I’m one of the judges for the New Acts of The Year and we’re about half way through the contest. One thing that I and other judges have noticed is the general lack of political and philosophical engagement with the world among novice comedians. There are also a worrying number of acts who either have no material or have nothing interesting to say. Some have even ventured into misogyny, homophobia and casual racism in a feeble attempt to get laughs. What we also tend to find is that, rather than present a quirky view of the world, some of these novice comedians are giving us a spoken version of their CV. Is this what people are being taught to do at the many stand-up comedy courses that have proliferated since the early 1990s? I think it is. Whatever the case, British stand-up comedy is on its sick bed.
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And George Osbourne doesn’t get a single penny in royalties for his vocals !
This video from Frankenstein Sound Lab was posted on the comments thread of my last blog. It’s an excellent example of how culture can be used to address real life issues. This track reminds me of the kind of sounds Cabaret Voltaire were producing in the 70s and 80s.
You can download this and other tracks from the Malice in Sunderland site for free.
People are fond of gazing back at the past through rose-tinted spectacles. I remember reading somewhere that no one ‘does’ nostalgia like the British. I love the 70s, I Love The 80s and Dominic Sandbrook’s lightweight, but subtly ideological history series The 70s always present the past as the ideal time in which to live. In Sandbrook’s case, the blemishes, lumps and bumps that define eras and epochs are simply burnished or given a right-wing twist. “Thatcher arrived to save the country from the unions” was the unspoken message at the end of Sandbrook’s series, which ignored the fact that management ineptitude and a chronic lack of investment was mostly culpable for Britain’s economic and industrial decline. In the case of the I Love… series, talking heads from showbusiness were interviewed on camera to talk about how wonderful Kickers and Kappa tracksuits were. “I really loved Kickers and…
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