Just as Turkey blocks Twitter and YouTube, the State of Kate Bush has ordered a block on all online booking ticket agencies. Those now wanting tickets for her first live gigs in 78 years will have to walk to a participating venue and buy them. Just buy them, Tommy Cooper style. There’ll be a price on the ticket, you hand over a matching amount of money, and the shopkeeper gives you the ticket. Done. Enjoy the gig.

If only.

It’s not like that. Not now. But was it ever?

Now, you have to be up at 9.30 in the morning (Ha! Hard luck Peter Stringfellow! No tickets for you!) Up at 9.30 and then there’s a 15 minute window (hopefully Cathy gets her tickets) before they’re all gone.

I joined in the Bush Rush, although it’s not really my kind of thing (I only like Sparks). I did it for my wife. She likes Kate Bush (not so keen on Sparks).

I’m there, 9.30, ready to go! The only tickets that seem to be available cost £9,567. They’re for the hospitality package (which does, admittedly, throw in a “bamboo cone of chocolate & caramel dipped berries”). Oh, and for all my lies, that last bit is true.

To get to the point, I do, within 15 minutes, find two possible tickets for me and Zoe. They’re the only ones I can find and they are in the circle. They are £135 each.

Hmmm. That’s a lot… but, in the long run, we’re only going to die. So what the hell!

Having made a decision it’s a race against time. A clock ticks away onscreen. I have about seven minutes. I have to type in one of those nonsense words that proves I am human. It was something like R1PUoFf. It’s difficult to know; it was all scratchy and slanted like a Tin Machine lyric.

Somewhere in the scheme of things I had 4 minutes, then 3…  and in the mad scrabble to give our summer holiday away I typed and tapped and bought the two dearest tickets I’ve ever bought in my life.

But I’m happy. We want to go and we will have a great night out.

But why did two tickets at £135 each come to a grand total of £303.50?

Ah! “Service and delivery charge- £2.50″. Not bad! Service and delivery for only £2.50.

Oh! And “2 Booking Fee x £10.50″. I wonder what the distinction is between a service charge and a booking fee? And why two booking fees coming to £21 for what is the same booking?

Never mind. I guess this is how things are done these days. And we will have a great night out.

But wait! That still only comes to £293.50.

WHAAAAATTTTTT!!!!! “Missed Event Insurance: £10.00″

What? Seriously, what? I didn’t ask for this!

Well, it seems I did. Eventim’s policy is to automatically include this unless you choose to untick the box. Something I overlooked in my race against the, by then, 2 minute countdown.

I’ve complained and Eventim have pointed me to a webpage where I can print out a form, fill it in, and apply by post to the insurance company for a refund. I shouldn’t have to do this.

Here’s my complaint. it’s not a complaint about ticket prices, or even unseemly booking fees. It’s a complaint about £10. £10 and the way Eventim hoodwink us into buying unwanted insurance policies… for gigs!? Just take a moment to get to grips with this insane proposal: an insurance policy for a gig.

The honest way to do business is to say “tick if you want it” not “untick if you don’t”.

In the scheme of things it is not a lot of money. Probably the cost of a bamboo cone of chocolate & caramel dipped berries. But I’m going to go all Point Blank on this one. All Parker and Porter.

I guess I’d get into trouble if I called Eventim crooks. But it reminds me of the man in the Post Office the other day who when asked for 5 first class stamps by an old lady told her “we sell them in books of six”. She stood her ground and got a strip of 5 from the big book. But it was clear the post office man wanted her to think they were only available in units of 6. And so I will call him immoral, and I will call Eventim immoral.

Not Kate. This, undoubtedly, has nothing to do with her. Me and Zoe are going to have a great night out.

 

 

All ten DVD covers have been reviewed… and one bogus one that sneaked in at the last minute as a result of Amazon’s Top Ten changing so radically between the 11th December and the 20th! Who knew Amazon could fiddle around with their lists so much; seemingly basing best on sales? Click here to catch up on yesterday’s Number 1.

And now it’s your turn. Three polls to vote in. Firstly, the best cover. Then, the worst cover. And, finally, the funniest.

Here’s a quick reminder of the contenders:

Comedy gala 2013

10- Channel 4′s Comedy Gala 2013

Peter Kay 2013

9- Peter Kay double pack

Kevin Bridges

8- Kevin Bridges: The Full Story boxset

Jimmy Carr

7- Jimmy Carr: Laughing and Joking

eddie izzard

6- Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure

Sean Lock

5- Sean Lock: Purple Van Man

Jack dee

4- Jack Dee: So What?

Bill Bailey

3- Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

Greg Davies

2- Greg Davies: The back of my Mum’s Head

Micky Flanagan

1- Micky Flanagan: The ‘Back in the Game’ Tour

And here’s the polls:

And for the last one, since a comedy gala has an unfair advantage, I have removed it and replaced it with yesterday’s surprise No. 1 choice on Amazon, Jethro!

Here we go! After nine long days it is time to put you out of, or into, your misery.

I’ve been taking a look at the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s according to Amazon, and then reviewing them by the state of their cover alone. But a funny thing has happened since I first searched out the list on the 11th December.

I’m going to show you the list from 10 through to 2 that I found on the 11th December. And then I’ll show you the list as it stands today. See if you can spot the funny thing.

Here’s my list from the 11th December (without yet revealing number 1):

10- The Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2013

9- Peter Kay

8- Kevin Bridges

7- Jimmy Carr

6- Eddie Izzard

5- Sean Lock

4- Jack Dee

3- Bill Bailey

2- Greg Davies

And now, here’s Amazon’s Top Ten as of today (and I’ll save the number 1 til the end too!):

10- Peter Kay (but a different DVD)

9- Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown

8- Def Comedy Jam

7- Jethro

6- World’s Greatest Stand-Up

5- The Comedians

4- Jim Davidson

3- Stewart Lee

2- Channel 4′s Comedy Gala (but 2012, not 2013)

And no.1? Well, it’s a repeat of one of the above. But I’ll save the surprise.

And did you notice the funny thing that happened? Yes, that’s right! The list went from being pretty pretty good to being pretty pretty shit.

How did that happen? Is it based on sales? And if it is, did NO ONE (out of my 24 or so readers) pay any attention to my thorough reviews?

And how on earth did Stewart Lee and his Comedy Vehicle sneak in there at no.3? Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m glad Stewart Lee is in there. He’s my favourite comedian. Ever. (Though Frank Randle gives him a run for his money).

But truly, what gives?

And so, at last, here’s the proper (as in the 11th December list) Number 1. It’s…

Micky Flanagan

Micky Flanagan: “Back In The Game” Tour- Live

Yes! Micky Flanagan!

And he’s made my job easy. I’m reviewing this solely by the cover and Micky has wisely eschewed any fake stickers with silly newspaper bits declaring him to be this or that. It’s just him, with a bit of a cheeky title and a cheeky chappie grin. And, as I sit here typing, I say to my wife, “there’s not much to say really”. And she says, “Say he’s copied my walk”.

I like Micky Flanagan. And he makes me laugh. Though he has copied my wife’s walk.

Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.

But here’s the thing. You’re all (24 of you) waiting to find out who’s top of the Amazon chart today, aren’t you? Yes?

Well, it’s…

Jethro

Jethro Tull

It’s a 3 DVD boxset. It’s £5.75.

I wasn’t going to review this cover. It’s not part of the plan. And I don’t want Jethro stealing any of Micky’s thunder. But there is one point of great interest: Jethrol uses the fake sticker style favoured by yesterday’s no. 2, Greg Davies. But whereas Greg’s fake sticker was used to declare him “one of this country’s best comedians”, Jethro’s fake sticker is used to declare “contains new release”.

Contains new release. Contains new release.

Just say it a few times. Over and over.

Is it making you feel queasy? Contains new release.

Is it meant to be a joke?

Contains new release. What does it mean?

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking… contains new release… I can’t help thinking Jethro has somehow spunked out his new video.

Maybe that’s what he wants us to think. Who knows? Who buys Jethro? What is he? And why doesn’t Ricky Tomlinson sue?

I’m reviewing the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s (taken from a search on Amazon), but with a trick. I’m not watching them. I’m not even reading about them. I merely looking at the covers (pictures of the covers) and coming to undoubtedly unfair conclusions. It’s a service I’m offering to help you with those last minute Christmas presents.

Yesterday I looked at numbers 3 and 4. In fourth place was grumpy Jack Dee. In third place was becalmed Bill Bailey.

Who’ll be in second place? And will they be a smiler or a scowler? Here goes…

Greg Davies

Greg Davies Live: The back of my Mum’s head

It’s Greg Davies! And he’s…  scowling? Or squinting? Possibly pondering.

As far as covers go this one is a winner, only bettered so far by Bill Bailey’s barmy army cover. It looks good, there’s outsider art involved, and it presents us with a mystery: why has Greg decided to turn his back on the view? Is he doing it to spite his Mum? And what is he looking at with his one eye? And why’s he called it The back of my Mum’s head? And is that his Mum? And if it is his Mum, is it his real Mum or a ‘stage Mum’? And why is he wearing a huge blue badge telling us he is “one of this country’s best comedians?”

That’s the one part of the cover I hate. I can’t tell for sure but it looks printed on rather than being a sticker you can peel off, and that makes it just a little bit worse. Someone (maybe Greg, maybe not) designed this cover and made it as good as they could and then someone else (a marketing idiot) came along and said:

“Hey guys…”

(The kind of person who says ‘guys’ to everyone regardless of gender)

“Hey guys, I’m not really sure this cover sells Greg as well as it could. After all, he is one of this country’s best comedians, can’t we find a quote from somewhere that helps get that point across?”

The quote is found and the marketing idiot tells someone else to make it look like a big sticker stuck on the front of the DVD. And this someone else, who has no power, tries to suggest it will look shit and it will ruin the cover. And the marketing idiot, thinking they are being creative, adopts a pose not unlike Greg’s, pretends to think, and then declares “make it blue, so it matches the blue of the sky!” And the marketing idiot barks a laugh and shouts out “”That’s blue sky thinking for you” and everyone pretends to laugh and a cover is destroyed.

Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.

Tomorrow, number 1.

Ok, so I didn’t get a chance to do number 4 yesterday. Sorry! But it’s nearly Christmas and there is drinking to be done.

And so, rather than be a day behind, I am going to rattle through numbers 4 and 3 today. Here’s my thinking, this is the plan; if I get to Number 1 by Friday then you are all sorted for your Christmas shopping. You’ve got the weekend to buy the whole Top Ten. If that’s your thing.

The downside is that I can’t tell you anything about the content of these DVD’s. It’s not like I’m watching them! I haven’t got the time! Or the money! …No, hang on… I haven’t got the money! I knew it was one out of the two.

Having seen none of them I am solely judging a DVD by its cover. Which is fine by me. These comedians surely approved their covers; even, bizarrely, Jimmy Carr!

Before we start the Top Three countdown let’s get Number Four done. And it is…

Jack dee

Jack Dee: So What? Live

It’s the original Grinch! It’s the grumpiest comedian ever! It’s Jack Dee!

Here’s Jack! Looking more hapless than grumpy. He’s pulling the kind of face you imagine he might have pulled when he heard Martin Freeman had stolen the part of the Hobbit from him.

Ooh, as a little diversion, here’s some stuff I have watched. Let’s laugh along as Vic and Bob try to cheer Grumpy Jack up. And look carefully… at one point Jack is sitting next to The Hobbit himself, smiling away, not grumpy at all.

Now, back to the serious cover analysis.

I’m getting a little fed up of the double 15 certificate thing. It’s on all of these bloody videos. But, for those new to this blue and red stickeration the double 15 means this DVD is suitable for thirty year olds.

Jack’s gone for an old variety poster style for his cover. It’s a cross between the Good Old Days and a boxing flyer. As such, it’s covered in stars. The Telegraph gives the show Five Stars, but if you count them all up this is in fact a 47 Star show. That’s a hell of a show. So What? So 47 Stars What, that’s What!

Jeremy Hardy calls the show/Jack a “little ray of sleet”. It’s not quite up there with Lee Mack’s critique of Stewart Lee…

“A cultural bully from the Oxbridge Mafia who wants to appear morally superior but couldn’t cut the mustard on a panel game.”  Lee Mack, Mack The Life, 2012

… but it’s still a fun quote.

And so on to the Top Three.

(Incidentally, the Top Ten order has not been decided by me. I am going off the first ten comedy DVD’s that came up when I searched Amazon’s Stand-up comedy section way back on December 11th).

And, at Number Three…

Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

It’s Bill Bailey! And what a cover! Truly astonishing! A 12 certificate! A first for the Top Ten! Here is a DVD for (almost) all the family.

It’s also the first DVD in the Top Ten to entertain me through title alone. If only all warmongers became qualmpeddlers the world would be a much better place.

As far as most comedy DVD covers go (grins, teeth, quiffs, scowls) this one is a work of art. A spoof art work too, mocking and mimicking the militaristic murals of Mao.

mao poster

Mao Tse-Tung: China’s funniest mass murderer

Bill Bailey may be only Number Three, but it’s likely, when the votes are in (the poll will open on Saturday) that this cover will be Number One!

Tomorrow, Number 2.

Following on from yesterday’s no. 6, Eddie Izzard, we move straight on to no.5. And, to quote Winston The Wolf from Pulp Fiction, “If I’m curt with you it’s because time is a factor”.

See, the thing is, I’ve been out all day and now I have to eat and then get to my choir’s social, where karaoke is king, and that starts at eight.

So… Number 5.

Sean Lock

Sean Lock- Purple Van Man

It’s Sean Lock! We hope. The tricky thing is to try and figure out what letter his head is. But since his name is actually Sean Lock I’m going to plump for an ‘O’. His head is a big ‘O’. He’s the Roy Orbison of comedy.

He’s a two 15 certificate comedian man, making him ideal for any thirty year olds.

He may have his hands down his pants.

Talking of pants, his cover with its swirly fonts makes me think a little of this:

Bob corner cardigan

purple haze, fa la la la la

Despite his down-turned mouth and the description of him as “punchy”, I doubt he is a violent man. Unlike Eddie Izzard’s DVD, he is not selling an Ultraviolent version of his act.

He is also “inventive, superb… undeniably brilliant.”

Well… do you dare deny it? I thought not. You can’t. It’s undeniable.

If you’re wondering what Sean’s Purple Van looks like, here’s a pic:

purple van

Sean’s Purple Van

I am off to do my yearly sing of First Of The Gang To Die and Manchester. Bye.

Tomorrow, number 4.

Oh, and if you’ve never seen this video, give it a watch. It’s “punchy, inventive, superb… and undeniably brilliant.”

The countdown continues as we reach the halfway point. Have you found your ideal Christmas present yet? So far we have had the Channel 4 Comedy Gala, then Peter Kay, then Kevin Bridges, and yesterday, Jimmy Carr. Today it is the turn of the future Mayor of London.

Number 6 is…

eddie izzard

Eddie Izzard- Number 6

Wow! Now, for those new to my style of reviewing, I’m simply going to review the cover, not the contents. And this cover’s a stunner. It makes me think of this:

nightmare before christmasWith a little bit of this:

time tunnelAnd just a typeface touch of this:

BIg Yellow Self Storage Company

It’s Eddie Izzard. And his show is called Force Majeure Live.

That’s a two thirds French title, but don’t worry, the DVD isn’t in French. Or, if you are French, do worry. Or not. You choose.

But what does it mean? Heck knows. Here’s a hastily researched online definition:

noun: force majeure
Meaning 1:  Law – unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.
Meaning 2:  Irresistible compulsion or superior strength.
Does that help? Meaning 1 makes me think the concert didn’t even go ahead. And meaning 2 worries me. Is Eddie the force majeure, or did a mighty wind blow through the arena, disturbing his tie? I don’t know.

This is an ultraviolent copy. And, as a result of it being ultraviolent you can watch it anytime, anywhere. A bit like The Goodies.

It’s another 15 certificate twice, making it suitable for 30 year olds.

He also (and I admit I didn’t get this info from the cover, but rather from the guardian yesterday) plans to consider entering into politics as either Mayor of  London, or just parliament in general, around about May 2019. the 17th.

That’s 6 years away! 6 YEARS AWAY!

A priest once said to me “never trust a comedian who wants power over us. In the future. Around about May”.

Eddie Izzard is “a genius”.

Tomorrow, number 5.

Four days in. So far we’ve had Channel 4′s Comedy Gala, Peter Kay, and Kevin Bridges. Who’s at number 7? Let’s take a look.

Jimmy CarrJesus Christ! Seriously… Jesus Christ! I’m not often one for blasphemy, but seriously. What the fuck? This has to be the scariest DVD cover since this:

Magic

Or this:

Childs play 3Or this:

liberaceIn case you’re wondering, no.7 is Jimmy Carr.

I’m speechless.

I’m judging all the Top Ten DVD’s by their covers by the way, not the content. And here’s what I know:

Jimmy Carr’s DVD is called Laughing and Joking. It has an 18 certificate. It’s (like the Liberace DVD) purpley. Oh, and Jimmy couldn’t find time, or wasn’t bothered enough, to pose for a cover photo. Instead, he sent along a hideous animatronic doppelganger made out of BHS clothes, Action Man Eagle Eyes, Action Man Hair (pre-realistic style), earwax, and The White Cliffs of Dover.

Truly the most astonishing DVD cover I have ever seen.

Tomorrow, number 6.

The countdown of the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s for Christmas continues. No.10 was The Channel 4 Comedy Gala, yesyerday’s no. 9 was Peter Kay. Today it’s number 8 and it’s…

Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges: The Full Story Boxset

It’s Kevin Bridges: The Full Story Boxset!

Now! A quick reminder of the ‘rules’. I haven’t seen any of these DVD’s. In many cases I haven’t seen the comedians. Even on the Apollo show. I am simply reviewing them by their covers alone. Here goes.

I don’t know Kevin Bridges story. But it goes something like this: Kevin Bridges talks about what it’s like being the unsung son of Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges. There’s some amusing anecdotes about boyhood fishing trips with Uncle Beau and an alarming tale of an onset visit to see Grandpa Lloyd when he starred in the comedy Jane Austen’s Mafia!

Maybe he’s not related. Maybe he is! You decide.

The Full Story Boxset is possibly a little misleading. How many DVD’s make a Boxset? How many stories make a Full Story? Well, in this case, two. Two DVD’s. Two stories.

The stories so far are, ahem, The Story So Far and The Story Continues. Perhaps, next Christmas, the Full Boxset will become a Triple Boxset and, in typical three act story style, the story will end with the third DVD, The Story Ends.

Comedians come in two forms; the grumpy comedian and the smiley comedian. In first place, at the moment, are Jack Dee and Michael McIntyre. (I was going to say respectively, but I’ll leave it for you to figure out- you can always click on the names above to see photographic evidence). Kevin, as his legs suggest, is straddling the two styles; it’s not a smile, it’s not a grimace. I cannot tell what it is. He is a third kind; the enigmatic comedian.

He possibly has no arms.

He’s looking up. The camera is either very high or Kevin is very short.

This is “unmissable stuff”  and, with two 15 certificate symbols, it is suitable for thirty year olds.

There is a lot of yellow.

Tomorrow, number 7.

it’s the countdown of the Top Ten comedy DVD’s! It started yesterday! It’s fun! And it overuses exclamation marks!

Yesterday we kicked of with number 10- Channel 4′s Comedy Gala 2013!

The rules are simple. I’ve picked the Top Ten from Amazon. I don’t watch them. I simply judge the DVD’s by their cover. This may, or may not, help you sort out your Christmas pressies.

So… here we go with number 9. And it is…

Peter Kay 2013

Peter Kay Double Bumper Comedy Compilation

This is a fascinating cover. Without having a copy of it in my hands I’m going to hazard a guess that the outer box is made of leather with embossed gold leaf lettering. Inserted into this almost Biblical presentation are two smaller DVD covers showing Peter Kay at his chirpiest best (the comedians fall into two categories- grumpy or smiley- and Peter Kay is one of the smiliest, currently rating 4th Smiliest Comedian in the Land).

(I cannot help but think of a high court judge seemingly reading The Times during his lunch break only for his cover to slip and reveal he is actually smiling at a topless beauty in The Sun. Or perhaps something even cheekier; a copy of Knave found under a bush in the park as he cycled into work, or a Donald McGill postcard of someone holding a garlic baguette in silhouette and a passing mother superior mistaking it for a cock.)

This is a Double Bumper Comedy Compilation including a previously unreleased documentary entitled Stand and Deliver. I have no details on the documentary, but, going off the title alone, it’s likely to be a documentary about Stuart Leslie Goddard.

As for the two DVD’s that make up this double bumper comedy compilation, the first is called Stand-Up UKay. Now, the title alone requires some in-depth investigation:

Firstly, Peter Kay is a stand-up comedian. That’s the ‘stand-up’ part dealt with. That’s the easy bit. Understanding ‘UKay’ is a little more complex: The ‘Kay’ part of ‘UKay’ refers to the comedian’s last name, Kay. But before that is a ‘U’. This can only be in reference to Edgar Rice Burrough’s fictional creation, Tarzan The Apeman, who was known for his primitive speech patterns, his most famous being “Me Tarzan, You Jane”.  But why then hasn’t the comedian referred to himself, and thus the DVD, as “Stand-Up MEKay”? It’s a puzzle. The only clear conclusion we can reach is that Peter Kay was raised as a feral child  by The Mangani.

So to the second DVD, Special Kay. Here we are promised ‘Golden bite-sized chunks of comedy’. And the photo shows Peter Kay eating these bite-sized chunks of comedy. This is unusual.

Having said that, just look at the size of him on Stand-Up UKay! He’s got one foot in the North West and another foot in Dorset! He needs to stop eating TV’s!

A few weeks back my mum went to hospital for one of her regular check-ups. While she was in the waiting room Peter Kay walked in. My mum couldn’t help but smile at him, and he smiled back. And then he went off for his appointment. My mum phoned me as soon as she could. She was excited. She wanted to tell me who she had seen and who had smiled at her. At the end of the call she said,“he was dressed just ordinary, like any man, nothing fancy, just in a shirt. Like a shirt from Primark.”

I should stress that what my mum was saying was a good thing. She was letting me know that, despite him eating miniature TV’s of his own shows for breakfast, here was a man that was not highfalutin or full of airs and graces.

The one thing that she didn’t say was that he was fifty miles high!

And I do wish she’d said to him, “You Kay, Me Pat.”

Oh! I’ve somehow drifted away from a DVD review. So… a 15 certificate on the left and a 15 certificate on the right. Suitable for 30 year olds.

And you can get it at Amazon for just £7.50. A Christmas present bargain.

Tomorrow, number 8.

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