2004 was the year that saw the UK’s longest running comedy club outside London, the Buzz, shut up shop only to reopen a couple of months later as the Zzub (Buzz is back, geddit?). But I mention this only because Katharine and I decided it was time we tried the Manchester branch of Jongleurs, the comedy club chain, and Buzz is our primary source of stand-up experience. And a good night it was, even if there was less comedy than we’re used to. Doors closed at a very early 7.15pm for just three acts, when most nights offer four and we’re more used to five or six, including some new guy at the start. But that’s New Year for you.
Just as memorable was exposure to a little of contemporary student culture, as we had two of the little darlings on our table. Very nice they were too; although I was amazed at his ability to get drunk on a single pint or thereabouts. They’d bought themselves a jug of beer and every time he filled a glass he’d knock it over. While matching his drinking pint-for-pint, she remained sober. Then came the digital camera on which he showed us 157 photos including the time he broke his jaw, scenes from Preston (their university town) and Xmas in Luton (his hometown). All the while we had a cheesy 1980s soundtrack, including Chesney Hawkes (actually a 1991 one hit wonder, but I’m talking genre), who’s recently toured Student Unions. ‘It’s great music, because you don’t take it seriously,’ said the student, before adding as a kindly afterthought, ‘But then maybe people in the 1980s did take it seriously’. Actually, you wouldn’t have heard Chesney in a Student Union in 1991 because he was strictly for under-16s, I didn’t tell him. But later we had a disco that was a bit too close to wedding style for me and the DJ played some Evanescence which cleared those of student age from the dance floor. In fifteen years perhaps someone will console my new friend over the embarrassment of Evanescence being taken seriously when he was a student.