Experimental Music Love

January 20, 2010

PBH Free Fringe Fundraiser – Bloomsbury Theatre, 19 Jan

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 10:43 pm
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Peter Buckley Hill - A genuinely insane man

Something has gone wrong with this blog. All the font colours have gone wonkaloid. Was solid 000000 black not good enough for these words or something? Will only a pale, sickly grey that can’t really be seen against a white background do? Is this content too hot for the partially sighted?

The answer to all of these questions is of course an emphatic “no you dingle dongle!” Dingle dongle can only be said emphatically. Or with disdain.

I have been away for a while though (getting a job and moving to the other side of the country) but things are settled now, and I shall start tappity typing away again like the good old days. Oh, those days were so good. And old. All wrinkled and diabetic.

I’ll try keeping the black around too. It makes me happy.

My first proper entry follows. It is a review of some comedy I recently saw here in London town. It was good. Read on for why!

| – | – |

Thanks to being on Twitter (follow me!) and appreciating its now essential flow of information, news and commentary, I was able to find out about a rather splendid (and horribly ill-promoted) comedy night happening at the Bloomsbury Theatre, UCL.

This was thanks to one of its performers, the rather terrier like Robin Ince who I can now only imagine talking in Michael Legge’s impression of him. If you don’t know what this sounds like, download the Precious Little Podcast now. All 20 or so of them. And there’s a couple in there where he does it. I’m not sure what ones, or when. It’s worth it though.

Ince, being a self-employed man did some self-promotion on this most wonderful of all social media where he highlighted a show he was involved in where other top comedy fellows such as Kevin Eldon, Brendon Burns and the infallible Stewart Lee were performing.

And not only was it a splendid line-up of laughtards, but it was for a damn fine cause too – the PBH Free Fringe at Edinburgh, which continually lets me indulge in far too much comedy for far too little cash. Thus, I had to go.

What happened when I got there though? And thus the point of this piece of writing?

I got some water. And remarked upon the general ‘muckiness’ of University College London of which the Bloomsbury is part. Very mucky, and only one hand-dryer in the toilet. I was baffled!

I took my seat soon though in a far cleaner auditorium – a room famous for hosting such genre-defying acts as The Jazz Testicles – and realised, to my mild confusion (it took a while to piece together the clues), and then near horror, I recognised the man in front of me.

I won’t tell you his name in case of ego googling, but he was a comedian. A less successful one than anyone on stage. And one I did (and do) not think much of. I gave his poor show one star some Edinburgh Fringe ago, and in a roundabout way, this lost me another job I had at the same festival. I still resent this man a little for that. Even though it’s not really his fault. Except for being rubbish. Which he really is. Seriously. Just terrible.

He did not recognise me though. Mainly because I don’t think he knows who I am. I could have taken him though if it did come to blows. Or Subbuteo (how on Earth do you spell Subbuteo?)

I soon forgot about this potential conflict however and focusedon the stage, where the quite brilliant if insane and proto-senile Peter Buckley Hill came on, and compered an introduction for what seemed like several hours to a packed house of blank, confused, upset faces.

A pleasant man, yes, with a good heart. But such is the effect of PBH.

Rufus Hound made reference to this with his opening, him being the first act applauded on by an exhausted audience. His ‘Just A Minute’ reference caused some mirth, and raised the game for a surprisingly effective set that mixed populist family/relationship trauma with Stewart Lee paced, repetitive phrasing, and saw Hound fit comfortably in a (sizeable) niche between the sublime and the ‘so what?’ An excellent wedding story too.

Then came the actor Kevin Eldon, in his guise of the poet Paul Hamilton. I have never seen Eldon on his own before, but his previous work as general mirth monkey for far too many people and far too many shows to even begin to mention, has made me love him more than cracking an egg and not having all the bits fall in the bowl or on your hands.

And he was astonishing here too – showing that, yes, he really is an actor rather than a comedian. Playing his part, of some insufferable, pretentious, awful poet to such ridiculous perfection. My intestines were laughing.

Lucy Porter came and went and looked pretty and raised a constant smile without really showing us anything particularly enthralling. But that’s her diminutive style, and it’s worked for her so far.

Brendon Burns became a living antithesis though, aggressive and insightful, crude and articulate. Telling of the love he lost, and the sweet things once said, mingled with rants at leftist arrogance and right wing ignorance, and all with your usual tropes of paedophilia, religion, rape and arseholes. A class act.

Robin Ince returned to my life to begin the second half. He talked of Twitter. He may have influenced my indulgence of it here. He tackled Jan Moir and Melanie Phillips too and was just savage and smart enough with it to not fall under the ire of Burns. A bit tired (his own body and mind, not his material) and rushed maybe, but still one of the country’s most under-appreciated national treasures.

Then there was a man I have never known or seen solo before. A member of the slightly disappointing (from what I’ve seen) sketch troupe, We Are Klang. Steve Hall was his name. He had some good lines. But they were told in the most boring delivery I’ve heard since Alan Shearer commentated on how David Seaman arranges his collection of beef cutlets from around the world. Boring beef cutlets too.

He wasn’t that boring actually. Just lacking in dynamism and charisma. Which you really need to be a comic. He’s done better than most though, so I’m definitely wrong.

Matt Kirshen was another new one for me, but was an exciting discovery, looking 12 but joking like he’d been doing it all his life. I SHALL REMEMBER HIS NAME!!!

Then Lee. He was brill. Even if I’d seen the same routine only one month before. The improvised telephone conversation with the imaginary Herefordshire estate agent as worth the £20 admission alone.

It wasn’t really of course, but it felt like a suitable thing to say.

And so I end, filled up on mirth chops and washed down with a gallon of titter juice. And go give money to PBH yourself, so you can watch free comedy come August. It may not seem like it, but that sentence makes sense.

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