Romantic Outsider? Bitter Misanthrope? just someone doing jokes? – what is a stand up?

Now that it is edited and there is nothing I can do about it, I sit and wait for the fury or indifference or venom or multiple corrections I will receive for the documentary about comedians and unhappiness I have just made with Alex Mansfield.

This is a human trait I see in many comedians I know, and other humans too. Should you make the error of a vanity search on the web, you will not stop until you have found the person who hates you. When you are on stage, even if the laughter is regular and joyous, one corner of your mind thinks about the people who aren’t laughing. Out of the corner of your eye, you can see that man in the front row whose face has never been more miserable than it is now. New facial muscles have been discovered by him to demonstrate just how upset and disgusted he is that your mind should create such sentences. Back in your hotel room, you obsess over that one routine that was precarious, or that joke you think you told that town before, and you become certain that even those who left happily have unpicked their evening with you by the time their bus reached their street.

I think I pitched a documentary about comedians and unhappiness for self-interested reasons. I love stand up comedy. I have spent more than half my life in it, and most of my life obsessing about it. I can think of nothing else I could be. I also hate it, and wonder if my discontentment with what I am comes from the years of seeking the attention and laughter of strangers, or if that discontentment just comes from the fact I am me and there is nothing I can do about it. My work ethic comes from the knowledge I am lazy if I am not run ragged, also, it is a “descent into busyness”.As long as I am examining existence for the purpose of shows and creativity, then anxiety has purpose beyond, “what’s the bloody point”. The “bloody point” is to mull over “what’s the bloody point”, while people hopefully enjoy looking at your absurdity.

This year has been the wobbliest year I can remember. I think my tour show has frequently been the best I have done, with much room for improvement obviously, but it has been the wobbliest and most wretched in terms of motivating myself to get out there and do it, as well as having sometimes released the choke chain on my emotions after gigs I have been disappointed in. That said, it is all under control and I am functioning. Don’t most humans go through ups and downs and confusions about being self aware and existing, whether computer programming or baking french sticks? (this is one of the reasons I am giving up stand up for a while…if I can manage it – an experiment)

(also, though there have been wobbly moments, there have been more great bits probably. The propensity to highlight the grey must have come from my refusal to let go of a teenage frame of mind imbued with Morrissey and graveyards)

I have been frequently worried while making this documentary that it did not become self-aggrandising and romanticising – “we comedians feel so much more deeply than others, oh pity the fool and their wisdom that brings no profit to the wise”. There is also a danger in belittling real mental health issues. While interviewing Jo Brand, I toyed with the idea that stand up can be a self-inflicted bipolar, though I did not mean to the depths that the real clinical condition takes people. Metaphor is tricky when using such terms. It was about the daily, hectic change from 10 hours of solitary travel and existence, to two hours of frenetic showing off, then, with maybe a few drinks at the bar with audience members and still showing off, a return to a room on your own, edgily walking through drunken streets, with your head held low for fear that the rambunctious boozers will jeer your speccy face. (I notice the first comment under the Chortle article questions use of mental health terms. I have a knack for living in a many worlds state where nearly all possible criticisms are imagined).

Simon Amstell, one of the most fascinating stand ups working today, and a brilliant self-analyst, talked of using every stand up show to work out who he was. Others, including Alexei Sayle, talked of stand up being the ability to create a version of who you are that you might wish to be, the romanticised image of the rebel or romantic that cannot exist in the humdrum everyday, but arrives near fully formed in the spotlight.

For many stand ups, there is a need to scrutinise yourself and your view of humanity, but this act of dissection can lead to too much prodding and tearing until you become a loose bag of paranoid offal. I am what I am, and you are what you are, because of so many experiences, a vibrant mix of nature and nurture, and, in the end, you just have to get use to it and work out the best way forward.

Jason Cook talked of his use of therapy, and the horror when one therapist suggested she could cure him of all the ills he carried with him. “Oh no”, he said, “you mustn’t make me totally well. I use some of this sickness to make a living”.

Darryl Cunningham, author of Psychiatric Tales, considers that Spike Milligan, someone who suffered from frequent bouts of crippling mental illness, created despite, not because of his mental illness. Is there a danger that some comedians may try and drive themselves to a place of unhappiness believing that extreme melancholy and dissatisfaction with life is where comedy is? There are those that feast on drink and drugs, believing the great poets did, so they can be a great poet via the act of cirrhosis. I don’t believe in utter contentment.

The idea that you can be happy all the time seems to go against being the sort of creature that recognises itself in the mirror. As Josie Long, someone I frequently talk to during highs and lows of touring, said, and I concur, despite everything else, there is “a natural, joyful propensity for showing off”. I imagined being something else, and I didn’t like it.

I hope that the documentary is neither too flippant nor too po-faced. It was a tough edit, and could easily have been three hours rather than one.

It will be broadcast on Radio 4 this evening and is then found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n20v4

I can be found, with my support act Grace Petrie most of the time, in Newcastle, Canada Water, Bordon, Totton, Manchester, Goole, Barton on Humber, Belfast, Exeter and many other towns in the UK (and then the US and Australia next year) Details here http://www.robinince.com

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I, the oppressed – the burden of a privilege I never even noticed

Another week where a loss of privilege has been confused with a loss of equality, as white, male comedians feel savaged and defiled by TV panel shows becoming anywhere from one sixth to one quarter women flooded (sometimes, but rarely, even more).
The cold embers have been raked over now. The mild dabbling in comments sections beneath my nose seem to have had a fair amount of sentences about the deep slurry of left wing comedians who dominate the stand up landscape and hang the sad-faced right wing jesters, above brimming toilets, by their bootlaces. They running away giggling, like Che Guevera putting a pie in Bob Hope’s face on the Road to Cuba.

I fear for the ease with which we all fall for the delusion which most neatly fits our bitter worldview, the view that most snugly encases our alibi for not getting all that we want. It is definitely not our fault, it is someone not like us with a chromosomal or colour advantage treated to silks and the warm lights of telly love ins.

I have seen female comedians being accused of being rubbish on panel shows, taking the places of brilliant male stand ups who will soon be hastily hiding their penises behind a merkin in the hope of disguising their disabling manhood.
But it is not just rubbish female comedians who have got in the way of these brilliant males, I have too. It has been a while now since I have been rubbish on a TV panel show, but I would like to apologise to the very brilliant men who should have been on in my stumbling, cak-handed place. I let everyone down. I stole your swivel chair.

Personally, I have found some women on panel shows very funny. Bridget Christie talking about Margaret Thatcher being a woman on Have I Got News For You was one of my favourite moments on last year’s panel shows, but looking back now, I wonder if some men could have done it better.
Maybe the only comedians allowed on panel shows must first have to pass a series of rigorous tests, including a variety of assault and insult courses, before being allowed on air. Most already have, by going on night after night at comedy clubs containing audiences of wildly varying intelligence and sobriety (often the two go hand in hand)
What you find funny is personal. I have seen comments that have stated that women just aren’t funny, though it seems this might be because they are a woman, not because of anything they are saying. It is something about their shape and higher voices that creates a primitive rejection of their gags.

It seems preposterous that many people still need to have it explained to them that comedy is subjective. Do we really want some utilitarian formula where the only broadcastable comedy is that which has been through a process where the maximum number of people has declared something is funny (I have been in rooms where that sort of thing has gone on, it is not a funny or fun room). Just see how awful the jokes are that always come first in academic studies on “the world’s funniest jokes”. There is already far too much of that. In that world there would be no Young Ones, Reeves and Mortimer, Absolutely, Uncle or Him and Her, their broad minority appeal would not be enough.

When we are told that acts must only be judged on “merit”, how do we judge merit. Any working comedian knows that even one evening of gigs can bring forth widely differing reactions, you can storm and die in the space of an hour. Also, what is a dead cert in the clubs, is not always the best thing on TV. A delightful idiosyncrasy can crash and burn in the live environment, but be truly memorable in a TV studio. I don’t care what you think, it is a bloody art, and art or jazz or electronica or movies about love, trees and Autumn can all go down in many different ways. If we just stick to a formula that works, then it eventually shrivels, risk and experimentation can create wonder and/or silence and booing.
As for this cabal of oppressive left wing comedians dominating the BBC, does Michael McIntyre keep Das Kapital in his man drawer? Will Jack Whitehall ever stop name-checking Noam Chomsky? Does the slapstick fall of Miranda represent a coded call to Trotskyist arms?

We are adept at being blind to all that works in our favour or agrees with our worldview, while all that we dislike or disapprove of, however limited, becomes a dictator made of hawthorns and “it’s so unfair-ness”, an easily turn off-able interlude confused for Stalin.

I am touring around the UK – off to Newcastle, Goole, Manchester, Canada Water, Stowe, Totton and on and on, all dates here (including US dates in 2015) http://www.robinince.com
Also, some all new Christmas science shows are coming to http://www.thebloomsbury.com with guests including Stewart Lee, Mary Beard, Helen Czerski and loads more

My cruel double act partner has also written something on this http://www.chortle.co.uk/correspondents/2014/10/30/21211/sexists%2C_you_should_be_ashamed_of_yourselves

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You don’t have to be mad to tell jokes here, but we have no idea if it helps.

I am working on a radio documentary about comedians and happiness. The image of the comedian drawing guffaws from a multitude, then weeping, drunk and alone, is a potent image. The suicide of Robin Williams has brought it to the fore again.

The interviews so far, with comedy historians, mental health workers, psychotherapists, authors and comedians have been enlightening and contradictory. When dealing with human behaviour, it is unlikely we’ll find a definitive answer, where would the fun and misery be in that? Les Dawson has cropped up twice as the non-melancholy clown, a gregarious entertainer on and offstage.

One of Kenneth Williams’s friends revealed that his cooker was never covered in cling film when has around his flat, and that he even used Kenneth’s loo, despite oft relayed stories that this was strictly forbidden. If he was in a bad mood, he’d make you go and use his mother’s lavatory next door.

Darryl Cunningham, a former mental health worker and creator of Psychiatric Tales, believes that the likes of Spike Milligan manage to create despite the black dog that hang heavy over them, not because. Graeme Garden found out that comedians do seem to have a higher than average suicide rate, though not as high as dancers or dentist. My dentist is also a comedian and he also moves well, so I better have an eye on a few other dentists just in case.

Jo Brand, who spent ten years as a psychiatric nurse, said, “in a simplistic way, comedians are not all sad people, but I think they are all quite emotionally disturbed”. There was consideration that the number of comedians who were adopted or had lost a parent was also above the statistical norm. This doesn’t mean that the adopted and bereaved all secretly, or openly, wish to seek the approbation of strangers in boozy environments, or that an audience perpetually resembles a surrogate mother or father. Your laughter is not a teat. (oh no, I shouldn’t have typed that, now when I am performing tonight I will be dogged by Freudian imagery).

During some of the interviews, we toyed with the idea that stand up can lead to a sort of self-inflicted bi-polar. (I am using the term lightly, and don’t wish to demean those who really suffer. This is the danger of doing any documentary about mental health, i realise that terms being bandied about may be seen as flippancy. I will wait to see the audience log of complaints to find out where I went wrong this time). The idea of a self-inflicted bipolar situation refers to the sharp change from being alone, possibly all day, to standing in front of an audience and showing off intensely, allowing your mind to go off on as many flights of fancy as possible and having maximum engagement with your imagination (sometimes with a seeming multitude of inner monologues mixed up with what comes out of your mouth), before returning to solitude and sleeplessness, analysing the creature that was so exuberant and vivacious in white box hotel room.

One thing stressed by health professionals is that what we have become is energetically sculpted by our childhood experience, whether a comedian or lab technician or a nurse. Is there one event that, if removed from our childhood experience, would change much of what we are? If I hadn’t been in that car accident when I was three, would I have been less publicly needy when spotlit? Does it matter? Has it happened and we might as well just get on with it without looking back. Talking to Barry Cryer (he would like to stress this was not in the pub. We were in the pub.) he brought up the death of his father when he was five. I mentioned Jo’s comment on the loss of a parent at an early age, and Barry looked surprised, “have I been doing all this because of that?”

Is it dangerous to link melancholy or madness to creativity? Is stand up therapy for the act and the audience?

Has the psychological make up of the stand up changed now that a performance is not just a comedic mask, but can also be autobiographical. While Kenneth Williams and Frankie Howerd had to keep their sexuality under wraps, now that part of their life can be expressed and even win awards rather than cautions. How would this have changed their work? I wrote a while back about comedy being the disease AND the cure.

I wrote a while back about comedy being the disease AND the cure.Here is a clip of Robin Williams. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1EIBtYf-A8

Do some audiences like the vision of the tragic comedian? Is there a superior or snide contentment in thinking, “you know that person that made everyone around us laugh and brought us so much happiness, don’t worry, in real life, they were miserable and loveless”? I am not sure how many answers we’ll find, or indeed what use they’ll be. “I wanted my daughter to be a stand up comedian, so I bought her a joke book and murdered her mother as I hoped that would create the environment that leads to BAFTAs and tears”. But I am finding the investigation fascinating. I don’t know why I am what I am, but I am, so I better get used to it.

I will write a follow up with some links to academic papers etc. The documentary will be on Radio 4 on 2nd November.

I will be seeking the approbation of strangers across the UK this year and then USA and Australia next year. Henley, Brighton, Goole, Manchester, Newcastle, Bridgwater and on and on. All dates can be found http://www.robinince.com

Dead Funny, containing stories by Stewart Lee, Sara Pascoe, Phill Jupitus and lots more, is THIS 

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Blood Sugar, Bananas and Brains

On occasion, I am asked to give advice to young comedians. I am of an age where my grey hair and stoop accidentally suggests wisdom, or creates the illusion I have survived this far in SHOWBUSINESS.

My first advice is – “Get out of it! We want another go and if you whippers and snappers do it, we decayed remnants of once fertile minds will be left in the corner, dusty and weeping”.

My second bit of advice if their hankering to be fools remains is – “always carry a spare sandwich in your duffel coat pocket (other coats are available)”. Tonight was the funeral of Your Culture is Ailing, Your Art is Dead, one of the trilogy of failed nights I started with hope in heart back in January. I had spent the afternoon being interviewed by the delightful Geoff Lloyd at Absolute Radio , the interviewing the anecdote and experience wurlitzer that is Barry Cryer, and in between, listening to Max Wall battling to make jokes about hotels work to an unimpressed 1950s audience (I am working on a radio documentary about comedians and happiness).

Once at The Old Queen’s Head, I knew my reserves of mental energy were depleted and my emotional spectrum was monochrome. The unstructured days of “doing odd stuff” means you see no reason why you should be woozy, after all, you ate a sandwich a mere 7 hours ago. So sadly, as I strode on stage and allowed my mind to make decisions on how to start the show, I watched in despair as it made the wrong decisions and I sensed a confusion in the room. Joanna Neary was brilliant as usual, and I managed to create a semblance of sanity as I interviewed Alexei Sayle on art and fury. I knew I was not as I should be, but not as mad as I could be. Like me, Sara Pascoe had doubled up an MC gig with solo slots like ones at Art is Dead. She created something masked and involving, then we both departed to are poorly thought out other gigs.

At Lolitics, I pondered on what may occur. Would I stand mute in the spotlight, weep and howl, or showoff as I was meant to. A banana was distraught and alone in the shelving area which marks out the pretense of an off stage area from the audience seats. I asked around and was informed it had, in all probability, been left stranded by a psychobilly band long departed.

I ate it.

It offered my brain enough to get my leaping and projecting.

Later, I would find out that it was actually the banana of MC and promoter Chris Coltrane. he berated me for consuming his banana. Not so socialist with his tropical fruit. I hope he doesn’t collapse on the tube home. Sitting on the train at Euston, feeling seesaw-ish and Eeyore-ish, I saw an email about this Christmas’s Hammersmith gigs. If the guest it was from confirms, we will have one of the best secret guests ever. That UnEeyeored me. So remember kids, carry a spare banana.

New Christmas show at Hammersmith with Brian Cox, me, and lots of secret guests is HERE

I am across UK with my brain and mind show – Bridgwater, Goole, Barton, Henley on Thames, Southport and plenty more HERE

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I wanted to be a vicar, but I didn’t have the matins

My mother would have liked me to be a vicar.
I have always quite liked the idea of being a vicar too. I imagine myself as something akin to Alastair Sim in Folly to be Wise and Peter Sellers in Heavens Above!
In the act of being a vicar, my world would change into something monochrome and warm, a memory of Sunday afternoon films. The reality would be different, but that is why I avoid reality so often. I place my Ealing lens on.
I remember talking to a dean who told me of the ghastly flocks of his past, the venal and the bigoted, the snobs and the surreptitiously fundamental. Maybe I could make the short jump to Unitarian minister one day. They don’t have to believe in a god, but they do need to possess empathy and a sense of altruism. At the last Unitarian service I attended, the readings included an excerpt of Dennis Potter’s final TV interview and a “hymn” about human imagination.

The main hindrance to my vicar hopes is my lack of religious faith. So I have had to swap the possible pulpit for proselytizing in art centres. Some of the art centres are deconsecrated churches, so I can still find myself raising my fists under low lit stained glass while talking of Darwin or intrusive thoughts.

Richard Coles is a vicar I enjoy talking to, though when he gets on to the sensation of the holy spirit, I find myself trying to change the subject. I can nod and understand the allure of mysticism to a point, but then my mind goes, “hang on, this sounds too barmy for my ears”.
This is the wall I cannot break through.
A sensation beyond my recall or imagination, an irretrievable idea.
My point of squish-faced “I don’t get it”.
In his interview with this week’s Big Issue, Coles tells his faith wanting interviewr that faith is there, “if you really want it”, but I don’t think it is. Just as atheists may not always have the empathy to at least comprehend the faithful, the faithless mindset is beyond some in and around the pews.

I see no reason why anyone wouldn’t want to earnestly believe that there is something that has put this universe together, that gives it a meaning and a destination and the possibility that our conscious existence is not finite.
That we may see our ancestors and our offspring again, and possibly for eternity.
But unfortunately, the sort of minds that make fire, farmland and physics experiments have an uphill struggle to place a mystic being, beyond all the laws of all else we see in our universe, to make this deity idea seem tangible.

I try to imagine what might make me “a believer”, what tragedy or pain, but it seems like such a vast cauldron of cognitive dissonance that my nature/nurtured sceptical mind would keep peeping out and saying, “you know you’re kidding yourself”.

Would I like to exist forever and never lose those I love?
Sounds a grand idea.
Do I believe I can make that leap?
No.
So, instead I must make the very best of what I have here, savour my existence, however ridiculous, while I have it. Woody Allen was right, that it is the dying, not the being dead, that is worrisome.

Tim Minchin is given the Big Issue pages after Reverend Richard, and reminds us,
“All comedians are nerds getting up on stage saying things they wish they’d had the balls and fleet-footedness to say in the moment”.

And if it turns out there is a God and when I get to the after death queueing system and it says, “you didn’t believe in me and instead just tried to make the most of your life, and attempted to be altruistic and empathetic and love those around you as much as you could, so to the furnace for you”
I will say, “fuck you, Yahweh”.
And it’ll say, “right, I am extending your eternity in fiery agony”
“what do you mean extend the eternity?”
And he’ll say, “have you never heard of Hilbert’s hotel. There are different types of eternity”.
And eventually, after I’ve dragged out the eternal argument for as long as I can, I’ll start smelling my skin crackle.

on tour forever with my show about brains, minds and Peter Higgs – southport, henley, bridgwater, hove, manchester, london and on http://www.robinince.com (also US and Australia dates will be up soon, in fact I think the US ones are already, with Prof Cox)

and here is new Vitriola podcast https://soundcloud.com/vitriolamusic

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Did the beloved entertainer lose his licence ?

“I’ve paid my admission to the Tate Britain, and you have the gall to tell me I can’t draw moustaches and cocks all over the Degas?”

Michael Mcintryre walked off stage early at his Darlington warm up gig, does that mean he must have his “beloved entertainer” licence revoked?

(before I continue, this has been written in a hurry on steps, version two up later. Just using this as a valve)

Some time earlier this century, I was touring my Book Club variety gang show with a group of comics and friends. One night near Newbury, we had some spiteful elements in the audience. They were particularly snide whenever a female performer was on, uncouth with a side of misogyny. These were the early days of new millennium banter. Rather than be Charlie Chuckles with them, I went on an admonished them like a schoolmaster. I explained that this might be okay in the comedy clubs they usually went to, but it wasn’t okay here, and that they should have a bit of respect (at this point imagine me removing my glasses as if ready to become pugilistic, though this would be a disaster as I would end up punching air like a cocksure but confused Magoo).
Someone in the audience had bootlegged the show, and put it up on a website keen on forums filled with bedroom based antagonism, while chewing their blue blankets, these warriors daubed ad hominem, hate-filled attacks. This was still the first decade of universal internet, and their barbs felt all the more vicious for it. Yet again, there was some very unpleasant hatred of young women, the sort of thing that when you are starting a career, if you stumbled on this, you would resign immediately. The main focus of their hate did not, and remains a brilliant comedian.
One of the angles of the strand on this bootleg was, “you wouldn’t get Roy Chubby Brown resorting to this sort of thing, he’d smash them all and keep on going”.
But as later history showed, that wouldn’t always be true. A couple of years later, he stormed off after a few minutes and never returned. Other alpha comedians such as Jim Davidson have also walked off, or even refused to go on. So it’s not just the arthouse league who are milksops in this regard. (and we didn’t just storm off, we kept going, even if I did have to hurl chalk every now and again).

There has been debate on whether Michael Mcintyre was right to walk off. It is important to note that he came back on, and did a whole show after the issue that annoyed him, someone repeatedly fiddle-faddling with their phone, was sorted. There seems to be a view that, once the ticket has been bought, any audience member has the right to treat the fool as they wish. Well, if they want to dick about and show off in a theatre, perhaps they should become a performer themselves. Now comedy is enormous, I have noticed in big auditoriums, audience members getting up throughout shows, back and forth to the bar, concentrating like distracted telly viewers. I am fortunate, being small fry, the audience I get are generally attentive. They are small enough for me to like them and have some idea of the cut of their jib, and they have some idea of my jib cut too.

Some people have said, “why didn’t Mcintyre grab her phone, do some funny calls on it etc”, perhaps he didn’t want to. Perhaps he wanted to do the show he had intended, and maybe the rest of the audience wanted that too. I have played towns where audience members want it all to be about them, why should it be. There is no excuse for being lazy, for giving your audience all your energy and focus, but it may be about your worldview not their mate’s hair or chum’s belly. Comedy needn’t be treated with utter reverence, but that doesn’t mean there should not be respect for it. Just as actors are known to burst blood vessels over phone use in plays, and a comic can too.
This is about mutual respect, respecting your audience and attempting the best show you can, and their respect of you (and some audience members remembering to respect the rest of the audience too, who may be less interested in them than they imagined as they caterwaul or distract)

I am on tour as usual – Bristol tonight, then Bridgwater, Henley, Southport, London, Manchester and on and on http://www.robinince.com for all details.

new horror anthology with stories by many comedians http://saltpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=9781907773761

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And the grand statues became readable barcodes… (when the epic became portable frippery)

Spending the afternoon trying to work out what I think about something, so here are some of the confused ideas currently moving like jumping beans inside my skull

Does culture become worthless if it is too easily accessible?
Does the immediate ability of being able to watch thousands of TV series on netflix, fill your playlist with spotify, and watch the widescreen on phone screens mulch artistic endeavor into something that is just there?
Does it turn everything that is intended for the foreground into background noise.
It is turned from experience to just a thing to occupy your time. How difficult can making a movie or song be when there are so many so immediately available?
Without the quest, is art diminished?
With so much watched individually on laptops, headphones in (not in all public transport), that the delight of shared experience is eroded to some hash-tagged tweets?
And now films and music are things of the ether, their solid cases, cartridges and discs have melted and risen into clouds.
The speed of the demise of music and film being an object has been hasty, looking in the charity shop window, the DVDs and CDs on display are achaic. The possession of shelves will soon be a sign of the Luddite.
Will we continue to discover the intriguing and surprising when our online profile will push bespoke choices on us for the personality and minds we are presumed to have?
Hopefully this is either a glitch or a delusion, but I have recently felt that something has changed with appreciation of the arts. We are drawn to our personal screen where we can experience a wide world we believe we are choosing to, which is really an increasingly myopic and prejudiced vision.
The web gives us opportunities to experience more and more, to expand our cosmopolitan desires, but it can also dress a ghetto as the whole wide world.
I liked the quest to find that Fall ep or that arthouse movie that wasn’t coming to a screen near me, so I had to wait for the holiday trip to the big city to go to that popcorn-less cinema with its trailers and adverts for the exotic and peculiar, and that record shop in Soho where people muttered the unusual. (when Soho was still strange and blush-worthy to a young teen). It was an event. If we reduce the sense of event, does it all become frippery?
Does the epic become handheld flotsam?

I am presenting myself in 3D in Bristol, Southport, Bridgwater, Henley-on-Thames and a town near you soon http://www.robinince.com for all details.

Dead Funny, with stories by Stewart Lee, Sara Pascoe, Charlie Higson and many more is here http://saltpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=9781907773761

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