Preview: The Week Ahead Oct 20 - 26

David Baddiel

I was lucky enough to bag a ticket for Ricky Gervais's sold out live debut as David Brent with his band Foregone Conclusion last week at The Bloomsbury Theatre. He is back for another work-in-progress this Wednesday and if you can get hold of a ticket for face value I would snap it up. It was a short show at less than an hour but great, with some very funny gags in it – particularly in the new song Lady Gypsy.

It suggests that we haven't seen the last of David Brent the musician. But it did leave me trying to fill in the blanks. If you analyse his gig it doesn't seem to make sense – as Brent mentioned onstage he is still doing his day job as a travelling cleaning products salesman. So how has he managed to rustle up a super-tight crack rock band that includes ex-Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows? Surely to keep the illusion alive the band should be pretty ropey too – why would decent musicians hook up with a deluded fool like Brent?

I guess you could say the same for Spinal Tap or Flight of the Conchords. How come they are selling out major venues when they are supposed to be a has-been rock band and a never-was Kiwi combo respectively? But somehow it is possible to embrace those conceits because they wear them lightly. With Brent there is too much baggage. We've seen his struggles, we've seen him blow his Wernham Hogg redundancy package on a hopelessly vain video of If You Don't Know Me By Now a decade ago. How has he pulled himself back from the brink?

There is also the fact that in the very last episode of The Office it looked like Brent had actually discovered some self-knowledge, telling Finchy where to stick his laddish braggadocio. There was even a hint that he might have found true love. We don't discover during the gig what has happened there either. Anyway, after the show Gervais tweeted that he was now going to think up some more gags to make the show longer, so maybe these nagging questions will be answered at some point between Bloomsbury and an inevitable arena tour.

Actually there is an even better gig taking place in London on the same Wednesday which is also sold out, though you may stand more chance of picking up a return there than you will at the Bloomsbury. Stand-up icon Daniel Kitson climbs down from his pedestal to compere a benefit for the Hackney Winter Night Shelter at the Hackney Empire. The bill would be a pretty good one even without his master's voice. A newly invigorated David Baddiel is joined by Bridget Christie, Ginger and Black, Paul Sinha and Isy Suttie with other names to be announced. If there was any justice this gig would have sold out quicker than the David Brent gig. But then again if there was any justice there would be no need for the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. Support and enjoy.

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