Sunday, 14 January 2018

Everything is fire

A recent timeline of insomniac thoughts illustrated by "The Mitchell Beazley Joy of Knowledge Library's Book Of Man and Society":
2:05am - "No labels"... What’s the difference between “labels” and words? Words themselves can stop communication because their associations are so much stronger than the work they’re being put to do.
2:09am - Language is like fire.
2:11am - Not just language. Jokes as well. I'm thinking of the reaction to the Gorilla Channel tweet. Of course Trump doesn't spend seventeen hours a day watching a specially constructed compilation of gorillas fighting broadcast from a secret transmitter on the White House lawn. Of course it's fine to share that joke. Of course this isn't "fake news". And yet I know people - friends on facebook - genuinely scared of sharing that joke, not because it will give offense, but because it might now be believed.

2:20 am - Everything is fire. Everything that defines us as separate from animals can destroy us if allowed to run unchecked: jokes, language, money, homes (and therefore property), love. All of it can become too important. Being human demands an attention to the equilibrium. Nothing can run unchecked. The past year has been a real lesson in that... I hope. A lot of people are newly terrified but the threat's always been there.
2:28am - “Intelligent life” is too rosy a description of what we are. Intelligence is a part of what humans are, sure, but maybe it’s this capacity to create systems that endanger us that should define us and define what we have in common with whatever we hope to make contact with outside of our own planet, so not “intelligent life” then, but... what? Dependent? Processing? Enhanced? Trapped? Artificious? Harvesting? Is there a word for this most fundamental human quality? What’s the label I’m now looking for?
2:29am -There are definitely people who will have written about this. I should read more.
3:08am - Leia gets nothing to do in "Empire Strikes Back". She’s the driving force of the films either side of it. It is not the best Star Wars Film.
3:10am to 5:25am -

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Ear Plugs

But first, a belated...

Or not. We'll see. I'm going to try and use the blog a lot more this year at least. I wrote nothing last year, not just here but in general, unless you count the slew of comments about The Last Jedi I posted on Joel Morris' f*c*b**k page over the Holidays (WHY EVEN BRING BB-8?) so in 2018 I hope to be less reactive in my internet activity, and more... I don't know... hermetic?

Before I get to work on that insomniac mind-punch however, this week sees me clowning around NOT ONLY in London's glittering and highly monitered West End BUT ALSO in TWO consecutive pleasings on the Radio 4, so let's rinse out that bin and FISH OUT THOSE PLUGS!

THIS EVENING, at half past six, you can hear Angstrom... pronounced "ARNGstrom", and narrated by ME! Half of the retakes were because I pronounced it wrong. I also play Angstrom's boss "Bols Aashol" - a further third of the retakes were me buggering that up too. Here is a picture of the Swedish Meatball Hot Wrap I bought in the lunch break to research my accent:

And TOMORROW EVENING at half past six you can hear the second episode of series SEVEN of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme. Go on, kiss your ears! Here is a picture of the effect episode one had on the internet:


And if twenty-three and a half hours is too long a wait between those two doses of me, why not ALSO buy a ticket to tomorrow's as-yet-unsold-out matinee of our London run of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

Or, if you can't get a ticket, why not listen to all SIX episodes of the Wireless Theatre Company's Adventures of Drayton Trench, recorded at London's Museum of Comedy, which is smaller than the Radio Theatre?

OR download my appearance on International Waters back in September, recorded in a big egg on Dean Street?

OR listen to the thrilling latest episode of the now AWARD-WINNING Monster Hunters - "Queen of the Yeti Men" (which I'm not in)? And here is the award!

Yes! I won an award! AND why not vote for Time Spanner over on the British Comedy Guide and give me another one in fact? EH?

End of plugs. Heartfelt details to follow.

Wireless photo by Mike Tomlinson
Happy New Year image care of this.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Shapeshifting Vegetables

Speaking of "The Adventure Game", what should we give Uncle?

Series Three saw Charmian Gradwell get interactive with the kids, inviting them to call in with gift suggestions for "Uncle" - an alien despot who had, in a Douglas-Adamsian twist that seems to have gone over most callers' heads, adopted the form of a grumbling aspidistra steered around the studio floor by Kenny Baker inside a cardboard plinth. Nothing in "The Adventure Game" could be described as slick, by any decade's standards, but these call-ins from 1984 provide a particularly sweet illustration of just how few fucks could be given back in the day, not just on behalf of the show's Pebble Mill production-team, but nation-wide...

Now, both of these clips were posted to my instagram account a while ago. That's one of the places I've been hiding out these past months, playing with faces, not blogging. Dipping. I got an iphone before I went to Frankfurt back in May, downloaded some apps, and pretty much everything I feared might happen to my attention span came to pass. Did we all read this brilliant article on the "silicon Valley refuseniks" who woke up to the addictiveness of apps they helped create and more specifically, updates, comparing them to the pull of a one-armed bandit? So yes, I became a creature of appetite, fidgety and unblogging. But I did make these...

In short however, I'm going to resolve yet again not to shun boredom so much next year.
Oh and yeah, check out my instagram!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Here's my actual favourite moment of 2017

The day before it first snowed...

my sister got married...

to my brother-in-law...

in front of friends and family in Mayfair...

Dad tried out his selfie-stick...

and when the ring went on, the groom's mother looked like she'd just been shown a dinosaur egg.

It was a short, great service...

 it said marriage was about "about closeness and distance" I remember...
The speeches were also short, and great...


Zip forward to last week, my sister cooked her first Christmas Dinner for the three of us in their new flat and my brother-in-law made cocktails. We opened and played with presents, went to the pub, met friends, then dragged them back to watch "The Adventure Game" until two in the morning.

The night of the wedding however, the two stayed in a hotel overlooking Soho...

and woke, as I said, to snow.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Nearly there.

Nearly, nearly there. What were your favourite bits of this wonderful year?

Actually that's from this.

Odd to see something as old as Norden's "Alright On The Night" overlap a genre as not-as-old as a talking-heads time-filler. Was this the first of its kind? Who cares? And was this a wonderful year? In many ways of course it was as grim as a peeled cat in a pram, but let's not dwell, it's still December the 27th, John Finnemore wrote a sketch about that and it's in his Holiday Special from Series Six which was repeated on the radio today, and I'm in it too, and so of course are all those turkeys who voted for Christmas. I never blogged about that series I now realise, not even about the musical. Oh well. The producer did, including a number of photographs of us in Santa Hats, standing at a poignant distance. Series Seven starts on January the 4th. YES! PLUGGED SOMETHING BEFORE IT HAPPENED! Enjoy, my lovelies.

not this wonderful year

Update: I have just learnt from twitter that Margaret Cabourn-Smith calls this period, between Christmas and New Year's, the "Merry-neum". What did you learn from twitter today?

Monday, 25 December 2017


"I find it so much harder to tell when it's night since we moved to space," said Zarissa.
"We're fine for time, darling," said Zodney. "Can you go and get the wreath?"
Far above them Sirius did whatever the past tense of glint was.

Illustration by Anon.

(Apologies for the absence, readers! Details if not explanations to follow. Hope everyone got what they wanted in the meantime. Big love.)

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Rushed Smudge

The film I shot on a potato in the woods surrounding Frankfurt is online now, so you can finally see how strangely out of focus everything was on that day and enjoy the deeply disappointing results of a month's never giving up. Stupid magic phone that does everything! Sorry - Enjoy:

UPDATE: They say a film is never finished, only abandoned, but I abandoned this a little too early. Tinkering around with the re-edit I've now upped the volume, changed the soundtrack to give it a bit more shape, and hit the filter that makes it look more super-8-y to lampshade the amateurism. Less rushed. Still a smudge. The original crud is up here.