Saturday, July 14, 2007


GuilFest 07 - Another successful GuilFest (Number 4 for me)

Today was a lovely day out - the weather stayed fine and the temperature didn't get too cold by 11pm.
Nobody nearly collapsed from sunstroke this year although somebody did get sunburnt - it's surprising how effective a constant breeze can be at dehydrating the skin. It's like the sun and the wind conspire - the former hides behind clouds from time to time so you don't notice it while the latter makes sure you have no moisture left to protect your skin.
My schedule was to live in the Comedy Tent for the afternoon and then pass the time somehow in the evening - the music line-up didn't really appeal (none of the acts from my childhood/teenage like Blondie or The Stranglers this year) but there are dozens of bands on spread amongst the many tents/stages.
The Comedy Tent this year was in a different position and open on one side - in the past it had been open on three sides which allowed for a nice through-draft to keep the air moving. This time, though, it felt pretty warm and the acts sweated more than was expected from facing a GuilFest audience.
I had a bit of a shock when I say the MC, John Mann - he looked just like Martin Davis (MC from previous GuilFests). Well, a Martin Davis that has REALLY let themselves go in a Keith Richards sort of way, anyway.
First act up was Stan Stanley with quite a short set. Seemed a bit nervous but managed OK - the afternoon audience at GuilFest is quite different from a normal gig. For starters there is no under-18 bar. There was supposedly a ban on swearing but the f**king Aussie later on couldn't get the concept.

Pete Firman is a magician that does comedy. In his act he managed to demonstrate a few simple tricks, such as the vanishing handkerchief. Most people believe this to be done with a false thumb but Pete went on to show that the trick is actually much more complicated than that - in fact it is all done with a handkerchief snatcher. A line from the handkerchief runs under the jacket and trousers (which Pete helpfully removed) to bands round the knees; a simple exercise of the legs extracts the handkerchief from view. Tada!

The advantage of being a magician - as I've reported from previous GuilFests - is that you get to invite lovely women from the audience to assist. In this case, helping the magician stab himself with needles a la Geek (circus geek, not techy geek).


Finishing off the first half was Roger Monkhouse, a very likable comedian, telling jokes about being a white middle-class parent of a teenage child -  easy overlap with a lot of the audience. His conversational style was that of a slightly baffled man, not necessarily unhappy with the world but learning how to get on with life's changes. Would definitely want to see his act again.
After a break we were back for more comedy, starting with Daniel Townes, a young and cocky Australian. Highlight was the story of his deportation from America after landing at LAX en route to Canada. Not sure why he was deported but his encounter with immigration was amusing, if a little unbelievable.

The music today was supplied by punk musician, Paul B Edwards. You might have heard his hit single "I Predict A Fry-Up" under the name of the Kaiser Chef.Paul B. Edwards:

Has more of an Internet presence than most comedians - I assume most don't have the time or inclination to run a website, or even a MySpace site.

MySpace URL 

Headlining was Junior Simpson, the only act I knew to be almost famous. He was quietly confident, relying on years of practice, and had a good range of comedy to rely on, pulling from repertoires aimed at general audiences as well as the brothers.
What I enjoy about black (and Asian) comedians is the insight they bring into their family lives and how similar and different they can be to mine.
For example, Junior related how in the past they would call the family to the TV whenever a black actor was to be seen, hopefully in time before the character was dragged off to the cells.
Or how he thought that being able to beat your child (punishing, not abusing) was something that was lacking from modern life. TV programmes with mothers being hit by their 4-year old children and asking what they could do just seemed bizarre to him. Being only a year apart in age, I can understand where he is coming from  :-)

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