Tag: Shaolin Punk

A Good Month

It’s been a busy month for me, as you might imagine, what with four shows in the Comedy Festival and appearances in others. As well as +1 Sword, Dungeon Crawl and the Museum Comedy programme – all of which are going very well, by the way – this Friday is one of the special ones: the Political Asylum Comedy Caucus, two hours of top-notch topical political stand-up from our regular team, plus Rod Quantock and a special international guest (I’ll give you a hint: he’s from New York). On top of all that, it was my birthday, my Mum’s come for a visit, my beloved opened her smashing new cabaret show (First Against the Wall), and I’m still working three days a week.

Hardly surprising then that I’ve not blogged much; I’ve hardly had time to catch up to my beloved in Dragon Age: Origins (which is better than Mass Effect, I think). I had to break my busy silence though to celebrate, because it’s been a good month for science!

First, the Large Hadron Collider has been turned on. It’s been a long time coming, and the world hasn’t ended; indeed the press didn’t seem to notice until it was all over. Now, of course, we have to look at the data that the various sensors and arrays and detectors have collected, and see what it tells us about the Universe. It’s going to be an exciting few years…

It’s also been a good month for Simon Singh. In 2008, he mentioned in an opinion piece in The Guardian that he felt certain chiropractic treatments promoted by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) were “bogus”. For his trouble, he was sued – successfully, in the first instance – by the BCA under the UK’s harsh libel laws. This week? He won an appeal, and what’s more, the appeal court judges were very critical of the BCA’s behaviour – it looked like it was trying to “silence one of its critics” – and of the original judge, who has “marginalised or underrated the value now placed by the law on public debate”. Read more about it in The Telegraph.

In a similar vein, the University of East Anglia scientists whose emails were stolen and publicised as “Climategate”, which supposedly revealed the “truth” behind the “Anthropogenic Global Warming conspiracy”, were cleared by a parliamentary enquiry. The response recognises that they could have been more open in sharing their data, but most of it was already publicly available and the methods for obtaining and analysing it published. They had a culture of “stonewalling” critics at the university, but then when the majority of requests for your data are from people hoping to undermine your research, that might be forgiven… The main point, though, was that plenty of other institutions have come to the same conclusions from data, so even if they had falsified anything, other research still rejects any notion of a conspiracy.

Those are my reasons for a good month. I’ll talk about them some more, with more jokes in, on Friday night. Maybe I’ll see you there?

It’s (Big) Crunch Time

Yes, it’s that end of Science Week – the end when I’m out there spreading the word and explaining weird stuff.

Friday through Sunday is , an hour-long amble through the brain melting fields of Stephen Hawking’s twenty-year-old masterpiece. You should book if you want to come – details on the show’s page – but at the moment there are still tickets left for all three performances (1:30 matinee Friday, 8 PM Saturday and 7 PM Sunday).

Friday evening is Not the Nobel Prize, Melbourne Museum’s science comedy panel show in which four comedians – including myself – go head to head with four scientists. They’ll spin some stories, and we’ll try and decide if they’re true or false. Sadly Sam Simmons can no longer be with us, but joining myself, Courteney Hocking and Charlie Pickering will be the ever-delightful Justin Hamilton. Bound to be excellent! The show starts at 7 PM, and you should book for this one too; details can be found on the Melbourne Museum web site.

And if you need a break from all the exciting Science Week stuff, you can also catch my two improvised projects this week: Impro Sundae with The Crew is on this Sunday, 5 PM at the Bella Union, Trades Hall; and the preview season of Set List, the new improvised musical show from my theatre company Shaolin Punk, plays this Thursday to Sunday night at 9 PM  (8 PM on Sunday) at the Butterfly Club. Details can be found via those links, and I should point out that the only one of those in which I’ll be performing is Thursday night’s Set List.

Last days for the Melbourne Museum tour

The Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour finishes this week, and after some of the great reviews we’ve had from The Groggy Squirrel and UK comedy site Chortle, our last two nights are sure to be a great success. So come on down! Tonight, Ben McKenzie, Bec Hill and Sue-Ann Post will be your guides, and on Friday, Ben and Bec will instead be joined by Kent Valentine.

It’s the last days too for A Record or an OBE, the what if play about hit 70s British comedy group The Goodies. OBE plays this Saturday and Sunday, the 5th and 6th of April, and then every night next week until the 13th of April, with no show on Monday; there are also plans for a late show at 11 PM on Friday, April 11th; watch Shaolin Punk for details!

The Man is Graeme Garden…again

Ben McKenzie’s short play A Record or an OBE – in which Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor of famous British comedy troupe the Goodies try to carry on after Bill Oddie’s (fictional) departure in 1975 – returns for seasons at the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival! A Record or an OBE stars Ben as Graeme and Rob Lloyd as Tim, and is directed by Scott Gooding. Tickets are one sale now; check out the Shaolin Punk web site for more information.