It was, he explained, the biggest night of his life. Looking around the heaving arena, it wasn’t hard to believe. For any stand-up comedian that was a serious crowd. I’ve previously made my feelings about The O2, at least as a music venue, very clear. However as Rav and I had booked these tickets back in January (fortunately he reminded me yesterday since I had entirely forgotten) I found myself there tonight for the biggest gig of Michael McIntyre’s life.
I’m a big fan and rather in awe of his sudden rise to such stratospheric fame. As you might expect, he was hilarious, though somewhat unusually the second half of his set felt significantly stronger than the first. The material felt fresh (by which I mean I hadn’t seen it all on TV before) but some of the observational humour seemed to miss its mark – I’m not certain of the intelligence required to point out the unnaturalness of plants inside houses when I’ve been railing against it for the past decade.
The chief problem was still the venue itself. Its size is a massive disadvantage particular with a comedian like McIntyre because (as his fans will know) half of his humour is derived from his facial expressions and/or hair. This means for the full effect one cannot look directly at him, but rather must focus on one of the screens, with the result that one often feels they may as well be watching at home. To his credit he played up to it, actively engaging the distant rear seats, and it’s certainly an impressive sight to see a single man keeping an crowd that size in constant laughter. He wasn’t aided by a triple echo that reverberated around the arena, though it was amusing to experience the laughter/applause that seemed to roll around the audience in waves rather than the usual ripples. Perhaps most worrying of all, however, was a long segment in which he discussed the removal of pants in a gym. It’s a sign of just how long I’ve been spending in the States of late that it took nearly five minutes to realise he was talking about underwear and not trousers.
Penny Arcade’s review of Windows 7 is decidedly succint, if not entirely inaccurate. Having had an experience with the Release Candidate so good that I installed it on my primary computer, I am pleased to say my experience with the final product has been (aside from a brief issue with Belkin’s wireless drivers) even smoother. Wandering home through Waterloo station I was impressed by Microsoft’s launch advertising which appears to be their most accurate campaign yet, highlighting how the changes in Windows 7 are simply what users have been asking for. It’s nothing massively innovative or original, it’s just what people want. In some ways that is what separates it from Apple (though I am not about to suggest this is what has characterised Microsoft over the years; if anything the opposite is true), which feels the need to tell people what they need from and how to use their technology. For the last generation perhaps it is true that users could not be trusted with such decisions and needed to be told. Now, as we all become increasingly familiar with technology, that approach seems just a little bit backward.