It was about the most outgoing weekend I’ve had since… oh, Swancon ;]
I really wanted to go to some stuff at the Comedy Festival this year, and the Great Debate seemed like a pretty good bet. (I really wanted to go to the Gala, but it turns out the tix for that are available about six months beforehand, and sell out in, oh, a day or so.) When we bought tickets, there was no info about either the topic or the participants. A couple of days before, I found out that Hamish Blake and Cal Wilson were in it – which I thought boded well, because I really like Hamish… Cal I’m indifferent towards.
It’s a very awesome venue, the Melbourne Town Hall: lots of seating but still not enormous; we were in the front row of the circle, and right in the middle which was cool: I worried for a bit that there would be someone in front of us, at the sound desk, but it turned out OK. The compere was Corinne Grant, whom I generally enjoy, and she was very funny. The other funny thing, which was also a bit disturbing, was that we could see the tele-prompter from where we sat: I was very worried that the whole lot would be like that, but only Corinne’s between-participant bits were prompted (and were, frankly, dull).
I was hugely excited when I saw that Paul McDermott was on the bill! I’ve loved Paul since way back on Good News Week and the greatest ever breakfast radio team (Paul and Mikey Robbins. If you don’t remember, you’re too young or weren’t listening to a good station). Sadly, he was probably my least favourite for the whole night. Just… not that funny. *sigh* Hamish, though, was brilliant, as was Stephen K Amos; Julia Morris has impeccable timing; and Patton Oswalt was pretty good too. Cal, as expected, left me a bit flat.
Overall, it was a good night! Oh yes – the topic was “That reality is better on TV.” Which was a very appropriate topic – the cameras and all… it was delightfully meta-something.
We spent Saturday night at the Pops, with the MSO doing James Bond.
It was freaking brilliant. Absolutely overwhelming and hugely enjoyable (despite some bung notes from the main trumpeter… although I just found out yesterday that he had his face smashed in by some random punk last year, so maybe that explains it). They did all of the theme songs, except Die Another Day and A View to a Kill (and Tomorrow Never Dies as the encore, which was good).
The really good bits:
1. Sitting right in front of the double basses, and watching them do their thing – brilliant!
2. Mary Carewe singing “The Man with the Golden Gun” – so trashy, so funny.
3. Realising just how much work the tuba does in the Bond theme itself.
4. Oh look, basically everything except for…
The average bits:
I hadn’t expected there to be a singer, and I had been trying to figure out whether it would make the night better or not to have one. Mary Carewe sang maybe half the songs – a bit less I think. She did some spectacularly well – “Diamonds are Forever” and “Goldeneye” were up there. But I had three issues:
a) She was way too cabaret/musical theatre for my tastes: prancing around, hamming it up.
b) She sang “Live and Let Die” (and is no Paul McCartney, nor Axl Rose!), and “You Know my Name” (and sure isn’t Chris Cornell).
c) For me, she destroyed “The Look of Love” – one of my favourite sappy songs in the whole world. 
Also, my love and I had quite contradictory opinions on her costumes: I thought her first dress – a halter-neck affair – was dreadful, unflattering and quite ugly; he thought it was great. The second I thought was stunning – dark silver strapless, which I thought was very flattering, but he thought made her look frumpy! We both agreed that the third dress was lovely, though.
My laugh for the night was from the souvenir brochure. In part, it had this to say:
“With the recent success of the Die Hard, Terminator and Bourne pictures, Bond had to compete with other action heroes.”
Yup, totally with you there… although I’m not convinced that Bond is competing with Terminator for their audience. At any rate, the next sentence reads thus:
“As the Bond series has progressed, contemporary artists such as Wings, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton, A-ha, Gladys Knight and Sheryl Crow have been drafted in to keep up with the times.”
Excuse me while I hold my sides, because I’m laughing so darn hard.
And it was recorded for ABC Classic FM, so I reckon if you looked hard enough you’ll be able to find out when it’s on. In fact, I might do that too….
 If you’re confused: it was used in the original Casino Royale, which was a spoof with David Niven in it.