James Walsh Month – INTERVIEW – Cycling to Edinburgh Fringe and Musical Brighton!

Welcome to October and this month we have a special treat for you! The name James Walsh may sound familiar to you and that is because he has written a few articles for The Phoenix Remix and he is also one of our reviewers! Well this month we get to know James that little bit more! This week we find out all about his brand new show MJ Hibbett in Brighton and cycling to Edinburgh for the Fringe!

Hello James tell us three unknown facts about yourself?

Unknown Facts sounds like a really earnest follow up to Joy Division’s debut album. Um: nuns forced me to be right handed, I’m pals with the BBC’s Samira Ahmed, and I fought in ‘Nam.

How did you get an interest in comedy?

I went to my first ever school disco (aged 11) in a black t-shirt with “Rabies: Bringing it in is Madness” written on it in a garish yellow font. My dad worked on public information campaigns for MAFF (now DEFRA) hence my ownership of it; I just wore it because it was clean. My friends thought I was wearing it cos it was so naff it was cool. And so: I discovered irony.

Which acts are your favourites and why?

I really find it hard to pick a favourite but the three funniest people I’ve seen in the last week are Joz Norris, Simon Munnery and Shalaka Kurup.

Tell us about this evening that you are organising for Brighton?

Oh fuck I’m absolutely shitting it. I’m hosting a night as part of [legendary indiepop legend] MJ Hibbett’s new album. Hibbett writes songs that, on occasion, happen to be funny – a very separate category to comedy songs. I had the idea of booking musical comedians and pairing them with musicians that happen to be funny. It’s still a work in progress but Hibbett is always good value and I shall be singing some of my own songs live for the first time (if I can remember the chords)

How can people get involved?

Please come along. I will buy you a pint and / or a vegan burger named after a 1970s rock star (The Junction has both)

You have shows in both London and Brighton – how do the audiences differ?

Ooof good question. In my experience, Brighton audiences are younger and more forgiving of new material and experimentation. Plus the scene is so much smaller that I feel I’ve already met most of the regular acts. They all seem lovely.

You are also a reviewer for The Phoenix Remix – what can we expect from you over the next few months?

Expect a lot more theatre reviews, and shows where I’m out of my comfort zone as a reviewer. I keep seeing things I know I’ll like and I need to occasionally hate something (sorry person I end up giving a bad review to!).

Over the summer, you also cycled up to Edinburgh – tell us about that!

I went briefly mad. I’m the sort of person who isn’t brilliant on his own. But it felt an important trip to take, and I have a mental map and muscle memory of the contours and forgotten B-roads of some of England’s most forgotten spots. Tourers are the most misunderstood of the cycling tribes – people kept asking me if it was for charity. 

What were some of the highlights?

Cycling by moonlight on the Northumberland coast, with a castle looming out at me in the darkness. The barely suppressed violence of Market Harborough. Seeing Edinburgh for the first time from high up on a bleak hill, the sea twinkling alongside and Arthur’s Mount looking more manageable than I was expecting.

At the festival itself, I enjoyed sharing a tiny karaoke box with Sharlin Jahan and two teenagers from the Faroe Islands, bumping into and intentionally coming into contact with many wonderful people that I care a lot about, and staying up til dawn after ACMS’s post-midnight Sunday show.

What were some of the challenges?

Loneliness. The days were fine, the evenings involved many a sad solo Wetherburger. When I arrived at the Fringe I was initially overwhelmed.

If people want to find out more about you on social media, where can they go?

For pets and comedy stuff @jameswalshcomedy on instagram, for a mishmash of sarcastic asides @jamesofwalsh on Twitter.

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