Meditation ruined my life. Sam Brady
Challenging the MIF fever around Manchester is a vehicle that represents the city's alternative cultural identity. 'NotPartOf' is the fringe festival that adversely draws artists from across all artistic genres without charging them. In a recent interview for the Creative Times, co-director Gareth McCann noted 'If MIF selected the artists that performed at the festival, then we would facilitate every artist that wanted to be involved. If MIF curated its events, then Not Part Of would be a completely open platform'.
With this in mind I approached Sand Bar with a inquisitorial step. Attending a one man show entitled 'Meditation Ruined my Life', I took a pew in the rickety, cobblestonedned surroundings, nursing a drink until the show go-ers were summoned to a cordonedned off pokey room, enrobed in a red velvet curtain. Cramped, with almost as many candles as seats, the atmosphere was of buoyant anticipation. Earwigging, I found half knew the performer (his parents were there), and half came just for the craic. With a lonesome chair, pint of water and small remote, the harsh blue tones fell on the compere to introduce the man of the evening, Sam Brady.
Within 5 minutes I had been noted as the attractive journalist (which I enjoyed) then shown a slideshow of ladies meditating, or as crudely put, appearing ready to pleasure dwarves (I enjoyed this slightly less). A tale ensured of a near-divorced man, lost in an ocean of empty melancholy, who, in 2001, found solace in Buddhism. Cleansing himself of his past life he emerged himself into a tea-totalling regime of monk ordination training only to be handed an envelope by his spiritual guru, after only 4 years in the community. As it was Valentines day the contents had 3 possible outcomes; a declaration of love, a card for his friends birthday, or a letter initiating his ordination.
In a bid to provide background to the revelation of this mystery, Brady paints the scene of his former life; littered with anecdotes of close family negativity, from preconceptions of meditation being for the upper classes, to the hilarity of his insatiable need to be liked. The audience were hooked from go.
The transition from a high powered cut-throat ambition driven lifestyle to a lifestyle where ambition is almost frowned upon led Brady to situations a Buddhist could only nightmare about. In his desperation to succeed spiritually, he contradicted the monk mantra in the most jocular way.
Brady's ability to rouse empathy which in turn bloomed into ultimate amusement was testament to his natural charisma and talent as a comedian.
With quips about epiphany in the company of three bushy, Dutch lesbians to listing potential partners specific qualities to include sharing in his dismay at mixed-metaphors, 'Meditation Ruined my Life' is a multi-dimensional show filled with emotion, passion and guffaws. A must see and a triumph for NotPartOf.
To find out the dreaded envelope contents, visit Brady at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
From more information about Brady http://www.sambradycomedian.com/index.html
For more information about NotPartOf http://www.notpartof.org/