alcatraz-art-cellTomorrow, April Fools’ Day, we will record the Trev and Simon podcast, to be called Trev and Simon Podcast No.4, at the Tate Modern. Not really. Only joking. Can you tell?

Yes really, we will be recording it, but not at Tate Modern. We’ll be at our usual place. Andrea’s flat. That’s not her flat on the left. It’s a cell in Alacatraz. I’d happily live there. I wouldn’t want all the bad prison stuff; the violence, the tough love. That wouldn’t be for me. I’d like to live there now, as a tourist attraction. At night I’d have the place all to myself, and during the day I could chat to the visitors, pretending to be a notorious criminal who took money and jewels, but only from bankers. I’d be an imprisoned folk hero, etching, sketching, painting, writing, harmonica playing. If needed I could put on an American accent. “Gee whizz fellas, it was me that did do it. You talkin’ to me? Funny how? Funny why? Funny where? Funny what? Hey, Noodles! Why-y-y, royale with cheese!” That kind of thing.

No. Not Don Draper the smooth Mad Man. Before that Don Draper there was another Don Draper. Don Draper the dry cleaner, who, along with his brother Dougie, ran Draper’s Dry Cleaners on BBC1’s Saturday morning show Live and Kicking. I was Dougie and Trev Neal was Don. Trev has gone on to star as Don Draper in Mad Men, whereas I just roam the streets of Hither Green hoping to see a burnt out dry cleaning machine.

And today I saw one! There must have been an accident at the dry cleaners. Look at the state of this? That’s the thing with dry cleaning; it’s a sophisticated art involving chemicals and gases; nitrogen, plutonium, Agent Orange. That’s why it’s so costly to get a garment cleaned with seeminlgy no wetness whatsoever.

dry-cleaners

This sight would have made Don and Dougie weep. They loved their dry cleaning machine. They even had a name for it; Queenie, after their old mother. Queenie ended up blowing up as well. I went to YouTube to look for the last ever dry cleaners sketch, where we rebuilt the dry cleaning shop outside and blew it up for real. But I can’t find it. I did find this though, and having no memory of it from when we did it, found myself enjoying it very much. That may sound a little egotistical, and no doubt it is. But I never used to watch our stuff. I couldn’t bear watching myself. Now I can, because it is as if it’s not me.

And as for the star of the sketch? Well, Macho Man Randy Savage will be 57 now. I wonder if he ever scoots through YouTube looking for his old Live and Kicking performance? I’m not going to say anything rude about being “an old broken down piece of meat” because if that can be applied to anyone it’s most likely me. And I don’t want Randy knocking on my door declaiming “you guys are outta Liiiiiiine!”

And does Michael Nyman ever pass his time in such a way? Wondering how many kids TV shows used the soundtrack to The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover as an intro? Most likely not.

This sketch was called Sofa for Two with Three. It was thought up by a good friend of ours called Paul Brophy who worked with us for a few years, writing and coming up with ideas. You’ll have seen him on Live and Kicking if you watched, but in a very bizarre disguise. That’s because he was at the cutting edge of technology at the time, giving life to a floating computerised cat head called Ratz! Here he is introducing the very first Live and Kicking back in 1993.

Castaway 2

March 27, 2009

I had a casting the other day. Better than the one I had a few weeks back, but I still won’t get it. That’s not being defeatist. I did a good job, I’d be good for the ad, but I won’t get it because at some point, someone will go “isn’t he that bloke that used to be on kids tv?” And that’ll be that. For some adverts me being vaguely recognisable to a small proportion of the public may well be a good thing. Better wait for one of those to come along. What a change from the me of twenty odd years ago who would have run a mile from an advert, believing them all to be the works of Satan. However, I still have some principles. I will only perform in adverts for products that are demonstrably bad for people.

When I entered the waiting a room at the casting suite a voice called “Simon”. I looked over and said “Ben!” For it was Ben. I’m terrible at remembering names, and I haven’t seen Ben since we were teenagers at University, but I recognised him straight away. So things perked up from that point. After the casting we went and had a coffee. It was good to talk about old times and old friends. Sad too. Friends come and go; we all go through good times and bad times.

We were up for different parts in this advert. So, in an ideal world, we’ll both be working together again after a quarter of a century gap.

Then I wandered for a bit. When it started to snow… Snow? No one mentioned snow. Then again, I had seen no forecasts. So, when it started to snow I did the sensible thing and popped into Fopp and bought Setting Sons by The Jam for £3 (I have it on vinyl, but that and all the other stuff- turntable, amp- are all in storage).

As I walked home I looked at the clouds. I should have taken some pictures but my arms were too lazy. Here’s a couple of old pictures I came across recently. I had a file called “last pics on the Nikon” and I was intrigued to see what was in there. My camera’s Samsung now, but it seems to have some ghosts caught in it. I can’t remove them and I can’t buy a new camera. So, before I go back to the ghosts, here’s two ghost free Trafalgar Square pictures.

statue-trafalgar-square

Marc Quinn's Alison Lapper Pregnant

trafalgar-sq

The Nazis

March 24, 2009

Followers of the Trev and Simon Podcast may have noticed that we can go on a bit about the Nazis- although they go unmentioned in our latest, Podcast No.3, found here. We don’t like them, and anyone who does is nuts. I guess we were born into a generation that started to mock them in an attempt to remove them of any credibility whatsoever. I would have been quite happy to blame John Cleese and his “don’t mention the war” for my interest. And who else in the world of comedy has had a go at the goose-stepping fools? Charlie Chaplin, Mel Brooks, Roberto Begnini, Freddie Starr, Dan Ayckroyd, John Belushi, Steven Spielberg, Spike Milligan. Oh, any comedian, film maker, comic strip writer. They’re all to blame for putting the Nazis into my comedy consciousness.

Except they’re not. It seems they’ve been on my mind since my schooldays. I blame the teachers. And why only a B+?

nazi-sketches

Surprise dog

March 24, 2009

dog-1

I have had three camping adventures in my life. The first, when I was a student, saw the damp seep into my bones and I ended up at the hospital (the Hospital for Damp Bones in Buxton). By the time of the second, just a few years ago, I’d become more robust, and I weathered the storms of Glastonbury. Sure my tent got flooded, but I had a £5 bed from Argos and I was 5 inches off the ground. The third time the weather shone and I met this dog. A very friendly dog with a lovely nature. I played football with him for a bit. But you may be surprised when he looks at you.

dog-2

Bloggers block

March 23, 2009

Is there such a thing as Bloggers Block? Or am I just being lazy? There are things in my head I could write about, but for the moment the desire has gone. So here’s a picture of some ducks on the beach.

ducks-on-the-beach

Sparks

March 22, 2009

ron-mael

podcast-3-titleOur third podcast is up and running over on the Trev and Simon blog. You can find it here. After two weeks of no caffeine (a blood pressure thing) I decided to go caffeine crazy on podcast day last Thursday. And I think it shows. Sorry Trev. Sorry Andrea. Sorry listeners. Actually, can it show? I’ll change that. I think it hears. No, that’s not right. I think you hears. That’ll do.

A while back the guardian told us of the 1000 books everyone must read. I, naturally, ranted against this. Here. 1000 books we all must read- the rant is obvious, but I will briefly reiterate it. I do not have enough lifetime left to read 1000 books that a bunch of journalists have picked just to fill some copy. It would take me, at my reading rate, 3780 years. I worked it out. Where I typed here up above, just go there. It’s all worked out.

Now they have 1000 songs everyone must hear. I’m not going to be silly and say what about the deaf (although it’s tempting and I guess I’ve gone and done it now) because I can’t really complain about this one. Books are a certain length, and so are songs, and yet, oddly, a book’s timeline is different for every reader while a song’s timeline is fixed. So, they’ve got me now. If I wanted, I could listen to all 1000 songs (and they are available online) in maybe a few days. I’m not going to. I have enough songs of my own to listen to (not songs I’ve written, but songs I’ve found and enjoyed for myself, or had recommended by friends).

And now I’d like to recommend two songs to the guardian that they have failed to list. Come on now guardian, you’re telling me I must listen to 1000, so please indulge me as I ask you kindly to listen to two.

The 1000 songs are divided into categories. yesterday was Sex. I was astonished that they left out June is Bustin’ Out all Over from Carousel. You think I’m joking? Look at these lyrics:

June is Bustin’ out all over!
The ocean is full of Jacks and Jills
With her little tail a-swishin’
Every lady fish is wishin’
That a male will come and grab her by the gills

And my favourite lines:

All the rams that chase the ewe sheep
Are determined there’ll be new sheep
And the ewe sheep aren’t even keepin’ score

And why? Because it’s June.

Today was the turn of Protest and Politics. But nothing by Tim Siddall aka The Boycott Coca Cola Experience. Please, whoever is reading this, please take a look at him singing Gas on YouTube. Never has protest and politics been such fun. And he knows about fun- Look for him singing Fun on YouTube. And Darling too. Do look. You won’t regret it. And if you, The Guardian, read this, you look too please. If you look at my one choice- Gas– I’ll try and mellow towards your 1000.

See you all on the line out of London.

Ben Norris- photograph by Andy Hollingworth

Ben Norris- photograph by Andy Hollingworth

My good friend and top comedian, Ben Norris, pictured left wearing a fetching tyre and jacket combo, has made a video of Beige- the 35 Rap. It’s very funny and he wears a nice hat and does all his own stunts. You can find it by going to his website (listed down at the bottom in my blogroll) or watch it here on YouTube.

Don’t get him confused with the other Ben Norris’s on YouTube. Ben Norris, plastic surgeon to the Australian stars, or something; Ben Norris, some rugby playing goon dancing in the dark and also a Ben Norris squeaky song with oranges! All these Ben Norris’s are fake. Only accept the real thing. If he makes you laugh, he’s the real deal Ben Norris. If he doesn’t, he’s a fake Ben Norris, who’s stolen his name.