THE BLOG

Reasons to Be Cheerful

08/08/2013 16:20 BST | Updated 06/10/2013 10:12 BST

In case you're interested, I'll be doing a solo show at the Phoenix Festival in Central London next Sunday, 11 August.

It will be the usual stuff - a futile and presumptuous attempt to deal with the world's worst problems by throwing jokes at them. Mind you, some people think voting helps, so I'd argue we're all equally deluded, just in different ways. In fact, some people still deny climate change and global warming, but they're definitely happening. I was up in Aberdeen a few weeks ago - polar bears selling the Big Issue. I rest my case. The future's bleak.

There'll be worse and worse flooding; - in a few years the most useful thing on the UK national curriculum for anyone living within fifty miles of sea-level will be how to put on a radiation suit and use an aqualung. Oh, and how to say "Can You Spare Any Change Please?" in Mandarin Chinese.

Everybody's getting poorer and pretty soon almost no-one will have a job because we'll all have been replaced by self-service checkouts and voice-activated switchboards and drones and the Borders Agency will be employing private-security firm death-squads to hang around tube stations killing anyone who looks a bit foreign, with background music blaring out of mobile loudpseakers from the latest winner of Britain's Got Talent to lighten the tone.

Luckily though, the super-rich will still be doing OK, reminding us how well you can do in a free society if you abandon all compassion and moral decency, and the rest of us will be able to work for them as butlers and housemaids, thus providing a perpetual supply of new storylines for Downton Abbey which will soon be Britain's only export industry. Apart from torture equipment for Middle Eastern dictatorships. Not all of them obviously - just the ones who are on our side in the War Formerly Known as The War on Terror.

No cause for despair though; we will still all be able to celebrate our spiritual side and our common humanity one weekend a year at the Glastonbury Festival. Got to confess, sharing chemical toilets with a hundred thousand other people while off my face on paranoia-inducing drugs has never been that attractive to me. Just the prospect of losing my balance is terrifying enough. You might say, so go for the psychedelics instead, but they just enhance your awareness. How irresistible to be even more aware of the quiet desperation of the three expense-account fattened corporate lawyers from Sevenoaks next to you trying to pretend they're free for forty-eight hours because they're standing in mud in day-glo wellington boots watching Charlie Watts on a screen in a field and earlier they saw two girls kissing, before they get back to work first thing Monday morning laundering company profits into off-shore tax-havens so that next year they can pour some of their hard-earned bonuses into a top-of-the range glamping yert. Totally rock and roll. In the U2 tradition.

But no reason to lose our sense of humour. It's not all gloom:

In Afghanistan the Kabul Bank recently got embezzled out of about $6 billion by its owners; good to see some core Western values finally taking root over there.

Egypt is in flames, but hey! Sharm el Sheikh is safe for tourists.

In this country you have Muslim vigilantes trying to set up Sharia law areas and assaulting people for being homosexuals or drinkers or being women in short skirts; which is appalling in itself - but on a deeper level, what better sign of integration into mainstream British culture than victimising people for being different?

In Israel, liberal intellectuals like Amos Oz are leading protests against government plans to evict Palestinians from an area of the West Bank before it is turned into an Army firing range. In fairness to the Israeli government - doesn't it sound quite progressive that they're planning to clear the population first?

And here of course, we have a royal baby. Really cheers you up. Apparently the queues at the food-banks have never been happier. And it's great to see that at least there's one family dependent on state benefits who aren't being penalised by the Bedroom Tax. Maybe that will spread.

Here's the details of the gig. You can buy a day ticket which gets you into all three of that day's performances at a reduced rate. The other shows you'd get on Sunday are Shappi Khorsandi and Nick Doody. http://www.wegottickets.com/phoenixfringe/page/3