Saturday, 26 June 2010

Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show

(originally posted on myspace here)


is, when all is said and done, super-awesome. But why would on Earth would I wish to make a - ugh - "drawdio"? you might ask. Well watch.




Quick Tip: Don't breath the fumes. Thanks as ever to videogum.com
In other news, I've started reading the second volume of Michel Palin's diaries and the phrase "valuable writing time" keeps coming up. What is that?
Bong.
Morgan's just bought another chainsaw. Bong.
Went for a stroll in Whitehall. Nowhere does ice lollies and Liam Fox comes up to my tit. Bong.
Oh and finally, I never did follow up that place-holder about scripts, did I? Well the moment's passed now I guess, but my cross-purposed response to Chris Goode's original enquiry can be found in the comments here, and my monosyllabic contribution to his unscripted piece "World of Work" here. Happily, complying with this request turned out to require less time and imagination than turning it down. Bong.

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Neat detail from Chris' "Blurt Studies".

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I had not heard of Kenny Strasser


... and nor has the News. Therein lies the secret of his power, the power to make appearance after appearance on local news networks masquerading as a reformed junkie and "yo-yo master". Everything Shunt-wise is a bit up in the air right now (just as something falling off a cliff might be said to be up in the air) so until it lands, let's sit back and enjoy K-Strass and his demons in action. Actually you sit back, I still can't get through this in the one sitting:


Thanks to videogum for putting me onto this. And more here.
Oh, and I've just received the call: Money is definitely booking until the end of September, and all of a sudden we're selling out so good Yay. Meanwhile for the Lounge it's business as usual, i.e. we're closing. I think Saturday's the last night. Suddenly. Again. How terribly state-of-the-nation.

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Yeah... 's hard.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

This Handsome Chair

(originally posted on myspace here)

 

The other night my baby and I met up after the show and went to the Shunt Lounge to get smashed before walking home which has become a happy weekly thing. She asked me to tell her a story that night, and weak on cross-eyed Joyce's plum gin I made up this, which I thought i might as well put down here, without the ums:

'Once upon a time there was a handsome chair.
And all the bums in all the land wanted to sit on this chair. And they did.
But the chair did not like bums and longed one day to be sat on by a face instead. And all the other chairs said to each other "Who does this chair think it is, for whom bums aren't good enough?!"
But then one day a pervert turned up. And the pervert placed his face on the handsome chair and sniffed the seat.
And so the handsome chair learned that some faces are every bit as bad as some bums.
And the handsome chair decided to set out and find for itself where true beauty really lay. But being a chair it could get no further than falling on its side.
So there the handsome chair lay, on its side, and the police saw it and said "Was this the site of an incident?" And all the other chairs said "Yes! Yes, this was the site of a terrible incident!" And so the police taped off the handsome chair with incident tape and nobody was allowed to touch it and all the bums now sat on all the other chairs for ever and ever until the nuclear apocalypse.
And then all the people died and all the seats of all the chairs gathered radioactive dust.
And when the aliens finally landed they saw all the chairs covered in dust and said "Let's not sit there."
And then they saw the handsome chair, on its side, whose seat had gathered no dust, and they righted it, and took their turns to sit on it. And they all had faces in their bums.
And so the handsome chair and the aliens with faces in their bums lived happily ever after. The end."

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Phew, good thing I got that down!

In other news, "Six Impossible Things", the radio play I was in that got pulled from iplayer can now be downloaded here. I say something with my mouth full towards the end. It's "Sad times." The rest is pretty audible.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

"DIGNITY... ALWAYS DIGNITY" starring ANDY DEVINE

(originally posted on myspace here)

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(Image courtesy of the ever NSFW win and tonic, ironic as she Ws at our box office. And turned Russell Brown down. Thrice. Because she'd miss the tube.)

Anyway, given that the promulgation propagation what the fuck promulgation of stuff like this is EXACTLY why youtube was invented, it is unforgivable that the following episode of Andy Devine's counter-cultural, Pop Art nightmare-factory "Andy's Gang" has only received 612 views thus far. So see how far YOU can get through it (but maybe post any sharp objects you have lying around to yourself before settling down):


Kudos to Vitto Scotti. No reason, I just like saying it. And thanks to Pier and Johnny at Big Red Button for pointing me towards it. It only occurs to me now that Pablo the drug mule must have been a real, dead dog, so stare too long into the Abyss of Andy's Gang and clearly the Abyss stares back... Hey everyone! Let's stare too long into the Abyss of Andy's Gang! This received only 166 views. Quick, before the postie turns up with your blades!

Do you hate me now? I hate me. By the way, don't whatever you do ever click on anything that looks like this:

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I mean, they will literally turn you into a cartoon. LOOK AT THEM!

Monday, 14 June 2010

How Do We Get To Carnegie Hall? (a brief history of music)

(originally posted on myspace here)

I caught the "slightly expanded" transcript of this talk a few months ago on the very rewarding blog of David Byrne ("the Noticer" I call him). The subject, how the space you perform in dictates what you make, is obviously very close to my heart (a lot of the ellipsis-heavy stuff I say in "Money" is tailored to our oblong acoustics) and there's something particularly exciting in seeing an entire history of an artistic medium presented purely in terms of the changing spaces that have showcased it. Anyway it's on youtube now (delivered by Byrne disguised for some reason Jim Jarmusch) meanwhile I'm off to try and make another trailer for the show (Ben Brantley of the New York Times may feature heavily).

 

And here is that expanded version on Byrne's own blog.
And here is the New York Times on us, yum.
And, oh, here is Michael Billington, being wrong on the New York Times, petty I know but we're playing sometimes to audiences of just fifteen right now, so I'll tear my consolation from whatever seedy nook I can. (On the plus side these smaller numbers are really helping the acoustics. Good, dream- like echo.)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Youtube Warms Up/Gives Nightmares

(originally posted on myspace here)


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... and in other "news": That Mitchellandwebblook loses Bafta to The Armstrongandmillershow, prompting me to look the latter up on wikipedia and laugh in a way that is probably both BAD and SMALL at the list of "Some recurring characters and jokes", which is very long and - no reflection on the jokes themselves - reads remarkably like an Edwardian playbill, or catalogue of silent one-reelers. Here.

(The latest series of The Thick Of It meanwhile, deserved pretty much every gong going: Comedy, Drama, Factual, the whole enchifucklada - Hm, I can't do it... I Claudius' seed in Yes Minster's womb.)

Monday, 7 June 2010

MAY'S ACCOUNT OF AUGUST (a whole tale)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Oops. As you may know now, Six Impossible Things aired, received sixty-six complaints and is consequently unavailable to listen to on iplayer, so pftt. (Is that an accurate use of the word "consequently"? Don't ask me.) But it's Baftas tonight. Mitchell and Webb Look is up for a gong and I am very proud to be associated with everyone aboard. They're great. If you do not believe me (of course you believe me) head over to their blogs (do it anyway). I mean, Toby Davies has posted a whole tale on his!... I wish I'd been there when he read it out. Some friends of mine from the London Dungeon held a similar evening a few months back which I could make though, and I took along a tale of my own that I hadn't looked at in years, and I like it, and so in lieu of anything elseh hello, here's mine:

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May's Account of August

    On the walls of the Goat’s Head Cafe are proudly displayed a large number of red paper napkins. They sport a graceful yet bewildering stream of numbers and symbols and tumbling stick figures, all that remain of August the tailor’s evening visits. Those were happier days, when the streets were free of old shoes and August could be found at a table with a pot of tea and a pen from work, scribbling away on a serviette. And scribbling what? August assured anyone who asked that he was working on an equation which, when solved, would finally calculate the Meaning Of It All. I never met him personally but his works are still famous throughout the city, and it is generally held that, had he not been taken from us so suddenly and tragically (in circumstances which I shall shortly relate) he would have probably had the thing finished within a week.
The Goat’s Head Cafe stocks no newspapers for its clientele. Instead the proprietress encourages customers to take a napkin from the counter and try to solve his equation for themselves. He left us five years ago, and it is only my meeting with May in this same cafeteria that leads me to speak of him now.
    For you to understand the circumstances of August’s disappearance you must first know of the unique affliction that corrupted the city and still blights it to this day. It is a cold place and peeling, with more than its fair share of dirty birds and damp. But more puzzling and biblically inconvenient than all these is the proliferation of old shoes.
    They made their first appearance here when I was still a child. Stories were heard of cracks appearing in the city from which articles of discoloured footwear would suddenly belch forth in their tens and hundreds. It wasn’t long before instances of this curious pollution became commonplace. It was impossible to predict where or when they would appear, but those who tried to make sense of such things interpreted this as a moral judgment levelled by the city itself upon certain of its inhabitants. Indeed it was not long before the common wisdom pronounced that if an epidemic of old shoes was suddenly visited upon one’s home, one must have done something to deserve it.
    Then a lean, previously unremarkable tailor with a mathematical bent came forward and let it be known that, following countless evenings of hard scribbling and experiment, he had succeeded in developing a single skein of thread strong enough to bind this city’s cracks for good. On hearing this the citizens immediately divided themselves between those who, meditating upon the unprecedentedly moral nature of this plague, warned against the sinful implications in attempting any cure, and those who thought that August’s claim was simply bobbins. But the single thread worked, and it went on to make August’s name for him and a tidy pile besides. He set up a very discreet practice on the twenty-third floor of some wrought-iron Bread Street edifice and there awaited calls from anyone who may have suddenly found themselves having to contend with an old boot shooting into their guests’ soup, until the whole problem seemed to be remedied. Outbreaks became increasingly rare and, thanks to the nimble mind and fingers of August the tailor, quickly brought under control.
    “Nevertheless there is always more to be done,” he would maintain, and took to spending his evenings at the Goat’s Head Cafe calculating the Meaning Of It All.
    This golden age was not to last however, and five years ago to the day before my first meeting with May an eruption of old shoes far greater than any we had ever known tore the city almost to pieces, bursting from every solid surface like the pale flesh from a crushed banana. Many people lost loved ones in the deluge, but the most tragic loss to the city had to be that of the one man who might have been able to do something about the teetering, leathery heaps that litter the streets even as I speak, August himself.
    That is all we know of August the tailor... and all I knew of him until, as I said, I was sitting in the Goat’s Head recently and was approached by a very neat woman with grey skin and short, shiny hair who said that her name was May, and that she used to work the stage door of the Schmaltz Theatre on the corner of Bread and Water, and that I had a kind face, and that there was something weighing on her, and that if I bought her a bacon sandwich she would tell me what had really happened to August five years ago to the day. I had quite a bit of money on me so I bought her the sandwich, and as she began to relate her story she took a clump of red paper napkins and started to doodle.

    “When I used to sit at the stage door,” she said, “I could see him looking at me from his office on the twenty-third floor. It was just across the street. I didn’t know who he was at first, but he was clearly taken with me - I mean I was quite a way away - and I loved the silly little silhouette of him staring down at me. Eventually I decided to put on a ruff that was lying around or some old werewolf costume, and I’d do a little dance back at him. So finally one day he comes down from his office to the stage door and makes himself known to me and I think, ‘Well! So this is August the tailor!’...
    “He asked me if I was free after work and I was so we arranged to go out. That first night we just sat on our coats by the canal feeding the dirty birds, but the next week I had a night off and took him to see a show at the Schmaltz. August was absolutely captivated by it, and came every night after that. He told me that what he had loved most about it was not the story or the acting or even the costumes, but the set. He said he’d never before seen anything in the city that promised so much space. It was the forest where the werewolf play takes place - just a series of flats with trees painted on them - but August was convinced that there was more to it than that, and that if he were allowed onto the stage and were to walk to the back the forest would continue and broaden out on both sides to reveal a whole other world composed of flats painted only on one side, and that if he walked far enough into this forest he would eventually come out the other side onto a wooden beach with a rolling, wooden sea of twisted cylinders and such like. ‘That’s how I would escape,’ he said, without any hint of a smile. Anyway we continued to see each other, but only as friends because I knew how important his calculations were to him, and because I didn’t think he fully understood my line of work. So when he asked me out of the blue to be his wife one afternoon by the canal I said sorry but no, even though he was very rich and famous, because I wasn’t sure I’d be marrying him for the right reasons, and also because, well to be honest, there was something about his work with shoes that sickened me, although I shame myself now to say it. Anyway, we finished feeding the dirty birds, and that was that...
    “I saw nothing more of him until a couple of months later. He came round to the stage door and asked me if I was sure I didn’t want to go with him. I said well I might but what was he talking about. He asked me if there was ‘anyone else’ and I said that that wasn’t the point, and then I asked him how his equation was getting on, and he said that he’d been having a bit of bother with it. I said I was sorry to hear that. Then he reached both hands into his pockets and with one hand he pulled out a lovely speckled ring, and with the other he pulled out one end of a piece of thread, and he put them both on my little shelf and said, ‘If it’s alright with you, I’m going to take a look backstage.’
    “I said, ‘Fine.’
    “‘I’m going to leave these here with you, May,’ he said, ‘and while I’m gone I want you to pick one of them - the ring or the thread. I’d rather you picked the ring,’ and then he walked off into the theatre, and I was a bit annoyed...
    “So of course I picked the thread. Well I wouldn’t have picked the ring anyway. But... well... it turned out to be the thread holding the whole city together, didn’t it? It just went on and on and I picked it and I picked it and the next thing I knew the whole city had come undone, and there were old shoes all over the place. And there were people dead. And it was all my fault. It was just one thread.”
    I paused...
    “It wasn’t your fault.”
    “No, I know. But I really miss him. And I mean I hate him as well. No one should suddenly have that sort of responsibility dumped upon them.”
    Maybe August had felt the same way. It didn’t sound like him though. As she brushed the last crumbs from her cheek, I stared out of the cafeteria window at this peeling city and the shoes in the street...
    “What do you suppose happened to him?”
    She didn’t have to give this any thought at all: “I like to think that he isn’t dead. He’s just gone backstage.”
    I liked that. As she got up to leave May pushed her napkin my way.
    “Here,” she said, “Have this. Thanks again for the bacon sandwich. I feel significantly better now.”
    I looked down at what she had written on it.
    There was a number.
    I called it that evening but nobody answered.



(A typical night at the Schmaltz)

Links:
Well Myspace seems to be a bit jittery aboout linking to any of these addresses but Toby's tale can be found here: http://acertainirregularity.blogspot.com/ and it really is a beaut'!
See also the excellent blogs of John Finnemore http://johnfinnemore.blogspot.com/
and Jon Taylor http://notsowunderbar.blogspot.com/ ... Good luck to us all.
The fortuitously relevant and uncontroversial illustration I found here.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Settled by Bleeps (a brief introduction to oMMM)

(originally posted on myspace here)

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Well they aired it. Did you hear? Did you like it? Did you like the way it went straight into the News? Did you think, oh all those electronic boops and bleeps are a bit unsettling? Well this man was not responsible.

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He is Edmund Davie, a wonderful, wobbly electronic musician who founded the bedcore movement and lived in our kitchen. Possibly taking with him my copy of "Moominland Midwinter" which Will Self recommended as the most depressive book ever written he moved out on Tuesday, and deserves a post of his own and here it is. Look at this video he made back in 2005! It's ever so catchy and includes a MacDonalds commercial he was in. Here's to him getting another one soon. Cheers. Bye, Ed. Bed. It's okay, we found where you put the cups. I el-oh-uv this:


Links:
Ed's site
Ed's sounds
Ed in the kitchen

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Mixed

(originally posted on myspace here)



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Bisley, Milligan, Tories, and Guinness in the corner of a pub, it's almost like being young again. Except cigarettes now make me sit funny. Oh hello, sorry I haven't been in touch for a bit. You really haven't missed anything though, my brain's pretty much operating on Snooze right now... still baffled by the light on its straw cast by the open door, and the posters asking "Have you seen this Black Dog?" tacked to trees outside its cell. Look, I made my first gif last week - I'd rather just link to it but that doesn't seem to be working so here it is - Now really, is this the work of a pithy thinker?

Gif Created on Make A Gif

Why did I do that? I don't want to be having to write about that. I wish that I usefully COULD, but I... I mean is this it? Do I have to DO something about this? Wasn't I put in charge of shits and giggles? No, the internet election is over! Put the gun down, Derrick. Let's not be the News. Look at the News, who'd want to be that?

*My* news? Oh well since you ask, I'm very excited to be making my radio acting debut in Thursday's afternoon play "Six Impossible Things" on Radio 4 thank you. It was recorded on location in Brixton back in March. And overheard. The police were called in twice. It's based on a real event that took place in 1951 in Copenhagen, that much I know. However since the event in question involves accusations of mind control and "guardian angels", further research online conducted by myself into the actual facts of the case has simply turned up lot of sites that, well, that look like this, so I'm afraid I can't enlighten you much further. Unless it was aliens. Okay, turns out it was aliens. And oddly, every time I read in these accounts the name "Palle Hardrup", the man on whom my character is based, I immediately picture Phil Wright the actor who played my cellmate, not me. ("Mm, it's funny they cast you," my baby also said once she'd met him.)

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(Excellent words inexplicably left for six months on the white-board at the car-wash round the corner. Can you read it alright?)

Oh yes and of course ALSO, since the event on which this play's based was a quiet man suddenly going mad with a gun... and since yesterday a quiet man suddenly went mad with a gun, I'm no longer sure this play will air tomorrow at all... (yeah I know, why are these things always happening to ME?!) The play had already been put back one day when someone at Radio 4 apparently clocked that "there was already too much murder on Wednesday", and that was *before* the murders on Wednesday. So I'm rather hoping it is postponed now. It would be horrible to give offence. My feelings are mixed. The link's below.

And meanwhile, come on, let's watch this instead. Happy! It's Winnie the Pooh in Russian. It contains a definite insinuation that Pooh's famed simple-mindedness was simply an anxious front. It's called Vinnie Pukh. It is incredibly good. You will love it. If all American novels begin with Tom Sawyer then all British situation comedy begins here:
 





 Wasn't that fab? (I forgot Piglet owned a gun.)
And here, maybe is the link to Six Impossible Things by Glen Neath.
And here, definitely is the link to the company that made it, Holy Mountain, plus teaser.
And here is the link to a Russian who really, really liked drawing both guns and himself.
And here is the link to where I found these drawings for all the good it will do you, they've moved to Torino.