Friday, February 02, 2007

Arj Barker Review

I saw Arj Barker at the Opera House last night. Very funny guy. I have to review the show so this time I took notes. This was the first time I have ever taken notes for something I have to write about. I've always relied on memory but the last stand up act I reviewed I got a bit drunk and had a great time but the next day could not remember any of the details. Like, not a thing... other than the name of the comedian and that I laughed lots. It was a difficult review to write, but I think I got away with it. At least there were no letters of complaint.

I just wanted to jot down key words that would jog my memory and bring the details into focus. Thing was, I was really quite self-conscious about taking notes. It always seems like such a pretentious thing to do: "Ooh - look at me. I'm a reviewer. I have to take notes for my review which I must take notes for, being the professional reviewer that I am. I am important, you see, unlike the rest of you who are just here to sit back and enjoy yourselves. I have to concentrate and take notes. Are you noticing that I am a reviewer? Are you wondering who I write for? Are you wondering if I am a famous reviewer? Because that would be nice, if you wondered if I am famous, because although I am not a famous reviewer, I could be. And that's what all this note taking business is all about. Fuck me I like how taking notes separates me from the rest of you and, you know, imbues me with an air of importance and maybe even a little mystery, and being mysterious is even more fun than trying to appear important..."

So I took a scrap of paper instead of a notepad and kept the pen (my Spiderman pen in case anyone did spot me taking notes because this would at least look like I wasn't taking myself too seriously) and paper out of view, scribbling discreetly during the high points when everyone was distracted by the funny stuff on stage.

In the foyer after the show I checked what I had written and I had been so secretive, so utterly hell bent on keeping the pen and paper out of view, that I seriously couldn't understand a Goddamned thing. It was gibberish. It was spastic doodles no matter which way I turned the piece of paper. It may as well have been Mandarin. Some of it looked like it was Mandarin.

Mr Barker was signing autographs, so I joined the queue and when it was my turn I showed him the piece of paper and explained what happened. I asked if he could make any sense of my notes. He looked and said he could not. I asked him if he would mind signing my piece of paper. He wrote on my piece of paper "Be kind, thanks, Arj Barker, 2007."

This is currently my favourite piece of paper. It's official proof, if ever I need it, that I am a fucking idiot.


Jesse S. Somer said...

My girlfriend is Chinese-she speaks Mandarin...Send me a copy of the piece of paper and I'll see if she can translate it for you.:-)

Sounds like a fun night...there has to be reviewers out there though right? It's a job. It pays the bills. Do you judge others for their line of work? Hmmmm. Get back to me on that one. I think the key is, although I haven't found the door to put it in myself, not to care what others think of you...Not easy. Just remember, one day we'll all be stardust again. :-)

Quick said...

Haha. I think it's a new language. Actually I can make out some of it.

I am constantly questioning the role of reviewers and how & why I am one. It's a job I have fun with, enjoy a lot and take seriously, without taking myself seriously. We are nothing but punters expressing our opinions.

I've embellished a little here; I was keen to not draw attention to myself but I think a lot of the scribble factor comes down to the fact that it's just bloody difficult writing in the dark whilst laughing your arse off.

Margarita Milongita said...

Thank god you got drunk and didn't take notes at the Wil Anderson show... then we would never have met on this thing... thank you...
Even if all I did was bag Wil and every other Australian comedian out!
I would make a terrible reviewer!

Quick said...

Indeed. And then I wouldn't have enjoyed that lovely cup of coffee you so kindly bought for me today. T'was nice meeting you.

I'm about to burn a copy of that Shpongle CD for you right now. Will have to get it to you before you go.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Think how much worse it would be if you had one of those tiny tape recorders and you had to mutter into it...not that I've ever seen anyone use one.

Or maybe you can get a tiny torchlight so you can see what you're writing.

Or you can sit by the door, and run out every few minutes to jot down...

I think I'll run along now with my not very good suggestions...

Quick said...

Yes GG, I'm not so good with tape recorders either.

I incorporated the spastic doodles into the review itself and it turned not too badly at all.