Baby Cheeses

It is one thing buying a huge half wheel of Stilton on account of it being on offer, but it is another thing entirely to actually eat the entire thing. Since purchasing this blue creamy beast several days ago, it has been crumbled and melted into all sorts of meals in a poor attempt to hack away at its fridge engulfing size, yet still somehow appears to be 2/3 of the size when purchased. Christmas is the time for cheeses right? Oh sorry, I mean Jesus*. But also cheeses. I know cheese exist so I feel far more comfortable assuming one of them was born on Christmas Day and to be honest, I’d be far happier celebrating about it too. I certainly eat cheese on Christmas Day and although I do also eat bread and drink red wine on December 25th, the thought – not least because I’m a veggie – that I’m gnawing on the skin and gulping the blood of a 2011 year old body is rather repulsive. Its amazing we don’t go the whole hog and eat spaghetti as his hair, lychees as his eyes and various other edible items until we get this odd image that Jesus was some sort of food man that has quite a hard time around birds.

Sorry, I didn’t mean this blog to be anti-religious in anyway. After a 5 day hiatus from writing I didn’t want to launch into a tirade of why a product from cows is better than the figurehead icon of an entire religion. However, it does feel appropriate after an odd incident yesterday at the most interesting gig of the week. This blog has been missing due to a daily dose of both Comedy Club 4 Kids shows at the BAC, travelling, and shows in the evening, all interspersed with a Daniel Kitson show at the National Theatre (far too good. Makes me wonder why I bother), Slava’s Snow Show at the Royal Festival Hall (Best. Show. Ever. Fact. Also only non-scary clowns in existence. Fact) and lovely drinks with friends. Essentially, I have barely had time to seriously tackle a half wheel of Stilton with the vigour it deserves, let alone give you daily updates of exactly how I’ve been going about it. Yesterday however, the evening ended with a show at the Occupy Camp at St Paul’s Cathedral.

I am ashamed to say I hadn’t actually been to the camp until yesterday and whilst I understand its depleted in numbers since its beginning, I still found it impressive. Sure I was constantly jumping between thoughts about their sentiments and what they are doing there alongside wondering how they could camp for so long in the cold, rain and constant bells of the cathedral. Then again, I’ve managed to sleep through drunken festival revellers falling against my tent to the hard base of dubstep so I suppose it’s not too indifferent. The show was to take place opposite the steps of the cathedral as part of an evening featuring the Occupy choir, and music from Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, the King Blues and Lowkey amongst others. A top idea, despite the weather not complying with all of this and refusing to get warm in anyway.

I was concerned about doing the gig as I haven’t been keeping up with politics in the way I should have been lately. Its hard as it gets to Christmas to think about such things when you need to combat the Stilton giant, and so apart from applauding the incredible work of UK Uncut to unmask corporate tax dodging (it made the front page of the Daily Mail and the Telegraph. Amazing) and the occasional check to see that Europe is still in the continual downward economic spiral it’ll now apparently be on till next year, I’ve really not kept in touch or more importantly, written anything new.

But material wasn’t the main problem. Instead a bigger problem appeared to be the huge six foot something high priest, clutching his Bible who had previously been preaching the word (of the Bible, not the shit TV show featuring Terry ‘aptly named for this bit of blog’ Christian, though admittedly, this would have been funnier) to the people outside St Paul’s. As Nick Doody took to the stage to a great crowd of happy, cold (in temperature, not response) revellers, this priest swept on him in minutes, asking why he was swearing and why he was talking but not saying anything. Various Occupy people restrained him and he was taken to one side so that the others could explain to him what they were doing, but throughout Nick and then Chris Coltrane’s set he seemed to think he could continually interrupt the show. Yes, I know we were on the St Paul’s grounds. Yes, I know it wasn’t in a contained room or with paying audience, but still, a little restraint would’ve been nice if not civil. I understand the notion of not swearing at St Paul’s. It seems a tad disrespectful when you think about it (and I hadn’t until he said) and the Occupy camp are not there to disrespect the cathedral. It was also early evening, in a public area and you just don’t know who might be passing by that could take offence. However, to then say that we were ‘talking but not saying anything’ and complaining that we were talking at all, just seemed a bit rude. It’s fine for him to harp on at people about stories they may or may not believe and yet for us to ‘preach’ – and I use that term as loosely as possible – its a problem. I find that once again a member of the church is able to be more hypocritical than others. I can’t understand this constant demeaning of what Occupy are doing when, if we are, as Cameron said, to return the UK to Christian Values, then we should, like Jesus, cast out the bankers and turn the tables of the moneylenders. It seems Occupy are more in line with St Paul’s than they think.

During my set the priest just loomed in the crowd, right in front of me, shaking his head every time I said a joke. I refrained from swearing, as I thought that may help us reach some middle ground, but he didn’t even stop shaking his head when I stopped doing political jokes and finished on talking about Lionel Richie. Perhaps, you just aren’t allowed to appreciate any comedy if you don’t appreciate Christianity? Or, more likely, he wasn’t listening to anything anyone said and just assumed we were in the wrong. Either way, he has only spurned me to consider making a small effigy of the baby cheeses – babybel and er, those small cheddars you get at the supermarket. Less hypocrisy this Christmas everyone please? Although judging by the Tim Minchin track that was banned from Jonathan Ross’s chat show, its unlikely. Shame as it’s a bloody good song too:

TIM MINCHIN’S JESUS SONG

We are in the 21st century right guys? Guys? There is a difference between being distasteful and doing actual comedy isn’t there? Or having a political point? No? No? Sigh. Sometimes this world makes me very fed up. At least at the end of the day I know, thanks to Mega Stilton, I’ll have some awesome escapist dreams.

 

* I should note that this one of Bennet Aaron’s excellent jokes and I shan’t take credit for it.

One thought on “Baby Cheeses

  1. Having rudely taunted you on twitter about apostrophe pedantry yesterday, I remembered I’d written a little bit about the St Pauls gig. I think at the time I had not posted because a) didn’t think it was any good (or rather that it was wholly self indulgent) and b) it was as long as the thing it was commenting on, which I imagine breaches all sorts of blog etiquette. But as this item has been bumped down your blog listing, here it is:

    I did a quick pass of the St Pauls event on the way back home from work. Interesting.

    I initially stood towards the back of the crowd up the top of the steps, and – frankly – I was a little surprised at the reasonable size of the turnout, given the low-key way these things are publicised. This impression was tempered somewhat when most of the crowd next to me got out musical scores and started singing in harmony.

    I retired to the plaza to the actual crowd (yes, I know, the choir were technically in the audience for the rest of it as well. Still a good turn out anyhow).

    Think I missed your spot – I just caught a singer-guitarist doing a couple of jaunty government harrassment-themed songs. Certainly didn’t see your Holy Heckler. Was he CofE*? If not, he was there as much on sufferance as anyone else. Sounds like he had got lost on the way to Speakers’ Corner.

    Your write up makes me guess you may have missed a once-in-a-lifetime chance of putting down a heckler with the phrase “Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest?”**. Shame. Maybe in subsequent re-tellings of the story, you will have done.

    Milling through the crowd, I was struck by a few things.

    Firstly, the mix of people: curious tourists; random people in suits coming from work (me); the terribly confused who seemed to have stumbled into the throng by accident; hardcore protesters and activists (generally people big and/or interesting hair on head or face and rough-woven fabrics); jolly-looking short guy with a goatee near the front; children; old people; nauseatingly young-looking student types with clipboards; Mums and Dads. Everyone, really.

    Then, the atmosphere. Christmassy, definitely. But a damp, mild-weathered Christmassiness. Little bit disorganised, but happy. And lots of people chatting – properly communicating with each other. Talking about the protest, family, presents, carols, stuff. World of difference from the people I’d seen on the way there, head-down, ploughing grimly through the crowds.

    But what put the whole thing into relief for me was the sights and snatches of conversation I heard as I moved out the crowd and away from the event past the camp and towards St Pauls station.

    In the crowd itself, two young guys: “But have you seen some of the tents they’ve got here? They’re amazing” (he didn’t say “amazing”. He used some young person word like “mint” or “fierce” which I’m not cool enough to have been able to retain).

    Then, bearing left up past the camp, little glimpses inside the tents of people reading, chatting, eating, having “organising”-style meetings. Casting chinks of light & sound out into the descending gloom. Calm and homely.

    Just coming to the end of the camp, I passed a man and a woman coming the other direction. He had a big suit and a ra-ra-ra posh English accent. She wasn’t talking. Got the impression he may have been talking for some time, and she had been not talking for some time. Seeing the camp, he loudly clarksoned: “And this! This is just bloody outrageous!”.

    Just to be clear. There’s nothing wrong with being posh or having had an undiluted public school education or even working in The City. There are some very lovely people who fall into all those categories. It just so happens that there are others who seem to have become their own stereotypes. Outrage seemed an odd response to have to a slightly shabby, but basically unassuming protest camp. A very tabloid response; Or maybe the response of someone for whom outrage is as natural a reaction as coughing or farting. The excessiveness of his reaction (he didn’t seem like he was going to elaborate – the justification for his outrage presumably self-evident in his mind) was particularly thrown into relief as I carried on and came past the bars they had just passed by without any obvious moral issues – Festive afternoon drinkers in suits hitting that difficult dinner-time low-energy dip. Smokers, particularly men, at that stage of drunkeness where the act of smoking becomes very exaggerated as hand-eye-balance problems start to kick in. Looping arm movements, very deliberate finger positioning and lip pinching to hold the cigarette in place. Swaying body contact with various laughing businesswomen on the brink of no longer quite being able to stand up in their own shoes. Well, that’s just good old British fun and games. No outrage there.

    I went home to my family. My only contribution to the scene was the carrier bag of presents I had bought at lunch time.

    In there I had a box of little bells. This meant that, whenever I jumped from kerb to road or stopped and started, my bag produced a little muffled jingle. I’m sure I saw at least a few children half prick up their ears on my route home. I think I did.

    Messy Christmas, one and all!

    *(there is a joke lurking somewhere about the CofE’s greatest enemy being decaffiends, I have still yet to find it in any form which is actually funny)

    ** don’t Google for the exact quote. It’s an endless controversy. I’ve spared you the detail.

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