Flight of the Conchords – London 2018

Last weekend had all the makings of a disaster.

I’ll take you back to October 2017.  Flight of the Conchords had just announced a UK tour – their first since we saw them in 2010.  The day the tickets went on sale, Ticketmaster revealed itself to be the truly awful garbage company it is, and we very nearly didn’t get tickets but thank goodness for random internet clicking and an extra date being announced.  A gif party ensued in the group chat.

About two weeks before the gig, it was postponed – poor Bret McKenzie had fallen down some stairs and broken his hand.  They rescheduled to June, which unfortunately ruled out two people from our group of 5 – boo!

June came around, bones were still in tact, new people were added to our party – all seemed fine.  Well, except the fairly major crisis that happened at work which meant I couldn’t get the day off, I had a stressful train ride into London, an even more stressful tube ride over to the O2, and then a tense wait outside the venue for the 5th person to arrive (late).  I genuinely wasn’t looking forward to the gig.  At all.

Thank god I didn’t give up because the gig was AMAZING (sorry Ryan).

As I sat with Husband, Tim, and two of Husband’s people waiting for Bret and Jermaine to come on stage, I really couldn’t imagine how this gig would work in the objectively too big O2 Arena.  How could New Zealand’s fourth most popular duo possibly fill the stage without losing their down to earth, self-deprecating vibe?

Quite brilliantly as it turns out.  There were no flashy sets, no costume changes – just two guys with their instruments (sometimes with a third guy – Nigel, the “New Zealand Symphony Orchestra”), and fantastic camera work which picked up on every subtlety that happened between the two of them, like Jermaine’s blank face during the middle of Foux Du Fafa.

Terrible photo as my phone isn’t that great, but we had good seats.  Would have been nicer to have been closer, but we were lucky to get tickets at all so I can’t complain too much!

Surprisingly, there were a lot of new songs, including a song about Deana from HR and Ian from Accounting which made me howl with laughter.  Some people were disappointed that classics like Business Time were left out, but the new stuff was just as catchy.  One of the songs had a truly insane recorder solo and I would have hated to have missed out on that.  Even the old classics seemed better, like the mash-up of Mother Uckers and Hurt Feelings where I suddenly realised that Bret’s voice is phenomenal.

Towards the end of the show, Jermaine started to get frustrated with someone who kept yelling for them to play Jenny, a song I don’t really remember (and apparently, the band don’t remember it well either).  I don’t know if this was part of the act or if he genuinely was getting irritated, but I laughed so much as Bret chastised him for his anger.  The badinage between the two of them was as hilarious as ever, with conversations about how Jermaine is Captain Fun, the time they both got stuck in a lift, and how their cushions kept falling of their seats.  There was even a good old Brexit reference (Bret-xit and Jermainers) and a bit of sarcasm on the Millennium Dome which made me lol as that’s what I still call The O2.

I can’t say I’d be keen to go back to The O2 again, but I am so happy to have seen FOTC again.  I really need a live album now – I think a HBO special is on its way – and I’ve had the whole set list stuck in my head since the gig.  As we battled through the tube crowds to get to our hotel in the City of London, I realised with joy that I had captured my favourite song moment from The Humans Are dead on my phone:

Binary solo!
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You are applauding the unravelling of a man’s mind

Greenwich Comedy Fesitval

I’ve had a very funny weekend. Fortunately, it was intentionally funny, starting with Bill Bailey on Friday night. The tickets found their way into my possession very last minute and completely by chance, but I am so glad we said yes because Bill was hilarious. So hilarious that the woman sat next to me couldn’t control herself.

He was playing at the Princes Hall in Aldershot – not a venue I’m familiar with despite the fact it’s about 10 minutes away from my house. The best thing about this was the fact it was local – Bill started off asking whether Aldershot had recently gone through some kind of nuclear accident, and then mocked a story in the local paper. Within 10 minutes, I had cried my eye make-up off.

It was listed as a warm-up gig, however it was a solid two hours of brilliant absurdity – it felt like a ‘proper’ gig. He skipped from subject to subject, from almost killing his father-in-law in Norway to Skyping in Estonia, peppered with his trademark songs.

And with it being so nearby, we were home in time for an early night, ready for more comedy the following day at the Greenwich Comedy Festival.

Greenwich Comedy Fesitval2The comedy festival market has been seriously lacking since Laughs in the Parks folded a few years ago (I say this with no evidence, other than I haven’t seen a festival lately…). We had tickets for Saturday afternoon, but the festival itself ran for 5 days in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum, conveniently on the same road as Tim who we collected on the way from North Greenwich station.

Husband and I headed straight for the food stalls as we were starving, ignoring the demands to “GET A MAGNERS NOW” – we feasted on venison burger and really nice chips (they were frustratingly out of sweet potato fries. Middle class problems). The tent itself was oddly dark and initially insanely warm. I felt quite bad for not listening to the first two acts – compere John Robins and Richard Herring – as the heat was making me feel so sleepy.

Both John and Richard seemed to talk about genitals in quite a bit of detail, but I was amused by Richard’s exponential mathematic problems. It was perhaps a little too early for Richard’s brand of comedy but it did make me giggle.

Sara Pascoe was up next, and I LOVED HER. Her comedy ticked all of my boxes, especially equating people telling her to have a baby to her telling them they should go on QI (“you should really go on QI before it’s too late and they stop showing it”). I definitely want to see in her own show. I also knew where she got her dress and shoes from – she is me, in comedian form.

Greenwich Comedy Festival3

Finally, Adam Buxton bounded on stage (although we had already seen him setting up his laptop, which I was mesmerised by). I haven’t seen Adam doing his stand-up for a while, and he has a noticeably different energy to when we see him at the BFI. Most of the things were saw were new to us, so that was a bonus. His videos, keynote presentations, and YouTube comments were insanely haphazard. I love Dr Buckles.

The festival itself could have done with a touch less branding. It was bordering on the ridiculous and needed to be dialled down a bit. It was a very pleasant afternoon though, and I’m sad I didn’t see more acts. Maybe next year. If it doesn’t go under like Laughs in the Park.

Stop your ginger nonsense

Odeon GreenwichA couple of years ago, Tim introduced me to a great birthday tradition – the Birthday Bonanza.  His greatest Bonanzas go on for weeks, but mine tend to last for three days, the first of which was this Thursday evening up on the Greenwich Peninsula.

I wanted to see Trainwreck and knew Husband didn’t have much of an interest so demanded Tim accompany me.  Despite the fact it only came out a couple of weeks ago, London had all but given up on screenings, but we found a couple of 6.30 showings in Greenwich.  Coincidentally Tim’s local area so I got a lovely guided tour of the mismatched apartment blocks on the way to the circular Odeon.

Armed with my NUS card (perk of the job), I marched my way in, spotting that I could get discount on popcorn and soda.  This unfortunately got me into an argument with the sales assistant who seemed horrified at the thought of giving me – clearly not a teenage girl – student discount on food.  After stomping off to speak to her manager, she conceded, even more so when the advert behind her flipped around to show the actual offer.  Mardy does not begin to describe it.

Odeon weren’t on to a great start with us, and things didn’t improve when a big chuck of the screen was obscured.  Good job Trainwreck doesn’t have subtitles.  And they left the door open which is one of my cinema pet hates.  Cute theatre though – three rows of seats, and everyone seemed really into the film.

On the subject of the film, I loved it.  Admittedly, we were counting instances of racism and homophobia (8 mentions each) and some of it was stomach-wrenchingly gross (John Cena’s naked body – I’m talking about you) but it made me cry with laughter.  I love Amy Schumer and Bill Hader anyway, but the two of them together were hilarious.

And Tilda Swinton.  WOW.  I love how she plays a normal woman, and yet she looks so unsettling.  I love this quote from her:

Yes, the Tandoori tan. That’s probably the most heavily disguised I’ve ever been, in my life. Forget The Grand Budapest Hotel or Snowpiercer. And yet, there are women walking around the streets right now, looking like that. It’s a desired look, apparently. It was great fun.

She’s an absolute goddess.

There were a few sports references that went over my head, but maybe that was put in to appeal to the males – I didn’t get those bits.  I did love the insane amount of cameos from comedians and actors that I knew from all over the place.  I really want to see it again, if only to memorise the dance sequence.  Any film that ends with a dance sequence is a winner.

Ceylon PlaceAfter the film, I managed to not get in any other arguments with the staff and we wandered back to North Greenwich tube, stopping to admire this row of 8 houses in the middle of nowhere.  As I have since discovered, Ceylon Place is a row of 200 year old worker cottages, and features in the Blur video for Parklife – I want to live there.  There’s something about a uniform row of houses that really appeals to me.

After a quick stop off for some Five Guys fries, and a glimpse of the fireworks off in the distance for the Tall Ships Festival, it was time for me to get back on the tube.  Before I went, Tim gave me my birthday presents – Whip It by Shauna Cross, a pristine copy of the Adam and Joe book, and a print of Nancy from The Craft by my tattooist, Jessi James.  All of which I LOVE.

Day one of the Bonanza – 5/5, would recommend.

Let the seasons turn

River Thames

In the bright spring sunshine, I took a drive to see my BFF’s brand new amazing digs in south London.  I donated a vintage Poang (yes, vintage), had a nosey around, poured a bucket of scorn on his bookshelf organisation, and we then went for a wander to explore his new neighbourhood.

And I love his new neighbourhood – I’ve always said that I couldn’t live in London, but some of the wharfs along the thames are stunningly beautiful.  I could quite happily while away the hours on my own balcony watching the boats go passed.

We stopped for lunch at the amazing Greenwich Union pub – I want this as my local!

Greenwich Union

Next up, was an incredibly stressful ice cream ordering experience at Black Vanilla.  Beautiful ice cream, but the tension levels were high in that shop!

Black Vanilla

We walked a little further along the river up to the statue of Peter the Great, where I fell in love with some more apartments and Tim stared a small statue in the face.

St Peter

We then went back to Tim’s and amused ourselves by watching emergency vehicles trying to get through traffic.  It’s really addictive – I had to drag myself away!

Greenwich

I got home and immediately loaded up Right Move to find and find myself an apartment with a view – I found a really nice one in Wapping but it is currently on the market for £6.5 million, so I might need to save up for a bit.