Thursday, 30 July 2009

Me And Jon Have Done Got It On (In Debate)

I'm in the middle of a public debate with my friend Jon. Here's a link.

Oh, and happy birthday Governor Schwarzenegger.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

If Music Was The Food Of Love, I'd Be A Fat Romantic Slob

I'm listening to some Del Amitri as I type this. They're a cracking band, though much-maligned by my first year room-mate at Oxford. This often happens when a singer doesn't simply scream his lyrics over three or four chords belted out at eardrum shattering levels and has the temerity to employ sophisticated lyrics.
I'm struck sometimes by a sad thought. Throughout school and university I didn't really share music with people. There were some folkie types at school, but I wasn't really in with them, and most of the lads were either rappers or heavy metallers - in a vastly watered down and crap version of the old mods and rockers divide.
Everything began for me musically when Mum lent me a Simon & Garfunkel cassette. Within the first few bars of I Am a Rock my tastes had been influenced forever. A couple of years later my music teacher decided that a jolly good way to spend the lesson would be to watch a James Taylor concert. She was right.
I love music. But it's been a pretty solitary pursuit. I didn't often swap records with friends or make loads of mix tapes. And because I was rarely in charge of the stereo when we got together, the artists I love haven't exactly provided the soundtrack of my life.
This phenomenon has continued. I went to see Deacon Blue in late 2007 by myself. I don't go to many gigs, as my friends and I aren't excited by the same bands and so I'm rarely prompted by someone else.
There are exceptions. My friend James and I have incredibly similar tastes, and we've shared stuff (online, inevitably, rather than the old(er) fashioned way). And music is a lovely bond between me and my Mum.
I'm slowly getting to know some excellent musicians in Oxford through a mutual friend, and that has also led me to the work of Frank Turner. He has leapt with indecent haste into the Premier League of my favourite musicians.
People often overestimate how awful it is when a stand-up comedy gig doesn't work. (Mostly we just brush ourselves down and wait for the next one.) But it is pretty grim when we screw up in front of friends, family or people we admire. I don't think I'll get over dying in front of Frank and the guys until they've seen me take the roof off a room. Which will likely have to wait until I'm on TV, as I can't bring myself to invite them back to another gig.
It really has nothing to do with being starstruck - a decade in politics have immunised me against the notion that famous people are a different breed - and everything to do with a perfectly healthy desire to be respected for your work by people that you in turn respect. I hate the fact that some good friends have only seen me be crap on stage.
Anyway, back to music. I'm not bleating. It's good to be a self-starter, and I need to make more effort to introduce my friends to the stuff I love and know to be great, instead of expecting the traffic to come entirely the other way.
I'll do that here. I'm no critic - I am straightforwardly uninterested in art that I don't like - life is too short to endlessly seek pleasure in putting the boot in. Anyway, I'm not a commentator, I'm a star. But I do like writing about things I do like.
I wonder what kind of music the future Mrs Greeves is into. Not rap, that's for sure.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

CentreRight post

I have posted on ConservativeHome's CentreRight page today, on the subject of youth in politics.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Footage From The Poshcast

Here is some video footage from the other day's recording of the first Poshcast. Thanks to Karunya Keshav for shooting it.

James Sherwood Show Dates

James Sherwood opened at my first ever gig. We haven't worked together since, but I've seen him several times and he's great.

Herewith a list of some Edinburgh preview shows he's doing. At a fiver a pop, they are excellent value.

Monday 20th July, The Dog House, 293 Kennington Road SE11 4NH

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm.

Double bill with ‘Stephen Carlin blows the lid off the whole filthy business'

Monday 27th July, venue to be confirmed

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm

Double bill with ‘Elis James – The most cautious little boy in Wales’

Monday 3rd August, The Dog House, 293 Kennington Road SE11 4NH

Doors open 7.30pm, show starts 8pm.

Double bill with ‘Kent Valentine – How to love everyone (even the arseholes)’

Back On Sky News

The good people at Sky News were kind enough to invite me back on Friday. Here is a link to my interview.
My driver (yes, really) was delayed and so I made it to the studio in the nick of time. No time for the loo, made up as I was fitted with a mic and straight on air. Rock and roll.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Viva Italia!

I have just returned from Pescara in Italy, where I attended the marriage of my dear friends Paul and Silvia. I couldn't have liked it more.*
First of all the company was top rate - a perfect combination of my oldest friends, some more recent but nonetheless firm friends and meeting interesting people for the first time. We enjoyed a variety of activities including drinking and eating, playing volleyball, lounging on the beach and swimming in the sea.
And of course it was life-enhancing to be a part of the ceremony itself. This took place in a ludicrously beautiful church (which I believe may have been seized from pagans several centuries ago). The priest thoughtfully suggested that someone translate on behalf of the non-Italian speakers, which was typical of the uniformly warm welcome we received.
A personal highlight was when Mark indicated that he would be congratulating his brother the Italian way - with a kiss on each cheek. Knowing what was coming did nothing to dampen down the effect. Far from being anti-climatic, it was every bit as fabulous as I had hoped. Paul - who is accurately described by Mark as inhabiting the mindset of a 1950s northerner - reeled backwards and nearly knocked over two large candlesticks. But he took his kisses from the Italian chaps like a man.
Paul's grasp of the lingo is commendable too. And here's another funny thing: despite having no animus towards the French and five years of (admittedly excreable) training in their language, I found Italian much easier to embrace. Indeed, although I only uttered one fully formed sentence and know about ten words, Pep had been under the impression that I was able to speak the native tongue!
Possibly I felt under less pressure than when I've tried to eke out some French. My almost total ignorance made me feel that any success was a triumph, whereas I curse myself for not being Francophone. But perhaps instead I have some sort of affinity with the place. It'll be fun to find out, and I may take some lessons. (I have a habit of announcing I'm going to do things and then not doing them, but you never know.)
My final observation is this: I can't understand why people don't like weddings.
I should say that no-one at this one said they were having anything less than a splendid time (nor did they at Craig and Cath's shindig), but lots of other acquaintances have said that they feel other folks' nuptials take the biscuit in terms of hassle and boredom.
Here's the deal. You see two friends celebrate their mutual bliss. You get a slap-up meal for free. You get to boogie on the dancefloor if you want. You might even snog a stranger. What's not to like?
A man who is tired of weddings is tired of life, as Dr Johnson might have said.

*Well OK, I suppose if I'd met a bilingual Claire Forlani lookalike the holiday would have been an 11/10 instead of a 10/10.
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