Jongleurs / "Killing Cupid"
Not having attended a stand-up comedy show in several years, I took advantage of a Groupon deal, and treated myself to a Saturday evening show at Jongleurs, currently situated in the cavernous “Icehouse” room at central Cardiff discotheque, Oceana. MC-ing was jovial Mancunian John Warburton, whose job it was to soak up the excess energy of the assembled stag-parties so that the featured comics wouldn’t have to cope with too much self-indulgent heckling; and he gave excellent banter. Not so with the first on the bill, Scouser Jamie Sutherland, whose rather commonplace material (Easyjet, recycling) failed to maintain audience interest, although I guess the problem was less his writing than his rather brittle persona. Next on the bill, Brendan Dempsey didn’t have that problem, having used his acting experience to create a character - the likeable Irish curmudgeon at odds with modernity – who had little trouble connecting with the crowd. Headlining after the interval was Sinck, a black ex-teacher from New York who set the tone with his walk-on music - “Move Bitch” by Ludacris - and joked that the recent riots made him feel at home. While some of his material was familiar (U.S./U.K. language differences, airport security, middle age) his slick, interactive style meant that he carried it off well. The major part of his set dealt frankly with sexual matters, and was uproariously received; thus, he departed in triumph. An enjoyable night, which I didn’t ruin by staying for the disco.
Recent news stories have suggested that people have abandoned books for new-fangled phones, etc. My experience is quite the contrary – I’ve never done as much reading as I have since I discovered iBooks and Kindle for the iPod Touch, and the multitude of free e-books available from the associated web-stores (and others, such as the excellent www.manybooks.net), leading to such inexcusably belated discoveries as E.W. Hornung’s Raffles stories, Sacher-Masoch’s “Venus in Furs”, Houdini’s “The Miracle Mongers”, and “The Theory Of The Theatre” by Clayton Hamilton - a century old and full of astute observations. I actually paid (a whole 49p) for “Killing Cupid” by self-publishers Mark Edwards and Louise Voss, intrigued by media coverage of its popularity, and the amusing premise – stalking victim takes umbrage when her stalker loses interest. A hybrid of chick-lit and psycho-thriller, taking the form of two complementary sets of journal entries, it’s an undemanding read without being as clunkily written as many similarly-pitched “airport” novels, and while there are a few typos and other errors which might have been excised by an editor, the story keeps one gripped, and the central protagonists are deliciously neurotic. It should make an entertaining two-parter for television - assuming that the authors aren’t as deluded as their characters in claiming to have sold the rights.