Comedian Mark Watson talks Greenwich Comedy Festival, living in New Cross, Twitter and Jaffacakes (From News Shopper)
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Comedian Mark Watson talks Greenwich Comedy Festival, living in New Cross, Twitter and Jaffacakes
AHEAD of a headline slot at Up the Creek on the Sunday of Greenwich Comedy Festival, Vibe caught up with Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Mark Watson to chat about living and working in the area, his new novel and some burning questions.
The 33-year-old is one of a hatful of big names for the two day festival, on November 2 and 3, which includes the godfather of alternative comedy Alexei Sayle, Orpington’s Josie Long, Richard Herring, Aisling Bea and David O’Doherty.
Mark said: “It is quite a special atmosphere. Greenwich in general has been a happy for me. I used to compere Up the Creek on a weekly basis on Sundays.
“Greenwich was where I cut my teeth as a comedian. It still has a certain amount of sentimental attachment for me.”
He added: “Greenwich is generally a good place for comedy. It pulls in quite a big constituency from the surrounding areas.
“It has got that slight sense of excitement around it that you don’t always get in other parts of London.”
The Bristolian comic moved to New Cross when he first came to London a decade ago.
He said: “I was quite fond of the area. Part of the reason I moved was as I began to tour more and more, I was heading north all the time.
“I was reliant for lifts from other comedians. Certainly at that point, a lot of other comedians didn’t live remotely close to New Cross.
“I always felt a bit of an idiot asking them to go out of their way.
“With comedy being north London-based at the time, I had to get in on that...and also we lived next to a drug den.”
As well as a busy stand-up schedule, Mark is also preparing to release his fifth novel, Hotel Alpha, about 30 years at a central London hotel.
Unusually, the book also features extra bonus web content, which fits with the novels themes about computers.
So far Hotel Alpha has been compared to ‘Gatsby with Computers’, though that could be because he suggested it.
He said: “It is a valid comparison but so far it has taken off because I am asking people to say it.
“That’s how Twitter works, we get the ball rolling and hopefully it will take on its own momentum. Gatsby with Computers I expect to be trending by the end of the day.”
Mark was an early adopter of social networks, to the extent that he said he is now ‘slightly sick of them’.
He said: “When I started on Twitter, it was relatively small. When I had 10 or 20,000 followers, it is still a lot but you can mostly guess who they are. They are more or less your fans.
“Once it goes up to 100,000 you have got really no comprehension of who it might be.
“I used to tweet more opinions or dark stuff and maybe get one or two people being snarky back. Nowadays I don’t want to open that can of worms.
“I’m not exactly worried about offending people, I just can’t be arsed.”
IN our last edition, News Shopper launched its Burning Questions feature designed to get to the bottom of life’s big ponderables.
The first, is the Jaffacake a cake or a biscuit? It made no sense to not ask Mark.
He said: “My gut feeling is a biscuit, because I eat it like a biscuit with a cup of tea.
“A cake for me is a bit more substantial. The shape and format all point to biscuit.
“For me a Jaffacake is essentially a misnamed biscuit and I think that’s the majority view. It
might technically be a cake but in the hearts and minds of the nation it is a biscuit.
My final question was not of our burning questions feature, but it is one that has been troubling me and Mark seemed like the man who may have an answer.
It is now October and the ice cream van that visits our office is still coming. When is it too late for the ice cream van to come?
Mark said: “Difficult, isn’t it? It’s one of the problems if you are an ice cream van I suppose.
“I think it is probably acceptable to go into October because you sometimes get surprisingly nice days.
“I think Halloween is a sensible cut-off point. Do a promotional thing with loads of spooky lollies and wear a mask and after Halloween just disappear for five months.
“I would say Halloween signals the end of the ice cream season unless you are really hardcore about it.”
Mark Watson headlines Up the Creek from 6pm on Sunday, November 3, alongside Sara Pascoe, Andrew Lawrence and John Robins. Tickets £12. Go to greenwichcomedyfestival.co.uk
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