Josie Long Susses Out Investigative Journalism

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 45 months ago
Josie Long Susses Out Investigative Journalism ★★★★☆ 4

Josie Long ponders something very deep and important. Image by Idil Sukan.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Microphone in one hand, (metaphorical) magnifying glass in the other and (not metaphorical) sidekick Martin Williams to her right, Josie Long is dipping her toe into the murky waters of investigative journalism. Investigations With Josie Long is a new, occasional show at The Invisible Dot.

Rattling off a tasty — if not entirely tasteful — Charlie Hebdo hors d'oeuvre ("On top of being the worst kind of cunts, these cunts are always so smug"), Long gets stuck into the main course — creationist schools in the UK. The ingredients she has to work with here are grist to a lefty comedian's mill: fire and brimstone syllabuses preaching how homosexuals can be 'cured', and that the Loch Ness Monster is no mere myth but a bona fide Scottish tourist attraction.

Target-wise, this is tantamount to thrusting a grenade down the beak of a sitting duck, but that doesn't make the show any less enjoyable. Long gleefully recites (actual) school songs which claim thinking for yourself is hazardous, and every time Williams — a professional investigative journalist who spends the night behind a laptop — chips in with PowerPoint slides and short videos, his comedic counterpart visibly shuffles around in the wings, looking for the first chance to interject.

There's further interjection in the form of an erstwhile pupil of a creationist school, Jonny Scaramanga, who was apparently so affected by the experience, he once went momentarily blind. That's when it hits home that all this is pretty shocking — considering the number of these schools we have in the UK (in London too), and how government regulation for them seems so wishy-washy.

Segments of the show do jar. There's a five minute non sequitur about Nick Clegg's dad's bank's Jersey account (branding Clegg a c-word soon after you've done the same to mass murderers somewhat neutralises the term), and when it comes to summing up their findings, there's an awkward lack of corroboration. Long isn't the most hard-hitting of investigators (how often did Roger Cook erupt in a giggling fit?) and Williams speaks so sparingly you sometimes forget he's there. But together, these two make a motley duo — taking poisonous truths to task, and making us guffaw while they do so.

Josie Long Investigates returns to The Invisible Dot, 2 Northdown Street, N1 9BG, on 25 March. Tickets are £10 (£9 concessions). Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 03 March 2015