Monday, August 20, 2007

Achosion I Laweni #12

(If you're wondering what this is all about, click here.)

OK, so I've not actually been living in Cardiff since the tail end of April, and a new Reasons To Be Cheerful series has started up, but as I spend many if not most of my weekends in and around the Welsh capital it seems reasonable to keep Achosion I Laweni going.

#12 - Go Faster Stripe

Over the last year and a half, I've written a great deal about what seems to me to be the wealth of musical talent to which Cardiff is home. But it's important to point out that there are many other creative enterprises going on in the city, all deserving of promotion and wider attention. One such enterprise is Go Faster Stripe.

At a time when only the biggest comedians - Peter Kay, Ricky Gervais - seem to get the opportunity to record DVDs (which subsequently sell by the bucketload), the Go Faster Stripe team invite top-class stand-ups to perform in front of live audiences at Chapter and have the performances recorded for sale online. Not only does this mean that Cardiff is suddenly attracting some bigger names - I've seen Stewart Lee, Richard Herring and Robin Ince at Go Faster Stripe gigs - but it has also ensured that whole shows haven't passed into history unrecorded. That foresight and generosity should be applauded.

Fresh from a scouting mission to the Edinburgh Festival, GFS's Chris Evans was kind enough to find time to tell me a bit more...

How did Go Faster Stripe come about?

"I read on Stewart Lee's website that he was sad that his show '90s Comedian' was not going to be recorded. He'd tried to give it away to late night satellite channels, and no one was interested. I was sad about this too. And then I remembered I've got a few mates that know one end of a camera from the other, so I wrote to Stew and told him. We recorded the show, and it surprised everyone when it came out rather well."

What inspired and / or continues to inspire you?

"People in any walk of life that follow their heart, rather than money. In the comedy world, it's the comedians who are doing something new with the artform. And they do this even though they remain at the sidelines of the business."

How many people are involved in the work of putting together each DVD?

"There's five of us at the recordings - two cameraman, a stills photographer, a sound guy and me. Chapter supply a couple of staff to collect tickets and operate the lighting. Once we've got the show, we've an editor who makes what we've recorded look lovely. And then there's the sleeve designer, who also does our adverts - although he's the still photographer too, so I don't know if that count as another person. Finally, my girlfriend packs up the orders that we get through our website."

Which has been your favourite DVD to record so far?

"I've only asked people that I love - so I couldn't possibly pick one. They are all magnificent."

Who would you most like to work with?

"I think it might be interesting to work with a much bigger name - someone that is - or at least has - had a big DVD produced for them. I think the way we record stuff is often more powerful as we record it in a more intimate setting."

What are the plans for the future? Any new releases on the horizon?

"There's an unstoppable machine in action. We've got new DVDs coming out from Simon Munnery, Robin Ince, and another from Richard Herring. These are all in the can, and are at various stages of post-production. And in September [8th, at Chapter], we are filming a show with Lucy Porter, which will be lovely."

Great to see a venture like this snowballing. Thanks to Chris for his time, and best wishes to the team for the future.


Paul said...

I remember seeing Lucy Porter supporting Phil Nichol at the Buttery in 1999.

I wonder if she's still telling her Armitage Shanks joke?

Ben said...

I remember that gig too, and she certainly was telling it not that long ago. But then it was a good one...

Anonymous said...

Interesting. These DVD's were on sale all over Edinburgh this year, so nice to see the story behind them.

I've seen Lucy Porter's last four Edinburgh shows including this year and now racking my brain to think if I can remember an Armitage Shanks joke!

Incidentally, if you are still in touch with these guys, tell them the show they really should snap up from this year's Edinburgh is Sarah Kendall's. Totally original and, 'scuse my French, farkin' funny!

Ben said...

Alan: Good to know they're getting the product out there and noticed. It'll be interesting to see who they approach next...