In the latest of his reviews for the Gazette, Chris Parkinson-Brown reviews broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, live at the Anvil.

I’d waited a long time for this day. Friday, January 31, 2020 had arrived and my dreams were about to be fulfilled. Finally, I was going to see Sandi Toksvig performing live.

At The Anvil last Friday, though, a strange mood pervaded my fellow Toksvigians. Some seemed irrationally “high,” others inexplicably sad and moody. As we went in, a chap looked at his watch and mumbled “just under four hours to go”. I reassured him – “No, no – she’ll be on at 7:30 prompt, I’m sure.”

And she was, bounding on stage to the tune of Ode To Joy, causing cheers from some, groans from others. A couple of bits of silliness later, though, and it was as if she’d cast a spell: the mood changed completely, everyone laughing and ready to party.

And off we went. Not an evening of stand-up, exactly, but a sort of cross between QI and a cosy chat about curiosity and celebration of the ridiculous.

We learned of her failed attempt to get arrested whilst campaigning with the Women’s Equality Party, and of the world’s only asparamancer, who predicts the future using asparagus: about the Biscuit Injury Threat Evaluation study and the meaning of daspygal (ask Mr. Google!)

There was a quiz and badges to be won - all just utterly hilarious and, well, uplifting. Her friends have, via a convoluted misunderstanding, labelled her a National Trevor, and I agree – she’s our very own Great Dane, an adopted pet to love and cherish.

The evening ended with everybody conducting the final bars of Ode To Joy. Mrs. Reviewer said it was a metaphor for something or other that was particularly relevant last Friday, but I don’t know what. I do know, though, that Sandi united that audience with unbridled optimism, just when they needed it most. That’s not a metaphor, it’s a fact.