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?

 

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Specialist Subject

March 2, 2013

Last Wednesday I did Specialist Subject at The Black Heart in Camden. Specialist Subject is the brainchild of @NoJokeTooNiche (itself the brainchild of Steve Cross and Marc Burrows). It’s the chance for comedians to come along and do ten minutes on their specialist subject.

11 comedians did their thing. They were all excellent (well, at least 10). Here’s a Twitter list of them – “Tonight’s niche geniuses include @20thcenturymarc @simonmhickson @JozNorris @HeyJackDeAth @Angela_Barnesy @IvoGraham @helenarney @natluurtsema @IChrisBoyd @PhilNWang @steve_x” 

I’d like to tell you more about them but my memory has gone. Before I went on I was not myself and after I went on I needed a drink.

Yes, I’ve done comedy before, but almost always in a double act, almost almost always on TV, and, when live, almost always to people who have paid to come and see Trev and Simon.

Stand up comedy is a different beast (most definitely a beast) and I had no reason to think I could deal with it, but hey, 40 quid is 40 quid and a man has to eat.

So, preparing for my (effectively) first ever stand up gig, I picked my specialist subject and wrote my 10 minute routine. I went over it a few times in my head in the bath but that was tricky:

In the guardian’s G2 a week or so ago there was an interview with Dinos Chapman (one half of Jake and Dinos Chapman). He’s done a solo project, an LP, Luftbobler, and in the interview he says “I can’t figure out why people don’t work with other people – because on your own, you have this kind of weird conversation with this person in your head who agrees with everything you say.”:

I wish! On my own the person in my head disagrees with me constantly. In the bath, I was heckled from the opening. And the heckles would be harsh. And the responses in my head stretched from getting involved in a long-winded argument over the meaning of the word synecdoche, to punching members of the audience, to giving them Chupa Chups to shut them up.

In absolute truth, I never got to the end of my routine in the bath, and, before performing it on stage that night, not a word of it was said out loud.

Here’s the routine. This is the written version. On the night I forgot bits, I added bits, I rushed bits, I messed up bits. But I got through it and I wasn’t heckled.

SPECIALIST SUBJECT

Hello. My specialist subject was going to be “The catchphrases of Trev and Simon from Going Live! and Live and Kicking, 1987 to 1997” but Trev… (a pause and a sigh)… sorry, the artist formerly known as Trev, has taken out an injunction against me. And so I am not allowed to come within 100 words of one of our catchphrases.

So, no swinging of my pants… Oh shit.

My specialist subject is mugging.

Sorry, no, not mugging, not the act of mugging someone, which is… well… that would be a horrible specialist subject wouldn’t it? Physically assaulting people and robbing them?

And I’d be no good at it… I wish I could be good at it. (to audience member) Give me your money. (audience member says no) See?

No. My specialist subject isn’t mugging. My speciality is being mugged. Being a muggee.

It’s a double act, you’ve got to work together to have a successful mugging. A mugger without a muggee is like Robson without Jerome. Or cigarettes without alcohol. Or Seth McFarlane without hate.

I’ve been mugged five times in my life. For a 50 year old that’s, on average, once every ten years. The last time was in 2010 so… I’m pretty relaxed at the moment. i should get home safely tonight.

I’ve been mugged through the decades too. in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, noughties, and whatever this is called.

The first type of mugging, and the most pedestrian, the most boring, the most mundane of mugging styles, is the rush and push mug. You feel the gust of a teenager behind you (ideally, as in my case, from Crumpsall in Manchester… Crumpsall… the only suburb of Manchester that, like Michelle Pfeiffer, has a silent P)… you feel, you sense, the gust of a teenager behind you and the next thing is your hands bleeding from crashing into the asphalt as some child, some opalescent ghost boy, fades into the distance with your bag, or your hat, or your sweets.

It’s a feeble mugging. It lacks flair. It lacks style. it lacks innovation. It’s the Daniel O’Donnell of mugging. If there was an X factor for muggers they just about manage to wheeze a Snow Patrol ‘B’ side before Louis Walsh would say ‘you remind of a young Daniel O’Donnell’.

That’s just how feeble they are; that I’ve had to resort to comparing them to Daniel O’Donnell, twice.

You can’t even go to the police. They laugh at you. “Ooh, I was pushed over. I hurt my hands. He took my Curly Wurly.”

Don’t become a muggee to a rush and pusher. You can do better than that.

Guns and knives. That’s what’s needed to gain kudos as a muggee.

I was mugged at knifepoint in 1981, Manchester, again. It’s fun up North. I was a useless 19 year old drama student. My mugger got away with a one pound note and a copy of The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim. Well done mugger. Good work. I like to think that now, 30 odd years on, he’s comfortable with the symbolism of a glass slipper.

Guns are better. I became a gun muggee in San Francisco in 1994. having a gun, some kind of semi-automatic handgun, pushed into your belly is fun. It’s good for the adrenaline. I remember looking down and going “oh”.

He did well. He was a good mugger and I was a good muggee. He got my sunglasses, my passport, my wallet. As he and his partner… a mugger’s apprentice? The Andrew Ridgeley of the mugging world?… as they ran away I shouted after him to chuck my passport away. That’s the word I used; chuck. Something that meant no more to him than the last Chuck Norris film he didn’t watch. Chuck my passport away. Charles my passport away young man.

He was a kind mugger. We worked together. I gave him my things, and, in return, he didn’t shoot me.

There is though, a form of mugging that transcends the rush and push, that makes the knife, and the gun, redundant.

Has anyone ever been mugged by the piccolo nomadi?

Rome, 1991. I’m a well-travelled muggee at least.

Piccollo nomadi. It’s Italian. Nomadi as in no fixed abode, and piccolo as in a small flute. Or as in child. The piccolo nomadi are small street urchins, about this high. They work in gangs of about five or six. Maybe seven. I didn’t count.

They don’t have guns. They don’t have knives. They don’t rush and push.

Their weapon of choice is newspapers. Or rather, crumpled up pages from the newspapers. They run up to you proffering sheets from La Repubblica, and they’re crying, weeping, sobbing. And the first thing you think is; they’ve lost their chips.*

I search for my phrase book to look up “have you lost your chips?” but before you know it, they’re gone. And so is your wallet. Your passport. Your camera.

The piccolo nomadi.

They sound sweet. They’re not. they’re just weeping little fuckers.

No wonder the Catholic Church hates children. No sorry, I’ve got that wrong haven’t I? the Catholic Church loves children, just not in the right way. **

I hope my experiences can help you to become a better, more proficient, muggee. Just remember, give it all you’ve got. Or rather, give the mugger all you’ve got. Who knows, perhaps we can make it from this Black Heart tonight without being stabbed in Camden. Or down in the tube.

I’d like to end on a piece of poetry. This comes from someone whom I’m sure must have been influenced by my all true stories of being a muggee.

I say all true… I told one lie. The lad in Manchester didn’t take my copy of Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment. I just wish he had. ***

A poem to end:

The last thing that I saw As I lay there on the floor
Was “Jesus Saves” painted by an atheist nutter
And a British Rail poster read “Have an Awayday – a cheap holiday –
Do it today!”
I glanced back on my life
And thought about my wife
’cause they took the keys and she’ll think it’s me

And I’m down in the tube station at midnight

The wine will be flat and the curry’s gone cold

Yes. I am Paul Weller’s muse.

What was he thinking?… Sparkling wine with curry?

Take care. Goodnight.

* Thanks to Ben Norris for the chips joke.

** I forgot to say this bit. And thanks to Ben again for pointing out the mistake in saying that the Catholic Church hates children (hence the extra loves ‘joke’). This was also the point, in my inner head rehearsals in the bath, where I would get heckled by an imagined Catholic in the audience. They would, quite rightly and properly, make the point that it’s not everyone in the Catholic Church that abuses children. And I would get all arsey pointing out that the phrase is a synedcdoche, where the whole is used to represent a part (or vice versa). Then I’d give them a Chupa Chup.

*** I forgot to say this too. For those who went away thinking the lad took the book, I’m sorry for misleading you. I just wanted to make sure I mentioned the symbolism of a glass slipper in my first ever stand up routine. He did take a pound though. And my mate, Joe, who ran, returned about a minute too late, armed with a baseball bat.

The Comedians- The Top Three

December 24, 2012

Ok, I’ve been a little slow over the last few days, but I’m determined to get this Top Ten finished in time for you to nip to the shops and get your last minute stocking fillers.

If you look back over the last few posts you’ll see I have been counting down the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s for Christmas. And, importantly, this is an official Top Ten provided by Zavvi. One or two of you have mistaken it for my Top Ten. It’s not mine. I’m just the messenger.

Also, I’m judging these DVD’s solely on their covers. I’ve not seen any of them, and, in some cases, I have never heard of the comedians.

So far we have seen:

Dara o Briain, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Roy Brown, Frankie Boyle, Jack Whitehall, Peter Kay, and Sarah Millican.

In third place:

Kevin Bridges

No.3 Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges adopts the Dara O Briain man in a dark suit look, but perhaps the reason he’s no.3 and Dara is no.10 is all down to getting the shadow right.

It’s a simple cover that tells it straight; he’s a five star act and Billy Connolly thinks he’s brilliant; or his act is; or something is. When the quote is a simple one word “brilliant”, there is a bit of guesswork needed.

He’s another act aimed at 30 year olds.

The title is “The Story Continues…” suggesting the DVD is a sequel and that Kevin Bridges tells very long jokes.

John Bishop

No.2 John Bishop

The pattern continues; another DVD that’s 15 and 15, making it a 30 certificate DVD. Here’s John Bishop; Brand New and Bigger than Ever; though it’s unclear as to what is brand new and bigger than ever; him, his act? I applaud him doing a new act, but how is the act (if, indeed, it is the act) bigger? Longer maybe? It’s a confusing sticker.

There’s another sticker on this declaring it to be Ultraviolet. This is even more confusing. At first I took it to be a spelling mistake and assumed his act was ‘ultraviolent’, but then surely his DVD would have been an 18 certificate. Or even a 36. Just ignore this sticker.

It’s his Rollercoaster Tour 2012. I doubt this means it is set on a rollercoaster. More likely it is a reference to either the up and down style of his comedy or to Ronan Keating (for reasons I cannot help you with).

John is ducking down and (unusually for a comedian) smiling. He holds his hand up, as if to say “Whoa! That bright light of celebrity has taken me off-guard”. In doing this he also shows us he is married. He looks like a young Mark Owen from Take That.

Michael McIntyre

No. 1 Michael McIntyre

Time is passing and the shops will close so this one has to be quick. It’s Michael McIntyre. He turns his back on his audience and balances on one leg. Watch out for him on The Cube.

Happy Christmas everyone. x

Ok, here’s the last 5.

If you’re new to this, I’ve been taking a look at the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s according to Zavvi’s website. And I’ve been judging the DVD’s by their covers. Not the comedians, not the content.

They’re all, no doubt, excellent. Hey: they’re the Top Ten! But, occasionally, their covers confuse. Or enlighten.

One thing’s for sure; they are all ideal Christmas stocking fillers.

Here’s a reminder of 10 to 6 before we hit the Top Five.

No.10 – Dara o Briain.

No.9 – Mrs. Brown’s Boys

No. 8 – Roy Brown

No.7 – Frankie Boyle

No.6 – Jack Whitehall

Ok, no.5. Oh, and a little reminder; it’s nearly Christmas… all of my assessments are fueled by martinis.

No.5…

Peter Kay no.5

No.5 Peter Kay

It’s Peter Kay! He’s live, and he’s Back on Nights!

Here’s the thing; I hate daytime stand-up comedy. it just doesn’t fit. Unless it’s stand-up for kids. All proper grown-up stand-up comedy must take place at night. It’s a job prerequisite. If Peter is back on nights what was going on before?

With the exception of the job of stand-up comedy, being on nights suggests a working class necessity; a need to bring in money, a need to work unsociable hours to make ends meet. To be frank, I’m stumped.

The DVD includes over 55 minutes of NEW live stand up. But it doesn’t say how much over 55. I’m plumping for under 56, otherwise it would surely boast ‘over 56 minutes of NEW live stand-up’. And, without seeing the back of the DVD, there is no way of knowing what percentage of comedy time the new material takes up. Concluding this point, we can state with certainty that the DVD is at least 55 minutes long.

Peter has turned his back on his audience as he sneaks up on an (unqualified) ‘World Record Breaking Comedy’ plinth of sorts. His eyes twinkle, but his grin is yet to be revealed. He may, or may not, have some fingers missing.

The DVD is suitable for 15 year olds.

Here’s another take on being on nights.

Sarah Millican

No.4 Sarah Millican

No. 4 is Sarah Millican. It’s a brand new 2012 show.

She is the Queen of Comedy; that’s official; it’s a British Comedy Award. As far as star ratings go, she is rated a 15 star act; 5 from The Mirror, 5 from Metro, 5 from The Telegraph. That also manages to cover the three main political parties; Sarah has something for everyone.

She is thoroughly modern; a reference that manages to make her quaintly dated too.

30 year olds will like this DVD.

Join me tomorrow, when I’ll try and finish this off.

The Comedians part 5

December 22, 2012

Ok, I’m a little behind. And there’s barely any shopping days left til Christmas. So let’s get going on this Comedy DVD countdown lark. You can find the first three in Zavvi’s Comedy DCD chart here. You can find the next one, in at no.7, here.

Now, onto no.6. Oh, and please do remember the ‘rules’; I am judging these comedy DVD’s by their covers alone. Not the content; not the comedian.

Mostly.

Jack Whitehall no.6

No.6 Jack Whitehall

It’s Jack Whitehall Live. Not much to go on with this cover. It’s his debut stand-up DVD. There’s no quotes. Possibly because it’s so new, so debut, it’s as yet unseen.

He’s got the look of a Noel Edmond’s son about him. He’s crossed his arms in such a way that his left thumb is either missing, or gently feeling his right bicep. I don’t know how to read this.

His jacket, with a lapel accoutrement, is very with it. He’s possibly wearing blue contact lenses.

Suitable for 30 year olds.

Ok, the Top 5 countdown, comes along tomorrow.

I apologise. I’d planned to do more. My wife has returned from Christmas shopping and, being the usual ordeal, I had to make her a gin and tonic. Me? A martini.

It’s a Saturday night for crying out loud!

So, the Top 5 tomorrow. Giving you all Christmas Eve to shop for the top of the comedy pops.

Here’s a Jack Whitehall related thing to end on.

The Comedians part 4

December 19, 2012

Ok. I know. I said “to be continued tomorrow” and now it’s the day after tomorrow and tomorrow was yesterday. I’m sorry. I lied. Or failed.

To recap: I’m counting down the Top Ten comedy DVD’s (ideal Christmas presents) according to Zavvi’s chart. I’m assessing them on artwork alone. I have no take on the comedy or the comedians. I’ve seen none of the DVD’s. Some of the comedians I am familiar with, others not. But this is not, I repeat not, a judgement on the comedy inside the cover.

I am (literally) judging a comedian’s DVD by his/her cover.

Oh, ok then. A little bias may creep in. But it’s not on purpose (or, to pinch a bit of fun from no.7 in the chart, tit’s not on purpose).

No. 10 was Dara O Briain.

No. 9 was Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

No. 8 was Roy Brown.

And so to No. 7

Frankie Boyle no.7

No. 7 Frankie Boyle

He’s as hairy as he was last time round in 2010. Possibly hairier. And it’s a brand new show for 2012.

The Hairy Pornflake has possibly calmed down a bit. Last time round he said he’d strangle you if he could. Now he’s just cryptically referring to the last days of Sodom, looking diagonally downwards, shiftily, cheekily, hiding in his philosopher’s beard.

But which Sodom? Sodom from the Street Fighter computer box games? Declaring “Die job death car?” Unlikely.

Sodom, the Canadian logging town that fell into disrepair in the first half of the 20th Century. Still unlikely.

It’s got to be the Sodom that went with Gomorrah. Surely. Or perhaps the Marquis De Sade’s/ Pasolini’s The 120 Days of Sodom. Maybe the last two days or so.

Oh, who knows.

He’s looking down, he’s smirking: Fundamentally, he’s going for the anal sex angle.

Happy Christmas.

The countdown will continue tomorrow. Maybe.

The Comedians part 3

December 17, 2012

Way back in 2010, Christmas time, I mocked the comedians and their ill-conceived covers (DVD covers, not covers in the pop sense, or like when Stewart Lee took Pasquale to task for ‘covering’ a Michael Redmond joke).

No! I mean the often poor artwork used to sell us their funny antics. There were so many I had to do a part one and a part two. Part one is here. Part two is here.And the poll to decide the best and the worst is here.

Let’s see if things have improved over the past two years. Here’s part three.

Oh, and please do remember, I am only judging/mocking/ridiculing the artwork. Not the comedian. Not the jokes. Most of the time.

I’m off to the Zavvi website for my material as it seems to be the only place where I can (easily) find a Top Ten of comedy titles. So… let’s start with Zavvi’s no. 10.

Dara O Briain

No.10 Dara O Briain

it’s a clean-cut look for Dara. Both for himself and his cover. Hands in pockets, shifty look upwards to something out of our sight; a winning gambit that goes some way to proving comedians are at their funniest when they stop smiling.

It’s the first (but it won’t be the last) of our comedy DVD’s to go for a pun-based title. Dara is our ‘craic dealer’; it’s a fun pun, it makes sense and it works.

Its subtitle, ‘Live 2012’, explains itself.

Then a quote from a newspaper; “One of the most dependably entertaining stand-up comics in the land”. That doesn’t tell us too much. One of? How many dependably entertaining stand-up comics are there? And dependably entertaining makes Dara sound as exciting as a sipping bird (not necessarily a bad thing). If quotes could shrug at the end, I think this one would.

Dara’s shadow is slight for such a hefty man. Perhaps his presence on this cover has been faked. Like the moon landings.

The DVD is certificate 15. But, as with other DVD’s coming up, the 15 has been printed twice; suggesting this DVD would be perfect for a 30 year old.

Interestingly, the cover makes no mention of the Mocking show Dara is closely associated with.

All in all, a good start.

Mrs Brown

No. 9 Mrs Brown’s Boys

Here’s a busy cover. It’s old school, with smoking and a pearl necklace. Death is here, and, again, no smiling. It’s Mrs. Brown’s Boys Live Tour. Too rude for TV. Suitable for 36 year olds.

And here’s another pun; morning/mourning.

Last Christmas, at the in-laws (though back then they lacked that title) we watched Frost in that thing where he plays the Queen’s bodyguard. It was a little like dying.

Straight after it came Mrs. Brown’s Boys. The relief was so strong we literally rolled on the floor laughing. Literally.

Roy Brown

No.8 Roy Brown

Roy Brown, aka Chubby, is not one of Mrs. Brown’s Boys. It is rumoured that Mrs Brown (from Mrs. Brown’s Boys) is a man. Going off Roy brown’s DVD cover, he may possibly be a woman.

This much we do know: he has tits (known, I am told, as moobs), and he wears a bikini.

He may also be a pilot.

Whereas Dara O Briain took his newspaper quote from a broadsheet in existence for over 200 years, Roy Brown has chosen to reference a defunct and disgraced tabloid. The, presumably, fake front page headline, “Chubby probed my inbox”, references both the lewd nature of his act and his, presumably, satirical take on the tabloid hackers of phones and emails.

The DVD is called Roy Chubby Brown’s Front Page Boobs. It’s difficult to know what this means. It’s possibly a pun; boobs for ‘news’?

it has a subheading: Read All About Tit. This is, more clearly, without meaning. It isn’t a pun. And, to make sense, it would need to be either ‘read all about tits’ or ‘read all about a tit’. The chances are it’s just a spelling mistake.

Or perhaps a bit of fun. Why not take other examples of common phrases or titles with the word ‘it’, and turn that into ‘tit’? See if you can make yourself laugh. Here’s some to get you started: Five Children and Tit; Stephen King’s Tit; Tit Happened One Night; Tit’s a Wonderful Life.

Have fun.

To be continued tomorrow…

Skyfall scuffle

October 15, 2012

I don’t know what the title of this blog post means. I must find a diversion.

Look! James Bond’s legs!

Did that take your mind of things? They’re his legs! James Bond’s! He even has a slightly pointing-in right foot; like I had as a child because I was weak, anaemic, in need of sun ray treatment. I used to walk like a pigeon (or like James Bond it seems). After a few months of clinic visits I over-compensated, walking like a Salfordian chimpy Charlie Chaplin (years before Liam looned and looped along).

My walking style has settled now. Over the years a happy compromise has been reached.

I wonder how many happy compromises are reached when the Bond directors are picked? (There’s a jump worthy of a blogger stunt double!)

Fans may yearn for a Scorsese/Nolan/Tarantino 007, but it will never happen. Take Skyfall, the 50th birthday Bond. The Bond People have picked that well known action director, Sam Mendes. Oh… is this my scuffle arriving?

I’m sure it will be great. It looks great. There’s enough people behind Bond (the Bond People) to make sure it works. That’ll be why it’s never a Scorsese or a Ridley or a (RIP) Tony Scott; they just couldn’t bear not having the control (the directors, that is. Oh, and the Bond People!)

Stop! Don’t let yourself get in a tizzy. Let’s relax. Here’s Adele.

It’s just that… he directed Away We Go. I… really… am at a loss. I feel weak. Pigeon legged. I just can’t go through that again. You can read my thoughts on that film here.

Maybe (like I said in that thing you might have clicked on, even read) it wasn’t his fault. American Beauty was good. Maybe he’ll prove to be the new Lewis Gilbert; at ease with both Shirley Valentine and The Spy Who Loved Me.

It’ll be great. The Bond People won’t have it any other way. He’s 50! Not that he looks it.

I’m 50 too! So less miserabilism Hickson. It’ll be great. you know it will be. You’ve even bought tickets. For the bloody IMAX no less. It’ll be big, that’s for sure.

Let’s end on one of the best Bond songs, by Marvin Hamlisch (RIP). Sung by Radiohead.

Away we go.

Crutchless

October 12, 2012

My crutches have gone. I’ve handed them back. Though, living close to Catford, perhaps I should have kept one.

I don’t know what it is about Catford, but most of its people have a crutch. This isn’t the lazy observation of a Catford call-througher, passing from Forest Hill to Lewisham, depositing his crutches back at the hospital, now he has, at last, been discharged: been declared officially fixed after fracturing his pelvis some yonks ago.

This observation; that most people in Catford have one crutch; is 100% true. And it’s no exaggeration. At least 76% of Catfordians have a crutch. Or, put another way, about 1 in every 54.

Why this is the case nobody knows. Do they – Catfordians – regularly fall over? Breaking bones willy-nilly? Do they get the standard two crutches and then, when better, think “I’ll keep one, just in case?” Do they pass one on to a friend? For emergencies?

It’s an odd thing. Only see in Catford. And only seen by lazy wannabe McIntyre’s.

But it is true!

And here’s another thing. You never- NEVER- see anyone with crutches in Dulwich Village.

I guess it’s just the way things are. Here’s my fractured pelvis.

When the Olympics opened and Danny Boyle made us all feel happy to be alive- in those heady, crazy, joyous days; before Savile, before Armstrong- I danced around the lounge. A newly-wed full of non-jingoistic, patriotic pleasure. I trooped up and down, on the rug, mimicking nations never heard of before, entertaining my wife with my tomfoolery, terrifying Archie, the dog.

Then, two days later, still full of hope and awe, I jumped up at Charing Cross station to rescue a caught balloon. I never reached the balloon. But I did fall hard onto the stone station floor. And I did, thanks to a drink or two, shrug it off, putting on a brave face for my new in-laws.

But when me and Zoe came to change trains at London Bridge it became clear all was not well. Something to do with my colour I believe. And the fact that I wanted to just lie down on the floor.

I enjoyed the Olympics. The Paralympics too. All from my bed. All on Tramadol.

Now, I’m better. And I’ve written this. A blog post. My first in… I can’t use yonks again… It’s been a while though. I’ll try harder. One a week. At least.

Now the crutches have gone it is time to slowly build up those blog muscles once more.

So, this is a bit of a late one. Here’s a photo from Wednesday the 7th March.

I’m at the BFI film quiz. In the bar at BFI Imax. Look! There’s two of my team mates, Jeremy and Nik. Hiding behind the BFI guide. On the left hand page of the guide, details of the upcoming Peter Cook season (useful, since there was a round on Peter Cook- it’s not cheating; everyone’s given a guide and so, well, I guess, we all cheat).

Look at the next page. Faust at the Royal Festival Hall. It’s been and gone now. Did you see it?

Hugh Grant introduces London audiences to Murnau’s legendary 1926 silent film Faust.

And then, a paragraph that possibly makes no sense at all (I’ve never been good at grammar; bad for a writer, I know. But it seems to me that the most important thing is that we all get the general idea; certainly when it comes to a guide). Here goes:

At a time when brand new silent film The Artist is being applauded by critics and heading for 2012 Oscars success.

End of sentence. End of paragraph! I can only exclaim, what gives?!

So, the next paragraph, I presume, is meant to carry on the thought. Here’s what it says:

I don’t really mind the lack of punctuation. Like I say, I’m no grammar expert. Getting the gist is the main part. But the gist is lost for good once words like ‘greastest’ creep in.

I’ve struggled to understand this, and, after much deliberation… I took this pic almost two weeks ago! After much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that the writer meant ‘Grease test’; the acknowledged system whereby a film’s worth is determined by how well it compares to the 1978 Randal Kleiser classic, Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

Faust doesn’t do too bad, since it stars Emil Jannings, whose name almost rhymes with Stockard Channing, who played Rizzo in Grease (Jannings played Mephisto – a pararhyme for Rizzo). Coincidentally, Jennings went on to play Enrico ‘Ratso’ Rizzo in the 1927 black and white silent film Midnight Cowboy (remade to Oscar-winning success in 1969 with Dustin Hoffman playing the colour, talking version of Ratso).

So there you have it. I’m stopping now.