Alastair's Blog

Return to:  Blog | Articles | Videos RSS feed

A chance to have a great laugh with Jo Brand AND stop people dying

Posted on 31 October 2013 | 3:10pm

If you like Jo Brand, if you like a good night out, if you have an empty diary on the evening of Sunday November 24, and if you have a passing interest in making a small contribution to curing cancer and saving lives, then please click on here.

I’ve been involved in An Audience With… since the very beginning, and every year it’s one charity event not to be missed. In fact it’s become an Autumn Institution and a resounding success for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, raising over £160,000, so far, to help beat blood cancer.

The annual event was the idea of my literary agent and leukaemia survivor, Ed Victor, and thanks to his, my and Alan Yentob’s contacts books, we’ve brought audiences a unique insight into the lives of some of the most impressive people in entertainment, including Mel Brooks, Kevin Spacey, Michael Palin, Stephen Fry, Billy Connolly and Miranda. Not a bad line up, and every single one of them turning out for not a penny. Jo Brand is the next great name to step up in the same way.

The beauty is that although the Criterion Theatre is full of splendour, it is still a relatively small and intimate venue, so can you get up close and personal to the celebrity guest. Alan Yentob used archive footage as the basis for interviews, and then the audience gets to ask the questions. A highlight last year was when an over zealous fan just wouldn’t shut up but Miranda just said ‘Shush now’ and he did!

I’ve no doubt that An Audience with Jo Brand will be brilliant. I have seen her do stand up, chat, after dinner, political, and lots else besides. Whilst she may be known to most as a BAFTA-winning English comedian, writer and actress, many may not know, for example, about her life as a psychiatric nurse for 10 years. That’s what makes this event so unique – we go way beyond what you thought you knew about the person.

I’m expecting the evening to be full of laughs – Jo is an incredibly funny lady. However, there are always twists during these evenings so expect the unexpected! And here is a reminder of how to be there

  • Ehtch

    My head is a bit in the back of the garden in it’s shed at the moment, but I will try hard to respond to this blog thread.

    Jo Brand? oh fuck it, I can’t be bothered. let’s have a song instead, yes?

    No doubt Jo will be funny, arguing the advantages of tampax inside against fanny pad boats outside, and things like that, etc.. No doubt. Wings? Pardon woman?

  • Michele

    Nasty twitter spat there with snidey Mensch (who, despite the boastful annyncement about the toughness of the questions she’d be asking Murdoch went on to produce mouse-like drivel – albeit spouted in trumpeting ‘style’) ….. :-s

    Nasty object; in the early days of the long affair with her present husband she wrote a book about a similarly successful showbiz bloke’s affair, a copy of which found its way to his then wife Melissa :-

    I quote :
    In 1995, Louise dedicated her novel Career Girls to Peter, thanking him ‘for taking me along for the ride’.
    In it, Rowena, a ‘blonde’ and ‘beautiful’ British woman – educated at Louise’s old Oxford college, Christ Church – has a long affair with a married, older Jewish-American
    music tycoon.
    He eventually dumps his wife for Rowena.

    The book features a brash American called ‘Marissa’.

    Melissa’s family said she was ‘creeped out’ by the parallels in Career Girls.

    I can’t think of a single standard by which Mensch could be described as either a feminist or decent human being.

  • Dave Simons

    Just a reminder that not everyone lives in London or the South East and that, while it’s an obviously worthy cause, the cost of travelling for some of us would substantially bump up the minimum £20 ticket price and not go towards dealing with blood cancer, but rather towards bumping up profits for what Patrick McCloughlan regards as our wonderful privatised rail companies. And personally I’ve never found Jo Brand funny.

    • Michele

      It’s a publicity OP for a worthy cause.
      I’m sure that AC is pitching it at people that do live SE or will coincidentally be in the capital at the time for Xmas shopping (or able to change plans to catch a funny evening) so any unintended consequences of profits to privatised rail companies are by the by(e) (sp?) as well as unavoidable (but remain a choice so what’s to chew a bone about?).

      It comes down to affordability so why are there not events oop north for the same causes and isn’t that the more-legit reason to complain?

      Lots of today’s comedians are not amusing to everyone even if those ‘unamused’ have to admit the material is good.

      eg: I can’t appreciate Jack Whitehall but do admit that that’s down to predudice about his family leg-up so I’m a sourpuss too :-).

      I also have a hard time with Ms Millican’s choices but she IS funny.

      Can anyone take exception to Dylan Moran (unless just worrying in case his image is his real condition?).

      JFI I do like Jo Brand and don’t believe there’s a single issue on which it’s possible to always be approved of by 100% of the people all of the time. She did years at the Maudsley (ex-Bedlam) and I believe Paul Merton was a patient there for some time too ( don’t know if they were professionally involved!).

      I’ve not done either but am bloody glad it’s there.
      Happened to see the play named after Bedlam at The Globe a couple of years ago, scarey.

      However, re your main point, rail ticket prices.
      HoRRendous but upgrading was (I wish I could do BOLD) essential for our safety in the last 20yrs.

      I used to commute on the decades-old ‘we’ve just got to put up with them’ carriages in use till this decade, the massively overcrowded carriages with slam-doors so if you were the poor bu**er last on and squashed against the outward-opening door that wasn’t tight-shut you would be as glad as me that today’s commuters are not suffering the same risks, no matter that ticket prices have (belatedly and therefore uber-lumpily) risen.
      I will be forever grateful that post-2000 Ken was Mayor and working WITH John P. and all the relevant unions achieving the improvements that have come about.

      People that shared their language and interests and priorities have brought about huge improvements for some of the country; it’s definitely a shame that 2010 and Clegg’s disgraceful opportunistic behaviour stopped those infrastructure improvements radiating outwards from SE.

      You didn’t mention HS2 so I will.
      NO WAY.
      I almost threw up when Danny Alexander said t’other day that its budget will not be exceeded because history shows that ‘WE brought in the Olympics at budget’.

      Yer what?

      You must be joking mate.

      Budget is not the only point anyway.
      I’ve posted several times about the insufferable delays endured by commuters in my area when HS1’s precedence meant that SE commuters’ journeys were delayed day after day for years when our (the little people’s) services were held back so that several delayed HS1 services could zoom through their stations as their trains sat in sidings (and were even more crowded when they eventually did resume movement due to the arrival of later commuters ……… slam doors opening outwards syndrome again ……).

      We no longer have that problem in SE London as the route is now in to St Pancras; a recent R4 programme confirmed that the problem is now endured by commuters in East London and Essex, those LITTLE people’s trains are now sometimes delayed for an HOUR (and boy, I know their pain when those priotised Eurostars go through empty except for their First Class-expensed passengers).

      I dont’ care that HS2 is supposedly going to be all ON its own tracks, there is no way at all that those tracks will not cross (and therefore affect) other / slower lines.
      I don’t care about The Cotswolds NOT being affected by HS2.
      Landscape matters enormously but FAR more important are all those working people all along those lines whose commute will be affected for the sake of the far-far fewer.

      • Michele

        Ooops, been put right by little DiL who’s worked at the Bethlem Hospital …….. the Maudsley is mistakenly deemed to have been the original Bedlam because of now being part of the same NHS Trust as the former, which was 🙂

        • Ehtch

          Played cricket for for a black cab taxi London team, when they asked me, which I was well happy to do, at Bedlam, South London, before it closed Michele, against a team of nurses, doctors and hospital porters and others, including patients, since I used to work on a psychiatric hospital in West Wales as a hospital porter before I joined the RAF. It is funny how connections work. Dolly, one of my female mates, 29, from online from North Wales, dad from Western Isles Alastair, ginger haired, legal secretary, in Caernarfon these days, happy video and song, to deflect, life’s arrows, helping,

          • Michele

            We’re both getting ever so confused Ehtch!

            I’ve been conflating the name ‘Bedlam’ with the present hospital with name ‘Bethlem’ (all the time wondering how could that lovely rural place have been the scene of the nasty spectator sports that Bedlam was famous for).
            Turns out the original Bedlam was in the middle of town = well-placed to draw big audiences to pay to view and mock the patients while ‘Bethlem’ is about the third relocation of a more respect-worthy institution under that title in various boroughs).

            Present Bethlem happens to be on a direct bus route from my street so that’s handy 🙂

          • Ehtch

            Yep Michele, know all about that Victorian day out, heard and read about it.

            As said, worked for two years at a psychiatric hospital as a hospital porter before I joined the armed forces, and let me tell you truthfully, I saw AND experienced things, saw it all, about consequences at times of having a human brain, with all it’s particular body joints, better know as synapses that can go wrong.

            Some seriously heart breaking, some seriously funny, as you have to be at times, to get by, helping such people with the taboo inflictions. The violent children were the worst, and I mean psychotically violent, that never got reported in the press. One even found a knife from somewhere and was about to stab my porter mate, before the nurses grabbed him. It was found he nicked it from a shop on a day out, when the nurse looking after him had his eyes turned away.

            Then there was that incident that I better not mention, when I had my back to the wall by that eighteen year old blonde beautiful nymphomaniac, who grabbed my balls and said “Hello big boy”, that made me squeal not in joy, or have I mentioned it… “I was only delivering the provisions for the locked up ward, Nurse, and she twisted my knackers!”. : )

            Keep safe Michele, as we all try hard to do in life, but it does tax at times.

        • Ehtch

          Sent this to Dolly yesterday, she loved it Michele, Dolly loves her dancing, very talented she is being twirled across the dance floor,

  • Ehtch

    I am crazier than this fella. Clean your teeth and go to bed, Hughie!

    Och, oh okay…

  • Michele

    Oooops, re my last which hasn’t appeared yet …….. re the poster …. the ‘it’s not for me’ which is at the top of the poster is about the proceeds not being for Ms Brand.

    Harumph, just to be clear!