WHILE everyone else is rushing around in a frenzy of 21st century activity, Jeremy Hardy, who brings his stand-up show to the Courtyard next week, is busy getting not much done.

His broadband's gone down and attempts to have it fixed are proving almost impossible.

So, having access to his (agreeable) neighbour's wireless connection, he's given up. "It's like Kafka's The Trial," he says. "You just meet a wall of bureacracy and unhelpfulness."

He claims, too, that it's laziness that has caused the surrender. "I need a new carpet, too, but by the time you've done the garden, switched gas provider, got a new mortgage and a pension ... and fixed the broadband, you realise you're 80."

Referred to recently as a man who seems like a wise old uncle - a bit eccentric, but talking sense - Jeremy admits to occasionally growing "a bit of a beard in an attempt to look serious, but I just look like I'm homeless. It's not a good look on me. I think it only really works if you're in The Dubliners."

It might, though, simply be another example of his self-confessed laziness: "Shaving is really dull. I only do it if I have a funeral to go to."

Death is one of the big things he talks about in his show, along with war and Iraq, interwoven with wry observations about the minutiae of life. But as he roams through all these things, there are two subjects that don't come in for the Hardy treatment.

"I don't talk about sport, don't get it, and I don't talk about TV soaps." Nor, it emerges, will he be considering the current brouhaha surrounding TV phone-in quizzes. "If you get sucked into that world, you pay the price. It's hard to be outraged."

Conscious that comics tend to start from a negative perspective - "where everything's a bit rubbish and then chipping away at it " - he is keen to stress that the show "is not at all gloomy. My life's mission is to make people leave having had a good laugh and feeling happier."

Jeremy Hardy plays the Courtyard next Thursday, May 3 at 8.15pm. To book, call the box office on 0870 1122330.