Mark Thomas

Tonight, Mark Thomas had a warm-up gig at South Street to help him shrug off the Christmas-induced stupor – apart from Crawley on Monday, he hasn’t had a gig since the beginning of December. Mark will be recording his Radio 4 “The Manifesto” show on Saturday so needed to get back up to speed.

The format was that Mark would present audience-written policies to a democratic vote, after filtering out the dross, to select one that would be chosen as part of our manifesto. Before the start and during the interval, we were given forms to fill in:

Hi folks and thanks for coming to the show.

Tonight is no mere comedy show, oh no, tonight we will create a new bold vision of the world from the recesses of our collective knowledge and creativity.

It can not have escaped your notice that we up a Creek called Shit, economically, politically, socially… er …totally. So where are the great ideas, theories and visions to help us in our hour of need? You!

Here is your chance to propose a policy or policies that you think will improve our lives, it can be silly, serious, economic, stolen, original, bold, simple, complex, obvious or morbid.

Thanks Mark Thomas

Note – I should point out that Mark does, in fact, object to “stolen” policies as he criticised someone (incorrectly) for plagiarism.

Here are my policy contributions:

WP_001954 (2)

I was pleased to get a couple mentioned. The “ale for water” solution even made the top 5 at the voting stage. Mark was quite dismissive of my Madagascar nature reserve suggestion, firstly due to issues with how it would be paid for but secondly over why I wasn’t planning to instead turn the island into a skate park. I don’t think he was taking this selection process quite as seriously as I’d hoped.

The winning policy was to send Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, to participate in the Tel Aviv Gay Pride march. Not my favourite, which was instead:

  • If you get to the bar in a busy pub and you don’t have your money ready, the drink goes on your head; if you are paying by credit card, the whole round goes on your head.

Other policies or items of note:

  • People on benefits having to give blood regularly {rejected out of hand}
  • There was something about milk floats – can’t recall how it started – but there is now a bet on that if you only require a provisional licence to drive them, Mark gets bought such a vehicle by some guy who was in the front row. 
  • An audience member, proposing a change in catering firms at LHR, mentioned that the weirdest item he’d intercepted as a customs officer was a dead antelope in a suitcase.
  • Mark’s concept of “book heckling” – not heckling books (as that would be silly) but instead heckling FROM books. The idea is to leave one or more tiny notes in a book on the shelf of a large chain for someone to find once they’d bought the book and taken it home to read. As an example, he told of leaving encouraging messages like “nearly there” in Salman Rushdie’s “The Enchantress of Florence”, a story Mark could not recommend, so readers would know their struggle would soon be over.
  • In a similar vein, Mark provides some lovely stickers to use in book shops (except independents) over the usual price/offer stickers. Photos are appreciated by Mark showing such High Street guerrilla activity.


In between discussing our policies, Mark read some out from his own little beige book, “Mark Thomas presents the People’s Manifesto” which I bought afterwards for a fiver (damn impulse buys).

All in all, a fine evening out. Mark is a really friendly entertainer and well worth seeking out when he’s on tour in your area.

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