Updated: Sunday, 17th February 2019 @ 6:14am

Gig review: Bright Club @ Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester – January 31

Gig review: Bright Club @ Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester – January 31

By Sophie Arnold

Side-splitting science anecdotes prompted laughter and applause on the Bright Club’s return to Manchester at Nexus Art Cafe on Thursday.

Writers and researchers took to the stage to provide an evening of humorous and educational talks on all things Reconsidered.

Nestled in the bustling network of Manchester’s Northern Quarter streets lies Nexus Art Cafe, a small, intimate setting that some have likened to a nursery school.

With multi-coloured tablecloths, the latest exhibition adorning the walls and comfy sofas aplenty, you would be forgiven for assuming this was not your average cafe.

It has also become the home of the Manchester contingent of Bright Club, a concept created to allow academics to share their passions and expertise in a casual environment.

Andrew Taylor, the evening’s compere, expertly bridged each act with a witty repertoire which included why most observational humour can be dismissed with an easy scientific explanation.

A softly spoken and rather unassuming presence, Andrew gently guided the audience through the variety of the evening’s topics from nuclear waste to Spiderman’s nonsensical history.

First-up was Keir Martin, a social anthropologist who hastily explained that this did not necessarily mean he liked people, but was more fascinated with social behaviour.

Natasha Bray, a Phd student in neuroscience, then amused the crowd by explaining the scientific benefit of your wife being called a ‘slag’.

Third on the bill was Dave Dawes, a nurse, who explained why no one would ever keep their new year’s resolutions due to the difference between the cortex and limbex systems in the brain.

Dave’s lively performance – including plenty of audience participation – took us neatly into a musical interlude by acoustic performer Tom George.

He entranced the audience with the beautiful melodies and intrinsically entwined lyrics of tracks such as ‘So Naive’ and ‘Drifter’.

After the interval, the sold out audience settled for more enlightenment and of course more comedy.

Dan Carpenter, a comic book historian, took to the stage to explain the complex issue of Ret-Con (retroactive continuity).

This is the altering of a superhero’s back-story so that it actually makes sense by ironing out imperfections caused by years’ of different writer’s contributions.

He was followed by Matt Gunther, a material scientist in the nuclear industry, who explained the complexities of being a glorified bin-man and the nuclear conundrum.

He likened the unpopularity of the nuclear industry at present to that of Lance Armstrong and had the audience in stitches with his comparisons as to why.

Last but not least came Mark Holden, a chemist who explained how chemistry was the middle child of the science family.

Physics is the oldest member, and the elder pair remember younger sibling biology colouring-in, still perceiving that to be all it does.

Mark spoke of his work with nanoporous materials that come in bombs and warned of the dangers in flying these back from China.

Organiser Hannah Mosley said: “The current exhibition at Nexus Art Cafe often provides inspiration for the show's theme – this month's show, 'Reconsidered', is by a group of embroiderers taking a fresh look at their practice.”

After another musical performance from Tom George, the audience departed, sore from laughing and each newly armed with a plethora of science-related facts.

As comedy evenings go, Bright Club has proven itself to break the mould with extraordinary aplomb.

Picture courtesy of Dullhunk, with thanks

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