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Blog: Question Time

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I've lived in London for the best part of a DECADE now, but there's still some parts that I am entirely unfamiliar with. Hackney is very much one of these - even though it's just down the road to Leytonstone I think I've only actually been there ONCE, before I even moved here, when I narrowly avoided playing at a TERRIFYING SQUAT PARTY.

Memories of this filled me with trepidation before I got there, so I was surprised to find it was Actually All Right. I doffed my metaphorical cap at the Hackney Empire and was soon inside The Hackney Picturehouse, where Ms N Guest was getting things set up for the Question Time Tweetalong EVENT that I was due to play at. I dimly understood that the idea was for people to watch Question Time... at the same time as each other, but there turned out to be MORE, not least a GIGANTIC TWEET WALL, where suitably hash tagged TWITS kept appearing. It was VERY exciting, I sat with Mr N Golding in AWE of the amazing technological future we were living in.

As with ALL my gigs of late, the night was a SELLOUT (NB this is very nearly actually TRUE, I'm sure it MUST be due to my immense fame and reknown, and not just a string of lucky bookings!) and it soon started to fill up with people. I was on first, so took to the stage with a specially prepared range of Vaguely Political Songs, and did THIS:

  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • A Little Bit
  • That Was (SPOILERS!)
  • Things'll Be Different When I'm In Charge
  • We Did It Anyway
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths

  • It went all right but I must say I have NEVER really got the hang of comedy gigs. I stomped on and SPOKE then did Theme From Dinosaur Planet and all was WELL, with the joining in and so forth, but after that I could feel myself LOSING the audience. People talking ALWAYS throws me a bit, and this ALWAYS seems to happen at comedy gigs - is there a long history of musicians appearing at comedy gigs and INVITING everyone to chat while they're on or something? It seems to be an accepted thing and not considered RUDE, as it would be at The Rock Gigs, so I didn't feel I could LAMBAST anyone, but my usual methods of Quelling Conversation (e.g. swearing, suddenly getting quiet, being LOUD etc etc) didn't work either.

    Everything was DELIGHTFUL, of course, I'm just very conscious of my own FAILINGS in situations like this - you'd think I'd've worked these sort of gigs OUT by now, but I always feel like they BEAT me. Still, there were plenty of LOVELY people there and everybody seemed to be quite happy with it, so I settled back to watch two EXPERTS at This Sort Of Gig in ACTION. Sara Pascoe came on next and did EXTREMELY personal material in a big room full of people out for chat and completely WON it - she was EXCELLENT - and then the MARVELLOUS Josie Long came on and, as usual, was charming, interesting, thought provoking and HILARIOUS. Seeing her in ACTION is like seeing a Comedy Billy Bragg, you want to JOIN IN. God help us all if she ever turns EVIL and decides to use her mighty powers to take control of the world, NONE shall stand in her way.

    And then it was time for the WATCHALONG/TWEETALONG bit. Goodness me! You know when you sit at home and watch Question Time and occasionally SHOUT at the telly? It was like THAT, except with a HUNDRED people all joining in. It was a bit frightening really, DEBATES broke out, INSULTS were shouted at the telly, and at one point I suddenly felt VERY OLD INDEED. A man in his fifties appeared suddenly with a big beard and the whole room WHOOPED WITH LAUGHTER! It shocked me a bit really - here was a crowd of Politically Aware Young People and the biggest LARF was for - OHO! - SOMEONE OLD!

    A couple of people did point out to me that it was someone old WITH A LUDICROUS BEARD, and maybe THAT was what the fuss was about, so I think it was probably me being a bit AWARE of the fact I was TOTALLY the oldest person there - it was all I could do to stop myself turning off the television and telling them I'd Question Time THEM in a minute if they didn't behave. It was an incredible thing to be IN - the big screen telly, the twit screen, the PASSION being shouted around the crowd, everything was a) AMAZINGLY organised and presented b) a bit OVERWHELMING. So many THINGS! I felt like a Medieval Peasant in his first cathedral!

    Thus I STAGGERED out full of EXPERIENCE into the Hackney night, and was relieved to find a BUS laden with people my own age to take me home. I had been CHALLENGED artistically, intellectually and technologically, and I needed my BED!

    posted 23/3/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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    I thought the guy with the beard looked really cool. But I am quite old and currently sporting a rather large beard at the moment so what do I know?
    posted 23/3/2012 by tonieee

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