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Thursday, May 18, 2006

VIVE LA STAND UP: Mark Steel in Brecon.

A seat in the front row right in the middle seemed like a good idea when I was buying tickets to see Mark Steel in Brecon. Obviously everyone else who bought tickets had been there before because apart from us the front few rows were empty.

As soon as we sat down, knees bent up to squeeze in by the stage, I thought, “I hope he has got nice shoes”, because it was obvious we were going to spend the night looking up.

There is also the little matter of being singled out for sitting at the front. I suppose this is an obvious risk when going to see a comedian, but I did not know everyone else was going to sit towards the back! It was not long before it was established where we are from and when the second half of the show started everything was delayed while he waited for us to get back from the car park.

I had known that there was a bit of a risk sitting at the front, but this is Mark Steel we are talking about, not Chubby Brown or Bernard Manning.

I had not expected there to be much heckling for Mark to deal with but one local woman decided to point out to him that there were probably not many Welsh people in the room. He found this quite bizarre, given that we were smack in the middle of Wales, and developed it into a bit of a theme throughout the gig.

After about half an hour of debating whether or not we were in Wales he eventually got stuck into the show, which is loosely based around his book on the French Revolution. Basically it is about the fact that history taught in the classroom is boring so by throwing some humour into the whole thing makes it more interesting, therefore you are more likely to learn. It works in the book, I cannot comment on how it would work just live if you have not read the book, cos I have, if you see what I mean.

Whether or not you learn anything, the show is very funny and Mark demonstrates his sharp wit when dealing with hecklers and is at his best when he wanders off script for anecdotes, particularly funny as he takes the time do adapt his act for wherever he is playing.

All in all a cool way of spending an evening in Brecon, no matter where you are from.

I did take my camera, but I lost the bottle to take any pictures sat so close to the stage, so the picture above is nicked from Indymedia.

You can get a flavour of what the show was like by checking out these MP3s
Lecture at Marxism 2002
Lecture at Marxism 2003


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