Thursday, July 29, 2010

David O'Doherty/Anthony Jeselnik/Arj Barker last Sunday

What else would we be doing on a Sunday afternoon anyway, David O'Doherty asks us all, other than sitting in a temporary mosque in a garden in Dublin listening to some comedy? What indeed. David O'Doherty is the ideal man to host a gig like this. He points out himself that his credentials are impeccable, given that he often does readings for children in libraries, and they mainly take place during daylight. Plus he just has that kind of comedy that lends itself to the daytime. Sure, he has some strong opinions, but unlike a lot of other comics, those opinions are not really about porn or sexual positions or how hateful women are, but about Shakira and how great bicycles are because they just stay up on their own by magic, and about pandas and what panda-related facts may or may not be true. He looks completely at home and everyone happily goes with him on the stories of personal frustration and childhood non-trauma.

Arj Barker isn't far off being this kind of comedian either, although he does look more like a night-timer who's been woken up and pushed on stage before being given his breakfast. He brings plenty of laughs with his stories about Avatar, Internet scams, and this own unique view of global warming and environmental disaster. He gets a couple of nice local references in, and in general does enough to make any right-thinking person want to see his full show.

And sandwiched in between these two easy talkers was Anthony Jeselnik. He's the other type of comedian. He speaks in short sentences, and waits for laughs. He waits too long. The laughs don't really come. I imagine him as a contributor to Sunday Miscellany and that's amusing for about two minutes till he tells a joke that nobody laughs at and suggests that we were offended. Sometimes we're not offended. Sometimes you're just not funny.

That is the problem with these three-comic bills. Of course the other problem with festivals is that your MC might come back and suggest that everyone go over to the big tent and beat up Des Bishop, just because he's in the big tent. And that's a lot of effort for a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hilarity in the Iveagh Gardens

The Carlsberg Comedy Carnival has just finished its fourth run, and I pronounce it a success. Sure, none of the gigs I attended on Sunday were sold out (how does Emo Phillips not sell out? What is wrong with people?) but Saturday was chockers, and everyone seemed to be in very good spirits.

The festival's two main selling points for comedians, as far as I can see, are that it's just before Edinburgh, so they can get in that one last polish of their material before their Edinburgh shows, and that (unlike Kilkenny) there is a dedicated space for the comedians and their mates to sit and get a drink without having people coming up to them all the time. I wouldn't like to give the impression that comedians don't like people approaching them, nor would I like to suggest that people are assholes about it, but if you're getting ready to go onstage, or you've just come off stage, sometimes you just want to be somewhere where you can relax a bit and not be 'on', and the organizers of this festival get that.

You also can't get into the Iveagh Gardens at all unless you have a ticket to at least one of the shows. Once you're in, you can hang out all day and eat burgers or crepes and drink as much €5 Carlsberg as your stomach can hold, but the cordon does prevent the place from being flooded with extra people.

I did also see some actual gigs while I was there, but I will talk about them later.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kids, eh?

For about a year now, I've been walking a dog belonging to some neighbours of mine. This happened by chance: I was walking my own dogs on the beach one day and I met a woman and a friendly, extremely fat labrador. We got talking, and her dog was nice, and she asked me if I ever looked after other people's dogs, and it turned out that her foster parents were looking for someone to look after the friendly, extremely fat labrador in her own home for two weeks while they went on holidays.

Normally I don't like the idea of dogs being left alone for long periods of time in their own homes, but I was assured that she was used to it, so I agreed, and every day for two weeks I took her out with my own dogs for a long walk, which she loved. When the two weeks were up, I hadn't the heart to leave her to her fatness, so I said I would keep walking her as long as it was convenient. A year later, I'm still doing it. Last week, however, the neighbours' grandchild, a ten-year old boy, came to stay with them for three weeks. So now I seem to be walking him as well.

It's fine, because it's an hour out of my day and what do I really care, right? Plus he loves the dogs and they really like him, and I remember when I was his age some childless adults were really good at giving up their time to me as well, so I don't mind.

But this morning he lost my ball thrower. He was throwing the ball for the dogs, he put the ball thrower down in some shallow water close to the shore, and it just vanished. Swallowed by the seaweed and the current and a child's inability to really concentrate on looking for something properly. I took off my shoes and rolled up my trousers and waded in to look for it, and when I looked up five minutes later he was a dot on the horizon, with all five dogs crowded around him and all heading towards some people who had children but no dogs. So I gave up my ball thrower, put my shoes back on, and followed him.

There isn't really a point to this story, except to remind me that this is what life is like every second of the day for people who have kids. It's just constant wrangling. Mind you, I never would have thought to bring home so many greenish crab claws if he hadn't been with me, so I suppose I won in the end, really.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Women of Size! Remain Indoors!

If you are not a fat woman, you have no idea what it's like trying to buy fat-woman clothes. I'm not going to bore you with a discussion of whether or not it's sensible for Evans to sell skirts that are almost wider than they are long, nor will I get into a debate about whether fat women should really wear sleeveless t-shirts. I'm not even going to whine on about how Anne Harvey appear to think that everyone must dress like a mother of the bride all the time. Those things are a matter of taste. But I'll tell you this much: if you are a fat woman, you better get used to your clothes being wet, because nobody in Dublin is going to sell you a coat that keeps you dry.

And even those nice people on the Internet who specialize in selling the kind of fat-lady garments it's impossible to get in actual shops in Ireland have failed me on the one thing I need above everything else to get through the Irish summer: a light, waterproof, hooded jacket. A cagoule/kagoul/pac-a-mac kind of thing. It's all I want. I want to tie it around my waist and go out walking with the dogs, and when it rains I want to pull the jacket over my head and be dry, but not absolutely baked. I got one from Lands End a couple of years ago, but it's no longer waterproof and they no longer sell that type of jacket. I have an Outdoor Scene jacket that almost, almost fits, and in a month or so it will fit, but it doesn't fit yet and it's raining now and I have to go and walk the dogs in it now.

I've searched everywhere. My friend in Seattle thinks she might have tracked down what I'm looking for, so I'm going to order one and see if it's the right thing, but if I didn't have a friend in Seattle helping me to find these things, what would I do? Just fucking get wet? That's not right, surely. I can't be the only fat woman in Ireland who ever goes out in the rain, so how come I seem to be the only one who ever needs a summer raincoat?

I know, I know, first world problems.