Thursday, 19 May 2011

Christ On A Bike (DVD) & The Collings & Herrin Podcast

It's a long Herring run for me with five more AIOTMs, and one 'What Is Love Anyway' kind of preview and on top of that I got tickets to see his next DVD being recorded at The Leicester Square Theatre (in my usual AIOTM seat of course - A14 in case you're interested).

I have never been to Edinburgh Festival, but I do love the period from around May to August when there are a lot of cheap and intimate preview gigs happening, and last year I caught quite a few previews of COAB before he took it to Edinburgh and I saw the finished show at the same theatre in January. As a bit of a comedy nerd I really enjoy seeing shows slowly come together, seeing a bit of improv that makes it into the final show, seeing bits that don't quite work. I even had the cheek to email Richard about a possible improvement he could have made. He did respond very politely, but pointed out the reasons why that particular part of the show was done the way it is and declined my brilliant idea. (After I hit 'send' on that email, I thought I might have made the biggest mistake of my life, but I think I got away with it.)

Anyway since I last saw it, the show has travelled round the country, with more additions and changes as time has gone on, so it will be nice to see the final finished version. What with the various protests, crazy emails (not my one!), threats and heckles that he has received I'm was really looking forward to this. Here is a clip of some people in Glasgow who were offended by a show they had never seen.

There were two shows tonight. First the DVD record of the show, followed by a live and filmed version of the Collings & Herrin podcast. C&H is one of the longest running independent podcasts around. There is usually one released every week, generally recorded in Richard's attic and put out unedited which leads to them being of varying quality. Some are close to genius, others border on tedium, but most of them are a very funny (and free!) way to pass an hour, which is quite handy if, like me, your journey to work takes an hour. Andrew Collins is a supersub DJ on 6 Music as well as the film editor for the Radio Times and a writer. Their styles complement each other well: Collings is the woolly liberal. He doesn't like cloning, or interfering with nature, and generally likes to be nice and sees the best in people. Herrin is the monster: ready to push Collings' buttons at the drop of a hat, say the unsayable, wind people up and get furious. I think Collings is pretty much identical to the real Andrew Collins, whereas Herrin is a very much exaggerated version of Herring himself, who just has to be as mean as possible.

Richard Herring - picture by Kip Hakes
So again, I decided to make the walk into town and had arranged to meet Jack  at De Hems for a beer before hand. I realised this was a mistake when I was 20 minutes into my walk and I started to smell like a damp dog as it had begun to rain. I came up with a genius idea and got on a bus. We had a quick beer and decided to head off around 715 or so. We got to the theatre just in time for the start of the show and took our seats and Andrew came out to introduce the show. The premise is that as an atheist, Richard still thinks about and talks about Jesus a lot which is underlined by a recording of his mother saying exactly the same thing. He ponders various ideas. How many Roman Catholic masses should you attend before you've eaten an entire Jesus, what happened to the gold, frankincense and myrrh, and why was the Star of Bethlehem not more widely reported, as the star would have to be ten feet off the ground to point to an entire building. He deconstructs the Ten Commandments for their literary clumsiness, if not their morals, well, apart from the condoning of slavery.

After this there was a bit of a mini-break for tapes to be changed, I took the opportunity to nip to the local burger chain for a wee (I do wish on AIOTM that Rich would stop telling people to go there to save on queues because all it does is move part of the queue to the burger restaurant.) I won't tell you which particular one it is. It's definitely not Burger King though.

In the break, Rich took some time to read through some odd emails he had received, and he got to one which was all about a drunk driver taking a girl with him which involved God being in the trunk and when the car inevitable crashes, only the trunk was intact. Anyway we never got to hear that as the printed out email had been lost, but I remembered it from Monday's AIOTM. Maybe he'll put a recording of that on instead? Andrew came out with the clapperboard to start the rest of the show, tripped over the microphone cable and asked what the strange thing was on the stage that had distracted him. Richard tried to shush him, as it was his pyro that he was gong to use in the next half that was going to be a surprise. I still jumped anyway!

The second half steps up a gear and explores the dream Richard had of the bicycle race that gives the show its name as well as the fantastic memory feat of the genealogy of Jesus.

The show ends on a high point with Richard realising that there are good sides to religion and that if he could live like his Christian father he would be a much better person. There are sections of this show that Christians could find offensive, but the overall message is one of positivity towards Jesus and Christians (well, some of them!) and it's quite a feel good conclusion.

After the show ended there was a 20 minute break till Collings & Herrin

The two boys - picture by Kip Hakes
They came on stage, and although Richard was tired, he looked relieved he could just relax and talk bollocks for a while Andrew had 3 pre-planned ideas in case they ran out of things to talk about and used them up in about 20 minutes. They took questions from the audience. I came up with an idea (actually, a very clever satire I had spent ages planning) which related the COAB protests to his new unseen (and unperformed and unwritten) show about Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. Another question by Kip Hakes was about what the rudest thing was that anyone had said to them. They gave us a few ideas, but when he told us that his wife made him switch Secret Dancing off half way through, Andrew found his answer !

I don't want to go into too much detail as I don't want to spoil the surprise, and I also can't remember it all.

Afterwards I chatted with Rob and Catie, and was approached by a man asking if I was AndyMcH! It turns out he was MrPineappleBand - my C&H musical nemesis! (Collings stated in one podcast that I hated him, but I would like to point out that this was untrue in every way!)

I wanted to get a Secret Dancing DVD from Andrew and spotted his rather unmissable shirt at the opposite bar. I chatted to him for a while and was introduced to another musical nemesis, Rose, who did all the good jingles for the Collins & Herring 6Music show, as opposed to my under rehearsed, poorly recorded, half-arsed attempts. Richard was chatting and looked busy so it was nice of Andrew to save him the bother of writing "This Is Shit" on my DVD by writing it himself. He also gave me a variety of signatures on his books for varying reasons.

Just as we were beginning to have fun (not that the shows weren't fun, but you know what I mean) the bar closed. This was a very good thing. It stopped me getting drunk, and I can be extremely confident (hubristic even?) that I didn't make a tit of myself. Possibly the best result I could have hoped for.Roll on the DVD release and roll on next Monday's AIOTM ! <aiotm>

Here's another account of the night by Robin Blamires.

Note: Was given a CD containing the infamous "Falls Road" heckler from the show in Warwick a few nights before. Richard is happy with me putting it on youtube, and here it is:


  1. Really good recap on last night.

    I've made my own attempt at doing so here
    with one or two photos.

    I probably preferred the Collins And Herrin podcast to the main performance itself but it was good fun overall.

  2. I did too, but mainly because I had already seen COAB a couple of times. And I felt that as we had all been on best behaviour for the 1st half we could all be twats on the podcast !