December 12, 2013

In The Geek Midwinter

On Tuesday Pete and I had an excellent night out courtesy of Reading Skeptics In The Pub, at their very first In The Geek Midwinter festive show. After a day of crazy running around, leaving the Small Boy having tea with his Grandad before heading out to perform in his own Christmas Concert, I caught up with Pete on the train into Reading, and we went to Mission Burrito for tasty filling food and an utterly soulless attempt at flirting on the part of the spotty countermonkey who claimed to remember me from the last time I was in there, which was possibly before he left school.

2013-12-10 19.02.20We headed over to the theatre and chose second row seats, not wishing to come to the attention of anyone who might be on the stage and looking to pick a fight. The bar was open and the wine was vile, but still lent a festive fuzziness to the evening. Uborka’s very own Ms Gammidgy was busy plugging in laptops and making everything ready.

2013-12-10 19.54.06The evening was compered by comedian Iszi Lawrence, who overlooked the front row and went straight for the second row cowards, accusing me and Pete of not having been together for long. She was hunting for the odd few people in the crowd who were not computer programmers, and missed a few easy jokes by not asking me what I do. Her star turn before each act involved christmas carols with spectacularly geeky lyrics, which Pete pretended to hate, but sang at the top of his voice.

2013-12-10 20.12.30Iszi introduced stamp collector Helen Keen, who had a super jumper and a few moments of added tension when her powerpoint wouldn’t play. When it was working, she showed pictures of scientists with hairy chests and demonstrated the SPOOKY connection between NAzis and SAtanism, if you get my drift.

2013-12-10 21.04.53A beer break and more carols were followed by the absolute star of the show. I mean, they were all awesome but physics teacher and geekpop musician Jonny Berliner was the awesomest. His set included a christmas power ballad about Michael Faraday, a calypso about DNA, and a really quite moving ode to Alfred Russell Wallace. Catch him if you can, his stuff is hilarious.

Finally we were treated to a short lecture on frogs and piss by Simon Watt, who proved that you don’t even have to be making jokes about it for genetics to be funny, and that Viggo Mortensen is hotter than Orlando Bloom, like we needed science to answer that.

2013-12-10 22.21.47This was a good night out. Impossibly good value for a tenner, and I really hope Reading Skeptics will organise another one (I’ll help!). Perfect length, quality acts, and lots of opportunity to get a bit pissed and talk to my mates.


7 thoughts on “In The Geek Midwinter

  1. I’m certainly keen to do another one. I was thinking of going for twice a year but given that I started the whole thing 6 months ago that seems optimistic.

    Jonny wasn’t going to play the Faraday song, because of the lack of keyboard. I threatened not to pay him unless he did. Either that or I asked politely and I sat and worked out how to do it because he is an incredibly nice man.

    There was a twitter complaint about too many breaks which made me think quite hard about the format but I standby my choice. I think the format worked.

    I’m very pleased that you guys enjoyed it. I feel really quite proud of it. Which is strange as it was the acts that actually deserve the credit.

    Ms Gammidgy on December 12, 2013
  2. I saw that comment on twitter and felt it was mean-spirited to say it there rather than talk to you about it. Perhaps he just needed a more accurate finish time (I think the website said 9.30) but that’s a tall order for the first time you ever do this. I thought the format was spot on, really relaxed pace and the multiple breaks were good (though you should get a share of the bar take next time because we definitely bought twice as many drinks as we would have if there had only been one interval).

  3. Is Mission Burrito in the place that used to do the really good cocktails (and that I think Herself and I met you in a couple of times) ? It looks about right…

  4. It’s a couple of doors down. That was Santa Fe, and is now some chain pub or other.

  5. Ah, that’s right, it was Santa Fe. Pity, they did some good stuff.

    Mission looks good though. And now I’m hungry…

  6. If it said 9.30 somewhere then that wouldn’t help. I had always planned for it to be 10.30 but expected a bit of an over run so it was pretty much as I expected.

    Maybe next time I should advertise a finish time for the avoidance of doubt.

    Also, the mention of many people leaving seemed a little strange – I didn’t noticed more than a handful of empty seats for the final part.

    Ms Gammidgy on December 12, 2013
  7. I don’t think it was many people. The bloke beside me left (it might have been something I said) but that just meant I had somewhere to put my drink down when I was clapping. The vast majority of the audience were still laughing and applauding to the very end, so the balance tips heartily towards satisfied customers.

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