If you don't know Jon Richardson he mentioned in his set last night that today he was off to record Have I Got News for You where he is occasionally the guest comedian. So you'll be able to see him Thursday (tomorrow) night.
Clergy life can be demanding in terms of evenings but I learned some time ago that one of the things that makes me happy is having tickets for upcoming gigs. Meeting friends for a meal first is a bonus, which we managed last night. The date will always prove to be inconvenient on many levels but making it a priority over work occasionally will keep you sane.
Now I say 'keep you sane' but clearly Jon Richardson walks very close to the edge. He is a stand-up, observational comic of great skill but he sees the world from the point of view of a man probably suffering from OCD. He rants at a guy who walks with one foot on cobbles and the other on tarmac. He divides the world into 'putters' (good people who know where they put things) and 'leavers' (who can never remember where they left things and must die). Apparently two 'putters' should not marry because they will fall out over a spoon facing the wrong way in a drawer. My wife and I are both 'putters' without that level of commitment and remain happily married.
The central theme of the show is pessimism. Not utter, but enough to get you through. Richardson laments (I think that is the right word) that anyone might suggest 'Don't worry; be happy,' as the song goes, as helpful advice. There are things worth worrying about and living alone in a flat in Swindon, drinking and playing computer games keeps him safely tucked away from other people's worries because a problem shared is a problem doubled. I said this in a poem fifteen years ago, but since Richardson is only 28 he couldn't have stolen it off me and I don't think he ever came to Ellesmere CYFA Venture. The tour is called 'Don't Happy; Be Worry.'
Stand up is highly cathartic. If you do look at people in the street and worry that they might breed; if you think that folk who wear unusual clothes should better be ready to say something interesting, if you will never shop at a particular supermarket again because they closed one branch and if you love individuals but think all crowds must die, then this is the comic for you to see.
He picks on the audience but uses their material warmly and gently. No-one is put down. A graphic designer who couldn't remember the last thing he designed would have been minced by Al Murray or Ross Noble. Richardson simply moved on and found a pregnant woman who trained air-traffic controllers. Much richer.
He spoke for 90 minutes in two sets of 45. Time passed quickly.
It makes me happy that my desktop calendar turns over a new sheet when I turn it on each day and the clock hands advance to the correct time as if they haven't been bothering to tell it overnight because nobody has been looking. I swear I woke up depressed and that made me cheerful. I don't think it would have worked if I hadn't seen a highly competent comic in a barely half-full Newport Riverside last night and woken up tired. If you expect life will be rubbish today the smallest thing makes you feel good.
I'm off to inter some ashes. Treat.