Today the lady and I saw Mark Thomas doing stand-up in Manchester. I spoke to someone recently who knows him and the following quote sums it up quite well, "he's a nice bloke but some of his stuff is a bit worthy". There's a good short description of the gig.
He bounded onstage, looking a lot younger and healthier than I'd expected*. His delivery was very enthusiastic and you could see that he had underlined skills as a comedian. Part of me wondered what it would be like to see him doing some bog standard relationship material. Just cracking a few jokes about, you know, the hilarious situations life put us all in. Or whatever. It'd just be interesting to see if he was any good at it.
The main reason I say this is that I felt with quite a few of the "laughs" there was a strong sense that the audience just wanted it to be funny. It was interesting, above everything else. I would have preferred less "laughs" though. That's not to say that the funny bits weren't funny, it's just that there's a natural rhythm to a stand up set which requires laugh points every so often and I'd rather he neglected that. The pattern of DOT-DOT-DOT-LAUGH needn't be there, so to speak.
Re-reading all this it looks like I hated the gig. I didn't I enjoyed it. It was a good gig. It's just lefties. I get irritated by lefties. I like them but, you know, from a distance. He mentioned Brian Haw during the show, he's a classic example of a leftie. I like Brian Haw in that I support what he's doing, his right to do it and I admire his courage and conviction. However, I wouldn't like to hang out with the bloke. He'd annoy me. Lefties are a bit too smug. That's all.
I also became mildly irritated by the audience who all looked like trendy lefties. I can't stand being in a room of political or ideological consensus. It irritates the sophist in me. I've got this awful drive to disagree with the majority that I've never managed to control. As a consequence the following conversation took place between me and my girlfriend:
Me, in a loud voice that I hope other people can hear: "I think I'm going to vote Tory at the next election".
My girlfriend: "Eh? Where's this come from?"
Me, even louder: "I just think the Tory party are the ones who really care about this country!"
My girlfriend: "I thought you didn't vote?"
I couldn't resist. I could see the long haired bearded bloke in front of me twitching as I shouted out my casual conversation. Why do I do things like that? I've never worked it out.
Oddly though it did get me thinking of a book my Mother is trying to get me to read called "What is Left" by Nick Cohen. It's a great book about how "the left" have lost their way. What I've read of it was brutally true and sums up the politically disenfranchised generation I belong to. I voted for Blair, once, and I want my vote back. I'll never vote again, ever.
*What with him being a lefty I'd imagined he'd smoke pot like a chimney and have all the physical characteristics of someone like that. See, I really am a prejudiced Tory.