Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Promo Wednesday.


Today was a productive day of doing press for Edinburgh, taking in a podcast interview and a little writing-to-order for a potential piece in an EdFringe magazine.

The interview was fun. It was done over Skype, because we’re living in the future, though just prior to it, I had a moment of panic as to whether I’d know what to talk about; it’s very easy in these situations to forget everything that’s relevant and to come out the other side thinking, “Why on Earth did / didn’t I say that?”

Consequently, I glanced through my show notes and reread my press release just before the interview, because only I would feel it necessary to research myself. I also went for a quick walk to the park near where I live, just to get out of the house; it’s quite something to go from not speaking to anyone for a couple of hours to having your conversation committed to tape (though I doubt the recording was analogue).

In the end, our chat flowed easily and I felt I got across what my show is about. I then set to work on the copy I had to write in the one-hour window before my wife came home, so we could celebrate her birthday (which is today). We commemorated it like any right-minded couple would: with a pizza and ‘Die Hard’ (or ‘Die Hard With Alan Rickman’ as my mother-in-law calls it).

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Waiting For the Day To Come.


The song that turned things around when my old band Big Day Out became a three-piece and told us we could continue without our lead guitarist (and one-time driving force) was this:

Prior to his leaving, I didn’t have much confidence in my ability as a songwriter or a front-man. While I’d co-written a lot of the material with him, I'd never felt comfortable with our partnership, mainly because I was intimidated by his ability. He was always coming up with ideas he was hugely cocksure about (which is intended as a compliment), and while there was a crossover in our musical taste, I was more into songs that were truthful while he was more motivated by a good riff. 

His leaving was ultimately a good thing as it cleared the field and took away my fear. The three of us who remained were on the same page and shared the same sense of humour. It gave us a burst of energy that could have driven us to great things if the tours I took when I left drama school hadn’t got in the way and led to our eventual sad, yet amicable split - but that’s another story for another day.

Slow Down was one of the first songs I put forward to Mark and Chris after Rich left. It’s barely a song really, more a series of riffs, but it has a quirky edge that personifies what we were about. The recording doesn't do it justice as it's pretty primitive, but live, it was great.

The bit where the distorted guitars kick in at the end still makes me smile eighteen years after we recorded it: it’s best heard through headphones; that’s my tip.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Whom?


I’m really enjoying the current series of Doctor Who.

I'm a big fan of Peter Capaldi - primarily for his performance as the wonderful, yet terrifying Malcolm Tucker - but aside from the odd episode here and there, it wasn’t until this series that his Doctor found its stride for me. When I heard of his casting in the role, I was delighted (he was an inspired choice), yet I can’t help but feel he was unfortunate in taking on the part when he did.

Every idea has its natural life and eventually, these things can run out of steam, which generally how I felt about the last few series. It was just a case of poor timing that Capaldi should come in at the point he did when the revamped Who seemed to have used up most of its tricks; there are only so many rejigged battles against Daleks and Cybermen before things started to feel a little samey.

Yet it’s with the current series that things have really kicked into gear, which is a shame as it’s set to be Capaldi’s last. Finally, the story-lines are strong enough to do that exceptional bit of casting justice. The dynamic between him and new companion Pearl Mackie is very complementary, with the brilliant Matt Lucas thrown in as an added bonus.

The sad thing is I don’t want to see Capaldi’s Doctor partially defeated, which is likely to be the case if he’s set to regenerate. I love his sense of strength and menace and don’t want it challenged. No-one beats Malcom Tucker; them's the rules.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Tellin' Stories.


In the past few weeks, after a bit of a reading hiatus, I’ve got back into the practice of devouring books.

While I’ve always been an avid (or should that be ‘David’?) reader, I tend to go through periods when - through tiredness or otherwise - I fall out of the habit. This will usually be the case when I’ve finished a book and haven’t had time to start another during daylight hours; I don’t like beginning new books at bedtime, as I’ll end up having to reread the first few pages the following day to make up for what I missed through tiredness. 

It only takes a gripping novel to remind me of how addictive reading can be. It’s such a lovely feeling when you submerge yourself in a story and get lost in it. There’s little to match the pull of a great book that no sooner have you put down you're desperate to pick up.

A well-written novel is a little bit like magic; how is it that hundreds of words on page after page disappear to be replaced by such vivid imagery? Yet it happens so often. I enjoy writing, yet I’ve no idea how you'd approach something so immersive; to be able to write so smoothly that the mechanics evaporate is truly a talent.

The book that drew me back was Robert Harris’ novel Conclave (I’m a big fan of his work) and now I’m reading ‘The Firm’ by John Grisham, which was a birthday present. I only started it a week ago and I’m already halfway through it. It’s proving a welcome distraction from work stress. Who knows what'll be next in line, but William Shatner’s TekWar is a strong contender.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Mainly Mostly June-ly Morriss-y (Not Morrissey)

No sooner does one Mostly Comedy pass than another rears its head.

See below for the press release for next month's show in Hitchin. It's a majestic feat of copy-and-pasting from old mailouts and near-defunct websites by a person who's tired of editing them. While I may be negative about writing press copy, I'm very positive about next month's line-up, which includes a member of one of Britpop's biggest bands, for Christ's sake; the blasphemy wasn't necessary, but my point still stands.


 
Press Release – 27.05.17

mostly comedy
a monthly comedy and music club at the sun hotel in hitchin


With seven of the last eight months’ shows selling out in advance, Doggett & Ephgrave’s Hitchin club Mostly Comedy is gaining a reputation for being a hot ticket; all the more reason to book quickly for June’s show featuring, amongst others, an acoustic set from The Bluetones’ front man MARK MORRISS.

Can it really be over twenty years since Mark first shimmied into our lives as lead singer of The Bluetones? Apparently so. But after thirteen hit singles (including the Britpop anthem ‘Slight Return’), three Top Ten albums (including the chart-topping ‘Expecting to Fly’, which knocked Oasis’ ‘What’s the Story? Morning Glory’ off the number one spot), multiple tours of the UK, Europe and Japan - plus recent collaborations with Matt Berry and David Walliams - his ability to sieve poetry from the colander of everyday life still remains unique.

“I always try to add little things that most songs wouldn’t use,” he says of his lyrics.
“If I can squeeze a mention of Bergerac into a song then I’m happy.”

Not content with recently completing his fourth solo album ‘Look Up’, Mark regularly busies himself with many side-projects, from playing rhythm guitar for ‘Toast of London’, ‘House of Fools’ and ‘IT Crowd’-star Matt Berry’s band The Maypoles, to writing the music for the audio versions of David Walliams' successful series of children's books. In April 2016, The Bluetones hit the road with a tour celebrating their twentieth anniversary, culminating with a show at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse.

PAUL HARRY ALLEN joins Morriss on the bill to preview his new show ‘The Blade of Barrington’ (which also features comic actress Katie Pritchard). Paul’s been performing on the stand-up scene since 2003 and appeared at the first ever Mostly Comedy in October 2008. He’s no stranger to Doggett & Ephgrave, having been a co-member of the writers’ group The Comedy Project who performed two of his sitcom pilots at London’s Soho Theatre.  Described as ‘charming’ by The Independent and deemed ‘very funny’ by Time Out, Paul’s eclectic career has seen him share a bill with Bob Dylan, Ray Davies and Van Morrison at the Hop Farm Festival, become a Hackney New Act finalist and appear at the West End’s Bloomsbury Theatre. Most recently, he could be heard on Radio 4’s Two Episodes of Mash.

Comedian QUINCY completes the line-up. He has a stage presence second to none and is regarded as one of the best of the current crop of UK’s stand-ups. Winner of the Black Entertainment Comedy Award and with appearances on the BBC and Comedy Central, Quincy brings audiences comedy with a difference, touching on observations of his life as a single father. While he hasn’t appeared at Mostly Comedy for five years, he played the club’s first two venues, The George and The Croft.

The gig takes place on Thursday 22nd June at The Sun Hotel; doors open at 7:30pm with the first act on at 8:00pm. The show is emceed by “polished, natural comedians” (Camden Fringe Voyeur) DOGGETT & EPHGRAVE. Tickets are £11 and are available in advance at www.mostlycomedy.co.uk. Other acts set to play Mostly in the coming months include Mark Watson, Richard Herring and Red Dwarf’s Hattie Hayridge.

Date:                 Thursday 22nd June 2017
Venue:              The Sun Hotel
                          Sun Street
                          Hitchin
                          Hertfordshire
                          SG5 1AF
Time:                Bar open all day. Doors at 7:30pm. First act on at 8:00pm                     
Admission:      £11.00. www.mostlycomedy.co.uk

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Mostly Boiling.


I’m pleased to report last night’s Mostly Comedy was a resounding success - yes: resounding - with my Mac repaired in time for me to get back to Hitchin and play co-host with all technical bells and whistles in fully working order.

Angelos Epithemiou and Barry From Watford at Hitchin Mostly Comedy (24.05.17)

I arrived at The Sun at 4pm to find Glyn and Paul in the midst of setting up the ballroom, which was nearly as warm as its Yellow Dwarf namesake. Entering was like stepping from one sauna to another, with the second one marginally more sauna-like than the first; not the ideal end to a frantic dash across London in stupid heat.

Thankfully there were no problems tech-wise, so we were ready in time for Alex (Barry From Watford) and Dan’s (Angelos Epithemiou) arrival. Dan turned up first, who we’d never met, though we'd watched him at the recording of an episode of House of Fools a few years back. I’ve been a fan of his work for a while and had tried to book him for Mostly in the past, so was delighted when we managed to confirm him and Alex as a job-lot. He was very nice from the off and was genuinely interested about the club’s history. It’s always a relief when someone you like is easy to talk to.

Alex arrived soon after and together we worked out how to fit their fairly prop-laden show into the relatively small performance space. There then followed a quick soundcheck, before we struck everything ready for our other act, Katie Pritchard, to do a line-check too.

I first met Katie when we did Dreamboats and Petticoats together in 2010. She coincidentally started doing comedy soon afterwards, leading to us gigging together off and on ever since. She also depped on a few Glad All Over gigs, which was when she first met Glyn; it’s always nice to see a friendly face. She arrived with mutual friend (and Mostly Comedy regular) Paul Harry Allen, who she’s currently working with in a comedy play written by him, that came about partly thanks to my recommendation; not that I want to take credit, though I hope my commission cheque’s in the post.

Me, last night.

The show itself was great. The venue was packed - it's our fourth sell-out out of 2017's five shows to date - with a crowd that were up-for-it despite the oppressive heat. Most of them had been lured in by the promise of seeing Angelos & Barry (a quick straw poll at the top of the second half revealed the majority had never been to club before), yet they were still on-board for everyone else. It was a good gig, even if I lost a stone in weight in the process; in a hot venue, who needs SlimFast.  

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tick-Tock Tension

While I'd like to be at the Sun Hotel setting up for tonight's Mostly Comedy, instead I'm seated outside a coffee shop in Covent Garden, waiting for word from the Apple Store about my poorly laptop.

The very fact I'm here is a calculated risk. It's all a question of timing; if I hear from them in the next half an hour or so, I should be able to get back to Hitchin without too much hassle. If it takes any longer, I may have to leave my computer behind...and God knows what we'll do at tonight's show.

(Ooh, the drama.)

It could have been worse. I'd originally had an appointment booked in Cambridge for first thing this morning that was early enough for me to book a room at a cheap B&B nearby, as this seemed the least stressful option. Then a slot came available in Covent Garden that seemed more convenient all round - leading to me cancelling both the Cambs appointment and hotel room (losing the money for the room; obviously); my life is nothing if not comedic in its unravelling.

The good news is the repair needed is both minimal and free. The bad news is I'm now waiting for further contact from the Geniuses of the Genius Bar as to when it's been fixed. There's nothing like a bit of near-to-the-line tension to keep your blood pressure high; if all else fails, I might just stay here and give the gig a miss; would anyone notice?

Monday, 22 May 2017

You Ain't Seen Me...Right?


I was disturbed to discover I'd been papped at Hitchin Station the other day.

I was wholly unaware I’d been snapped until a few days later, when the photographer in question responded to a tweet posted from Doggett & Ephgrave’s account about my show in Brighton, to say they’d seen me waiting for a train and wondered where I was headed. What was strange about it was they’d obviously sat on the picture for a few days before sharing it with us; would they have kept it to themselves if it weren’t for them spotting the tweet about Brighton and, if so, why did they take it? I can’t imagine why anyone would feel the need to document seeing me in a reasonably likely public place.



I’d be flattered if it weren’t so disturbing. How often have people taken pictures of me without my awareness? What’s the pull? It’s not like I’m a topless sunbathing Duchess of Cornwall or a wigless William Shatner. Seeing me at my hometown’s railway station is a reasonably regular occurance.

I already feel paranoid people in Hitchin recognise me from my many local exploits and may judge me when I’m clearly not feeling my best. It’s a shit level of fame, but I’d still prefer the anonymity.

At least I’ve learnt my lesson; henceforth you’ll never see me in a public place without a made-up face.

Now Who's a Posing Comedian?


Today, my wife and I attempted to take some promotional shots for the artwork for my Edinburgh show.

I’m pretty sure we got what we were after, but if we haven’t, we’re not far off it. We’d meant to do them all week, but kept being rained off - and any days when the weather was suitable, the location we’d earmarked would have been too busy, as it’s next to Hitchin Market; it’s enough to try to get results without people gawping at you.

Even if we haven’t got the exact picture yet, I’m very happy with the concept. I won’t blow it here just yet, but it’s a nice idea that was suggested by my PR, that fits the show title ‘Now Who’s a Comedian?’ perfectly. It also plays right into my preferred style of show artwork, which is to use a single undoctored image that tells the story without much else. It’s also subtle, understated and naturalistic; there’s nothing I hate more than a photograph of a gurning, ironic-face-pulling comedian.

The only reason we might not have got it today was due to the constantly changing light. Outdoor photographs tend to come out best if it’s not too bright and today kept chopping and changing between sunny and muted. I’ve noted down my favourite of today’s pictures, which I’ll look at again tomorrow with a clear head and if it doesn’t feel quite right, we can try again one early evening this week; I’ll share the results here in due course.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Making Small Friends.


Today I met Glyn’s new son properly for the first time.

We popped over to their house this afternoon to say hello - not unexpected of course - and to hand over a couple of presents, along with a card for Glyn’s birthday last week. Not only did this give us the chance to meet the new arrival, it was also an opportunity to play with Glyn’s other son Max, who - a month into having a younger brother - was more excited about showing us his new heavy-duty bubble machine than introducing us to his sibling.

I feel we've started to bond properly in the last few months. I felt the change kick in when we went to visit the Broadway Theatre in Letchworth a couple of months ago, with Max in tow. It was nice to chat with him, to be able to ask him what he liked and to hold his hand. What was lovely - as was the case today - was how he kept comfortably referring to my wife and I by name, like he sees us all the time, despite us maybe not having met that often. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to right that in the future, but it’s nice to feel he knows me in the meantime.

It was fun to play in the garden today, while he ordered me to catch as many bubbles from the bubble machine while he waved it in my face. We also had a kick-about with his Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends football, using his slide as a makeshift goal. As it stood, I spent more time with him than I did with the newborn, but that’s okay. Just before we left, he gave me a hug, which was lovely. I’m glad he feels comfortable with me, and look forward to getting to know him and his new brother better - even if he did get in a strop because my wife and I were unable to transform into the Incredible Hulk convincingly; you can’t argue with standards like that.

It's Going to Cost Yer.


The most exciting moment today was when I stood with my wife to give her moral support while the man from the RAC recharged her car battery.

We discovered the car wouldn’t start yesterday when I was about to get a lift to the station to catch the train to Brighton. Even the manual override to the keyless ignition wouldn’t work, which was ominous, if suggestive that the battery had died. I had to leave my wife with it yesterday while I took the bus to the station; I wanted to stay behind, but the people of Brighton needed their entertainment.

Thankfully, the problem didn’t take long to fix today, but it made me wish I knew more about simple mechanics myself. What skills do I have that apply to the day-to-day? I can juggle three balls and pronounce Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, but neither of these is much use in an emergency. The only other task I’m adept at is opening jars, but why bother using me when you could use an octopus?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Brighton #3: All Work, Real Progress


Tonight saw the last of my three Brighton Fringe dates, which was the best of the bunch.

The Quadrant: The Stage is Set (18.05.17)

If you were to ask me what I said at any given moment, I wouldn’t be able to give you much detail, but at the very least, most of it felt right. Things started to find their rhythm, and I didn’t feel there was anything that slowed momentum down, bar two bits, one of which I don’t feel has actually been properly written yet and the other might just need a slight rethink.

It was definitely the best way to draw a line under my Brighton run as, if I’d had a dodgy one tonight, it might have left me unsure as to what to do next. Yet again I’ve discovered that the thing most likely to make sense of the material is to do it in front an audience. That’s what gives the show life - and as long as I’m fairly comfortable with the structure, I can have a bit of fun with it, giving an energy that can never be there without a response.

Tonight my Brighton-based friend Cyndee was on the door, who offered support throughout the evening, as well as someone to chat to beforehand so I didn’t feel I was going into the show cold. We had a quick drink and a debrief afterwards, which was nice - and now I find myself on the Gatwick Express speeding back to London. I know there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done to the show, and I could still benefit from a little direction, but at least I’ve broken the back of it. Now I just need to drum up an audience for my various previews in June, and to polish the beginning and the end of it, easing the transition from a work-in-progress set to an actual show.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Vienna Waits For You.


Today, I purposely stayed in a pub after finishing my drink because a certain song came on the radio.

That song was Vienna by Billy Joel; a song I hadn’t heard before until relatively recently, when I went to see him live with my wife and my mother-in-law at Wembley Stadium last year. It’s something that really resonates with me, as someone who can be prone to overdo it, or be too focused on achieving certain goals as being proof of my validity.

I actually think I’ve got better at this lately and my work / life balance has improved. When I was a teenager, my band was my sole focus and the most important thing in my life, and succeeding - whatever that meant - was essential; if we didn’t get signed and achieve popularity, I'd have failed. As it was, we were on route to this when my life went another way and acting and comedy became my main motivation, but I always had the sense that I wasn’t doing enough; that every second not spent on work was a second wasted.

While I still have high expectations and am hugely self-critical, I’ve recently started to take my foot off the pedal and not be so serious about it. It really isn’t everything, and I’d hate to miss the important things in life by being so caught up in things that don’t matter. I still care about being creative and the opportunities it can give me, but I don’t want to be around the wrong sort of crowd: people who are so motivated by ego - something that’s particularly common in comedy - that they see most others around them as having little worth. Everyone’s shouting these days and I’m tired of it; given the choice, I’d much rather be with my wife.

I’m not motivated by money, though it would be nice to have some; I’m motivated by experiences; gigging with Paul Daniels and the like and spending time with them was more valuable to me than a pay packet; likewise, I’d sooner spend the day with my wife and my cat than be holed up in a room on my own writing and chasing. This is what Vienna says to me; whatever you try to do, you’ll get there in the end; you don’t always need to push it; thank you Billy for the heads-up.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Maccaccaccaccacca.


What does any self-respecting thirty-six-year-old who was given £30 in Amazon Gift Card vouchers for his birthday spend them on? Special Edition remasters of two of Paul McCartney’s best 1980s albums Tug of War and Flowers in the Dirt, that’s what.

You’d think this many years into the game my interests might deviate, but apparently not; the man who first bought Flowers in the Dirt on cassette from Wembley Market in his early teens is buying it again in his mid-(don’t you dare say “late”)-thirties on a different format; give it another twenty years and I’ll be paying to have the album implanted into my head.

Yet again, I prove where my allegiance lies; I didn’t use the vouchers to buy the 50th Anniversary remaster of Sgt Pepper- even if that was essentially another Macca-led project; I spent them on his less-celebrated yet often as interesting solo work. A lot of people would sniff at that statement, but only because they’re comparing the man’s later work with his earlier stuff and judging him against himself; how many people can say they’ve achieved what he’s done in his life? So very few - so why can’t we celebrate him for it? There’s no need to be snobby about it.

I’m currently on track four of Flowers - the beautiful Distractions, with it’s And I Love Her-style semitone key change for the classical guitar solo (I’m a musical nerd) - and it’s like being reunited with an old friend; I haven’t heard it properly in years, since no longer owning a tape deck. Strangely, I don’t find myself judging the taste of the thirteen-year-old me; it’s probably more acceptable for someone of my age to like this sort of thing now. I don’t care; for me, Macca’s songs are little gifts that keep giving. Thanks Mum for the vouchers (she’ll like that).

Monday, 15 May 2017

Brighton #2: All Work, More Progress.


One thing I didn’t anticipate on my way to tonight’s show in Brighton was I’d be performing to (amongst others) 27 German students.

Informal.
Their teacher popped his head around the door an hour before I began, to see (1) if there was anything on, and (2) if my show would be something I thought his class would understand. This was a hard question to answer as, while language wouldn’t necessarily be a barrier, they might struggle with some of the content, what with my propensity for choosing quite niche cultural references; did Noel Edmonds’ Nineties-era work make it as far as the Rhineland? Let’s hope not. My reluctance to answer with a clear yes or no may have been cause for doubt, as he didn’t commit to coming back.

I took a bit of a risk tonight, by making some big changes to my set at the last minute, so I could be true to my original intention of using the three dates to chop and change what I do, to make the most of the chance to work things up. This meant I spent the whole show eyeing my setlist to see what was coming next. I only just had time to finish editing the slideshow and rewrite my notes before the house opened, which left me pretty anxious; something which hasn’t been helped by my labyrinthitis, which has reared its head again over the last few days. Thankfully for me, the show after me had been cancelled, which gave me the chance to go up a little late, so I could meditate for ten minutes and centre my head. I dipped down the stairs to the fire escape to get myself together, to return minutes later to find the room was packed; there were over fifty in, with the German students amongst them; all the more reason for the changes I’d made to be a bit of a risk.

Thankfully, it went well. It was hot, so concentration was a little stretched, so I tried to keep the energy up to maintain attention. A few minutes into the show, I asked how many German-speaking students were in - I knew I had to make sure the rest of the room knew why some of the audience might be silent - for a sea of hands to go up; a sea that rapidly depleted to a puddle when I asked how many spoke reasonable English. It must have been a tiring hour for them, but to their credit they were very nice; particularly one woman who piped up when I got to the bit about 3-Headed Shark Attack, to agree with just how bad a film it was; it’s good to know that poor cinema knows no borders.

All in all, I was pleased with the show and happy with the response to the new stuff. It still needs finessing -and to be put in the most effective order - but the best thing of all was that, apart from the opening and my last line, all of the old show had gone. One thing I hadn’t realised was how many references to Hitler there were; one of which couldn’t be avoided, as the word 'Adolf!' was in the slideshow; if nothing else, I apologised for Brexit and thanked them for making The Beatles great; I like to do my bit for European relations.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Ephgrave's Eurovision 2017.


People of my age and their parents tend to have a different vision of Europe (see what I did there?) hence the result of last year’s EU Referendum; consequently, I can’t imagine many Daily Mail-reading UK residents beyond retirement age enjoying last night’s Song Contest, despite having grown up with it too, when the vast majority of them made it clear they'd like to keep mainland Europe at a distance (unless they live on the Costa del Sol).

This certainly isn’t the case for me, particularly when faced with such out-and-out camp; Eurovision is always entertaining, notwithstanding the fact my taste in music is so at odds with the competition’s usual fare. So it was that I found myself in front of the TV tonight with my wife, a couple of beers and a range of Euro-snacks, tweeting along to proceedings. See below for my unsolicited commentary:

8:02pm: Twice this year, my TV stopped working at a key moment: once as Big Ben stuck midnight on New Year's Eve, & just now as #Eurovision began.

8:03pm: Forgive me, while I have a fit in the corner.

8:05pm: Salvador from Portugal: first top-knot of the evening.

8:08pm: The presenters are handily positioned from least-to-most glittery jacket increments.

8:09pm: This is entirely improvised banter. Entirely improvised.

8:10pm: Already experiencing teeth-whiteness envy.

8:10pm: Did he just say, "This is the whitest place on Earth"?

8:12pm: Imrie. Celia?

8:13pm: Mmmm. Sleeveless.

8:14pm: I'm feeling love too. Best way to enjoy my evening.

8:14pm: I sing that high when I'm feeling love too. Euphemisms.

8:16pm: Poland's entry's called Fleshlight? Surely not.

8:17pm: Poland's entry sounds like Celine Dion. #NoNoNoNo.

8:18pm: Well, she certainly means it. #Poland #Fleshlight

8:20pm: "Don't shine that torch in my eyes; I've just lost a pint of blood". #Poland #Flashlight

8:22pm: Her hair is reminiscent of Rowlf from the Muppets. #Belarus

8:25pm: I like this. I worry about myself. #aut

8:25pm: He's not running at the moment. #aut

8:25pm: After the show, Belarus and Austria will share a white wash.

8:26pm: "If you let me drown, I'll swim like a champion." Confusing imagery. #aut

8:29pm: I liked it when she moved her arm and the backing went shwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhmmm. #Arm

8:30pm: The women either side of her are extraneous to requirements. #Arm

8:31pm: So pleased about Bananarama reuniting. #Arm

8:33pm: Add their ages together, multiply the outcome by two and the answer will still be younger than me. #Ned

8:34pm: The blonde one looks like Pixie Lott. #Ned

8:34pm: First key change of the evening. #Ned

8:36pm: That presenter has a stubble incapability.

8:38pm: Sunstroke Project? SUNSTROKE PROJECT? ...lost in translation. #MDA

8:39pm: The sax break sounds like M People. #MDA

8:40pm: I do love a nice bunch of SM58flowers. #MDA

8:41pm: The lead singer reminded me of a shorter-haired Bob Downe. #MDA

8:43pm: He looks like Dougal from Father Ted dressed in his Matador stuff. #Hun

8:46pm: What's with the T.I.E. troupe behind him? #ITA

8:48pm: "...I was livid." #ITA

8:52pm: She's shrunk. #DEN

8:55pm: ...posture like Fester Addams. #POR

8:55pm: He's like the Childcatcher. #POR

8:57pm: ...such banter.

8:59pm: She looked like a cat throwing up. #AZE

9:00pm: The horse up the ladder...the new version of the elephant in the room. #AZE

9:02pm: ...like Lynn drawing a chalk penis on the teacher's back. #AZE

9:05pm: ...I know him so well. #CRO

9:06pm: The chest-voice / falsetto highlight of the evening. #CRO

9:11pm: Are we going to be strong and stable?

9:15pm: She has a very shiny leg. #GRE

9:15pm: Will the male dancers dress down or up? #GRE

9:18pm: Seann Walsh and McBusted. #ESP

9:19pm: I liked it when the backing track went bwwwwwwwww. #ESP

9:20pm: Where's the drummer? I can hear a drummer. Where's the drummer? #ESP

9:27pm:  Who needs drama training? THEY NEED DRAMA TRAINING.

9:28pm: The cover of my forthcoming album Br-ephgrav-exit.

9:30pm: ...and the rest of Europe switches off. Thanks Daily Mail, thanks Johnson, thanks over-70s, thanks Farage. Thanks a lot. #GBR

9:33pm: Well done, #GBR. Better than most of our recent entries.

9:38pm: ...is this why my parents voted Leave? I still disagree. #ROU

9:39pm: ...well, this is happening. #ROU

9:40pm: He wants to do something to her with his big canon. #ROU

9:40pm: ...he went for the Partridge kiss. #ROU

9:48pm: A left-handed headstock on a right-handed guitar that actually is a right-handed guitar? madness. #UKR

9:57pm: ...and yet he did go on. #SWE

10:02pm: ...he's almost legally untouchable too. #BUL