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Friday, February 23, 2018

Comic Cuts - 23 February 2018

We've had a busy week and it hasn't finished yet. I'm writing this a little earlier than usual (Thursday morning rather than Thursday evening) because we're heading out to see Ellie Taylor at the Arts Centre, which means we'll miss seeing her on The Mash Report this evening. Which means it's not a live news report... it's fake news. Unashamedly fake and very funny news. (And if you haven't seen it, give it a try. Sadly there's only this evening's episode to go for this 6-episode run, so you'll have to watch it on the BBC's iPlayer. Click "All available episodes" – there are four available at the time of writing.)

We have a lot of love for Nish Kumar who first came to our attention on the Josh Widdicombe radio show on XFM, each week discussing a conspiracy theory he had read about. If you've ever wondered why Mel and I find it hilarious to say "Or is it?" that's where it comes from. Four years we've been saying it and it still makes us laugh. Just don't ask us what we associate with Ellie Taylor because it's visual and insulting and involves fingers.

I don't think Kumar has made it to the Colchester Arts Centre – we'd love to see him live – but we did get to see Lucy Porter on Friday for the first time in a few years (I think the last time was her "Northern Soul" tour). This tour seems to be a bit more family friendly and not as filthy as previous shows: "Choose Your Battles" is primarily about bottling up anger and the passive aggression most families endure when they can't be open and honest about things they find annoying. It might not sound like a fun-filled evening out, but it had the audience in stitches.

My humour is not usually very sophisticated. On Monday I was reading Black Bess; or, the Knight of the Road, a penny dreadful from the 1860s. The title will tell you that it concerns Dick Turpin, the highwayman, and his famous horse, Black Bess. This long and rambling tale (it runs to over 2,000 pages) is innocent of anything dirty, but once you've spotted a double entendre, it's difficult to take further reading seriously. So there's much childish humour to be had in learning the perfectly reasonable fact that Mrs Turpin loves Mr Turpin when it's phrased "Maude loves Dick." Dick is later to be found sprinkling liquid over the face of his wife, occasionally ejaculating, and his friend, Captain Hawk, is said to be "gifted with a full share of penetration." Hawk, too, ejaculates at the approach of Dick.

This is how I keep myself entertained while I'm working.

I'm reading Black Bess – skip-reading because its two-and-a-quarter million words long – to check a few things while I'm revising the next essay for the Forgotten Authors book. This one is slightly different because the author in question, Edward Viles, also had close ties with the publisher of his works, so I'm having to cover the publisher in some depth, too. And there's a lot of misinformation that has been published about Viles in the past, so that all needs to be unpicked and explained. I'm trying to get to the source of any falsehoods and a lot of it seems to be down to one guy, who was a notorious hoaxer.

As I'm still knee deep in that, there's no additions to the totalizer this week. But I'm not far from finishing, so there should be quite a substantial jump next week.

And so to our random scans... and for a change, this is a small selection from a pile of flyers that I've built up over the past couple of years. I'm sure I have earlier examples buried away somewhere but these seem to be mainly from 2014-17. If I get a chance to scan some more I'll post them next week.


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