IRC Doesn’t Kill People – People Do!

There’s just been an interesting debate on the RockMonkey ChatRoom (#RockMonkey on Freenode) about where the channel is going, where power should lie, and all that jazz. It’s pretty much inevitable that this kind of discussion takes place on a channel, but this is the first time I’ve seen it happen on such a small one (and at a pleasantly low temperature, too). Changing times, eh?

Among many users of the channel, I’m sure it’s no secret that there are a few… personality clashes. That’s healthy, and can leads to great debate (or blazing arguments). The concern I raised was that channel operators (effectively: moderators of the chat room) haven’t been using their wizard-like powers in a responsible manner.

Jon asked me to blog it, but I soon realised that any blog entry I wrote would inevitably sound bitchy. So instead, I’ll just provide a link to some fantastic channel guidelines which explain what Freenode think is good practice when participating on, and, particularly, running and IRC channel. It says, far more eloquently than I would, exactly how I think the channel would be better run, and why.

Open Mic Night

As I’d promised, I went along to the Ground Zero open mic night at The Angel tonight – and it was a most spectacular night. Matt was MC, and did a wonderful series of gags and skits to liven up the crowd and fill the gaps between the performers. Unusually, all the acts were of an extremely high quality – a lot of good material from a lot of different people, delivered well. Particularly worthy of mention was Adrian O’Toole, who performed during the second act a fantastic piece of comedy, having been charged with doing so as part of an ongoing dare/challenge with some friends. Apparently, he’s joining… pretty much any society that’ll have him, “doing it all”, or some such thing, and part of this included doing open mic comedy. By the end of the night, he’d been signed up to be in a Christian indie band, despite not having the appropriate qualifications in either religion or music. We’re going to invite him to Troma Night. Even if standing in front of several dozen people and telling jokes didn’t break him, the traditions of our weekly film night might.

And so – infused with beer and impressed by the atmosphere – I put my name down on the board for the second act. And it went remarkably well: as well as could possibly be expected considering that I’ve never done open mic before, that I hadn’t planned to do it tonight by more than half an hour, etc. Rather than try to compose some humour within the few minutes available I opted to instead advance upon the acts of some of the people I’d seen so far: Matt had talked about the quirks of Aberystwyth; “Magic Ian” (hmm… Supergran reference, Claire and I wonder?) discussed The Crystal Maze… etc. etc… and so I took a little from each and added my piece. It was sloppy because it was unprepared, but for an improvisational spot it worked wonderfully and I was glad to see that the crowd mopped it up. I’d have liked to have ended on a better laugh, but all-in-all it was great… I’d do it again (albeit with a little more preparation).

The funniest moment of the night for me, however, happened not on stage but in the toilets. I’d just gone to the gents in between the second and third acts, and had just finished washing my hands when another attendee came in. He looked at me and recognised me as somebody he’d seen on stage earlier, muttered a congratulatory message, and went to shake my hand. I took his hand with mine, which I then realised was still warm and damp from the sink. “Sorry,” I said, as a look of repulsion spread across his face, “I pissed on my hand.” His face was priceless.

In other news, Adam linked to what is perhaps the funniest thing I’ve seen online in a long time: If you read his blog you’ll have seen it already, but who cares – watch it again: Ultimate Showdown!

Further reading: