Robin Ince's decision to take a break from stand-up, for perhaps as long as two years, for reasons explained here is most definitely comedy's loss. As a stay-at-home dad who has largely sacrificed his career (such as it was) to look after and spend time with his son, I can completely understand his primary rationale - and stand-up is no ordinary job, requiring you to zigzag about the country and work in the evenings, exactly when most parents manage to squeeze in a bit of family time.
However, he also sounds a bit jaded with the whole profession and scene, as well as deflated by the reception afforded to recent shows and projects. As a Northumbrian, I can only apologise for the fact that Alnwick was a particularly trying experience - they're all heathens up there.
I've only actually seen him once in the flesh, in 2007, and it was a disappointment (by his own admission, too) - but, with hindsight, that review reads harshly and in the years since he has by all accounts developed an original and thought-provoking style. Here's hoping that after his time out, he returns to the fray refreshed and energised. We need more stand-ups like him.
(Thanks to Zoe for the link.)