Thursday, 22 July 2010

Latitude part 2

It's taken me a few days to start writing up the last 2 days of Latitude but I've finally gotten round to it.

I'll start off by talking about the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra which we saw on the Friday night but I only very briefly mentioned in the previous post.
It was in a very packed tiny tent and we ended up as close as possible without being amongst them. I can't remember all of the songs names but the ones I do remember are: Squeeze Me, The Taste of Hair (which I think was my favourite out of their set), Maybe and they finished with 2 songs from the Flea musical, finishing with the Flea National Anthem. There were other songs but I can't recall the names of them. Jim Bob also played one of his songs and by reading Simone's blog (http://sycophant-simone.blogspot.com/) I can say that it was Angelstrike, also a youtube clip was found if you hadn't seen it posted on twitter:

So that was my first MFMO show and I did really enjoy it, I wish I made it to their second show at Latitude later on in the weekend but damn clashes!

Saturday
I was being pretty lazy on Saturday morning. I attempted to wake up but kept falling asleep as soon as I moved and I was in desperate need of feeling clean so I went and explored the showers. Lovely experience.
My first show of the day was The Al Pitcher Picture Show. I'm glad that he made it over (passport incident from what I gather from twitter... I suppose twitter does have some uses). I had only seen Al before when he did the stand up spot at the Russell Howard good News recording I went to and I really enjoyed it so was very much looking forward to see the Picture Show and it didn't disappoint at all. I'll quickly describe the Cabaret Tent; two stages so they can set up one whilst the other is in use. Therefore, the stage in use is off to the side and there are curtains in the way blocking views. This became an issue when the big screen was in use. However, it led to some brilliant crowd banter and Al re-arranging the stage when someone politely pipped up with "erm I can't see". This added to the already fun show and made it one of my highlights of the festival.

I stayed in the cabaret tent most of the day and next billed was Jonny Sweet but unfortunately he couldn't make it and was replaced by Cardinal Burns. I had missed their set the previous day and they are someone I've been hoping to see for a long while. They had some brilliant sketches with my favourites probably being the cat and the Turkish taxi drivers.
Afterwards was Frisky and Mannish, and yet again, I have been wanting to see them for a little while after hearing many good things about them. I enjoyed their set but it's where my musical knowledge does sort of lack. Many of the songs and artists they were playing went over my head which meant I enjoyed those parts but not overly laugh out loud. Nonetheless, the songs and artists I did know I did really enjoy, so maybe I should scrub up on my musical knowledge for when I next see them
Between each of the 'main' acts there were people performing, these included Dusty Limits, Des O'connor and Fancy chance. They did have some amazing voices and good stage acts.

I wondered over to the comedy tent and caught Micky Flanagan before going back to the cabaret tent where I saw the end of Golden Lizard. I'm not sure if it's because I missed the start of their set but I wasn't entirely sure what they were doing so didn't overly enjoy it. We perched ourselves on a table at the back of the tent (so much comfier than the dusty floor) and Fergus Craig opened up the next section of the evening. Some hip-hop dudes interrupted him during his set to promote their show because he mentioned his enjoyment of hip-hop music. He then introduced Idiots of Ants and the crowd were definitely in there for them. Another fun set to watch but yet again they suffered with the big screen. They had moved it and it was now positioned in the corner of the stage so half of the tent could now not see it and it became very obvious when they were doing the German translating sketch where half the room was actually split. Again, they re-arranged the curtains so a few more people could see the screen for the later on sketches.
And then the tent got weird. Towards the end of their set a large number of young girls with flowers in their hair started to arrive and make their way to the front part of the tent. Whilst this was happening all I kept thinking was "hmm they don't seem like Idiots of Ants fans..." and as soon as 'goodbye' left the guys mouths all the girls ran to the front of the side stage I very much feel sorry for the innocent people who were just sat around that part as I'm pretty sure they got stood on. The Midnight Beast came on stage then, according the programme they are a youtube sensation who young people seem to very much enjoy. They weren't terrible just that annoying pop music, it made me feel old even though if they were around a few years earlier it would have been what me and my friends were watching. It was entertaining just watching the strange dancing by some and Jim Bob watching it all from the back of the tent munching ice cream.
Once they went off stage it was time for Karaoke Circus. WOO. As Martin said "sorry we're late on stage we were waiting for the smell of teenage girls to disappear". I can just about remember who was performing but can't quite recall all the songs. Robin Ince (Love will tear us apart), Josie Long, Kevin Eldon, Robyn Hitchcock (a Day in the life), Ben Miller with David Cross (under pressure - it was brilliant), Phil Jupitus, Pappy's (Common People - I am very much surprised that the set was not destroyed, they had also discovered gaffer tape...). I'm trying to remember if there was anyone. One of the open mic spots was rather tone deaf and struggling with his song so Phil Jupitus and Rufus Hound ran on to help him by singing backing vocals.
I love Karaoke Circus, why has it taken me so long to discover it? I'm glad I finally have though.

We then walked over to the main arena to catch Belle and Sebastian. The only main music act I saw. And I'm pretty sure I choose well. I thought they were brilliant and played a very nice long set. They are very funny people aswell which is always lovely.


Sunday
Last day, BOOO. But, man, I was feeling the tiredness that day. We headed to the Film and Music Arena as we wanted to see somethings later on in the day and knew it'd be near impossible to get any good view if we didn't head that way first.
The opening act was Amiina who played live music along to Lotte Reiniger's short films. The films which were shown were Cinderella, Aladin and Sleeping Beauty. She made short films using silhouettes and looked like this, however, there wasn't any talking in the clips we saw, it was purely the live music.:
And then for the Inbetweeners Q&A. I was looking forward to this and it was hosted by Rick Edwards. I do love hearing about stories from the set and how they wind each other up, James Buckley certainly had some fun stories about him annoying Joe Thomas. They also had to battle with the noise of Tom Jones over on the main stage.
Afterwards was Adam Buxton's Bug. It started with some technical difficulties as the projector was cutting off parts of the clips. Whilst it was getting set up it did lead to some fun banter with Adam which ended in him singing the festival song. As much as I enjoyed seeing the video clips I think there needed to be more of Adam talking to us, when he was talking about the clips and youtube comments it was brilliant, I think the technical delays meant he had to rush through as much as possible quickly.
We then headed towards comedy tent for Mark Watson. We caught the end of Marlon Davis, who wasn't entirely my type of comedy. However, Mark came on and did a great set. There were some kids sat down at the front who Mark interacted greatly with. One of them had a stick/cane (some arguments over which it was) which led Mark to do his set holding this stick. When he gave it back to the boys a stick fight occurred where Mark teased him and kept snatching it away when he nearly grabbed it. Mumford and Sons overlapped with the end of Mark's set but the crowd stayed with him and than all ran away once he'd left the stage.
Abandoman were the next act on. They rapped songs using the crowds input. I don't know how they did it, it all rhymed but they had only just been given the information. I'm jealous of that sort of talent. I liked it very much.
Rufus Hound was on next. He had had his face painted like a Hound and came on stage saying it had been a bus day. I quite like him but didn't quite click with his stand up stuff, I just found it all too sexual which I'm not a fan of.
Richard Herring was accompanied by a signer for the BSL. I was expecting him to "abuse" this power and just make her sign silly things, which he didn't do. Nonetheless with his type of material I did learn the signs for some lovely things such as titwank and whore.

I then took a walk around again before heading back to the the comedy to see the end of Simon Evans who has been at my uni before and again didn't click with his set. I found a nice patch of sun and laid down whilst listening/watching Emo Phillips, with the odd waft of toilet smell. I'm never keen on one liners as I'm quite a slow person and by the time I've worked out the joke I've missed a couple more in turn. Even so the ones I did hear I really did enjoy, he is also a fun person to watch just due to his manner and what he's doing on stage. He did seem to want to leave the stage a few times, I think he was looking for a big laugh to end on but he didn't quite get it a few times so just carried on. This wasn't a bad thing.

Once I finally left my patch of sun (it was so warm and comfy) we headed to the literary tent and managed to grab a wonderful cuchions which we laid down on and oh my was it comfy. Robyn Hitchcock played a few songs and had some great words between the songs such as "sorry if I get out of breathe but it's my fault".
The compere for the evening was Joel Dommett who I hadn't heard of but really enjoyed. He was filling the time waiting for Mark to appear (turns out he was stood in the tent watching the acts and forgot to say he was there). Mark's book reading was beyond fun and shambolic. I hurt after watching it all. He started by saying he was embarrassed to be reading his words and wasn't sure what to read/how much to read or if he should just do a Q&A. After going on like this for about 15 minutes he announced that he was drunk and probably should have mentioned this at the start. He then managed to read about a page of it altogether but at the start he couldn't get through a sentence without disecting it. "This is set in winter in the UK, I wrote this in a warm Australia, how did I manage to write it? By using my imagination, it's what writers do". He managed to go through a paragraph before saying "ah I did a paragraph without interrupting myself". He then went on to do a Q&A where someone asked for a drunk audiobook. Yes, I'd pay for that. Thanks Mark for another great highlight of the festival!
He's book reading led to a massive queue for the book signing and I missed out on getting a copy of Eleven due to the demand, atleast it's not long until it's in the shops. But it also meant that when it came to my turn to talk to him I just walked away as I didn't have anything for him to sign and my mind wasn't quite forming any sentences to say to him. Stupid Rachel.
We headed back to our cushions to watch Jim Bob read from his book "storage Stories". He entered with a bubble machine and had a screen projecting images which related to what he was saying. Another fun book reading on a beyond comfy cushion.

we then headed out for the last Kitson and Osborn story time. I loved all of the stories but still think the 1st one is my favourite altogether.

We then walked back to the campsite and enjoyed a nice chat under the amazingly starry skies. It is then that I'm sure I saw my first ever shooting star, there were many Chinese Lanterns going off but this one just lit up brightly, went really quickly across the sky and then disappeared. I'm counting it!

That was my latitude experience and now I'll be able to remember it with this blog. It was a brilliant weekend and I think I may look to go again if others are. Some great images will stick in my mind for a very long time and I got to see some great acts who I'd been waiting to see for a while. Definitely money well spent.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Latitude part 1

I'm going to attempt to do some form of write-up for Latitude. I'm 100% sure that other people's write-ups will be more detailed/structured/etc than mine but I'm writing this in hope that i can remember some bits.
I think in the 3 and a bit days I saw around 43 different things whether it be comedy, book readings or just short films. And out of these I had only seen 10 of them before so it was a weekend of a lot of new, amazing things. I'll point this fact out now instead of constantly saying "and then I went to see X, I had not seen them before" over and over again.
Another quick note: I don't criticise/review very well as I don't like being rude.

Thursday
By the time we had battled with the wind (worst weather for setting up tent, many turned into kites) it was getting pretty late so we headed into the main arena area to catch Robin Ince's book club. I was surprised at how small the site was and it took no time at all to walk from one side to the other.
My mind has merged into one for the book club so can't recall everything that happened, so two of my favourite things from the show. First of: Men and Their Secret Ways. porn it was basically just porn. Robin got Martin White and Steve Pretty to go head to head and play music which they thought went along with the photo. All of their reactions to the photos were priceless and at one point Robin put the book right into Martin's face which caused pure terror for him.
An example of some of the mood they were asked to re-create: Penis caught in the wicker chair.
Another thing I loved during this show was Steve Pretty's football chant. He split us into groups of 6 and gave us a line we all had to chant along with someone up on stage. I can't remember everyone who was on the stage but some of the chants were: "the referee's a wanker" and "you're going home in the back of an ambulance" and so on. It worked and we somehow managed to all chant our different sentences in unison. The book club was a great way to start a weekend of fun at Latitude.

Friday
Not much sleep happened as it poured and poured and the wind picked up. I also kept having rather strange dreams, in one of them I woke up at 4pm and realised I had missed the festival. I won't go into the second dream, it was way too odd. So anyway I was pretty tired out when I got up.
But we headed for comedy tent at 11am and it was packed out to see Phil Jupitus. We decided to skip this show and look for some breakfast and head back to the tent in a little while. In the end I sat in the tent most of the day and saw (get ready for a list): Craig Campbell, Doc Brown, Stephen K. Amos, Seann Walsh, Miles Jupp, Russell Kane, Sara Pascoe, Daniel Sloss and finally David O'Doherty.
In amongst that lot there were people I was really excited to see and others I was intrigued about. Doc Brown and Do'D did not disappoint at all, I thought they did great sets mixing in some new stuff and the crowd loved them.
I was most intrigued to see Russell Kane and Daniel Sloss. I've never really clicked with Russell Kane on the telly and he does tend to grate me, but I was pleasantly surprised by him. I didn't love everything he said but there were some pretty good bits. I see Daniel Sloss everywhere in Edinburgh but very rarely for the rest of the year. Again, some of his material was enjoyable but other bits were a bit predictable such as the typical "I have a girlfriend, can you believe I have a girlfriend" and other similar things. Too many times that line is used I think.
Unfortunately Sara Pascoe didn't get the best reaction from the crowd. I'm not sure what it was that wasn't clicking but something was missing. I hadn't seen her before so can't tell you if she was having an off day or if it was just the wrong crowd for her.

Afterwards, I headed towards the Theatre Arena for Duke Special. I've been waiting to see him for so long, I was pretty damn excitable. He played songs from The Stage, A Book and the Silver Screen. It includes songs about Hector Mann, Huckleberry Finn (unfinished musical by Kurt Weill) and then some Mother Courage songs. I loved each of them and the performance and energy was also brilliant. Afterwards he played his version of "Love will tear us apart" again this was pretty awesome.
I then got lazy and instead of going to watch any bands I just sat on some benches and listened to them instead...
We ended the evening with Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra (in a tiny little tent that was packed out - more about them in the post above) and the first installment of Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn.
I'll include all of the Kitson and Osborn stories at this moment in time. There were 3 stories across the 3 nights of the festival. They were playing on the water front stage which everyone who was in the arena had to walk past. This lead to a few interesting things. A drunk appeared on stage at some point during the first two nights. The second time, he actually made it on half way through the show and went up to them asking what they were doing. He then quickly realised that he was not on the bridge which he thought he was on and quickly ran off. Harmless drunk but erm... security?
They started their shows at around midnight and I will admit that even though I loved the stories my tiredness made my concentration slip every so often so I did loose track. When I did keep up I really enjoyed them so I would be interested in hearing them again in a less tired state and distracting stage. It was rather distracting as it was cold, there was a light show next to us and a bar behind. But thankfully the rain did not appear during these hours.


I think that's all I'm going to write up at the moment. I'm pretty exhausted.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Simon Amstell and Fotc M&G

More fun nights out at gigs occurred. So here is my re-capping of them:

On Sunday night me and my friend went down to the soho theatre to see Simon Amstell's "warm up" show. It wasn't a new material warm up show, but more of a damn-I-need-to-remember-my-material-for-a-DVD warm up show. Which I knew but I'm not sure everyone did, more on that later.
We got to the venue with about 5 minutes to spare and the only two visible seats were right down in the front row ¬.¬ so we spent the time before thinking "oh I really hope he doesn't pick on us". And half way through the show he did pick out my friend because he is really skinny and that's how Simon likes them haha!

I thought Simon's stories were really good and funny and I loved it when he was telling them but there was something in his set I couldn't quite click with and I'm not sure what it was. What I've decided since the show is his links between each story and occasionally he went of on a tangent and I'm not sure I followed them. For example, he kept referencing some philosophy books during one story and I wasn't sure what he was talking about, and I'm not entirely sure the audience got them either.
When Simon was trying to remember something and it went a bit quiet a strange sort of tension came over, which Simon picked up on and kept reminding us that this was a warm up. A couple of people then reminded him (in a friendly way) that we had still paid £17 for it.

I'm also thinking this is going to be a short DVD, he performed for about 1hour 15 and a bit of it was him scratching his head.

In conclusion, (can you tell I'm writing a lot of essays at the moment so have to conclude everything I write) the show was enjoyable and he has some great stories, I especially loved the one about his cat. I just hope his tangeants/leads to stories were having a bit of an off day. ;)


And then on Monday I went back to see the Flight of the Conchords. I wrote a very detailed account of the last fotc show I went to so won't be doing it again.
Arj opened for us this time and I thought he was great (he'll be up in Edinburgh this summer!). It was fun watching him try to maneuver around all the instruments on stage, which he did trip over a couple of times.

The setlist was a lot shorter this time around and they didn't mess up in the songs. It was really nice hearing them full but some of my fave bits were when things went a bit wrong on stage.
Even though the setlist had been cut we did get some gems which I hadn't heard live yet such as Inner City Pressure, Hiphoppotamus and Epileptic Dogs. The only one I'm still yet to hear, which I really want is Carol Brown.

A couple of my favourite lines from show were: "it's like Ethiopia in my stomach" when talking about famine and when talking about acid trips "Don't take too much acid though, otherwise you'll get fingered by Tyrannosaurus Rex".

So that was my briefer outline of the show. We then decided to hang around afterwards which is where we saw Richard Curtis, Bill Neighy, Rob Brydon and the Inbetweeners. That was the excitement we had whilst waiting.
After a couple of hours outside it wasn't looking good for a Meet and Greet, the crowd had windled down to about 10.
But then Arj Barker came out with his glass of wine and said he really wasn't sure when they were going to come out as there were a lot of old friends there. He then decided he was going to hang with us until they came out as we were more interesting and it was like an awkward work party inside as it was a "well lit room", he also said he was wanting to get back to the hotel and sleep as he was still slightly jetlagged. Everyone was just taking photos of him and he was just possing for them by himself, so we wondered over and asked for a photo:



Other people got things signed and photos taken and he asked me about the Ukulele, so I asked him to sign it which he was worried about as he didn't want to mess it up (no pressure!).

The taxi that went in about half hour before, then came out with the crew in it and drove past us whilst Arj tried to wave it down and get in, which was pretty funny thinking they had left him with us. He then jumped into another car and left us saying he really had no idea where the guys were.

A few minutes later they just walked out from behind the gates, people went over to Jemaine so I headed for Nigel (the New Zealand orchestra) and took my uke out again. He then started to tune it and play a song which made Jemaine shout out "start singing as well Nigel" Bret then walked over to us and noticed my jumper and asked me where I got it from and if they were still selling them so he could go and get one himself. Him and Nigel then started singing and remembering the tune together whilst handing each other the uke when one remembered a chord. I just stood in the middle of them laughing and not sure what was going on. I then started to think "this is beyond awesome, but I do need to get my last train in half hour and I have to go slightly across town" so in the video, I start asking questions to try and hurry up the impromptu jam session but they ignored them and carried on playing, and after watching the clip , man did I embarrass myself with the unanswered questions >.<


Bret eventually signed it and I walked over to Jemaine and once he was free I asked him to sign it as well. When he saw me he said "oh hey, you've got another great jumper on I see" (in Manchester he kept saying he really liked my jumper, so I'm taking that as him remembering me =P)

Once he signed it, I realised Nigel hadn't so I went back over which led him playing it some more and saying he really liked this uke and it was lovely to play.

i did spend the whole day unsure of whether to take it or not, as I wasn't sure if I would meet them and if I wanted loads of writing over it. If you can't tell I'm BEYOND happy I did take it.



Thursday, 13 May 2010

FoTC

Here’s my experience of going to see the wonderful Flight of the Conchords in Manchester. I got into the city at about 3pm and met up with a friend I met through their forum (is it wrong that all the good people are from the interwebs =P) we decided to head down to venue as there was a pub next to it so we could sit and drink. We got there and the pub looked strange, small and closed, this meant we decided to sit on the grass outside instead. We got talking to a guy who had been there since 2pm, hoping to meet the guys and said he knew what car they’d be in. It turned out the pub wasn’t closed we were just being special and when their car turned up (the guy ran to the door as soon as he saw it) everyone in the pub ran over as well so what I thought would just be 5 of us turned into about 15. They were lovely and made sure everyone was seen to. I never know what to say so I just asked for a picture and said I was really looking forward to the show. They then headed in and we sat around again until the show started.



We got into the venue and I somehow managed to get row C centre seat so was beyond chuffed. They opened the doors at 6.30pm and the show didn’t start until 8pm and the guys weren’t on stage until 8.45pm, so a lot of sitting watching people/trying to work out if it was try that Cameron was our PM. Eugene Mirman (he’s in the show as their landlord) was the support act and I hadn’t seen his stuff before but thought he was brilliant. He did a lot of “I saw a stupid sign, I made some of my own” which were really funny but (not sure how to explain it) I prefer stupid long stories so they sort of dragged again. He showed this video of him reporting about the climate conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWYGs4qQfK4

We then had to wait 25 minutes until the guys came on, so more sitting, watching, tweeting. Before the set they showed a clip from the New Zealand tourist office trying to get people to come to NZ. They came on playing Too Many Dicks wearing robot heads which flashed whilst pulling some crazy moves. The rest of the set went like this:

Too Many Dicks

Most Beautiful Girl

Hurt Feelings

Jenny

Ladies of the World

Freaky

Woo

Think about it

Korean song

I'm not crying

Albi

Foux da fa fa

Bowie

Demon Woman

Encore: Business Time

Bus Driver Song

Bret you got it going on (teaser - Bret said he gets embarrassed by it so Jemiane started to sing it

We're both in love with a sexy lady

Sugalumps

Looking at their other set lists, they really do shake them up, which is great and they also took requests before playing Albi.

Should also point out that they’re joined on stage with Nigel, who is the New Zealand Orchestra. There should be 3 members but 1 missed their flight and as there’s only 1 a month he won’t make it and the other one got here but forgot her Tuba.

Here are some highlights:

- Woo is a new song and bloody brilliant, Jemaine sings it but he kept forgetting the lyrics so he kept saying “oh... nothing” before trying to remember it. Nigel played the recorder and when he put it back he hit it against his cello which made Jemaine stop playing, turn to him and just stare.

- Korean Song - it started with Jemaine saying he was going to take a nap and that Bret should take control for a moment, so Bret decided to try out his new stuff which turned out to be the Korean song from Prime Minister episode. They said they hadn’t played it before and it was accompanied by a new video the guys filmed. I loved it, it always make me laugh in the episodes and I couldn’t stop laughing during it. Bret kept trying to get us to sing a long but it wasn’t quite working so they’re not sure how it went down. Really hope they carry on playing it.

- Albi - Jemaine sang Albi’s parts in a Mancunian accent. Enough said.

- Hurt Feelings - Bret got a bit wrong and everyone started to laugh so they responded with “hey stop hurting my feelings by laughing, are you not getting the message of this song?”

- Think about it - before the song there were some brilliant bits discussing saving whales and how they should do it a long with impressions.

- I thought the crowd were really good, I read reports of the previous Manch show and it said there were a lot of hecklers. But there was only a few this evening. The first one was just after Jemaine said he was going for a nap and a woman in a very strong Mancunian accent shouted “I’ll join ya” which meant the guys couldn’t stop laughing and they then questioned her intentions did she mean that she thought it was boring show or that she found Jemaine attractive and wanted to lie next to him. She said the second which led a guy to shout (VERY loudly) “JEMAINE YOU SEXY BASTARD”. I’m pretty sure Jemaine blushed at this point and responded with “thank you for being clear with what you mean”. The third thing shouted got a Shut Up response, so there was no more afterwards.

- Between the songs, the guys told stories from being on tour, these included being stuck in a lift, getting muffins and a groupie with a fish, among others.

- Bret broke the news who our new PM was which led to a large amount of boos and several “You should do it” and Jemaine took up the offer and said Nigel should be treasurer and in the cabinet as he can hold things. I love that a lot of people found out who our PM was from the conchords, another great memory for the show.

- they get dressed into tight, sequin outfits for Demon Woman and they changed by ripping off their trousers (stripper style). After the song they went off for the encore. Bret and Nigel came back fully clothed but Jemaine came on trying to but his trousers back together and Bret saying he should just get some normal trousers. Jemaine has also out his t-shirt on wrong, he had missed one of the sleeves so his arm was through the neck opening and as it was a v-neck shirt it kept falling down during Bus Driver song until half of his chest was on show. Got to love guys who fail at dressing.

- During Sugalumps Bret jumped into the audience and found a guy with crutches and grabbed them and started singing “his crutch is on my crotch” and then he went over to a lady in a wheelchair and it looked like he was going to give her a lapdance but he changed his mind and decided to wheel her towards him.

Me and my friend weren’t sitting next to each other so we decided to meet outside the pub and even though we had met the guys already we ended up staying again (mainly because we were with others who hadn’t met them yet). Eugene came out and worked the crowd and took pictures with everyone, he was so naturally funny when responding to everyone I could have just listened to him all night.


Then the guys came out again, there were an awful lot of people there and I decided to hang at the back until it quietened down. The guys where in much better spirits after the show than before (always to be expected) and I liked meeting them when there was only a couple of people there but they gave better poses and were a lot more relaxed after the show, so I’m happy (and bloody greedy) I got to experience both times. I got Jemaine to sign my tea-towel and when I got to Bret he was signing a load of people’s tickets/albums with just Bret McKenzie but when I handed over the tea towel he said he really loved them and signed his name before pausing asking if it was for me (hell yeha it is) and then writing a little message.




The next day we walked around Manchester and I brought a Ukulele.

Sorry for the really long post but it was such an amazing night and I can’t wait for Monday and London. I’m tempted to take my Ukulele down but is 2 shows and 3 meetings a bit too greedy and stalkery?


And also sorry for the stupid change in font sizes, can't work out how to stop it and when I change the size the space between the lines are huge.


rx


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Rhod Gilbert, marathon, possible new TYSIC & update on another TYSIC. - my week

Quick note from the author - no spell/grammar check has occurred and it is rather rambly (especially section on the marathon, I am tired. But thank you for reading)


On Friday I went to see Rhod Gilbert at Hammersmith Apollo. I hadn’t seen the show since Edinburgh and this was one of the last dates of the current run so was really looking forward to seeing how it had developed. As my memory is shockingly bad and it has been 8 months since the fringe I could remember the basics to the show so couldn’t quite work out what he has added to it. But he definitely has as it had more then doubled in time.

The show started at about 8.15 and had a short set from support act Andrew Bird (Twitter helped me name him, couldn’t think who of his surname) who I hadn’t heard of before. I was sad that Lloyd Langford wasn’t supporting but Andrew was really good and the crowd absolutely loved him. Rhod followed him straight away and didn’t leave the stage until after 11pm (with a short interval). Even though I’m happy the show was nearly 3 hours in total (made the ticket price very much worth it), I do feel it was a bit too long, especially with Rhod’s energy, can be hard to keep track of everything he is doing and saying. Nonetheless it was still a great show and Rhod is a brilliant performer. I have more annoyances though and this time it was the crowd. The people behind me drove me crazy, they kept eating popcorn very loudly, had shrieking laughs and would chat between themselves. Loud laughing is usually ok but they kept laughing when no one else was so it was constant. The crowd also kept turning into a pantomime, whenever there was a second of silence after he said something negative everyone would just “AWWW” very loudly. Rhod says negative things a fair bit so for a good 10 minutes he couldn’t say anything. At first it did elicit some really funny stuff from Rhod (like kicking the stool across the stage) but the joke did wear thin fairly soon. I can’t complain about the crowd too much, the reaction between people and Rhod was some of the highlights of the show. I won’t mention my favourite ones as it was being filmed for a DVD and don’t want to spoil it for people if they make the cut, but I will say the image of Rhod trying to act out how Pole Vaulting with a hard on would work will stay in my mind for too long.

Ignoring my annoyances (which probably aren’t a big deal to others) it was a really great show and people should definitely go and see him if he is near you. According to Ents 24 he is having a break between now and Edinburgh but will continue touring the show until the end of the year. (Plus the stage looked awesome, don’t know if it was special for DVD or he had taken it everywhere)

Then on Sunday I had landed a job working at the marathon. Ignoring the 4am alarm I was looking forward to it. I’ve always enjoyed the marathon but had never been so working the start line pleased me. We were told to get to Greenwich at 5.30am but we didn’t actually start doing any work until 8am. But for those 2 hours we did have the joys of a DJ over the PA system, they played hits such by the Proclaimers and S Club 7. One of my favourite bits did happen over the PA system when he interviewed someone:

DJ: “Do you think there is a difference between Flora sponsoring before and now Virgin?”

Man: “It’s more red.”

My job was utterly glamorous, I got to clean litter and make sure there was enough loo roll at the portaloos. I was working the Red Start (clearly the best out of the 3) so of course there wasn’t much to do until the runners actually turned up, but between 8 and 9.15 the toilets were rammed (which is also when it poured and poured and I was just wearing a little cardigan), each section (15 loos, I was looking after 2 sections) had queues of about 20 and all the runners were desperate to get in them, but of course my job was to clear litter out of them and they kept getting in them before me, so I turned it into a race (in my mind, they weren’t aware of it) and made it a challenge to get to the loo before them. The amount of people using the loos to rub deep heat on themselves was crazy so a large amount stank of it and as soon as you opened the door it hit you and if I ever smell deep heat again I may vom everywhere, I still have a slight smell of it on my clothes. I also accumulated a large amount of tubs of Vaseline. Once all the runners had left (10.15ish) I was finished for the day. Probably not worth the money but I enjoyed meeting a bunch of new people, seeing the runners start and the general atmosphere was great. I also got a momento, which is my pass onto the site, I love momentos so this pleased me.



We then had to work out how to leave Greenwich/Blackheath. So we decided to walk down to Greenwich town and catch a bus. We got there and this is what someone who I was with said “There looks like there’s a mass of people down there, wonder why? Hang on, it looks like they’re running!” so we completely forgot they ran through there and got trapped. I think that’s what people call “fail”.

I was absolutely shattered after the shift, even though it was only 5 hours I had stood up for all that time and it ached my body so I dread to think what the runners felt like.

As I've always been interested in the marathon, for some unknown reason I've got a desire to run it. I have never run in my life, I don't even run for busses. The only time I ran during cross country was when a dog came near me and I'm scared of dogs. But I am tempted to start running, so I need some motivation to actually get up and run around outside without embarrassing myself. Will need to find some quiet back roads where I don't know anyone so I can see how fair I can actually go without falling into a heap. Maybe it can be a new TYSIC.

For the last week I have set myself a challenge which was to be more positive. Before I returned to Reading I was having a lot of negative thoughts and not looking forward to it and when I returned the thought’s didn’t end. The thoughts are generally “oh everyone is popping into each other’s room and saying hi, only one person has asked if I’m back, therefore no one likes me and there’s no point to anything”. I had an especially bad day when I was considering dropping out yet again. So the challenge was to stop thinking that everyone hated me and just because I only talk to a couple of people at uni it wasn’t the end of the world. It surprisingly worked, it may have been because I had a really busy weekend and when I’m busy I’m as happy as can be (i.e. I’m not stuck in halls where no one talks to me) so will continue to have positive thoughts and see how long it will last (I’m putting my money on 7 weeks).

I know I need to text people more to get more invites out but I need to decide if I be that girl that tags along for a few weeks and hope they realise I’m not as bad company as everyone expects me to be.

I’ve got another decent week, will actually be doing stuff at uni (the last ‘lectures’ until October), then I have tickets for Museum of Curiosity (27th and 2nd) and a few other bits and bobs, now to decide if I can afford yet more trips to London and other studios. And I’ve been offered a job working at Taste of London in June, will hopefully be able to do that, but have been told that I have to make posters at the end of term for uni (yes for my degree).

Rx

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Stand up

One of the challenges I’ve set myself is to do more stand-up comedy.

This week, I’ve taken a step in the right direction. I left my joke book in Reading (fail) so can’t remember anything I’ve written as I haven’t looked at it since January. But I did come up with something I could do during a short set but as usual on reflection, I don’t think it’s funny and it would involve audience members which would scare me too much. And I have researched open mic places.

I’m struggling to write things to be honest, as said I haven’t really come up with anything for a couple of months. I have a strange writing technique, if you can’t tell I really can’t write anything and most of my comedy is created when I can’t sleep. That time when you’re lying in bed and your mind is racing with idiotic thoughts, for me those thoughts turn into strange rambling stories which I find pretty funny and I drift off to sleep thinking “really hope I can remember that tomorrow”. I never do and then a few days later I’ll suddenly remember it and write it down however, it never seems as funny as when I first thought it up. I can’t decide if this is due to the desperation for sleep making anything funny or my own self-criticism? Due to this I never ever re-read my jokes, once I’ve written them down, they’re never seen again. I do the same when I’m writing an essay: never proof read because if I do I’ll just think “terrible, won’t get anything good from this, why do I bother?” etc.

My second issue with doing this is that I can’t find any open mic nights. I’ve been to one in Reading but it was only musicians going up in a pub. Music is easier at open mic nights; music can play along in the background whilst people can carry on their conversations and the audience can still get a sense of whether it was good or not. However, with comedy, you do need everyone’s full attention otherwise you can’t get a reaction/judge if it’s going well, which means you might as well have stood up in front of teddy bears in your bedroom and lecture at them for 5 minutes. I never know, they may be willing to stop chatting for 5 minutes and listen to someone but I’m not comfortable enough to be the one to test out that theory, if another comic went up first and tried it, then I’d be able to go up after.

I’ve been offered an open mic spot at the Sunday show at Up The Creek in Greenwich as they were the ones who organised Greenwich Comedy Festival, where I did my first show. But it’s an amazing show with top comedians every week. Regulars include: Carl Donnelly, Jon Richardson, Shappi Khorsandi, Pete Firmann, Adam Bloom, Stephen K Amos and Rich Hall etc Imagine if I got put on the same bill as Jon Richardson or Tim Key (who’s been there a couple of times). HA! I’ve already been put on the same bill as Doc Brown, Sara Pascoe and Jarred Christmas and that was hell enough. I would ruin that show for sure. Also it’s late on Sunday and would never get back to Reading for Monday morning. They have started doing a Thursday variety show which I think includes open mic so I might pop down this week and check it out and then if it’s alright I’ll try and get a spot there instead.

I wish I could remember my first gig. It was back in September and I just completely blanked it out. All I remember is getting distracted by two guys in the front who were laughing a lot and really loudly and I kept staring at them thinking “I wish they’d be quiet” until I remembered that was my job. I have spoken to one person who was at that show and she said I was really good but as usual I don’t believe people.

This is longer than I expected it to be.

rx

Monday, 8 March 2010

Good few days for TYSIC

In my previous blog I said that the challenge I was going to start this week was to meet more people in the entertainment business that I admired and liked. As I had tickets to see Derren Brown I thought I should start with him.
I arrived at his show and decided to look for the stage door for after the show which we found very easily. Once his show had finished (which was damn amazing) we hovered around the stage door. A HUGE gathering soon appeared. As there was a around 100 people (I'm bad at estimations but I'm pretty sure it was around that number, I couldn't see the end of the line as it went around a small corner) there was no chance to actually say anything apart "loved the show", but I met him and I haven't met many comedians/entertainers and he was certainly a good man to start with as he was one of the nicest people. Even though he said he wouldn't stop and just carry on signing things so he could get to a dinner reservation, if anyone wanted a photo or wanted to say something to him he happily stopped and chatted to them. I was at the front of the queue so I dread to think how long he was stood out for.


So there's my proof that my first TYSIC was a success. Now lets see if I can carry on meeting people I admire or if I'll soon give up as I worry that I'll come across as I stalkering fangirl.



I decided to get in contact with someone I haven't seen since Dec. We got on really well last term even though we didn't see each other much but we could chat for hours about nonsense. But when the module which we met in finished, we stopped seeing each other/texting so I decided to send one to see if he would reply and he did.

Good few days for me.

rachx

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Well if I hadn't been at work for a large chunk of yesterday I would have posted this when the TYSIC started.

The Ten Year Self Improvement Challenge was set by the wonderful comedian Mark Watson where he asked his fans to set themselves goals which they would battle in the next 10 years and we will all finish on 4th March 2020.

I have set myself some short and long goals for this challenge.:

The short ones include:

Play more music.

Set up comedy society.

Don't be obsessed with saving every single penny.

Do a 2nd/3rd/4th/etc stand up show.

Talk to more people I admire in the comedy bizz.


My Longer ones include

Travel (trying to get to every continent except Antartica)

Be in a strong relationship.

Get a good circle of friends.

Finish my degree and get into UCL for postgrad.

My main one is to get more confident in life. I never do what I want to do as I constantly fret about people not liking me, the risk of failure, always having to think everything through hundreds of times etc etc.

So with this one I want to talk to people I haven't seen in a while, be able to talk on the phone, don't worry if i have a night in, do more things where I'm likely to fail, don't worry what everyone thinks of you and stop thinking that I'm worthless.


Mark's set us a challenge for this week where he wants us to get about doing one of our items.

So my challenge this week:

I'm going to talk to someone I admire.

I'm off to see Derren Brown tomorrow so I am determined to wait around after and have a mini chat with him. Fuck knows what I'm going to say to him. I always want to meet comedians/entertainers I like but never bother as I always think "why the hell would they care what I have to say to them".

So this mini-challenge will also incorporate my wish to get more confident and not worry what other people think.

When I meet comedians I always worry that people will think I'm a fangirl, this was due to when I meet the boosh a couple of people had a go at me for it because I asked for a picture. Which apparently is an awful thing to do when these fans kept talking to them when they were chatting to their own friends. (words really affect me and are largely responsible for who I am today).


One other thing I did today was delete all my previous posts, they were just too depressing and I don't want reminders of that.


Best of luck to everyone else taking part in TYSIC

Rachel.


(P.S. I would link to Mark's fansite and blog but that is too technical for me)