Dean Sas

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Mark Thomas & Rob Newman at the Lowry

Last week I went to see Mark Thomas and Rob Newman at The Lowry.

Mark Thomas is a comedian who gets his laughs by pointing out the stupid things others - frequently government, do. As well as being funny it’s also quite motivational.

The main things he talked about on the night were war, and arms dealing (he owns a German company called Guns ‘r’ Us). He got lots of laughter telling stories about his time at an arms fair. Despite being on the police watch list for the event and telling the organisers he’s writing a book about arms dealing, they gave him a pass and then commented how sneaky he was when he turned up…

He also told stories of the Hindujas, and how he’d got someone, secretly filmed, to admit their arms dealing connections, however when he came to Newsnight to run the story they said they’d have to ask the Hindujas for comments. The Hindujas comment came in the form of six lawyers. Newsnight did not run the story. Mark Thomas is now going to tell the story in the theatre across from the Hindujas estate, with a red carpet going from their front door, to the front door of the cinema.

The show was sort of like the bits of The Mark Thomas Product, where he tells you about the thing he’s done - only with no footage and things, but covering the multiple topics he’s interested in, such as the ECGD, human rights. It seemed like a brief whirlwind of the things Thomas has got up too.

After the interval Rob Newman came on to perform his half of the show, now, besides knowing he and David Baddiel sold out Wembly Arena once upon a time, I knew exactly nothing about him. He came onto the stage, dressed in clothes that looked about 100 years old, wearing a bowler hat and doing a John Cleese style, funny walk. I didn’t know what to expect.

His routine mainly concerned the war, oil and random-ish odd songs with the occasional push of non-hierarchical autonomous groups. The routine was kind of light with humour, instead he tried to educate the audience on his theories.

Newman seems to me, to have a brain just full of facts, figures and thoughts. I’d imagine he’s a very interesting person to know.

The theories were quite controversial, and I’m unsure as to how serious he was about some of them, the main ones that come to mind is that “The first world war was all about oil in Iraq” and the prediction of a melt down in society over the next fifty years.

The melt down in society will apparently come through the lack of energy - oil production is apparently past it’s peak and the other sources won’t be able to provide enough power quick enough to satisfy demand. One thing worth noting is that oil not only provides power for transport, but also for fertilisers and other things. Here’s more information on ”Peak Oil”. It’s quite an engrossing read.

But besides being a bit doom and gloom, he finished off his act on a lighter note, with some jokes and with songs singing accompanied by playing of the ukelele, including an impressive version of Rock Around the Clock in Arabic.

The show was finished with Thomas on the harmonica and Newman on the ukelele doing a seemingly improvised musical battle, where they took the chance to take the mick out of each other in song. Newman could obviously sing better, and was funnier, with Mark Thomas frequently stopping to laugh at him and what he looked like.

There’s still four tour dates left - in Warwick and Canterbury, but they’re very soon. If you get a chance to see these two then I’d definetly take it up. Not only will you have a great laugh, but you’ll also have chance to learn something.

Also thank you to the lady who gave me 10p for parking.

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