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.


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.

Stupid stupid stupid

January 26, 2010

It’s taken me an age to track this down. Sometimes, in films, certain bits stand out when the rest of the movie disappears. All I can remember is stupid, stupid, stupid; a phrase that often goes through my head, usually aimed at myself.

I knew it was from some legal film. I knew it was a woman in a courtroom reading out a letter. Until tracking it down down, just now, I’d have stumped for A Civil Action with John Travolta. And I’d’ve been wrong. It’s The Rainmaker, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Clearly (to me) not as memorable as his other The films; The Godfather, The Godfather II, even The Godfather III and, of course, the Apocalypse Now one (ok, I cheat a little). But it had it’s moment. And here it is:

So it has stuck with me and I hear it often, in my head, with that flat somethin’ stoopid Sinatra intonation, telling me off; stoopid, stoopid, stoopid.

So what’s the stupidest thing I could do? Well, I’m still alive so I didn’t walk in front of a car or fall off a cliff or push my head up close to a bacon slicer. Instead I sat in the bar of a swanky hotel, and, needing to go to the toilet, decided it would be absolutely fine to leave my bags for less than the  minute it might take me to have a wee.

Altogether now; stupid, stupid, stupid.

That’s ok. I can take it. Leave your comments.

See, maybe I have too much faith in human nature. What’s that I hear you all shouting in unison? Having faith in human nature is one thing, leaving your bags unattended in a public place in London is stupid, stupid, stupid.

Oh, who cares.

I had three bags; one with all my stuff in it, two full of presents. The robber only took my bag. And for that I thank him (I know it was a him because there was a witness).

The presents were for my girlfriend.

Ok. Big pause. That last sentence was a fair enough thing to write; they were presents for my girlfriend. There! I’ve written it again. It must be true. It seems I have a girlfriend.

Ok, so, if you’re reading this and you don’t know me, either personally or in my professional role as a former TV idiot, then what you’ve just read is no big deal. Everyone has girlfriends, wives, husbands, partners, children, pets.

If you do know me, then you most probably think I’m lying. I’ve made it up. I’m delusional.

If you don’t know me, but know who I am from the world of childrens’ TV, then you most probably think I’m gay.

Well, it’s true. That I have a girlfriend that is. Though at the age of 47 girlfriend just sounds silly. I asked my friend Claire if it was ok at my age to say girlfriend. She answered, Of course not; she’s your bird!

Partner‘s out of the question; it makes it sound like business, and whatever business we may or may not get up to, I doubt anyone’s going to make any money out of it. (I went to see Stewart Lee the other night and as I picked up the tickets the box office* asked me for the name of my partner- I was so shocked I almost said Trev).

No. Partner no way. Other options are either unrepeatable or silly. Although my lovely lady has a nice ring to it. Anyways, this is no big deal to you, dear reader, just me and her. Ok. just me. She is real. Honestly. But back to robbing and stupidity.

My robber got away with a nice bag bought for me as a present by my friend Sarah. And inside:

  • My Richard Hawley T-shirt (Christmas present from Andrea)
  • My glasses
  • Socks, underpants, a shirt
  • an umbrella
  • Two inhalers
  • An electric toothbrush
  • A beard trimmer
  • Some toiletries
  • Oh… and my camera

My camera is (was) old, doesn’t work too well and was £99 when I bought it. Still, it was my camera, and until someone gives me a job my blog will remain pretty photoless.

Other than that, good luck robber. Try making a bit of money out of the rest of the crap in there. I hope, just to make it all worthwhile, that you have asthma and a minor sight defect that matches mine. But I don’t want you to be a Richard Hawley fan. I want you to take that T-shirt and throw it into Truelove’s Gutter (no disrespect to you there Andrea, and your lovely present. It just feels like a romantic end for the T-shirt).

I was stupid, stupid, stupid. But I don’t care. I can’t afford not to care, but there we go. I don’t. Bye bag and things.

I checked my insurance policy. Things were looking good until I got to clause 8.1 or somesuch. We do not pay out for baggage left unattended unless it is in a locked room. What do you think we are? Stupid, stupid, stupid?

Clause 8.1.1 You’re the stupid one. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ha ha ha!

Clause 8.1.2 You’re lucky he didn’t steal your willy whilst you had a wee, you stupid, stupid, stupid… thing.

Clause 8.1.3 We love insurees like you.

Who knows why the robber took the one bag and left the two bags of presents. Here’s my two top theories:

Theory 1: He didn’t want to draw attention to himself. He was seen, by the witness, to drop his gloves alongside my bag. He stooped to pick them up, and in the same movement scooped up my bag and swooped out of the exit. To pick up the other two bags would have involved clumsy movements and drawing attention to himself.

Theory 2: He saw they were bags of presents. He thought to himself; I’m a kindly robber and these are presents for his lovely lady. They’ve been apart over Christmas and the New Year, I have a heart, and I am only going to cause this man minor anguish by taking his bag and leaving the presents alone. I wish you both a good evening, and now I’m off, to see if I can get a quid off Wheezy Dave down the pub for a half-used Beclazone inhaler.

I’m opting for Theory 2.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I know.

I don’t care.

Me, looking like a robber, in Alcatraz

* Using Box Office and making it speak is, I think, an example of a synecdoche, like in the film. So, even though I am stupid, stupid, stupid, I can still show off and make out like I am not, sort of, even though I really wanted to write the Box Office person, cause it seems silly having a box office that can talk.


Here’s Tony Christie in a launderette. I used to work in a Dry Cleaners, which is like a launderette without water. You can see me at work here.

Last night Tony wasn’t in the launderette, or the Alleyways. Last night was definitely the Avenues as he played the swanky Cadogan Hall near Sloane Square. Sloane Square, where the Christmas lights are made from diamonds and the only transport that circles the square is like a tongue twister gone wrong; Red Bus, Rolls Royce, Red Bus, Rolls Royce, Red Bus, Rolls Royce, Red Bus, Bentley…

And so I wandered into an area of London that I feel, as a lad from Salford and now a poor Londoner, I should have a passport for. My passport to Sloane Square acceptance was a shiny suit and the accompanionship (I think I might just have made up a new word) of the gorgeous Andrea Mann. I took Andrea along as a way of saying thank you for… well, teaching me how to blog. (So, if you’re reading this and thinking “Oh shut up!”, firstly, stop reading. Secondly, blame Andrea.) Oh, and as I say, I took her along so they’d let me into the Avenues and out of the Alleyways.

There’s more to Tony Christie than Pudsey Bear and Peter Kay. And to let us know that he knows this, and to let you know that I know this, the one song absent from his set last night is also absent from this review. Is that a bit pompous? Sorry if that’s how it comes across.

Tony and his fellow Sheffieldiers like to give their emotions a sense of place; to wrap up the ins and outs and ups and downs of love in the physical landscape; to map the terrains of the heart in the A to Z of the city. Journeys, destinations, meeting places where only one turns up. They’re all there; in the avenues, in the alleyways, in the launderettes, the chip shops, Coles Corner, and Paradise Square.

Coles Corner and Paradise Square both feature on Tony’s new album, Made in Sheffield, produced by fellow Sheffielder, Richard Hawley. Made in Sheffield because it was. In many senses. Some of the contributors were made in Sheffield, by their parents. Songs are written by Sheffielders, known and not so known. There’s Louise by the Human League, and the epic and sublime Born to Cry, by Hawley, Banks, Doyle, Mackey, Webber and Cocker (Jarvis, not Joe). Just how many successful Cockers can one city produce?

The gig was great. And Richard Hawley’s band, accompanying Tony, were glorious. But I’m no music critic, what do I know?

In fact, I need help, I need tips to appreciate things. There are songs that I know and love, and then I realise a long way down the line, I actually love but don’t know. It’s taken me over twenty years to understand some of the songs of Elvis Costello, and the rest I’m still working on. But I think you can love without understanding. And sometimes you may be the better for it.

Last night Tony helped map out the geography of a rocky heart. Coles Corner and Paradise Square are both songs dedicated to Sheffield landmarks. Richard Hawley’s Coles Corner was a meeting place for lovers; Coles Corner is no longer what it once was, and the corner of this song has now become a place of loneliness for its unloved singer.

Paradise Square is a beautiful song, but with the darkest of hearts. Why don’t you meet me there? There where we can dedicate some time to this affair, that’s if you have the time to spare, why don’t you meet me there? It sounds like a love song. It’s a fragile piece, sung delicately, as if the slightest wrong move might shatter it into a million pieces. Why don’t you meet me there? There on the cobbled stones of Paradise Square. But a clue comes along later in the song; There where lovers meet to make the most of memories, only to discover they have now become sworn enemies.

Paradise Square. Paradise. Where the good go after death.

Moments before singing,Tony tells us that Paradise Square in Sheffield is where all the lawyers are. And then he drops his microphone to talk to the band, realising, as if for the first time, it’s a song about the end of love, about divorce.