Thursday, 19 October 2017

We're (Nearly) in the Money.

Sometimes, good news comes in small, yet no less valid packages; so it was for me today, when I received a breakdown of my Edinburgh settlement.

Now, don’t get me wrong: the amount quoted won’t act in lieu of a pension (Ha!:“Pension”), but I'm pleased to say not only will the remaining half of my venue hire fee be covered by my ticket sales, I’ll also get nearly two hundred quid back.

‘What’s this, David?” I hear you ask. “They're paying you?”
“Yes, that’s right,” I reply to no-one in particular, “£191.07, to be precise.”

Let’s not get too excited; if you tally up the cost of PR, digs, flyerers, technicians, printing, travelling and living, I’m nowhere near being in profit - but I am up on last year, which suggests if I'd had a later performance time, I may have fared even better.

There’s definitely a small sense progression when I compare things to 2016; particularly now I’ve had a few months’ distance. The outlay was greater this year, but I got slightly more press coverage (the mention in the Telegraph & Comedy Central’s Funniest Jokes lists being the best bit) and sold slightly more tickets, despite the show kicking off at the same difficult start time of midday. I hoped for more reviews admittedly, but I was happier my show, and came out the other side of the Fringe relatively unbroken.

It’s surprising how these things can give you a better outlook. It certainly made today’s run-through in preparation for next week’s London dates more enjoyable than yesterday, though this could also be attributed to me being more up-to-speed a second day in. Now, forgive me if I go and blow the money on disco biscuits.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

GBBO 2017: Week Eight.

It was with a degree of sadness that we waved goodbye to Liam during tonight’s Great British Bake Off.

Personally, I was surprised he’d be even close to going out when he was so consistent, but it just goes to show just how quickly your fortunes can change if you have a bad week; so it was for Yan last time around and so it was for Liam tonight. Either way, he’s got a naturally lovely quality which I’m sure will stand him in good stead if he decides to persue baking in a media context. Whatever he does I’m sure the experience has given him confidence; he’s very self-assured for one so young.

Here’s tonight’s tweets. Enjoy:

8:01PM: The Bake That Time Forgot.

8:01PM: I banged out three good bakes once.

8:02PM: The Bedfordshire Clanger was Oliver Postgate's favourite dessert.

8:03PM: Paul Hollywood's bits to camera are beautifully lit.

8:05PM: I've always favoured the Hertfordshire Professor Yaffle over the Bedfordshire Clanger in the big Yaffle / Clanger debate.

8:06PM: Show us your clangers.

8:10PM: "Traditionally, slashes would be placed over one end of the clanger..." and Duff McKagans over the other end.

8:10PM: Bedfordshire Clangers are best eaten with a bowl of soup (Dragon).

8:17PM: Prue's wearing her reconstituted abacus jewellery again.

8:19PM: Sophie wants to punch Prue in the fag tunnel.

8:23PM: PAUL: "I came across this particular tart about three years ago"; that's no way to speak about Prue.

8:34PM: There's always one person on this type of programme that you swear at every time they appear on the screen. Can you guess who mine is?

8:40PM: My favourite plinth in Trafalgar Square is the sponge plinth.

8:42PM: The Naked Sponge; wasn't that a gameshow presented by Keith Chegwin?
8:44PM: I wish someone would tick my flavour box.

8:47PM: Kate should make a sponge Gerry Marsden to stand by her sponge Liver Building.

8:50PM: Do you think Henry Kelly would feel self-conscious when panning for gold?

9:04PM: In tribute to Kate's sponge Liver Building, I've made a sponge Albion House.

9:11PM: Not Yan and then Liam. No!

9:12PM: You knew when Sandi was crying so much that it had to be Liam. *Sad face*.

Never Minded.

I was deeply shocked to hear of Sean Hughes’ passing yesterday. 

Sean Hughes performing at Hitchin Mostly Comedy at The Market Theatre (11.12.14)

Richard Herring described his death as “a punch in the soul”, which hit the nail on the head for me. He was an extraordinary comic force who could hold a room in the palm of his hand and take control of it completely, with a fire and depth that belied his laconism. He was the definition of versatility, who could act, do stand-up, write novels and poetry. He was also just 51, which is no age to go, least of all for someone with his energy; it’s hard to believe the source of such wit is no longer with us.

The strange thing was I only spoke to him via email a week ago to arrange his next appearance at Mostly Comedy, which would have been in January. The conversation was brief, but it made the news even harder to grasp. I then had the macabre task of removing him from our listings, which had a grim finality to it; I never dreamt I’d be doing that.

The first time he played our club, the kid inside me was secretly overwhelmed to be in his company. He was one of those faces who’d been a big part of my teenage years that I’d never expected to meet. Our first conversation was admittedly a little tense - he’d been given the wrong stage-time by his agent and wasn’t happy about it - but he soon mellowed after the gig and ended up staying until late in the night while we interviewed him for our podcast. He was fascinating to talk to and deeply honest; he also very generous, giving Glyn a book of his poetry and me a DVD, as well as organising comps for me to see his tour in Cambridge the following week; I think we won him over after an awkward start.

The kindness and praise heaped upon him yesterday was bittersweet. I’m sure he would have had something pithy to say about it (he wasn’t one for self-censoring). But he was a fucking good comic who leaves a huge hole in the comedy industry; he’ll be sorely missed.

Sean Hughes at Hitchin Mostly Comedy at The Sun Hotel (14.12.16)

Monday, 16 October 2017

'University Challenged 2017/18: Week Thirteen (16.10.17)

If there was anyone riding roughshod over tonight’s University Challenge, it was the gloriously try-hard McDougall, who did everything in his power to convince everyone that he was interesting and, dare I say it, “HIP”.

Everything about the man (child) was an affectation, from his velvet scarf draped across his slhoulders to his stupid stupid hair - and yet, despite having painted himself as the picture of obscure intelligence, somehow lacked the energy to put up a fight when it came too the scores. But his hair though; his bloody, bloody hair.

Here are my tweets for the night. 

Corpus Christi - Cambridge ve St Anne's - Oxtord.

  1. 8:02PM: Krol: the name that isn't a name.
  3. 8:03PM: "Hi, I'm Tristan Roberts...and I've inhaled five canisters of helium before this recording".
  5. 8:04PM: That McDougall's a card, isn't he? Well, something that begins with a C anyway.
  7. 8:07PM: McDougall must hammer home he's artistic. He's a modern-day Syd Barrett. He even lives in Cambs. His scarf is velvet.
  9. 8:09PM: McDougall's so nonchalant, he won't tie his scarf to protect his neck from the draught. The draught knows to avoid him. 
  11. 8:10PM: McDougall: twinned with affectation.
  13. 8:12PM: McDougall's the love child of Russell Brand and Oscar Wilde. In his head.
  15. 8:12PM: I knew I'd seen McDougall somewhere before.

8:13PM: Squinty thinky McDougall. Squinty thinky dicky McDougall.

8:17PM: If John Thomson's Fast Show scientist slept with Dave Hairy Biker & Dave had a womb, Roberts would pop out in 9 months.

8:21PM: Chandramohan's jumper is a glorious explosion of colour that makes her head the feature.

8:22PM: McDougall likes to fop. He really likes to fop. McDougall likes to foppy fop... McDOUGALL IS A COCK.

8:23PM: McDougall makes me angry in a way I can't explain or rationalise.

8:26PM: Imagine McDougall buying Frosties at a Tesco self-service checkout, hoping no-one spots he isn't shopping on Mill Road.

8:27PM: You can pick up McDougall's stereotypical #UniversityChallenge
contestant costume at all good fancy dress shops.

8:28PM: contestant costume at all good fancy dress shops.

8:29PM: That fecking scarf though.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Spot the De-Lib-Dem-erate Mistake.

While they’re by no means a bad political party to vote for - if it weren’t for a recent leader's backtracking on pledges to get into bed with the then-Prime Minister David Cameron in a coalition you might say they had the best ethics - I’d have more faith in them if they proofread their own literature.

If you’re going to misspell one word on your leaflet, it best not be the name of the area you part-represent. It’s marginally better than forgetting the party you bat for, or accidentally dropping a massive swear (the word “count” is screaming for a typo) but it’s still not great; spell-check can be a wondrous tool if used correctly; that, or you could ask your mum to cast her eye over it.

To be fair, the councillor in question seems a pretty decent chap, who’s lived locally for years (unlike our current MP, Bim Afolami, who was quickly air-dropped in to replace the Machiavellian Peter Lilley when he stepped down / was exorcised / turned into dust). We’ve all made these mistakes. I’d just love to know when they spotted it; I hope it wasn’t while posted the last one through a constituent’s door. Perhaps that last recipient was me? We'll never know...we'll never know.

'Strictly Come Tweeting" 2017: Week Five (14.10.17)

The question on everyone in my household-bar-the-cat’s lips during tonight’s Strictly was, “Did Bruno say ‘fuck’?”

It was after the first dance of the evening, between Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice, that the supposed f-bomb came up. I’ve since watched Bruno’s feedback again and can confirm he actually said “Faff”, but it’s no wonder I questioned it at the time, as he’s been known to let the odd bit of fruity language slip live on air; I’m only thankful it wasn’t the c-word, or the Daily Mail would have been livid.

Outside of Tonioli’s near cuss, there were some excellent routines, but one stood out above the lot for me and that was Susan Calman’s quickstep to Bring Me Sunshine; she shot around the dance-floor with her beloved partner Kevin and never showed such pace and did an exceptional job; her improvement over the past few weeks is nothing short of miraculous; it goes to show what you can do with a mix of application and a strong role-model.

6:47PM: Tess' dress was slashed at by a puma.

6:48PM: Why do they persist with this awkward "Judges coming on dancing" thing?

6:50PM: The name Davood Ghadami is best sung to the tune of Radio Ga Ga.

6:52PM: I love the way Giovanni says Debbie.

6:53PM: But he'll have gel on his hand now.

6:57PM: Did Bruno just say fuck? Did he? Did he say fuck though? If the Tess Daly doesn't apologise soon, I'm rescinding my TV licence.

7:00PM: Re. Bruno's f-word, are they adopting the whole "if no-one mentions it, it didn't happen" approach? Like a war crime...

7:02PM: Brian Conley channelling Tim Curry; as Franke-N-furter, not Pennywise.

7:07PM: But Bruno said a swear though. BRUNO SAID A SWEAR.

7:10PM: That chat between Tess and Frankie from The Saturdays was probably more than she ever spoke to her when she took part herself.

7:25PM: I only watch each week for Tess and Claudia's comedy skit.

7:27PM: Was Charlotte drying her nail varnish then?

7:31PM: On the plus side, at least it's another week without Piers Morgan.

7:43PM: Was the mask at the back during Ruth and Anton's dance Harvey Weinstein's rescinded BAFTA?

7:48PM: Aston's Troll hair and his real hair: little between them.

7:49PM: Mr Blue Sky on speed.

7:51PM: Top marks for the Mr Blue Sky song edit.

7:54PM: Aston and Janette danced to ELO's Mr Blue Sky; Darcey and Shirley played the Evil Woman.

7:58PM: Simon Rimmer's channelling Black Lace.

7:59PM: I pray to God no-one ever makes me dance to Copacabana in my life.

8:06PM: Aljaž has stolen my #Strictly-watching outfit.

8:15PM: That was great...but she didn't do the the classic Proud Mary move; I want my money back.

8:18PM: Well, Alexandra's a tough act to follow. 

8:22PM: They're getting their money's worth from the timpani this week.

8:34PM: But did Bruno swear though?

Friday, 13 October 2017

Won't Get Fooled Again.

Today, I inadvertently discovered Google Images thinks a photo of me and the 2005 cast of Buddy Holly and the Cricketers is the sleeve for the classic album Who’s Next.

We intentionally struck the pose to look like a record cover, to be fair, though if anything, we were aiming for something a little more indie than rock. We certainly weren’t taking a piss on a big concrete block like Daltrey, Townsend, Entwistle and Moon did in 1971, but we wouldn’t have done that, as we had standards; I've got a shy bladder anyway, so would have felt far too pressured whether we were being photographed or not.

When it comes to hoodwinking recognition-based technology, I have a history. I once convinced the printing company Photobox that I was a middle-aged woman, and made Shazam think I was ELO, so I clearly can’t be trusted. I’m a better master of disguise than Ted Danson at the end Three Men and a Little Lady, so you’d better not try to marry anyone Tom Selleck fancies or there’ll be trouble; how did I get from Buddy Holly to The Who to that?