Don Moses Comedy & Magic Blog - A light hearted look at life, comedy and magic.

Archive for August, 2008

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

This is, So, Not a conversation!

Working and travelling around the UK to company event days and functions could be viewed as a lonely business.  However, I am a private person; if you notice, there is not too much about my home life in these blogs.  Anyway, I am often alone, yet, never lonely.

However, it is often a pleasant change to be surrounded by lots of people.
The other night at 3 a.m. we had about twelve people around at the very tidy flat.  Food was unclingfilmed and prepared (oh yes, rock and roll).  Most of the people I knew well, but some, I had just met that evening.
 
Trapped in the middle of the room perched on the coffee table, I felt strangely disconnected; unusual for me, as I am generally up beat.  No music, no TV, yet still the noise increased.  It was as if, I was the centre piece at a Greek wedding.  Theatrical people can be, how can I put this, oh yes, theatrical, that is the word.  Who was listening to whom?  I couldn’t work out which voice to concentrate on, as everyone was talking.  This is not possible is it?  Finally, after what seemed a long time, Zeb (one of the photographers for the fringe) stood up and verbalised my exact thoughts with a very loud “This is, So, Not a conversation”.  Everyone stopped momentarily, then, proceeded just as loud.  Zeb, with the look of a frustrated supply teacher who was retiring, just shrugged and laughed.
It made a change I suppose, although, it was a bit like a noisy way of not having a conversation in a hotel lounge.

Can you tell it is close to the end of the festival.  I am off on my travels this weekend, firstly, to Knutsford Cheshire, then Newcastle and finally home to my lovely wife. 

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Edinburgh Olympics

I guess that people in the athletics world were already aware of our new heroes of Team GB before the Olympics and even knew they would bring home the medals.  The general public, however, had never heard of these hopefuls, until now.  This is very similar to Edinburgh; the fringe is often described as a bubble. 

Outside of Edinburgh no one cares, so my listing of names and describing shows will mean nothing to you.  OK, some of you are entertainers and stand up comedians who would know, but, here, I have the chance to do a very easy blog, by linking to tinter net.  So, like the lazy parent who pops in “Finding Nemo” for the hundredth time instead of reading to the morbidly obese three year old, here I go.
Did I see anyone famous this year (I saw Tom Hanks last year)?  This year Kevin Spacey and Ray Winstone’s daughter (not together, I am not starting a “Hello” type rumour).  Al Murray (pub landlord) made me laugh in the Pleasance Courtyard with his trilby and pint in each hand; Jimmy Carr also, very nice guy.
Shows I really liked: Daniel Kitson’s shows (his theatre show and his late night show with David O’Doherty and Andy Zaltsman).
Daniel Kitson is famous for being able to deal with anything e.g. once he had a blind man in the audience who called out “you can’t take the piss out of me, I’m blind”.  Without missing a beat Daniel Kitson replied with “If you’re blind, isn’t it a bit selfish to be sat at the front, there are people with eyes who could have sat there, and you could’ve sat at the back”.
You can’t top that, speak to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

location, location, location

After beautiful weather in the South of England, I returned to the very fine rain of Princes Street.  It is a teasing type of rain; it is the type of rain which can make you indecisive about brolly sales.  I did know an umbrella would keep me dry, but, I would have to carry it about all day, and was it really wet enough to spend £9.99 on a cheap one, with Scotland written all over it?  Being a Geordie, I felt buying a red umbrella, in slight dampness, would make my friends think I had had a sexual preference shift.  I decided not to buy.

I made my way to our flat on Guthrie Street in the heart of the old town.  It is the same flat as last year, yet you would never believe it; it is just so tidy this year.  It is a great location for all the venues, however, it does have a downside.  It is just up from Cowgate.  Cowgate is the road which leads out of the grass market and has the seediest bars I have ever seen.  These pubs make the bar in Star Wars look like the Ritz.  And they are all open until 5 a.m. in the morning.  Surely, no one needs a drink at that time of the day, maybe a postman on his way to work.  Read this blog if you are wondering if there is any harm in drinking until this time in the morning.

The other morning at 5:30 I could hear two drunks shouting at each other from opposing sides of the road.  It was as if the road was a river and if they could both just cross they could manifest their verbalised insults about cutting new bottom holes on each other etc. (I cleaned that one up).  The grey granite walls and alleyways of the old town redirected the sound right to my bedroom window.  It was as if Billy Connolly was sitting at the bottom of my bed performing his two drunks swearing routine.  Typical of Edinburgh there is always a show on somewhere during the festival.

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Christmas Parties

Well, you will be pleased to know, “The Apprentice Show” was well received last night.  It was perfectly set up, and pitched at the right level for an awards dinner (and naturally, involved absolutely brilliant audio visual technology.  You wouldn’t expect anything less from this company, would you?).  Oh yes, I know how to play the corporate game.
It was a relief, as I had to follow the awards’ ceremony, which had left everyone in a great party mood.  In fact, it reminded me of the best type of Christmas party (you know the sort, lots of laughter, yet no one crying on the stairs, type), which also made me think about, how really busy December will be this year.

I have taken bookings (mainly for London) since March, for Christmas this year; these are the really organised people obviously.  Understandably, August is never the month to think about Christmas parties.  For example, today everyone has a sun tan here in the South of England (look, anything south of Darlington is the South of England, right?); and the football season is just about to start, so no one is thinking about Christmas.  In fact, last night I booked into the fantastic forest pines hotel http://www.qhotels.co.uk/hotels/forest-pines-near-brigg-north-lincolnshire  just ahead of the Fulham Football team who are playing newly promoted and probably soon to be relegated Hull City (supporting a yo-yo club http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yo-yo_club makes you cynical doesn’t it).

It is interesting, that this year I have received more bookings for my after dinner act at company Christmas parties than I have for my close up magician duties.  This is reassuring, as the bookings are all from word of mouth referrals.  I am starting to realise why so many companies are wishing to hire an after dinner comedian.  My guess is that, television programmes such as “Mock the Week”, “8 out of 10 cats” and this new digital channel Dave (which seems to showcase TV comedians live at the Apollo), is whetting this appetite for live stand up comedy as after dinner stage entertainment.  So, I am thinking, it is more to do with the power of TV, rather than the turning the corner of the recession.  Still, as long as it turns in to a booking, ehh?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

You’re hired

Corporate heaven, corporate hell
I am leaving Edinburgh today (I will be back after the weekend) to travel to a number of gigs, the first of which is in North Lincolnshire (The Midland areas are often chosen for their central locations for nationwide company dinners and awards).  In Lincoln, I will be performing for a National A.V. company’s awards dinner http://www.universal-live.com .  The directors of the company are also staging the awards on the theme of the TV programme “The Apprentice”. 

Anyway, back to the reviews, last night I saw Rhod Gilbert; very good show.  Some of Rhod’s act outs were bordering on Basil Fawlty at his best.  He seems to be even more manic this year than he was a few years ago in this clip.
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGAD1uTR1SY
In Rhod’s show he mentions how he hates performing at corporate gigs, and his show leads on from there.  I assume he meant the award ceremonies at corporate functions can be very similar, and obviously he uses exaggeration to enhance his comedy story.
I, myself, love the corporate gig.  I agree with Rhod, there is more work to do.  However, with the internet, information about the companies is really easy to find.  So with that extra homework done, the performer can make the whole act look spontaneous; this can lead to memorable gigs.  Still, I am a bit undecided about the Apprentice part of the show.  I assume the contestants will be based on how they perform on the activities part of the day and not actually be fired.  I will look out for black taxis waiting outside. 

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Spiked Millican

Ok, enough with the diet tips; let’s face it; I am no more qualified than Doctor Gillian Mckeith, being as, I have a University education, a modicum of common sense and a sanctimonious nature.  I wonder if Mckeith is a real doctor or is she just going through the motions ( III TTHHank you ).  Crap joke (no, please stop me).
So, still up at the festival and enjoying the nonsense of it all.  There seem to be a lot of scary ghost type figures walking the streets this year.  Climbing the many steep narrow stairways in the labyrinth that is the old town late at night, it can be quite frightening to turn a corner and see such a sight.  However, their pasty white faces are not quite as spooky during the day when one of them stops to answer his mobile on the Royal Mile.  I am not even sure if the one I saw was actually in a show or just on a stag night.
Anyway, back to reviews.  I was recently performing at a corporate function in London and afterwards I went on to see the highly praised (Geordie comedian) Sarah Millican doing a 30 minute set at a small comedy club in preparation for this year’s fringe.  It was great to see how much Sarah had improved; this actually means something as she was probably one of the best “open mikers” I have ever seen.  I have yet to see Sarah’s show at this year’s festival but I do know it is getting some great reviews and I am sure she will easily win the best newcomer award this year.  I have been on the panel of judges for the awards and I know what they are looking for, and Sarah will tick all the boxes.
Sarah got into comedy after the sad loss of her marriage.  Wallowing would have been pointless, yet wallowing and talking about it to a group of strangers proved to be just the ticket.  This begs the question what are valid topics (in this case targets) for comedy.  The answer of course is anything and everything.  Sarah talking about her divorce is the equivalent of Chris Rock having a go at us white people.  So, is it years of oppression overturned or just the flip side to Jim Davidson’s dig at his wives and chalky white.  You decide, all I know is you should travel up to Edinburgh now and book a ticket for Sarah Millican’s not nice http://www.sarahmillican.co.uk

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Diet tip Number 2

Never miss a meal. 

If you keep missing meals your ”God made, on board computer” will think it is never going to see food again, and your body will go into starvation mode i.e. it will slow down your metabolism and so retain your fat reserves.

Small and often meals will trick the body into thinking food is always available and so avoid this perceived scarcity problem.

On this theme, it is best not to see too many shows at The Fringe in one go.  You can’t give a culunary review on food if you are already full, likewise,  it is hard to judge if a show is any good if you are comedied out.  Magic shows also fit in to this analogy, and so I have seen the magic shows I have reviewed on different days.  Here are my findings on the best magic shows at this year’s festival.

“Expert at the card table” Guy Hollingsworth

I love watching shows where I am comfortable with the performer on stage.  It is a bit like when they get the right James Bond for the films, and everyone goes “oh that was a good choice”.

The reason I mention this is because I have just reviewed “Expert at the card table” by the stylish and gentlemanly Guy Hollingsworth.  If anyone was suited to that type of show it was Guy.  Top marks.

Talking of being suited for a roll on stage, Pete Firman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKiUkKkpo3A has another great show this year.

Other shows worthy of a mention and a visit are Ali Cook and Barry and Stuart.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Comedy clips and diet tips

First rule of Diet Club is….. No Bread; I lost 3 pounds in one week (fact). 

I’ll be honest with you, I am covering the Edinburgh Festival for a number of publications, and so the mention of diet tips in the title is really just to pull in a larger audience.  Gotcha.

However, having said, that I am infact working on getting in shape.  I have a number of after dinner performances coming up in the next few weeks and I don’t want to look a porker.

I have been at the festival for four nights now, and apart from the late nights all is going well.  It helps that my colleagues and friends are not big drinkers; which leads me on to diet tip number two – beer equals extra poundage.  Yes I do know it is just common sense.

I have just thought, to give the title some credibility, I suppose I could give diet advice every day and keep you informed of my progress on following my very own tips.  So watch out for more diet tips tomorrow, unless, of course, you don’t want perfect abs.

Anyway, these (links below) are the sort of comedy performances you are missing by not coming to the festival.  The internet is brilliant isn’t it.  Yes, by merely clicking on the links which follow you can experience the best of the festival in your virtual world (although, it is best to leave the house occasionally, well at least play Wii tennis with the patio doors open).  Here are the clips hope you enjoy them.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbUqhxPGFXY 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_8oaimyDpo


Don performs as a wedding magician, corporate entertainer, and after dinner speaker at events throughout the country. London Magician, Manchester Magician, Liverpool Magician, Birmingham Magician, Newcastle Upon Tyne Magician, Magician Surrey, Edinburgh Magician, Oxford Magician, Bristol Magician, Magician Milton Keynes, Leicester Magician, Leeds Magician, Magician Kent.