For me, seeing a gig is a little bit other people’s experience on Twitter: I always assume that the person I am seeing is great, and am a little bit surprised when not everybody shares my view.
I, personally, was unsurprised that the silent majority voted for a second Tory term, but I was shocked that I could get a ticket to see Robin Ince on a Saturday night – in a venue where he didn’t even need a mic.
The comedian is admittedly a bit of an niche taste, in terms of appeal he is less Lee Mack and more Stewart Lee – who he pulls off a great impression of – mixing geekery and Guardianista musings with anecdotes and the occasional joke.
However, his manic highbrow comedy – like a British Robin Williams with a physics obsession – had the nearly-packed Falmouth Poly alternately rocking with laughter and poised to catch every word, as he mixed comedy, lecture, and even a little bit of pathos, trying to cram more into his two hours than could ever be possible.
Ince mixes anecdotes from his time spent with everyone from Brian Blessed to Nobel laureates, via Brian Cox, while cracking jokes about quantum children: both behaving and misbehaving until they are observed.
He also seems to have a habit of bumping into people on trains, and letting them experiment on him; often to hilarious or intriguing effect – I for one got home and tried one experiment involving a dark room and a mirror, and need a volunteer, a rubber glove and a feather to try out another.
He can veer into the obscure, he admits every member of the audience will lose him at some point unless they have read all of the books and had all the experiences he has, and often ends up discussing with himself when he has lost his audience – “they think your’re talking to yourself for comic effect.” But he’s also gratifyingly passionate, and so well read he should come with a reading list.
Robin Ince is an undervalued treasure, and well worth turning out for any day of the week. Let’s just hope he retains his love for Falmouth, and braves the long train journey down again soon.*
*I’ll be hoping to catch him at the End of the Road festival, anyway.