QUESTION: AMONG ALL THE STUFF GOING on and listed in The List music. dance. Norwegians is it worth going to see comedian Ross Noble? Answer: yes. Oh Yes. Ross is what most comedians dream of being: he can stand and talk and his brain and the ideas and what is happening in the room is enough: he is relaxing to watch. relating to ideas he has done before and reworking them in front of your very eyes.

He is super reality at actual speed. Surfing on the crest of a here-and-now wave. He is more. is Ross. rare and on the edge: a raw snowball. a huge. powerful gathering of those highly individual. one-off flakes of beauty. I mean. not only does he go with the flow and make up incredible fun things for the crowd to do. he is happy on stage and sober and open and creative.

The thing is. it might just be that you don't want to see comedy. So go to be part of what could be happening.

In Nottingham. where my mate runs a club. Ross once performed live haircuts on members of the crowd with a 60 quid fund hastily gathered. He will take a whim and realise it. This is the central thing: he believes enough in the idea to carry it out. Bless him.

It was there he took most of the crowd on a mile—and—a-half walk so they could all dance for the security cameras in the nearest all- night garage. Can you imagine the screens suddenly filling up and hundreds dancing? All those folk laughing?



Sometimes comedy is great because it is like life. ‘Good timing‘ is just another phrase for what happens naturally. Sorry this article is boring.

[I is 2am last year at Edinburgh‘s Gilded Balloon and on stage is Ross Noble. The crowd have booed off another act and not simply because they are crap, more because they just want to see Ross. relaxed. unthreatened and with a lovely Geordie accent. He makes other straight-forward presentations of humour look a bit daft.

There is a grand silliness greater than simply the silliness of what he is saying. On this night. Ross has sent a member of the audience home to bring back a pair of pants. Next thing I know I am on stage stripping off and putting on the pants for a six pound bet. Someone else’s boxers: l have them on. People are cheering. I pull them up really high. Ross is behind. it is all his creation. My balls are visible.

1 just talked to Ross and he is back from Australia and New Zealand. Back from both as opposed to just one. There he did a gig where a guy‘s mobile phone went off a few times and so Ross had it up on stage and put it in an empty glass. Then they played Russian roulette and if it went off again he would fill the glass with water. It did and people were shocked and then when it was in water a while later it rang again. ‘Bluurgp bluurgp'. This may sound like a wild comic being go- through-your-handbag awful. yet it worked because of his willingness to let what was happening in the room be the show.

‘My job is just to think.‘ he says. ‘When I

am talking on stage I am talking and as I talk I kind of patch reality in to fit with what I am saying.‘

Unlike Whose Line. Ross has a point to the improvisation. he is discovering it as the audience is. The point is doing it. Having an urge to Do, before an urge to Do Funny.

Hundreds of people pay to experience him do this.

Ross has been the compere of the Late ‘n' Live show at the Gilded Balloon for the last few years. It has begun to gather the reputation of being a place where weaker acts can be scared off stage and where. when an act goes well at two in the morning. 300 people in a room totally into the act. there is no better room for comedy in the world. It was a room I had fallen out of love with. and it became a secret pleasure to watch Ross night after night. turning the shouters into laughers as he gently refused to fear them and be intimidated. What he did was take the light out of these people and return them to what they suspected they were: people who would rather have a good time. And he does it with love.

Last time he gigged in Glasgow 1 met him in the afternoon and we spent a pleasant half hour fumessing about in the Scout Shop. Ross loves the outdoors. and pen-knives and

The best bits of the West End's two-week knees up.

I The Liveliest Night of

festival spirit on Ashton Lane where the bars and restaurants will be open an hour longer than nor-

the Year Sat H) Jun. Spin—lam. Cottier Theatre. 93-95 Hyndland Street. 357 3868112. Venezuelan singing star Carlos Pena and Sus Muchachos provide a sizzling opening in a night of hot Salsa and South American sounds. Glasgow's own Zuba chill things out with funky blues. rhythm and soul sounds before the Club (‘ubana DJs keep you dancing into the night.

I Ashton Lane Events Sat l()~Sun 25 Jun. Ashton Lane. Get into the

ma]. The road will he pedestrianised. and you can expect to see ja/z. performance poetry and DJs.

I Perfect Summer Groove Sat It) Jun. l()pin -3am. QM l'nion. 32 University (iardcns. 33‘) 978-1. L' |() in advance from liopp and Virgin. Two floors jam packed with (ilasgow‘s rising dance music stars. Jan and funk sounds upstairs are provided by Sidewinder. lilexalion Trio and Radio (‘lydc's l’aul Pee-Wee Welsh. 'l'he