Stand Up For Justice - (almost) live blog

Stand Up For Justice returns to the Belfast Festival at Queen's for the sixth year running. Our regular Festival blogger, Mairead, has cried off, so I'm filling in for one night only. This should be live blogging but the Whitla Hall doesn't have wifi or, rather it does, I just don't have the password. Anyway, will post this later. Here goes…

8:00  A back projection screen dominates the stage. The smoke machine is puffing away. Huge Amnesty candle logos project onto the black stage backdrop on either wing. The Whitla Hall looks full already but people are still streaming into the room.

8:02  John Bishop takes the stage. It’s not long before his relaxed, chirpy but cheeky style has charmed the audience. He warms everyone up with some vocal exercises: one half has to say "Gordon Brown is a c#ck", the other "Gordon Brown is a tw#t". It might sound like a crude audience device… and it was, but also appears to be surprisingly effective. (BTW, apologIes for the ridiculous 'swear filter' on this blog software.)

8:12  Daniel Rigby is on. He's a young comic and sadly I miss most of his act as I'm backstage doing something else. Blogging and real work don't mix. Damn you Mairead! I catch the last couple of minutes. It's an observation about how poor people’s rubbish is so much more expensive than other people’s.You know the way you'll see fridges, cookers, three-piece suites and cars abandoned on some people's lawns…

8:25  He's finished and John Bishop is back on. "Wasn’t he brilliant?" John asks, going on to explain that, while he had said that Daniel would be brilliant when he had introduced him, he didn't actually know that he would be proven right, as he had actually never seen him before. That’s what MCs do. I think I'd actually guessed this myself some years ago. But, all the same, it's good to be reassured.

Anyway, well done Daniel Rigby. It's not easy being the first proper act of the night and the applause sounds good from here.

8:27  The rather delectable Canadian Katherine Ryan – cute 1950s pink dress, cardigan and sparkly sneakers – hops and skips to the mic, like she's taking to the floor of her school prom.

Her look belies her edgy verbal content. She relates some headlines she's seen recently.

"Help rape victims". She waits. "Haven’t they suffered enough?"

"Blow for city bankers". Waits again. "Drugs won’t solve the problem."

She reminds me of Sarah Silverman. And I don't mean that I think she's short of material. Not at all. Her lines are beautifully written and the quality keeps on coming.

"I like to tell people I’m pregnant. And not just for revenge."

"I don’t hardly ever drink – unless it’s my birthday. Or someone’s birthday on Facebook."

She tells people to go to www.KatherineRyan.co.uk if they like her. I did.

… to be continued…

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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