Chris Coltrane: Activism Is Fun

Review by Bernard O'Leary | 17 Aug 2012
  • Chris Coltrane

First things first. Coltrane is brilliant, like Mark Thomas in his prime with hilarious stories of real-life activism. But maybe he's preaching to the choir here? I mean, there's a guy up front reading the Guardian before the gig starts. In the name of criticism, there is only one way to properly judge this gig: by temporarily becoming a Tory.

(Let's get in character. Ahem. Bloody enviromentalist Muslims forcing us to gay-marry the Euro. Privatise the working class! Right, got it.)

This crusty oik has a certain immediate rabble-rousing charm. I almost walk out in the first few minutes when he admits to having indulged in a spot of pillowbiting, but he wins me over by admitting it is a perversion.

He then launches into a shocking denouncement of Torys, attacking many of the great men and women who are helping to undo Gordon Brown's mess. So what if Sir Phillip Green doesn't pay his taxes? Doesn't Coltrane know what he has contributed to our nation? I mean, I don't know either, but he's a Sir and if he's good enough for the Queen he's bloody well good enough for me.

But then I feel my resolve slip as Coltrane cheats by using maths. He produces 'figures' that 'prove' that tax avoidance is a serious threat to national stability. His intelligence, passion and eloquence on this subject impresses this audience, but it kills off any hope he might have of a Cabinet position.

And then we move into the 'activism is fun' bit and, I'm ashamed to say it does sound like rather a lark. Having children's parties in Vodafone, tricking the police into launching their own occupation of B&Q, dressing as zombies and pirates. Despite myself, I giggle when he calls Fortnum & Mason as a "posh corner shop."

In fact I'm laughing quite a lot. He's ever such a funny chap and his hippy audience are in hysterics. Yes, activism does sound fun. It sounds hilarious, in fact, and even I believe that it's possible to have a jape while changing the world. I can't wait to share the wisdom of this excellent show with my chums at the Countryside Alliance. Not bad for a loony leftie.

Chris Coltrane: Activism Is Fun, The Globe, 2.15pm, Free