Friday, April 15, 2011

Some Snippets

(1) The Whistleblower by Kathryn Bolkovac with Cari Lynn. You should buy and read this book. I was very kindly sent a review copy ages ago and read it in more or less a single sitting. Been meaning to write a proper review for ages but there isn't much to say apart from "HOLY CRAP, that's terrible, everyone should know about this, something should be done.". I hear there's a film coming. You should go see that too.

(2) I had a rather interesting, if somewhat after the event, email about the debate I did on Islam on The Big Questions the other month. The author (who claimed to be an Algerian muslim woman, but this being email I can't verify) says I am wrong to criticise Islam's treatment of women. In fact, I am assured, in 95% of life Islam treats men and women the same. And even if that's true that's still the problem isn't it? Cos 95% isn't the same as 100%. I do't want to be rated as the equal of a man in 95% of situations, I want full equality. I want to be regarded as as much of a human being as everybody else, men and women. Doh!

(3) Comedians - don't ever gig for a Daniel Lewis/Lasserman. Everyone else - don't ever go to a gig run by this rogue. In over 7 years in this industry I've only walked out of a gig once* - and it was last Friday at the Marble Hill Pub in Richmond at a "gig" organised by this Daniel Lewis/Lasserman**. It seemed dodgy from the outset - no contract, not much info, etc, but having said "yes" I figured I didn't want to let anyone down. I arrived to discover no separate comedy room, no mic, no lights and no other acts booked - all of which my manager had been assured there would be. Instead I was expected to perform in the corner of the pub within a few metres of family meals - children, dogs, etc. Not wanting to let people down I approached the "audience members" and explained this was going to be a weird gig but if they were happy to be friendly and have it as a "chatty" gig I would do my best for them. They responded by shouting abuse at me. So I left. As I was leaving one of them even grabbed me (yes, physically, while the landlord stood by and did nothing, luckily I was able to shove him off and shout at him til he backed off) and urged me to come back and "fight harder"! Ha ha ha, even the audience thought it was a "fight" rather than a "performance". I didn't think it needed saying but if you plan on running a comedy night, first you should probably go to a few and make some notes on how they work (and how they don't work)!! Now I have a lengthy angry phone message about how it was my job to "control" the audience*** and about how he's going to be running comedy nights in 200 pubs and he knows lots of top acts who will want to perform at them. But trust me top act or total newcomer - you definitely don't want to work for this douchebag. If by some freaky chance you were one of the audience members who wasn't shouting abuse (and I would recognise you, there were only about four such people) drop me a line and I'll be more than happy to guest list you for a real comedy show I'm performing at some time, plus you can enjoy the rare thrills of a mic, lights, other acts, no dogs, etc!

*I did once walk offstage many years ago at the Live Bar in Deptford after being physically threatened (with a lit cigarette, back when you could smoke indoors) by an audience member but the promoter and landlord swiftly removed this man from the premises and I agreed to go back on and finish my set.

**You can always trust a guy who needs to change his name from time to time!

***Presumably including the dogs, children and the drunk abuse-shouters.

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