Armed Police Can’t Stop Attacks

Last Wednesday 3rd August 2016 the London Evening Standard displayed a terrifyingly stark front page featuring four Robocop style Met Police Officers.

Armed to the teeth in a show of military strength. Inside there was a detailed breakdown of all their artillery. This would keep Londoner’s safe was the clear message, despite Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe past comments that it was a case of not if, but when terror strikes the capital.

Armed Met Police

Armed Met Police

 

Horrifically, a tragic incident later that very same evening exposed the futility of such a strategy as a rampaging knifeman cut to shreds the Met Police’s show of military level strength which they and the Mayor of London hoped would give reassurance to Londoner’s.

A letter I wrote about this is published in today’s London Evening Standard, p41, Monday 8th August 2016.

The article is but an extract of the full article below. The essence is there but it omitted one key message re the requirement, in my view, to target mental health, which is more often than not a key feature of mass killings in USA, France and the smaller scale attacks witnessed in England. It’s quite ironic, symbolising all that’s wrong with the approach taken by the authorities, that the paper overlooked the key element of my article!

In the past week today’s paper reports that 5 other people have been stabbed to death in the last 7 days alone in the capital. Sadly, armed police didn’t prevent any of those losses of life, which further highlights the impotency of the Met Police’s strategy.

Met Police Robocops and Mayor of London fail to Protect Londoners

Last Wednesday 3rd August 2016 the London Evening Standard displayed a terrifyingly stark front page featuring four Robocop style Met Police Officers. Armed to the teeth in a show of military strength. Inside there was a detailed breakdown of all their artillery. This would keep Londoner’s safe was the clear message, despite Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe past comments that it was a case of not if, but when terror strikes the capital.

 

Well we didn’t have to wait long as the very SAME day terror struck in Russell Square leaving one unfortunate US tourist dead, Mrs Darlene Horton from Florida and 5 others badly injured as a young man went on a violent rampage.

Darlene Horton

Darlene Horton

Whilst I don’t doubt the Metropolitan Police have and will continue to foil many attacks in the capital, the fact of the matter is they failed this time. The fact of the matter is they cannot prevent such an attack, any more than they seemingly cannot prevent youth knife crime murders by schoolboys and young men.

No amount of intelligence or armed presence can stop a random, lone individual who is not on their radar. They can of course respond. Anyone can after the event. It’s not their fault of course, but that’s just too late. Rather than squander so much money, time and energies on defence on the ‘war on terror’, a better strategy would be for our political and law enforcement leaders to invest their resources in a refocused priority to tackle instead, or rather simultaneously, The Rise in Mental Health issues, which is killing more people in the Western world than Islamic terrorism ever has.

Recognising it, diagnosing it, treating it – both for children and especially un-diagnosed adults, for whom access to mental health treatment is woeful is vital. More often than not so many of the tragedies here and in America have clearly been rooted in unresolved, severe, mental health issues. Regardless of other extremist opinions some may carry this is the underlying factor that needs tackling if the authorities are to reduce the number of future tragedies.

Mayor Khan Fails Londoner’s

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote an opinion piece in the Evening Standard (04.08.16), yet he failed on so many areas it was as shocking and as blatantly clear as the previous day’s front page.

Don’t change your plans he told Londoner’s. Carry on your daily business as normal. Yet he reportedly immediately left his Mediterranean holiday (abandoned his family?) to immediately return to London. Why? What could he possible do AFTER the event?

He said his #1 priority is to keep London safe to be prepared for any eventuality, that the police were doing all they can to prevent and respond to any attack. Yet he and the police failed to do so on Wednesday night and I fail to see what value there was for the victims in his breaking his holiday.

He said we mustn’t jump to conclusions? Yet he did so in returning immediately! Jumping to the wrong conclusion at that. We don’t need a showboating Mayor. We need one that’s going to get to the root of the problem and deal with it. He’s new in the role and I wish him the very best of luck. He’s going to need it.

Whether its mental health or terrorism related outrages, lessons must be learned, but as last Wednesday night showed, arming our police to the teeth and declaring war on an unknown enemy is not the solution.

Article © Michael Peters, Editor, Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photographs © Evening Standard

I welcome your comments.

Links:

  1. Anti- Knife Crime fundraiser –  Standing up to Knife Crime at the Hammersmith Apollo – 19th October 2015
  2. The Cross and The Switchblade – Book review – 17th February 2015
Posted in Legal, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Brexit fallout – Who’s laughing now?

So it happened. The unexpected outcome of the EU Referendum. We’re out of the EU and EURO 2016 – which is one thing all sides would agree was not part of the masterplan! Or are we definitely out of the EU? I’m not so sure. More of that later.

The country and its media is acting like it’s surprised but why, as we all knew it was going to be a close call and that there were strong arguments for both REMAIN and LEAVE?

First things first, we have to congratulate the LEAVE campaign (all LEAVE campaigns, both official and so called unofficial one’s) for their clear victory at the ballot box last Friday. When all is said and done, forget the polls, the ballot box outcome is the only public opinion that matters. Whilst I voted for and would have much preferred for the UK to remain IN, one cannot deny that LEAVE won the argument fair and square. The contest turned into the heavyweight contest everyone predicted when Boris Johnson nailed his colours to the LEAVE camp back on February 21st, 2016. It’s no wonder Cameron responded bitterly in the House of Commons at the first opportunity he had. He assumed he was going into battle with his ‘Ronaldo’ only to find he’d switched sides at the last minute.

Why did BREXIT win?

It’s incredible and shows just how convincing an argument LEAVE made that they defeated what should have been an unbeatable ‘interim’ coalition, if I dare to use that word, comprising all the leading political parties who showed a rare display of unity. Well officially at least. The Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP and Green party all backed REMAIN, so how on earth did they lose?

Boris Johnson MP

Boris Johnson MP

There was no one over riding reason, more a culmination of issues – immigration, loss of sovereignty, control of our legislation, borders and the economy – the £350m a week going to the EU all struck a chord with a majority of the British public. Regardless of the accuracy or not of that figure, for years the message given out by the political classes, of all hues, was that we were giving over too much money to the EU who were not spending “our” money wisely or in our best interests. Here’s one example of their largesse. Why was our, now resigned, EU Commissioner Lord Hill, on a salary of £200k per annum? That’s £60k more than the PM gets for running the country. Staggering.

Immigration

For years the fears of many Briton’s have festered unsatisfactorily unresolved. This was the public’s opportunity to change things and they took it. Nigel Farage, as he said so colourfully, in the EU parliament yesterday when paraphrasing a famous quote from the late, great Bob Monkhouse – “When I came here 17 years ago and said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union you all laughed at me. Well, I have to say, you’re not laughing now are you?”

People are entitled to their fears – and you can argue for or against them anyway you like, the fact is a large number of people do not like or welcome what they perceive to be a seemingly uncontrolled flow of immigrants into Britain (which just isn’t the case). I don’t want to go into the ins and out of that in detail here, but this perception clearly matters and bothers people. I don’t condone the racist attacks that have sprung up since the Brexit vote, but now that it’s out in the open, we can look at it as an opportunity for a further national debate about the subject. This is reminiscent of last year’s general election. Significant numbers were unwilling to admit to pollsters they planned to vote Conservative. Perhaps that has been the case with polling this time with people choosing not to admit they were going to vote to leave.

It’s funny how people forget the benefit of immigrants. Here’s a couple of examples. If all the immigrants were to go home, as some would want, who’d be left working in the NHS – their local hospitals, GP surgery, dental practices etc… who’d be driving the buses in our major cities?

On a lighter, but equally serious note, people love to praise and boast about the Premier League as the best league in the world, but what if all the immigrant players and managers were to “go home” just how premier would our ‘English’ league then be? These “immigrants” playing in the Premier League aren’t eligible to play for England and look how embarrassingly England fared without them. The performance against Iceland was abysmal and the failure to get wins throughout the group stages of EURO 2016 was equally dire.

Status Quo

I think it’s always easier and more electorally attractive for the challenger to promise a change from the status quo and LEAVE painted a rosier picture of life outside the EU than REMAIN painted of staying put.

I also think some of the REMAIN MPs didn’t portray themselves and their arguments in the most convincing and persuasive manner. In some of the televised debates I came away thinking BREXIT did better despite being clear in my mind of the need to stay in the EU. For instance on the ITV debate (9th June 2016) with 5 women and 1 man (Boris Johnson) the 3 remain women MPs were practically picking on Boris throughout teasing him about his leadership ambitions etc.. Boris rose above it and handled himself well and diplomatically, but I’m sure if it was 3 male MPs ganging up on one female MP there would have been an outcry of sexism raised.

They came across as dour, overly serious, angry and humourless, especially Amber Rudd, which are not nice qualities to display if you want the national TV viewing audience to vote for you in a major referendum.

Some leavers are saying they didn’t realise the implications of their vote. Well more fool them. There was plenty of information out there for people to look into and do their own research into, rather than lazily just go by the sound bites of the political debates, TV, radio and newspaper campaign coverage.

The way forward

I think the decision to leave is terrible for Britain, but we could turn it to our advantage. Firstly, if I was David Cameron I would go back to the EU and outline the key factors that caused Britain to vote out and ask whether the EU can do anything to address these concerns e.g. over control, the amount we give to the EU, how it operates, is financed etc… If they are willing to review this then there is hope, as all sides here recognise the flaws in the EU. This is our one last chance to see if they’re willing to adapt.

The likes of Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Ian Duncan Smith and Nigel Farage are not idiots. They have not persuaded a majority of 17m voters to take us out of the EU without good reason. To dismiss them and the 17m voters as fools or racists is inaccurate and misleading. Many have been doing just that.

Judging by the mood of talks at yesterday’s EU Summit it looks like this may not be feasible, but we can but try as it’s also clear that our exit is not something the EU or wider world outside of Europe really wants. President Obama came over to London and made an impassioned plea (22nd April 2016) for Britain to REMAIN. The Leave campaign dismissed and insulted his intervention, but who’s laughing now?

Secondly, the Government and parliament simply does not have to follow the outcome of the referendum. It is not legally binding. If it’s put to a casting vote in parliament, based on party lines this referendum to leave will simply not get through. However if parliament is to ignore the referendum outcome, they should at least try and wring further concessions out of the EU otherwise the status quo with the EU continues which nobody really wants.

David Cameron and leadership

This leads me on to the position of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. If the above is legally feasible and the will of the people is to stay in, then there is absolutely no reason for him to follow through with his resignation. It was a truly honourable and magnanimous thing to do and must have hurt as I’m sure he wanted to carry on as PM until 2017. I believe he has been a very good PM and still has the energy, commitment and passion to keep going until that time. Clearly everything’s in a state of flux right now and were the country/parliament to decide not to leave then the rationale for him resigning becomes null and void.

The haste to resign and progress a leadership contest at unseemly speed may come back to haunt him.

Jeremy Corbyn

If David Cameron’s resignation (similar to ex-England Manager Roy Hodgson’s speedy resignation on Monday night) is a mark of integrity and accepting the reality of a situation, then what are we to make of the Labour Leader’s dogged determination to hang on in the face of an unprecedented rebellion by his cabinet and MPs? On the one hand I’m not a big fan of resignations and acknowledge he may well have the support of the wider grass roots supporters, if you can’t form a shadow cabinet and haven’t the support of the majority of your own MPs then you’re a busted flush and it’s time to BREXIT the Labour leadership.

I don’t see him lasting beyond the end of the week – that is assuming reality finally dawns upon him. If he toughs it out and stands in the leadership election it will be fascinating to see how it pans out. Corbyn is a well known Euro-sceptic amd rebel. Let us imagine we do BREXIT and it turns out to be the best for Britain, then his euro-sceptism and lukewarm remain campaign will have proven to be the correct stance. He doubtless believes that passionately, so when you consider that, it is understandable he would feel that he has no need to resign.

Chuka Umunna

Nonetheless this is clearly looking terrible for Labour. All of this would have been avoided if Chuka Umunna had not mysteriously quit the leadership campaign last year. I think he would have won, would have campaigned hard for REMAIN (as he did) but the difference is he would have brought the Labour party and Labour supporters with him and REMAIN would have comfortably won the vote last week. He’s been noticeably quiet since BREXIT.

Now might be a good time for him to throw his hat in. The problem is that the factors that caused his withdrawal last May 2015 – unwillingness to put himself and family through the close media scrutiny that goes with the job – haven’t changed, so this may still prevent him putting himself forward a second time.

We live in interesting times. If Umunna does and wins and a general election is called (unlikely I think), who knows, he could just be PM before the end of the year!

BREXIT Strategy

Some complain re the lack of a strategy for BREXIT. I’m not that concerned. It was never vital to have a clearly outlined one. 17m voters were not sufficiently concerned either. The main thing is they made a strong case for the advantages of leaving. What next could wait and could only be determined once they saw the detail of all the trade arrangements etc… that would have to be untangled. I mean, if someone asks for a divorce the other side don’t really care that the one asking to leave has a post separation plan. They will figure something out. So too in this situation.

As I say, there are fascinating, unprecedented times ahead for our country. The country and leading political parties are divided. However I do accept the LEAVE line that we are a strong nation. If it comes to pass, we can and will have to find a new way to thrive and survive outside the EU whether we like it or not.

Links:

  1. Does the murder of Jo Cox MP tell us something about the state of Britain?
  2. Welcome to London – Immigrant Diaries – Sajeela Kershi.
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Tony Marrese and Reginald D Hunter at Comedy Bunker

If you like variety when it comes to comedy, then the final Comedy Bunker show of the season provided a truly entertaining multi-pack of comedic styles.

From the outstandingly creative, original and very funny compere Tony Marrese to the unique presentation (literally) of James Veitch, to the political and musical flavoured comedy of Nish Kumar, to the near the knuckle, edgy comedy of Reginald D Hunter, this show had it all.

Tony Marrese

Tony Marrese

It was the first time I’d seen Marrese and he was an absolute blast. His compering style centred on making the audience very much a part of the show. This was all done in an entirely amiable way, such that the audience felt little pressure or embarrassment about being a part of the show even if some were the butt of his jokes – be that the beetroot red faced Irishman present, ‘action man’ or the Asian man sporting a bright yellow jacket. I knew he’d be the butt of jokes the minute I saw him come in and indeed her was! Sitting on the end of the front row, with his jacket on the back of his chair was not enough to disguise his oh so colourful jacket. Marrese had the audience in stitches throughout and was the perfect host.

James Veitch was superb with an original set based around email spammers. After the Power Point jammed at the start I feared the worst, but Veitch was relaxed about it, quickly fixed the problem and powered ahead to present a superb set that was very well received.

Nish Kumar was a little too long winded in his delivery and frequently a bit light on jokes. He was on safer, more assured comedic ground talking about music. I loved the references to musical legends James Brown, David Bowie and Prince, but the digs at the Spice Girls and Cold Play struck a bum note with the audience.

Reginald D Hunter

Reginald D Hunter

Last but not least was headliner Reginald D Hunter (RDH). It’s been a year exactly since I last saw him at one of his final shows of his last tour. He mentioned that he’d taken 9 months off comedy (enough time to have a baby) since his last tour to recharge the batteries and start writing a book. I enjoyed his set even though there were a few stories in it from his last tour. There were some jaw dropping stories out of seemingly innocuous meetings – such as with the 70 year old lady he met at a book convention. Who knew they could be so exciting?

Underneath the undeniable charm seems to lie a very angry man railing against all sorts of things – such as sexually mixed up relatives and Christianity. Even nice people like cuddly TV stars come in for attack. For instance, he wonders what dark skeletons a certain well loved, multi-award winning TV duo may be hiding. As mentioned in previous reviews, there’s little lightness with RDH and when searching for such, the best he could come up with was Bill Cosby, whom he said he respected but never really loved in the way many did. He questioned how Cosby could ever really have been, off camera/off stage, the lovable character he put out there for public consumption.

RDH was also seemingly angered by a mobile phone going off by a man in the front row. Well he denied being angry – paused and allowed the man time to “attend to his phone” so that he could continue … saying that he could get angry if it wasn’t attended to. Most comedians would have mined the situation for laughs. Pretty basic comedy fodder for an experienced comedian I would have thought but RDH was unable to go down such a path.

This was a superb show and if RDH is half as revelatory in the book he is writing as he is on stage I’m sure it will be a real page turner.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links:

  1. Angry Britain – Was Jo Cox’s murder symptomatic of the state of Britain today?
Posted in Comedy Reviews, Comedy Reviews 2016 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Angry Britain – Does the murder of Jo Cox tell us something about the state of the nation?

As we know, the tragic and senseless murder of Jo Cox MP last Thursday resulted in a brief suspension in campaigning for today’s European Referendum. Political leaders and commentators called on the public and fellow politicians to take a moment to reflect on the causes of her death, the nature of political campaigning and to remember the life of Jo Cox.

Was the style of campaigning too aggressive and confrontational? Did this create the conditions for some crazed lunatic to go and kill someone? Maybe it did, but without further information on the killer and his mental state, I think it’s far too soon to suggest a definite causal link.

Jo Cox

Jo Cox

However I’d like to briefly look at this in the context of a number of concerns with what’s going on with our country right now. For instance, the week leading up to Jo’s death was dominated by daily reports of English football hooliganism in France at the Euro 2016 championships. Why is it that (some) English fans are not able to behave at major tournaments? We’re one of the richest economy on the planet. We’re supposed to be a civilised society so why on earth do a minority of fans feel the need to carry on in this aggressive and violent manner at football tournament, where all that’s at stake is national pride? Furthermore, look at how so many footballers are behaving badly on the pitch (and I don’t mean the performance of the England players). I refer to those who constantly harangue referees over decisions or cheat to gain a competitive advantage. Has this been setting a bad example that fans are mimicking?

There is anger on the streets on England too. The rise of the mobile phone means more of this is recorded than previously was the case. There seems to be more street fights, murders and attacks on the vulnerable – elderly adults and innocent young children. Road rage is commonplace too.

Non-violent attacks have increase exponentially on-line via Twitter and Facebook, where MP’s and many other prominent/less prominent people are attacked on-line for holding strong views, which others disagree with. This trolling that goes on of some people is out of all proportion to the so called “offence”. Even the late Jo Cox MP herself had been subject to it in her one year of being an MP.

Some TV shows and radio chat shows e.g. ‘Have I Got News For You’ and ‘Mock The Week’ frequently showcase a disdain for politicians, mocking them as being almost beneath contempt and unworthy, when the reality is that many are hard working individuals who entered politics to make a difference for their constituents, their country and the world at large.

Comedians can regularly be seen displaying their anger on stage. Rhod Gilbert famously channels his anger into comedic routines and has admitted to suffering anger management problems and once sought therapy for this.

Just last Friday I saw top comedian Reginald d Hunter performing. A mobile phone went off mid-performance. He stopped to allow the person to deal with their phone. He made a point of saying he wasn’t angry but could get so if the matter wasn’t dealt with. It was. Quickly. He moved on with the show. Most comedians I suspect would have had fun with such a relatively mundane occupational hazard and quickly incorporated it into the comedy, but he felt the need to just stop the show.

Politicians themselves never give an inch when it comes to the tribalism of politics. I wouldn’t actually change that. Where there is clear division between parties it is fine for MP’s to debate vigorously for their viewpoint. The fiercely debated EU referendum has brought this into sharp focus. The issues at stake were huge and defining moments for the country – as they concern the economy, sovereignty, control of our country and it’s borders, plus so much more, so you expect everyone to give their all to win the debate and secure votes.

Even on this, which is meant to be non-party political, some are reluctant to appear to be on the same side as rival parties. For instance, the official line of the Labour Party is that they are pro-remain, but you’d be hard pressed to recall the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigning vigorously for remain throughout this long campaign. In fact, it took the terrible death of Jo Cox for him to even share a platform with the Prime Minister David Cameron. They stood side by side when making statements at the memorial for Jo Cox in Birstall, West Yorkshire, last Friday afternoon.

Thomas Mair appeared to have clear far right, extremist views allied to some mental health issues. We don’t know the extent of the latter and how they impacted his life.
Judging by comments from neighbours and those who knew him they do not so far appear to be that serious or extreme that anyone considered anything like this to be feasible or excusable by way of mental health.

So, why, aged 52, all of a sudden, did he become a murderer, seemingly just because of the referendum and the pro-remain stance taken by his MP, Jo Cox? He appears to be keen for his country to put Britain First and to be anti-immigration. That’s not an unusual or even an unpopular view. You could reasonably argue that successive governments have not done enough to address the public’s genuine concerns over immigration, but of course that should never have resulted in the death of an entirely innocent, hard working MP.

One thing it highlighted in the most horrific manner is the passion and ugly hatred by some in society for what they perceive as uncontrolled immigration and fears this could increase in the coming years to the perceived and maybe real detriment of indigenous English citizens.

Taking into account all of the above factors – ‘angry Britain’, a pervasive, selfish me first attitude, immigration, aggressive and confrontational political discourse, the anonymity and ubiquity of social media – have we somehow created a society full of hatred, which bred the conditions for some crazy to act out their hatred in the most heinous way imaginable?

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Posted in Debates, Legal, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Upfront Comedy from 6 Non-Blondes

Star rating: ****
Upfront Comedy at Tricycle Theatre
Kilburn, London NW6
Sunday 6th March 2016

A mature and varied comedy line up took to the Tricycle stage to deliver a Mother’s Day show for the people of Kilburn. Did they kill it or crash and burn?

Compere and Upfront Comedy Promoter John Simmit was on smashing form warming up the audience with plenty of good jokes embellished with lovely use of music and dance interwoven into his routine. There was an enjoyable range of styles, styla’s even, on display including the youthful Aurie Styla and his tales of growing up in West London, using “facilities” he ought not to, negative media influences on young people and hilarious tales relating to a recent visit to Jamaica. I think all comedians need to visit Jamaica as they always seem to come back with great tales! Both Curtis Walker and Slim have cracking routines based on their recent visits.

Aurie Styla

Aurie Styla

It was good to see two women on the line up including Ninia Benjamin, star of the BBC’s 3 Non-Blondes back in the day. Relative newcomer to the scene Muriel Oduro was superb and brought an impish, more innocent vibe to the show with her stories of singledom and the high cost of living in London. Ninia Benjamin certainly put the upfront in the comedy. The audience were prepped by John Simmit that some might wish to go for an early interval. He wasn’t wrong. There was plenty to laugh at with some wonderfully funny and silly, topical observations on the EU referendum and Brexit, as well as good humoured, self-deprecating joshing about her weight. The size 12 gag was lovely. The lasting impression for me however was of someone being OTT with a selection of low slinging, smutty, sexual gags. If she was after shock factor she got that. If she desired the X factor she missed it by a mile. I realise that such humour can be part and parcel of comedy, but something about it just didn’t sit right. To be frank it’s just not very ladylike and I don’t think audiences want that from female comedians.

Muriel Oduro

Muriel Oduro

Headlining double act Jefferson and Whitfield are a good old fashioned stand up comedy duo who accentuated their cultural heritage through comedy. They were quite family friendly, yet also pushed the boundaries of good taste, but unlike Ninia,  did it  in a less abrasive way. It was interesting to hear that Jefferson & Whitfield and John Simmit both had their TV debuts on The Real McCoy. As with many multi-line up shows there was good, bad and so so elements, but in the main this was a good quality night of cultural comedy from 6 non-blondes.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Discussion topic: Are their subjects that male comedians can explore that women can’t?  i.e. Do audiences permit male comedians to get away with certain material that they don’t accept from women?

Links:

  1. Tiemo Awards 2016 – Honouring the Best and Worst Shows of 2015 – 4th March 2016
  2. MC and Contestants Absolutely Smash it at 60 Seconds to Shine Final – Hosted by Muriel Oduro – 18th February 2016
  3. No Laughing Matter – Black Stand up Comedy – by Michael Peters – 23rd November 2015
  4. Why Has Black TV Failed to Progress Beyond  The Real McCoy ? – 30th December 2013
  5.  The Real McCoy 21st Anniversary Celebration –  7th May 2012
Posted in Comedy Reviews 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comedy Crossing the line with Toju and White Yardie

#The Laugh Society
Star rating: ***
Harrow Arts Centre
Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, Middlesex HA5
Saturday 5th March 2016

With a strong line up, the Laugh Society returned to Harrow Arts Centre for their first comedy show of the new year. It was good humouredly MC’d by Marlon Davis who had a wide range of amusing stories backed up with witty, improvised audience banter. He was ably supported by Aurie Styla, Rudi Lickwood, Toju and White Yardie. Toju divided opinion with his militant, aggressive style. Whilst funny at times, he needs to focus more on delivering the funnies than being distracted by and picking on people who aren’t amused. Looking around it was clear that many in the Centre were not enjoying his crude material and aggressive, borderline bullying style. That’s something that came up a year ago when he appeared on BBC Radio London and gained him an entry in the Tiemo Awards 2016. He should use the odd, stony face as unspoken, inner motivation to make them laugh. Toju surely must know that he crosses the line with the sex material and it was no wonder some people didn’t want to join in his deeply personal survey about their private lives.

#The Laugh Society

#The Laugh Society

Rudi Lickwood also crossed the line at times, but overall killed it with some stunning anecdotes re race relations and the woes of long-term relationships which hit the funny bone and had the audience whole heartedly laughing away in knowing hysterics. This was a fine gig, though too long as per usual with shows here. I think one less act and a finish around 10pm would be preferable to a 3 hour marathon. Sometimes you need to know when you’ve crossed the finish line and just stop.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

The Laugh Society returns to Harrow Arts Society on Sunday 7th May 2016 with multi-award winning comedian Slim.

Jimmy Carr is also at the Centre on 13th April 2016 in a pre-greatest hits work in progress show. We reviewed this show at an excellent performance he gave at The Beck Theatre on 24th February 2016.

***  SUPPORT A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR HAC ***

Marlon Davis made an important announcement about the future of Harrow Arts Centre. Please do support the Centre if you wish to see cultural arts continue at this wonderful and historic venue.

Donate now to protect cultural services in Harrow and transform HAC into a Southbank Centre for North London.

Harrow Arts Centre

Harrow Arts Centre

Harrow Council have agreed that an independent not-for-profit charity, Cultural London, will run the Arts Centre from April 2016. The new charity can only do this by replacing £500k subsidy with revenue from new facilities.

What We’ll Do

  • Build an independent cinema which will provide the income to sustain HAC.
  • Build a new theatre of 600 seats with a properly equipped stage.
  • Restore the Elliott Hall to re-connect people with its heritage and improve it as a performance space.
  • A gallery space would remain to support both professional and community exhibitions.
  • Offer spaces for current hirers and new start-ups with workshop rooms, rehearsal spaces and offices.

We need your help, now, to build these facilities. To keep HAC alive. To create a vibrant cultural scene for you, your family, your friends. A donation no matter how small or large – could go a long way to achieving this. If you love the arts in Harrow, please help. The time is now!

Links:

  1. Tiemo Awards 2016 – Round up of the best and worst shows of 2015  featuring Marlon Davis, Toju and many other performers across the cultural arts – 4th March 2016
  2. MC and Contestants Absoluntely Smash it at 60 Seconds T0 Shine Final – Organised by Rudi Lickwood – 12th February 2016
  3. No Laughing Matter for Black Stand up Comedy – by Michael Peters 23rd November 2015
Posted in Comedy Reviews, Comedy Reviews 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jimmy Carr: Fine Tuning his Comedy Vehicle

Jimmy Carr: The Best of, Ultimate, Greatest Hits Tour: Work in Progress
Star rating: *****
Beck Theatre, Hayes, Middlesex
Wednesday 24th February 2016

One man. One microphone. A full house. No music. No gimmicks. No fancy stage set. When you see Jimmy Carr it’s all about the jokes, the word play and the audience interaction. I like the pared down, back to basics structure to shows like this.

I say no gimmicks, but the intro is highly original (though one Jimmy Carr’s used before, which still makes it original to him) and has the audience laughing away before he’s even hit the stage. In fact, Jimmy Carr is his brief warm up act! That’s something else, getting the laughs before even hitting the stage.

Jimmy Carr

He’s soon into his stride with a constant stream of one liners and witty jokes that go down a treat. Some are familiar old ones but that’s expected as this tour clearly indicates – a greatest hits medley of his best jokes.

The audience banter is second to none. I pitied the poor mother and son sat in the front row. The crudity of his joke should have made that an interesting journey home to say the least!

Not sure he was too keen on another woman in the front row.

“What do you do?” he enquired.

“I’m a civil servant.” She responded.

“Oh. Which department?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“Oh, I think we do!”

“The Tax Office, HMRC.”

 

Cue uproar in the audience as all recalled Carr’s spot of bother with his tax arrangements a few years ago. That was quite funny and proves she was right to say he probably didn’t want to know!

Moving swiftly on, the show spanned a huge range of subjects, or rather targets – immigration (interesting twist on the usual jokes you hear), fat people, disabled, paedophiles, gays, lesbians, teachers. There were of course plenty of sexist jokes thrown in too. Even so called “rape jokes.”

As per many comedians for some reason, he was curious re homosexuality, asking if there were any lesbians in? Silence. He moved on. When talking about “gaydar’s” someone’s mobile phone happened to go off. Uncannily, unknowingly superb comic timing from whoever called at that point.

There was another brilliant moment when he enquired if anyone believed in the supernatural, spirits and ghosts. Another man on my row, plus myself spoke up saying we did. We were the only ones. He asked if either of us had seen a ghost. I hadn’t but the other man had. Carr asked him to tell more. “Well I was coming home from the pub …” He never got another word out such was the laughter that erupted around the theatre. Superb.

Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr

After the interval, Carr motored along in the same high quality vein. The jokes were incessant and although consistently funny I have to admit the show was too long. Even Carr said so himself and said the show would be shortened for the tour. I guess this warm up gig was one for throwing everything out there to see what works and what doesn’t.

It most definitely was a lot more hit than miss. Very few missed the mark in fact. He even came up with a few new jokes during the show which he diligently made note of. There was plenty of hard core relationships material and audience interaction over this which was great.

Despite the rudeness of some of the material, there’s still an underlying class to much of the rest of his material. He’s reminiscent of the late, great Bob Monkhouse in his love of writing clever, pithy jokes. Carr was on fine form and fans about to see Carr on tour are in for a terrific night.

Early on he joked re his resemblance to tennis legend Roger Federer and on this form and with the career he’s had he’s certainly up there with some of the finest comedians Britain’s ever produced in much the same way Federer’s one of the very best tennis pla. In the same way that timing is everything with the serve, so too with telling jokes and very few do it better than Carr. This was an absolute master class of comedy as Carr took a drive down memory lane retelling some of his finest jokes down the years.

Game, set and match to Carr.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Jimmy Carr is currently touring worldwide. His brand new show arrives in Britain in May 2016.

Link:

  1. Jimmy Carr: Gagging Order – 15th December 2012
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