Comedy: Chris Addison at The Bloomsbury Theatre

[I interrupt my catching up on television programmes to talk about something that isn’t a television programme, but at least it’s about someone who has been in television programmes.] Chris Addison has a slightly bigger profile than Lucy Porter, who I saw last month – he plays Ollie in The Thick Of It (and a similar character in the film In The Loop), he starred in and co-wrote a sitcom, Lab Rats (which I thought was rather rubbish, to be honest), he has had columns in The Guardian and The Evening Standard, and he hosts a radio show called 7 […]

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Comedy: Lucy Porter: Fool’s Gold

Lucy Porter is a comedian who has been on the comedy scene for quite a while now, but I hadn’t seen one of her full shows, even though she has been making appearances on television in the likes of Annually Retentive and Mock The Week. I enjoy comedians who put some thought into doing full shows with a theme, so I was looking forward to seeing Porter when she brought her show, Fool’s Gold, to the Bloomsbury Theatre. I felt sorry when we got into the theatre for the performance because it was only about half full – I’m not […]

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Comedy: Live Recording Of The Now Show

When talking about podcasts recently, I didn’t really talk about the radio shows that I listened to as podcasts, perhaps because they’re cheating a little, what with their professional recording apparatus and editing facilities. The Now Show, becoming something of an institution on Radio 4 after broadcasting for over 10 years, is a weekly satirical show hosted by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, with a varying roster of supporting players, which is recorded in front of a live audience. I’ve been listening to the show, either on radio or on podcast, for a long time but had never been to […]

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Comic Book Shops: Croydon

Growing up in London, I never considered Croydon part of London – it was a suburb that marked the boundary between the sprawling metropolis and the boring country. This was misguided ignorance on my part, as I had never been there, didn’t know anybody who lived there or even looked it up on a map. What can I say? I was young … Now that I live in south London, Croydon is not a distant mythical place, but a short journey on the train, which boasts two comic book shops all of its own. They are both within a ten-minute […]

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Comic Book Shop Update: Orbital Comics

One of the series of posts I have written is about comic book shops – I’m very lucky, living in London, to have a lot of comic book shops in relatively close proximity, even though I mention other comic book shops that a particular resonance in my development as a comic book fan. In this post, I wanted to revisit one of those shops because they had the temerity to move to new premises, thus invalidating one of my blog posts. Orbital Comics now matches Forbidden Planet in central London in the number of times it has moved the shop […]

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Author event: Jasper Fforde

I’ve had the pleasure of attending author appearances in smallish venues – I saw Terry Pratchett in a small hall somewhere in Canterbury back in the early 1990s, and Neil Gaiman (promoting the novelisation of Neverwhere) on the second floor of a Waterstone’s in London in the mid-1990s (back before either of them required a ticketing system to prevent a mob scenario). I can now add Jasper Fforde to that list, after attending his appearance to promote Shades of Grey on the third-floor gallery in Foyles on Charing Cross Road. The event was ticketed, despite Fforde not selling in the […]

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Comic Book Shop: Fantastic Realm (Number 9 In A Series)

Is an hour too long a distance to travel to buy half-price comics and graphic novels from a comic book shop that is going out of business? Is 8am too early to get up on a Sunday morning to do this? Should I feel guilty and a little sleazy for saving money on comic books through people who love comic books but haven’t succeeded in the cut-throat world of retail? These questions and more were going through my mind as I journeyed on the tube to Finsbury Park on 8 November 2009 to the big sale at Fantastic Realm, the […]

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Art: Kuniyoshi Exhibition

Because I’m, like, incredibly sophisticated and stuff, I go to art galleries to see actual works of art. I’m not saying this to impress you (although that is an unfortunate side-effect), it’s just a reason to post about my trip and put up some images. The Royal Academy of Art is hosting an exhibition of 19th-century coloured woodprints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Featuring over 150 pieces from the Arthur R Miller collection (which is over 2000-strong), it presents a great selection from this prolific and extremely talented artist (he was discovered at the age of 12). There are examples of his […]

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Visiting the BBC Television Centre

As mentioned recently, it was my birthday, so I did something to celebrate. Not being a drinker, I don’t gather a group of friends in a pub to poison ourselves to the point of vomiting and spending the next day in bed; instead, I try to something a little different. This year, it was the tour of BBC Television Centre in the White City area of west London. I’ve considered doing this tour before but, because the maximum number on a tour group is small (22), Saturday would be booked up several weeks in advance, and I’m really not that […]

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Live Comedy: French and Saunders – Still Alive

I’ve seen most of the comedians who had an impact on my burgeoning enjoyment of comedy in a live setting – I saw Ben Elton while he was still funny, I saw Rik & Ade doing Bottom on stage, I saw Newman & Baddiel (although not in the notorious Wembley gigs), I saw Steve Coogan doing Alan Partridge live (hearing him ad lib in character is a delight), to name a few. Yet I hadn’t seen Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders doing a live show. French and Saunders, dubbed the godmothers of alternative comedy, were the first female comedians to […]

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