Week 8: 19th – 25th Feb. Mixed bag edition.

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The Divine Comedy at the Palladium… twice

You all know this anyway, but Neil Hannon is just an extraordinary songwriter. First, he absolutely one of the wisest writers – working in any genre or medium – that I know of. Tracks like Songs of Love and Love What You Do aren’t just great songs, they’re songs to live by:

Fate doesn’t hang on a wrong or right choice

Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

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Exercise your freedom

Exorcise those demons

Not content with being a superlative lyricist, he also wrings musical beauty out of every line, both vocally (and he’s a stunning singer) and in the gorgeous surging orchestrations of the likes of Our Mutual Friend and To The Rescue (and In Pursuit of Happiness, and A Lady of a Certain Age, and Tonight We Fly and and and…). And on top of all that, he’s a funny and generous live performer who always seems so happy to make an audience happy.

So that, ladies and gents, is why I saw him and the band not once but twice this week, delighting in every bonkers line of Bad Ambassador, and every joy-filled moment of I Like. As the kids say: YAAAASSSS.

Pls Like: Episodes 1-3 

In its online-first incarnation, BBC Three has produced some properly excellent factual stuff (Life and Death Row and American High School especially), but at the moment it’s doing a particularly fine job of giving of providing a platform for talented comedy writers and performers. I wrote about the astonishingly good Uncle a few weeks back, Witless has just had its third series confirmed, and now stand-up Liam Williams has written and stars in Pls Like. Skewering both vloggers and his own (character’s) pretentiousness, these 15 minute episodes are debuting in their natural home of YouTube and I would absolutely recommend taking a look. Properly funny, and with spot-on visuals, it also has a great turn from Tim Key as the vloggers’ monstrous agent.

Six Seasons and a Live Show at the Vaults Festival

Any show taking its title from Community is likely to get my attention; chuck in Tom Bell at the helm, William Andrews involved (both ACMS alumni and insanely talented), and an improv take on convention panel talks (of which I have some audiencebased experience) and I am very much invested.

Taking audience suggestions for TV series that were never made, this show ended up (by audience applause, I have to slightly apologetically report) based around that surprise hit ’30 Days of Apples’. Kudos to Katy Schutte especially for wrangling a really great near-apocalyptic premise from the title, and to the rest of the panel for making things turn so damn weird. Masses of fun, and hopefully more shows to come.

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