Fantastic weekend doing – as all Super Social Apes do at key points in the year – stuff with other people.
First, a great gig on Friday with the boys of the band. Lots of friends and friendly faces in the crowd. And wierdly, found myself being twitt'd as I sang. And twitpic'd too, thanks to Mark, Kirsty and Alex.
Then very pleasant pub lunch with a bunch of mates and a surprise visit from Santa (unbeatable, that).
Finally, to the extraordinary Festival of Carols and Lessons for the Godless, a humanist antidote to the Christian winter-festival-by-numbers, written and performed by some of the UK's leading humanists and rationalists. Inspired and coralled by self-proclaimed science geek, Robin Ince.
Quite an extraordinary parade of all that is best in humanist and rationalist thinking. To all but those of a fundamentalist mindset, this was a glorious experiment.
From comic Ricky Gervais deliberately offensive explanation of why giving an African family a goat is wrong to Jarvis Cocker's moving re-reading of Greg Lake's sole (Christmas) hit, standup Josie Long's bizarre debate with a heckler about whether or not the philosopher David Hume was an atheist or an agnostic, the passionate anti-quackery of Ben Goldacre and Dara O'Brian's anti-religious and pro-science rants (when was the last time you heard a comic ask an audience to do calculus?)
And of course, we also had an appearence from the indefatigable atheist, Richard Dawkins, who read 3 bits of his own beautiful prose to create a very different tone for the audience. While he can come across a bit hectoring in Q&A, his writing glimmers gorgeously.
But for my money, comic and co-creator of Jerry Springer the Opera, Stewart Lee had one of the best gags of the night, told with his flat, ironic delivery:
I’ve started to drift towards a belief in God, creationism and intelligent
design. When I look at
something as complete and intricate and detailed as Professor Dawkins I
think, 'Surely that can’t just have happened by chance.’