Friday, 15 July 2011

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside! (especially if there's a comedy ticket)

So, for only my second post I am no longer a West End Girl; I'm a Seaside Girl! Because, on Saturday morning, off we all toddled to Brighton. It's beautiful; clear air, ocean breeze, seagull chatter e.t.c e.t.c - but I'm not here to share the splendour of the Regency buildings (mostly lovely flats now), I'm here to tell you who we saw.
Dylan Moran has come a long, long way since I fancied him. He has gone from the tousle-haired, slightly manic chain smoker of the Black Books series to being a middle-aged man; on stage, thanks to fire-hazard regulations, chocolate has replaced the ciggies, and he (unfortunately) sports a much more sensible haircut.
This freaked me out a little, sitting in the dark auditorium. OH NO! my conscience shrieked, HE'S NOW A FATHER-FIGURE! THIS IS WRONG! YOU CAN'T FANCY HIM, YOU SICK, SICK GIRL! But luckily, I had been pre-warned. Two years ago I was once before treated to his genius (this time on the West End) and it was apparent to me then that he was no longer a suitable object of desire; he was a changed man. His comedy has morphed from angry young man into disgruntled old man, and though he has always had a world weary tone, he is now also very reflective. He hates 'machines' and frequently references their various evils - one unfortunate woman using one in the front row got a swift and barbed put-down; 'Madam, try and enjoy an unmediated experience'; enough to put you off your iPhone for good.
However despite the annoyance and, often, anger that he exudes, he is side-splittingly funny. The man has so many grievances with the ridiculousness of the modern world and his fellow humans, and puts them across in so pointed a fashion, that you can't help but laugh along at the utter bizarreness of it all. He made a particularly wonderful point about supermarket machines; you know the ones, they go 'blip'. Well, this being Brighton, Moran rhapsodised about the fabulousness of diversity, and then asked why, in this modern world of iPads and sat-navs, can't anyone make anything more diverse and exciting than a thing that always goes 'blip'? Surely we can make a supermarket trip (otherwise routine and dry) more creative by having, say, an Irish checkout machine? 'Oh that's a fierce lotta mangos ya got there, what'll ya be doin' wit them then?'. Or perhaps Italian? 'You want these for that much? OK, you take your top off, then we talk.'
His (hopefully) fictitious conversations with his wife are also priceless. Here is a man who, despite all his efforts, is a wonderful cliche in his home life. His wife wears the trousers, his kids run rings ('It's wonderful to come home, ask your son how his day was and the only reply you get is him walking up to you, grabbing the lower half of your stomach and saying "wibblywobblewibwabblewaooob"'), and he hates all his friends. It's hysterical. You end up wishing you were invited to one of their dinner parties just to see him sulking in a corner next to Boring Keith, whom his wife has said he has to talk to, because she doesn't want to.
It is hard, however, to work out where his comedy persona ends, and where the man begins. He comes back on in the second half angrier than when he went off, and the arguments are so forceful, and the grumblings so seemingly deep-rooted, that it is difficult to discern what is real, and what is false. He is a deep-thinking, complicated man (ha, like all comedians), but he takes it so lightly, he makes you feel nothing but welcome, even if you think he's ranting at you (except if you're that lady in the front row).
Now my laptop's running out of power. Go see him, honestly. Your sides will be split.
Au revoir,

West End Girl x


  1. We all grow old(er) - it's just a matter of whether you do it (dis)gracefully or not. He does rather well, but then he's always had the weight of a cynical world on his shoulders

  2. True... he was already an old man at twenty-four :)

  3. I wasn't sure about this one, I might give it a go now after reading this.