Thursday, 12 May 2016

Comedy Article from Culture Hub Issue 7: May/June

Comedy Article from Culture Hub Issue 7: May/June

The months approaching summer remind me of being stuck inside the library revising for exams or immobilised inside an office sweating in a suit whilst the sun is finally out. It’s always you who finishes their examslast or has to stay at work late to meet the deadline. Then when you come home looking forward to lying out in your back garden or having a barbeque at the weekend, of course the sun has gone and the blissful atmosphere is now replaced by something that is reminiscent of The Day After Tomorrow. To laugh off how frustrating this is or to de-stress from exam season, why don’t you attend one or several of these comedy offerings running alongside the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

May Day features ‘The Comedians Cinema Club’ at the Black Box and was nominated as Best Music & Variety Show 2016 by Chortle and has been Time Out Critics Choice every month since February 2015. Created by Eric Lampaert, the show is filled with alcohol fuelled banter, and the much loved movies are not like you’ve seen them before.

May Day evening brings the Canadian comedian Craig Campbell to McHughs Bar Belfast. He is known as the wild man of Canadian comedy with controversial topics such as sex and drugs discussed during his stand-up. His performance is sure to be hilarious and unique however may leave you in shock if you are a prude.

‘Primal Squeam!’ will be performed at Voodoo 02 and 03 May. The show finds one of Belfast's best alternative theatre companies poking fun at life's foibles (i.e. men). The man in the play is Stewart and a fan of cheap thrills who wants to purchase pornography from local newsagent Wendy. Shot Glass Theatre offers a crude and kinky performance which is a quick fix of what you fancy.

On Wednesday 04 May, Rob Delaney will be performing in the festival marquee. Delaney is the star of the hit Channel 4 show Catastrophe and is widely regarded as one of America's gifted standups. He has made appearances on shows such as Have I Got News for You and 8 out of 10 Cats. The show is called ‘Meat’ because that’s how Rob views humans, and the show has graphic sexual content and explores bodily functions.

The comedic country musician Tina C will be coming to The MACon Sunday 08 May. The performance will feature a mix of love, self-empowerment, geo-political musing and damn fine hollering which will all be incorporated in her fantastic country songs.

On Wednesday 25 May, Queen's Comedy Club in the Student Union will welcome back Abandoman which is one of Ireland's top Improv teams. They combine audience interaction and improvisation to give a unique comedy experience. The show will transform the audiences’ loves and hates into hit songs and captivating tales.

Foster’s Award nominees Max Olesker and Ivan Gonzalez are coming to The MACon Saturday 04 June with Max & Ivan: The End. Drab seaside towns are plentifold in the UK and the fictional set in the town of Sudley-on-Sea epitomises all the gloom and glumness that a strong tide of blandness can bring in.

The lady of Geordie Comedy, Sarah Millican, is coming to the Waterfront on Saturday 10 June. Regularly appearing on comedy discussion shows, the stand-up writer and star of BBC 2's The Sarah Millican Show won the 2011 British Comedy Award for The People's Choice Queen of Comedy. The sketches narrative follows an imminent coastal apocalypse and follows the lives on an assortment of eccentric locals, including an ultra competitive sister, a corrupt local politician, a conspiracy nut and an hispanic perfume salesman. The main character is Clive, a tabloid newspaper journalist, who has returned to his hometown to make peace with his father and to scrutinize the local corrupt MP.

On 12 June Reginald D Hunter will be stopping by the Mandela Hall as part of his Irish tour with his show ‘The Aluminium Negro’. Hunter is often perceived as being brutally honest as he tackles controversial topics whilst demonstrating what it is like to be a “negro”. Hunter sets out to take his audience on a bountiful romp through today’s politically correct minefield while, at the same time, attempting to shield them from any truths they would much rather avoid.

So worry not about your exam results or take some paid leave from that secure white collar position to sample some of the many smile inducing acts rolling into the city. All the performances are indoors, so our trusty climate can’t get you down.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

2016 Assembly Election - STV vs FPTP and What Party Should you Vote For?

2016 Assembly Election - STV vs FPTP and What Party Should you Vote For?

Tomorrow May 5th and it is election time for the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly is Northern Ireland's dissolved legislature and it is elected through Single Transferable Vote (STV) under Proportional Representation (PR), unlike the general election for the UK parliament which employs First Past The Post (FPTP).

Picture: Stormont - The NI Assembly

Differences Between STV & FPTP

First Past The Post
  • Used for the UK General Election
  • Simple
  • Constituencies elect a single MP
  • Voters can only select one candidate and the candidate with the highest number votes then is elected.
  • Government is formed from a plurality rathern than a majority and thus government is argued to not be an accurate or fair representation of the electorate's views

FPTP is used for the UK general election as the MPs in the UK parliament deals with issues that affect the whole of the UK and international matters known as Excepted Matters or Reserved Matters. It is argued that FPTP is more suited as policies and  laws would be difficult to implement  if more interests were represented. It would be difficult to progress and gridlock or government inertia could be the result: “Too many cooks spoil the broth” is what is argued.

Single Transferable Vote
  • Form of proportional representation which aims to represent all segments in an electorate.
  • A team of candidates are elected - Northern Ireland 6 per constituency, 108 in total.
  • Voters rank list of candidates in the order that they prefer.
  • To be elected they must match a quota which is determined by the number of positions to be filled.
  • If your prefered candidate has no hope of being elected, the vote is then transferred to your second preference.
  • Arguably more fair as no votes are wasted and a wide range of candidates are elected to represent the different viewpoints in a consistency.

STV is used for local assembly elections which deal with issues on a local or city level. MLAs do not make laws. STV is suited to the assembly elections because they are dealing with parochial and community matters and therefore it is good to have different viewpoints represented: “Many hands make light work” is what is argued at local level.

Who Should I Vote for?

People vote for the candidate or party that they believe represents their views best. Due to employing STV there is no need to vote tactically for the assembly elections. An example of tactical voting may be in East Belfast during the 2015 general election: constituents tended to vote for either Naomi Long (Alliance) or Gavin Robinson (DUP) to stop the other being elected.
Naomi Long and Gavin Robinson

In Northern Ireland people typically vote based on whether they are Catholic or Protestant for example Catholics tend to vote for either Sinn Fein or SDLP whilst Protestants tend to vote for either DUP or UUP. People who consider themselves to be non-partisan in the religious divide tend to vote for Alliance.

Realistically in the near future there is not going to be a change in whether Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK or not and therefore voting along purely religious and sectarian lines makes little sense. What you might find is that the party that you choose to elect policies may not accurately represent your political voice and therefore you may end up being misrepresented.

It may be a good idea to do these two tests to see which party you sit best with before you vote tomorrow. They are blindfolded tests and the policies you choose then match with the party that represents your opinion best.  My mum’s boyfriend did a similar test for the 2015 general election, is from a nationalists background would normally vote Sinn Fein (from what I can recall) but the result indicated due to policies he should vote DUP - which was hilarious but showed how misrepresented you could be if you vote purely on religious/sectarian lines.

And concluded that I should vote for NI conservatives 100%. Which wasn’t that big of a surprise to me as I am a big Maggie Thatcher fan.

However, the second one which is more complex -!/
It didn't include NI Conservatives but instead indicated that I should vote Traditionalist Unionist Voice (TUV)which I would have never considered voting for previously, as Jim Allister appears to me as very staunchly unionist and I am only a unionist due to economic reasons. However, what was found was I agreed with more of the TUV's policies due to being economically right winged.
Jim Allister

So why don’t you give it a shot and see what your result is?
And No cheating!