January 2018 Things

Husband persuaded me to use some of my precious leave for the first week of January so I had a very quiet start to 2018.  Still managed a couple of things to get me out of the house though!

Celtic Manor – again
The Celtic Manor has rapidly become our hotel of choice for last minute breaks.  We managed to fit in afternoon tea and I had an incredibly relaxing Elemis facial where I managed to suppress my ongoing cough for a whole hour.  I was quite impressed with myself.  On the way home from Cardiff, we managed to fit in a visit to the McArthur Glen Outlet in Swindon (of course) but also Ikea – it was a breeze as everyone else had gone back to work.

Everyman Esher
I love an Everyman.  When Husband demands I see a Star Wars or a Bond with him, I will only go if he can promise it’s going to be an Everyman.  Esher is our fifth different branch – to be honest, it’s not really that close to us, but we felt like a change and couldn’t be bothered to go all the way into London.  We had an excellent hot dog and fries, I bought a bucket of popcorn, and we settled into the sofa in their beautiful art deco screen.  I was a little worried as there were a bunch of children scattered around the auditorium, but Husband actually enjoyed listening to their animated chatter about his favourite franchise.

As for the film – eh, it was ok.

Sara Pascoe – LadsLadsLads
I love her.

Network at the National Theatre
An astonishing piece of work which I have yet to write about (I need to get on that).

Coffee and fries in Brighton
Someone in my team went to Brighton for the weekend and I recommended she visit BeFries because it’s just the best.  I told Husband that we were talking about those beautiful Belgian fries at work, and the next thing I knew, we’d booked a weekend away at The Grand.

An entire weekend break just to eat fries.  I can’t think of a better reason.

Sara Pascoe – LadsLadsLads

On Friday, I dragged myself out of my self-imposed winter hibernation for a trip into London.  On the agenda – dinner, Sara Pascoe at the Wyndhams Theatre, and light installations.

This is the third time I’ve seen Sara, and further continuation of realising how much I identify with her which I first realised after seeing her in 2016.  Admittedly there was slightly less for me to hook into in LadsLadsLads as the show started with the break-up of her last relationship but there was still plenty of “THAT’S ME!” moments even down to her pre-gig/interval music which was basically my Spotify playlist).

There was such an intimacy to her show which I can imagine some people would feel uncomfortable with, and there was certainly some awkward laughter from some of the audience.  At one point, she said there was only two reasons to stand up in front of people – if you make them laugh, that’s comedy but if you don’t, it’s a TED talk but I really felt like Sara’s show was both – when she wasn’t offering funny insights, she was giving us thoughtful comments, all interwoven into a story with multiple call backs.  I adore a comedian that gives me a fully-fleshed story alongside the giggles.

I also want to commend her spectacular heckler management.  I despise idiots who make unsolicited noises in gigs whether positive or negative, and I cringed every time this idiot woman whooped.  It’s so selfish and I will never understand it.  Sara has perfected the art of a perfect withering look though.

An interesting angle for me (and probably loads of others as well), is that I’ll be hearing the other side of the break-up when I see her ex-boyfriend in a couple of weeks.  Based on the fact that I almost cried on a number of occasions in Sara’s set, I’m already preparing myself emotionally for that.

After the show, Tim and I searched out some light installations from Lumiere London.  I’ve missed it on previous years, and only saw a small bit of this year but it’s better than nothing!  We down the South Bank and saw OSC-L, Light on Their Feet, and possibly others too but my favourite was Vertigo by Danish Company The Wave.

I didn’t have my camera on me so all my shots are appalling, but I loved walking through the triangular tunnel.  It’s a real shame Lumiere is only on for the weekend as it would have been great to see it in daylight as well.

Woman on top, man on death row

Sara PascoeLast year, I saw Sara Pascoe at the Greenwich comedy festival and said that “I definitely want to see in her own show”.  As it happens, tickets to her Animal tour went on sale shortly after the festival, and I snapped up a pair for the first night of the tour at the West End Centre in Aldershot (where we’d seen Paul Foot a couple of years ago).  

In the time between the festival and now, I have fallen for her a little more.  She became a patron of the British Humanist Association which is always a good sign and made me inordinately happy.  She published her first book which I devoured, photographing paragraphs of it and sending it to Husband annotated with lots of “THIS IS ME!!!!” comments.  The book wasn’t quite what I expected which made me love Sara even more – instead of a standard autobiography, she had interwoven her own anecdotes with science, society, and psychology with a feminist edge.  It was incredibly engaging.

With her book fresh in my mind, I was a little worried that her stand-up would go over that content but it was a mixture.  Actually, it if had have been a repeat of the book, I would still have loved it as she is so genuinely funny.  She talked about her relationships, living in south east London, and about trying to be a nice person.

There were so many things that I recognised in myself that I was constantly nudging Husband – the equivalent of sending him photos of her book.  Her hatred of selfies (“the narcissism of being in a photo and only trusting yourself to take it”) and Jason Donovan being her first love aged 8 being two of the things which I identified with.

After the gig, she very kindly signed books – this is yet another reason why I hate myself for being a Kindle reader as I couldn’t ask her to sign that, so I had to buy a second copy of the book.  We chatted about being the same age – she very kindly said she thought I look younger that her, which I am by three months and we agreed that those extra three months gave her such worldly experience that she was able to patronise me a little.  And I was able to tell her how much of her book resonated with me.  Husband told me afterwards that I came across a little dorky, but I don’t care because I LOVE HER.

She ended her set by telling us that she wants to be Prime Minister, and with the words “Everything’s going to be ok, thanks to Prime Minister Sara Pascoe”.  She has my vote.

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.