Author Topic: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone  (Read 4250 times)

Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« on: February 08, 2015, 05:34:27 AM »
Anyone seen this/going to see it?  It's only on in London at the moment but his site mentions a tour later in the year.  I'm pretty intrigued by some of the interviews he's been giving for it.

http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/jan/26/kim-noble-interview-comedy-mental-health
Quote
Scissors in hand, Kim Noble is cutting out his own eyes when I arrive for our interview. In front of him is a pile of flyers for his show and he’s carefully clipping out his right eye, turning it the other way up, and then sticking it back in place. He has a wonky eye, he explains, and feels self-conscious about it, so he’s destroying the evidence one flyer at a time.
 
But you don’t have a wonky eye, I say. It’s just the face you’re pulling in the image – which shows Noble half-dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper standing sentry behind his dad, who sits looking vacant in a wheelchair. In his new show, which combines live action with excerpts from the videos Noble makes of his own life, we see him wash and wipe the backside of his naked dad, who lives in a care home. It’s tender, shocking, candid. There’s also footage of Noble recording his neighbours’ sex life through an adjoining wall, defecating on a church floor, and fashioning a piece of chicken into a fake vagina. Wonky-eyed? You be the judge.
 
When You’re Not Alone premiered at last year’s Edinburgh fringe, it was acclaimed by critics and named comedy show of 2014 by Chortle website. Efforts to pigeonhole Noble’s work – which straddles fine art (in which he trained), video, comedy and theatre – have long proved futile. The piece provides a keenly anticipated (some might say dreaded) sequel to his 2009 succès de scandale Kim Noble Will Die, his first solo show after splitting from Noble and Silver, the Perrier award-winning double act. In this portrait of the artist as a suicidal depressive, he got urinated on, had his mum projected on to a bucket saying “Kim Noble is a fucking loser”, and distributed his semen to selected women in the crowd. (“Even for a show about going too far,” one reviewer wrote, “he goes too far.”)

But Noble isn’t – just – a provocateur. The mental health issues are real: he suffers from manic depression, had a breakdown in 2004, and has made work in the mental health sector – as artist in residence, for example, at Homerton hospital in London. The depression and loneliness in his work feel chillingly real. But there’s humour here, too, in the extremity and abjectness of Noble’s behaviour. Is this really what depression looks like? Or is the ex-comedian having a laugh at our, and his own, expense?
 
Over beer and vandalised flyers in Soho theatre’s bar, Noble can’t give me a straight answer. He’s certainly not in it for the laughs: he didn’t want to make a second show, he says. Going on stage fills him with “pure fear – of failure and of not being loved”. And also, given the precise technical choreography his shows require, he’s scared of things going wrong. He agreed to do it only if Soho theatre provided counselling (one of the protests levelled at Kim Noble Will Die was from a psychiatrist who branded the theatre irresponsible for allowing Noble to perform it).
 
He bridles, too, when I ask if some sequences in the new show are “stunts”; he worries about the word for the next two hours. The posing as a woman and developing intimate relationships with men online? It’s all true – he shows me his Tinder account to prove it. The donning of a fake uniform to work voluntary shifts at B&Q? It’s not done for art’s sake, says Noble. It’s his life. “I certainly didn’t go, ‘God, I’m lonely. Fuck it, I’ll make a show about loneliness.’ I can’t do that – I’m not talented enough. I just went out and did these projects and filmed them, not knowing where they would go and what they’re for.”
 
The authenticity questions bother Noble, I think, because he isn’t entirely sure what’s “real” about how he lives his life. Like plenty of artists who have cannibalised their lives for their art, it’s hard not to start engineering the former to generate material for the latter. “Maybe I do play up the stereotypical lonely man a bit,” he says, sounding a bit forlorn. “There’s an element of becoming your casting. But I need to do something, right? You’ve got to do something.” Aged 40, Noble is nonplussed to find that pretending to work in Ikea, blowing up Jeremy Clarkson books, or guerrilla-washing his neighbour’s car is what he actually does. Sometimes it’s enjoyable, he says, and sometimes “it’s like, ‘Oh God, I’ve got to go and do this’”.

Does that sound familiar? Perhaps one reason why Noble’s work is so compelling is that his bizarre activities echo what the rest of us do. They’re arbitrary and often futile – but, in his case, overtly so. Where he diverges more drastically from you and me (I hope) is in ethics. His first show raised hackles when he distributed his ex-girlfriend’s phone number and invited the audience to send her abusive messages. She threatened to sue.
 
There are already legal and ethical issues swirling around the use of other people’s lives in You’re Not Alone. “I put together an edit without all the things that would potentially be difficult for a producer or a venue,” says Noble glumly. “And it was 30 seconds to one minute long.” One personal relationship in particular has suffered, he says. “Someone’s been hurt – but I’d rather not say who.” How does that make him feel? “It made me question things. But it also made me feel angry and want to go further. I don’t want to be censored. I don’t want anything to be censored.”
 
In terms of self-censorship, he says, “my default is that it all goes in. And then I work backwards.” By this he means he removes things. “I’m not just crazily going about filming people and saying, ‘Fuck you, I’m putting this in my show.’ I care about people. I’m not just an arsehole.” And I haven’t killed anyone. Honest, I haven’t.”
Far from thinking his new show unethical or wilfully provocative, Noble worries it might, given its predecessor, be considered “lame”. “Where’s the ejaculate, Noble?” he imagines his audience saying. “Get the spunk out!” To be fair, I remind him, you do defecate on the floor of a church. “Yeah,” he agrees, “but the church wasn’t open. I could have waited for Sunday service, couldn’t I?”
 
But unlike Kim Noble Will Die, such scenes of degradation aren’t the point of You’re Not Alone, which trades less in shock than in sympathy and the human yearning for connection. That’s why his dad’s story is in there. “With the stuff I was doing about me in my room,” says Noble, “and seeing Dad alone and confused in a different room, and all those people in their separate little rooms, telling his story suddenly seemed really relevant.”
 
If anything, he’s frustrated he can’t tell more of it, aware that these scenes form the moral – and even the ideological – heart of the show. “I’m not a political person who’ll stand up and go, ‘This is appalling, look at all these people dying alone,’” he says, picking up his scissors and returning to carving up his life for our entertainment. “I don’t do that. But it’s kind of true.”

For those unfamiliar with his work this gives a flavour of his style - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7QT9vc0D9w

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2015, 05:36:11 AM »
Also the old Noble & Silver stuff has resurfaced online.  Their comedy lab is really great and you should watch it now (though sadly the beginning/end are cut off on this upload) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgMjklFeD58

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2015, 09:43:58 AM »
Noble&Silver's series was dreadful. The only memorable details of it:

1. Episode 1 included a mention of Kelly Monteith. That might have been the only mention of KM on British TV in the last decade.
2. Catherine Tate appeared in the "Live At Hen&Chickens" episode. This was at the start of her tv career, pre-"Bovverred".

That's it. And neither of those details made the shows they were in any good.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2015, 01:02:38 PM »
I saw it on Friday night and enjoyed it a great deal, though didn't think it was quite as good as Kim Noble Must Die. There's some fantastic ideas there, and very funny scenes (his obsession with a local Morrison's employee, and when he starts working unpaid for B&Q, and then Ikea, especially) but I felt a bit uncomfortable with the sections where he poses as a woman online, especially when he meets the guys in real life.

Will write more later as I'm short on time, but it's certainly a fascinating show which I'd recommend everyone see, I just have a few caveats about some of the content...

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2015, 02:36:37 PM »
I don't really understand how some of his stuff is legal, such as covertly filming his neighbours having sex through drilling a hole in their adjoining wall. Like Chuck Berry secretly filming in the toilets of his hotel, that's illegal, surely?

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/aug/21/edinburgh-festival-2014-review-kim-noble-youre-not-alone#comments

It just seems so 'who is the real sick man in this so-called society?' to me.

Quote
It is undoubtedly a troubling show but, goodness, there are plenty of things in life we should find offensive but accept as perfectly normal. What about old people who spend days at a time alone and unvisited, or the fact we can live next-door to somebody for 20 years and still not know their name, or that people die and nobody notices until a bill goes unpaid?

Those things are really offensive, and Noble tackles our corrosive loneliness in a guerrilla theatre-style show that is certainly provocative (it's not often you see chicken fillets fashioned into female genitalia) and sometimes deeply unethical (drilling a hole through the dividing wall so that you can chart your neighbours' sexual activity may be an artistic action too far), but which also includes random acts of kindness.

Oh fuck off. That's like saying, 'So the artist may have cut his unwilling participant into pieces... but what about the government who blows small children to pieces with bombs every day?'

It's somehow incredibly typical of the Guardian to defend a guy secrets filming people having sex without consent and screening the footage to a paying audience while simultaneously publishing articles about the absolute severity of revenge porn. As long as something comes with the bourgeois label of "provocatively artistic" attached they'll immediately suspend their ethical scruples. erg.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2015, 03:47:35 PM by gout_pony »

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 05:03:41 PM »
I don't really understand how some of his stuff is legal, such as covertly filming his neighbours having sex through drilling a hole in their adjoining wall. Like Chuck Berry secretly filming in the toilets of his hotel, that's illegal, surely?

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/aug/21/edinburgh-festival-2014-review-kim-noble-youre-not-alone#comments

It just seems so 'who is the real sick man in this so-called society?' to me.

Oh fuck off. That's like saying, 'So the artist may have cut his unwilling participant into pieces... but what about the government who blows small children to pieces with bombs every day?'

It's somehow incredibly typical of the Guardian to defend a guy secrets filming people having sex without consent and screening the footage to a paying audience while simultaneously publishing articles about the absolute severity of revenge porn. As long as something comes with the bourgeois label of "provocatively artistic" attached they'll immediately suspend their ethical scruples. erg.

It's slightly more complicated than that (though still of concern morally) in that he drills a hole through most of the wall, but not all of it, and then places a microphone to record the noise they make. Which he could already hear to a certain extent in his flat, anyway, but this does magnify it. I do feel it's important to stress that he wasn't actually filming them having sex though. Some of his acts are illegal though, and he is arrested at one point, though oddly enough it was for one of the sillier sections where he starts working at Ikea without them knowing.

I've got to say I'm glad I also saw Kim Noble Must Die as that gave a real insight in to who he is, how he copes with his mental illness, because without that context he could come across as a bit cunt-ish at times in You're Not Alone. And despite defending it to an extent, it is a troubling piece. I'm really really glad such a thing exists though.

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2015, 05:19:46 PM »
Okay - that's moderately less awful, I guess. I don't reckon the article made it very clear that he was just recording the audio.

Still, I'm very wary of artists not being held morally accountable because their interesting / beautiful / provocative art is inextricably intertwined with abusive or criminal behaviour. I mean, I get a bit queazy about the fact that my parents have a Gaugin painting on the wall of some naked 12 or 13-year-old girls that Gaugin was very likely using for sex.

Same with the nastier public stunts in Wonder Showzen, Nathan For You or Eric Andre. It starts to feel a bit like the tramp racing in Nathan Barley.

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 05:16:00 AM »
I saw this and was briefly in it as one of the dancers on Saturday night. Not really sure what I make of it really as part if me think it was just pointless and silly and shocking for shocking-sake and part of me thinks it was very subtle and cleverer than it seems. I struggle at times with the whole concept of something being 'Art' but broadly like the idea that the more something makes you think about your own morals/ethics/viewpoints the more it is art then this certainly falls into that category.

My own take is that I wasn't really that offended by any of it (for me I was most outraged by him ruining the experience of a paying audience member by making them spend the entire show listening to headphones) but that then created a level of doubt in my head that I am now worrying that I am a bit of a cunt. The issue of surveillance /lack of consent / stalking is interesting and I do wonder if the fact that I am not really being bothered that he showing a theatre audience supposedly genuine,photos of a man's spunking cock sent to him in good faith is fair game. Has the internet really numbed us that much?

---

I also was really intrugued by how funny I found this. The comedy timing in parts is sublime and whilst it wasn't subtle there were certain moments were the effort gone into creating a pay off really was something else - I suppose there was a certain dynamic to it that meant there was a great deal of contrast in it that just kept exaggerating the pathos and comedy of bits that rapidly followed each other.

---

In summary, I don't think it is great but it was certainly entertaining, interesting and definitely funny.

---

P.s. How absolutely certain are we that it was not staged and the characters are not actors / stooges / in on the joke? I'm not saying... actually I am questioning whether the whole thing, including the personal background of Kim Noble the human being are all set up (or exaggerated?). What if Dave and Keith are actors? What if the 'year' spent working in B&Q was only the 10minutes it would have taken to get that footage? What ifthe cock photos are just his cock? What if he doesn't actually suffer from depression in real life and he has made it up to justify a low-status position that let's him get away with doing what the fuck he likes in his theatre shows? What if that isn't actually his dad and is an actor? What if the whole thing is a based on a prank? There is no reason to assume his comments in interviews are any more reliable than his shows so why am I to trust him about anything? Why am I to trust anybody about anything anymore?

Are we all fakes?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 05:28:21 AM by hummingofevil »

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2015, 05:15:04 AM »
It was the best show I saw at last years Edinburgh Fringe, but it maybe that mainstream comedy is so prosaic these days that something that is that genuinely bold seems like a revelation.

Certainly the extent to which it is or isn't all a work (wrestling/carny slang for made up) was one of the things which was interesting about it, I went from being sure parts of it were faked to being worried it was all real while watching it, but I remember  finding Noble's struggle to make sense of life quite moving in the end.

I'd recommend going to see it, but be aware even the most open minded people will find some of it morally questionable.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 12:42:36 PM »
I seem to be one of the very few that absolutely loved the series and I haven't seen anything like it on telly before or since. Truly memorable stuff.   Sadly it's unavailable to viddy (the first and second episode are on it the youtube but the rest are God knows where) but trust me lads it was great. It might not have been side-splitting funny but does comedy have to be? No, it doesn't LO and stop answering your own stupid, boring questions.

When it finished I left the theatre feeling inspired and would recommend the show to anybody - even my mum. Whether parts of it are real or not is part of the show itself but if pushed I would lean towards it being real.


I'm not sure why he seems to get so much stick from people - perhaps it's hearsay that travels and transforms into misunderstanding as above. I didn't find the show particularly 'shocking' but that probably says more about me than it does about the show.

He definitely appears to be more at ease, insouciant with himself since the last time I saw him and as a fan-boy that makes me happy. Go see it.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2015, 01:22:46 PM »
Since posting I had a gander on youtube and the series (minus one episode that I've never seen and would LOVE to know anything about) is on there.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1SOzGsHx6QIPK3xFtHEPGA/videos

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2015, 01:23:35 AM »
Most current posters on this forum have probably never heard of SOTCAA, and the duo who created its site certainly had their detractors on here, including some hostility between them and Neil. But given that a lot of SOTCAA's most despised people, including Ricky Gervais, Simon Pegg, the Mighty Boosh, Danny Wallace and Sheridan Smith, have gone on to be successful and varyingly applauded, it's rather cheering to observe that Noble and Silver, who they also hated, never made it.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2015, 01:58:16 AM »
Most current posters on this forum have probably never heard of SOTCAA, and the duo who created its site certainly had their detractors on here, including some hostility between them and Neil. But given that a lot of SOTCAA's most despised people, including Ricky Gervais, Simon Pegg, the Mighty Boosh, Danny Wallace and Sheridan Smith, have gone on to be successful and varyingly applauded, it's rather cheering to observe that Noble and Silver, who they also hated, never made it.

What a weird post.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2015, 02:25:21 AM »
Why is that?

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2015, 02:29:52 AM »
What a weird post.

And then some. Plus you could say that Noble's made it to a certain extent given the critical acclaim his last two shows have received. And given his mental health issues, how he's managed to stay alive in general.

Why is that?

Why do you find someone's (perceived) failure cheering? It's quite unpleasant, especially given Noble's issues.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2015, 02:38:55 AM »
Why is that?

Generally what SMBH just said. Unless I'm misreading a giant ironic dig at SOTCAA's misjudged targets.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2015, 02:56:49 AM »
I only discovered this forum knowing that the SOTCAA people were then still on it, and the only thing I know about Noble is that SOTCAA hated Noble and Silver. Just struck me as an example of how much has changed in that commentsts on here seemed to be positive, surely Noble has been nowhere near as successful as the SOTCAA targets I mentioned earlier, most of whom I also think are dreadful. Wasn't criticising Noble over his mental health problems, as I didn't know about them in the first place.

Didn't agree with everything SOTCAA was for, but did agree with what they were against -- did admire ELW10's cussedness in continuing to praise Lenny Henry and Ben Elton when Gervais was pretty much unassailable.

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2015, 06:18:29 PM »
And then some. Plus you could say that Noble's made it to a certain extent given the critical acclaim his last two shows have received. And given his mental health issues, how he's managed to stay alive in general.


And of course Silver has gone on to a successful career as professional Snooker player Judd Trump.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2015, 08:32:05 PM »
I only discovered this forum knowing that the SOTCAA people were then still on it, and the only thing I know about Noble is that SOTCAA hated Noble and Silver. Just struck me as an example of how much has changed in that commentsts on here seemed to be positive, surely Noble has been nowhere near as successful as the SOTCAA targets I mentioned earlier, most of whom I also think are dreadful. Wasn't criticising Noble over his mental health problems, as I didn't know about them in the first place.

Didn't agree with everything SOTCAA was for, but did agree with what they were against -- did admire ELW10's cussedness in continuing to praise Lenny Henry and Ben Elton when Gervais was pretty much unassailable.

If I recall, the SOTCAA chaps pretty much had a problem with most British comedy produced after 1999.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2015, 09:46:23 PM »
Okay, but I could and did empathise with their dislike of spin and punching down. They didn't care for American stuff either, which, as others on here have pointed out before, Comedy Chat has long since gone over to.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2015, 10:26:57 PM »
Okay, but I could and did empathise with their dislike of spin and punching down. They didn't care for American stuff either, which, as others on here have pointed out before, Comedy Chat has long since gone over to.

You're not alone.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2015, 10:27:16 PM »
I don't recall them saying anything bad about Sheridan Smith.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2015, 10:32:51 PM »
Personally I like her, but when they were going on about Two Pints Of Lager etc being "inexplicably recommissioned" and pouring justifiable bile on Susan Nickson, they referred to Smith as 'Sheridan Tits', and were displeased by her inclusion in The Comic Strip Presents, "Sex Actually".

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2015, 12:13:37 AM »
I was enjoying this thread and then those twats came up.

No wonder people are flouncing!

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2015, 08:59:07 AM »
I was enjoying this thread and then those twats came up.

No wonder people are flouncing!

You're not alone.

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2020, 02:40:59 AM »
I remember reading this thread at the time and thinking there's something which I will never get the chance to see. But here it is: https://vimeo.com/415165345

Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2020, 10:59:22 AM »
Good find!

Certainly a tough watch, and plenty that I'd find hard to justify, though by the end I was thinking more about privacy and isolation rather than the ethics of any individual stunt.  So an artistic success, even if a questionable one in places.

The censored faces and URL at the end suggests there was an intention to release this officially somehow.  Wonder what the story there is?


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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2020, 11:58:51 AM »
Thanks so much for this, was looking around for his stand-up stuff only a couple of days ago. Didn't look very hard though, did I?

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2020, 12:14:18 PM »
I remember reading this thread at the time and thinking there's something which I will never get the chance to see. But here it is: https://vimeo.com/415165345

Thanks hugely for that, that's a fantastic find. I did see it live but always wanted to see it again, but thought I'd never get the chance and can't wait to rewatch it now.

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Re: Kim Noble - You're Not Alone
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2020, 12:58:03 PM »
No way! Thank you, thank you, thank you!