Even after over 20 years Mark Thomas still retains the enthusiasm and passion of someone starting out on a career that straddles the line between anti-capitalist agitator and tongue-in-cheek scamp.
Thomas admits that his return to activism in the 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent tour was a touch slow to start but show evolves as time passes; Thomas has set himself a target of 100 trouble-causing incidents by May 2014. The penalty if he doesn’t manage it is to pay £1,000 to UKIP. Some motivation.
Already in the bag is a two-fingered salute to the most anti-Fair Trade corporations across the globe and descending with an Irish flashmob on an Apple store over its tax policies.
Thomas’ outrage at the treatment of employees both here and abroad, concern about the influence of porn on children kids and enough right-wing bashing keeps a partisan crowd onside but there are smaller, more relatable issues such as dog dirt, stickers on books and the detritus left by cottagers on Clapham Common.
In typical scouse fashion, it was a surreptitious ‘book-heckle’ – using subversive homemade stickers on a range of Thatcher biographies – that drew the biggest cheers of the night.
While some acts are ironic, deliberately ridiculous and primarily humourous the more impressive are genuinely borne of a desire to change things for the better.
But Thomas isn’t flippant in dealing with the bigger issues, he never feels at risk of taking himself too seriously. His is a power-to-the-people show and that was underlined brilliantly when the fire alarm went off: the audience simply traipsed outside and out followed Thomas, who continued his show in the grandstand in Queen’s Square.
Hardly an act of dissent but certainly one that reflected Thomas’ riotous, subversive, unpredictable show.