28 Jun 2009

Post 138: A little morbid fascination goes hand in hand with some comedy

So, my third post this week, sheesh, where's this crap coming from? Sadly, I struck out with my DVD choices this week, I thought I'd have a go at watching a DVD in bed this morning, my choice of 'The Good, the bad and the weird'
was not a classic but had some acclaim, only problem, it only had bloody subtitles, which I can't read these days. Just to cheer me up, I had also rented 'the Day After' an old American TV movie about the aftermath of total Nuclear war on southern America, the type of film that Steve Guttenberg is inevitably in! What had possessed me to choose this cheery title? A combination of morbid fascination and the fact that I had caught snippets of it on the neighbouring patients TV in the first rehab ward I was on, happy days eh? I had watched it earlier this week and it was thoroughly depressing and made me realise that the overriding human response to death is fear and despair, because we as humans are terrified of the unknown, I know I am. Even in the event of something as horrible as a nuclear war, logic tells me that it would make much
more sense to die instantly,
vapourised by a nuclear explosion rather than suffer a slow, painful, protacted death from starvation or radiation sickness in a bleak semi-destroyed post-apocalyptic netherworld, but the truth is I probably wouldn't have the guts to make the journey to a city centre, because our basic psychology tells us to survive,
which is I think why even though my life now feels sometimes as hard as living through the aftermath of a nuclear war, I could never contemplate not living it.
Enough of that depressing crap! Th
e real reason I initially wanted to write today was to pass on my thoughts about the comedy gig I went to last night. An occupational hazard of going to see as many comedians as I do is that inevitably there will be some sh*t. Now, the headline act I went to see last night who I have seen a couple of times before is sarcastic, cranial,irreverent host of 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' Simon Amstell.
He was actually pretty good, although I do find it quite hard to square his 'Buzzcocks' personality of being sarcastic,rude and irreverent to all and sundry with his insecure, recently out of the closet, anecdotes of loneliness and trying to find sex, love and long term companionship. Forgive me if I am being myopic , bigoted or just plain wrong but I'm going to say it anyway, gay people I have known have the same long term issues as the Heterosexual community, but they've never struggled in the short term, because, certainly judging by the gay people I have known they have tended to be a shade more promiscuous. I simply don't understand why Amstell has been having a problem. He,s successful, intelligent, funny and famous. It's not as if he has to contend with being in a bloody wheelchair. Anyway his tales of woe were suitably crowd pleasing, and I enjoyed them despite hearing them almost Verbatim at a charity gig last week, the key thing was that the folks who had come with me enjoyed themselves. Regular readers will be forgiven for thinking I only ever take out the same people, of course that's partly true because these are the people who know me the best and I care about most.
Also there was a happy coincidence because I thought my best friend Tony only lived 100 yards away from the excellent Islington Union Chapel
which is literally still a functioning Church, I'm not sure how that squares with plentiful use of the 'c' word whenever it is used as a comedy venue. Naturally, Tony was accompanied by his lovely girlfriend Kate while former colleague, great mate and loyal supporter Simon Dawes and his great wife Yvonne were on driving detail. These two are amazing, their help since I have known them has been priceless.
I am aware that I may have digressed from telling you about the truly awful support acts , best illustrated when Tony said to me afterwards, 'I think 3 of my top 5 worst acts I have seen have been on nights you have taken me to. The words 'ungrateful b#stard' were on the tip of my tongue but he had made a good point.
In my defence they were all support acts and when I see their names in future I shall give them a wide berth. I do appreciate that this sort of vitriol isn't going to do these guys any good and hearing this sort of feedback can't be good for their self-esteem but that must be how things roll in the world of stand-up and I dare to write honest, (ok, slightly offensive) feedback here because it won't be taken seriously by the literally tens of people that read this. From my perspective, at least the b#stards can stand-up.
The first offender was a chap called Tim Key.
Alarm Bells were already ringing in my head (like a comedian with a guitar who isn't Bill Bailey) when he was announced as a poet, and my were the alarms right, he was awful and got that most backhanded of compliments from the crowd, the sympathy laugh.I think at one point I even leaned over to Tony and tried to whisper 'this is sh*t, why doesn't he get booed off?' Of course despite being at the back, since my stroke, I have found it difficult to modulate the volume of my voice, so I have little doubt that my attempted 'whisper' could be heard by everyone in the venue as the shocked faces of people nearby attested.
Main offender was a guy called Arnab Chanda
– Who is apparently about to start a nationwide tour, I suggest to avoid getting lynched or the continued need to cry himself to sleep he revisits ALL his material, particularly the joke about why you can't skip a cabfare in Venice, because you'd fall in a canal, I think Yvonne said it best in the car on the way back when she said her 5 year old son could have done better! Quite. The real bonus was the surprise presence of genial 'beardy-wierdy Daniel Kitson
as compere, despite seeing him a couple of times recently, all his material was new,and he proved he can think on his feet when he picked on a guy in the front row who happened to be an accountant called Hoc, he then uttered the immortal words 'I've got to be careful here treading the fine line between tedium and Racism' Comedy Gold. Apologies if I seemed a tad angry as I wrote the last bit but a computer crash has meant I've had to re-type huge amounts of this and there's little worse than having to reproduce something you thought you had finished particularly when you get as tired as me. So next week looks a bit different, on Tuesday evening I'm taking old friend and the Kiwi authority on progressive house music Markus 'the big man' Buhmann
to see Spinal Tap
at Wembley Arena on their 'one night only' world tour for his birthday. We're being driven there by old Mucka and legend Ian Betts,
we fully hope to 'turn it up to eleven' if I can stay awake, I'm then off to Henley Royal Rowing Regatta on Thursday which is ok if the weather holds,(see post 53 for my thoughts which I suspect won't change).If I can still stay awake my weekend plan is to go and see Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell at the Soho theatre on Saturday, and see the awesome Killers at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday evening. Despite doing all this being exhausting, it's better than sitting at home moping.


Simon said...

Sorry about Saturday dude, i did text and was going to give you a follow up call but fell asleep for about 4 hours on Saturday afternoon. Sorry to hear it was a bit shite other than Simon and Daniel proving some laughs.

Dom P said...

No problem sir, good job Murray won, I stand by my 'not giving a sh*t'



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