Books Showoff – Waterstones TCR – 24th May



Books Showoff is the first and best London comedy cabaret by and for lovers of literature, be they librarian, collector, academic, reader, writer, binder, sniffer, comedian, futuristic drag poet, guitar-strumming maths teacher, over-enthusiastic fan of terrible ‘80s erotic fiction, or blue-haired scientist in a badger mask.

Yeah, the last few shows have got pretty weird…

Joining compere Steve Cross in the Waterstones Tottenham Court Road basement cocktail bar on Wednesday 24 May are:

Shiraz Engineer – the English Speaking Union’s Shiraz Engineer used to work at the Book Trust literacy charity, re-reading kids’ books over and over for a living. She’ll be introducing us to Robert Swindalls, the author who first sparked her reading obsession.

Beverley Glick – As a writer and editor Beverley has had a long career in journalism. Unfortunately she realised – too late – that this was not an adequate qualification for a task she was set in 2008: to write a chick-lit porno called Confessions of a Lap Dancer…

Rosie Clarke from Culture 24 will introduce us to the unbelievably determined writer and architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner, who came to the UK as a refugee and committed himself to an extraordinary lifelong labour researching and publishing the Buildings of England series. But how does this tie in with Rosie’s dad’s choice of anorak?

Rachel Wheeley – Rachel will be celebrating ‘towel day’ a day early. On May 25th, fans of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy carry a towel as a tribute to the late, great Douglas Adams. Find out why H2G2 should be your sacred text.

Helen Lippell and Simon Koppel – 15 years of combined book buying has resulted in a valiant storage battle to ensure Helen and Simon’s collection is shelved, instead of balanced precariously in teetering piles around the house…

Rev. Kate Harford – Kate is the Ecumenical Chaplain at Oxford Brookes University. She’ll be  sharing some thoughts on How to Win Friends and Execute People (or, Things You Never Knew the Bible Could Teach You).

Claire Cheong – In ‘Look Who’s Back’, Timur Vermes wrote about a hypothetical scenario with the infamous Führer being back in town in today’s world. No need to look into the hypothetical world. Just look around. He already is.

Lyra Francis – Lyrá Francis (party girl, bar wench, possibly allergic to crab) hasn’t written a book – but she has ripped off several bestsellers online. Yes, it’s fanfiction and yes, it’s just as embarrassing as it sounds.

Get tickets (£7) from the Waterstones website

Science Showoff – 26th April – the Grain Barge, Bristol

Hot on the heels of last month’s record breaking Science Showoff, we have another one to be friends with it. You can buy tickets now as a trust exercise, or read on to learn about the fabulous performers you’ll see there.

Join us in The Grain Barge for Bristol’s premier science comedy cabaret, featuring:

Ezzy Pearson – Have you ever wondered how to commit the perfect murder in space? Because Ezzy Pearson has. She’ll be talking you through her cunning plan.”

Stephen Litherland  Evolution has produced a wide variety of stunning and beautiful organisms throughout the natural world, however it’s also produced some pretty rubbish ones as well. Steve will be looking at how these pathetic excuses for organisms still exist despite them definitely not being the fittest at surviving.”

Matt Brierly – Animals and explosives – surely two things scientists wouldn’t mix right? Wrong! Comedian Matt Brierley takes a break from his sell-out dinosaur show to present the beguiling and bonkers tale of the poor animals that went BOOM!

Leah Richards, who’ll be talking about the charms of an animal a lot of us still find hard to love.

Antonia Forster – Is your love life not what it used to be? Can’t find a date worth swiping right for? Antonia “Ant” Forster argues that we can learn much about romance from the wonderful world of invertebrates.

Tom Rodgers – Like most rational people, Tom is pretty sure that ‘the internet’ is spying on him at all times. Tonight he’ll be trying to find out if video games and Facebook could really be controlling his mind.

KT Cooper presents “My Step-mum gave me a sex manual”. Taking her inspiration from the extremely popular podcast “My Dad Wrote A Porno” KT will make us all feel uncomfortable by reading excerpts from “The Book of Love” a 1970’s sex manual her step mum gave to her when she was 15. It may not be as saucy as Belinda Blinks but it definitely is more anatomically accurate!

and finally, the team from SynBioExpo, an exhibition from Tuesday 25th – Saturday 29th April, 10am – 6pm, will give an overview of their project! If you could change your DNA, would you? CRISPR is a new technology for editing DNA which has started to revolutionise biological research – and has the potential to transform the world around you. Bristol-based artists and researchers from the University of Bristol have collaborated to produce SynBioExpo, an exhibition that explores Synthetic Biology and CRISPR.

All brought together by your host, veteran of many Science Showoffs, possessor of many metal face decorations and one time Physics World comedy columnist, Scary.

Tickets are £6.60 or £8 on the door, so buy in advance to save pennies!


Doors open 7pm for a 7.30 start.

Venue: The Grain Barge, Mardyke Wharf, Bristol.

Note:  venue is only accessible through stairs, we’re sorry!

All your ticket money will be given to small local charities. Suggestions for good causes welcome.

Science Showoff curated by FameLab winner Alex Lathbridge – May 3rd and 16th – Star of Kings

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Enjoy laughing and learning and drinking in basements? Want to see biochemistry PhD, rapper, FameLab 2017 winner, and Science Showoff Talent Factory hero, Alex Lathbridge deflect heckles with more grace than any political candidate pre-June 8th?

He’s curated a line-up of top hilarious and genius talent for two Showoffs this May in the Star of Kings basement, York Way, Kings Cross.

Here’s who to expect on Wednesday 3rd May (GET TICKETS):

Tiv Balendra, Will Other, Oz Ismail, Charvy Narain, Subhadra Das, Matthew Hutchinson, and Faz Alam.

And on Tuesday 16th May (GET TICKETS):

Maneesh Kuruvilla, Haran X, Sarah Cosgriff, Fatumina S. Abukar, Dan Hdidouan, Jamal Kinsella, Mike Sulu, and more.



Books Showoff, 27th April, Waterstones TCR



Our regular books-themed spinoff hits Waterstones Tottenham Court Road’s basement cocktail bar on Thursday 27th April. Joining your compere – top comedian and podcaster Iszi Lawrence – are:

Jim Craig – Jim will be talking about Danny Wallace’s annoying book Join Me, an account of how he started a cult by accident. Jim’s slightly obsessed with this book, because as a Church of England priest he’s meant to be the one who ‘collects’ people. So far it’s Jim Craig nil, Danny Wallace thousands.

Keith Kahn-Harris – Keith is a sociologist and an expert on Judaism and heavy metal. He couldn’t decide what to do for Books Showoff, so is attempting nine talks in nine minutes…

Paul Duncan McGarrity – Commercial archaeologist Paul is constantly shocked about the things he’s called upon to care about. He’ll be discussing the odd topics that a career in archaeology has led him to and the niche interest books which saved him from embarrassment.

Anne Welsh – Why do we have a specific ‘self-help’ genre of books offering us advice? Aren’t ALL books a form of self-help?

Frank Norman – The library collections of specialist institutions are a representation of the intellectual activity of that institution, or ‘intellectual encrustations’. Frank has been librarian of a medical research institute for many years and is still mourning the recent loss of an impressive collection.

Liam Hogan – London-based writer Liam Hogan will be picking apart the economics of short story writing, using his recently published collection as an example. Trigger Alert: may cause authors in the audience to weep bitter tears

Kyle Evans – Musical mathematician extraordinaire Kyle Evans is almost definitely going to sing you a song.

Lauren Holmes – Why Love Matters. No, not the romantic love that we see in the movies, but the essential love that shapes babies, toddlers and young people. Lauren will be drawing on her experiences in schools to highlight importance of what psychoanalytic psychotherapist Sue Gerhardt tells us about the importance of the first few years of a child’s life.

Tickets on sale (just £5) from the Waterstones website

Science Showoff QMUL special – 18th April – Star of Kings


(A picture of where some of the QMUL science usually lives)

Our Science Showoff line-up on Tuesday 18 April features top talent from Queen Mary University of London, raising funds for the beautiful Limehouse Town Hall – an unfunded and volunteer-run hub of awesome creative and cultural activities in east London. Book tickets now!

Joining your compere Steve Cross:

Mayank Shreshtha is a PhD student in QMUL’s applied maths division, an improviser and stand-up comic. He’ll be talking about random processes and why nature hesitates to run in reverse.

Heather Fitzke will take you on a journey through taste and chyme. Join this lapsed anthropologist on an alimentary adventure trying to find out what happens to food and to us, once it has disappeared past the tongue and teeth and into the mysterious world of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Zoe Adams is a linguistics PhD student who’s on a mission to fight tooth decay with accents. She’ll be talking about imposter syndrome in the world of the PhD.

David Mills x–rays his lunch and other stuff from his lab on a regular basis.

Hannah Thompson will talk about being a PhD student investigating the link between type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. She hates cells.

Alex Jenkin can usually be found trying to make children laugh in Centre of the Cell’s science shows but will be trying her hand with an adult audience. She’ll be talking through some of the best, most awkward and downright weird moments she’s experienced as a presenter.

Plus more from Ben Scott.

We’ll be at the Star of Kings, York Way, Kings Cross. Doors 7pm for a 7.30 start.


Science Showoff – 26th April – the Grain Barge, Bristol

But wasn’t it Science Showoff last month, I hear you cry? A smash-hit, sold out Science Showoff all about biology? Yes, and like biology, it’s replicating out of control.

Because in just under 3 weeks we’re going to DO IT ALL AGAIN.

Did you see people perform and think: I could do that! Sign up here.

Did you see people perform and think: maybe I could do that with sufficient persuasion! Talk to us about it.

Did you attend and want to have all that fun again? Your wish is our command.

Did your friends attend when you didn’t and tell you about what a good time they had? Avoid a repetition. Put it in your diary now!

Have neither you or anyone you know ever been? Change that.

As ever, we’ll be in the Grain Barge, our beautiful, accommodating floating venue, there will be nice chips, good cider, and we’ll be donating all door takings to charity. All kinds of performance from all kinds of people are welcome, as long as it has some connection to science. We have a really supportive audience and it’s a great place to test out material, develop skills, or try things you’ve dreamed of doing.

Science Showoff – March 29th – The Grain Barge, Bristol

We really love animals, bacteria, and other self-replicating and potentially lethal life forms. To show you just how great they are, we’ve booked loads of acts who are really into the squishiest, screechingest, most squamous bioscience around. Buy tickets now!

Joining your host, science comedian Steve Cross, in The Grain Barge for Bristol’s premier science comedy cabaret are:

Emma Sackville: Emma is a final year PhD student who is desperately seeking any distraction from having to actually complete her thesis. Turns out you can cram chemistry in to most of her hobbies – Harry Potter, Gin, Disney…

Heather Lampard: After launching the Bristol Nature Channel, Heather has researched lots of different subjects and in doing so, stumbled across a bizarre example of when humans have gotten nature fantastically wrong. Heather will be sharing the story of a long forgotten and curious legend from the middle ages.

Brian Mackenwells: Comic books are full of animal themed superheroes and their sidekicks. Brian is going to examine some early examples of the form, so you can join him in wondering what they were thinking .

Alex Lathbridge: Alex mixes science and hip-hop to bring you the funniest factual rhymes about the weirdest bits of biology.
You can mentally prepare yourself for his set by watching his Youtube channel, Rapstract.

Antonia “the Ant” Forster is an insect enthusiast and science communicator. Sharing true stories from her experience at the zoo, she can finally reveal the one phrase that sends every zoologist into a frothy-mouthed rage.

Will Davies: In Defense of The WaspWasps are one of the mainstays of English annoyance, alongside cold weather, hot weather, and people who talk about weather. So if wasps are so bad, how come nature has devised ways of dealing with wasps that will make your skin crawl more than a buzzing behind your ear?
Will can also be found co-presenting the EurekaNerd podcast.

Jennifer Garrett: Could birdwatching save our NHS? Using recent research, personal stories and a touch of poetry, Jen explores the relationship between health, wellbeing and wildlife.
Jennifer co-founded local 18-30s group Bristol Nature Network.

Ross Exton: Ross Exton will be performing a dramatic reading of ‘Carl And The Leopard’: a short story written by Ross and inspired by the true adventures of 19th Century naturalists and the first natural history filmmakers.
You can also study Ross’ behaviour in his natural environment on Youtube.

Tickets are £6.60 or £8 on the door, so buy in advance to save pennies!


Doors open 7pm for a 7.30 start.

Venue: The Grain Barge, Mardyke Wharf, Bristol.

Note:  venue is only accessible through stairs, we’re sorry!

All your ticket money will be given to local charity Bath Welcomes Refugees.