Wednesday, 18 November 2009

SPOILER WARNING

(originally posted on myspace here)


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Back in the office at Money I've just been told the Lounge, which closed, stripped, on Saturday (above), may now be getting another extension until March. Nigel's face when he heard the news was... did you see that Doctor Who on Sunday when David "Oh nwoh, oh no nwoh, I'm sorry, I'm so, swoh sorry" Tenant went and saved Lyndsay Duncan's life at the last moment, even though the time and circumstance of her death had been QUANTUMLY ORDAINED, and so do you remember how she reacted? Like that. Shunt and me and Nigel's brains will hear more tomorrow, but yeah there may be murk at the end of the tunnel yet. Whoop awe.

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"Under these arched bricks... we have communed with people from all over the world, discussed in all languages, and understood each other."
Mateusz Odrobny

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Wallpaper at Brady's

(originally posted on myspace here)


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This is my twitter wallpaper. It comes from Brady's, in Brixton. Yes that's another thing that happened last month, I started tweeting. Because John Cleese does. Once I tweeted Tom Waits teetering, but it's not a page I particularly recommend you visiting. However if you get the chance to see inside the building I actually took it from, visit that. This is Brady's below. I'd see the clock face at eye level whenever I went swimming, but for my nine years living in Brixton I never actually saw inside Brady's. You didn't go inside Brady's:

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I'm posting this between shows from the low-lit office of "Money" once again, dressed in my riot gear and balaclava. I can hear a woman's voice from the other side of the Venetian blinds go "No, it's a real person. That's fucked up!" Well them's the breaks, miss. By tomorrow I'll need to have written fifteen minutes of material for That Mitchell and Webb Look, from scratch, but I promised to post shots of a site that the Shunt Lounge (closing tomorrow - TOMORROW) had considered relocating to, and Friday the 13th's an apt a date as any. Because what Brady's looked like on the inside did not disappoint:

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Okay but I bet that wasn't really a torture room. 

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Okay but I bet there weren't really witches... This is three or so months ago. We'd taken a break from rehearsing Money to be shown around and it was probably the first time I'd returned to Brixton in daylight since the fire. I felt very at home. Very excited.

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"Oh, Jimi Hendrix was born in this room, you say? Wow. We're all vampires anyway."

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Ooh! And what's under the mattress in the corner? Actually forget that what's the other side of that window?

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I see.

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"Wow! Let's leave!"

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And the view?

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Oh I loved it. Imagine if we moved there! And then imagine if I moved back! We're not moving there though... BUT - Actually I'd better get my balloons, it's showtime. We shall continue this anon. Bye bye, Brady's. Hit it Dr. Buckles! Loveyoubye.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Public Reaction

(originally posted on myspace here)


All finished!

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"Yeah but hang on, Simon, eff off! You can't just disappear for a month then swan back online with 'The Public Reaction' like nothing's happ- Oo! Footage!"



Haha! Yet again I deflect your fictional carping, my shit-giving mental construct...  And now, look, if you didn't know by now, dear actual reader, regarding our show "Money" the press were good to us, very good. They said this ("cool"! four stars) and this ("teasing"! four stars) and this ("DISCERNIBLE"! four stars). There was also a not basically accurate reference to Shunt's own finances here ("Oo yeah let's read that!" four belms)... which, which, which...which is as good a place as any to mention that the Lounge will now finally be closing its doors at the end of next week. The fourteenth. Moving off. Sharded. So get your skates on. (Shit. Money's staying where it is though. That's safe. And sold out. Go Tweaks!) Various new locations have been considered. I'll show you one of them in the next post, and that will lead me on to other relocations I must fill you in on, which will in turn - basically it's alright, this blog is now sorted. Let's celebrate...

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Whee.

Right I have to head off now. I'm using the Lounge's internet and everyone's gone. Nigel promised me a giant Nosferatu head left over from Halloween if I came round, then he shouted at me because I was on the computer all the time and wouldn't go with him on the boat in the tunnel of balloons George had made to look like the Super K Subterranean Neutrino Observatory after it had shut so I did. And it was good. Get your skates on.

And speaking of tweaks, you see that guy on the left in this video? That's us, in rehearsals. Okay, mainly me... Who's the guy on the right? No idea.


But the results speak for themselves.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

"Makes the Caucasian Chalk Circle look like Eastenders"

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

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So the reviews are in and WE'RE A HIT!

"... fabulous, fabulous set..." Kirsty Wark

"... spectacle... " Robin Ince

"... trying to tell you anything at all. It was super-... a laugh I suppose... reminded me of the stuff from the eighties they had on Channel 4..." John Harris 

"... the set is good..." Oliver Kamm

"... not a complete waste of time... there was nothing new about it. BUT -..." Germaine Greer

Well at least television's regained some of its mystique for me now. All that Mitchell and Webb stuff had just made me cocky. But I'd love to know what GG was going to say after that "BUT" before Kirsty Wark cut her off to point out that the Enron show had sold out. She was spot on about reading the "event" as the "organism Money", and had stuck her tongue out at me in our Parliament so was clearly one of us. Also it was enlightening to see Robin Ince chance upon the perfect mind-set for enjoying the show; the only question now is how do we get an audience that *haven't* missed the first forty minutes to approach us in as good faith... Anyway, work continues: 10am calls, a little less audience interaction, a lot more cast interaction (which is jolly). And Lizzie's produced a fantastic series of prints for the Institute upstairs now (see above) which may just explain everything: the organism, on wheels, everywhere. We set out. They've just turned the lights off. The machine's kicked in and it's probably time to let our sixth audience pile in. My sister got it anyway. Who knows what's out there? Oh, for anyone who enjoyed Disney's Magic Highway here's Disney's Life on Mars. Well, the visuals anyway, but you all like Techno, right?

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Dance Bear Don't (a life in 3 acts)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Let's see if we can't squeeze another one of these posts in before Newsnight Review shows up tonight (pray God they respect to the Code of the Preview, that is all I ask...) Now - ah - I'm writing this on the office's IBM ThinkPad and there's odd little buttony growths all over it, what do they all do?!... Um, so anyway last night saw more cuts to the show: no more giant table cloth, and no more opportunity to sing along to this unparalleled two-minute ode to joy WHAT?! NO!


I do hop s ee its rurn. Oh how did the cursor get over there! I'm using my thumb to move and my forefinger to click, thi sis nonsense¬! LISTEN - no, bad caps lock! - listen, let's all just take a moment to be the water shall we? Let's fill the cup. Fill the bottle... That's better. Alan?



I mean, it's fine. I recognise the preview period will be intense and that changes need to be made. I recognize that the Simon Smith Karaoke segment wasn't working in context inasmuch as it was unbearable and stopped time itself Howard Campbell-like in its tracks, and I recognise that perfect as the song is we must pay attention to the doughnut, not the hole, and speed our plough over the bones of the dead. Of the dead bear. Of the dead child and his amazing dead dancing dead bear. That is fine. Huhhh... huhhhhh, huh huhhhhh.... I had a good conversation with Lizzie last night. She's the designer. It's good to talk to her because I think her priorities are spot on - how do you work on an audience's imagination without asking them to suspend their disbelief? That seems to me the - OH IT'S NO GOOD! ALAN PRICE! ALAN PRICE WHER ARE YOU?



Thursday, 17 September 2009

Mood: None. Related Topics: None

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

Hello. I'm posting this from my phone again, from outside the machine which I think is now complete. I think. It's got bunting and a bell. And I feel I should post this because of course last night we opened, and that's a thing, and we're having a photoshoot, sitting around in towels with nothing better to do. (The costumes arrived yesterday but we're still going with just the towels, apart from Tom who having missed the towels note has shown up covered in clay and feathers with a shaved head. Good old Tom. But also, good old towels.) So how was last night? Well it felt like the first time I'd actually earnt my money, but the show itself, now I think about, reminded me of Zack Snyder's Watchmen: I - ng - liked it, but oo there was a lot missing... missing here not from the original, but from the sum and, when we were lucky, product (maths joke) of the past six months' settling of ideas, decisions and enthusiasms. Whole swathes of theme that it turns out just aren't there now. And what's interesting about that is this was evident last night even though the playing was crisp and the crowd jolly. But now let's see what we've got, less is still probably more. Already today we've axed the steampunk detox and the misunderstanding about the pen. And good. My voice is a three amp fuse right now with thirteen amps of quarrel run through it. Don't kiss me, I taste like a farm.

Ah, I've got to a computer now. Great. So here's a short animation I came across illustrating just some of the themes which didn't make it into last night's show. It's also ideally how I'd like to us to end it (I mean Germaine Greer's coming on Friday. She'd eat this up. Imagine.) Go!

Friday, 11 September 2009

But the future need not forbode.

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

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We open on Tuesday and the fever and the cough are still tediously here. I was well enough for a run-through of the show today but there's still a lot not in place, cramped confusion elsewhere, and a baffling egginess in the playing of stuff that had found a nice place to itself months ago. I didn't enjoy a second of it. And that's particularly annoying as there's a lot of stuff here I should be finding incredibly enjoyable, just the kind of stuff I want to play. No actually, what's annoying is that the thing's so NEARLY there, but only if done by us at our best. Done badly, it's meaningless.

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I left early to try and get my hands on some anti-biotics in Soho, failed and headed over to Whitechapel for a flat-viewing and some Soothers, by which point I was fumbling for the correct change like a boxer for beads and saying "B'bye" everywhere. Anyway here's something I should have posted ages ago: Apparently around the time of Zola writing "L'Argent" all the best brains in Paris had written off cities as a thing of the past. "Where are we going to put all the shit?" I think was the main issue. Their vision of the future was very close to Disney's it turns out...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Consilium Pilot (with easter egg extras)

(originally posted on myspace here)


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Someone other than myself drew this sweet catalogue of me and my worldly possessions (Le Petit Plastrier) and for all the gnashing on bile that follows I remain giddy and red-eyed with gratitude for that fact, and have no complaint with anything outside myself as subsequent posts will hopefully testify... Pblaaackk! It's September now, is it? Yeah. Right. What is it in this room making me cough every time I come in? This is it, the only space I have remotely moved into, how can I be allergic to it? Money's opening in a week now but I'm missing the hundred-and-forty-third day of the Big Push, laid up here in the Jock Block instead as though I've just come out of hospital and we're back in February, incapable of sleeping on my back once again, turning to the sputum pot I'd only kept as a momento and staggering to the bathroom for a toxic harumph. Is it sun-stroke? Is it nerves? Is it the karaoke at the Dungeon Summer Party where I went as Daryl Hannah out of Blade-Runner? I want a microscope. I want to peer at a sliver of this and give it a name. I want to look in the mirror and not see Zach Galifianakis' downy corpse squinting back. I want to write about Paris, and the seventh week of "Let's run it again from the Jewish Question", I want to get some ideas down for Sirs Harry and Paul, I want to run off every footling, glittering nugget I promised everyone so that I can get on with the stuff I promised myself, but CHIEFLY I want to use this blog for something other than lists of stuff I'm supposed to do. How am I ever get my own unfathomably-depressed-literary-giant-teatime-telly gig at this rate? And have you SEEN how overgrown the machine's been getting in our absence?

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Well okay, what have I written... There's the closing sketch of this week's Mitchell and Webb Sound so have a listen to that maybe (three closers in a row. "Closer" is an industry term I've just used wrongly) although now I think of it, if you have it on and  DON'T listen my sketch does sound pleasingly like Peepshow... And I also filled in this questionnaire I filled in on F*c*b**k a bit back (a bit is a measurement of time. I have lost track of time. The Bit System is: A bit equals some bits and some bits make up a bit, so we're talking a bit back. So it works fine.) You had to answer every question using the titles of songs sung by just one band or artist. I chose the songs of Leonard Nimoy, and after essentially two month's blog silence the results are as good a reacquaintance as any, so you can have that... (oh and I've put links to the tracks where I can so don't click on them if you won't be able to face it, they're not the easter eggs I meant, I don't really know what easter eggs are)...

Are you a male or female?
Nature Boy.

Describe yourself:

How do you feel:
Contact. 
(Particularly proud of that one)

Describe where you currently live:
If I had a Hammer...

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Where No Man Has Gone Before.

Your favorite form of transportation:
I Walk The Line.

Your best friend is:
Music To Watch Space Girls By.

Your favorite color is:

What's the weather like:

Favorite time of day:
Lost in the Stars.

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Consilium

What is life to you:
A Visit To A Sad Planet.

Your current relationship:

Looking for:

Wouldn't mind:

Your fear:
Everybody's Talkin'.

What is the best advice you have to give:
You Are Not Alone.

If you could change your name, you would change it to:
Abraham, Martin and John

Thought for the Day:
Spock Thoughts

How I would like to die:
Amphibious Assault.

My motto:

Well what else would my motto be? The Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins? And who knew Lego did whites? And weren't Buffalo Springfield good sports? Right I'm going to try and catch some L-shaped Z's now, sweet dreams and prosper. Pblaaackk!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

posted from Nige's laptop

(originally posted on myspace here)


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And look at the mess he's made. We're back rehearsing "Money" again after another break, this one three weeks long. (Here are some shots of us before then, brainstorming in the yard while the levels for the End of the World are unceasingly tweaked within. We are, as you can see hard, at it:)

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So listen, while everybody's not looking I think I'll pop off to Paris for a couple of nights. I'm not bringing the laptop but I promise I'll catch up when I get back. No, the only reason I'm suddenly getting back in touch so hurriedly is that the That Mitchell and Webb Sound show airs tonight on Radio 4 and this is just the kind of place where I should be telling people about that (oh and all the stuff I wrote for the telly should now be up in a playlist on my profile.) Apparently I've written the opening and closing sketches of this first episode and they're both pieces I'm really pleased with. In fact the final sketch - if it's about tycoons - was directly inspired by the work done on "Money" so yes the spoof will now air before the show that inspired it. What this also means however is that you now have only about, well, none hours left to listen to some other stuff I'm quite proud of which aired on Laurence and Gus' final episode last Tuesday in a towering seven minute sandwich of sick whimsy towards the end. But look that's my fault entirely. Still, quick!
Ah Nige's back, looking very handsome. 
As is the Yard: 

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As are we all. All so handsome. Hello Nige. Goodbye you. 

Sunday, 21 June 2009

posted from a phone

(originally posted on myspace here)


Well that was brilliant. I haven't seen Daniel Kitson before and, long as it's taken me to do get round to it I'm quite glad the first time that I see him should have been in a park at midnight. A large crowd, but my initial begrudging of the laughter that greeted him opening his mouth lasted about empty seconds - I meant forty seconds, predictive text. No he said he felt like spending the hour just congratulating us for showing up, and by that point I would have been very happy with that. Instead he read a story from a stool, lit by the lamps through the trees like a moomin, and that was fox too (wow, I meant to type excellent and see I've typed fox. That's incredibly predictive.) And I listened to much of it only drifting off to try and remember when I'd last written a love story, and to wonder how on Earth I'd go about trying to write one again... i don't know how to do paragraphs on a phone... New paragraph... And now I'm sat by the American Embassy in a break from walking home. I've never been here before. I've just a had cool, refreshing all-day-breakfast packaged sandwich and it's two in the morning. Pimm's o' clock. I'm tucking into maltesers now and living the dream. Not a proper dream, mind, the kind you have once you've pressed the snooze button (I have to, the tune my alarm plays is soporific to a fault) then find a spare room beyond the bathroom, and a whole other house beyond that, and a design magazine on the floor, and you know it's French because they're giving away an inflatable woman tucked into the pages like a free scent, and you pull it out and wonder shall I? and then the alarm goes off again. And you wake up and fall asleep.

"YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE! THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY!" and other amazing dialogue.

(originally posted on myspace here)


Well the Giant Death Ray sketch finally aired. My parents were over from France and we perched in front of the telly - none of us dead - with a Chinese takeaway just like the old days, only now it was Susy's High-Definifitive Plasmaniscus Tellitron before which we sat and one of the things on was mine. Maybe that's why I thought it was a particularly good episode, because we were all there, but no there so many of my favourite sketches from the recording there and to be sandwiched between the Woman Ad/ Man Ad sketch and Remain Indoors felt amazing. Oh, and Ben Fuller's scorpion was, well...

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Sweeet indeed. (I just wish my writing hadn't been so salad-y, so un-nailed. I mean it's FINE, but everybody else's work on the sketch is SUPER SUPER FINE). All in all it's been a good week for my inner geek. I would go into details - mutant herons, finding a feral kid, comics, Yadda Yoda - but someone's got a free ticket to Daniel Kitson in Regent's Park - I have never seen him. Is he bucolic?  - anyway I must skoot. Meanwhile David and Rob and the excellent James Bachman are, among other places, here.

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Thursday, 18 June 2009

FOR KIDS: Bimbo, Evita and Flaps (Remnant)

(originally posted on myspace here)


Today's post has suddenly been erased. Hecht. Oh well, I can't be bothered to write it again. But here's the contents:

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Peter Arnold was outside in the sun, hard at work on a giant labia.
"It was meant to be a diaphragm," he explained.
"Is it for the show?" I asked.
"No."

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Snap (+ a sketch Jon Taylor's mother was good enough to compliment me on last night)

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

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So back to the Machine today, whose insides after a week of uninterrupted construction have now been turned to stone, and whose outsides bizarrely sport - in just the latest of a number of unconscious nods to Synecdoche NY - exactly the same lamps as my new place. 

Was progress made in rehearsals today? I don't know. So many elephants in the room, so few of them earning their keep in the manner of the fall of the Second Empire (being digested). I did raise the question "Are there any plans to get an actor to play this part we know we have but don't yet have an actor for?" and I think it was generally agreed that that might be a good idea. The part now going is that of a feral child. My knee hurts. Nigel diagnosed that as being 34. I didn't ask our director his opinion. He was in Portland Place cupping Robbie William's balls.

Thence to the last Recording of That Mitchell and Webb Sound where my unvoiced plans for a sketch about a kid's show starring Christopher Hitchens were startlingly upset by a sketch Rob performed about a kid's show starring Christopher Hitchens. I felt I'd come home to an empty tub of Strawberry Cheesecake unable to remember whether or not it was mine. Well that's that anyway, no more sketch-writing for a while so Harrumble (although actually this last session has been something of a blast, still it will be nice to see what happens next). And for those who missed it on Thursday here's the gang in happier times:

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Yeh momma, I wrote that. And I admit to being smitten by absolutely every aspect of it, so thanks to youtube illegalers "goldsaq" and "felixulyssesmeritus" for getting it out there although none of you seem yet to have uploaded "Jan Hankl's Patent Flankpat" - oh no, HANG ON, oh no what's this:

Lots Of Love. Does that mean I done a meme? 

... coming up this Thursday: Giant Death Ray Sketch.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

What's missing from this picture?

(originally posted on myspace here)




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At nine o'clock it was still light in Battersea Park, and I'm trying to put my finger on what it is that's missing, and why I feel I'm wasting my time here. I mean, look at it. Where else would I rather be? Just behind me is the vicarage I lodged in when I left school, attached to a round church with a photograph of the planet Earth where Jesus would normally be, or at least that's what was there back in 1993, when I first left home. And it's becoming difficult to maintain that enthusiasm for independence now I'm 34. London has never looked more beautiful, and I'm limping to keep up. Battersea Park is practically deserted and there are party-boats on the the Thames but this doesn't feel like home tonight. It feels like a very well-appointed waiting room. 

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I don't know what's missing.

Maybe this is because of the fire, because my home has gone but I'm only now getting ready to entertain. Maybe it's because of the pain in the right leg. Maybe it's because I should be writing. I've had another week off and done... not nothing I suppose, no, on Tuesday I went to the hospital to blow into a robot and receive a clean bill of health, good, and on Friday I went to "The Hospital" to eat Eggs Benedict and discuss a script about a hitman - but it's not much. I mean, Gemma went over to California for the week and still managed fit in research for the show (from a book about Manet... and there's a mur-mermuh-mermuh programme about him on iplayer right now in fact). It's all good stuff she's found. Here's some:

"This is a quote from the charge d'affaires at the British Embassy in Paris in 1869.
'The second empire has gone off the rails. It is no longer being guided it is hurling itself at an accelerating speed towards the abyss'... 
"The 1867 expo opened late. On the opening ceremony, they were surrounded by builders. because of bad weather, barely half the exhibits were there. Of those that had arrived, only a fifth had been unpacked. The opening ceremony, conducted by Emperor Napoleon was on 'a muddy fairground amid packing cases, tarpaulin-shrouded exhibits and crews of frantic workmen' one observed described it as 'a sickly child that was bound to die', so. That became the biggest show in Europe. It's all ok... 
"London in 1867 had a heatwave. They drank cold tea and gentlemen wore wet cabbage leaves inside their top hats... 
"Abolishment of arbitrary arrest and obligation of workers to carry identity cards... 
"Napoleon went to war in Alsace Lorraine with bladder stones. In a lot of pain, he rouged himself, and tried to die in battle but failed. He lamented he was 'not even able to get himself killed.'... 
"During the seige, they killed all the animals in the zoo to eat. The richer Parisians therefore dined on all sorts of curiosities. Castor and Pollux, the two elephants in the Jardin de Plantes, had been cruelly and bunglingly dispatched with a chassepot firing steel tipped.33 calibre bullets. Elephants had long been the most esteemed and well loved residents at the zoo. They were fed honey cakes and were said to enjoy the singing of patriotic songs. Their keeper, M. Devisme, had protested at the execution (which was watched by several big-game hunters and other Parisians) and afterwards fell sobbing in the snow, huggling the trunk of one of his dead charges. Elephant steak promptly found its way onto the plate of Victor Hugo who was further satisfying his gastronomic curiosity by tucking into bear and antelope. (Horse meat gave him indigestion. Wealthy Parisians were able to choose from zebra, reindeer, yak and kangaroo)" 

The night before Gemma mailed that, I had a dream about dying elephants in the Shunt Lounge, a whole pile of them at the foot of a low ramp being gored by elephants that had failed to make the jump and goring the next ones in turn. It was a mess. Maybe I need a desk. There are four canvasses stuck to the wall of the room I now occupy. They're stuck there with blue tak. Two are blank. The other two bear this picture:

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But as long as this isn't my home that's not my problem.

Friday, 12 June 2009

All good. Videgum has proof.

(originally posted on myspace here)

So YES I should alert you to the fact that there is at least one sketch, maybe two of mine airing on BBC2 tonight at 10 as the third series of That Mitchell and Webb Look finally gets broadcast. And now I have. Alerted you. It's going to be very good, I'm pretty sure of that, and the what-is-called "red button content" should also be worth your thumb's time and energy. What they've done is taken a number of the radio sketches - including Asbo Zapruder - and turned them into cartoons, and what could have been a very bad idea has in fact been realized with great sensitiviteh and f'nesse so I am cock-a-hoop. I'm cock-a-hoop and back online, though bound to this crippling, skip-green couch by a short yellow cable because my wireless connection is still for some reason- Well I don't know where to begin - it's all magic isn't it - but the unimaginable resources of information that should be shooting invisibly into my laptop at speeds that can only be explained by the theory of relativity are still having to do so through a kind of wonky, TVam band of narrow plastic and not through the air like I have every right just to expect it to. So my legs hurt.

But in better news, it turns out that during the week I've been offline everything became fine! 

Well, okay not the Government, clearly, not the BNP, not, like the NEWS world, but the other world, the you and me world, the people just getting on with stuff world, the world, in short, so diligently monitored by the mighty, mighty Videogum has been throwing up all manner of giddying evidence of the excellence of people over these past seven days, which I have very much enjoyed catching up on. Although my legs do really hurt. Okay so tuna might be heading for extinction but LOOK, we'll always have kittens:


And LOOK, someone's spent three years making a wedding invitation (As one commenter puts it "Dear People in Love, the bar has just been raised"):


And LOOK, this should be fake, someone clearly must have faked this to advertise T-Mobile or Diet Coke or something, but NO, it happened, so everyone is definitely fine! I'm going to watch telly now with Tom and Will. On Sunday I was dumb enough to say some nasty things about Gordon Brown in front of Will. "I guess we have different ideas what Leadership means," he said. Yeah. I think it definitely means this:

Videogum. My church. I can't get up.

Monday, 8 June 2009

IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK TO CHANGE WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

(originally posted on myspace here)

Internet still down but I finally got round to transcribing the notes I took in hospital and see now that nearly all of them were made during the one 24-hour steroid-enduced psychotic episode of February 17th, very far from the "natural high" I took it to be. Throughout this episode I took my own stats with the box that had been left by my bed and saw my blood pressure sink finally to an acceptable level. And I slept on my back for the first time in eleven days, and was Thor. So these are the notes from that day and that night. Not all them: I also embarked upon the first chapter of a children's book roundabout the time of the words Epiphany for Everyone, my first concentrated stream of thought since I'd been in hospital. And, as I think I've already recorded, I also euphorically lost it with a visiting pyschiatric nurse called Anthony Tang who refused to turn off his reading light at roundabout one in the morning. 

Some of this still stands.
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17th Tuesday Feb
Been given a whole Manga face of pills this morning. I take the mouth, the eyes, the Japanese tear
Shaky because of the NEURALIZOR (sp?) no nebulizer
SKELETOR (sp?)
I’ve been taken off 15cc Oxygen and put on 4. My coughing’s RUBBISH now. It brings up no smoke pups, NOTHING.
MOOMIN Page 38
TELL US ALL THAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD!
FUSS AND MISERY…
Two of last night's dreams:
The freighter that picks me up from the Ice Flow is manned by tall silent men with long waterproofs, square heads but aquiline profiles, smooth black dishes for ears and receding chrome spirals on their head. Maybe the cube inverts to accommodate the face. Anyway a nice kind image.
THE GOOMB MEN
There was wrestling in the street at the crossroads at the bottom of the hill, now I think of it, like Brixton Hill, only windier and more seventies ish. The two wrestlers are huge, twice the height to normal.

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They kind of looked like that but in a way that made sense, & each had a tiny cox on their head, like their trainer. The two wrestlers never actually fought they collapsed, knackered, but like they were playing a joke. A lot of controversy in the news after about how much more genetic tampering to allow these coxes. None about the genetic modification made to the wrestlers although it later struck me that they must have had some work done.
I WANT A MONTAGE!
  
AN EPIPHANY FOR EVERYONE
(in which everything suddenly makes sense)
Brilliantly I ended the evening wheeling around a cylinder of oxygen that I’d forgot to turn on.
FROM THE GUARDIAN 17.02.09
Paul Garner co-organizer of the Creationist conference: Many people have the mistaken impression that it’s Genesis, chapter one that drives young creationism – a rigid understanding of the word “day” in the creation. But that isn’t it at all. It’s Genesis three, it’s the introduction of death and suffering and what you might call natural evil into the creation. If those things pre-date Adam there’s a big theological problem for me, because it undermines the foundation of the gospel. The young-earth position is the only one that has a coherent understanding of the history that doesn’t have suffering, death and bloodshed before Adam’s fall.”
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK TO CHANGE WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

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I HOLD REALITY SACRED
DON’T TELL ME ABOUT SOMEBODY SOMEONE MADE UP FOR WHICH THERE’S NO EVIDENCE AND ASK ME TO PROVE HE DOESN’T EXIST.
I’M IN A BREAKING TARDIS
CLOSER – NOT NARRATIVELY – BUT PHYSICALLY – TO DEATH – IE NOT EXISTING AND OF COURSE ALL THE IDEAS ARE COMING. THIS IS INTERESTING. AND OFTEN OBSERVED. IDEAS COME FROM NOT BEING
BUT 17th/18 it’s only NOW – 10 days in that I’m feeling weak enough to get it.

Man, if Jesus really was just one guy this is how he must have felt EVERY **ING DAY!

There are no italics you can put on “If that is what you want, that’s what I’ll have to do.” to make it sound polite ANTHONY TANG
IN MY MIND – IN MY MIND! – there is nothing sweeter than the idea of an elderly man who must be at all hours attended by a tiny, sleeping Maori. The reality, however, is a lot more unwise.
RELIGION IS THE PARENT OF ART AND SCIENCE THERE IS NOTHING RELIGION CAN TEACH US THAT ART AND SCIENCE CANNOT TEACH US MORE CLEARLY. BUT WE HAVEN’T HAD ALL THE ART WE’RE EVER GOING TO HAVE YET. OR THE SCIENCE.
(WE MAY NOT HAVE HAD ALL THE RELIGION. BUT IT’S TELLING THAT THE “BEST” WAY TO DO THIS NOW AS L. RON HUBBARD WORKED OUT, IS JUST MAKE UP SOME VERY BAD ART AND THEN HIRE YOUR OWN POLICE FORCE.)


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SO YES THIS MUST BE A NATURAL HIGH – AND I’M LOOKING FOR THE WORD FOR THIS TRIP AND IT’S AHH! “SPIRITUAL” BECAUSE THAT HAS TO STOP. THIS IS REAL. That’s the point of “epiphany” it’s real – and SPIRITS DON’T EXIST. So don’t succumb and go I’M SPIRITUAL. I’M SPIRITUAL
        NO: I’M REAL.
IT WAS REAL
FUCK ME I’M BREATHING

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Friday, 5 June 2009

And it gonna be on wheels...

(originally posted on myspace here)


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Just a quick breezing in while I'm sat at monitor 11 sending off last minute re-writes of a premiseless, twenty-two page sketch about the Elizabethan Conjuror John Dee to Laurence and Gus for tonight's final recording: We did some Shunt in front of people last night, and finally SOMETHING was there, audible, visible and playable. It feels very good. No trap-doors opening, no smoke, no penguin masks painted black, just door-knobs, tickets and a split audience to play with. "Finally we've got a wheel!" said Nigel, "All we need now are another three and we can stick them on a car." Yep, because all we had before was a drawing of a car we were waving in audience's faces while making brrrm noises. On the train home some teenagers threw bits of crutch at me, which I threw back to show I was down. About twenty onions lay crushed in the middle of the road outside my block. Might use that. Oh, just have.

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Gemma on the machine's top deck, ages ago, with shambles.

Monday, 1 June 2009

...incommunicado...

(originally posted on myspace here)


Broadband's down so I'm sending this from a cafe until I get back on line. It's a killer, a beaut', one of the absolute best things I saw while recuperating at my sister's - as a cartoon more Chris Ware even than Chris Ware. Enjoy. Despair.



Tomorrow, Monday, sees a couple of places where you might be able to hear some of my stuff in the evening (most hatched Thursday night... Basically I thought, look I'm either a writer AND performer or a writer OR performer and AND's the only way I'm going to to eat so I'd better just write. My eyes now feel like Trompe Le Monde): There's the first recording of the new That Mitchell and Webb Sound (a bit out of the blue, and I think it's all sold out) but there's also Lowdown at the Albany where Laurence and Gus might be trying out some gubbins before their final recording on Friday. I'm not going to be able to make Friday because of Shunt, so I'll probably do the Albany. Just so you know.
Right.
I have no Internet.
Bye then.

No, you hang up first.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Hawkins' First Hadrosaur

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

 DO NOT WATCH THIS:

 
 
 I wish Hesketh would get a shift on and forward me that strand of a hundred insults because "Jesusophile", as he terms himself here, lacks them all. Lack. Exactly. It's a lack. He should have them because it's a lack. (Sorry, you'll only get that if you've seen the video, which you mustn't). Videogum drew this Shitwizard to my attention after he posted an argument for the okayness of inflicting pain on women during sex. Someone else then posted a video where he demonstrated AIDS passing through a condom with some off milk and a strainer, at which point I smelt a rat and went and did my own research. It was the interview above that convinced me he was actually for real. Except he isn't. It says so on his youtube channel. Oh curse you, Internet. "You obviously have no idea how evolution works."
"People always tell me this. It's such a weak argument." Okay so he doesn't exist, and he's Dutch, but I didn't know that three hours ago when I had to walk him off, and a good thing too, it was a beautiful day and I ended up at the Natural History Museum. Passing the animatronic T Rex I was struck for the very first time by how bare not only he but most of the other reconstructions seemed to be, and became thrilled by the idea that dinosaurs had once been covered in feathers, not a new idea I know but one it became impossible to shift. Every animatronic now seemed very obviously plucked, and how would we know? I thought of those brilliant medieval bestiaries in which geese grew on trees and all that's known or cared about the crocodile is that it weeps after eating a man.

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("Meh, that's a crocodile, yeah it'll do. Might have got the wings the wrong colour but sod it, it's a naturally occurring allegory, no need to sweat the details.") And I passed an illustration of a T Rex sinking its teeth into a hadrosaur and thought - Yes, if we've got that wrong, then that's exactly how we get it wrong: Take what we know about something and paint it killing something else. And for the first time since I was probably ten I yearned to visit the Cretaceous period and find out what it was actually like, which was GREAT because until that point all those post-Jurassic-Park, CGI "reconstructions" had pretty much seen off my childlike di-curiosity. But THIS, seeing the bones, remembering how wrong we might have got it, gazing at a scene of antlered hadrosaurs gathering at the water-hole, all this suddenly made me want once again to see not a clone, but THAT SCENE. I wanted a time machine. I wanted to step out of a time machine and see a T Rex at dusk trailing feathers like a peacock and scavenging some long-dead carcass while the hadrosaurs were left to butt heads in peace. Bliss.

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One of the best things about my stay in Crystal Palace was that the train pulled up right next to Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins' placid - downright pekinese - dinosaur enclosure. Googling "hadrosaur" I found an illustration of Hawkins in his studio in New York working on new wonders. Yes, New York: Apparently there was going to be a Paleozoic Museum bang in the center of Central Park until the evil Boss Tweed broke all the molds. You can read about it here, lots of nice pictures... Now when I used to work at Quinto's the second-hand bookshop - sorry if I've already told you this - there was this anti-semitic, ghastly-headed twenty-something, Joe, a bright and polite former monk with some very bad ideas. Among these was that "the Passion of the Christ" was "accurate", and that the world was six thousand years old. I took him up on this, and heard his thoughts on dinosaurs. They'd drowned in the forty days of rain caused by the bursting of Earth's original meniscus, an ozone layer of water that made all carbon dating useless. He believed in evolution and "Survival of the Fittest" but when pressed had no explanation for coal, or caves or tectonic plates. Shortly afterwards he was dismissed following a chat with our Spanish manager about Franco. But if ever you meet a creationist don't raise the subject of dinosaurs. Surprise them with coal, or stalactites. I mention Joe here merely to explain my gullibility in the face of Jesusophile, and I post Jesusophile's video up even though he doesn't exist, and isn't funny, because this is the internet and I'm an atheist and it appears that that's what we do, we like to make ourselves mad.

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Finally here's something I wrote for "Money", which fits fine here:

'I want to show you something. I want to show you what we will look like in 200 thousand years time. And before I do remember, survival of the fittest does not mean survival of the best at running. It means, or did mean – “Who fits here? They can stay”. Okay. Behold. The man of 200 thousand years time...
And they say variety is dead. And they’re right. Because – look around, look – we didn’t adapt to this. We adapted it. Evolution can stop now.
Variety is dead.
It’s “Where fits us?” now, not  “Who fits here?” Where fits us can stay. And the rest, the deserts, the tundra, the bits with snakes, they go. And on their remains will be built a city without frontiers.
And it will be very expensive.
But we’ll be able to afford it.
That’s the other thing about the future. We’ll obviously all be able to afford it. Something to do with technology. Thank you, man of the future.'

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(Man of the Future comes courtesy Paleo-Future, another cracking source of odd and ahh.)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

MOOLAH (It's French for Mill)

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

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So we all had a week off to take stock. Item: one work of genius, our new home, this, "The Machine", with carpeting, crawl-space, trap-doors, glass floors and lots and lots of banging. Item: another work of genius, "Money" by Emil Zola, documenting the Paris Bourse Crash of 1882, and settled on as a starting point for Shunt's new show all the way back in June 2008, before any of those little caveats gabbled softly in the closing seconds of a commercial came to pass and it all went down as well as up. Item: one beekeeper's costume, three black hats. Item: "frenetic activity", presumably to be specified at a later date and possibly involving potted plants but ultimately, I mean, who knows... Now our first two paying audiences, having paid and aud, are nursing their din-weakened teeth and the promise of a free ticket to another night, a night when we'll have the show that "MONEY" *should* be ready, for we are not without honour, while the neat reprieve granted the Lounge - which was to have disbanded this month to make way for the priests and planners of Twinky's Mighty Teepee but will now be staying open 'til September, hah! - means we're not without money either. So it's back to the whatever-this-is-we're-doing board and the plan I think now is - Well actually, I'm not sure how confidential this is supposed to be... I mean as long as nobody knows when you're going to open you never *really* have to. And although an indefinitely extended rehearsal period may sound a bit like hell, like actual Hell, like where you go when you die and you've been Hitler, A) that's Shunt, and B) the good thing is we all have this at least in common: What We Hate - and I think we pretty much all hated what was performed last week. (When my trousers unexpectedly fell down on the first night - not down, apart, they'd been torn in half during some wrestling - I was actually relieved, I stood there relieved, because this at least was SOMETHING *not* to react to as opposed to all of that NOTHING we'd been meant to be reacting to either side of it). 

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So it isn't quite finished yet, no. But as I may have to explain to a few producers expecting sketches later in the week, say, deadlines are very well in their way BUT the best monsters are those born of eggs, yeah? And sometimes an artist will, you know, just have to sit on that egg until it hatches, and but no because it's a monster, you know, and who *knows* when they're going to hatch? (Then comedy producers, you go - That's a very good point, S Le P, we'd better leave you to finish whatever it is you're doing on f*c*b**k, oh and thanks for that alien-abduction-mentally-blanking-anal-rape sketch with the xylopnone song in it by the way, we'll get word to the Mail, don't you worry, no don't get up, don't move an inch). Bloody hell, sketches. I'd better run a bath. Here's another machine:

 

Nice noises. There's more here. Oh, so what's the new plan? Well, finally, thankfully, do everything we can to make the audience the protagonist, Zola Karaoke. Throw everything out. Don't throw everything out. Wait until it's finished. Stick the tycoons in the hold and the orphans in the gallery. And turn it down. Monstah!