. Ol i As the war machine rumbles into action we need MARK

THOMAS more than ever. Mark Fisher

'm the peace motcmcnt's I 'l‘omm} ‘l‘rindcr.’ sa_\s .\lark 'l‘ltomas. best known lor being as unlike 'l'omtn} 'l‘rinder as a stand—UP can be. lih‘.’ ‘l'm like .\la\ .\lillct' pcrl'orniing during the liliII. .\l} job is to sa_\ that there are loads ol tis around. to keep going. that )ou'rc not alone.’

()h right. Still that‘s better than being ‘the .'\lan 'l‘itchtnarsh ol' t'Clk‘llioli‘. 'l’llttlis what he l'L‘L‘lsoll\ ('hannel 4 would like him to be. lla\ing laid The Mark 'I'lmntus l’I‘Ut/Ht'l to rest. he's been negotiatittg a new TV deal. bttt isn't happ) with the terms the} '\e oll'ercd. lle sa_\s the} don't want to gixe him the budgets or the lreedom. ‘lt's abottt what the} tltink the) otight to base on the chanttel. rather than letting the do \Vllill l want to do.”

So lot' now. 'l'\"s loss is Very much li\'e coined) 's gain (‘\\'hat )ott lose in numbers you gain in the qualit} ol' the el‘l‘ect.‘ he sa_\sl as anyone who saw his llllslc‘l'lligl}‘ pow erl'ul sltow about the llistt dam will attest. This time around. not too surprisingly. he‘s focusing on lraq. America. dissent and protest. llis aim is ‘to inspire people to take action. to acknowledge that )ou're going to feel nert‘ous about it. btit take a deep breath and it' we all run together we'll be alright'.

He takes heart from the turnout for the recent anti- war demos which conlirm his belief that indix'iduals can make a dill‘erence. 'l’eople are tnttch more pow erl‘ul than the} think.’ he sass. "l‘hat march acltie\ed an aw'l'ul amount. l‘or a start. it sent out a signal that w e're in a majorin don't be intimidated just because the media and politicians are eroding aw at) _\our point ol' \iew. l was otit in ligth the other week and people were shocked when the} saw pictures ol‘ the march: the) said what was incredible was that people were sa_\ing this is about Blair and Bush attd not about British people and .v\tttct'ican people. I think an} war on Iraq will be the biggest rccrttiting campaign Al Qaeda can ha\e. In that respect the march has achie\ ed something \er} significant which is that it might just lessen the chances ol‘ .'\l Qaeda to recruit attd attack on the back ol‘ it. When Ton) Blair sa_\'s the) We got blood on their hands. he's talking out of his man)‘ arses.’

‘Any war on Iraq will be the biggest recruiting campaign Al Qaeda can have’

Snigger happy

.-\nd because of the unprecedented le\ cl of public disapprmal ol' the Bush-Blair plan. he argues that now is the time l'or direct action. '.'\\ we cdi-‘c nearer towards war people hate got to be prepared to take action that is en il disobedience and put themsel\es irt line to be arrested and tr} to pt'e\ent the logistical support ol‘ the war.' he sa_\'s. 'l’eople ha\e got to ltead to the American bases and blockade thetn and be as imaginatite as the) can.’

l should add that 'l‘homas deals with this kind ol-

material with comic panache. but it it sounds a million miles aw a} l‘rom 'l‘omm} 'l‘rinder. he is unrepentant. '\\'h_\ do people w ant lo go to something that the} alread} kttow about." he sa}s. 'thn l l-it'sl slatted. people tlscd to go to \L‘C L‘tilllctl} lk‘c‘itlhc lllL‘} L‘otlltllla \L'C lltls kind ol~ slttll~ on the tell). Robert Newman and l are doing something that _\ou won't see an_\whcrc else and both ol' tis are proud ol' that. People are reall} hungr} for this stul'l because the} re itot getting it in other places.'

Mark Thomas plays the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Mon 17-Wed 19 Mar; Cottier Theatre, Glasgow, Mon 31 Mar-Wed 2 Apr. He also appears in Gutted, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 20 Mar, and at a fundraiser for the SSP’s Holyrood election fund, Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, Sun 30 Mar.

Joking aside

lithe/e the laughter matters

BY NOW HOPEFULLY MOST readers have feasted their eyes on the six-page feature extravaganza covering the best bits from the Glasgow International Comedy Festival. Only it would seem some comedians haven't been as knocked-for-six by the Stand‘s ambitious programming as we have. To name but a few, Dave Spikey. Ed Byrne and Justin Moorhouse all found out their Glasgow gigs were part of a festival by accident. Perhaps next year the festival's reputation will precede the programming.

BEAT 106 PRESENTER DES Clarke also cancelled his one- man show at the festival. His people are staying tight-lipped on the reason, only suggesting that the young Glasgow lad has been offered the deal of a lifetime. Telly. . . radio . . . who knows? More next issue, probably. Des Clarke will now only appear on Saturday nights at the Festival Club and Glasgow Stands Up.

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