Vanilla Activist

Its amazing how concerned the news is with Michelle Obama’s shoes rather than the important decisions that are being made inside the G20. I don’t think the colour of her high heels is really going to have much impact on the financial or environmental climate, unless they going to be thrown at Brown. I’m currently watching all the G20 protests on the telly and simultaneously reading all the live Twitter feeds, pretending that I am part of the action while actually I am sitting at home being very un-active. I’m a bit sad about this as only a few hours ago I was in the heart of it all but I had to leave because I had to get home in time for our Sainsbury’s delivery. That’s tragically sad isn’t it? That instead of standing up and vocally and physically demonstrating for a better world, I was too worried about having to pay extra to re-arrange getting some grub. It’s times like this I feel all a bit disappointed in myself at how crap an activist I am. I can’t imagine Billy Bragg stopping a song halfway through because he has to make sure his veggie sausages don’t defrost. I have made a promise to myself that next time a situation like this occurs, I will gladly give up the £5 it costs for some inbred to tell me they haven’t got any potatoes so they’ve brought me some sponges, and stay at the heart of the action.

It had all started well. I stayed up quite late last night scribbling away G20 gags so that I could get up obscenely early (by my standards) and host a pre-protest show in Farringdon. I had got the call last night from Sam (Get Cape) and despite it being at what I would consider an anti social time of day, I couldn’t really turn it down. Arriving at the music and coffee shop at 8.40 this morning, there was no one there and I genuinely worried that it was some sort of evil April Fool’s trick. I was about to go and deface copies of Get Cape and Kate Nash albums in HMV with a big marker pen by writing ‘ARSE’ and ‘PANTS’ on them, but Sam turned up along with the others including Natty, Kieran Leonard, Kate Nash and Billy Bragg. I hadn’t noticed Billy was there until Sam pointed him out. I had only ever seen Billy from a distance at various gigs and so didn’t recognise him up close. He was also wearing a hat. It was almost as though he was in disguise with his hatted close-upness. There was a crowd of only about 30 rather chilled people, but they seemed lovely. The whole point was to gather some people together for a peaceful start to the march, and it was a lovely idea. My job was merely to provide some banter and links between the acts. Its a fairly thankless task for a comic, especially at 9.30am, as no one is really expecting or wanting comedy. They weren’t very quick to warm up either, so I did my job as best as I could. Some of my gags worked, most didn’t, although I did a full 5 minutes before Sam and by the end of that I seemed to get them on my side, although sadly that was at the very end of the gig.

It was worth it just to sit and watch when I wasn’t on stage. It was like a small private gig and its a shame more people weren’t there. Particular highlights were Bragg and Nash dueting on ‘New England’, although Kate was wearing some sort of odd polka dot jump suit that made me wonder if she had just come along in her PJs. It shouldn’t have detracted from the brilliant song, but it did a bit. I like to think that she forgot she was meant to be there and had got out of bed and headed straight over. It was all just ace. Natty, Kieran and Get Cape were all ace too and there were two good talks from Oxfam representatives and Love Music Hate Racism too.

Afterwards a small group of us embarked towards Cannon Street to join the protests. It was only small when we got there at 11ish, but already the police were shouting and pointing people in a certain direction. We all moved into the centre of the road and suddenly the cops all linked arms and came towards us forcing everyone away from the station and down the side street. One man got caught in the police clothes-line and they just knocked him over. I didn’t really like this. I’m a bit rubbish when police get angry and just moved away as quickly as possible. I’m only small and I’m fairly sure I could be killed with a truncheon. The unnecessarily angry bobbies continued charging everyone in one direction but were not making any effort to be as peaceful as the protesters. I followed the crowd for a bit but nipped off after a while to Monument Station to make my way home. I then sat on the empty tube feeling like I’d let myself down. I’m all for peaceful protests which is what it was but the second it got a bit hairy I legged it. It was lucky I did as the delivery people arrived 45 minutes early. Who would’ve expected that?

Watching it all on TV now and glad I’m not trapped in by police lines along with all the people pissing on the RBS bank. Its sad that out of 4000 peaceful protesters a few mentalists are making it difficult and making angry jobsworth police even angrier. They keep flicking between that and Michelle’s shoes. I really think they should stop caring about the shoes. I’m considering heading back but getting up early this morning has drained me and I might have to have a nap instead. I am so so rubbish.

Last night was the last Fat Tuesday for two months. It was a great night to go out on, with all the acts being brilliant and a packed and up for it crowd. Feels a bit odd that next time we are there it won’t be with all the lovely staff at the Salmon that we’ve worked with for the last three years. I’m really hoping the venue stays as lovely but just can’t tell till its all done. Either way I’m looking forward to having a nice break before Edinburgh preview madness.

Incidentally, this is my 100th blog. Any presents or cards are welcome.