Gemma and I, along with Sarah and her brother, went to see Richard Herring perform his Christ On A Bike show this week at The Library.
I had reason to think we should not choose a seat on the front row, but when we went went upstairs the place was packed. I'm sure they squeeze in more and more chairs every time we come back. Of course the only four seats to be had were indeed on the front row, situated approximately eight inches from the stage.
Shortly, Richard took to the stage and immediately commenced the show. I noticed the cramped stage allowed no room for his exercise bike (used as a prop in his bike race with Jesus); a projector screen took up one-third of the stage.
My favourite bits was the deconstruction of the genealogy at the start of the New Testament, and the reading of one of the increasing number of correspondence he has received denouncing the show from a usually friendly Christian.
I was sat directly in front of where Richard stood and as I feared I was singled out as the doubting Thomas during the readings of his hilarious childhood stories (The Man That Could Fly, The Man Who Was Never Born, and of course the classic The Four Men Had A Fiht (sic) With The Men Of Phise).
I was also the stooge for his 'come with me and I will make you the <insert job title> of men', where he asks what you do for a living then crowbars this into the famous Jesus 'quote'. Of course the job given doesn't always fit, and this came to pass when I confirmed I worked in a complaints department at a bank. Which I do, sort of. Also, he chose to call me Trevor on account Jesus' supposed insistence on calling Peter the Apostle 'Simon'. He mused this might have been a Rodney / Dave style mix-up.
Richard's Twitter feedback suggested he thought that the audience was subdued and that this was a common response from a Library crowd, but he balanced this with confirmation that he had received many Tweets from audience members confirming the show was funny, intelligent and very enjoyable.
We've started watching the new episodes of Alan Partridge last night (via Gemma's iPhone, of all things). Busy Steve Coogan (we're also watching The Trip) reprises his role as the eponymous DJ, now working for North Norfolk Digital, with Tim Key as his sidekick. I'm pleased to note Armando Iannucci's involvement in the project.
The first episode seemed pretty solid. Alan is just as cringeworthy as ever, and is found delighting in this zany new 'zoo' format. I was reminded of the infamous and curtailed interview between Les Ross, who as resident breakfast presenter on Birmingham's BRMB I grew up with, and Hardeep Singh Kohli:
This intimate outing is part of a national tour, the premise for which was born out of Robin's love for charity shops. He gets to see a lot of these on his travels, and seems to happen across some of the strangest and bizarre books ever to be written and printed, which he collects. Minority subjects, weird horrors about giant crabs, badly-written, yet overly-detailed Mills and Boons, guides, manuals and pamphlets all receive a sarcastic analysis.
The audience is involved, being invited to guess the top recommendation for where to take a first-date, or to spot an unwelcome visitor in a double-page spread. I laughed and sucked a strawberry milkshake.
If you get a chance to see the show, snatch at that chance with all available limbs.
In the twisted words of the famous song, I pretty much like cricket, I wouldn't go as far as saying I love it. Certainly, I don't enthuse and lust after it as much as Andy Zaltzman, one of the halves of the mighty fine Bugle podcast.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed reading his twin-posts on his Confectionery Stall blog, which use naked statistics (another subject I like) to first prove why the England cricket team will win this year's Ashes tournament, then why they will lose.
Last week was another week working away in London. Don't feel sorry for me - it was totally voluntary and I enjoyed the change. But I was again glad to get back on Friday.
This time I resolved to see a couple of friends and break out of the routine of going for drinks with colleagues after eating in the hotel every night. And I started immediately by meeting up with Dan and Camille on Monday night. After having a drink, we plunged into the hot Leicester Square Theatre to see As It Occurs To Me, Richard Herring's stand-up podcast which is written about his week on the day of performance.
The show is amazing value - Richard does 40 minutes of stand-up as a warm-up (during which I needed the biggest wee - not good when you are laughing), then the main show lasted around one hour. As it is put together at the very last minute, there is a great sense of freedom in the script and deviations and ad-libs seemed common (and were funny - especially co-performer Emma Kennedy's diversions). Once again Dan plucked up the courage to chip in; when asked what the audience made of the England football team's performance in their game over the previous weekend, he offered a one-word review: 'Abysmal'. Richard asked for some elaboration, but Dan could offer no more. I am certain he felt that his point had been made.
From Wednesday, we enjoyed a football induced (but thankfully not football related) dress down day for the rest of the week. This was a welcome relief in the increasingly warm weather that was beating down on London. On the Thursday I met up with Sarah on the South Bank, for some food and drink and to reminisce about our days in Bristol. We also failed to find an Ice Sculpture, and walked right passed Daniel Kitson.
There was some obligation to hang out with my colleagues, and we did this on the intervening days. I like putting faces to names, and have met a couple of people from different offices on previous occasions. But I am getting old now, and was happy to get the last tube back to the hotel instead of staying out into and beyond the small hours. Also, one of the others seemed proud to announce himself to be homophobic and racist, and seemed both to be satisfied that his excuse this was because he from South Africa was valid, and that there was no irony in his position as an immigrant to this county.
As before, I enjoyed my week but I was glad to head north on Friday afternoon.