Friday, 30 September 2016
Thursday, 29 September 2016
It may be oblique, but I can’t hear the song 'My Sweet Lord' without thinking of Paul Daniels.
This bizarre mental association came about as a result of a conversation I had with him when he played Mostly Comedy last year. We were walking from our then-venue the Market Theatre to our new venue, The Sun Hotel, to record our podcast, when I brought up the subject of George Harrison. I try to find common ground whenever someone new plays our club, particularly when we're interviewing them for our podcast. Invariably for me, this tends to involve The Beatles when it can (e.g. when interviewing Kevin Eldon – who had their music as his Mastermind specialist subject – and Phill Jupitus – who’s friends with Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, who were in the film 'Magical Mystery Tour'); it’s often tenuous, but it works.
I was aware that Harrison used to live in the same town as Daniels – Henley-on-Thames – and asked Paul if he’d ever bumped into him. Surprisingly, this caused him to launch an ad hoc debate about a very specific litigious case.
"I don't know how he thought he'd get away with ripping off that song, whatever it was," he said, " when they both had the same tune".
Thankfully, when it comes to Fab Four trivia, I'm shit-hot. It's a skill that seldom comes into its own: I may be able to identify any Beatles record within milliseconds, tell you whixh album it came from, the year it was released, and accompany this with a fair-sized handful of related facts, but this knowledge doesn't put food on the table; though it does prove useful when chatting with Britain's biggest conjurer.
The song Daniels was referring to was 'My Sweet Lord', which was the focus of a long-running legal battle in the early Seventies, due to its apparent similarity to the Chiffons' song 'He's So Fine'; look it up.
We talked about this briefly, while I did my best to pretend I wasn't intimidated by chatting with my childhood hero, who I'd only met a moment ago, and consequently had had little time to adjust to speaking to yet; thank God we were discussing a topic I knew something about.
By the time we got to The (Here Comes the) Sun Hotel, had a cup of tea and settled down to record the podcast, this intimidation passed. We had a great chat with Paul and Debbie that took in a whole variety of subjects, though sadly, nothing else about suing a Beatle. Still: at least all that genning up on the band as a kid paid off. I discussed copyright infringement with one of the world's most famous magicians, and not a lot of people can say that.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
8:02pm: I'll probably tweet along with
#GBBO for a bit; apologies to the uninterested.8:04pm: Just a few minutes in, and I miss Val's unique brand of confused insanity already.8:05pm: "This cake's systematic...(STING)...aromatic...(STING)..."8:06pm: "The bakers can use anything that grows"; INSERT EUPHEMISM HERE.8:08pm: Paul and Selasi wrestling. PICTURE IT.8:08pm: I dumped a meringue once. I don't want to talk about it.8:09pm: Andrew loves ginger; too easy.8:12pm: Paul and Selasi, trimming each other's beards. Erotic.8:12pm: I'll paint the inside of YOUR bag.8:14pm: My favourite curd is Sharaf Khan Bidlisi.8:16pm: I'm drowning in a sea of euphemisms.8:20pm: So much fury over meringues.8:21pm: There was no need for Candice to call Mary a tart. No need.8:22pm: Only Selasi could look so manly in a floral t-shirt.8:25pm: Looking forward to someone making a slip-up saying "fougasse".8:29pm: Is Tom wearing that blue glove so they can CGI his right hand in later?8:31pm: Bake your fougasse at fougasse-mark two.8:32pm: Fougasse: because I like bread with a letterbox in it.8:35pm: Say what you like, but #GBBO has done wonders for the glockenspiel underscoring industry.8:37pm: Thanks to #GBBO, glockenspiel-playing session musicians are quids-in.8:39pm: To give myself a taste of this week's #GBBO, showstopper, I'm sucking on an old lady's bar of soap.8:45pm: To add to the poppy-seed theme, Benjamina should throw in a little Heroin.8:46pm: I wish someone would pipe my buttercream flowers.8:48pm: *Visions of Mary Berry post-hash-cake.*8:50pm: Top marks to Candice for the look of her four-tier cake8:52pm: It's shame Val's not still in this week: she was a fruitcake.8:54pm: Watching #GBBO, eating pot pourri.8:58pm: Not only does Selasi's showstopper look sensational, it also matches his outfit.
9:00pm: This week's decision was difficult. It was "lemon lemon difficult"
Monday, 26 September 2016
|Queen's - Belfast Vs. Birmingham (26.09.16)|
8:03pm: Well...Regan's a twat.8:03pm: Regan looks like Jarvis Cocker doing an impression of Elvis Costello.8:04pm: Rouse = Murderer.8:05pm: Sutherland's certainly bringing Birmingham's average age of 29 up.8:05pm: Regan's hair comes off with his hat.8:08pm: Jeremy Paxman says the word 'Wikipedia' like a mum says the word 'gig'.8:11pm: Belfast's Doherty's come dressed as Gyles Brandreth.8:13pm: All of Regan's style choices are wrong.8:15pm: "Oh Regan, you're so...'individual'". Said by no-one ever (except for me, just then).8:19pm: I'd like to stage a Roger Tilling / Alan Dedicoat Enthusiastic Voice-Over Face-off.8:20pm: Why have Queen's Belfast got a outsized sprig of broccoli as a mascot?8:22pm: Jan-Smith and Sutherland didn't get the blue jumper memo.8:24pm: This
#UniversityChallenge is all "Monet, Manet, Monet, Manet".8:26pm: Greenlees and Rouse are the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of Team Birmingham.8:28pm: ...because Greenlees and Rouse WOULD know the work of Tolkien inside-out.8:30pm: I don't think Regan spent hours deciding on his outfit at ALL.
Sunday, 25 September 2016
Some days you don't have much to report.
I was meant to be going to watch the wrestling in London today (as you do), but I ended up cancelling, as my labyrinthitis decided to do its worst this morning, meaning it would be better not to go. Instead, I popped to the shop to pick up some croissants, so my wife and I could enjoy breakfast in bed, which was far preferable to watching a load of men pretending to fight each other in their pants.
In the afternoon, I briefly popped into town to do a little shopping, and to go to the office, so I could send a couple of emails and run some material for tomorrow's gig. Frustratingly, I seem to have made the same mistake I made last year, and have sailed too close to the deadline for the Leicester Comedy Festival, meaning I probably won't be taking my show there next year. Yet again, I'm irritated by this, as I hate missing opportunities, and - while I'd intended to take my current show there next year for its last airing before presenting something new, so therefore won't be missing anything essential to working a new show up, it's still annoying; it would have been nice to have at least been on the radar for it.
This evening, I started watching a Jack Lemmon film that I'll finish tomorrow as I began to fall asleep. So now, I'm going to bed. As I said at the beginning, I don't have much to report...but it's Sunday, after all; it's a day of rest.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
6:32pm: Tonight, I'll be keeping a tally of how often Len Goodman says, "You came out."6:32pm: Cue the on-beat handclapping.6:33pm: Judge Rinder: my favourite dating app.6:34pm: My wife, the moment she saw the two children ballroom dancing: "Revolting".6:36pm: Tess Daly needs a sincerity chip fitted.6:38pm: Sorry, Tess, but if you were to do nothing but "eat, sleep and breathe dance" YOU'D DIE.6:41pm: Tess' "But no-one's leaving tonight" sounded like a threat.6:42pm: Why didn't they make Louise dance on the Mary Rose?6:44pm: Are the lyrics "You've gotta jump, jive and then you willy?"6:45pm: How could Louise dance like that? She's a 'mega-mum'.6:46pm: They should make Louise dance to that Eternal classic.......................erm?6:49pm: It's like Ed Balls walked into the wrong room and now he can't exit.6:51pm: My favourite
#Strictly professional is Janette Manrarararararararararararararararararararararararararararararararararararararararaarararara.6:52pm: Melvin's trousers will be burnt into my retina for the rest of the series.6:54pm: I forgot the hips once. I felt to a pile on the floor.6:57pm: So that's where the member of Black Lace who went to prison's shirt went.7:11pm: None of tonight's routines are a patch on @davidduchovny's line-dancing in the recent X-Files series.7:18pm: Tameka's song choice reminds me of being on holiday in the 1980s.7:23pm: I love Will Young, but in his training videos, he appears to be wearing every outfit ever, all at once.7:24pm: In the silence after Tess' "Cha-Cha-Changing of the Guards" joke, you could hear a hairpin drop.7:26pm: The table in Anastacia and Brendan's routine was a little incongruous. A little like Ed Balls.7:31pm: Ed Ballsroom.7:34pm: To his credit, Ed Balls didn't do too badly.7:38pm: I wish Ed Balls had worn that sparkly outfit in parliament.7:38pm: AJ hasn't been born yet.7:43pm: On Monday, AJ does his SATS.7:45pm: Bruno's like Keith Moon's 'Fiddle About' character in Tommy.7:50pm: Will Young's a splendid chap.7:52pm: I had a Czech mate once.
Tonight, I went to see 'Jaws 2: The Wrath of Khan' at the Prince Charles Cinema.
My favourite bit was when William Shatner screamed "SHARK" at Ricardo Montalban, really encapsulating his frustration at the latter's vendetta against him. I also liked when Walter Koenig caught fire after biting the massive underwater electrical cable Roy Scheider enticed him onto; he deserved it for that despicable accent.
As far as sequels go, 'Jaws 2' is pretty robust. The acting is understated for a mid-1970s blockbuster; there are a few too many teenage boys with exactly the same face wearing the same Bob Dylan caps in it, but that's par for the course for the era.
It was one of the PCC's Beer and Pizza Nights, where cost of admission includes a can of beer and a slice of pizza (you would never have guessed it). Every so often you'd hear the satisfying click and fizz as someone else opened their drink; after a while, this made me envious, as I had the driest mouth on the planet, thanks to consuming a bag of popcorn on top of everything else; I'm suffering from RSI from lifting so much inverted corn to my cake-hole; when it comes to eating in a cinema, I clearly have no off-switch.
As I write, I'm crammed into a deeply uncomfortable carriage of one of the shittest-of-the-shit trains Great Northern lay on from King's Cross to Hitchin of an evening. It's like they were designed as a tax dodge, with no intention of providing transport; they wouldn't look out of place at Bekonscot model village. If my jeans were any more rucked up I'd be a eunuch; still, at least my ticket was cheap.
I also liked the dinosaurs and the bit when Johnny-5 was given the key to the city. I'll never understand why they banned it; all because of an inappropriate act with a crucifix. I'm misunderstanding things for comic effect; still we had fun getting to the end of this blog post, didn't we?
Friday, 23 September 2016
|Kevin Eldon at tonight's Hitchin Mostly Comedy (22.09.16) Photo by Gemma Poole.|
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
8:02pm: "A Danish classic": Sandi Toksvig.8:03pm: Val: you may be outside, but could you use your inside voice, please?8:07pm: "I'm bashing it out while my dough rests". Too easy.8:15pm: The
#GBBO mixers, when their beaters are up, remind me a little of the creatures in Alien.
|Don't I know you?|
8:18pm: Val's "a bit soft in the middle."8:23pm: Paul Hollywood's grey shirt complements his salt-and-pepper hair perfectly.8:26pm: Bakewell tart or Bakewell pudding? The people of Derbyshire will be KICKING OFF.8:30pm: My favourite Top of the Pops dancing troupe were Frangipane's People.8:31pm: I don't want to think about Val "Fanning it".8:33pm: Selasi looks like he's about to nut someone.8:35pm: Uh-oh, Val. UH-OH.8:39pm: Selasi doesn't need an oven: he just stares at the foodstuff in question and it BAKES.8:40pm: Jane's got a thatched head.8:43pm: Candice needs a bit more sausage.8:44pm: Candice's black pudding has a shade of Derek Smalls about it.8:46pm: Jane's got a tribble on her head.8:48pm: Val's unhinged.8:49pm> I wouldn't trust Val with a cutlery drawer.8:53pm: "It's not an appropriate gift for a man approaching fifty; it's too big."8:53pm: Val's about to go on a killing spree.8:54pm: I bet Paul sidled up to Candice in the hotel bar post-recording.8:57pm: Bye Val. Leave the knives in the drawer, please.8:59pm: Next week: Herbie Goes Bread.
When you organise a regular event, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture; you get so caught up in the facts and figures for each individual date, you forget how things have been going overall. This has definitely been the case this month, when finalising our remaining 2016 line-ups; I’ve been so distracted by what’s ahead, I’ve overlooked how successful the rest of the year has been and how fortunate we are as a result.
Booking bills for a comedy club is a juggling act. It’s like fishing: you repeatedly cast your line in the hope something good takes the bait and gets hooked. To stretch the analogy, you have lots of rods on the go, instead of relying on one. You’re always on the look out for the best possible outcome; I can't help but feel that by mixing my imagery, I’ve clouded my original point.
We’re very lucky that every show since moving to our new venue has either sold well or sold out, with us squeezing in a couple of extra dates on top of the usual monthly output. While tomorrow’s gig may not have as many advance sales as some of our other shows, there are a few good reasons for this; the main one being we didn’t confirm the line-up and put it on sale until the beginning of last week. In light of that, it’s done very well. It's also worth remembering that next month’s show with Rory Bremner has already sold out with four weeks to go; we’re already up on the game, so we needn't worry just yet.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
|Wolfson - Cambridge Vs. SOAS (19.09.16)|
He had all the requisite tics and quirks of an eccentric UC contestant, with a few extra thrown in for good measure; so much so, I refuse to believe he’s a real person. He was like a incantation brought about by a bunch of nerdy Ouija users; a Weird Science for the weird science student. I was so taken in, I barely paid attention to the rest of the show that was happening around him.
See below for tonight’s Twitter outbursts; here’s hoping at least one of next week’s contestants can give Monkman a run for his money. I wait with bated breath.
8:02pm: Monkman rehearsed that smile. Nothing is spontaneous.
8:03pm: Monkman is clearly the
#UniversityChallenge unhinged hit of the evening.
8:04pm: For a split second, Henry Edwards forgot what he studies.
8:04pm: "THE BONGOS": my future text tone.
8:08pm: Cosgrove has the expression of a man who's fully aware of Monkman's ridiculousness & the ridiculousness of his own hair
8:10pm: Monkman hands-down proves the existence of Artificial Intelligence.
8:11pm: Monkman's lips are allergic to his own teeth.
8:14pm: When it comes to amusing this series' amusing contestants, you may as well clear the boards: 'MONKMAN'.
8:15pm: Thanks to Monkman, I haven't even noticed SOAS.
8:16pm: Cosgrove has the look of a man who invented Monkman for a bet.
8:16pm: Monkman looks like a camp Stephen King.
8:19pm: Chalaby (left).
8:23pm: Monkman is wearing someone else's face.
8:25pm: Monkman isn't a real man, man. Monkman isn't a real man, man. Monkman isn't a real man, man. Monkman isn't a real man.
#UniversityChallenge was Monkman's destiny.
8:30pm: Was Paxman offering to bet his house on SOAS returning a legally binding contract?
Sunday, 18 September 2016
Today, I ate waffles for both a main course and a dessert at The Waffle House in St Albans, thus bringing a whole knew meaning to the phrase 'waffly versatile'.
My wife and I met our friends Philippa, James and their baby daughter Georgie there for lunch today, with no inkling as to whether you could enjoy both sweet and savoury waffles in one sitting. I've since learnt that you can. I'd briefly perused the menu online before leaving, trying to decide whether having more than one waffle-based course would be a culinary faux pas; do you just choose one type over another? If so, then what's the best option?
Deep down, I knew my sweet tooth would override the need for more standard lunchtime sustenance, if push came to shove. Thankfully, James threw down the edible gauntlet by ordering both the hummus & avocado waffle and the banoffee waffle, which I'd had my eye on too - and get this: they were bloody lovely. In a few hours, I'd gone from waffle indifference to a full-blown waffle convert.
After lunch, we went for a walk around the park and for a quick drink in Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which is officially the oldest and most amusingly-named pub in the country. It may have had a lovely atmosphere but there wasn't a waffle in sight; these alehouses need to get with the times if they want to stay afloat in the current waffle economy, or at least that's what I think.