Saturday, December 12, 2009


Today I went to see a matinee performance of Talk Radio - a friend was playing the lead. It was fairly enjoyable, although I'm not sure it had really made the transition from film back to stage; I felt it could have benefitted from a more claustrophobic stage design. Then again, a play about radio would, if realism was the end goal, be quite excruciating to watch, if it was two hours of a man bellowing into a microphone. I was waiting for a grand climax involving an explosion or an invasion by hundreds of zombie Nazi stormtroopers, but it ended on quite a downbeat, subdued note.

I met my friend outside the theatre afterwards, but didn't tell him about the need for zombie Nazi stormtroopers. I figure after the run of the production is over, I can talk to him and the other actors and explain what their next show should include.

Afterwards, went to the bookshop and peered at books; not anything in particular. I think I hoped that if I stood near the books, knowledge would seep into me via osmosis. No such luck. I know I should have flooded the bookshop.

I finished reading Generation Kill this morning; it's odd when casualties show up; for most of the book the marines seem miraculously invulnerable and it's always somebody else dying. As I'd been told, it makes the US military seem like just another badly organised, heavily bureaucratic organisation. Except with more explosions, death and maiming. Next I'm going to read something cheerful, like an account of the European side of WW2.

On the tram on the way home, had a vague disagreement with my girlfriend about charity; luckily, she backed out, on the basis that my Superior Arguing Skills were bound to defeat her. A philosophy degree can be useful after all.

I've been reading the blog of a chap who's been cycling round the world, and who is rather angry at other people who have attempted to circumnavigate the world, in particular somebody called Mark Beaumont, who got sponsored by Lloyds TSB and Orange. He clearly doesn't like him, and produced a vitriolic blast for the last post after he finished his journey. This provoked lots of people to tell him how ungracious he was, and how charity is a good thing, but I couldn't help but agree with his sceptical view. He's an angry young man with more fire in his belly than I feel I have at the moment, and I think it's good to have somebody questioning whether charity is an unalloyed Good Thing or not. Plus what he says fits in with what I wrote for my dissertation on charity and fundraising, so it's nice to bump into somebody, if only electronically, with congruent views. Although maybe if I met him I'd think he was an ass. Who knows?

Comedy again tonight. The show went ok last night; not a very responsive crowd for most of the comedians, although a few of them got a good reaction. I was having to hold back on some of my ruder material as they didn't seem to want to go there, plus I was a little thrown by a man who came from Luxembourg - what can you say about that. However, I did get to use the time-honoured "I took my girlfriend to Indonesia" joke for the first time, following it up with the same retooled for Malaysia (which I think is a steal from Richard Herring) and then Croatia. This got my biggest laughs - so that says a lot about the audience for sophisticated comedy in Hong Kong.

Two people laughed at my Tiger Woods joke - "it's been a pretty good week for Tiger. Isn't it every married man's ambition to watch his mother-in-law depart in an ambulance?", nobody laughed at my China joke: "China have announced their plans for the environment. It's going to be executed for crimes against the state." So the topical material isn't going great just yet. Now I should be rehearsing for the show tonight: my first set, rather than hosting, since I-can't-remember-when.


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