A Brief History of Swine (and other news) Wed 2nd Sep, 2009

So, what have i done with my summer?

Did some work experience for a production company in Bristol called Icon Films.

Helping them come up with ideas for The One Show. Asparagus growers in the morning, counterfeit money at lunchtime and Ada Lovelace in the evening. I have no idea if any of these will get made, but it definitely gets the blood pumping and the brain working.

Edinburgh Festival

Four days. 20 shows. well, 19 seen, 1 done. Highlights? Colin Hoult, Daniel Kitson and Frisky and Mannish. Oh, and Well Hung and Tender Burgers and Club Sandwich in The Dome.

GreenMan Festival

The comedy was organised by the wonderful Henry Widdecombe, and a great job he did. A gorgeous, chilled out festival surrounded by the Brecons. I did two gigs, starting at 9pm, and another at 2.15 in the morning. Martha slept in the car.

Swine Flu

Ok, so it might be normal flu, but the day i got back from GreenMan i had incredible shivers and shakes and couldn't get out of bed. And then i just felt knackered all week. Flu or laziness, you decide.

Leeds and Reading Festivals

The end of my summer of festivals, one day Leeds, one day Reading. I heard a fraction of Fightstar and that's it for music. I stared at 16 year olds wandering around like dusty sheep and i performed in a comedy tent for about 3000 people. Smashing.

And now the nights are getting darker earlier, the queue for Banksy has gone and the rain is still falling. What's in store for the Winter?

Sorting out the Bristol Comedy Gala at the Colston Hall on September the 21st, and organising my new weekly comedy night at The Lanes.

This is going to be a very good year for Bristol Comedy.

Latitude Festival Mon 20th Jul, 2009

I am not a massive fan of slumming it, massive groups of people, overpriced food, lack of sleep, camping, rain, and not sitting down.

For these reasons the idea of a music festival does not appeal to me. As a way of challenging myself, and having a wider range of experiences, i decided a few months ago to try and do as many festivals as possible this year.

I did Glastonbury a few weeks ago (drove in, gigged, turned around and came straight home) and have got Reading, Leeds and Greenman festivals all planned for August.

Last weekend was the turn of the Latitude festival. Latitude is a fairly new festival and located in Suffolk, near Southwold, in the middle of nowhere and as far away from home as any other place in the known universe.

Due to the location of Latitude, as far away from home as any other place in the known universe, I decided to camp. My previous experience of camping was last year during my walk, and this did not instill me with confidence. I am not a naturally "outdoorsy" person, if i cant have a bath with bubbles then i tend to not be interested.

I bought a new tent, the Vango Milano 2, and a torch, and some Jaffa cakes and Pringles (2 for £2.60) and felt ready for anything.

Latitude is amazing. Perfect, utopian, tranquil and smashing. Ok, so my perception of the festival may be coloured by the fact that two Campsite Angels put my tent up for me, but this doesn't change the fact that I had a great time.

Any festival that has ballet, comedy, Pet Shop Boys and book readings is ok by me.

On Thursday night I MC'd the Literary Tent, introducing authors reading sections from their books. This is not what i associate with a festival.

The highlight of this, and one of the highlights of my year so far, was Edwyn Collins and Grace Maxwell reading from their book Falling and Laughing. It is the story of Edwyn Collins, who was in a group called Orange Juice in the 80's and had a massive hit song "I Never Met A Girl Like You Before". About 4 years ago Edwyn had two massive strokes, nearly died and has spent the last few years recovering. Hearing Edwyn and Grace reading from the book, singing a new song he has written about the experience, and watching the audience rapt and crying was amazing.

On Friday i was down to be "spare" at the Comedy Tent. At Latitude the Comedy Tent is almost as popular as the music stages, thousands of people crammed into a big tent, with brilliant comics all day. "Spare" is the person who waits around in case one of the named acts can't turn up, or turns up late. "Spare" is the role that sits about all day, eating and chatting and drinking, and watching friends go on stage and ripping it in front of a massive, massive audience.

Luckily for me Lee Mack got caught in traffic and so little ol "spare" me got to do the gig, and then spent the rest of the day sitting around and eating. Perfect.


Dan Atkinson doing a brilliant 7 hour compering shift.

Tim Vine and the staggering Pen Behind the Ear.

Chatting to Mark Thomas about rambling.


Latitude Festival is great, even for those people who don't usually do Festivals. Trust me. Go next year, have a great time, get your tent put up and try and find the pink sheep.

Watford Sat 27th Jun, 2009

Watford Jongleurs tonight. Not massively busy but a lovely change from the big Russell gigs. I love doing those massive, incredible gigs but a smallish, drunk, hen and stag infested Jongleurs presents a different type of challenges that get the blood pumping.

Now, the gig was good but the drive home was amazing.I am staying in Hemel Hempstead in a Holiday Inn, on my own and with only the 4th series of Entourage to keep me company. So when I spotted a man hitchhiking at the side of the road, at half eleven on a Friday night, I thought here was no harm in slowing down and asking if I could help. As I got even closer and realised that he was not only the spitting image of Hagrid but also Eastern European, my mind was made up. I am going on a road trip with Hagrid.

I have very little idea if what he told me was true but I do know this:

1) I drove him to Chingford, a good hour round trip, where he was staying with an African woman who makes good stew.

2) That he landed at Heathrow that morning, had no money on him apart from the currency of St Kitts.

3) He name was Willie, originally from Germany and that the bike racks in Enfield are the same as those in Germany.

4) Tescos value range is not as good as Morrisons and that in St Kitts there is a tea called Taj Mahal and it tastes exactly like PG Tips.

5) There are fewer funnier sounds than a German giggling at himself and coughing at the same time.I am not sure about the wisdom of picking up hitchhikers, I rarely see them and have no plan on making a habit of it, but I have no idea how Willie would have made it to Chingford at midnight, and that any accusation levied at me for recklessness has to actually be pointed at my mum and dad.Olver seniors have an altruism that I think is genetic. There were many occasions when I was younger that an odd assortment of Salvation Armyists to Reflexologists stayed in our house, and old ladies were literally picked up off the pavement outside the front door and brought inside for refuge.I take no personal responsibility for driving German Willie to Chingford, I blame Philomena and John.

Back Once Again Tue 23rd Jun, 2009


It has been a while since I update this site. Martha is a bit better at doing it than me, but i am using the excuse of working too hard (apart from when i am catching up bits of telly i have missed).

Anyway, with Deal or No Deal finished for the summer, and a little break from touring with Russell Howard, i have time to start figuring out how to use this site again.

I think the main thing i have to make sure is that all my gigs are in the gigs page, so that people can follow me around the country. My diary is nice and full until the end of the year so i don't really have an excuse, do i?

The Bristol Comedy scene is in great health at the moment, with lots of lovely gigs and brilliant new comics, and when the students come back in the Autumn there will be all sorts of interesting developments.

Anyway, hope you haven't missed me too much, and chat soon.


North East Mon 30th Jun, 2008

Hello all! Mark won't ever get round to updating this so I thought I'd write a quick message. Mark is doing so well. So many people are incredibly proud of him. Last week he was quite grumpy and sad and losing hope, but this week he's been in good spirits and trooping on, enjoying the sights of the world around him. I joined him this weekend for 55 miles or so, between Kendal and Richmond, over 4 days. It was tough going especially as I have had no training whatsoever but The Yorkshire Dales are so amazing it was all worth it.

This means that he's over 300 miles in now (I don't know the exact mileage), and not far from hitting the North East coast proper. He should be in Newcastle by Friday. Amazing work and his feet are coping well!!

There have been some great experiences, not just with the walking but also all the people he's met. Even in the 4 days I was just with him we met some absolute gems - from a feisty hill walker lady who owns 3 exquisite gypsy caravans, to a group of grumpy drunken teachers in a tiny pub in Grinton, to a lone rambler noisily eating cereal in a youth hostel. All of these people were befriended easily which just goes to show how nice most people are!

Please keep checking the Berghaus website for updates on his blog (note: the blogs are not necessarily in the right order so try not to get too confused!!), please keep sponsoring (it's for such a good cause), and finally send loving emails to

Martha :)

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