Sorry for the delay, but anyway, Mark Thomas.
Before I start, I do swear a bit in this one, so if you're easily offended, get a grip on yourselves. Read on. Follow some of the links and maybe you'll find something worth getting pissed off about and you'll direct your anger at some of the evil things happening in the world rather than someone typing a swearword on the internet.
Mark describes himself as a fat dad with a failing mouthwash regime. I call him a hero of modern politics. The truth is probably somewhere in between.
He calls himself a fat dad because he's got two kids and a complex, but to be honest, he's not in bad shape for someone in his mid forties. So he's half right I suppose. I can't comment on the mouthwash.
Why I consider him a hero will take a bit more of a back story. A story which starts with the sad fact that I knew more about politics at the age of 10 than I did at 18. The reason for this was a tv show called "Spitting Image" which at one time told a growing boy all he needed to know about the world of politics and the strange people that inhabited it. The show started in 1984 when I was 7, by the time I was 10 or 11 I knew every member of the cabinet and shadow cabinet and what they did. I was aware of the scandals and the stories. I was interested and wanted to fix the broken world I saw around me. By the time it finished in 1996 it had descended to picking on celebrities with silly jokes and I'd long since lost interest. I was going off to university, the traditional time of political activism, and I couldn't give a stuff.
Then in 1996 a loud mouthed comedian from south London somehow managed to get channel 4 to give him a tv show. That was Mark. It was called the Mark Thomas Comedy Product. It slapped me round the face, yelled in my ear that there were some serious problems that needed looking at then put me down. Unlike the puppets on Spitting Image (I'm not being derogatory there, they really were puppets) here was a man who literally put his money where his mouth was. He would go out and investigate the shit, then protest against it and even better he would tell everyone else and ask them to join in. Genius. If you go to his website you'll be greeted by the banner "If you're not pissed off, You're not paying attention.
I could go on for pages and pages about the sort of things he gets up to but I'd best not here because it's late and I'm tired. Maybe I'll talk about some of the things he's done, and inspired me to do next time. This time I'll just talk about the show I saw.
The focus of this tour and Marks latest campaign is one of the most draconian laws our retro-active over-controlling draconian government has put in place in the name of countering the so called terrorist threat. What's so evil about this law ls that it sounds so innocent. SCOPA is a law that actually makes it against the law to protest near the Houses of Parliament (and quite a large chunk of London to boot) without getting written permission from the authorities first. i.e. the poeple you are most likely to be protesting against, those in the houses of parliament, have the final say as to whether you are allowed to protest. What constitutes a protest under this law, One person wearing one pin badge. That's right, a tourist walking through parliament square wearing a "give peace a chance" t-shirt could be deemed to be breaking the law and be arrested. This show was about Marks attempts to fight the law by obaying the law. The shows blurb reads;
"Comedy that really makes a difference! This is Mark's true story of cake icing as a political weapon, of demonstrations to Defend Surrealism and getting to like the police. Mark turns an 18 month battle over Parliament Square and the right to demonstrate into bizarrely brilliant stand up. This is how Mark fought the law ... with the law's permission! It is a laugh out loud funny world inhabited by anarchists, Goths, artists and a chap called PC Paul McInally, in which Mark becomes a Guinness World Record holder, organises 2,500 protests in one day and changes the law in the process." and since I couldn't sum it up better I won't.
I think I've rambled enough for now. If you want to know more, drop me a msg or email. I may pick this up again in a future blog even. For now, it's late, good night.