Sunday, 25 July 2010

Law, Lee, & Legge - Collins, Jones, Douieb.

Show Time !!
I'm proud of that title. It kind of rhymes you see. And scans quite well.

On Monday to Wednesday I went to 3 gigs in a row. I enjoyed all of them in different ways. The first comprised of my second visit to The Camden Head in Angel. My first visit wasn't great when I went to (attempt to) see Catie Wilkins. I wrote about it here

Anyway it looked like I was in for more of the same. The Fortnight Club has been running for 2 decades and is a place where professional comedians can try out new material. A number of weeks ago after London Improv, Tiernan Douieb had recommended that I see Tony Law. I had checked him out on YouTube and found him good. I guess you could descibe him as Eddie Izzard in cowboy boots.

I got to the venue at opening time and went upstairs to find the tech guy sitting forlornly. He explained that not only was there no audience but none of the performers had turned up! I went down for another pint. I tweeted my situation and someone suggested I could do a set of Keith Chegwin's recent stolen material. I'm glad I was sober or I may well have suggested it! I popped up again to find that all the comedians had arrived as well as another audience member. The acts actually thought they had 3 in the audience until it turned out the 3rd person was a barmaid collecting glasses. I made a little small talk, fully expecting the gig to be pulled, but Tony Law insisted on doing it. Two of the comedians wimped out (but who can blame them?) and the gig began.
Tony Law

The compere found it odd to compere considering we had all been sitting and chatting for the past 15 miuntes but he did a good job. Tony Law was up next and he did remarkably well in front of 2 of us (plus 2 of the performers) I found myself subconciously laughing louder than I should have, and I do hope it didn't come across as sarcastic.

I can't remember the name of the next comedian, but she was reasonably good, going through a lot of one liners and getting us to judge if she should "Tweet or Delete" them. Though because I don't know her name I don't follow her so can't see if she did or not...

Milton Jones
In the middle of Tony's act, Milton Jones had arrived and sat at the back. MJ is one of the better performers on Mock The Week and I was very glad when he decided to try out some of his new stuff as well. The other half of the audience was an American guy, so was quite fun to see Milton explaining some of his jokes as he went along for his benefit!

The next night was my long awaited Stewart Lee gig at Fat Tuesday. I have never seen him before other than a quick 10 minute set at a benefit at Hackney Empire and think he is probably the best stand up performing today. Tonight just confirmed it. I had also met up with @Misswiz and we managed to get good seats at the front.

Tiernan Douieb opened with a preview of his new show. It was rather odd as Fat Tuesday is Tiernan's club, and he usually comperes, but he got the chance to perform his full show tonight. He was a little worried at first as originally Stewart Lee was scheduled to open the gig, and I don't think many comedians would want to go on afterwards, but luckily for everyone, the running order was changed. Tiernan put in a sterling performance and if you do go to Edinburgh please make time to see his show.

Stewart Lee came on and the crowd roared their approval. He told a long-winded story about being in the same school as David Cameron, very similar to last year's story about Richard Hammond. I'm sure it won't spoil it for you by telling you that he confesses at the end that this story is not true. He also managed to speak for around 20 minutes about crisps.

Surprisingly, he ended the set with a lovely acoustic ballad all about The Bullingdon Club. I wish i could say more about this gig, but I was looking forward to it so much that it vanished from my mind in all the excitement. I had a couple of quick words with Stew after the gig and wasn't told to fuck off, which was a nice susprise. I was much more nervous than usual and determined not to make a dick of myself. I think I JUST got away with it! He was less grumpy than I expected.

On Wednesday it was another return to my comedy temple, The Phoenix, to see Andrew Collins completed "Secret Dancing" show. I have already blogged about a previous show here. I met up with my mate who I occasionally bully into coming to comedy clubs if no one else is available. Though it was his birthday the next day and somehow my treat to him was to buy a beer and a comedy ticket for him. It was almost a present to me.

I also met my new comedy plaything, Richard who I used to work with and basically lost touch but have now been in contact with a lot more as he has enjoyed seeing Legge and Ince, as well as Richard Herring.

Other people I arranged to meet were Yan, aka @MightyBlackout as well as the legendary Reverend Peter Organ (the legend beginning during Herring's warm up one time befiore an AIOTM (or was it a Collings & Herrin live podcast?)  when he pointed at Peter and told everyone he looked like a comedy vicar. Peter tweeted back to say that indeed, he was a vicar!)

Anyway, it was lovely to meet Muki as always, even if she was hungrily devouring a fish finger sandwich (the BEST sandwich as I hope we all know.)

Michael came on and did around 20 minutes of material, bantering with the audience as usual. He read out his Quinola blog again. Now I've heard him read this before, but it works very well in a live situation. Both times, michael has found it hard to stifle a laugh when ever the phrase "Then, something worse than Lion-rape happened" arrives. It's a phrase I want to weave seemelssly into conversation but haven't managed yet.

An inspired comment went down a storm when he apologised to a man for calling his wife a bizarre love triangle. Yes I know it doesn't sound that funny reading it out but it's all in the context! Michael pointed out Andrew Collins' wife in the audience to us and we felt special. She has always been a nebulous figure; never spoken about, but I can confirm she does exist. Now let's say no more about it.

Andrew's act has moved on since the last time I saw it. It seems more structured and starts with ACTUAL dancing, then Andrew talks about the concept of a journey, and the fact that journeys are not what we see on Masterchef or reality TV shows, but comprise of actual movement from A to B. He discusses his wishes to be kissed (voluntarily) by a duck and his experience of walking next to a pigeon and hoping onlookers thought they were mates, as well as discussing the mystery of the asterisk without explanation on a bottle of Plax. He demonstrated Secret Dancing and got a rather drunk volunteer up on stage who seemed a little over confident and talkative for a Secret Dancer. He certainly had nothing on the Precious Little takeover at the Hen & Chickens show !

All three evenings were very different but all were fun in their own way. Tony Law and Milton Jones on Monday was totally bizarre, Tuesday with Tiernan Douieb and Stewart Lee was completely awesome, and Wednesday with Collins & Legge was ... well, Wednesday was confortable. If I have to choose between totally bizarre, completely awesome, and comfortable, I'd probably go for comfort.

(Actually I only wrote that in case Michael Legge reads this blog. Of course Stewart Lee was the best !)

Thankfully, I managed to finally get rid of that chocolate oat milk! Enjoy Andrew.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The March Of The Podophiles

"Michael and James, what will they say on the podcast today? The answer is precious little."

Michael and James looked absolutely astonished that the entire crowd was singing the theme tune, dissolved into fits, and cut the playout of the jingle to let everyone carry on. A good way to start the podcast I'm sure you'll agree.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. You've seen the #preciouslittle hashtag on my tweets but have been either too scared or disinterested to ask me what it is.

Well, I'll tell you. Precious Little started around 40 weeks ago after a drunken conversation Michael Legge (Michael) and James Hingley (James) had in a bar at the Edinburgh festival. 2 podcasts are released most weeks - the main one usually lasting an hour or so, followed by a mini one a few days later. Basically it's 2 men sitting in a room and talking. It started out with a very similar vibe to Collings & Herrin (dismissively referred to as "The T-shirt Salesmen" but over the months has developed into something very different. We have been introduced to ghost hippos, upsetting stories on trains, catchphrases - "What's WROOOONG", and James' mum's infamous bucket.

But who ARE Michael and James? Michael is a stand up comedian who has written an almost daily blog which is an essential read. Nothing much is known about James, but his mum does keep the house very tidy and he has very nice hair. James has never been photographed. In fact the image at the top of this blog shows what happens when it's tried.

As the weeks wore on, M&J had an idea. To record the 40th podcast in a cellar in front of 40 podcast fans (or podophiles for short). Invites were applied for, emails were sent out and like a cold war spy drama various codes on twitter were used so that only we special people would know where it was.

It was at The Phoenix. Everyone was shocked.

I arranged to meet up with a group of podophiles at The Old Explorer just opposite, where @Neal55 and I often enjoy fish finger sandwiches. We had about 10 people join us there. I may forget people, but there was Vicky Harsehole, Barry Skellern, Ian, Neal Peters, Neale Hitchiner, Nicola Woolhouse (and big thanks to her for putting these pics in the public domain so I could steal them!), Graham Lock, Mister_Boris, and Sven. If I have forgotten you, please let me know and I'll make sure you're added.

We went over to the Phoenix and met up with the now legendary William Tennant and awaited further instructions.

As you can see from the picture opposite, certain podophiles clearly loathed each other.

Now, Neal and I had a good idea that Collings and/or Herrin may be appearing as they let slip a little clue on their previous podcast. We already had biscuits for The Gentleman's review, had a whipround for M&J's drinks, so we got some Haribo and Oat Milk for the special guests. But then the sad tweet came through from Collings: "I will be with you in spirit. In other words, I won't be there". What the hell was I going to do with a litre of chocolate oat milk ?

We were called downstairs where the podcast was being recorded and we found our seats. Which is where we started.

Pam Ayers, aka "@mushybees" performed some of her poetry to get the crowd warmed up which seemed to go down very well, but as Michael later pointed out, 2pm on a Sunday is a very unusual time for Madeleine McCann jokes.

The podcast was done completely live and had a similar feel to a regular podcast. Precious little is fairly interactive anyway, but Michael seemed to thrive in front of a live audience, and surprisingly, James did too. The two were at their best today. Along the way we had to deal with the tragic story of Lauren who couldn't come in as she was only 17 (although there was another 17 year old lad in attendance!), Mushybees' youthful antics with Raoul Moat, and of course The Gentleman's Review who I have only recently got into. The hour and a bit flew by, and we were given an official 5 minute break before the recording of the mini podcast.

This was dedicated to the "last ever" "Fuck-A-Thing". Michael has been doing FAT on Twitter for some time now which inevitably ends in Michael losing a number of followers as he retweets any answers that he finds funny and annoys the people who arent playing the game. Today's FAT was "If you had to fuck a sitcom, which sitcom would it be?" Jingle Jim (aka me) was summoned to the stage where he rather nervously at first strummed his uke and started bellowing the tune. Luckily for him, all the podos and I think most people on stage shrieked along. Apologies to Martin Wolfenden for performing this with my arse in his face.

The answers were read out.  "Two And A Half Men" seemed to be popular (though I have never heard of it). I thought mine was great. "I'd fuck Hi-De-Hi -  I'd give Peggy a good yellow coat" although no one seemed to understand it. i found the Gent's Review and Precious Little boys' surprisingly naive lack of knowledge of watersports rather charming.

Then, it was all over.

Not really. the next six hours were spent boozing. first at The Phoenix, before a hardcore crowd went to The Blue Posts in Newman Street where Michael's prediction that there would be no body there was literally correct! We had an entire pub to ourselves. We could have just done the podcast there and saved all that walking time.

Next venue was an unusual choice. We went for a drink at The Royal Festival Hall. It was lovely and en route, Hitch's pineapple was dispatched into the Thames. He also appeared to have broken one of my uke strings though he firmly denied it. I had resented that uke as I had to carry it around everywhere. Now I had had a number of drinks and things were getting hazy. I decided to set it on fire.

It didn't want to burn.

I heard the name "Jimi Hendrix" and I ordered Hitch to destroy the fucking thing. I was rather disappointed that the first two bashes on the concrete floor weren't enough to do the job, but delighted that the third blow smashed it into a number of pieces held together with the remaining strings. I was then disappointed again as the security people didn't enjoy our larks and gave me quite a ticking off.

I apologised like a scared girl.

I soon received a few tweets about this. Most people were utterly horrified that this had happened. However I had offered my uke to anyone that would listen for a measly tenner. I was already bored and annoyed with it before we left (or even arrived at) The Phoenix. No one wanted it. So who are the real villains of the piece? Me and Hitch, who ruthlessly destroyed it on a cold  hard floor? Or the tight fisted bastards who wouldn't give me a tenner? I think we all know the answer to that.

Anyway, have a listen yourself !

Precious Little Podcast 40 (Live)
Precious Little Podcast 40.5 (Live - Fuck A Thing)

And I still have the fucking oat milk.