It was my birthday last week, so Naomi took some days off work to do exciting birthday things. One of them was going to Brighton for the afternoon, to visit our favourite shops: Lush, Boho Gelato and Purezza. Brighton is full of vegan cafes and restaurants, but I figure why fix what isn’t broken, so we go to Purezza and Boho Gelato whenever we’re there and I always get a mushroom pizza. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit.
Anyway, we parked near Brighton Dome and as we got out of the car I spotted a poster advertising Josie Long’s current tour. I pointed it out to Naomi, because the name Josie Long seemed familiar and I felt that it was in some way linked to Naomi – perhaps she had mentioned liking her, or expressed a wish to see her. Naomi seemed pleased and we headed over to look at the poster. Aha! Josie Long was playing in Brighton Dome this very weekend. We tracked down the ticket office and booked tickets, pleased to find there were still some available.
It wasn’t until we got home and were telling Naomi’s evening PA about our day that it transpired that each of us had thought the other was a big fan of Josie Long and neither actually knew who she was… Concerned that her name might have been familiar to me because she had been slated for being a racist homophobe or something, I checked the blurb for her show. It seemed encouragingly non-racist and non-homophobey, so we laughed at our ridiculously English communication and went along to the show.
People, it was the best accidental date we could have possibly had. Josie Long is hilarious, her show was insightful and witty with moments of collective poignant reflection and, despite the fact that it was centred around the fact that it is difficult to find anything to be hopeful and upbeat about when thinking about Brexit and that orange guy in the big white house, uplifting and inspirational. Amusingly, when we arrived about twenty minutes before the scheduled start time there was a woman on the stage dancing around and singing intermittently and making comments about the ridiculousness of the lyrics of the song playing from her mobile phone. Since neither of us had ever seen or really heard anything about Josie Long we had no idea whether this was her, an unannounced support act or just a particularly brazen audience member (spoiler: it was her). She called it pre-show karaoke, and I loved the fact that she didn’t do the irritating I’m-very-famous celebrity thing of not coming on stage until the audience were getting impatient.
If you, like me, are feeling a bit despairing at the realisation that there are far more xenophobes and right-wing zealots than you had appreciated, and far fewer people who think that maybe we should value being nice to each other more highly than being rich, you should go and see this show. If you aren’t feeling that way but want to understand why people around you are wringing their hands and angsting about the current global political situation in a seemingly disproportionately dramatic way, you should go and see this show. If you are a neo-Nazi who thinks that brown people are inherently dangerous and believe that trickle-down economics will fix everything, maybe don’t go and see this show. Unless you are very open to having everything you believe challenged and mocked.
And in case you’re wondering, Josie’s name was familiar because she did some gigs with Grace Petrie. Naomi introduced me to Grace Petrie, and in turn discovered Grace Petrie through Greenbelt Festival, so basically this whole thing was Jesus’s fault.