Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday 18 January 2011



Tuesday 18 January 2011

Things begin badly today as my orange juice bottle explodes over me when I take it out of the fridge.  This is a bad sign for what may lie ahead.

The drive to the station is so so and back on the 6.57AM I manage to step back into the saddle of my seat.  Its another crappy packed train.  At Witham a potential plate crowder decides to sit next to me.  Another bad omen for the day.  By the time the train reaches Chelmsford the train is full.  Then when we get to Shenfield people are genuinely struggling to get (squeeze) onto the train and when they do so it is something of a crush for them.  I thought the new National Express East Anglia timetable was supposed to ease this issue.  Eventually we get to Liverpool Street, probably late.

From here the tube across town is swift as I step into another day of hassle in the office.  The auditors are still which makes me miserable.  It was always going to be this way.

Looking across my desk my colleague is dressed like a Starship Enterprise crew member circa the original series today.  She is the way forward.

Very early the girl auditor (the junior) hits me with queries on wages, debtors, prepayments and the control accounts – all the dubious areas.  With this by lunchtime I am tearing my hair out.  Very unprofessional.

The afternoon continues is distracted fashion as I soon find myself counting down the minutes to 5.30PM.  Very unprofessional.

Tonight I am heading to the British Library again for another night of comedy.  As soon as 5.30 arrives my exit strategy ruthlessly kicks in as I soon find myself exiting at Kings Cross and heading to the library for refuge from work.  Once again I arrive early where I manage to grab a coffee and some downtime.

Eventually I step into the theatre, sitting in the same seat as last night.  I am anal like that.  As ever while sat on my own waiting for an event I seek adventure in my iPhone.  Then I spot Iain arriving with one of his mates.  Now this is weird.  As a result I feel awkward as I choose not to acknowledge him, I’m just not in the mood.  Why bother.  The strange thing is that last week I told him I was coming to this event but he has not bothered to get in touch to say he is.  Is that strange?

Finally things kick off as the MC take to the stage in the form of TIFFANY STEVENSON.  She’s smiley, tall and cuddly reminding me of so many girls that I have fancied over the years.  As with many of the acts last night she seems pretty bemused by the settings and audience of this evening.  Immediately she begins addressing people personally as she finds her favourite audience member in the form of an old lady in the front row called “June”.  I find her spiel warm and likeable.  Later when I look her up on the internet it turns out that she was one of the girls from the nightclub episode of The Office that Finchy pulls.  Who’d have thought?

ROBIN INCE opens proceedings, stepping onstage in his usual manic motion not even bothering to use the microphone at hand.  Under his arm is a customary pile of books, both good and bad, as he spews out his fondness of literature and language in its many forms while wheeling out a bipolar range and set of examples.

Being a library gig he is really in his element as he tears into language and how it can be used for both good and evil in the literary world.  With this he soon moves onto his readings at which point BEN MOOR steps out and joins him onstage to assist with some interpretive dancing.  As ever it is painful stuff, all mime is, and this guy is the master.  Eventually after some warped love stories, scary horror crab tales and a passage from Carl Sagan it rocks to a close and he exits the stage like the forceful ball of energy he has come to represent.

With this TIFFANY STEVENSON returns back to the stage passing in the process a person (INCE) who was in the same episode of The Office as her.

The next act of the evening is ALASTAIR BARRIE who against a lack of fanfare produces good political material ripping into the government and those feeble bootlicker turncoats the Lib Dems.  And he actually manages to deliver such material without falling into the trap of sounding or being cheesy.  He wins.

With that the interval gets called as I don’t bother to get out of my seat, don’t bother to search out and find my old colleague.  Is this wrong of me?  I guess it certainly is bad but tonight I am just not in the mood to be social.

On that the note the second half of the night begins with TIFFANY STEVENSON bounding back onstage and continuing to fluff the audience as she appears still in love with the old lady in the front row.

Next up is SHAZIA MIRZA who hardly appears excited to be here this evening.  As she steps out onstage she immediately points out how it is visible how her shoe is falling apart (as apparently acknowledged by someone in the audience).  It gets things literally off on a strange footing as with her incredibly dry delivery makes for a slightly uncomfortable set, in fact at times she comes over as downright hostile, even condescending.  And herein I think lies her appeal for me.

In waspish fashion she shares her experiences of being a teacher in South London and being hated.  She says that she used to teach Dizzee Rascal and I’m not sure whether this is a joke or not.  Regardless she tells it with a scowl on her face to suggest that it happened.  All in all with this and her minority perspective she is telling jokes from standing that feels the polar opposite of her audience and for another performer this might be something of a challenge but instead she does appear to care too much as she steamrolls the audience.

She drops jokes about religion and then her famous line about owning a pilots licence.  No one feels comfortable with this.  Then eventually with her shit eating grin she says to a person in the front row that she is allowed to laugh.  This definitely feels like the teacher in her coming out.  Well, I thought she was good.

From here the identity of the mystery comedian finally gets revealed as it turns out to be HAL CRUTTENDEN.  Who?  Despite my unfamiliarity it turns out that he has previously appeared at the Royal Variety Festival, which gives him some kind of gravitas.  However at the same time to perform such an event suggests a degree of “playing the game” and material that can be thinly spread.  Thus my expectations are low.

Despite this he proves good value as he proceeds to deconstruct the woes of being a large man that is slightly camp but still has a stunning wife.  This is achievable?  With this he goes through the social conventions of being such a demographic and healthily his material does not necessarily result in too much mockery or disdain.

His is one that despite pursuing what could be perceived as thin subject matter he storms through touching a surprisingly amount of nerve regarding modern day anguish.  His delivery strikes an expert line of cutting observation while being delivered in a style akin to Michael McIntyre, which impressively does not alienate him from a straight audience.  Win win.

With this the night wraps up with TIFFANY STEVENSON thanking the audience for its appreciation in such a strange setting and final platitude towards “June”.

As people begin to filter out I brace myself to say “hello” to Iain.  However he just swoops past towards the exit which in a way offends me but also relieves me of the probably undesired suggestion of getting a drink.  From here I leave the British Library sheepishly as I avoid catching up with the guys as they head to Kings Cross station.  Is this behaviour strange or just modern life?

Eventually I board a tube that gets me to Liverpool Street where I am able to get back to Colchester at a decent hour with a sense of relief.

January is proving a tough month.

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