Simon Evans

Simon Evans

Simon Evans is a standup comedian who has performed everywhere from Live at the Apollo to the News Quiz. His series of comedy lectures on economics 'Simon Evans goes to market' is broadcast on Radio 4.

Beyond 1984: why I’m listening to George Orwell

One of the great things about touring in the age of audio books, is that you can use your time driving between gigs, with nothing more to concentrate on than other half-tons of steel and rubber hurtling down ‘Smart’ motorways at suddenly varying speeds, to really binge on reading. I’d long been meaning to expand

The problem with holidays

Of all the things sacrificed to public health in the last eighteen months, I think the one I regret the least is the default poolside Summer holiday. I first began to understand something about it, and the counter intuitive aspects of human happiness, on holiday in Cozumel, off the coast of Mexico, in 1999. I

The problem with Brighton’s summer hordes

I expect there are those among you who are pleased to see their home towns returning to something like normality this summer. Well, not me. Brighton and Hove was bliss during lockdown. Without the endless Southward drift of London chaff – pronounce that word anyway you feel works, hard F or soft – my adopted

What Sci Fi novels can teach us about uncertainty

In times of great uncertainty – and Eurovision humiliation aside, 2021 surely qualifies – many are tempted to examine ‘speculative fiction’ from the past, to understand the present. 1984 has had a good year, and seems much less dated than anything actually from 1984, such as Wham!, The Karate Kid or Roland Rat. Huxley’s Brave

How to dip into political philosophy

Beneath the polarised political spats that characterise our national conversation, there is a surprising degree of consensus between left and right on what is wrong with society. Selfishness, corruption, tribalism and a failure to build for the long term – these are universally decried. We can all see the same glitching appliances, but we seem determined

The rise of racist fonts

So many headlines over the last year have read more like deadpan satire than actual news that it’s hard to believe we don’t live in an episode of Chris Morris’s still unequalled The Day Today. Take this example last week from the Guardian: ‘Tom Hanks’s son criticized for using “racist” font on merchandise collection.’ As I sat

What does science say about souls?

Until the mid 19th Century, most of us believed that we had a soul. It was what separated us from the animals. This belief could be modified to accommodate slavery, Malthusian economics and to allow dogs into Heaven, but the principle was pretty stable. A hundred years later, thanks largely to Darwin, and innovations such

Why alpha males don’t wear ties

Claire Robinson, in (where else?) The Guardian, this week, announced that ‘the phallic necktie is an outdated symbol of white male rule in New Zealand’s parliament’: ‘The necktie echoes the shape of the codpiece… designed … to emphasise a European nobleman’s importance through his large phallic size. It is arrow shaped and directs the eye of

Homer is a hard read – made easy with earbuds

Mention Homer now and most people will picture yellow, rather than bronze. But Homer Simpson’s comic status as a modern anti hero only makes sense with a knowledge, however vague, of the heroes in The Iliad and The Odyssey.  They underpin the last three thousand years of western culture. Achilles, Hector, Odysseus and Helen… these

James Corden and the problem with post-Trump comedy

With admirable and determined positivity, James Corden and the Late, Late Show released a Les Mis-themed video last night, bidding a fond adieu to the Trump era. It was a coup — if you’ll forgive the word — de théatre. Corden and his team are well-versed in the well-oiled machinery of the viral video. And

In defence of audiobooks

A certain stigma has attached itself to audiobooks. To the old school bibliophile, they are the literary equivalent of pre-chewed steak. The sceptics may have a point. After all, reading is tiring for the same reason that chewing is – work is being done. The brain is just a lump of clever fat, of course,