A taste of ManBuyCow

It was a rather good comedy week last week. It started with a gig at The Old Queens Head with Pappy’s and Badults star Matthew Crosby, followed by Aisling Bea, Lou Sanders and Scott Capurro. I was slightly told off by Matthew for standing at the bar rather than sitting down, and I tried to explain that my back was sore and standing was probably better. Aislng Bea was mad as ever, comparing her look to a prostitute in an oppressive regime.

The second half started and I realised my choice of standing was not a good one and I moved to one of the comfier sofas. Lou read us some extracts from her books (which is one of my favourite sections in her Fubar Radio show she hosts with Richard Herring) and the gig finished with Capurro who I had not seen before. It’s a rare treat to hear lines that make me take a sharp intake of breath and wonder if I should be laughing at them! After the show, Lou decided to introduce me to Scott by saying “Hi this is Andy. He’s a homosexual.”

Bridget Christie and Nick Helm are here in May and I have already rounded up a posse for that. I don’t know if there are tickets left, but get them quick if you want to come. And how could you justify missing them?

The following evening I met up with Rose, Sir Bob, Twon and John. We started at Millers, where I met John and one of his friends from school. We headed to “Drink Shop Do” where Lou Sanders is hosting a monthly event with Rachael Stubbings. It’s a tiny venue that we were lucky to escape from alive. One spark and we would all have been toast. Richard Herring was headlining where he was trying out new material for his as yet unwritten “Good and Evil” episode of RHMOL. The alternative 10 commandments were a particular highlight as well as some other stuff he had cherry picked from Christ On A Bike. Richard was chatty after the show and I stood back this time and let John do all the talking. This way I know I am safe from making myself look like a dick.

But you know all about these guys. I really wanted to talk about the following night where I went to, what I think was my first open mic night where about 10 comics took to the stage in 5 minute sets. This was at The Torriano in Kentish Town, and it is organised by Rufus and Howard, the guys behind the magnificent ManBuyCow podcast. These guys remind me a little of The Trap, and I think you should all stop reading this for now and go and download the first 2 series of their podcast. But start from episode 1 otherwise it may get very confusing.

I got there around 730 and headed downstairs. I said hello to Rufus and Howard and took a seat at the back, slightly raised on a bar stool. The acts were a mixed bunch. The compere was a beatboxing guy who reminded me of the bragging kid from the Inbetweeners, but he was funny and very talented at what he did. The opening act was older, and reminded me of Harry Hill a little, and it was a good start to the show. I got distracted by a guy to my right who kept wandering around and jumping up and down as if he was about to have a boxing match. I don’t like to be unkind in these blogs, so it’s probably best I don’t mention his act.

Rufus and Howard did around 10 minutes at the start of the second half, with Howard asking Rufus’s advice on how to talk to a woman, and finishing with the superb 80s themed “Woman Girl”.

I spent a little time afterwards chatting with Rufus and Howard and they are pretty groovy guys. Weirdly, Rufus recognised my voice from an old AIOTM! They are joyful, silly, and naturally funny guys, and not enough of you are listening to their podcast, so get downloading now!

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Where Have I Been?

So I’ve just written a post about the gig I went to see last night and realised that this was my first blog post in 6 months, so I shall try to vaguely bring you up to date…

August was a quiet month for me as all the comedians were up in August, so it was nice to have some time off! In September a friend and I went to a recording of Newsjack. I’m not a huge fan of TV and Radio recordings, but as he had tickets and Maragret Cabourn-Smith was in it I had to go.

I went to a couple of RHLSTPs in September and October and in November went to one of my locals to see Richard Herring do a preview for his Meaning Of Life show. I saw the first episode being recorded a couple of weeks later.

Not a lot happened in December, other than the recording of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle where we saw 4 episodes being recorded. I’m really looking forward to the 3rd series being broadcast, and glad to hear there is a 4th series commissioned.

This month I went to a new comedy night at The Wenlock and Essex. Locally I have also been to a few nights at Angel Comedy which are totally free and always busy.

So, for 2014:

Pointless Anger: Righteous Ire is back with Robin Ince and Michael Legge plus guests which take place at the Comedy Bar. I went to the first one and had a thoroughly great time. They are happening on the first Tuesday of the month.

Richard Herring’s Meaning Of Life continues too. I went to a preview of the second show at the Old Queens Head (where I also saw Bec Hill and David Trent), but I can’t make the show proper this time.

Other things for me to look forward to are a new series of RHLSTP. due to my rota I can only make the first show, which has an unnamed, but apparently big name guest. (Please be Rik Mayall. Please be Rik Mayall), Robin Ince’s Dirty Book Club as well as the return of Los Quattros Cvnts, except this time they are now Los Quintos Cvnts, with the addition of a girl one. I know who it is but I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a secret or not, so I’ll leave you guessing.

I’ve got into a few newer podcasts. As well as my standard ones such as all the Richard Herring ones, The Bugle, Film Fandango, Comedian’s Comedian, POTOm and People With Stories, I have also got into ManBuyCow, By The Way with Jeff Garlin, and Sean Hughes: Off The Radar. give them a go.

OK this blog has been a bit crap. (I did this, then I did that), but I just thought I would fill in the gaps.

I will try to remember to write more of these soon.

Andy x

Bridget Christie – A Bic For Her

I found a quietish spot in the Soho Theatre bar and leaned by the blackboard, waiting for Bob and Twon to arrive. I played on Twitter for a bit then eventually read who was performing that night. Bridget Christie downstairs, John Kearns upstairs and in the main theatre, Tommy Tiernan. What a line up, and I really wanted to see all of them. However, tonight was a Bridget night.

As you probably know, I adore Bridget and have seen 2 previews of this show before the Fringe. She then took it to Edinburgh and won the Fosters prize (still known to most people as the Perrier Award), quite shockingly becoming only the 3rd woman to win it. Her previous shows that I have seen (War Donkey and the one about A Ant) were allegories of feminism, but in this show she tackles the subject head on.
She seemed in a particularly jaunty mood tonight, shaking the front row’s hands as she came on and beginning the show by telling us of her previous shows that had always been rather sparsely attended, and told us of one show with only one woman in the audience of a show that required a lot of audience participation. A comedy show about feminism could be seen my some to be a bit boring, but even the biggest sexist couldn’t accuse Bridget of that. Her Stirling Moss routine provides a combination of silliness and discomfort from some parts of the room, which ends up with her reading an email that Moss himself has sent her.
She responds to a non-existent heckle that Bob has apparently made about shy she doesn’t tackle the bigger subjects such as FGM, and tells us of her one woman crusade to dispose of any lads mags she finds at a child’s eye height, as well as handing out a “money prize” during the 30 second section of the show completely dedicated to the lads.
She goes on to talk about the eponymous “Bic For Her” and argues that the lack of a ladies pen may be why the Austen sisters were so bad at writing. The show ends as a tribute to Malala Yousafzai, and Bridget reads from the speech she gave at the UN, but just as the mood starts to get too serious, she punctures it with a great call back to the ladies pen.
Bridget has already sold out two runs of this and will be back doing more in March so if you haven’t seen this show, then please do try to get a ticket, but get one fast because the March run will obviously sell out too. I spoke to Bridget in the bar and asked her that as she is doing so many performances of this show, does she ever get bored saying the same things. 
Immediately she replied “No, because I believe everything I say”.

ARGComFest 2013

So this was the second year of the Actually Rather Good Comedy Festival (ARGComFest), and I got tickets early for the whole weekend. I arrived a little later than expected but luckily the show didn’t start on time. I checked out both the venues, but to be honest it seemed pointless as I had decided to stay downstairs pretty much all day.

John Kearns

John Kearns

I took a seat beside the ever lovely Rob and Dan Cook came on in an orange jumpsuit
and explained that doing this show was his punishment for throwing a quiche at a dog. A series of sketches followed which all pretty much hit the mark. He is very likeable, and I can see he’s grown up watching Rik Mayall.

I spotted Heather and moved over to join her. I had never seen John Kearns before, and I’m so glad I did. He make Brian Gittins look almost normal. Coming on stage in a Bernie Clifton style ostrich outfit (but much cheaper looking) he terrified the audience into submission. We all felt for this strange man, and at the end of his set he (for no obvious reason) decided to get changed to look like a lovely lady. He got all the men on stage to perform a mime with him. And I’m not going to tell you what it was, other than it was ever so slightly distasteful! Go and see him!

I’m familiar with John Luke Roberts through ACMS that he runs with the aforementioned Thom Tuck. Starting with his already legendary “Patricia Routledge” routine he want on to insult the audience indvidually with pre-written zingers. He even insulted an apple off a man’s head.

John Luke Roberts
John Luke Roberts

James Acaster absolutely nailed it. I watched him from the front row beside Neal as he explained in extremely minute detail why Yoko Ono was not to blame for the Beatles spiltting up. What a comic. I have only seen him a couple of times before. Why is he not massively popular? I had a break for lunch and came back to find Daniel Simonsen on stage. I took a bar stool and watched from the back. He seemed a little more nervous than usual, but of course the crowd loved him. There’s something about the way he holds himself, that makes it very hard to do anything but love him.

What can I say about Colin Hoult apart from he competely brought the house down. For me, he just edged out Acaster as the best act of the evening with his tall tales of Snottingham and The Carrot Horse. (though later quite a few people were raving about Aisling Bea, who I unfortunately didn’t see) One lad at the front was almost in tears laughing and Hoult used him a few times for audience participation. He was a little over keen though, but not to the point where the performance was being overshadowed.

Daniel Simonsen

Ed Aczel is an extraordinary comic. There are very little obvious jokes, and very little obvious charisma, but lots of flipboards and sideways writing. I had seen him before though and really wanted to see him again (hence missing Aisling Bea) and after the first 10 minutes when the audience were trying to work out what the hell was going on, they all bought into it, and the whole thing was a fantastic hour. I ended up on stage for what appeared to be far too long, answering various questions as part of his group therapy session.

By the end of the night I was getting pretty tired and joined Neal at the front to see Henry Paker. I didn’t know too much about him. He was going down really well, and maybe it was just my tiredness that stopped me laughing as much as I should have. He was more traditional than the previous comics, and Michael McIntyre and Eddie Izzard seemed to be his main influences.

I snuck out early and headed home to my lovely bed. I slept like crap though, so not sure how today is going to go. It’s a very strong line up for today with Tony Law, Michael Legge and Bridget Christie to look forward to as well as my first ever live Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown. I shall continue this blog when I get back tonight… See you later

Stuart Laws

So the second day has finished and what a great one it was! I got there around 1:30 and caught the end of Chris Boyd upstairs, where he was talking about surviving natural disasters which involved covering the entire crowd with a tarpaulin. I had missed the start so I wasn’t sure what was going on!

The first act I wanted to see was Stuart Laws. I had caught him at ARG last year and remember ending up on the stage to play the part of a mixing bowl. the mixing bowl routine made another appearance today but thankfully I could just relax in my seat. Most of the show was the same as last year but that’s not a criticism. Stuart is a very likable guy who interacts with the audience as well as I’ve seen anyone do it. After picking out Rob as the alpha male of the group (on account of him wearing a loud shirt and having his own harem) he discussed who likes to be the big spoon and the little spoon, and it ended up with a twitter friend of mine being invited on to the stage in order to avoid Stuart spooning him. All in all, very silly and a lot of fun!

Michael Legge

Michael Legge had kindly bought me a drink before Stuart’s show so I decided to repay the favour by taking a front row seat with Neal. (Yes, yes, I know I would have been there anyway.) Anyway, Michael’s new show “Free Wifi” is coming along really well, even though he doesn’t seem to think so himself, and he got some of the biggest laughs of any comic this weekend. I’m currently enjoying his soon to be legendary routine about his frog, and his doorway drinking companion, known only as “Ha Ha AIDS”. By August this is going to be such a top show and of course you should see him in Edinburgh. My brother and I are off to see Michael and Richard Herring do another preview in a couple of weeks, so I’m rather looking forward to that.

After a day and a half, it was finally time for me to venture upstairs. Tony Law was on. And no one in their right mind can miss Tony Law. Tony’s shows are always gloriously bamboozling in the early stages, and with many confusing historic references, this is no exception! I was puzzled for a while why Tony was telling one story in an New York Italian accent for some time, but it all became clear at the end. After the gig I bumped into Tony outside and he introduced me to his beautiful wife, Storm and asked me if I thought the show was good. I always find it amazing when a brilliant comic who has just done a great show seems to doubt themselves in any small way. But Tony has nothing to worry about, and of course this is another must see at Edinburgh.

I was planning on seeing a bit of Mae Martin before heading out for a little break, purely on the strength that

Tony Law

I didn’t know anything about her, and it was too hot upstairs to see Joe Lycett in what I imagine would be another packed show so I decided to watch Mae’s late replacement. I didn’t catch his name, and I was rather enjoying him until he started talking about Scottish independence. Now, I’m Scottish, but in no way patriotic (especially as I don’t get a vote) but when he came up with the line “The English laugh at the BNP and the EDL, the Scottish vote them in”, without any sort of punchline I got a bit annoyed. He was actually comparing the SNP to the far right. Anyway, I finished my drink and went for a walk up to the Oxford Arms. It was lovely and cool. When I got back I chatted with the comic (and have completely forgotten his name) and voiced my concerns (like the dick I am), and he was very charming about it and we had quite a pleasant conversation. So it all ended well.

Back upstairs for another comic I can never miss. The adorably furious Bridget Christie. I had seen her about a week or two ago do a preview but I couldn’t resist another one. Neal and I were in the second row this time, and both ended up laughing like idiots throughout, even at the jokes we had heard last week. Her show is an unapologetic show about feminism, and even though to some ears that may sound like a bit of a lecture, in true Bridget style, it is mainly gloriously silly. She speaks about her new habit of throwing out magazines in shops that are placed on the bottom shelf instead of the top, and I won a brilliant prize in her competition just for the boys in the audience. I won’t spoil the show for anyone else, but the prize is absolutely inspired.

Bridget Christie

By this time I was getting rather tired and planned to watch half of Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown, and then catch the end of Simon Evans. Pappy’s live podcast is even sillier in the flesh (Flesh being the operative word for Lloyd Langford and Tom!). By the time I got downstairs though, Simon had finished his set so I headed back upstairs for the end of the podcast.

I had one more drink with Heather and her friend then headed off to find we had missed the last tubes. Normally I would be really annoyed about this but today I was calm, relaxed and philosophical as I fired up Citymapper to find where the hell my bus stop was.

Well done ARGComFest for a brilliant weekend.

The Comedy Crawl is dead (hopefully.) Long live ARG !

Oh Cana-DUH!

I had been looking forward to seeing Baconface ever since I heard he was visiting the UK for the first time. Baconface has been performing in Canada for many years, since the early 80s I believe, and credits himself for being one of the greatest innovators in what we now call alternative comedy.

I met Sarah in the Soho Theatre bar and we headed downstairs and got a nice front row seat. Soon Baconface was on stage. He is quite a striking sight, and within the first few minutes one rasher fell to the floor. Not to worry, Baconface had brought a whole pack of spares just in case this situation happened and soon a new piece was applied.

I do wish I was Canadian like Sarah, or the other lady in the front row who understood a lot more of his local references, but I got the basic gist! The other Canadian lady was told off for yawning in his eye line, and the audience who joined in with the traditional response to his catchphrase “It’s all bacon – EAT IT!” were chastised for patronising him.

The hour long set that Baconface played was much longer than any North American comedian had performed before, as he reminded us more than once, and it went by all too quickly. He criticised the press adoration of Louis CK, spoke to us about Bigfoot, Neil Young, and his home town of Chilliwack, impressing the Canadian audience members by not changing any of his reference points in the British run of this show. He also attempted to speak about his comedy philosophy at some length too, but we didn’t quite find out what it was.

He did speak about what he had found out since he had been in the UK including the love the Scots have for eating haggis, and the love the British have for eating horses, and his attempt at an English accent was hilarious. All American comics think they can do this, and of course, none of them (barring Tony Law) can.

 Tony got a mention in a long story involving bears and bacon and we found out how to release a bear’s mouth from your penis if your hands are trapped under the bear’s hind legs.

On the way out, we saw a few people coming out of the show including Ed Gamble, Ben Goldacre and Stewart Lee, who we had a brief chat with, and mentioned how much we enjoyed it. He said that he would pass this message on. It seems Baconface is certainly pulling the crowds in as he has caused quite a media stir lately, but I imagine there were a few people in out of sheer curiosity too.

He is taking this show to Edinburgh, so I advise you to book a ticket if you are going, especially when he pointed out that just because we didn’t laugh at a joke doesn’t mean he is going to drop it from the show.

It’s all bacon.
Eat it.

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast: A Bit Of Fry And Herring

I have tickets to all 6 RHLSTPs this season, and having attended the first very funny and rather silly episode with Chris Addison, where the focus was on who had smashed the kitchen cupboards in the flat they shared with Stewart Lee, Dan Antopolski and Richard Thomas in 1992, which has been an ongoing mystery for a number of years, this week’s show was the one that I was so looking forward to seeing. The wonderful Stephen Fry.

Trusting Richard’s bookings, I blindly bought all my front row seats. I know that next week I’m seeing Mary Beard and John Lloyd, but still don’t know for sure who will be the final 3 guests.

I met up with my new Twitter friend John Galantini (who does his own podcast which is worth listening to) at The Imperial, where we were soon joined by his fiancee Mary, as well as Sarah and a couple of her friends.

We headed to the venue and took our seats. Soon Richard was on stage to do his mainly improvised warm up. This was one of the best scriptless sets I’ve seen him do, even though he told us very early on that he was worried because Stephen Fry still hadn’t arrived. it was mainly good-natured audience banter with a pair of butlers, a nuclear physicist, and two odd lads who had taken their seats in Row B rather late. He spoke to “I Love London”, as he soon became known due to his hat, and this lad was desperate to be ignored. his coat was buttoned up, he had pulled his hat down, and of course this intrigued, and slightly worried Richard. His friend was a little more chatty but there was still something odd about his demeanour that Richard or the audience couldn’t put their fingers on. As Richard chatted to the physicist, pointing a handheld camera at him, demanding that he tell him how to make a nuclear bomb, a huge cheer erupted. Stephen was in the building! By the way, you can listen to this stand up set by searching on iTunes for RHLSTP or clicking this link here.

We took a short break where i paid my traditional visit to the Burger King toilets. Before I went I was chatting with a girl outside and we saw “I Love London” and his mate leave the venue, clearly with no intention of returning. This was both disappointing and a huge relief.

Stephen Fry has long been a hero of mine, and I have loved virtually everything he has done from when i first saw him (probably on Saturday Night Live, I’m not sure) through A Bit Of fry And Laurie, to QI and the various documentaries he has presented.

I’m not going to go into much detail about the content of the show. You can listen to the audio for free, or spend £3.50 and download the video from Go Faster Stripe, and I really recommend you do so. It’s such an astonishing interview in many ways.

Richard and Stephen had never met, and Rich seemed very nervous about meeting and chatting to his hero. However Stephen was as gracious, funny, warm and wordy as you would expect. We found out if Stephen had ever tried to suck his own cock, as well as if he would choose to have a ham-hand or an armpit that dispensed suncream. Stephen told us of his terror at performing at Sydney Opera House with no material whatsoever, and the irony of the show going so well that a second night was booked. Names were dropped, literary references abounded, and we got to hear a long discussion about 12th Night. Richard was getting more confident and challenged Stephen on the time-anomalies of his book “Making History” as well as dropping enormous hints about all the quite interesting facts he knows, which Stephen took in great fun,

Chris Evans (not that one) who runs Go Faster Stripe has a 12 year old son, and Richard decided to use some of his questions to ask Stephen. One was simply “What’s it like being Stephen Fry?” Fry thought about this and explained that it is generally a pleasant experience, as people tend to be nice to him, and he gets to travel so much and do things that he would never be able to do if he wasn’t Stephen Fry. Then candidly, and with totally brutal honesty tells us about the part of his life that is not so much fun. Stephen has been open for some time about his struggles with manic depression, and tonight his honesty and sincerity stunned the audience into complete attentive silence. There was a revelation that caused an audible gasp, and I think I will be thinking about this night for quite some time to come.

Kip Hakes, his mate Danny and I hung around with Richard’s web monkey Rob, and his wife Catie, hoping to get our picture taken with Stephen. We saw him briefly as he came out of the dressing room with Richard, but only had time for a brief chat with Catie and he was off into the night. I didn’t think it was appropriate to badger him for a photo.

Catie’s brother was also here, who I had drunkenly flirted with about a year ago. He asked for a cigarette and we went outside. I decided to deflect any awkwardness by apologising for my embarrassing actions last summer, but damn it! He didn’t remember. Now I’ve just created awkwardness where there was none. Anyway, after a short chat with Richard it was time to go.

What.
A.
Night.

Zaltz And The City

I have been a fan of The Bugle podcast for quite some time now. It’s an unmissable combination of bullshit, puns, 80s rock singing, and jokes hosted by The Daily Show’s John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman. I have managed to get my non-comedy fan friend into this podcast too and when I found out that Andy was playing a gig on a boat moored off Canary Wharf I immediately purchased two tickets.

Tiernan Douieb was hosting the show and had mentioned on Facebook that there was an issue with the alcohol license so we would have to bring our own drinks. That was a result. It makes a fun night cheaper.

After getting lost in the strange confusing geography of Canary Wharf looking for an off license, I finally met Tesco where we bought 4 warm beers each and headed to the boat, only to find there was some weird token system. We bought a £5 token each and I exchanged mine for the smallest bottle of Magner’s I have ever seen. I made sure I took a glass and we sat on the deck. I snuck to the loo, filling my glass with contraband Strongbow and we headed downstairs. It didn’t take long till all secrecy was abandoned and all the audience were swigging straight from their cans.

We got seats at the front and slowly the small venue eventually filled. Tiernan came on and chatted to the crowd. He is a warm and funny man and is a great compere. He introduced our first act of the evening, “Upstairs Downton”. They are an improv troupe who set their scenes in the Edwardian world of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. It didn’t matter I hadn’t seen these shows, we all know what they are like. After choosing a name for the main character and a plot (standard improv stuff) we settled back to watch the story unfold. At first I was a bit worried about a Downton Abbey improv show, but they were pretty good, even if the set went on a little long.

Tony Law was on next. Tony is in the early stages of writing his new show after last year’s huge success, and for me, this is the really fun part. Tony riffs, comments on how he is doing, critiques himself and he totally baffled my mate who asked afterwards when we were back on deck what that was all about. I don’t think he was for him, but I and everyone else thought differently. Tony is one of the best comics around at the moment and I urge you to see him. Tony had to leave fairly quickly as I imagine he was heading to another show, and said hi to me as he left. My mate was quite amazed it just how normal he seemed off stage, and to be honest, it still catches me off guard too.

For fans of Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us”, the next act was a treat. Piff The Magic Dragon. Piff is an incredibly skilled magician who dresses in an extremely cute dragon outfit, and is accompanied by his chihuahua, Mr  Piffles. He chose a volunteer to join him on stage and alternated between flirting with her before playfully knocking her back. This was only the 2nd magician I have seen live, other than Pete Firman and he was superb. Incidentally magic fans, I also listen to Penn’s Sunday School, a podcast released every week featuring Penn Jillette and discussing magic, scepticism, atheism and just general funny chats.

Here is a clip of Piff on “Fool Us”

The backdrop of The City of London was perfect for Zaltzman. He is a fantastic performer, and it was great to see my mate’s face who up until today had only heard Andy’s voice, as he has a rather striking appearance! His set revolved through the current economic situation: not a subject on many comics sets, but Andy with his enthusiasm and well crafted and torturous puns made it a great night.

My mate pointed me towards a quick way home. I was aiming for the DLR and he told me to go to a different station. I didn’t really know where I was going and after a long painful walk ended up on the Jubilee line. I got home in the end though, extremely satisfied.

Just to finish this off, I was in the pub with a mate the other day which had the snooker on in the background. To my surprise, Andy’s unmistakable face appeared. When I got home I found the clip, and it should be found just underneath this writing…

Peter Buckley Hill – The Albums – FOR FREE!

I ended up at The Phoenix last Sunday to help Peter Buckley Hill celebrate his 65th birthday. The gig lasted from 2pm till 9pm and then they were heading off to the pub afterwards for more drinks. I watched quite a few comics, some who I didn’t know as well as bigger names such as Phill Jupitus, Thom Tuck and James Acaster.

Peter organises the Free Fringe in Edinburgh each year which keeps costs down for both audience and performers and he is thought of rather highly in the comedy community. I had first become aware of him at a couple of Robin Ince’s Godless shows then again last year when Michael Legge’s All day Edinburgh raised funds for the upcoming Fringe.

Peter sang a few short catchy comedy folk songs from his 2006 album and afterwards encouraged us to take his CDs for free as they were cluttering up the space under his stairs. Afterwards I suggested uploading them to Soundcloud. OK, it won’t help getting rid of the physical CDs, but it does just help to get the stuff out there. Peter thought this was a great idea so this is just what I have done. So visit these links for all of PBH’s recorded output. You can download them too.

tiny.cc/pbh-songsof2006

tiny.cc/pbh-2006outtakes

tiny.cc/pbh-bucketswithinbuckets

tiny.cc/pbh-officialbootleg

tiny.cc/pbh-tornbetweentwoplovers

tiny.cc/pbh-tubularbrains

Chat Show Roulette

After hearing about the line up for Chat Show Roulette, I decided I couldn’t not go: Justin Edwards, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Cariad Lloyd, Matt Lucas and others were to perform for us at the gorgeous little Hen and Chickens Theatre. This is one of Ben Walker’s projects, the technical wizard behind the likes of AIOTM, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square podcast, Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown and the fantastic Do The Right Thing.

I roped in Richard Hollis and we met up at the bar below the theatre around 645. Justin took to the stage shortly after 730 and explained how the evening would work. it was an improvised chat show, and he nor any of the guests knew who the characters would be that he would be interviewing. We had all filled out slips containing places, items, celebrities and such like and the subjects would be taken from these.

Just to digress quickly, this is a great chance to show you a video of Justin’s alcoholic children’s entertainer Jeremy Lion. It’s nothing to do with this show, and it’s not Christmas any more, but watch this and enjoy.

Anyway, back to the evening. The show still hadn’t started and Justin worked his way down the front row asking for first names, surnames, names of favourite teachers and pets until we had all the character’s names who were to be interviewed. These ranged from the rather sweet William Hunter to the fantastical Thumper Mitchell.

The pianist played on the first guest, played by Alex Lowe. As luck would have it he turned out to be a famous fitness guru who had operated gyms in places like The Natural History Museum, and he and Jeremy reminisced over his career.

Second up were Ceebeebies stars played by Mike Wozniak and the magnificent Cariad Lloyd. I would direct you to a Cariad Lloyd video on Youtube, but unfortunately my account has sort of been deleted. On the plus side, I have two more in it’s place: one for music (MrAndyMcH) and one for comedy (LeeHerringFan). Anyway, I had never seen Mike before but he played opposite Cariad brilliantly. especially once it had been revealed that Cariad and he were no longer together and we could see occasional glimpses of Cariad’s jealous fury through her fixed children’s presenter smile.
Next up was Margaret Cabourn-Smith. I know her mainly as the team captain opposite Michael Legge in Do The Right Thing, and occasional contributor to the Dave Gorman radio show, but you probably know her as Alison in Miranda. She was a British hero who had saved the nation with an undisclosed deed in Mozambique, and this also involved her face painting a lovely ladybird on the pianist’s face. Margaret is always rather lovable on stage, and somehow reminds me of Kat Bjelland from Babes In Toyland. (I’m not really sure why)
Finally Matt Lucas’s character got called to the stage. He did not appear, and Justin seemed genuinely confused by this. He went to the audience where he had been sitting and discovered him limping bizarrely down the aisle just so his short journey to the chair took almost 3 minutes. I’m not a huge Little Britain fan to be honest, but Matt’s improvising was amazing, creating a great character who turned out to be a Mastermind champion who is more than a little racist, which Justin tried to steer him away from as any old school interviewer would.
After the show we had nachos and a beer and had a brief chat with the lovely Margaret and just as lovely Cariad. The evening ended with slight embarrassment outside when I said hello to Matt and mentioned out of courtesy that I would put a picture on Twitter if he was OK with it. I think he misunderstood and I was immediately stood next to him with my arm round his shoulder like some immature fanboy (WHICH I AM DEFINITELY NOT!)

The guys are recording a pilot for both radio and TV and are doing these little shows just to keep practised and their improv skills sharp. If you get a chance, go and see this the next time it is on. It’s a real fun night out.
And is it improv or impro?
Improv?
Impro?
Impro?
Improv?
I’m going to keep saying Improv until proven otherwise.