August 3, 2006
I’ve seen three *big* comedians perform on massive stages and on two occasions I was sorely disappointed. Last year I saw Omid Djalili perform in the Pleasance Grand (the sports hall) and I was thoroughly unimpressed. I saw Dara O’Brian perform in the Assembly Rooms’ Ballroom in front of 1,000 people and I was shocked – I couldn’t believe such an inherently funny man could pull off a bad show. I also saw Danny Bhoy in the same venue and I had little expectation for him, I just wanted to see what he was like, and low and behold he was very good! It’s now the turn of Ed Byrne to see if he can make it balance at 2 good and 2 bad or just confirm the rumour that comic who make in the mainstream are no longer funny. Just by walking into the arena I was laughing my proverbial red socks off as we had been allowed into the venue by flashing used Russell Howard tickets! As we sat down the music that Ed has chosen to entertain us with was Richard Cheese’s latest album, Dark Side of the Moon! Very positive starts.
Ed’s whole show is vaguely themed around the Michael Douglas film Falling Down where he gets so frustrated with everything he takes his anger and stress out on everyone who frustrates him. This is one of the better shows I have seen in Edinburgh as it was pacey, the stories didn’t drag on too long and where varied and I left with seven or eight really good jokes bouncing around my memory. The downsides where that he was never painfully funny but did make me leak salt water on a few occasions. He inevitably did a ten minute piece on music and I cringed when he then used the word ironic as one of his most famous pieces is ripping into Alanis Morrisette for her awful song and then correcting her to show what would be ironic. The only reason I squirmed because I got the feeling he’s used up his entire life’s allowance of that word and if he carries on using it he may come across as harking back to his stand up prime. I think Ed is the best we’ve seen so far although my companions did stress they though Russell Howard was better overall, as they conceded that Ed have more big laughs. A big performance for a big crowd but not a comic at his peak or in the flow – think 3½ stars out of 5 despite the name dropping and he’s edging on the border of being reccomended at full price. Drop the price to £8 from £12 and he gets a full endorsement but I don’t see that happening somehow…
August 3, 2006
Russell starts the show by announcing that the show is basically him wandering from one story or gag to another. Fair enough, I’ve been longing for a hungry comic who has something genuinely interesting to say. Looking back I think it was more than just wandering from story to story, I think he wandered around his experiences of life and did manage to construct a few decent comical stories from them. As the odd clever observation here and the random piece of shock there, there was only one really side splitting gag but that is one more that a lot of shows. He seemed to be just teetering on the edge of exploding into comic enlightenment but never quite managing it. the show was good and kept us entertained all the way through despite some stories sounding almost like reading a diary at times. I’m pretty sure that he’ll be red hot next year if he carries on his improvement and he is probably one of the best at this year’s festival – but that doesn’t mean you get four stars from me! Russell can be happy with a well deserved 3.5 stars out of 5 and a promise to see him again next year; just missing out on a recommendation for this year though (unless you’ve seen all my actual favourites).
August 3, 2006
This play apparently had Old Vic patron Kevin Spacey in stitches and came runner up in their writing competition so I figured I’d give it a spin. Stitches isn’t quite the right word for me, more of ‘pleasantly smiling’. There was only one big gag in the play and that was mostly due to the building up of one character and then have him completely swerve and make you wet yourself (sort of). The play is about a family with three fully grown sons and how they, and their father, cope with a variety of differing tests of their love lives. The writer Justin Timble also plays two parts in this play, the first one as the Scottish solider is quite good but I think his performance and the son who does not now what he wants (in fact, he wants the same… but different) is a bit too limited and lacking in depth. To be fair to him though, the other actor who played the young cock-sure Craig froze like a bunny in headlights everytime he didn’t have a line to deliver – he seemed unable to interact when he wasn’t the focus (and even then his dialogue was intentionally poor). Lizzie, the girlfriend of the un-sure brother added a great deal of depth and emotion and the relatively short scenes kept everyone’s interest up. Overall it was a decent and amusing little play but nothing to write home about (but something to write on your blog about). Three stars out of five but I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend it at anywhere near full price.
July 13, 2006
My company has started pushing me harder with this time-sheet nonsense; they want more detailed information to charge my time back. The whole thing is a stupid idea but what’s worse is they made me implement it and roll it out to everyone else so I get the blame Everyone has been given numbers to protect their privacy and I’ve been assigned the number six. Until now I’ve just been passing them random figures in protest. The Finance Manager keeps phoning me up asking me for more information. I’ve told them they won’t get it, but they’ve tried to threaten me. It all came to a head today when I stormed into my boss’s office and told him definitively “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own. I resign”.
As a side note, five years ago when I quit Sainsbury’s I wrote “Having worked here for five years it shouldn’t requi re significant effort to understand this message”. I have a further story to tell regarding my current position but it has to wait a few more days yet…
May 15, 2006
Not one to shy away from shocking headlines am I? Having played around with a cool web tool from St Andrew’s University (the second best university in Scotland, after Edinburgh!) I complied a collection of alternative Phills. These are like my the main banner, simply achieved with The Gimp. These pictures are truly amazing! So here we go…
Will I still be as gorgeous when I’m collecting my pension? Would I make a good looking woman (we already know the answer to that!)? Would I be able to eat spicier foods if I was from India? Would I learn Japanese quicker if I was oriental? Would I be a better footballer if I grew up in Rio? Would I look any better if I was made into a Greek masterpiece? Would I kick arse if I was a Manga hero? Finally, would I be any cheekier if I was literally a monkey (technically that’s a chimp but I’m not fond of tea)?
May 12, 2006
This has really annoyed me. The BBC are *paying* disgraced former Scum editor (Sun editor) Kelvin MacKenzie to host two documentaries on Radio Five Live called World Cup Scandals. This man should never be allowed to work for a public company, let alone in the field of football. Why? He was the “brutal editor” (Piers Morgan’s words) who printed heinous lies about the Liverpool fans’ actions during the Hillsborough disaster. He also took great pleasure in printing “Gotca” on the front page to celebrate the death of a large crew as the Belgrano was sunk during the Falklands War. I would urge any self respecting football fan or anyone who has respect for the truth and human life to lodge an official complaint to the BBC to try to get these two programmes pulled. They are due to be broadcast on the 27th May and 3rd June. Here’s the complaint I left:
I am disgusted to learn that disgraced journalist Kelvin MacKenzie is being paid with my license fee to host two football documentaries after his heinous behaviour and lack of respect for the 96 poor souls who lost their lives at Hillsborough. As a publicly funded organisation the BBC should up hold high moral standards and not allow pay or give airtime to a man who has caused such pain and suffering to thousands of grieving families and friends. I respectfully request that due to the insensitive nature of his casting the programmes be pulled or replaced with a different person. You would never disrespect the lives of the fallen soldiers by having Kelvin do a piece of relations with Argentina, nor should be have anything to do with the football world.
April 20, 2006
The BBC are running a story about an online petition to *support* animal research. I’ve been in favour of it for years and they claim the “silent majority” support it too. If you’re one of them you’ll probably want to browse this BBC article and then take a look at the petition here. There is also some older but related “news” about the shutting of a guinea pig farm.
March 25, 2006
Sad News Everyone PhillG.com is to Close!
It is with a very heavy heart I bring you this sad but inevitable news. This days was always coming and almost one year into my most recent online adventure, here we are. This site has evolved significantly over the past year and while I do like the interaction with people who read it, it has strayed away from what it should really be about. The “phillg” you see on this site is not really me, it’s a projection of what people expect of me, it’s not who I really am. To that extent I take the decision to close phillg.com for good rather than continue pretending I’m someone I’m not.
The great news is that I’m opening a new site, starting today, that is far more in tune with what I originally wanted out of a website. No more giving in to demands from friends for new content, this new site just be about expressing what’s really on my mind. Now I have great pleasure in inviting you to join me for this weekend’s launch of my new website…
Best of luck, in all your future endeavours.
Phill G (for the last time here)
31st March 2006
February 23, 2006
This is quite distressing news, you can read the full story over at BBC News.
July 28, 2005
Hmmm. Damn US companies. First off The Register is reporting that the Crazy Frog’s wedding tackle has been snipped off by iTunes. The US release of the Axel F single has a picture of him less his cocktail sausage whilst straddling a huge phallic rocket. In other Register reported news, Micro$oft’s new map website seems to be missing several areas of the Nevada desert, yet Google maps managed to show the satellite pictures of a military base that doesn’t exist.