Monday, 28 May 2007

Darfur

I am taking part in a charity comedy event on Friday 8th June, at the Keble O'Reilly Theatre in Oxford. It is to raise money for Darfur.

Herewith a promo video, by the brilliant Charlie.

UPDATE: Show starts at 8pm!

Electric Mouse

Just a quick reminder that I am performing at the Red Lion, opposite Big Ben, on Tuesday night (29th May).

Doors open at 7pm, and the show starts between 7:45pm and 8:00pm.

It would be lovely to see you there. I should warn you that I may need to leave quite smartly after my set.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Breaking Up Is Sometimes Easy

That’s her told.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Cherwell

Golly. Reviews don’t get much better than this.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

The Whole of the Moon

The Waterboys

(Mike Scott)

I pictured a rainbow
you held it in your hands

I had flashes
but you saw the plan

I wandered out in the world for years
while you just stayed in your room

I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon

You were there in the turnstiles
with the wind at your heels

You stretched for the stars
and you know how it feels

To reach too high
too far
too soon

You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
while you filled the skies

I was dumbfounded by truth
you cut through lies

I saw the rain dirty valley
you saw Brigadoon

I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
you just flew

I wondered I guessed and I tried
you just knew

I sighed...but you swooned!
I saw the crescent


You saw the whole of the moon

With a torch in your pocket
and the wind at your heels

You climbed on the ladder
and you know how it feels

To get too high
too far
too soon

You saw the whole of the moon

The whole of the moon!

Unicorns and cannonballs
palaces and piers

Trumpets towers and tenements
wide oceans full of tears

Flags rags ferryboats
scimitars and scarves

Every precious dream and vision
underneath the stars

You climbed on the ladder
with the wind in your sails

You came like comet
blazing your trail

Too high
too far
too soon

You saw the whole of the moon

Electric Mouse

Herewith some splendid acts coming up at Electric Mouse, Baker Street.

Monday 11th June - Mac McFadden supporting Chris McCausland

Monday 9th July - Paul F Taylor supporting Mark Watson

Monday 23rd July - Ginger & Black supporting Rhod Gilbert


I’m on at the Red Lion again on Tuesday 29th May.

I managed to keep to my resolution to improvise more the other day in Oxford, and despite a very quiet crowd, had another good set.

Back Once Again

Sorry for the recent lack of posts.

I watched the European Cup Final last night. I enjoyed a good game of football, albeit that it was disappointing that Liverpool lost (I tend to want English teams to win in Europe). However, it helped cement my increasingly firm view that football fans are idiots.

The importance they invest in the result, the impact it has on their self-esteem, the extent to which they fail to pursue other interests, the sheer banality of their observations - all of these I have to come to find contemptible.

Most absurd of all is when they admonish players for underperforming. First of all, you prat, he can’t hear you. Second of all, he has reached a degree of athletic ability that is light years ahead of what you can manage. And the chances are that he is vastly more dedicated to his job than you are to yours. Mind you, I wouldn’t put much effort in if I worked as a shelf stacker in a factory either.

I want Oxford United to do well. But it doesn’t ruin my day when they don’t. This is as it should be - I don’t know any of the players, I’ve not played for the club, and these days they’re so bad that caring excessively would be seriously damaging to one’s health.

Having said all that, it is absolutely intolerable to miss an important game, and no-one should expect you to do so, in whole or part. And no, we do not want to talk to you during the match (unless you’re there with us), and no, we can’t leave or switch off before the end.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

On Competition

I have a comment on Conservative Home today. I’m Tom Greeves, for those of you who don’t know. (Does ANYONE I don’t know personally read my blog?! Please email me if so.)

Monday, 14 May 2007

Videosyncratic

Very near my flat is a gem of a shop. It’s called Videosyncratic, and is one of two independently owned video and DVD rental stores in Oxford. ‘Mine’ is in Summertown; the other is on the Cowley Road.

When I was scoping out the area in advance of making a decision about whether to take my current flat, I was much heartened to see the shop. I love watching films, and it was nice to think that I’d be able to pop in every once in a while to get something for my evening’s viewing. Little did I imagine just how much pleasure I’d get out of the place, however.

Videosyncratic has a terrific range of movies and TV series. They have the latest releases, but also foreign films, classics, little known indies, documentaries, stand-up comedy and loads of other goodies. One of the reasons I haven’t bothered to buy a TV is that on any given night that I’m in, I’d rather check something out of Videosyncratic.

It’s a small world when you’re part of the middle class intelligentsia, and I’ve got to know Jon, who owns the shops, through mutual friends. He has a website for the company, which also links to a blog. There Jon vents his spleen. It’s great to know someone with such passion. Jon has already expressed, in person, his profound disgust and deep disappointment that I a) was underwhelmed by Arrested Development and b) enjoyed Garden State.

At least I can claim that my horizons are broadening. I have met a lot of creative people through doing stand-up, and it has encouraged me to take a greater and more diverse interest in music and film. Videosyncratic has played a key role in that – as I write I am listening to The Waifs, at the recommendation of Laura, who works in the Summertown store. And I’ve seen a great deal of splendid stuff that I’d never have caught otherwise thanks to that magical little shop too.

Given my political views, I’m sometimes surprised that I have become an alternative comedian. I’m similarly surprised to find myself the champion of an independent store. And yet there’s actually no conflict there. Such places have an important role in the lives of anyone with fine taste (and those who liked Garden State). It’s increasingly hard, and by no means always for the right reasons (illegal downloads are not a good thing), but I hope they can always thrive.

Free Your Mind, And The Rest Will Follow

I compered at the Ministry of Mirth last night, and once again did basically no preparation.

It's incredibly liberating, and I - and the audience - had a lot of fun. At least the audience SEEMED to have a lot of fun - if they laugh consistently throughout, you have to assume something is going right.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Executive Decisions

I’m not sure I like the look of this.

I thought Gordon Brown had already committed to this anyway. But actually he was talking about war, not all troop deployment.

Gordon Brown

I’ll tell you something. Gordon Brown is going to be a formidable opponent. If you doubt me, take a look at the interview that can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

The Force Will Be With You, Always

Last night was a solid gold success with extra gold plating. I felt utterly liberated, and at least three quarters of my set was improvised. It was so much more fun to do it that way, and I really feel it was a watershed.

Al Pitcher is very good and very good news too.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Use The Force, Tom

Silky and Alistair were fabulous tonight, as I knew they would be. Given that I owe Silky a great deal for setting me out on the comedy road, it’s a major relief that he is genuinely one of my very favourite comics. How ghastly it would be if he was SHHHHHIT. I try to make myself get offended by Alistair’s political rants, and the bugger always goes and spoils it all by being funny.

The chaps were magnificent in the face of having no amplifier for ten minutes too. Silky always looks utterly at home on stage, which is not to say he voids his bowels or falls asleep on it. (I suppose he might conceivably do the former without us knowing.)

I was really fed up about comedy today, even though it was a lovely Sunday - spent as it was with Paul, Silvia, Penny, Martin, Jamie, Oliver, Pep, Joyce, Richard and Julia (these are friends with whom I went to lunch and ten pin bowling; I wasn’t on some orgiastic rollercoaster ride). I just haven’t felt comfortable about my comedy in recent weeks – I can’t get that bloody balance between preparation and spontaneity right.

At recent gigs I’ve done a really good opening three minutes (often with quite a lot of ad libbing), then trudged through some material whilst forgetting all my other stuff. This state of affairs has come, I think, from drilling what was supposed to be the stuff for that night into my brain. Yet even the material I’d planned to use hasn’t been fully on tap. Simply put, I have locked my brain.

I won’t go on about this – I’ve already written about it too much, and the time has come for truly decisive action. Tomorrow night (now tonight) at the Free Beer Show is the time.

I am compering, which is the perfect opportunity to ad lib. I think I might just risk it on one turn of pitch and toss, and get myself in a Zen mood. I'll just go on stage with a big grin, and see what happens.

That is MUCH the way I WANT to do it (well crafted sets are a joy to behold, but for me the greater pleasure is to be spontaneous). I can still use material that I have written in the past, but I HOPE that it will be more organic. My mind has frozen on stage when I've tried to remember the order and content of my set, and I've resorted to my oldest stuff, which I hate doing. I hope that if I'm more Zen, ALL my material will potentially be at my disposal, but that I can ad lib too.

Michael Beloff QC once told me and some fellow debaters that we all talked too fast – ‘some of you speak too fast, and some of you speak far too fast’. I need to heed that advice on stage. There’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to think. If you have the crowd, you won’t lose them by pausing for breath. (I hope.)

So, like Luke Skywalker in the original (and possibly the best) Star Wars, I will listen to Ben Obi Wan Kenobi, take my hands off the X Wing fighter controls and use the Force to guide me. Luke destroyed the Death Star, hopefully I will hit the comedy bullseye again and again.

PLEASE wish me luck! Even you Cumbus; I don’t want to go down in flames. Can I be Luke please?

Sunday, 6 May 2007

One Of Those Nights

Ugh. I had a disappointing gig last night.

It was at Keble College, for their Summer Ball. It was tough as there was loud music being played in the adjacent marquee, and also people were milling around. I never got any momentum going, and fell back on my oldest material (which I hate doing).

I'm having just the tiniest of crises of confidence right now. I just can't seem to get a good balance between preparation and spontaneity. This could come to a head tomorrow, as I am compering at the Free Beer Show. I've been there a lot recently, so I have to scrabble around for new material.

I'm seeing two of the best - Silky and Alistair Barrie - strut their stuff tonight. I hope it's inspiring rather than depressing!
Web Site Counter
Best Buy