Did you hear the one about the comedy writer who went into politics?

*Record scratch* *Freeze frame*
Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation…

Just a quick update because I realise I haven’t posted any news since, well, the general election. Not that much has happened since then, eh?!

Yes, as we all collectively bite our nails at the prospect of a hard Brexit/nuclear war/our favourite going out too soon in The Great British Bake Off,  I have been trying to play a small part in trying to make the world a less bad place. My local Labour party has selected me to work with our Westminster City Councillors in Churchill Ward, Pimlico (London SW1) and it’s an incredible honour to join them in helping the local community. If you’d like to be part of our campaign for the Council elections (which aren’t until May 2018, but the work starts now!), then please do drop me a line via the Contact page on my site here, or email me at andreamannlabour@gmail.com. All help is hugely appreciated (AND campaigning is really good for getting your Fitbit steps up. What’s not to love?!).

One reason why I’ve decided to Get Involved In Politics Properly is because, well, jokes about Donald Trump can only do so much, it turns out. In fact, that’s partly the point I make in this piece I wrote for the latest issue of Fabiana (the magazine of the Fabian Women’s Network) – so please read and enjoy and check out all the great articles by other fabulous Fabian Women in it, too.

That said, I am still trying to bring down the government through the medium of satire. The brilliant comedy politics podcast I’m lucky enough to work on – Strong And Stable – has returned and you can listen to it here or subscribe to it on iTunes here. It features funny, informed people like David Schneider, James O’Brien, Grainne Maguire, Ian Dunt, Tiff Stevenson, Mark Steel, Josh Widdicombe, Jan Ravens… and that’s just the first two episodes! Just wait ’til you see who we’ve got coming up in the rest of them!

And finally *shuffles newsreaders’ notes* outside of all this, I’m also working on a new script idea which I’m quite excited about, and not just because it’s a romcom about a comedy writer who becomes Prime Minister. Just kidding! She becomes America’s first woman President. #lifegoals #keepingitrealistic

In the meantime, I’ll be learning all these off by heart.

A podcast for the many, not the few

 Greetings, electorate! This is just a quick blog post to say that I’ve been part of the writing team on a BRAND NEW (yes THAT NEW) election podcast called Strong And Stable.

It’s funnier than a pre-rehearsed joke at Prime Minister’s Question Time, it’s hosted by the wonderful David Schneider, and the guests on episode one are James O’Brien, Josie Long and Bob Mills. Oh, and it features special appearances from Jonathan Pie and Rory Bremner. I know!

You can listen & download it here in the iTunes store. Please listen, enjoy, subscribe, leave feedback… and then, of course, vote Labour. 😉

Hope you like it!

I’m privileged to live near Westminster – and we’re all privileged to live in Britain

I live just half a mile from the Houses of Parliament. I wasn’t sure what to write about this week’s horrific attack… So I thought I would just post what I wrote on Facebook about it…

I wouldn’t normally mark myself as ‘Safe in an attack’ but I live just half a mile from the Houses of Parliament – and this afternoon was working just around the corner from them, doing my regular Wednesday afternoon shift at the wonderful Abbey community centre (named after Westminster Abbey): a hub for local residents and workers in the area, just yards from Parliament Square.

I always think I’m lucky to live so close to Westminster. I can’t get over the fact that on a very still night, we can hear Big Ben’s chimes from our living room; that I can walk less than 10 minutes, and there it is as I turn the corner: the mother of all parliaments, in all its gothic glory. I walk past it – and over the Westminster Bridge crossing to Whitehall – a dozen times a week, at all times of the day or night. It’s no coincidence, I’m sure, that I’ve got involved in politics since going past this place so often: I’ve seen MPs and advisers and staff and others coming to and fro from what it surely the most beautiful office building in the country, and our Parliament has thus become very real and tangible.

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What A Difference 29 Years Makes

parliamentWhat were you doing in 1988? Apart from enjoying Rain Man, A Fish Called Wanda and Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’? I was 17 years old and also enjoying all of the above – as well as studying for A-levels at a comprehensive school in the West Midlands, wearing clothes which ran the full colour palette from black to grey, and sporting a frankly spectacular perm.

In 1988, my perm and I also spent a week at the Houses of Parliament, shadowing my local MP, the ebullient Tory Patrick Cormack. This was as a result of winning a sort of competition that he ran every year for sixth-formers in his constituency, and despite me blurting out in my interview that I didn’t like Margaret Thatcher. I can only assume that, in that moment at least, his admiration for youthful chutzpah overrode his admiration for the Iron Lady.

It’s safe to say that the Rt Hon Patrick Cormack and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on political matters, but he was a perfectly gracious host. I spent my week shadowing him and hanging out with his parliamentary assistants, watching the action in the Chamber and, on one memorable evening, being lucky enough to sit next to the brilliant, funny Tony Banks at a posh parliamentary dinner.

But while it was a fascinating week, it was one that also totally and utterly put me off going into politics.

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Here’s To The Ones Who Dream: A 17th Helpful Reminder for 2017

lala desktop
SPOILER ALERT: La La Land is really rather lovely.

(Hope I haven’t ruined it for anyone who accidentally read that.)

To be fair, it was never exactly going to be a hard sell for me. I’m a jazz singer who loves MGM musicals, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. Put all these ingredients together and tease me with a poster that mimics the colour palette of Singin’ In The Rain? I am IN.

And the film is truly adorable. Charming, funny, unashamedly romantic… and I mean the latter in the widest sense. There may be a love story at its heart, but above all, La La Land is a film about pursuing your dreams. And there are few notions more romantic than that.

In January 2016, I wrote a piece for Standard Issue called ‘16 Helpful Reminders For 2016’. So naturally, what with it being January 2017, I’ve been thinking about a 17th reminder to add to the list. And after much head-scratching, soul-searching and, yes, watching La La Land, I’ve decided on one. It is… *big musical-style overture* …

‘You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true.’

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