author. Lily Burford
On Sunday, James Dowdeswell performed a stand up routine at the Idler Academy tent. Reminiscent of Port Eliot festival itself, the Idler Academy is an educational offshoot of the Idler magazine, which encourages the teaching of things often neglected by mainstream education such as dancing, ancient languages and music. James certainly fits the bill for this encouragement of alternative careers: not only is he a comedian, alternative in itself many slips argue, but his set was focused entirely on "booze", taking it one step further.
"I've been a stand up comedian for 15 years, which basically means I've been idle for a third of of my life" is how James started his set, and immediately the audience was roaring with laughter. His focus on alcohol and his mocking of local stereotypes made for a thoroughly entertaining set, with seemingly everybody in the tent being able to relate to at least some of James' observations. He successfully connected to the audience by playing the game 'what would you have in your country pub?' And by the end of the set we had all managed to fictionally create arguably the best pub in the whole of Cornwall.
Not only was James' set outstandingly funny, but it also had a strong message behind it. He was encouraging people to support their local pubs, and any local businesses really. "Let's all go and drink in a tesco carpark!" James yelled, in what I took to be an imitation of a barely-eighteen year old, which got a hearty laugh from all. This I took to be a laugh of recognition, as people vocally agreed that it would be a shame to see the great British pub become obsolete in favour of the binge drinking culture.
So there we have it, an alcohol inspired comedian - one of the many things I never thought I would see, until Port Eliot 2015 happened.