Hi there, how are you doing? I hope you have had a really good couple of weeks. Mine have been very busy with loads of fun stuff going on. I have mentioned before that I did an eight week comedy course led by the brilliant Logan Murray, prior to making my stand up comedy debut at the Tringe Festival five years ago now.
It was an excellent course and so much fun. He still runs them regularly all over the world, but mostly in London. I would recommend it to anyone whether you are interested in doing comedy or just want to try to improve your public speaking skills. While having a right old laugh at the same time. His course’s are quite a breeding ground for comics Rhod Gilbert, Greg Davies and Andi Osho have been on them in the past.
I know lots of people who did the course like I did as part of the Tringe Festival and have gone on to do very well for themselves. One such person is Olaf Falafel. He did the course in Tring the year before me. Then the year that I did it, he was the host in one of the pubs that I performed in. After that I ended up gigging with him a few times at various events over the years. Fast forward a few more years and he is regularly headlining comedy nights up and down the country. He also has now got two solo one hour shows at the Edinburgh Festival under his belt.
A couple of Friday’s ago I went along to the fantastic Museum of Comedy to see him perform his current full length show. It is a brilliant venue with lots of classic comedy memorabilia on display, including a Milton Jones shirt, a stuffed bear from Steptoe and Son and a Freddie Star jacket to mention but a few items. I have previously seen Michael McIntyre, Josh Widdicombe, Trevor Noah, James Acaster and Stewart Lee there. Olaf Falafel was performing his Marmosets of My Mind show. Which he did for a whole month in August at the Fringe in Edinburgh.
It was very funny, with some clever and very different bits in there. Mostly just silly fun, but very well done. It included one of the ten best jokes from this year’s festival, as selected by the TV channel Dave. Which he did reference himself, mainly to share his disbelief but it is a good joke and deserves to be there. The show does involve quite a lot of audience participation. But I sat at the back and managed to stay well away from all of that. I really enjoyed seeing him do a full show for the first time.
I did manage to have a quick chat with him afterwards. He is already booked in with the same venue in Edinburgh for next year’s festival, so will be taking a brand new show up there for that. He has two children’s books out, as he is a very talented artist and writer to. Plus he is well worth a follow on Twitter as he posts lots of very funny jokes and produces a lot of comedy videos. Great to see him and have a nice catch up. Keep an eye out for him and go and see his comedy show if you can.
I do like the Camden part of London and have been out in that area quite a few times over the years. But up until last Monday I had never been to the Roundhouse there. It does host a lot of great gigs with big artists. It is a place I was always keen to check out. Finally the opportunity arose when a friend of mine invited me to go there to see an American artist called Jason Isbell play with his current band The 400 Unit. He is from Alabama, he has won a Grammy and he plays a mixture of Country, Blues and Rock music.
I will be honest I knew very little about him before I went to the gig. I was aware of a few of his songs, though. I am a big fan of any guitar based music. Which is what he plays. I was impressed with the Roundhouse in general. It is a pretty cool and friendly venue. We did have some great seats with a decent view of the stage.
The concert itself was brilliant. Jason and the group were fantastic. The atmosphere inside was excellent. I would certainly go and see him again and happily go back to see some other gigs at the Roundhouse based on this experience. An ace night listening to a quality performer play some great tunes.
As you know I have been taking full advantage of the fact that Tottenham Hotspur are playing at Wembley Stadium this season. I am trying to get to as many of the games as I possibly can. I was delighted to be able to make the Champions League game against Real Madrid. That is the sort of big high profile match you really want to see your team involved in. The whole night was brilliant.
I met some friends in The Arch pub before for game for a couple of drinks. Then I headed in to the Stadium to grab a bite to eat and get myself in position for the game. I had my heart set on some Pizza but there were no Pizza places near me in the ground, so I had to settle for a Chicken Balti pie. Which I have to confess rather surprisingly was really tasty and enjoyable.
I took my seat ready for the game feeling excited and optimistic that we could get a result. It was a boost to see Harry Kane fit to play. Then it was disappointing to see Toby Alderweireld limp off injured early on. When Dele Alli touched in Kieran Trippier’s cross for the first goal the noise nearly took the roof off. At that point I felt we could win it. We got through to half time one up. Then early in the second half Dele Alli’s shot was deflected in for our second. At this point me and the rest of the Spurs fans were in dreamland. Then just when we thought it could not get any better Christian Eriksen added a third and Madrid looked beaten.
I really could not believe when in the sixty-second minute we started knocking the ball around them to shouts of “Ole” from the crowd for every pass. That was a brilliant moment. Predictably Ronaldo scored to pull one back for them. But we held on for what was a memorable victory. One which means we have already qualified for the knock out stages of the competition. We could top our group to and go through as champions, well sort of.
It was a great night to be part of and so good to always be able to say I was there the night we beat and outclassed Real Madrid. There were so many great performances. The whole team played brilliantly. I think my favourite thing to have come out of these two encounters with the Spanish side is this new song we now have “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Who needs Bale? When We’ve Got Sissoko”. I mean that is genius and amusing at the same time. It really is an interesting time to be a Tottenham fan at the moment and long may it continue.
I was back at Wembley a few days later to see Spurs play Crystal Palace in the Premier League. After the euphoria of the previous game and due to this being a midday kick off. The atmosphere was a bit more subdued and the team themselves failed to reach the same heights as in the previous game. Mind you it is fair to say Palace did not try to really get at us as much as Madrid had. Their manager Roy Hodgson of course has lots of experience of managing at the Stadium. It must of felt a bit odd for him to be in the away dressing room.
We gave a league debut to our third choice Goal Keeper Paulo Gazzaniga. Who terrified us all. When in the first minute he completely missed a simple cross and then in the process crashed in to one of their players. Thankfully he recovered from that well, kept a clean sheet and was our man of the match pulling off a couple of great saves. It was a very tight and close game. Which we managed to win one nil in the end.
But with the other top teams playing each other later on in the day, the win and three points was all that mattered. It was job done as I headed off to the pub to watch the next two games on television. When I got home I treated myself to my favourite Indian takeaway meal from my local Indian Restaurant The Radhuni. It was a fitting end to the day and very tasty.
I went to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End recently to see the new stage version of Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein. I always enjoy a night at the theatre. This is another one of those shows that I had been wanting to see pretty much since it was announced. The brilliant cast included Ross Noble, who plays Igor, Lesley Joseph, who plays the house keeper Frau Blucher and Summer Strallen as Inga.
It is a slight reworking of the classic Brooks film. As ever he is very hands on with all of his work, so he also directed and produced this version. It is very funny, off the wall and very clever. Basically everything you would expect it to be.
I have to say I thought Ross Noble was really good in it and if I am honest I was surprised how good his singing voice was. All these comedians nowadays who seem to be great all round performers. I am not sure if I should be very impressed or jealous. Anyway he was great. As were the whole cast. It is a very slick production from start to finish. They got a well deserved standing ovation at the end. There is talk of Mel Brooks producing a stage version of Blazing Saddles.Which if he does, that will be a must see. I really wish that I had got around to seeing The Producers when that was on tour now.
As ever with working for the BBC at Broadcasting House you never know who you might bump in to. I passed Sanjeev Bhaskar the other day as he was leaving a studio and I was entering it. I still see Ian Wright around when he is doing 606. I am looking for the right opportunity to discuss Arsenal and Tottenham’s season’s with him. I have a feeling that could be a lively conversation.
Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil