Monday 7 December 2009
It’s a bad start to the week as some annoying cunt woman steals my intended seat on the train this morning. She is orange and nature should punch her in the face for being such a monstrosity of appearance and existence. God, I offer my services.
When I get to London today the place fucking stinks. As I stand on the tube platform I see a girl/lady pulling sexy faces from the opposite platform. At first I actually think she is taking the piss out of me. When the unsubtle come ons continue however suddenly I begin to think they are aimed at me after all. Then unfortunately I look to my right to notice some dopey bastard reciprocating these gestures, saving them and putting them in his pocket for later. He’s in for some loving.
Eventually I get into work into an empty restaurant. Slowly people plough into the building and from here I have a so so day. Again today the consultant is supposed to be in but then it transpires he is actually in Dorset. Has he gone Reggie Perrin? Does he know Zoë?
Today I decide that I am going to have a Tom Waits Christmas.
At the end of the day The Girl drives us to Bloomsbury where we head towards the Bloomsbury Theatre for the BBC Comedy Christmas Extravaganza. As she drives along Euston Road she is fearless and I sit terrified. To her though it seems rush hour London is a doddle.
We arrive at Tavistock Square while parking enforcements are still in place and for a while we toy with sitting in the car for 20 minutes until it is safe to leave the car but eventually common sense prevails as she pumps some money into the parking machine and we head off looking for a place to get a drink.
As ever when I walk through Bloomsbury I find myself gushing at the lush classic buildings that encapsulate there area and tonight for once I have an audience to indulge me as I point out what I consider is Disney London. As we walk towards Russell Square I point up at the apartments and proclaim that is my dream place to live, within walking distance of Central London and high above any problems that may occur below.
Eventually we wind up in some grotty pub attached to the Tavistock Hotel. With her wanting to smoke she drags us outside to sit on even grottier benches while we watch coaches ferry foreigners in and out of London. Everyone is so fucking loud and all the tourists are dressed crazily.
Over a drink we shoot the shit and slowly dismantle our company struggling to come up with any other conversation topics apart from that and Christmas. I feel like a real bore in the process especially in the light of her making such an effort to chat (more than the usual person I come across).
For a while we toy with the idea of getting something to eat but with the show having an early start I figure it is best that we get to the theatre in good time. Upon arriving The Girl thankfully appears impressed by the theatre and as we get another drink I point out all the posters of cool comedians spread about the wall.
When we take our seats it becomes evident that I have scored well by snagging third row tickets. Eventually the lights come down and the host for the evening is announced as STEPHEN K AMOS who I myself am pretty impressed by as I ask The Girl if she has heard of him. When she shakes her head I respond “he’s funny.”
STEPHEN K AMOS rocks the house. There is something distinctly old school about him while also being thoroughly contemporary. It doesn’t take him long to begin ripping the piss out of proceedings, not least for the manner in which the Bloomsbury has been dressed up to represent a Christmas extravaganza. From here he soon picks out his marks in the audience with a comedic grilling that proves as threatening as it does silly. Here is a man you sense lacks a short patience or short attention span. Or both.
After the introductions are completed the first act of the evening is wheeled out in the form of SEANN WALSH who plays the part of a young, dishevelled professional cynic, a snipey weirdo seemingly angry at something he does not know. In his delivery he makes many good points not least by pointing out how social convention dictates that it is more important to react to misfortune (such as banging your head) than to ignore it and pretend it didn’t just occur (that is looks really insane). At one point he flings his bottle of water across the stage and really makes a mess, he sure is surly. It’s all good though because he is happy to share his experiences of getting erections on bus rides.
With the ball now properly running STEPHEN K AMOS returns to the stage as a king compere returning to teasing the peoples in the front rows. The more information he is able to glean from them the more he is able to rip the piss out of them in a playful manner.
Following comes a physical comedian called THE BOY WITH TAPE ON HIS FACE. With said tape stuck across his mouth his only method of communication is to make funny facial expressions that are led by his eyes. With his physical comedy this guy feels a bit like a Blue Man Group audition, albeit without the paint and makeup. Swiftly he drags members of the audience up/out onto the stage where the most cynical sat next to me suggests that they are in fact plants rather than marks. Regardless they are real sports as they proceed to get royally humiliated all in the name of comedy. I hate stuff like this, hate having to spend half the set with my eyes down hoping not to get dragged onto stage myself.
CHRIS ADDISON follows and my god he looks skinny onstage. To accompany this reality he tears into material about going to the gym which seems like a subject ripe for this audience. His tales of fail and woe continue as he relives days of sporting failure from his time at school (some weird school, nothing like yours or mine). It is strange seeing CHRIS ADDISON do stand-up after being used to him being Olly for long. His set does feel very different to the remainder of the bill, more being a portion of a longer set rather than a complete short set designed for such bills. Being the person I was most looking forward to seeing tonight unfortunately works against him as despite being OK he isn’t as amazing as I was hoping he would turn out.
At this point AMOS calls interval on proceedings where The Girl and I sit struggling for conversation. She tells me that she is enjoying the show and it sounds sincere. When she pops off for a fag and toilet break I feel this is a reprieve on my part. Upon her return I then take the opportunity to have a piss myself. Away from work I sense we really do not have very much in common.
STEPHEN K AMOS returns to begin the second half of the show and warms up the audience before AVA VIDAL takes to the stage. She is perhaps the tallest comedienne I have ever seen in my life. Her set tears through a hard description of raising kids that comes devoid of sentimentality. She expresses the kind of everyday gallows humour that occurs within working class families and parental methods that might appear unconventional to the middle classes but conventional for a black South London family. There is no time for remorse or being wet as she tells us how she just fucking lets her kids have it in order to keep them on the straight and narrow. I really warm to her recognising much of what she is saying and doing. She’s a tough lady. Attractive too.
The night ends with MILTON JONES who is a pun personified in a Hawaiian shirt. His style is classic, non-offensive and very silly. Early on he hits the audience with a barrage of Grandfather jokes many of which come with a sting in the tail/tale. With his smarts word play he comes over like a Tim Vine with crazy hair, his jokes come at a quickfire rate and are often more clever than actually funny. When a member of the audience chooses to take a toilet break during his set he puts it on hold, preparing to get the guy with a set up upon return. Ordinarily pulling such a stunt would probably kill a set and its momentum but by this point in proceedings MILTON JONES truly has the audience in his hands, bringing them in on the joke with a level/degree of participation that feels inclusive and communal. In the end though the guy takes too long in the toilet and blows the gaff probably through doing a guff. The set flies by swiftly lending the audience many puns and jokes to return to the office with in the morning.
Closing the night STEPHEN K AMOS returns to the stage and casts his blessing over what has been a great night. He thanks his stooges in the audience, the chav, the posh guy, the person that works at Madame Tussauds before SEANN WALSH jumps out on stage to point out how AMOS looks like a black Alan Sugar. Oh yeah.
In high spirits we emerge back out onto Bloomsbury where I walk The Girl to her car which has neither been stolen nor ticketed. I feel my gestures lack gratitude but never mind.
From here I head home via Euston Square ending up catching a 10.48PM train to Colchester. Tonight I had started to feel poorly during the second half of the show so the journey is something of a dicey and rocky one.
In the end though I get home, back to Colchester around midnight. Pathetic.