand. The line-up featured the likes of Filthy Boy. The London Dirthole Company, Pat Burtscher and Edward Aczal.

I'm a huge fan of H Anthony, his poems/beats/songs/musings always astound me. I want his mind.

Filthy Boy were brilliant beyond their years but the other band of the evening, The London Dirthole Company, were just noise to me (I think having 3 drummers is a little bit exsessive...).

Pat Burtscher was on the bill last time I came to this gig and I really enjoyed his set, but tonight he did seem to be lacking (he put it down to having eaten a corned beef sandwich instead of a pear).

I'd seen Edward Aczel perform at the Lyric Hammersmith earlier in the year and had quite enjoyed his comedy. He gave a smooth set that went down well with the crowd.

A thought.

Jonny Sweet's performance in When Dave Met Boris is outstanding!

Friday, 9 October 2009

We Need Answers (7th And 8th Of October).

Last night and the night before I went to the recording of We Need Answers for BBC4 which is hosted by Mark Watson, Tim Key and Alex Horne. Terry Christian and Camilla Dallerup were the contestants on the first night, and last night we had Aggie MacKenzie and Peter Tatchell.

I enjoyed the first recording slightly more as the guests were excellent. Don't get me wrong the second night was good too, it was just that MacKenzie and Tatchell were a bit... difficult.

Tim Key is a fabulous question master; I just adore the way he interacts with the contestants (especially the female ones).

I found this conversation between Aggie and Tim particulary funny:

Aggie (to Key): You're a funny man, aren't you?
Mark: Well Aggie, he is a comedian.
Aggie (to Key): Are you? Are you a comedian?
Key: Yeah. (the facial expressions and body language were so, so funny when he answered)
Aggie: Really?!

Mark's turn of phrase is brillaint and I love his running commentry as he talks to the producer via an ear piece.

Last night Lloyd Woolf, Stefan Golaszewski and Katy Wix were in the audience!

A thought.

Chocolate should be a "diet food".

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Totally Acoustic.

Last night I went to The Lamb near Russell Square to see MJ Hibbett's Totally Acoustic. I went mainly to see Gavin Osborn, but I really enjoyed Mark Hibbet's set and Winston Echo showed great potential too.

I missed seeing Gavin's show in Edinburgh and this was by far the longest set i'd seen him play. He was accompanied by Amy Butterworth on violin which made his beautiful whimpsy songs pull on my heart strings more than usual. It was lovely to hear him play 2 songs from Stories For The Starlit Sky again; i've been wanting to hear the song about 77 year old Albert again and i'm so glad I got the chance.

He was so well received that he came back to sing 2 more songs for encore (a Billy brag cover and a one of my favourite songs of his, Over 30). It was a really pleasant evening... the kind of evening where you just can't stop smiling.

A thought.

I'd really like to get away from everything so I can clear this foggy head of mine.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Ready For This? Reading.

When I booked tickets in February I asked to sit close to the front and to the left of centre. I had a mild panic when I discovered my tickets were positioned in the front row and right in front of the microphone stand. I walked out and swapped my front row ticket for a balcony seat with a friend. I don't think i've ever sat that far back before, but I really enjoyed the view (however, I did miss being able to see his facial expressions).

The first half was a pretty standard set and I loved that he put the high handed piano hits in Prejudice; I haven't seen him do that in a while.

The second half was one of the best i've seen. His bear, Chris, was studying Classical and had a long fringe which covered his eyes when he put on the head. Tim took great pleasure in making sure that he could see (poking his fingers into the eye holes and pushing his "emo hair" to the side) and even asked the stage hands for scissors at one point (although, he didn't actually end up cutting his hair).

Chris was a very enthusiastic bear and Tim had to grab him and sit him back down at one stage as he started dancing too soon. When it was the right time to get up and dance, he gave it his all and pulled some pretty "interesting" moves (the bear head must have felt like it was falling off as he danced while holding it firmly in place the entire time).

If You Really Loved Me blew me away; those piano solos are absolutley brilliant. At one point in the song Tim's hands are hitting the ivory so fast all I could see was a blur.

There was a new backing track for Storm tonight (a live jazz band recording) and it seemed to add a whole other dimension to Minchin's beat poem about rational thinking.

Before the encore Tim ad-libbed a couple of songs. "There are big socks in all the shops" was sung as he tried to justify singing White Wine In The Sun (the Christmas song). He then went on to sing about the venue "we're rockin' in a hexegon as it's so much better then rockin' in a square" (or something to that effect) before finally launching into his stunning festive ballad.

A thought.

When your friends are sad it brings your mood down too.


On Saturday night I went to the 100 Club for Clark's. The line-up featured Cardinal Burns, Arnab Chanda, Tim Key, Jack Whitehall and Pappy's Fun Club, the MC was Dan Clark.

Cardinal Burns sketches and songs were so, so funny... although at times, a little bit racist.

Arnab Chanda told really punchy, and at the same time adorable, jokes (think an American Matt Kirshen) and was accompanied by Dan Clark who played guitar. The backing music was the perfect touch to his set.

Tim Key was his same brilliant self, unfortunately he was heckled towards the end of his slot (by some Whitehall fans) which seemed to put him off slightly. Dan Clark gave them a telling off and then got the audience to call the heckler a cunt.

Most of my friends aren't exactly what you call fans of Jack Whithall but I had no pre-judgements when he took to the stage. His jokes are good but his delivery is exactly like Russell Brand's...

It was the first time i'd seen Pappy's Fun Club and they were fantastic. They had the crowd roaring with laughter at their often ridiculous sketches. They seem to have so much fun on the stage; Tom was clearly the stand-out.

Dan Clark was the perfect MC; he looked after his acts and warmed the crowd efficiantly. I thought his musical comedy was very good.

It was such a fun night out and there is no doubt i'll be back for Clark's in November.

A thought.

Lloyd Woolf's Says is a truly wonderful blog.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

National Theatre Foyer - Duke Special.

Last night I went to watch Duke Special (accompanied by Ben Castle and Chip Bailey) play a short set in the foyer of the National Gallery. They plan to hold these gigs after their Mother Courage performance every Friday (and maybe Saturday too!) until the play closes.

The sound in that space was incredible. I got a lump in my throat during the high notes in Wake Up Scarlett, the sound peirced my heart.

They are such an entertaining bunch and I was in stitches during Darling Of The Jockey Club (A Bitch Called Wanda) as Ben and Chip ran out from around the corner to do the backing vocals during every chorus. I also like Duke's introduction to the song "... and they get off at the end".

My friends and I were sitting on lounges with a great view of the ivory.

I hope to got to many more.

A thought.

I need to find some motivation.