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Josie Long at The Nook

JOSIE Long is stepping up. The material she is touring with now is political, she's speaking out against the cuts and talking about her activism. She started out apologising for it to the audience in the Nook Cafe at Northampton's Fishmarket last night and considerately said anyone who didn't like it could use the time for constructive thinking. She is nice though.

She’s lovely in fact and she’s outraged by the current Government and you can sense the frustration and the urgency in her anger, and she’s funny too. She’s raconteur funny with a sense that she would be the same if she was telling the story just to you instead of you in a room of paying punters.

Josie personally dished out a homemade “showgramme” to the audience before she went on which was full of quirkily amusing drawings and thoughts. And throughout her set she periodically dipped into a pile of similarly designed prompt cards containing little shots of her trademark surreal positivity, like she was reminding us it’s still her, despite all the heavy stuff.

She didn’t need to worry about it of course. We were on her side already. She was talking to an audience in an arts venue that is about to be bulldozed as part of a shopping centre redevelopment. (Tribute event for The Fishmarket on March 3). We were open to the idea that the world has got its priorities wrong.

It almost got to the stage where I wanted to shout out “stop apologising” but then she got on to the story about why she didn’t feel she needed to apologise for it any more. After a near death experience in a car crash and experiencing a political demonstration (and its handling by the police and the media) she decided to start calling it as she sees it.

And she does but in her own weird and wonderful way, which is funny and charming and thankfully not at all like Ben Elton who it is hard to believe could ever have been the 1980s counterpart to someone like Josie Long. But he was and that’s how he made his name, railing against uncaring capitalism and a Tory Government with a cuts agenda.

But to be honest, if Josie Long is the modern version of Ben Elton suddenly it becomes a little easier to believe that in some areas of life progress is being made and the world is a little bit better than it was.

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