Robin Ince is one of comedy's polymaths, and a very busy man. The fresh-faced, bespectacled 37-year-old comic, film-maker and broadcaster races haphazardly through routines. He comes across as an amalgam of comedians: when annoyed (as he often is by the excesses of the Daily Mail), he resembles Harry Enfield; when deadpan, he's like Stewart Lee; if you speed him up and add a cockney accent, he'd probably do a good impression of Ben Elton.
He confesses to being paranoid and a curmudgeon, a combination, he realises, that makes him perhaps as bad as the Daily Mail readers he abhors. For example, he doesn't like teenagers having sex against his bins and he knows that it's a sign of getting old when "you are more concerned about watching your bins than teenagers shagging".
Perhaps this mock indignation both helps and hinders Ince's shtick. Many fine lines emerge out of his impatience with teenagers or creationists, but the build-up to them is over-egged at times. For example, he riffs on creationists trying to justify intelligent design by ripping off established scientific thought, but it's laboured and the best laugh - and the salient point - comes from the quick aside that follows about creationist schools being "la-la schools with sherbets and lasers".
Similarly, on the paranoid side of his personality, a routine about national identity is unfocused, lurching into a spiral of diminishing returns about what it's like to be English abroad and then a Londoner in Newcastle. Yet later, his elaborate embarrassment at using the toilets in McDonald's without buying anything ends with a fine flourish as he imagines being punished by French fries impaling him as if he were a "fast-food Sebastiane".
The reference to the Derek Jarman film is one of many of the "10 per center" jokes Ince makes, about which he is affably unapologetic. It's also a good example of the depth of Ince's act, which has surprised critics in its development. On workrate alone, it should continue to do so.
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