YOUNG SCOTTISH TALENT Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 18 Jan

If the title of this new-fangled event sounds like one of New Labour's mealy-mouthed Skill Seekers projects. it could equally refer to the hordes of nubile revellers who regularly go on the pull in Glasgow or Edinburgh's discotheques. Not to worry. though. Young Scottish Talent is the hastily coined term under which to group the diverse gifts of a quartet of up-and— coming performers. whose average age is a nauseating 22.

While 21 -year-old comedian Des Clarke will be familiar to many from his puce-faced. stuttering stand-up, not to mention his role as Beat 106‘s early bird. the other acts are about to enter the limelight from relative obscurity.

With award-winning Celtic harpist Phamie Gow sharing billing with Jenny Lindsay a Glasweigan performance poet rapidly gaining notice for such pithy titles as “Arrogance Makes you Bad in Bed‘ and a local guitarist/singer/songwriter known only as Riley. the recently revamped Cabaret Voltaire is about to play host to a line-up more eclectic than the

60 THE LIST lb—30 Jan 2003


Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 17 Jan

I’ve always been grateful to Dan Antopolski. You know those

embarrassing occasions when you have to tell a joke? It’s a bit of


Royal Variety Performance (albeit many times less dreary).

This intriguing night out is the brainchild of Jem Rolls. wild lion of Scotland's performance poetry scene and leading light of Edinburgh's regular Big Word cabaret. According to the ever—passionate Rolls. the event came into being virtually by accident. ‘lt would be fair to say I dreamed up the show because of the acts involved because Des is so very, very good.

‘The natural product of who was bloody good’

i a trial. The mind goes blank, the eyes glaze over and all of a sudden the wittiest thing you can think of is: ‘Um . . .’ Antopolski told a joke in 1998 that went ‘Why did the lion get lost? Because

jungle is massive.’ It’s illogical (lions live in the plains) and a little out-of-date (now you’d have to say: ‘Because drum & bass is still a popular, if largely underground dance music subgenre’) but it’s served me in good stead on a number of occasions.

Antopolski seems vaguely chuffed to have proved so useful. But the

bearded beanstalk claims to rely rather less on one-liners these

days. ‘l’ve got better over the last few years,’ he says. ‘l’m more relaxed with the audience than I was. In those days I was still playing a role, still doing a jerky wierdo type alien, but now

I’m more natural, more confident and chatty.’

It’s a maturation that has helped Antopolski ease

towards the front rank of stand-up performers.

Since winning the BBC New Comedy Award in

1998, he’s garnered three Perrier nominations and played at comedy festivals around the

world. He’s currently working on a show for

Radio 4 and a pilot for Channel Four that features both Vikings and a magic telescope. But, while many comedians seem to see standup as merely a wobbly rung on the light entertainment career ladder, Antopolski claims to see it as an end in itself. ‘lt’s stand-up for me,’ he says. ‘That’s what I do. I’ve turned down a number of presenting jobs. I’m quite snobbish about that - I think that people who do stand-up and then just do telly are silly. If some telly comes up I’ll do it, that’s natural, but I am a stand-up.’ But there’s one little thing Antopolski is concerned about. ‘l’ve just turned 30 and you do wonder what’s going to happen to you as a comic. Groucho Marx and Spike Milligan got funnier, because they didn’t go on stage and try and be young and sexy. They were allowed to get older because what they were doing wasn’t necessarily fashionable or to do with youth culture. It was to do with them being interesting people.’ (James Smart)

and because Jenny got so good so fast.' he says. ‘The seemingly eclectic nature of the bill is the natural product of who was bloody good. Celtic/world harp is hardly my normal cup of tea but Pharnie's just damn excellent. All that meant was I needed a singer/songwriter to round out the show and there was one obvious choice: Riley'

As a new year hot ticket. it's bound to be a scor'cher. (Allan Radcliffe)

Joking aside

Where the ughter matters

THE EAGERLY ANTICIPATED launch of the Glasgow lnternational Comedy Festival will take place on Thursday 23 January. The festival. which takes place between 20 March and 5 April. features the world's best comedians. performing at around 18 venues throughout the city. Although the programme hasn't yet been announced in its entirety. tickets for Johnny Vegas' appearance at the King's Theatre are close to selling Out. Other names in the programme sure to sell well include John Shuttleworth. Mark Thomas. Harry Hill. Daniel Kitson. Adam Hills. Ed Byrne. Rich Hall. Doug Stanhope and Dave Spikey. Tickets can be purchased from indivrdual venues. For more information. call 0141 339 6208 or go to muwglasgowcomedy festivalcom

A BENEFIT NIGHT FOR THE Gilded Balloon - affectionately entitled Gutted - A Benefit for the Gilded Balloon - will take place at the Piccadilly Theatre in London on Sunday 19 January. Stars lining up to pay homage to the Edinburgh venue include Jo Brand, Eddie lzzard, Steve Coogan, Ross Noble, Meera Syal and Daniel Kitson. Director Karen Koren was said to be ‘gobsmacked’ at the gesture. Tickets on 020 7316 4709.

COJAK COMEDY CLUB HAS decided against opening a venue in Edinburgh following Jongleurs' decision to Open a venue in the Omni Centre in Edinburgh in May. The new Jongleurs branch will be located only a few hundred yards from the Stand. but as experiences in Glasgow have proved. the two clubs attract very different audiences.

ROB NEWMAN IS SET TO make a return to the live arena with a one-off date at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh on 26 February. The former sparring partner of David Baddiel will be sporting his newly-shorn barnet when he tours with his new liber- anarchist show From Caliban to the Taliban - 500 Years of Humanitarian Intervention. Newman’s latest novel Fountain at the Centre of the World is due to be published early this year.