Judging The Mice

If today I was a song, I’d be Stevie Wonder’s ‘Travelling Man’. I mean I am, nearly everyday ‘True O.G’ by Ice-T but as well as that. I’m also a song that describes the extent to which today, I have been travelling. I haven’t gone very far. No. Just from Galway to Shannon, Shannon to Heathrow by air then Heathrow to home arriving but 20 minutes ago, now I have one full hour at home to stop my feet from falling off and then I’m off to Reading University to shout at students. After that I will come home and die slowly, letting all the toxins charmed into me by the Irish over the last few days just eke out of my system like an evil spirit. Don’t get me wrong, it was much fun indeed, but there’s something about the way a Galwegian can say ‘oh go on, have another drink’ that seems to override the logic in the mind sector and before you know it you’re going against all bodily needs to ram a pint of the black stuff down your gob for the umpteenth time that night.

It has been a brilliant weekend for many a reason, but one of the main ones is that the Galway Comedy Festival is one of the few places left where the concept of the secret gig can happen. The people that run it (Kevin, Gerry and Tracey) still care very much about comedy and its that reason that means I got to see Dylan Moran in a venue of 200 people at the Roisin Dubh last night. It was the second time I’d seen him in two nights, having never seen him live before and very much operating on the ‘buses’ theory. Yes, I saw him twice, for free both times because again, another wonderful aspect of the Galway Comedy festival is that comedians can see other comedians for free still. You might assume this happens everywhere as a perk of the job, but more and more it really doesn’t. Comics used to be able to go to the Comedy Store for free to watch acts and learn how to improve, but now unless you’re on or a regular performer there, you have to pay. The Edinburgh festival, even when you have venue passes, will only let you into shows if they aren’t sold out. Sure paying customers should have priority, but there’s nothing like finding out seats have been put aside to see a show for other comedians. I reckon that should always happen. I mean other industries don’t have to pay to see their contemporaries do they? Do staff at Sainsbury’s have to pay to enter Tesco’s? Do bankers have to pay to see another banker suck up the nation’s money? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but its probably no. If you’re in entertainment, you should see entertainment for free, especially as you won’t be enjoying it anyway and be spending most of the night picking it apart.

I didn’t do this with Dylan Moran. I very much just enjoyed the show. Both times. First time because the jokes were a wonderful surprise and one punchline (on which today’s blog title refers to) floored me for several minutes. It all seemed so easy and his phrasing so well written, with some subjects appearing to be the hack topics of others but then handled in a way only he could. I was, for the first time in ages, very much an audience member again. The second time I enjoyed the intimacy of the night. Moran had said the gig at the Black Box theatre to 600 was the smallest gig he’d done in about 6 years, and then last night he performed to only 200 in a room so crowded we were standing squished at the back. The energy and excitement of the room as he walked on stage was electric. I watched as the lines still came out like ad-libs despite hearing them before and found myself watching the whole set more as a comic than before, and still loving it.

I realise this blog is now more boasting than anything else, but its so rare for me to have a weekend where I watch other comics for sheer enjoyment value and its put my brain firmly into gear about what to do next. Stop travelling so much in one day. After that, I don’t know but I have several ideas. Right I’m not sure how this blog had so little direction, but in my head it seemed to work. Quite unlike Moran who’s material appeared to have no direction, and then totally did. Essentially, I’m proving I’ve learnt nothing and I should stop enjoying myself.

Lastly, I meant to post this up yesterday but there is a further NHS bill that could be passed in the House Of Lords tomorrow. If it does, then the government’s legal duty to provide health care in the UK becomes redundant. Quite a terrifying prospect I’m sure you’ll agree? To oppose this, it’d help if you all contacted a Lord before the hearing tomorrow. You can do this very easily by this link:


And if you don’t know what to write, try this blurb below:

Example email [short and personal is most effective]


Subject: PLEASE vote on Wednesday for Amendment 3 [Health and Social Care Bill]


Dear ,


I am writing to ask you to vote on Wednesday for Amendment 3 to the Health and Social Care Bill. Proposed by Peers from a range of parties, this amendment will do most to ensure the NHS remains a comprehensive service for everyone in England.


One of the fundamental concerns about the Health and Social Care Bill is that it abolishes the legal duty on the Secretary of State to provide health services in England. This duty has ensured mandatory, comprehensive health services for all since 1948.


The wording relating to the Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide health services has remained largely unaltered since the 1946 National Health Service Act. The amendment by Shirley Williams and colleagues will ensure this continues to be the case. No convincing rationale has been given for changing the wording of this part of the legislation. However there is widespread and well-founded concern that changing the wording relating to the Secretary of State’s duty to provide health services in England opens the way for a shift from a mandatory to discretionary system of health service in England.


Please vote on Wednesday in favour of Amendment 3: reinstate the wording that has been in place since 1946 and thus ensure no room for mistakes or unintended consequences.


So much rests on this vote.


With thanks,



[add your name and address]



Go team!