• Jon Matthews

Cliched Year in Review Nonsense

Politically, to borrow an analogy*, 2017 has been the ‘hangover’ year on both sides of the Atlantic. The year where we all wake up and ask ourselves what the hell we were thinking. Though with the Conservatives (narrowly) getting back in in June, I do wonder if some alcohol might still have been in our collective system. A hot shower, a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea later and things don’t seem so bad, then we check our phone and all hell breaks loose…

Despite the turmoil around us, I am pleased with my personal 2017. When I first left China and returned to the UK a lot of people asked me why and my stock answer was, ‘to fight the [tory] scum’. I stand by this – though there is much more to it than that.

I’m not sure how much fighting I’ve actually done, due to the echo chamber effect, but I’ve certainly had a good laugh at their expense and I hope I’ve given some people pause to think along the way. I like to think the if all of us do a little bit to build a better world then we will get there in the end. I also hope that my comedy has helped to motivate and mobilise a little bit too – though it’s hard to tell if that’s the case.

After a few months back in the village, I moved to Bristol/Bristle/Brizzle with my fiancée and we both began working in some fun/interesting/challenging settings. We’ve made a nice home for ourselves, complete with plenty of candles, incense, throw rugs, books, weird ornaments, baggy trousers and a rather splendid craft nook.

The local comedy scene is busy, full of fantastic individuals with a wide range of experience and style, plenty of open mic and new material nights and the odd pro gig too. As well as Bristol I’ve also performed in Bath, Cheltenham, Hereford, Plymouth, P****mouth, Southampton, Taunton, Totnes, Totton, Torquay and Swansea. I came second in the Hereford Comedy Festival competition (I was robbed I tell you!) and have had some brilliant feedback from all over the place. I’ve been on the radio a handful of times, as well as Mike Vaughan’s (not the ex-cricketer) podcast.

Away from the stage/mic-stand/mouldy patch of carpet under the stairs, I’ve done plenty of writing too, though not performing at the same venue on a weekly basis has perhaps stopped me from taking quite so many risks as I did at the Hot Cat Club in Beijing (no long monologues this year about Zoroastrianism or being an ex-pat ghost), but I have had a lot of fun and learnt a lot.

I’ve seen some great comedians too, doing their thing in tiny venues all over the place. I’ve learnt a lot from many of them, become friends with some of them and laughed at almost all of them. It remains my conviction that, whatever your passion, there is incredible talent performing in a pub around the corner, be it a musician, a poet or a comedian.As for 2018, I plan to keep gigging far and wide, meeting interesting people and having a lot of fun on the way. Hope to see you there!


*Eliza Fraser – Bristol based comedian, very good.

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