Bright Young Things!

December 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What an interesting week it has been for all things art deco, roaring twenties, and the bright young things. Namely two interesting television productions airing in 2011,
Underbelly razor and the Phryne Fisher Murder Mystery Series.
Underbelly razor (unlike the previous series) is pure period. It is going to be set in the 1920s and follows the rivalry between Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine (what a name!). An interesting spin on the Underbelly series (given that I haven’t watched any of it, completely put off by it). The old Underbellys look quite dark, very serious. If you push it back to the roaring twenties, surely there would have to be glamour and glitz. This is actually one I want to see.

The other exciting announcement was the production of the Kerry Greenwood book series Phryne Fisher being made into a TV series. Just the other day I was thinking why no one had ever translated it (or the Janet Evanovich books for that matter) into a TV series. It certainly is a departure from the Midsomer Murders, Lewis’, Morses’ of this world. If you’ve ever read the books, it follows a well-to-do titled lady who decides to put her intelligence and quick thinking to good use by solving mysteries. Set in the age of glamour, and given the main character has a penchant for fine things, surely art deco will be at the centre of the series. In any case, I can’t wait to watch it!

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Comedians hit back

August 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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When Fosters took over sponsorship of the former Perrier awards in Edinburgh I am sure they thought it was quite straight forward. Coming from an advertising background, I can just imagine the meetings required to ‘brainstorm’ this sponsorship.

Random Fosters Marketing person: “Guys, how can we make this bigger and better? How can we make sure we make our mark and stop people from continuing to bloody call it the Perrier awards!”

Agency creative: “Why not we celebrate 30 years of the awards and get the public to vote and crown the comedy god of the last 30 years of the Edinburgh fringe.”

Cue, lots of applause.

Not a bad idea, pretty straight forward, doing something different and fresh for a long time, job done. Who would have thought that a public voted competition, that for a brand does not look in anyway risky, would cause a bit of controversy.

It all started with Stewart Lee, who expressed his disgust at the competition particularly as it doesn’t recognise the acts that aren’t the superstars, who don’t get the recognition or the publicity that the big acts do. Read the letter to the awards producer here.

This began the twitter and facebook campaign to get the Japanese musical group Frank Chickens (as mentioned in Lee’s email) to the top of the tree, and crowned Comedy God.

Well, it seems to have worked. Frank Chickens, after more than 30,000 people have voted, are to be immortalised in Fosters beer cans. Albeit in a specially commissioned artwork. They ended up making pieces of the top four voted acts, so Fosters at least got to make works of the superstars namely, Michael McIntyre, Tim Minchin and Russell Howard rather than just Frank Chickens. Interestingly though that the other comedians in the top 4 are all of this generation. Really? Top 4 comedians that have ever been nominated for the awards in the last 30 years have been from the last few years? Hmmm, find that hard to believe.

But I suppose, this is a strange story in brand sponsorships and treading the line of credibility. If Perrier had held this competition, when they were sponsors, would they have witnessed the same backlash? Maybe not. The winners I suppose out of all of this has been Frank Chickens. I was one of the people who hadn’t heard of them until this controversy had come along.

Possibly the best advertisment for the iPad

June 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Design | Leave a comment
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Where is our River Cottage?

June 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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When I was in the UK, I became more aware of what I was eating and where it came from thanks to River Cottage. They stand for sustainability, organic and free-range produce and they don’t push vegetarianism. In fact they talk more about treating the animal with respect which means using the whole animal, rather than just the typical cuts. I began buying organic veg and meat and cooking as much as I could at home rather than eating out. My sister even grew some chili (she doesn’t even like it). The River Cottage tv show even dedicated a whole program to strawberries. Any show that can do that has my vote.

I was absolutely impressed by the landshare initiative that they started. What a brilliant idea, not only to make best use of the land that is not being used, to cut down on costs by growing your own veg but also to meet new people. Had I been there a little longer I would have signed up for it (when I go back I will do). If you’re not aware of landshare, it’s an initiative to connect landowners who have land to spare and are not using it to growers who don’t have any land but want to grow/plant fruit, veg and trees. So far they have got 48,000 members and are still growing.

I was recently on the River Cottage website and discovered another initiative that they are promoting. It’s the River Cottage Instant Veg Patch. It’s a bit like a grow your own starter kit. They send you a box with instructions, full of baby plants (rocket, lettuce, green beans, kale, zucchini,  potatoes, tomatoes, peas, basil, parsley, beans) and you just plant away. What a brilliant idea.

Rob Brydon’s small man in a box

May 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If you haven’t heard it yet, watch it. How does he do it?

So sad, damn nothing to listen to on radio

February 28, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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Found out today Jon Richardson is no longer going to host his BBC 6music radio show with Fordie. It might not mean much to most people, but it’s been a Sunday ritual for me to listen to their show. It began with Russell Howard, they took over the Russell Brand show. It was brilliant. Russell left to work on his stand up and TV. Jon took over the main role. Now he’s leaving, mind you after he goes to the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Sad 😦

Soupy Norman

January 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment
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Never heard of it? Soupy Norman was a nine part series shown in Ireland. It is a re-dubbing of a Polish soap opera called Pierwsza miłość (First Love). It’s hilarious because it’s a classic game that I am sure most people have played themselves when the sound on the TV isn’t working, can’t understand the language or just bored. Putting on voices and just saying anything.

Why Blighty?

November 19, 2009 at 12:34 am | Posted in holiday, Me | Leave a comment

A Festival in “Summer” purely dedicated to a month of comedy.

A bookstore on every corner.

A second-hand bookstore on every corner.

Comedians on par with film stars.

The BBC.

Lush countryside.

Giant supermarkets in the middle of a country town.

Waitrose.

Moody weather.

The local pub is the family restaurant.

The tube, the trains and the buses.

2 1/2 hours from Paris.

Production.

The people.

A Mad Dash in 48 Hours

October 17, 2009 at 3:43 am | Posted in Film, fun | Leave a comment
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I recently participated in my second 48 hour short film competition, helping out the lovely Cat & Jo, as well as Mooch. It does what it says on the tin, essentially you need to come up with a concept, write a script, shoot and edit a short film in 48 hours all based on a theme that they give you at the start of the stint. The theme this year was ‘War’ or ‘Peace’. The film was called “Make Piece”.

We have been fortunate enough to get our hands on the Canon 5D Mark II. We shot entirely on there, using some in camera sound, but recorded most sound on a separate camera. The 5D is a magnificent camera, pumping out beautiful, crisp, high quality footage, but of course comes with the downside of being 30 frames per second. So we had to deal with that side of things within the 48 Hours as well!

It was freezing cold on the day, we spent the morning out on the beach in Southend-on-sea and then went to a factory. This factory had the most amazing equipment that all had a specific purpose.

Anyway here is the end result. If you are interested.

Mark Watson’s 24 Hour Show Edinburgh 09

August 29, 2009 at 4:21 am | Posted in Comedy | Leave a comment

If you haven’t heard about it, a crazy comedian, Mark Watson, occassionally hosts a 24 hour show. He has done them in Edinburgh and in Melbourne. I had heard about them for a while, but was never in the position to go. So when I heard he was hosting one this year, and that it would be the last one ever, well I had to go didn’t I?

I didn’t know what to really expect. There’s a lot of activity during the night, but then I never hear about the aftermath or how it all went. There were perhaps 70 or so people, we were squeezed into a room, that had no air conditioning, not much by way of drink/food access and you had to walk half a block to get to the toilet. The energy and the atmosphere in the room was enough to keep you going for the entire 24 hours. We as an audience were sitting on our butts for most of the 24 hours but Mark was pretty much on his feet, having to be nice, entertaining and being a general host for the whole night.

My intention was to stay the full length of the gig. It started at 01:00 on Tuesday 18th of August 2009. Previously i endured a 9 hour bus ride overnight on the Megabus from London to Edinburgh. I slept for maybe 2 hours, then unpacked quickly, had a quick bite to eat, and headed onto to some other comedy shows I had already booked in. Straight after those, no time for more sleep, headed to the Pleasance Dome for the start of the 24 hour stint. I was thoroughly unprepared for this gig. I didn’t bring water, didn’t bring food, deodarant, cushion or blankets. All I had was a large bag of sweets, which I then ate over the course of the 24 hours.

The gig actually started 20 minutes late. This threw everyone off because we couldn’t really celebrate each hour passing at the o’clock we hadn’t really stayed for the full hour. So began a discussion on how to overcome this situation. Well about 15 different options were proposed by various members of the audience and comedians. Eventually it boiled down to two options:

1. Move the clock on the computer 20 minutes back, convincing ourselves that it was actually only 1 o’clock. Thus creating a new time zone within the gig called New Scottish Time (NST for short)

2. Keep going as per usual and just add a 40 min encore that would take us up to the o’clock mark

Two members of the audience were the main driving force between New Scottish Time, whereas Adam Hills threw his weight behind an Encore. A vote was taken and the audience agreed that New Scottish Time was the way forward. But why stop at just the gig? We had all deluded ourselves that New Scottish Time was a legitimate time zone and thus began the quest to convince the public that NST was here to stay. To put weight behind the story, it was ‘discovered’ that the UK was located 240 miles to the west of where it should be. All maps would need to be re-drawn and the NST should be employed. We put in entries in wikipedia. It kept getting taken down. A press release was written under the guise of the University of Edinburgh. News crews picked up on it, BBC, CNN were calling the university.

Rove McManus twittered about it in Oz. All the comedians began checking their phones trying to find out who they could convince to write or spread the word about NST. It was discovered that Simon Amstell had Stephen Fry’s mobile number in his phone. Well, this just opened up a world of possibilities. Such a huge twitter network! Stephen tweeted twice.

For the rest of the gig, any newcomers were specifically asked … so what time is it? Falling into the NST trap.

In addition, Sammy J arrived and as is tradition, dressed up in clothing from the audience. We managed to fit 50 items on him. He was despatched to Edinburgh Airport along with Heath McIver and Dave Quirk to try to convince the airport to switch to New Scottish time to avoid collisions in the sky.

We also played “What’s the New Scottish Time, Mr. Wolf?” Resulting in Mark prematurely trying to attack a sheep.

Some other events/tasks that took place that night:

* There was a triple jump off competition between David O’Doherty, Dan Walmsley, Dan Atkinson and John Bishop. DOD and John both did theirs in their pants (undies for us Aussies). DOD pulled it out of the bag and beat Dan Atkinson on the final jump.

* There was a dance off between Mark and DOD, DOD tried to do the snake and robot dance and ended up rutting a big cardboard cut out of Rhod Gilbert instead.

* Chris Cox dazzled us with his mind reading skills on multiple occassions.

* Chris Cox and Mark attempted to punch Brendon Burns.

* Adam Hills always wanted to take an entourage to his gig, so he fulfilled his dream that night. A group of girls were chosen to accompany him to his gig, they went into Starbucks and flanked him while he ordered, they brought him out on stage, and remained on stage for the entire gig.

* Simon Amstell participated in blind date

* DOD introduced at the start of the night the idea of singing a Christmas carol every hour finishing with “Do they know it’s Xmas Time”

* Tiernan Douieb became our onstage pet (decorating balloons)

* Adam Hills opening the Kirkcaldy comedy festival with Emma and Al Kennedy, visiting Gordon Brown’s local office and giving them a letter stating the claim for the introduction of New Scottish Time

* Mark wore his Producers clothes for a period

* Matt Crosby from Pappy’s fun club date to see Antichrist with a member of the audience

* All the aussies on stage for rendition of 6 white boomers

* Everyone’s attempt at getting Bono or the Proclaimers to come to the gig

* A Unicyclist trying to teach Mark how to cycle (tradition – he apparently can’t ride a bike)

* Oompa band doing Queen Bohemian Rhapsody

* Introduction of the revolutionary product called the Slanket (it’s a blanket with sleeves)

* Hugging competition to win a slanket

* An audience member got a tattoo that said Mark Watson Edinburgh 09

* we moved across 3 venues throughout the night

And finally the Comedian Guests: Simon Amstell, Tim Key, David O’Doherty, Dan Atkinson, Chris Cox, John Bishop, Lionel Blair, Stephen K Amos, Lloyd Langford, Idiots of Ants, Phil Nichol, Ali McGregor, Josie Long (over Skype), Sammy J and of course Adam Hills plus many more I am sure.

All in all it was certainly a gig I may never do again in my life. So it was nice to be part of something like that once.

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