Ask

February 20, 2016

“Ask me I won’t say no, how could I?”

I’m having a deja vu moment. I’m pretty sure I used this Smiths line for a blog post before. Most probably about the same thing. But I’m not going to check, because it’s just right. Ask. Always ask. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

We asked Rufus Hound if he would be in Episode 2 of STRANGENESS in SPACE. He said yes. As did Peter Guinness. Oh, and Carol Cleveland. You can hear them in Episode Two, Featherheads, here. And at the risk of just too much repetition have I told you, it’s free, so what have you got to lose? (Ok, about 24 minutes of your time, but if you feel it wasn’t worth it I will refund you the cost).

Last weekend we launched Episode 3, Step Back in Time. We asked Alexei Sayle if he’d be in it. You can hear the Episode here.

We are now funding Episode 4. It is called Pet Shock Boys. Our main guest will play a character called The PuppyMaster. Any more news would spoil it. But who could we ask to play The PuppyMaster?

I’d had someone in mind from the beginning, and when Sophie said she’d once worked with him on a Big Finish Dr Who audio drama, we just had to ask.

We didn’t hold out much hope. It can take a while to get an answer from an agent; and we do need a bit of luck on our side… all our eps are crowdfunded, all of our guests are paid the same. It helps a hell of a lot if they want to do it. If, indeed, they would enjoy doing it.

Things were silent for a while. And then Clare (our producer) received a succinct email that said “he’s in”.

So. Episode Four, Pet Shock Boys, will guest star Paterson Joseph as The PuppyMaster.

If you’re thinking ‘I don’t think I know him’, well, I bet you do. He’s a great actor. Here is is in one of his more well-known comedy roles:

I was thrilled when Paterson said yes. The last thing I watched him in was The Leftovers, where he played ‘Holy’ Wayne. If you haven’t seen it, do track it down. It’s amazing and moving and manages to be that rare thing; groundbreaking TV.

Paterson in Episode 4 is incredibly exciting, and I’m still getting over the shock of the yes! Ask!

Now I’m going to ask you folks to help us get it made. If you’re as excited as me at having Paterson Joseph take part, please help us fund this episode. We aren’t crowdfunding through Kickstarter (as we did to get STRANGENESS in SPACE off the ground in the first place). We’re crowdfunding it through our own website. Please take a look at our ‘shop‘ and see if anything takes your fancy. We have some new items now too! Episode 1 will be available on CD, remastered by our sound maestro Dave Palser, and also with lots of extras including remixes of the songs, interviews, bloopers etc. (I put etc. because they are all to be confirmed; but I promise you, you won’t be disappointed). We also have a new T-shirt bearing the logo of our (fake) sponsors Thorleigh’s. Dave designed this, and it’s lovely. Thank you Dave.

Thorleighs-black-distressed

And how did we get Dave to do these great sound designs, to make our logos, to help us way beyond we could have expected?

 

Ok, yesterday I did my yearly round-up of the Top Ten comedy DVDs, according to Amazon. Some of you have complained. Some of you don’t like this comedian, or that comedian. Well guess what you lot! Me neither! Some I like, some I don’t. I don’t get to choose the Top Ten. I guess sales do, or something.

Did any of you notice that all the Top Ten are male? And 9 out of 10 are white? And the only comedian who isn’t white is described as “dangerous”? Like I say, I don’t pick. I just watch and-

Oh no! The Top ten has changed today! How’d that happen? It’s a minor change; Bailey’s out, Mack’s in.

For the sake of this poll coming up, I am going to use the Top Ten from yesterday. Now remember! this is very important! You are NOT voting for who you think is the funniest. There are two polls: the first one is for the best cover, the second one is for the worst cover. Got it?

Here’s an example. You can’t stand McIntyre (not necessarily you, but someone on Twitter did express annoyance that he was in here), but you do love his cover… then you must vote for him. THESE ARE THE RULES! Please stick to them.

Ok, here goes:

Oh no! First a quick reminder. Here they are:

Henning Wehndylan moranalan carrChris Ramseybill baileyPaul ChowdryMichael McIntyreDara o BriainJohn BishopKevin BridgesNow here goes:

And now the opposite. Which do you think is the worst?

 

It’s that time again. Christmas-time. And Here I am with the annual round-up of Top Ten Comedy DVDs, helping you make those difficult Christmas present choices.

This is how it works: The Top Ten is taken from today’s Amazon Stand-Up comedy recommendations. I’ve not watched any of them. I don’t read anything about them (not even the Amazon blurb). I look at the covers and come to unfair conclusions. I’ll say the same as last year: “Yes, I am judging a comedy DVD by its cover.”

Here goes, counting down from ten to one.

10: Henning Wehn

Henning Wehn

Henning Wehn

It looks like we’re off to a good start. Henning is “a superb social commentator” with “great likeability”…. Woaaaaahhhh! Hold your horses! He’s only gone and said that about himself! Where’s the quotes from The Sun, or the guardian, or anyone else. Ah! There is a quote from Everybody Else! He’s “that German bloke”.

There’s a clue to his Germanness (Germanity? Germanicity?) in the title Eins, Zwei, DIY. And we can also tell that this is a DVD of his live show from the use of the word “Live”. As far as titles go, I like puns, and this made me laugh. But then I laughed a little less when I remembered a similar comedic use of the 123 thing from a German zombie film a few years back.

dead snow

Ein! Zwei! With my little eye!

Still, it’s a good start to our Top Ten. And Henning looks like Frank Skinner in a never-made Ronnie Barker shop sitcom called Spanner’s Manor, where Frank/Ronnie/Henning would have played Sam Spanner, a DIY shop owner who’s a private dick on the side.

Henning’s DVD is a 15 certificate, shown twice (once in blue, once in red) making it suitable for 30 year olds. It is available on Amazon for £10.

9: Dylan Moran

dylan moran

Dylan Moran

There’s going to be a pattern here with the certificates. Why they have to do it twice is anyone’s guess. Globalisation or something.

Anyway, this is Dylan Moran. Live. It’s called Off the Hook. No one knows why. Here’s some suggestions: Dylan has been let ‘off the hook’ by someone… a family member? The police?; the DVD has a fishing theme; it’s a bit like Off the Pegg– a not-yet-made one joke-fits-all fest by funnyman Simon Pegg; It’s a DVD of jokes stolen from New Order funnyman Peter Hook; it has no meaning.

Dominic Cavendish, from The Telegraph, says: “This show makes the world seem a better place”. It may well be deliberate but I have no idea what that means. He does give it four stars though, and that is good.

Unidentified writers from the guardian, The Times, and the Evening Standard also give the show four stars. One must assume that, unlike the brazenly out there Dominic Cavendish, these other writers are spies.

Nevertheless, it gives the DVD a total of 16 stars. That means it is good and funny. You can get it at Amazon for £10.

8: Alan Carr

alan carr

Alan Carr

15 + 15. This is Yap, Yap, Yap! Live. It is described by Guardian (not the guardian, so really, it could be anyone!) as “Hooting jabberfest”. (What in hell’s name has happened to the definite and indefinite articles here? Have they gone on holiday for Christmas?)

Anyway, let’s get to the point. Dogs yap, owls hoot. I’m guessing Alan is an animal impersonator. Available for £9.79.

7: Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

15 x 2. Lots of info here. It’s Live. And you get a full-length bonus show thrown in too. It’s All Growed Up, which means… it’s not… ’cause it’s said in baby talk. And Chris is holding a microphone made out of Lego (I wonder if he had to buy it, like Ai Weiwei?) It’s “Stand-Up gold” too (from the proper the guardian). So, everything’s looking good for this one, except…

“Frighteningly talented… tearing up every stage he lands on.” GQ

This is really worrying. Why does he land on stages? Has he only ever performed in Miss Saigon? Is he an alien? And then why on earth would he tear them up? Has he a Hulk complex?

And how is he managing to lean on a blue sticker that isn’t a sticker at all but they’ve still gone and made it curl up at the edges to try and fool us into thinking it is a sticker after all?

Putting aside these worries and doubts, Chris’ video takes us back up to the £10 mark.

6: Bill Bailey

bill bailey

Bill Bailey

It’s a first this year! A 12 certificate DVD. 12 + 12 = 24. Fun for (most of) all the family!

You know where you are with this one. “Sublime hilarity” and “Blissfully funny”… from proper papers. And then there’s jokes on top! The big joke is the plug pun (it made me laugh). The smaller joke is the “high voltage comedy” bit. And the surreal joke is the tick showing that the DVD is “approved by most goverments” (I’m guessing that the missing ‘n’ is a joke I am missing out on, rather than a spelling mistake).

And you get three DVDs for £10.57!

5: Paul Chowdhry

Paul Chowdry

Paul Chowdry

Man, this one gives me the heebiegeebies!

Seriously, what gives? “Imperiously on top of his game”? Is that good? From the Mail on Sunday too? maybe it’s a spoof. Five stars though. and another five from the Daily Mirror to show that he’s cool on the left too. No quote from them, but the stars are adding up. Ten stars so far.

But then Eastern Eye lets Paul down. No stars and “Dangerous comic genius”. Dangerous? What!? Surely a comedian to be avoided?

Imperious? Dangerous? Genius? Is he after a part in the next Bond film?

But, ever fond of the cheaper stuff, PC’s World is funny.

As a little aside; when me and Trev worked on Going Live! and Live & Kicking our producer, David Mercer, was responsible for deciding if  our content was acceptable/broadcastable. At times, he could be harsh on us (or so we thought), and so, in the face of BBC right-on thinking, we would always sing the same song at him. And it went like this; “Where in the world? David Mercer’s PC World”. That’s all. Not even funny. It just stuck. But if you ever meet him, do sing it to/at him.

Back to the £10 DVD.

4: Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre

You knew he’d turn up. What would the Top Ten be without him? If anything, it’s scandalous he hasn’t made the Top Three!

No newspaper quotes here, because he doesn’t need them. “The record-breaking comedian returns with his brand new show!” A brand new show! It’s a shame they don’t tell us what record(s) he has broken. I’m going to plump for World’s Greatest Curtain Peeper.

It’s Live at The 02 Arena (does it have red curtains?) It’s called Happy and Glorious but where’s the trademark McIntyre smile?  If anything, he’s looking sneaky. As if he’s about to rob the 02. With a prosthetic hand.

Long to reign over us. 15 + 15. £10.

3: Dara O Briain

Dara o Briain

Dara O Briain

Here’s Dara O Briain spoofing a Phrenology Head, looking a little like the third of the Three Wise Monkeys. “Devilishly sharp” says Metro. What’s devilishly sharp? Dara? The scalpel that separates the sections of the brain? A Kitchen Devil knife?

Look closely and you’ll see what to expect: audience chat, highbrow, lowbrow, Gloria Estefan, Not bumping into things. Oh, and a formula I don’t understand, and gags! Gags! Right by his left eye.

Crowd Tickler. Ken Doddish? £10.

2: John Bishop

John Bishop

John Bishop

Possibly the most understandable cover amongst the lot. John Bishop. Live. At The Royal Albert Hall. “Britain’s top comic”, the Daily Mirror.

But hang on… Supersonic Live? Supersonic? As in Syd Little? I guess this is John’s tribute to Cyril Mead, the Little half of Little and Large, always referred to by Edward McGinnis, the Large half of Little and Large, as Supersonic. It’s a nice touch. And always welcome to see the new wave of comedy acknowledge the old wave. Or whatever.

Nice arrows. 30 year olds. £7.99! Cheapest so far! (unless you price Bill Bailey’s per disc).

And so to Number One. The Top DVD on Amazon today! Beating “Britain’s Top Comic”! Who can it be?

1: Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges

It’s Kevin Bridges! “Kevin Bridges might just become the best stand-up comedian in the land” says The Times. That’s … ummm… treading carefully. Might just become!? “Kevin Bridges might just become the best replacement Letter I on the cover of his DVD in the land”. Me.

Perhaps comedians just like to have a laugh with the newspaper quotes. Or perhaps Kevin can’t bring himself to do the usual cheeky trick; the one where you go – “Kevin Bridges… the best stand-up comedian in the land”.

It’s A Whole Different Story… Live 2015 . There’s also one of those stickers that aren’t stickers (though at least this one isn’t fake peeling) stating that the DVD “also includes Kevin’s set from BBC1’s Live at The Referendum”. Like Live at The Apollo I guess, but I have no idea where The Referendum is. It might be in Scotland.

I feel distracted. Is there a big I behind Kevin, or is he a human I? And has he got his hands in his pockets to stop McIntyre prosthetic hand syndrome? £10.

Come back tomorrow and we’ll do some polling. Have your say. Which are the best covers, which the worst. Voting commences tomorrow.

Something Sunday

November 29, 2015

It’s Something Sunday isn’t it. Yeah, it is. Something Sunday. Comes two days after Black Friday and the day after Shrug Saturday.

Something Sunday. The day before Cyber Monday. Two days before Tired Tuesday. Followed by What Wednesday, then Green Thursday, and then, a full week on from Black Friday, we have Just Friday, when all the magistrates use No Win No Fee claim forms as auxiliary toilet paper. Next Saturday is Next Saturday, when all branches of Next offer Same day Delivery, tomorrow. And then, we come full circle to the following Sunday which, at the moment, is flirting with calling itself Sallow Sunday; a day where all yellow gifts that have been left in sun-bleached windows over the summer will be sold off at bargain prices to the first customers who skin-tones match the product.

It’s difficult keeping up isn’t it? Do you remember the good old days when days just had a number, or a one-word name? Monday the 12th, or Wednesday the 29th… and so on. Do you remember? Think back. Do you remember when there was that Monday in your childhood that was just a Monday, any old bog-standard Monday, but what a great Monday it was? We all loved that Monday. I think it was Monday 16th July, 1979. What a Monday! Glorious. A Monday. With a number. 16.

The good old days.

And then came Saturday. Saturday 21st 1979. What an awful day. Mondays were never the same after that were they? Bob Geldof and his bloody pop song. Released on the 21st; completely buggering up the 23rd. So he didn’t like Mondays? He could have kept it to himself. But no, too late, he’d opened the floodgates. Blue Monday was next and the world was never the same.

And now here we are, on Something Sunday.

Let’s try and make the most of Something Sunday. Let’s try and make something positive out of the hell Geldof unleashed.

Let’s make Something Sunday something special. Let’s make it Strangeness Sunday.

Have I told you about STRANGENESS in SPACE?

(I know. I can hear you; “so that was his plan all along. To start off with some nonsense, some improvised rubbish, and then to slowly suck us all in only to bang on about his new thing.”

Yes. It was my plan. Sorry. Sorry Sunday.)

If you haven’t heard about STRANGENESS in SPACE, it’s a new audio sci-fi comedy me and Trev have done (done as in written, acted in etc) along with Sophie Aldred (Ace to Sylvester McCoy’s Dr Who). We’ve also had the most amazing special guests involved, including Doon Mackichan and Rufus Hound.

You can listen to Episodes 1 and 2 here. For free.

We’ve now written Episode 3, and the writing for Episode 4 is underway. We also have a great new special guest for Episode 3. Only the comedy legend that is Alexei Sayle! This is so exciting for us. It’s just amazing to be able to ask some of our favourite funny people and for them to actually say yes.

And the great thing is, because this project is crowd-funded, we have no suits hovering over us, telling us we can’t do this, we must do that. We are lucky enough to be able to do exactly as we want. And if we want Alexei Sayle in it, we ask and cross our fingers. And the great man said yes.

Crowd-funding made this happen. You all made this happen. It’s a great thing, and we’re all in it together. Tell me why, I do like crowd-funding.

But (oh, I know, there’s always a big but)…

We crowd-funded Eps 1 and 2 through Kickstarter. We went beyond our intended target enabling us to fund not one, but two episodes. But now we are on to Episodes 3 and 4 we need to raise the money ourselves and crowd-fund through our own website.

We’re getting there, but the sooner we can hit our target the sooner we can get our great cast back into the studio to record the next two episodes.

If you’ve enjoyed listening to STRANGENESS in SPACE please do take a look at our ‘shop’. We’ve lots of things in there costing from just a few pounds to… well… a few more. Anything bought in the shop goes straight towards our goal to fund the next episodes; to pay all the people who are working so hard on our behalf to get this made; our Production Team, our cast, all those helping behind the scenes. All these great people are working long and hard hours, and often for ridiculously favourable ‘mates rates’. I promise you, everything we spend is up there on that audio “screen”.

Here’s some of my favourites from the shop:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is our first set of STRANGENESS in SPACE badges. You can get the set for £6 including Postage and Packing (posted and packed by me or Clare, with a handwritten note too).

We liked these so much we had a second set made too… a little more in the know for ‘Mirthlings’ who’ve listened to the first two episodes.

badges-layout-1-350x300

We’ve also got T-shirts, Beanie hats, Bags for Life. You can find our shop by clicking on this link.

Christmas is coming soon too. We have our own STRANGENESS “Merry Spacemas”card in the shop. It’s signed by me, Trev, Sophie, and Clare. It can be dedicated to whoever you choose. And we can post it to them for you, or we can post it to you.

spacemas-350x300

If you fancy helping us get the next episodes made but you don’t necessarily want us to post you anything, why not consider sponsoring a page of our script. Each page can be ‘commissioned’ by you. It will have your name at the top of the page for all the cast to see and we will also email you the script once it is released. This is limited to the number of pages in the script, and at the mo we have 11 left. You can be one of our page commissioners for £20 and you can do that by clicking on this link.

Ok. Enough I think. Enough trying to flog you stuff for today. Enough Something Sunday. You came here for a bit of fun, I reeled you in, and then I gave you the hard sell.

But… if you can help, please do. We are having so much fun getting STRANGENESS in SPACE made, and we can’t wait to be getting on with the next two episodes.

Happy Sunday everyone. And remember, tomorrow is Monday. Just Monday. But do watch out for the Cybermen.

 

 

So far, the favourites are doing their job. Here’s yesterdays results:

Switzerland (@realandrewgreen) 2 Ecuador (@wasaunders) 1

France (@Zoleipar) 3 Honduras (@wristwatch42) 0

Argentina (@joyfeed) 2 Bosnia-Hercegovina (@jaq421) 1

Congratulations to the winners and commiserations to the losers, in particular @jaq421 who did her best to support her team, going so far as to inveigling the support of Sybil.

sybil

Sybil supporting Bosnia-hercegovina

And so onto previews and predictions for tonight’s matches.

GERMANY V PORTUGAL (@DarrenK73 v @ali_spencer)

5pm. ITV. Arena Fonte Nova, (cap. 52,000 approx), Salvador.

Well, there’s no getting away from it; this is one of the biggest matches so far. Will Ronaldo be fit, and will he have moisturised? My prediction:

Germany 2 Ronaldo 0

 

IRAN V NIGERIA (@Freig v @redorbrownsauce)

8pm. BBC. Arena da Baixade, (cap. 40,000 approx), Curitiba.

Haven’t a clue. But I love the stadium. It was built in 1914! Yes! It’s 100 years old! Ok, they’ve perked it up over the years, but even so, this is the best. As far as I’m aware it is the only stadium in the world based on a box of tissues.

Arenadabaixada2

Bless you!

My prediction:

Iran 1 Nigeria 1914

 

GHANA V USA (@fiona_butler v @lindaannbown)

11pm. BBC. Estadio das Dunas (cap. 40,000 approx) in Natal.

Don’t underestimate USA. Yes, Ghana have beaten USA at the last two World Cups, but now they have Jurgen Klinsmann as their manager, and I’ve heard of him. Landon Donovan has been left out of the squad, but don’t worry, they’ve managed to find another unheard of Country and Western star to replace him; Clint Dempsey (a man who, apparently, likes to play in a Stetson)*

Christian Atsu makes his World Cup debut for Ghana. He’s a Chelsea player (except he’s on loan to Vitesse in Holland. (That’s some proper football  information.) My prediction:

Ghana 1 USA 2

And, to get you in the mood (and as a fillip for @Freig who may be fearing the worst), here’s Iran’s very catchy official song from the 2006 World Cup:

If you enjoyed that song, or if you are enjoying my World Cup ramblings, please donate the price of a pint to Alzheimer’s Society. You can do that at my Just Giving page here. Thank you.

(* hey, what do I know? He’s played for Fulham and Tottenham!)

A quick recap about last night. The opening ceremony saw some children and adults recreate a deleted scene from a Lord Of The Rings film and then three people came on (possibly Dawn, although Tony Orlando had been replaced by a Huey from the Fun Lovin’ Criminals lookalike wearing children’s trousers). they sang, but nobody could hear. There were echoes but the echoes echoed off the echoes. Glenn Hoddle’s head, unable to bear the frequency, looked larger than usual. And then the football began.

Brazil (@Mojorainbw) beat Croatia (@LadyLisaCusack) 3-1. Heck, I’m no expert, but it could have been 2-2. Croatia had a goal disallowed and I’m not sure why, and Brazil were given a penalty because some air knocked one of their players over. That’s how football goes.

Lady Lisa graciously passed on her congratulations to “Mr Mojo” only to learn that Mr Mojo is a Miss. Early on, when I set the Tweepstake up, some female members worried that they would be the only ones. There are lots of women in this tweepstake folks, all with crazy Twitter names that give no clue to sexual identity (That sounds sinister. It’s not meant to.) At some point I’ll work it all out but I think it will be in the region of 50/50.

So, onto tonight’s games. And I’m out tonight so don’t expect some bloody ongoing match commentary. Last night was a one-off where, it being the first match, I most likely watched 40% of it. (Me and Zoe took a few minutes out to watch the video of Cat Among The Pigeons by Bros… just because I wanted to use the phrase and couldn’t remember if it was ‘among’ or ‘amongst’. Annoyingly, Bros sing both; unable to make up their minds, or better than me at understanding the nuanced difference between the two choices. oh, look! Here it is. I wouldn’t watch it if I were you).

This is better:

Yes… tonight’s games.

At 5pm Mexico (@bluebox99) take on Cameroon (@Arfablue). It’s on ITV, it’s being played in Natal at the new Estadio Das Dunas (capacity 42,086 or 38,958 depending on whether you believe The Mirror or The Observer). It’ll be a swift and exciting game to watch, full of daring and flair. Mexico will win 3-2.

At 8pm Spain (@NiicNok) take on Holland (@Braggovic). It’s on BBC1, it’s being played in Salvador at the Arena Fonte Nova (apparently built in 1951, but it doesn’t look it- my chart may lie. Capacity, 51,708 or 48,747… what gives!?) This game will be close and tight and unpleasant to watch. I predict 1-1.

The late shift starts at 11pm. Chile (@dusted1969) take on Australia (@Zwanzig20). It’s on ITV. It’s being played in Cuiaba in the newly constructed Arena Pantanal (capacity somewhere between 39,000 and 42,000). This game will be funny and floodlit. Chile will win 4-1.

That’s the analysis out of the way. Time to end on a fun video.

Oh, and please please please, if you are reading this and would like to support Alzheimer’s Society and wouldn’t mind donating a pound or two to keep my spirits up during the month long #tweepstake2014, please give a little here. Thank you.

Here’s a Mexican thing. It’s from the Olympics, Mexico ’68. Raquel Welch is in it. It could possibly be the weirdest thing you’ll ever see.

 

 

Just as Turkey blocks Twitter and YouTube, the State of Kate Bush has ordered a block on all online booking ticket agencies. Those now wanting tickets for her first live gigs in 78 years will have to walk to a participating venue and buy them. Just buy them, Tommy Cooper style. There’ll be a price on the ticket, you hand over a matching amount of money, and the shopkeeper gives you the ticket. Done. Enjoy the gig.

If only.

It’s not like that. Not now. But was it ever?

Now, you have to be up at 9.30 in the morning (Ha! Hard luck Peter Stringfellow! No tickets for you!) Up at 9.30 and then there’s a 15 minute window (hopefully Cathy gets her tickets) before they’re all gone.

I joined in the Bush Rush, although it’s not really my kind of thing (I only like Sparks). I did it for my wife. She likes Kate Bush (not so keen on Sparks).

I’m there, 9.30, ready to go! The only tickets that seem to be available cost £9,567. They’re for the hospitality package (which does, admittedly, throw in a “bamboo cone of chocolate & caramel dipped berries”). Oh, and for all my lies, that last bit is true.

To get to the point, I do, within 15 minutes, find two possible tickets for me and Zoe. They’re the only ones I can find and they are in the circle. They are £135 each.

Hmmm. That’s a lot… but, in the long run, we’re only going to die. So what the hell!

Having made a decision it’s a race against time. A clock ticks away onscreen. I have about seven minutes. I have to type in one of those nonsense words that proves I am human. It was something like R1PUoFf. It’s difficult to know; it was all scratchy and slanted like a Tin Machine lyric.

Somewhere in the scheme of things I had 4 minutes, then 3…  and in the mad scrabble to give our summer holiday away I typed and tapped and bought the two dearest tickets I’ve ever bought in my life.

But I’m happy. We want to go and we will have a great night out.

But why did two tickets at £135 each come to a grand total of £303.50?

Ah! “Service and delivery charge- £2.50”. Not bad! Service and delivery for only £2.50.

Oh! And “2 Booking Fee x £10.50”. I wonder what the distinction is between a service charge and a booking fee? And why two booking fees coming to £21 for what is the same booking?

Never mind. I guess this is how things are done these days. And we will have a great night out.

But wait! That still only comes to £293.50.

WHAAAAATTTTTT!!!!! “Missed Event Insurance: £10.00”

What? Seriously, what? I didn’t ask for this!

Well, it seems I did. Eventim’s policy is to automatically include this unless you choose to untick the box. Something I overlooked in my race against the, by then, 2 minute countdown.

I’ve complained and Eventim have pointed me to a webpage where I can print out a form, fill it in, and apply by post to the insurance company for a refund. I shouldn’t have to do this.

Here’s my complaint. it’s not a complaint about ticket prices, or even unseemly booking fees. It’s a complaint about £10. £10 and the way Eventim hoodwink us into buying unwanted insurance policies… for gigs!? Just take a moment to get to grips with this insane proposal: an insurance policy for a gig.

The honest way to do business is to say “tick if you want it” not “untick if you don’t”.

In the scheme of things it is not a lot of money. Probably the cost of a bamboo cone of chocolate & caramel dipped berries. But I’m going to go all Point Blank on this one. All Parker and Porter.

I guess I’d get into trouble if I called Eventim crooks. But it reminds me of the man in the Post Office the other day who when asked for 5 first class stamps by an old lady told her “we sell them in books of six”. She stood her ground and got a strip of 5 from the big book. But it was clear the post office man wanted her to think they were only available in units of 6. And so I will call him immoral, and I will call Eventim immoral.

Not Kate. This, undoubtedly, has nothing to do with her. Me and Zoe are going to have a great night out.

 

 

All ten DVD covers have been reviewed… and one bogus one that sneaked in at the last minute as a result of Amazon’s Top Ten changing so radically between the 11th December and the 20th! Who knew Amazon could fiddle around with their lists so much; seemingly basing best on sales? Click here to catch up on yesterday’s Number 1.

And now it’s your turn. Three polls to vote in. Firstly, the best cover. Then, the worst cover. And, finally, the funniest.

Here’s a quick reminder of the contenders:

Comedy gala 2013

10- Channel 4’s Comedy Gala 2013

Peter Kay 2013

9- Peter Kay double pack

Kevin Bridges

8- Kevin Bridges: The Full Story boxset

Jimmy Carr

7- Jimmy Carr: Laughing and Joking

eddie izzard

6- Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure

Sean Lock

5- Sean Lock: Purple Van Man

Jack dee

4- Jack Dee: So What?

Bill Bailey

3- Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

Greg Davies

2- Greg Davies: The back of my Mum’s Head

Micky Flanagan

1- Micky Flanagan: The ‘Back in the Game’ Tour

And here’s the polls:

And for the last one, since a comedy gala has an unfair advantage, I have removed it and replaced it with yesterday’s surprise No. 1 choice on Amazon, Jethro!

Here we go! After nine long days it is time to put you out of, or into, your misery.

I’ve been taking a look at the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s according to Amazon, and then reviewing them by the state of their cover alone. But a funny thing has happened since I first searched out the list on the 11th December.

I’m going to show you the list from 10 through to 2 that I found on the 11th December. And then I’ll show you the list as it stands today. See if you can spot the funny thing.

Here’s my list from the 11th December (without yet revealing number 1):

10- The Channel 4 Comedy Gala 2013

9- Peter Kay

8- Kevin Bridges

7- Jimmy Carr

6- Eddie Izzard

5- Sean Lock

4- Jack Dee

3- Bill Bailey

2- Greg Davies

And now, here’s Amazon’s Top Ten as of today (and I’ll save the number 1 til the end too!):

10- Peter Kay (but a different DVD)

9- Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown

8- Def Comedy Jam

7- Jethro

6- World’s Greatest Stand-Up

5- The Comedians

4- Jim Davidson

3- Stewart Lee

2- Channel 4’s Comedy Gala (but 2012, not 2013)

And no.1? Well, it’s a repeat of one of the above. But I’ll save the surprise.

And did you notice the funny thing that happened? Yes, that’s right! The list went from being pretty pretty good to being pretty pretty shit.

How did that happen? Is it based on sales? And if it is, did NO ONE (out of my 24 or so readers) pay any attention to my thorough reviews?

And how on earth did Stewart Lee and his Comedy Vehicle sneak in there at no.3? Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m glad Stewart Lee is in there. He’s my favourite comedian. Ever. (Though Frank Randle gives him a run for his money).

But truly, what gives?

And so, at last, here’s the proper (as in the 11th December list) Number 1. It’s…

Micky Flanagan

Micky Flanagan: “Back In The Game” Tour- Live

Yes! Micky Flanagan!

And he’s made my job easy. I’m reviewing this solely by the cover and Micky has wisely eschewed any fake stickers with silly newspaper bits declaring him to be this or that. It’s just him, with a bit of a cheeky title and a cheeky chappie grin. And, as I sit here typing, I say to my wife, “there’s not much to say really”. And she says, “Say he’s copied my walk”.

I like Micky Flanagan. And he makes me laugh. Though he has copied my wife’s walk.

Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.

But here’s the thing. You’re all (24 of you) waiting to find out who’s top of the Amazon chart today, aren’t you? Yes?

Well, it’s…

Jethro

Jethro Tull

It’s a 3 DVD boxset. It’s £5.75.

I wasn’t going to review this cover. It’s not part of the plan. And I don’t want Jethro stealing any of Micky’s thunder. But there is one point of great interest: Jethrol uses the fake sticker style favoured by yesterday’s no. 2, Greg Davies. But whereas Greg’s fake sticker was used to declare him “one of this country’s best comedians”, Jethro’s fake sticker is used to declare “contains new release”.

Contains new release. Contains new release.

Just say it a few times. Over and over.

Is it making you feel queasy? Contains new release.

Is it meant to be a joke?

Contains new release. What does it mean?

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking… contains new release… I can’t help thinking Jethro has somehow spunked out his new video.

Maybe that’s what he wants us to think. Who knows? Who buys Jethro? What is he? And why doesn’t Ricky Tomlinson sue?

I’m reviewing the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s (taken from a search on Amazon), but with a trick. I’m not watching them. I’m not even reading about them. I merely looking at the covers (pictures of the covers) and coming to undoubtedly unfair conclusions. It’s a service I’m offering to help you with those last minute Christmas presents.

Yesterday I looked at numbers 3 and 4. In fourth place was grumpy Jack Dee. In third place was becalmed Bill Bailey.

Who’ll be in second place? And will they be a smiler or a scowler? Here goes…

Greg Davies

Greg Davies Live: The back of my Mum’s head

It’s Greg Davies! And he’s…  scowling? Or squinting? Possibly pondering.

As far as covers go this one is a winner, only bettered so far by Bill Bailey’s barmy army cover. It looks good, there’s outsider art involved, and it presents us with a mystery: why has Greg decided to turn his back on the view? Is he doing it to spite his Mum? And what is he looking at with his one eye? And why’s he called it The back of my Mum’s head? And is that his Mum? And if it is his Mum, is it his real Mum or a ‘stage Mum’? And why is he wearing a huge blue badge telling us he is “one of this country’s best comedians?”

That’s the one part of the cover I hate. I can’t tell for sure but it looks printed on rather than being a sticker you can peel off, and that makes it just a little bit worse. Someone (maybe Greg, maybe not) designed this cover and made it as good as they could and then someone else (a marketing idiot) came along and said:

“Hey guys…”

(The kind of person who says ‘guys’ to everyone regardless of gender)

“Hey guys, I’m not really sure this cover sells Greg as well as it could. After all, he is one of this country’s best comedians, can’t we find a quote from somewhere that helps get that point across?”

The quote is found and the marketing idiot tells someone else to make it look like a big sticker stuck on the front of the DVD. And this someone else, who has no power, tries to suggest it will look shit and it will ruin the cover. And the marketing idiot, thinking they are being creative, adopts a pose not unlike Greg’s, pretends to think, and then declares “make it blue, so it matches the blue of the sky!” And the marketing idiot barks a laugh and shouts out “”That’s blue sky thinking for you” and everyone pretends to laugh and a cover is destroyed.

Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.

Tomorrow, number 1.