**ISSUE 19 OF THE BEESTONIAN NOW OUT IN ALL GOOD PUBS, CAFES AND MUNICIPAL LIBRARIES! FEATURING STUFF, LOTS OF STUFF**
I love stand up comedy, me. I love it’s spontaneity, I love the courage exhibited by it’s expounders, I love it’s ability to be more rock and roll than rock and roll. This is true throwing yourself on the mercy of the audience: this is the real grabbing a bunch of strangers e by it’s scruff and demanding they submit to you for the duration.’ It’s real do and die .
I get the offer of sampling the Funhouse / Barton’s Comedy Night. I’ve got blisters after a huge country walk, so should demur,but fail to on the principle that Stand-Up is the opposite of Sit-Down, and I will have the chance to do just that, and with a beer. I’m also hoping to book Funhouse to provide the comedy, so it’s also, technically, research. With beer.
The Barton’s comedy nights have been a real success story; reguarly selling out and playing host to the eclectic talents of Spikey Mike: erstwhile Rock City DJ/ present-tense comedy impressario (as well as one-time Weakest Link contestant). I’ve only attended a handful, but I’ve been amazed at the quality of the acts they stick up on the stage. I worked at Jongleurs for a few months and the ratio of great comey to tired laddish purveyor of dick-jokes was around 1:15.
James Sherwood – no historical/ arboreal connection here, he’s from London – is a comedian who looks a bit like Tim Key but doesn’t write pithy/ gnomic poetry to express himself , rather relying on his remarkable ability to tickle his fingers over a piano keyboard and layer it with a lyric of satire, surrealism and pure humour. Before setting off to see him, I had a look at his YouTube channel: It’s here, have a gawp. He’s worked with one of my favourite comedians, Justin Edwards, so I’m keen to see what he’s like live.
He sets a piano up on stage and, introduces himself, points out the mis-spelling of ‘comedy’ on the window of Bartons (‘Comeby’, apparently. A mistake or an an awkward pun?) and then asks us about Tesco. A booing goes up ‘What shop do you like then?’ he asks. An almost universal shout of ‘Hallams’ goes up, followed by the audience bursting into laughter at it’s own spontaneous response.
I’ve written, and on occasion campaigned on issues of local retail, civic space and the like. I’ve seen Beeston’s reaction to short-sighted planning decisions that threaten to render us into a dull AnyTown, yet been heartened to also see how people have risen up against this and demand our town retain it’s uniqueness. As editor of The Beestonian, I thought I’d struggle to kick out a four-page magazine every month: we’re now looking at moving to 12 pages, such is the wealth of enthusiasm. I thought I was alone in my obsessive fascinationof Beeston: nope, there are loads of you out there with an equally odd love. And poor Mr Sherwood, expecting to run through his usual act and get back to London without fuss, ran headlong into this.
‘Oh dear’ Lady Beestonia whispers ‘I think he’s going to lose control’. I fear this too: suddenly the audience have the upper hand. There is a moment when it all seems in the balance: you really see a comedian recover from being so thoroughly wrong-footed by a crowd. I expect an extruciating few minutes to follow. Yet Sherwood does something quite incredible: he plays along. ‘ What is Hallams?’ he demands, and then we’re into a highly surreal, utterly improvised, utterly free-wheeling exhilirating act of sheer genius.
Writing about comedy is akin to dancing to architecture, so I won’t try and type out each joke. Due to the presence of Magpie brewery and it’s quite lethal 5.4% pints, it wouldn’t be a faithful rendition anyway. Someone I have a vague acquaintance to did video most of it, which I’ll stick online when I track him down. Yet if you thought a reciept from Hallams was not exactly aisle-rolling material, you haven’t seen it in the hands of a truly fantastic comedian. After 20 minutes of exchange between a increasingly hysterical audience of Beestonians and a faux-exasperated comedian, Sherwood points out he’s not touched his paino yet, and he has to get off stage. ‘Play ‘Bright Side of Life’’ shouts someone, and as an encore the whole room is joyfully, drunkedly singing along to a raucous version of the Monty Python song, followed by a standing ovation.
Yes, with most things comedic, you had to be there. It was a truly spontaneous event, one which I doubt Sherwood will ever forget ‘ Next time I come up here’ he tells me later ‘I’ll make sure I do a thorough survey of your local retail outlets’ .
The gay marriage issue clears the Lords -hurdle with ease, and now seems that, despite the rabid bigotry of the more claret-faced members of both houses, it will become legislation ans we can all get on with our lives. Not so Lord Tebbit, however. The skeletal-visaged idiot is still claiming he’s going to marry his teapot, or something. His swivel-eyed loon-acy has been well documented in the press, but the media seem to have missed a more bizarre -yes, really!- view of Tebbits. He really doesn’t like gay ducks.
I possess, and I’m not going to explain why or how, Norman Tebbit’s cookbook, ‘The Game Cook’. This is NOT a long lead up to some pun, it really exists. I have it by me right now. Surprisingly, the recipes require cooking the meat: I always had Tebbit down as a man who’d eat it raw, chomPing down pheasants in a flurry of feathers. Each meat is introduced by Tebbit in a small forward, here is what he has to say on the Mallard duck:
It’s social habits are not unlike that of many humans. Fathers play no part in bringing up the young. They cross-breed with -and threaten the survival as seperate species of – a number of attractive rare ducks. Avoiding controversy (as is my way) I will only mention that the Mallardseems to have the highest rate of male homosexuality of any bird, and pass on my way to consideration of the Mallard in the kitchen.
The Tories. Not batshit whatsoever.
And on the subject of Tories, some SoubzNewz has come in so stay tuned as I chip it into shape…with you tomorrow.