Tag Archive: Tim Minchin


Tim Minchin – Storm

The first time I saw Tim Minchin perform Storm was at the Brisbane Powerhouse on March 18, 2009. I sat in the first row, directly in front of him. He towered above me, all tight black trousers and frilly white shirt, wineglass in hand and spittle floating in the spotlight: I was mesmerised. The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, except of course for the laughter during the lighter moments.

In this educational beat poem Tim argues with a young, female dinner guest, (Storm), trying to make the point that things that are not scientifically and empirically proven are unlikely to be true. His observations are funny because they’re true; the facts cleverly sugar-coated by his comedic facial expressions and body language.

His performance is spot on, at first subdued and mildly irritated and gradually becoming more animated as the story unfolds into rant mode, stamping his bare foot to “Isn’t this enough? Just this world? Just this beautiful, complex wonderfully unfathomable, natural world?”

 

I’ve always loved Tim’s other ‘spoken word’ pieces, Angry (Feet) and Mitsubishi Colt, but Storm was new to me, and I briefly toyed with the idea of learning all the words. That idea didn’t last long, Tim is very wordy and nine minutes is a long time.

Thanks to the merchandise queue after this first show, I got to meet Tim and talk to him. He was just as I imagined him to be; lovely, attentive to his fans, and very generous with his time and his hugs. It was the first of six shows and six merchandise queues in a row, and before long Tim recognised me and knew my name.

Marveling at my ‘old school’ black canvas bag kindly sent to me by Tim’s webmistress, Linzy in return for Tim Tams. Tim says, “she’s too nice for her own good.”

Myself and daughter, Sarah, March 18, 2009. The bunny ears are being made by Sarah, they are not on Tim’s poster.

Fast forward to April 2011. Tim has become more famous over the past two years. He can’t always stick around after shows, especially if it’s a long run and he has to save his voice.

But he’s not been resting on his laurels, Tim’s been very busy. He wrote some new material and has toured the UK and Australia with a new orchestra show. On top of that he has created music and lyrics to the RSC’s production of Roald Dahl’s, Matilda, (mooted to move to London’s West End around October or November, 2011.) And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also narrated the Oscar winning short film The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan.

But he’s not been the only one busy creating over the past two years. Some other very talented people have made an animated movie to accompany Tim’s words.

And without further ado, here it is, Tim Minchin’s masterpiece, Storm and the amazing animation and typography of DC Turner and his cohorts.

It has only been on Youtube for four days, and already there are close to 290,000 views. I hope there will be millions more.

The Storm Movie website has information and merchandise for all things relating to this new animation.

For more information on Tim Minchin go to timminchin.com, and to be the best informed stalker you can be, go to angry-feet.com.

Last night, along with 3,600 other people with good taste in comedy, we saw Tim Minchin Vs The Orchestra at the Brisbane Convention Centre. We got there very early thanks to a ‘heads-up’ email from Ticketek advising us of limited parking due to the recent floods. Thanks to our early arrival we had time to check out the merchandise stall before the doors opened. If you’re a Tim fan yet to see his show, I recommend you budget accordingly (i.e. take lots of money) because there’s lots to choose from. While I went to the box office to do some ticket admin, I left my husband in the merchandise queue to buy the CD Tim Minchin and the Heritage Orchestra recorded live at the Manchester Arena, however, my sneaky but lovely husband also purchased a Rock ‘n’ Roll Nerd mug and a tour T-shirt while I wasn’t looking. He knows me very well.

For the past few months I’ve stayed as spoiler-free as possible, as I knew that roughly half the songs in the show were new: I’m glad I made the effort last night as the ‘reveals’ and punchlines had their full impact. I won’t go into too much detail on the content of the new show as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. The talky-bits in between songs were all new too, and I don’t know if it was the lack of a poem, but it seemed to be a much more music-heavy show than normal? Tim probably wanted to get his money’s worth out of the orchestra. 😉

Our seats were in the mid-priced range, half way up the first tiered section. Usually for Tim shows I have seats closer to the stage, as his face is so expressive, but thanks to the two big screens I could still see his eyebrows doing their thing. At one point Tim caught sight of the back of his head on-screen and commented on how good his hair looked at the back. I must admit, it was very bouffant.

There were plenty of old songs to keep me happy, but I was especially pleased to witness my first live performance of Not Perfect, and it was about then I remembered that I’d forgotten to bring a tissue for the occasion. I well up every time I hear it, I also well up at orchestral music, so it stands to reason there would be tears at encore time. If you are a reader who has yet to see the show, stick around, don’t run away to the car park too fast, there are two encores!

I think it’s his heartfelt semi-serious songs I love the most. One of the new songs fits in this category, it is a thing of beauty. The other songs are a mix of silly, clever, insightful and as usual a couple of songs to convey his godlessness.

Tim is easily my favourite comedian. He was my gateway drug to the world of live comedy. I became addicted in 2007 when I first discovered him performing Not Perfect on a quirky little ABC show called The Sideshow. Since then I’ve seen him every time he’s played Brisbane, that’s nine times including last night. He articulates my thoughts much more eloquently than I ever could, and he does it in rhyme, while playing the piano… I think that is fantastic.

If you don’t already have tickets to Tim’s sold out Australian shows, don’t despair, ABC2 are televising a live broadcast from the Sydney Opera House on Sunday, March 27, 2011, If you’re not going to be home, record it, it’s going to be ace.

UPDATE: Due to gremlins in the audio when originally broadcast, the show will be rebroadcast on Sunday, April 3, 2011.

Running for charity

Lots of people are running for charity these days; not me, other younger and far more energetic people. Amongst those people are two fabulous comedians, Tim Minchin and Mark Watson.

Mark Watson recently ran a half marathon in my home town of Bristol, and those that sponsored him raised money for a small charity called The Moldova Project, set up by his sisters.

On October 10th, Tim Minchin is running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London to raise money for the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.

Now, Tim and Mark are friends, so when Tim found out that Mark had completed his run in less than the two hours Tim was aiming for, he decided he had to beat Mark’s time and now has a new goal of 1 hour 45  minutes. There’s a £150.00 bet riding on it. If Mark’s time of 1 hour 50 is quickest, Tim will donate to Mark’s charity and if he beats it, then Mark will donate that amount to Tim’s chosen charity.

The idea of this friendly rivalry tickled my parody bone and after a long break from parody writing I was prodded into action by a fellow Tim and Mark fan to get writing again.

I picked the song Da Do Ron Ron Ron and using the friendly ‘bet’ between the comedians as my theme, this is what I came up with.

I’m a musical comedian trying to stay slim
I do run run run, I do run run
Let me introduce myself, my name is Tim
I do run run run, I do run run

Yeah, I’m not a SIM
Yeah, my name is Tim
I live in London
I do run run run, in London-don

I have a friend and nemesis who lives close by
He too run run runs, he too run runs
He looks so weedy, but my oh my
He can run run run, he can run run

Yeah, he’s quick alright
Yeah, soon out of sight
When he races me home
Mark Watson son son, Mark Watson son

He ran a half a marathon in quite good time
Mark Watson son son, he did run run
On October 10th I’m gonna beat his time
I will run run run, half-marathon

We’ve got a bet on it
Cash to Moldova or kids?
And you can sponsor me too
On the run run run run, half marathon

I’m not sure if they actually do live close to each other, but if they don’t then the racing each other home bit is artistic license okay?


The Three Rs, Well Two Of Them Anyway

As part of my TYSIC, (Ten Year Self Improvement Challenge) I want to make more time to read and write. I love having my nose in a book, I’ve been known to finish a book in a day if it really grabs me. I also like writing; I did NaNoWriMo last November, (National Novel Writing Month) and I got a tremendous amount of satisfaction from completing a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days. Basically, it makes sense that doing more of what I love should improve my life, and the challenge would not only be in the writing process, but in finding more time for both reading and writing.

When the TYSIC started I was out of work, so finding time for reading was easy and I got through quite a few books. As a way to plot my progress with my TYSIC goals and to get back into the habit of writing, I also started this blog. However, since finding work, I only seem to be reading and writing minutes of meetings and poring over software instruction manuals, so I felt it was time to get back on track, and at the same time make sure my work/play time stays balanced. So today I read some short stories, wrote a bit of a parody and this blog.

But before I unveil my bit of a parody, I’ll give you a bit of my parody history. About four years ago I started writing parodies, probably one every week or so, and they’d take an hour or sometimes two to finish. They brought a lot of amusement to my online forum friends and I wasn’t sure whether I was doing it for the fun of creating something new and funny from an existing song, or for the affirmation received after posting them. Anyway, after a while for one reason or another I stopped writing parodies and after briefly flirting with them again last year, I lapsed into a parody-less state again.

Today I didn’t get fully back into parody-writing mode, but I did do a couple of verses of a Tim Minchin song called Not Perfect before reality called and I had to go and do grown-up stuff. I’ve written from God’s viewpoint for the first verse and the Devil’s for the second. I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty as I’m out of practice, but hopefully I’ll do a few more over the next ten years and they should improve. Here’s what I wrote. 🙂

This is my heaven
And I’m boss of it
It’s one third clouds and
Two thirds blue sky
And it floats around in outer space
Invisible to the human race
And is filled with lovely Christians and their pets
There are gates to keep those without sin
safe from bad guys entering
‘because my bouncer Peter, stops them getting in

This is my heaven
And it’s fine
It’s where the Christians want to go when it is their time
It is perfect
And it’s mine
It is perfect

This is my hell
And I’m boss of it
It’s pretty hot
And rather crowded
And I rule the place with whips and chains
But not many people complain
And that’s because those people… like it.
And the funny thing is that I am
An undercover car-sales man
And really rather rubbish at my day job

This is my hell
And it’s fine
It’s where the Christians go when they are bad in their lives
It is perfect
and it’s mine
It is perfect

Sorry, I know it’s not perfect, but it is mine. 😉

This is a rather long review and covers Tim’s Ready For This? Again shows at Brisbane’s QPAC Theatre on December 1st and 2nd, 2009. As I’d already seen the new songs from Ready For This? back in March 2009, this review mostly covers the older songs that I hadn’t seen before and some technical glitches. And for those that want to know, Tim wore his frilly, vienetta shirt and his black, skinny jeans with the skeleton-hand prints on the back pockets.

Firstly, I have to say that I was so happy to finally see Darkside performed live, I knew he would play it from reading spoilers on the forum, but knowing it was coming didn’t mean I was ‘ready for this’ live, rip-roaring rendition of Darkside; it’s my favourite song all over again. Now when I hear it on my iPod I can relive those live performances; the red smoke billowing everywhere like he’s writhing in the depths of hell, and the fan blowing his long hair around so it was almost on end. The heart stopping bit where he breaks down, and you think, Oh no! He’s really upset, and those childlike yippees, when you know the darkside of Tim is just an act and he’s really not that dark after all. It was just brilliant: that song alone was worth the price of admission!

Darkside did have its technical glitches, and of course they made the performances all the more memorable. On the first night, the smoke machine didn’t start when it was supposed to; Tim pointed at it while looking up to someone, (I assume to press the remote trigger switch). On the second night the on-stage lights turned multi-coloured before he had time to get back to the piano, and when the lights were still supposed to be red. Tim made the lighting guy change the lights back to red and then back to the normal colours at exactly the right moment. He said something about having to start the show all over again because the lights had been stuffed up: and I’m sure none of us would have minded one little bit!

This was also my first time seeing the classic anthem Canvas Bags, and it was fantastic. The moment with the fan when he self-consciously makes sure his shirt is billowing nicely and hair is catching the breeze properly, it makes me laugh so much.

Apart from Canvas Bags and Darkside there were two more old songs that I had not seen live before; one of them was If You Really Loved Me; I squealed a bit on the inside when I recognised it! This song was totally unexpected and Tim played a beautiful bit of piano randomness before it, so at first we didn’t know it was coming. Tim really bashed at the piano during parts of this song. I love it when he plays so passionately, although it must hurt his fingers. He also played the piano very forcefully during The Song for Phil Doust. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the hands properly on either night, as I was slightly right of centre; left of centre is the place to be to watch the hands in action.

Our encore on both nights was White Wine In The Sun; this was my first time seeing this song performed live as he played Drowned as the encore for his Brisbane Comedy Festival shows back in March 2009. Anyway, on both nights I teared up during White Wine, as I knew I would. I had guessed that Tim might play that song, as it was December after all, and this was his Christmas song; still I wasn’t properly prepared for hearing it live. Later on that night when I read in the souvenir booklet that he’d spent a whole day sobbing while writing that song, I welled up again: I’m such a sook.

On the second night as Tim was preparing to play White Wine, the smoke machine annoyed him because it kept puffing out smoke randomly. Tim seemed to think it was not good for people to be laughing at the smoke machine while he was performing a serious song, so he went to unplug it; but the connection was taped up, so he had to go to another place to unplug it, (I assume it was where the extension cord was plugged in). However, the smoke machine still kept puffing out smoke! I know they do this because my hubby’s a DJ and until a smoke machine cools down, it will still hiss and spit out puffs of smoke every now and again. Anyway, Tim ended up milking the situation for more laughs and got on his hands and knees and pushed the smoke machine off to the side of the stage, (left). We were all in hysterics by this time, so he decided to eke out the laughs a bit more by pretending to remove, or adjust the light nearest his piano, before sitting back down again to get serious for White Wine In The Sun.

So, on to the mishaps, there was an, “Oh! I fucked that up” during If I Didn’t Have You when he started singing the wrong verse. He picked it up again really quickly though. There were no wiggle wobbles or anything like that. The wiggle was very fast and reigned in tight, more of a shimmy I’d say? It got its own cheers from the audience… as it should: some of them may have come from me.

Technical things didn’t seem to agree with Tim in Brisbane. On the first night there was no sound from the keytar during Bears Don’t Dig On Dancing. He said, “not happy about this Paul” and then he had to urge the bear to dance as I think the bear was thrown by the lack of keytar and was standing there doing nothing, when effectively Tim was doing the same thing (until he gave up on the keytar and ran to the piano). After the song, he said he’d gone to a lot of trouble bringing that keytar all the way from the UK, with bags and children and everything, all for that one moment on stage… Then he said he’d actually left the children behind, implying that the keytar was more important than his own flesh and blood. So even when things were not going to plan Tim still got a laugh out of it.

Thankfully on the second night the keytar worked. This was the first time I’d seen him use it, as it was not a part of the show in March 2009: It was just brilliant. Tim stood on the bear’s chair, rocking out like some hot-rock-sex-god. The look suits him.

By the way, the bear was a plant on both nights and his name was Dane, (he also danced at the Brisbane Comedy Festival gigs in March). He spun on his head for absolutely ages; he’s a great break-dancer. Dane sat next to us at one of the shows in March; he said that a friend had given him the ticket, and he wasn’t sure whom he was seeing? He was such great dancer but not such a great liar. MAS.

On the second night the acoustic guitar wasn’t working for I Love Jesus. It was plugged in but no sound came out from the speakers. A manly tech-type guy came out and stood behind Tim and fiddled about behind him, trying to get something to work. “You’ve changed Evie,” said Tim, keeping his eyes straight ahead to the audience. (He’d introduced us to the lovely Evie earlier as she put the guitar strap over his head from the right hand side of the stage). But still even after being fiddled with by the tech guy, there was no sound from the speakers… Tim started singing a couple of random things; I think there was Cym By Yah? (but I’m not sure and I don’t know how to spell it,) and there was definitely The Lion Sleeps Tonight. In the end Tim gave up on it and ran back to the piano, grabbed his vocals-microphone and stand from there, and set them up front of stage so the microphone was in front of the guitar; then he called himself a genius and carried on with I Love Jesus.

Storm was mesmerizing and perfect on both nights, and I don’t remember any mess-ups during The Good Book, The Song for Phil Doust, Confessions or Prejudice, have I missed any out? Oh yes, Ready For This: How could I forget that? It was great on both nights, although I think he rocked harder on the second night. In fact I think the second night overall had a better vibe. I’m not sure if this was because the first night was Tim’s first show after a break from performing, or because the venue was only about three quarters full on the first night, but the show definitely ‘popped’ more on the second night.

Oh, talky-bits, I mustn’t forget those. There were big changes in the talky-bits since March. The autistic fashion designer, the New York deli, and the coin in the mouth talky-bits had all disappeared. I loved the coin in the mouth routine, but I suppose Tim had his reasons for dropping it. Now, in place of that material there was all this new stuff about causal correlation and the importance of words. Of course now I’ve heard all these new talky-bits, I now understand all the references on the forum to Mr Whippy, and new user names such as Wit Of The Staircase now make sense!

So, on to after-show shenanigans – because the venue is huge, probably 2000 seats or so, we knew there wouldn’t be any organised signing of merchandise; the queue would have been a mile long. So we made our way down to the stage door along with a couple of other Feeters. There weren’t many people waiting, maybe 20 or so? We managed to talk to Tim for a while on night one. He said it was Paul’s 30th birthday (which he had also mentioned during the show) and he couldn’t stay for long, so we tried not to hog him for too long.

I did say to Tim, had we been nearer the front he could have picked on my daughter, seeing as her name is Sarah and she’s 17. Smac is also a Sarah – and she is 17. What are the odds on that?

Before he went I did ask to give him a hug, and as usual he replied, “I’d love a hug.” He’s so generous with his time and hugs. It felt all the more precious as I feel there may soon be a time when he won’t be able to do that any more.

Because Tim was in a hurry I didn’t ask for autographs or a photo, but before he went on his way I did tell him to get Paul or whoever, to fix the interval song as it was skipping and jumping quite badly. I joked that this made it even more annoying than it already was, and he said that maybe he should leave it as it is then, but he wrote it on his hand, and it was fixed the next night.

On the second night my daughter got a lovely photo of herself and Tim taken by another Feeter (yet another Sarah, Tim certainly attracts a lot of Sarahs) and she got some things signed.

So that was it for me. I won’t be seeing Tim again until the next time he comes to Brisbane. One day I might make it to the Melbourne Comedy Festival, but until then I remain a geographically challenged Tim fan and I will wait patiently until he comes back to Brisbane again.