Tag Archives: Peter Morey

Comedy’s future in London and what is happening in Canada, Japan and Kenya

PTOO last night - Zuma Puma as ‘The Colonel’

PTOO last night – Zuma Puma as ‘The Colonel’

Last night, I got three interesting e-mails and saw the best potential TV series not yet on TV – Vivienne & Martin Soan’s monthly live comedy show Pull The Other One in South East London.

The PTOO format is bizarre acts plus one token stand-up comedian, which I think might be the next step in the future of comedy in the UK.

Call me obsessed but, with the apparent decline of straight comedy clubs and the rise of the Cabaret Section at the Edinburgh Fringe, something feels likely to change.

Lindsay Sharman compered last night

Lindsay Sharman did it by the book last night

Last night at PTOO, the ever-TV-friendly-faced Lindsay Sharman hosted Cheekykita, who harassed the audience in a crash-helmet, then turned into a black hole… wonderfully acerbic (OK – viciously bitter) musical comedian Kate Lucas (who, last month, was crowned Mercury Comedian of the Year at the Leicester Comedy Festival)… the always wonderfully intense Zuma Puma aka Nelly Scott as a wildly OTT Russian colonel… the Greatest Show on Legs with Martin Soan as a psychotic gay sergeant major… Simon Munnery being superbly funny as the token stand-up (You know, when Simon Munnery is the token normal comedian, everything else has to be SERIOUSLY weird!)… and Darren Walsh being extraordinarily punny (last month he won the first UK Pun Championhips) with lots of surreal visual and audio gags meaning he kept well to the bizarre variety act side of normal stand-up.

Peter Morey drawing as Simon Munnery performed

Peter Morey drew; Simon Munnery performed

While all this went on, artist Peter Morey was drawing his live visual interpretation of the show on the door of the venue as he listened to the acts perform.

The audience included Comedy Store improviser Stephen Frost and new comedy entrepreneur and showman Adam Taffler.

For once in my life, I felt trendy.

Then I went home.

I have no idea who this man is

This man is in Vancouver. I do not know him.

There was an unexplained e-mail from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith. She is currently working in a bookshop in Vancouver. There was no text in the e-mail, just an attached picture. The e-mail was titled Finns and Doukabors have visited the shop. I have no idea what this means.

According to Wikipedia, the Doukabors were a Russian religious sect who emigrated to Canada in the 19th century to escape persecution by the Tsarist authorities. And, according to the 2001 census, over 131,040 Canadians claim Finnish ancestry.

I have no idea what relevance either of these facts may or may not actually have to anything else.

Then I opened an e-mail from British comedian Bob Slayer who, among many other things, used to be a horse jockey (unlikely but true) and managed Japanese rock band Electric Eel Shock (who are descending on Britain next month).

They provided some of the music for the movie Killer Bitch, in which one of them got killed by having a fish rammed down his throat. One of the movie’s online samplers uses their music. (Do not view this adult material if you can ever be offended by anything and – really – NB do not buy from the website named at the end, only from reputable retailers.)

A week ago, Bob Slayer flew to Japan. I had no idea why. Last night’s e-mail explained:

The reason why we are here is our friends Kaori and Jamie are getting married. Kaori was in a London-based Japanese two-piece band called Yumi Yumi. They both helped me out lots in the early days of managing Electric Eel Shock. After that band, Kaori joined Mercury Award nominated The Go Team as guitarist, keyboardist and occasional vocalist. Jamie was the bass player.

DAY 1 – We arrive in Kumamoto after 24 hours travelling. We took a flight from London to Tokyo then several bullet trains. Some of them were even the right ones. The highlight of the wedding food is a plate of raw horse meat, a local delicacy. I will never watch the Grand National in the same way again.

Day 3 – Where did day 2 disappear? A booze and a jetlag fug?

Day 5 – Today we are in Settsu-shi, near Osaka, at the house of Aki Morimoto otherwise known as front man of Electric Eel Shock. He has produced a little boy since I saw him last and Taira (3 years old) and I bond over sword fighting and cartoons of Anpanman, Japan’s most popular anime for kids, where all the characters have heads made out of different flavoured breads. I also build a 7 foot Lego tower.

Day 6 – Osaka’s speciality food is takoyaki and okonimaki – octopus batter balls and a savoury pancake made with chopped cabbage. Both are covered in mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. It seems that, although Japan spent a lot of its history closed off from the outside world, some imports had a big influence 150 years ago. Barbershop poles are red and white and the Japanese word for suit is ‘Savillrow’.

After this, I opened an e-mail from comedy critic Kate Copstick, currently in Kenya. She told me:

Hoping to be boarding a plane to Britain this time next week, barring any intervening ghastliness.

I am on one crutch and reasonably mobile.

All in all it could be worse.

I think – unusually – she may be under-stating the case.

But that is another story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Movies

The artist who draws on comedians’ ideas + a mouthful of British swearing

Stand-up comedy with occasional lateral art

Stand-up comedy + an occasional bit of art

“What shall I call you in my blog?” I asked.

“People know me as Richie Smallsmore,” said the person who is not actually Richie Smallsmore. The real person is in the fourth year of his PhD on the War in Croatia 1991-1995.

But, since June 2012, the person who is not Richie Smallsmore has also been organising almost-but-not-necessarily-exactly monthly comedy nights at Goldsmiths College in South East London.

“Do you want to become a full-time comedy promoter when you finish your PhD?” I asked.

“Definitely not.”

Richie Smallsmore is a character act – “an arrogant deluded business guru”.

“The ideal character,” I suggested, “to be a comedy promoter.”

I went to Goldsmiths College last night to see the monthly comedy night he co-organises with Gwyn Davies and which, this month, had additional ‘live scribing’ – a concept I am ashamed to say I had never heard of.

“Live scribing,” explained the man who is not Richie Smallsmore, “is when an artist quickly draws representations/interpretations of what’s going on – in this case the ideas in the stand-up comedy. These huge images are then displayed as our night progresses. We put together a video about it on YouTube.”

Richie Smallmore & Gwyn Davies last night at Goldsmiths

Richie Smallsmore and Gwyn Davies last night at Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths Comedy promoters (not) Richie Smallwood and Gwyn Davies (he’s not Irish) tested the idea of ‘Live Scribing’ for a comedy show in May this year and last night was their second trial run.

Artist Peter Morey was a school friend of Richie’s, so was an obvious choice. He has just finished an MA in Illustration at Falmouth. His BA was in Philosophy.

“The philosophy kind of feeds into some of this stuff,” he told me last night. “Maybe not so much into the comedy, but some of the other stuff I do.”

“Which is?”

Peter Morey last night

Artist Peter Morey shared some comics’ thoughts last night

“I create comics and I screen print things but I also do this live scribing. It’s visual thinking. I’ve done it for meetings and conferences and for Lady Gabby, a punk poet, in Berlin. For her, I was doing this kind of stuff onto a wall in Berlin.”

“And you’ve done it for conferences?” I asked.

“I’m aiming to do more of that,” Peter told me. “I’m in the room with them while they’re having their meeting or conference.”

“What do they get out of it?” I asked.

“It’s visual thinking, right?… You’re giving a visual take on whatever is said… They’re seeing what they’re saying being visualised. I guess they get to see their ideas in a different light. Some of it might not be things people have noticed they’re saying – metaphors, figures of speech.”

Peter Morey drew on comedians’ thought processes last night

Drawing on performers’ lateral thought processes last night

I asked: “An example of the sort of conference you’ve done it for?”

“One was on sustainable energy,” explained Peter. “It’s a bit like being a jester in a court. You’re giving a perspective on proceedings that wouldn’t be said by anyone else in the room.

“It’s a new field of illustration. It’s been done before – not necessarily live. There’s a thing called RSA Animate. But I don’t think it has been done at comedy shows.”

“You are hidden from view behind a screen,” I said, “so you hear but don’t see the acts. Why?”

One of three large canvasses created last night

One of three large canvasses created last night

“I draw a lot from my own imagination,” said Peter. “If I see the acts, I’m going to be influenced by the way they look and what I see in the room. But, if I just rely on what they say, I can let my visual imagination go wild and latch onto metaphors, figures of speech, knob gags and just go with it.”

“So,” I said, “it’s not you observing their acts but you observing their thoughts.”

“Yes. It’s making cartoons out of what they say, but often in a lateral way.”

“And it’s called live scribing?”

“Here, yes,” said Peter. “In the US, it’s called graphic facilitation.”

“It would be,” I said. “They just love adding syllables and sounding serious. The British language tends to use simpler words.”

After I left Goldsmiths and got home in the early hours of this morning, there was a Comment waiting for approval on the ‘About Me’ page of this blog. I was going to approve the Comment, but then decided not to. I may have been wrong.

It reads:

“What an absolute fuckin no mark you are, cuntface. Ignorance. What a fuckin poor show. Blair went to the editors about this? Seriously? We live in the UK. We fuckin built this country. Working class, peasant class, middle class and elite. You could never understand because of where you were brought up. Utterly without comprehension. Embarrassing.”

I was not quite sure if this message – allegedly from someone called Fredja with a hotmail.com address – was a very clever or a very dumb idea.

On the face of it, the comment is quite dumb. Why think that someone called ‘John Fleming’ was not brought up in Britain – unless the person thinks I am actually from Flanders’ fair fields?

On the other hand, it could be one of those spam messages just trying to elicit the response of a click or a reply.

Or maybe he or she could have a valid opinion.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, cartoons, Comedy, London