Friday, 25 December 2009

9 Lessons And Carols For Godless People.

One year on (to the day), my friends and I took the same seats (front and centre), in the same theatre (Bloomsbury) for 9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People 2009.

Once again, the event was hosted by Robin Ince and featured the likes of Richard Dawkins, Richard Herring, Chris Addison, Joanna Neary, Martin White and the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra, Robyn Hitchcock, Phillip Jeays, Brian Cox, Marcus Chown, Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden, Simon Singh, Josie Long, Big Howard and Little Howard, Jim Bob, John Otway and Baba Brinkman. Phew!

Martin White and the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra were the house band and played intro and exit music for the many performers as well as accompanying the musical acts. We were treated to 'Don't Discuss The Outside World' half way through the show; a very catchy song that was impossible to get out of my head the following day.

Richard Dawkins told a story featuring Jeeves and Wooster in which Jeeves explains his reasons for not believing in God to Wooster, a notion that Wooster warms to in the end. It was very entertaining.

Chris Addison gave a similiar set to last year. Hearing the material several times doesn't stop it from being funny, quite the opposite, I look forward to it. His T-Rex impressions are made of awesome. "Why won't anyone waltz with me? I'm not trying to cop a feel".

Last year it was 'I Can't Live (If Living Is Without You)', this year it was 'I'm Being Followed By A Moon Shadow' and it was just as good. Jo Neary as Pan's Person is wonderful and makes me smile on the inside and out.

When Robyn Hitcock took to the stage I had no idea what to expect (I was a bit like "riiiiiiiiiight". You know what I mean?). His rendition of 'Olé Tarantula' with backing vocals from several of the other acts was one of my highlights of the night (they hadn't practised, so Robyn gave instructions from the stage).

I really like Phillip Jeays' work, and I was a little bit disappointed that he only got to sing one song. 'What Would Singer's Sing' would just have to sufice until the next time I can see him.

I'd never heard Brian Cox live before (I occassionaly listen to The Infinate Monkey Cage on Radio 4, which he presents with Robin Ince) and I was very much looking forward to it. I sat in awe as he explained the underlying structure and building of the universe, the forces of nature, galaxies and particles. Some stunning images of planet Earth were projected onto the screen behind him during his set; if the subject matter wasn't blowing your mind enough, these images would certainly do the trick.

Ben Goldacre talked about the power of placebo. I think he wanted to cram a lot of information into his set and talked incedibly fast. Ben said his friend described it "like being skull-fucked by his data cock". Ha!

The audience were up on their feet by the end of Barrie Cryer and Ronnie Golden's 'Peace and Quiet'. It was definitely the pinnacle of the entire show, and I can't help but feel as though it should have been the closing set. Baba Brinkman's 'Rap Guide To Evolution' was good, but it was missing that "this is completely awesome!" moment.

I think I enjoyed the show a little bit more this year because of all the music. I know for a fact that i'll be back for more in 2010.

A thought.

I was listening to The Infinate Monkey Cage this morning and Chris Addison was talking about losing his faith and said that the most horrendous consequence of not having God in his life was that you lose your loved ones that have passed away all over again.

It really struck a chord with me; as soon as he said that the hairs on my body stood up on end and I burst into tears. I still get upset by the fact that there is no heaven.

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