Alison: You know, Phil, when I look back at last week’s BettaKultcha, I have to get one big gripe out of the way.
Phil: The cup and spoon thing? I know, when will Ivor give it up!
Alison: No, much more important. Alcohol. What the hell was going on with that Pinot Grigio? Town Hall, two bars, you ask for a bottle of Pinot and it’s 250ml! That’s not a bottle, that’s a gulp. Back to front asking for ten bottles and three glasses. And then handed over £33.70. I remember the amount …
Phil: Clearly. the figure is seared on your memory.
Alison: Wouldn’t have minded so much if it was decent…
Phil: Tasted like like the juice from a tin of cling peaches, I know. And warm too. Well at least it was by the time I got round to swigging that last little bottle half way back to Beeston. Suppose it had been in my back pocket for twenty minutes.
Alison: So, that was a positive start Phil… shouldn’t we have begun with something shocking and untrue, to grab attention? That was the advice from one of the presenters.
Phil: What, like “Next year there will be no beer at Bettakultcha!”
Alison: Well Phil, that certainly has shock value. It grabbed my attention.
Phil: Or how about, “From now on there shall be no more swearing at Bettakultcha!” …did you notice how moderate the language was last Wednesday, Ali. Absolutely no bleedin’ swearing.
Alison: Hmm I may have counted a couple of f words that slipped out but no other dodgy letters at all. Is that what people mean when they mutter about the ‘mainstream’? I know Darren Scotland has a good post on all that mainstream nonsense.
Phil: Don’t swear in front of the VIP’s (very important presenters), you mean?
Phil: I quite liked Tom Riordan’s presentation, by the way. Good way to kick things off … pretty sure he nicked a joke or two from me though. I think I just outed the Chief Exec of Leeds City Council as a Tweet Thief, Alison … I’m fearless.
Alison: Positively heroic, Phil, no wonder all those cowardly journalist types fear your name … ahem … so, which other talks did you enjoy most? I like the funny and quirky ones so loved Kate’s of course … pet psychics – who knew? And the cheese bloke, Nick. I mean … cheese, what’s not to love? But it was a bit low on the laughs quota this time didn’t you think?
Phil: You know I have a gift too, Alison, though I rarely mention it. I can read the mind of Bonsai plants … it’s all small talk really.
Alison: Yes, I can quite understand why Bonsai chose you as their psychic spokesman
Phil: You know something else I noticed … not only light on the funnies, it was a bit deficient in the adult department.
Alison: Ha, I think the venue seemed to mean ‘no smut, this is the Town Hall’… 16 presenters stood in front of the biggest organ most of us have ever seen, and said not, err, a dicky bird. That phrase ‘organ recital’ could signify all kinds of events.
Phil: Well, it might to you!
Alison: We can all dream, Phil …
Phil: Funny thing was Ivor gave us a trigger warning (like Channel 4 used to have a warning triangle – Ed’s note) about a presenter having knob pictures. Mind you, I was too far away to be offended by much on the screen … I thought it was a naked man holding a goldfish bowl on his lap. I don’t know why I thought that but let’s leave that aside, we are not here to talk about my idiosyncrasies. Not when there’s Ivor on stage.
Alison: I did like Ivor’s Britney microphone by the way. Although I think Maria could have made even better use of it. Great finish to the formal presentations having a Maria Millionaire work-out to River Deep Mountain High!
Phil: Wasn’t there a fat sweat joke? I’m sure I saw a tweet about that … trust me to miss it.
Alison: You missed it because you were the only person in the room still sat down, Phil … what’s wrong with you?
Phil: I don’t do standing at public events. I’m trying to be kind to the people behind me. Feel terribly self-conscious about my height disadvantage.
Alison: I think you just won’t have fun … go on, tell us what your favourite presentation was.
Phil: I liked Matt Edgar’s on Mount Saint Mary’s …
Alison: See! Serious.
Phil: Well, I liked Mike’s on chocolate too. I had some of the salty caramel stuff he was handing out, bloody brilliant … I can do frivolous.
Alison: The ones that wind me up are the ‘ aren’t kids brilliant?’ ones. My children are fab obviously, but they’d be the first to say that they can’t handle adults claiming to be down with the kids. Get on a school bus at chucking-out time and see how positive you feel then!
Phil: There’s a lot of that worthy stuff, wonder why? Perhaps you should do a presentation standing up for the cynics? Anyway, we’re beginning to sound negative, which is ridiculous given that we both go to pretty much all the Leeds BKs.
Alison: Yeah I know. It’s like a marriage … I still love BettaKultcha, but the sex is just getting a bit samey. How do we inject the fun and romance back in? I know I’ve never been much use at sticking at relationships but lots of people have said the same. You love it when you first go to BettaKultcha then after a while you start to see the same people, the same themes. And the other thing is, it seems to be drifting from its amateur roots and becoming a bit too swish and sophisticated. Like the sex is technically accomplished but are we losing the sweaty, dirty passion of it?
Phil: Hmm, technically accomplished sex is better than no sex … speaking for myself, naturally. I think I know what you mean though. Bettakultcha used to be a passionate, drunken fumble with a total stranger down a dark and dangerous alley, but now you’ve booked into a posh hotel for your anniversary, had a delightful meal, shared an evening of intelligent conversation and are retiring to clean sheets and a nice cuddle.
Alison: Something like that, Phil … something.
Phil: Speaking of which, I’m not so hot on motivational speakers. All that Californian bollocks about focusing on your strengths and grabbing life by the proverbials. Who wants someone whooping at you when you’re struggling to perform?
Alison: Ha! Got an image of someone with a megaphone standing at the end of the bed. That’s going to be off-putting at best.
Phil: I’d just like to point out to readers neither of us are actually in bed! That was just a metaphorical image.
Alison: To be fair though, I usually find the motivational speakers give me chance to catch up on Twitter comments. If you liked all the presentations, you wouldn’t get to see the comments til later.
Phil: They usually inspire me to go and relieve my bladder. As far as I can tell motivational speakers simply motivate other motivational speakers to go away and speak more motivationally … it’s like one massive circle jerk but where there’s constant arousal but no chance of release …
Alison: Charming image Phil. Wouldn’t have got away with that in the Town Hall.
Phil: One cannot like everything, Alison.
Alison: True. I listened to Rich and Ivor’s audio they recorded before the start and I think Ivor is right to stress the ‘no pitches’ bit. What I can’t quite get my head round is that quite a few presenters are members of the Professional Speakers Association or are self-employed in a related role. So for some people being up there is actually pitching themselves. How should BettaKultcha handle that?
Phil: Is that a problem? Maybe it’s about getting a balance and ensuring that there are always enough new people on the bill. Though size and prominence of the venue does exert a selection pressure. The bigger the venue the bigger the confidence needed to cope?
Alison: Yeah, there is a risk that people don’t volunteer because they don’t feel competent to stand up in that company. Much though I loved all the random slide challenges this time, one of the reasons I didn’t volunteer myself was because Silky and Patrick were, and amateur ‘just trying to be’ comics like me are never going to be as good.
Phil: Is there an argument for doing an annual Town Hall event as a kind of showpiece but the business as usual is the Brudenell and other much smaller venues where preference is always given to newcomers?
Alison: I think there probably is. But anyway, that’s not our problem, that’s up to Ivor and Richard … our problem is getting tickets for the next Bettakultcha at the Brudenell … do you reckon they’ll let us in after this?Tags: Bettakultcha, leeds, leeds town hall