Friday, 13 November 2020

Unexpected second acts in the lives of pillow cases.

When this whole present embuggerance began, I bought some home-made face masks from a nice woman who was selling them for charity, back in the 'Blitz spirit' stage of March / April. I bought six or seven, and I've worn one or other of them almost every day since. 

Today, it occurred to me that I therefore now have a collection of half a dozen objects which, when I come across them again in ten or twenty years, will be enormously evocative of this specific year. Just facemarks in general will be that too, of course - a type of clothing most of us never wore before, then wore every day for a year or two... and then, let's hope, never wore again. But since six masks turns out to be about enough to wear in rotation, these six designs I randomly ended up with will be particularly 'nostalgic', if that's the right word for something I plan to look back on with no fondness whatsoever. 

But then I noticed that the designs all have quite a nineties look to them - and realised that of course the maker had just used whatever scraps old material she happened to have. And so these objects, which in the future will sharply bring back 2020/21 to me, would presumably right now remind some complete strangers of, say, their childhood bedroom, or visiting their Granny in 1997. 

I don't know what my point is. Possibly I don't have one. ...No, I don't believe I do. Anyway, here are some of my masks. Try imagining a Seinfeld slap bass sting as you look at them.  

Da-bababa-wow-wow wowww. Boink.



Monday, 5 October 2020

I don't know any poems by Walt Whitman

Sadly, the only poems I know off by heart are very short. (I used to know 'Ozymandias', but I just checked, and... nope.)

Anyway, this morning I noticed that Edna St. Vincent Millay is probably unique in my head-space, in that I know precisely one poem off by heart by her, and one about her. 

The one by her is:
First Fig

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light!
It's not my favourite of hers, though. My favourite, mostly because of the final couplet, is this one.
Sonnet IV

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far, —
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.
And the one I know about her - well, sort of - is I think by David Mamet. At least, he quotes it at the start of one of his plays, and Google doesn't turn up any other attribution for it.
The Reason I Like

The reason I like
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Is that her name.
Sounds like a basketball
     Falling
        Downstairs.

The reason I like
Walt Whitman
Is that his name
Sounds like
Edna St. Vincent Millay
       Falling
           Downstairs.









Saturday, 4 April 2020

News from Fitton

It occurs to me I really ought to have mentioned here that an old friend of mine has been borrowing my YouTube account recently to let his friends know how he's coping with self-isolation. (The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is 'pretty well').

Here's the first, of seven so far.




Friday, 31 January 2020

My own trumpet

 A lovely thing happened to me this month. The Writer's Guild of Great Britain gave me their Outstanding Contribution to Writing Award.




I find I can't write much about it without dissolving into a puddle of tiresome self-deprecation - I've already had to delete six or seven variations on 'for reasons known only to themselves' from the sentence above. But I will try to hold that off for long enough to say how sincerely honoured and grateful I am to the Guild, and to my dear friend David Tyler; who presented the award, and from whose lovely speech about me I have still not quite recovered. 

Here we both are, looking chuffed. (Just after this photo was taken, David took off his jacket and tie, and instantly became a floating head.)


Photo by Dave Bennett @davebennett

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

24 Things. Who’d’ve thought it?. Thing 24.


Merry Christmas!

Monday, 23 December 2019

24 Things... surely? Or will he fall at the final hurdle? Don't rule it out. Thing 23.


This was an attempt to use fewer lines. With, I would say, mixed results.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

24 Things, probably, but taking nothing for granted. Thing 22.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

24 Things, barring hilarious accidents. Thing 21.


After all those people and animals, here's a vegetable.

Friday, 20 December 2019

24 Things, though it would be quite funny to drop out now. Thing 20.


These are the practice sketches for yesterday's, but I think I like some of them better than the way it turned out. Especially the cheerful chap in the bottom right corner.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

24 Things are no longer out of the question. Thing 19.



Wednesday, 18 December 2019

24 Things, they do seem to keep coming, though. Thing 18.


Brrr.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

24 Things, though surely not. Thing 17.


Monday, 16 December 2019

24 Things still seem unlikely to me, but who knows. Thing 16.


Sure, you can't stop progress, and it's not as if the old way ever worked in any case, but... still, he kind of misses it.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

24 Things, a likely story. Thing 15


Saturday, 14 December 2019

24 Things, or so the legend goes. Probably nonsense. Thing 14.


Also drawn for the tour show. And also animated, though that was done by the excellent Chris Lincé, not by me.

And indeed not in Salford. Because in Salford, the computer that we run the show on froze at the start of the Kirates sketch, and Simon and I had to stick our heads round the back cloth and do it live. Whilst in the middle of changing into our red trousers...

Friday, 13 December 2019

24 things, or not, but maybe. Thing 13.



Apologies if this is baffling to non-Brits. But count yourselves lucky.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

24 Things - Half way point, or possibly way over half way point: Thing 12.

Oh no.
It's happened again. 



We've got Muppets.


Wednesday, 11 December 2019

24 Things, plus standard disclaimer. Thing 11.

I've had a request for the Angela fish, so... here she is. Caution: not terribly Christmassy. 






Tuesday, 10 December 2019

24 Things: the in-itself-surprising 'Double Figures' post. Thing 10.


All these things can be clicked for bigger-er, by the way.

Monday, 9 December 2019

24 Things, more or less. Although definitely not more. Thing 9.

After Ken Anderson

Sunday, 8 December 2019

24 Things, or at least, definitely 8. Thing 8.


Saturday, 7 December 2019

24 Things, No Doubt About That, Oh No. Thing 7.



'...So, basically a tube?'

Friday, 6 December 2019

24 things, and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. Thing 6.


This is from the tour show. It's the image we put up at the start of the sketch about the designer of the snake, to try to get across the idea of an animal design department. Tomorrow, I'll put up the image that replaces it when the head of the department says he has one or two questions about the new design...

Thursday, 5 December 2019

24 Things, Allegedly, But The Smart Money's On About Eight. Thing Five.

Vroom.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

24 Things Are Unreliably Promised: Thing 4


As a rule, the more intricate and over-worked the doodle, the worse the writing's going...

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

24 Things Or Fewer: Thing 3


I'm sure he's charming when you get to know him.

Monday, 2 December 2019

24 Things, Potentially, But History Suggests Otherwise. Thing 2.



Sunday, 1 December 2019

24 Things, Theoretically: Thing 1


Will this be the year I actually manage to sustain this? I wouldn't bet on it...

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Last Call for the Flying Visit

Ok, it's been a while, let's have one last plug.




We're down to the last EVER five shows of John Finnemore's Flying Visit!

We've had an absolutely fantastic time, so we might well do another tour in the future, but if so it won't be this show; so this is the last chance to find out what on earth we're about to do with those Sainsbury's bags and gardening gloves...

So, come along... TONIGHT, at the Leas Cliff Theatre, Folkestone. 

Or, on the 3rd November at Spa Grand Hall, Scarborough.
Or maybe the 4th November, at the Octagon, Sheffield (this one might sell out soon)
Or would you prefer the 5th November, at the Playhouse, Weston Super Mare.

Or, failing all those, our extra date on the 1st December, at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London. 

Or why not go to all five? I mean, you'd have to be a lunatic, but apart from that, why not? 


Sunday, 27 October 2019

I also have an excellent idea for a round thing to go under cars.

Yesterday, I was messing around on a piano (at which I'm very bad indeed), trying to work out how to do the fingering on Susannah Pearse's and my version of Pachelbel's Canon. Eventually, after a lot of painstaking trial and error, I found that it seemed to help with the doobie doobies if I tried to always play D with my thumb. Indeed, so helpful was this little trick of mine that I thought I'd leave a note for myself on the top of the score, for next time I tried it. So, I went and found a pencil, and prepared to write down my important discovery. Just under the title. Which is... 'Canon in D'.

Ah. So THAT's what that means.