Thursday, April 18, 2002

Just finished reading Tony Allen's Speaker's Corner Journal - it's a great read. It's on the New Agenda site, which is his charitable arts trust thing.
It is very evocative writing: not only can I hear/see his stand-up act (as was) but also the rather different style that he evolved for the particular oddity of Speaker's Corner's dynamics. It is both a guided tour and a critique; you are introduced to colourful characters, given an analysis of the various other speakers, and are even allowed a glimpse backstage of the creative process.

I also emailed his publisher and found that his book "Attitude: Wanna make something of it?" will be out in early October 2002.

If you don't know who Tony is, then check it out - without his influence a lot of what we now glibly call Alternative Comedy would never have happened, or not exactly in this form. He's the eminence gris - the Godfather of it all. You don't see him on tv much, so he doesn't have that widespread fame thing [but then again, he doesn't sell his soul to advertising, either].

I had the privilege of hanging out with him, being helpful, back a few years. This didn't involve much - taking money on the door at clubs, helping with leaflets, setting up workshops, etc. It helped me feel more like a friend than a ligger, at least! And (most importantly) I got to see him perform often, and in many different venues - as well as socialising a little. Still, the stand-up scene is a little daunting for a timid old fool like me - I have never been very Alpha - and Tony knows EVERYBODY.

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