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Specifically, Mach comedy festival, a couple of weeks ago now. It was really nice, small and friendly. Not many hotel rooms in the town (it being a fairly small country town and all) so it's mostly hostels or camping; I was in a hostel with a bunch of the people who were doing the admin and running venues. I think another time I'd book a few less things beforehand so I had a bit more opportunity for going to some of the "surprise" events (and getting proper meals). It's mainly people trying stuff out for Edinburgh, but quite a few people were doing one finished show and one in progress.

Friday highlights:
Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White, Mike Wozniak )

Saturday:
Caroline Mabey, Nadia Kamil )

Sheeps, Birthday Girls, Toby )

Sunday:
Josh Widdecombe and Elis James, Gabby Best, John-Luke Roberts )

Freeze!, The Bearpit Podcast (Podcast)* )
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I think going to see Mark Thomas's Bravo Figaro was a much better use of my time last night than staying up and worrying about the US election; the show is amazing, (it's about Thomas's relationship with his father, and opera) and also I got to scroll through all the "Equal marriage in four states!" and "Obama takes Pennsylvania!" tweets today, instead of being stressed about the result.
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OMG Fist of Fun really really is coming soon. With extras and everything. SO EXCITED. Definitely not asking for it for Xmas- I'm not waiting that long to get my hands on it!

Just watched Sue Perkins, Alison Steadman and Stephen Mangan getting adorably confused about which way is south all over Cornwall in All Roads Lead Home, which was just lovely. Highly recommend it to other UKers.

In bloom: Alyssum, lobelias, sweet peas, campanulas, red daylilies, sunflowers, pansies, violas, geraniums, crysanthemums, Michaelmas daisies, nasturtiums, autumn-flowering cyclamen, ragged robin (at least I think that's what that pink thing is). Needs harvesting before a frost: Greek basil.
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Busy weekend in the Peak District. Personally I'm not sure if self-actualisation is that great an idea, but most of the people there seemed to enjoy the workshops. (I knew several of the people, they all were a good bunch to go to the pub with.)

Then zoomed off on Sunday night to see Milton Jones- good as ever; )
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Saw Mitch Benn and the Distractions [1] last night... and really don't have much to say beyond "Enjoyed it, it was loud." Poor buggers were deeply late as a result of active car malevolence, and a bit flustered, but funny about it and all the music was good. Oh, yeah, I really liked the bit where Mitch reads a random page from a children's encyclopaedia and turns it into a Terribly Terribly Sincere boy-band song.
I didn't stay to get a CD afterwards as it would have made me miss the last train, and they're only selling the live album at the gigs. Sob. I'll cope somehow. (Possibly with the help of one of their other ones.)

[1] From off of radio's Now Show. And other things obvs.
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Anybody who wants to be jealous of me for being at the first date of the Ross Noble tour can, because it was brilliant. ) (He's doing a night in Sheffield and two at the Hammersmith Apollo, seats may still be available...)
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ISIHAC! Live! Eee!

Burbling )

Pre-show audience chatter mixed with random kazooing noises is odd.
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The Edinburgh Festival's started... lots of people having a good time... I was gonna go this year... *kicks desk, pouts*

But hey, I saw some of the Comedy Store Players in a ruined monastery. It was v. cool, atmospheric and gorgeous. And we got free beer because they'd mucked up our seating (the marquee was about 6 inches too small, it looked like, resulting in some seats being right against the poles- no, right against, as in you couldn't sit down.) I'm seeing As You Like It there before long, but TBH I don't think it'll be as much fun. (Stephen Frost in a straw wig/moustache, OMG. Lee Simpson doing romantic opera about bus-drivers. Also I doubt I'll ever see a better round of "guess the occupation" [* )])

Oh look.

Jun. 28th, 2007 01:48 pm
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I can't afford Sky. And if I could I wouldn't get it because of the whole Murdoch Evil Empire thing, and their portfolio of channels isn't enough to my tastes to make it worth the money. But sometimes it is awfully tempting, like, say, when they do Hogfather or get Adam Long to condense the Star Wars films.
I-III
IV-VI
(As with the original, I think Empire Strikes Back is the best.)
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It felt like I hadn't been out to comedy for a while- probably because I hadn't- so I was determinedly undaunted by the fact that half the trains seemed to have been stopped by floods. In fact getting to Leeds was fine, but getting stuck and having to get a taxi home did, um, double the cost of the evening or something. It was good though. )
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Friday, Bradford's monthly comedy gig, Bag Of Quips (ugh), first time I'd managed to get there. Read more... ) Not really worth ploughing through the pissheads in the city centre at half eleven on a Friday night, though, unless it was someone amazing on. Leeds it is.

Managed to get up in time for a farmers' market on Sunday, just, and it was fun; surprised that there were no veg at all, but lots of interesting local meats (guinea fowl, rare breed beef, goat...), jams/chutneys, bread, some cheeses- well worth going. Intended to nip in to Harvey Nicks for a weeny jar of blackcurrant jam (60p), got ambushed by the sushi bar (£15), oops. (Incidentally, they've got some interesting chocolates in there).
Saturday-Sunday was the first 24 hours it hadn't rained for about a fortnight, so I sighed, and mowed the lawn and weeded and pruned, being clawed by several vicious roses- I wouldn't mind quite so much if they showed any inclination to flower at all, but they're straggly items with no decorative value who just lurk behind other things and wait their opportunity to lash out at you. *sucks scratches*.

I actually managed to finish Saturday's paper by the end of Sunday, which never happens!
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Not so much accomplished, actually... I was going to be all active at the bank holiday but about all I managed was mowing the lawn, watching a whole series of The Smoking Room, and catching up on sleep. Very pleasant.
I don't think I'd been to the West Yorkshire Playhouse before last week, it's a good venue. The Sunshine Boys was very well acted- a bickering retired New York double-act are asked to do one last perforance.
Also saw Count Arthur Strong in Leeds )
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Now I have my books on shelves (yay) I can do the books-read-in-a-month thing and have it make sense- I was going to leave this till tomorrow, but actually there's no way I'm gonna get through the last 150 pages of Life: an unauthorised biography tonight- I'm going to make popcorn and watch The Goblet of Fire. So this is What I read in April )

I'm finding there are a few odd things missing from my shelves, like, I've got all the Sayerses except Gaudy Night. Birthday list opportunity! (Not that there's usually any great problem in finding shiny stuff for people to get me. The problem is that some of them have feeble excuses like "but I can't afford that!" and "how would I get it to you, anyway?" and "does it even exist?" and "plus, I'm not convinced you would use it for good" and "I'm worried about the look in your eye now." Psssh. So anyway, books are always a useful fallback present. Gaudy Night, for example, has quite a good description of how to strangle someone and... hey, come back!)

I've managed to give myself a sore arm from pulling up $#*!! dandelions. Next weekend the Weedkiller of Doom will be employed. Also I could do with some gardening gloves that are not extremely cheap and useless- oh, the endless traumas that go to make up life.

Comedy )
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The Goodies )

Bought a two-metre length of dowel today. (It's bound to come in handy sometime.) It was fairly amusing wandering round other shops with it, like a tour guide.
Spring! Sun! Flowers! Lovely, it is, and what better way can there be to celebrate the coming of new life than by boiling eggs? And then decorating them in a hurried, the-dye-in-the-water-didn't-take sort of way? Have also been doing much washing-up and making chocolate eggs- these two activites may be slightly connected- and burning porridge and helping shift a cupboard and talking about steam trains and buying mousetraps and engaging in many other interesting aspects of life in a country town.
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Good gods, the gas co. have cocked up again; teeth gnashed, Stiff Note written. When I get a chance to choose my own supplier I know for damn certain who isn't even going to be on the list.

Feeling v middlebrow, went to see Acorn Antiques The Musical last night. It was a lot of fun! Miss Berta found love, Mr Clifford recovered his memory after that blow to the head from a banquette, and Mrs Overall's macaroons saved the day, foiling the machinations of a Large Chain of Cofffeeshops and the mysterious Miss Bonnie. It had some lovely Wood lines, like "you sugar-dodging shitehawk!", a pisstake of Fosse dancing with washing-up gloves, and pretty good songs, of course (only one about going on holiday was noticeably a pre-written one shoehorned in, and that was funny, so). A bit more professional than the TV series, but definitely the odd bit where someone went off through the wrong door or Mrs O forgot her entrance :-)
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I'm slow about this internet thing; I haven't been reccing Comedy Cuts as it's on at midnight on a Thursday, which only the sad and obsessed (ie, me) would stay up for or remember to video. But lo, it has a website and can be watched online. Plus deleted scenes and things. Tony Law, Josie Long, Penny Spubb, Mark Watson, Jo Neary, and many more- really, what's not to like? (Apart from their irritating cut-cut-cut editing. Which I suppose one could guess from the name.) Anyway, by watching this online, one can watch Comedy Shuffle at midnight on Thursdays instead...
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The trip to Ikea (many thanks, Tim) was not as epic as expected, although the last time I was in a car that full it was a van, and I got everything on my list and nothing besides. Boring things like folding chairs, and, most importantly, nine bookcases. Nine. That is how many bookcases I now have to assemble. (Well actually two are done, with only the average number of amusing shelves-wrong-way-round incidents. I did for a while yesterday come to the conclusion that it was physically impossible to put an IVAR together and people who seemed to have managed it lived in houses where there were strange localised optical illusions, probably brought on by hallucinogens found only in book dust. But I'm better now.) When they are set up they must be populated, oh happy fun. Then the house will look very odd as it will have floor space instead of pile-of-boxes space. So in fact, yay.

Comedy yay- Dan Clark in Leeds )

Maya is owning my brain even more and reviewing YAs. Spoilers for Elidor and The Queen of Attolia, originally hidden by lj-cuts but I can't work out how to link it like that.
Eragon: "I mean, if we wrote when we were fifteen (and I did) we wrote like this (and I did). A book is going to come out stilted if you're that young, unless you are a Super Genius In Style of Mozart. And a book is often going to come out - uncannily reminiscent of other books this young writer has read. (See: Tolkien's and David Eddings' Secret Lovechild In the Attic.)"

The enormous vat of courgette and squash soup I made yesterday (while listening to Bill Hicks, now that was cognitive dissonance) will last even longer than I thought as I'm going out several evenings this week. It's nice, but has anybody got any thoughts on what might be interesting things to chuck into a small potful of reheating soup to make it taste a bit different from last night? (Current notions: bacon, cheese, peas, heap of herbs. Not currants. That might be interesting, or it might be ickyuckpleh and that would be a waste of soup.)

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