The Man Who Woke Up


Sean Dissington || January 15th

We live in a strange world, events that we know are complex are presented to us as a Disney-like struggle between good and evil, yet at the same time we are told issues we feel are black-and-white are very nuanced. We may not get the Internet speed we pay for but we can have #bantz with their twitter customer service team, who of course will do nothing. Ethical consumerism, which tried to raise a green shoot in the nineties has been replaced by hash-tags and triggered rants on Reddit, and every night we can be anesthetised by teenage kids with the back story of limited talent and painful mediocrity trying to sing their way into our wallets.

Modern life is increasingly detached, virtual and inauthentic Amazon, Google and Visa know us inside and out, mining our searches, location and movements for new ways to sell to us, they know our dreams and our darkest desires, whilst at the same time trying to tell us that they are our friends.

We are sleepwalking into the worst of dystopian visions. Our privacy is now a concept used against us, as if a desire to keep our thoughts to ourselves implies an intention of wrongdoing. Our banks, having bankrupted themselves now present themselves as a friend to the family, whilst at the same time home ownership amongst the under 30s is at such a low level it is almost an abstract concept.

With a world like this, how have we become so passive? We can all see what's going on, we sign a car payment agreement and agree to pay interest on a loan for the depreciation of an asset that we don’t own, but this seems to be how life has become.

The man who woke up is different. He tells a story of when people worked to buy things when the needed them, not when they were fashionable. He challenges us to think about BREXIT, taxes and immigration. He tells young people that they will never own a house. He's not lying. He has an ability to see through the fog that surrounds us, he can devine the truth from an MPs speech, and he knows that we can all go to hell for all Natwest care.

This is more remarkable because skeletons don't even have eyes. The man who woke up is Ben MacDonald-Evans, and he knows what's happening. He knows the clutch of Apple gadgets in your rucksack worth £5,000 don't make you a good person (but may make you an indebted one), he knows that loud populism seems to be winning in the fight against truth.

I’ve seen Ben performing as the man who woke up, and he is clever, sharp and insightful. He makes us laugh, at the world, at people and at ourselves. He doesn’t sugar coat the truth, but he's no more brutal than he needs to be. His act is a pure abstract of what you might expect, and it’s a beautiful example of improv.

You can see Ben in a day-long performance at the Trading Love festival, on the 28th of this month at the Tontine Building in Hanley.

You can find out about Trading Love here:

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