Thursday, March 31, 2005

Last one (s)

From Laura, co-executive producer of 'The Library Wolves' and another member of the ex-Waterstone's mafia:


I’m not sure I’ve remembered every verse but here goes:

Items required:

- tree, 1, of oriental origin, rubber, fake
- earth, 1 pot-full, plastic, fake
- watering can, 1, green, plastic
- love, 1, authentic look, authentic taste, in reality plastic, fake

Conditions of living to be met:

- co-habitee, male, 1, rather alarmingly made of rubber
- town, location indeterminate, full of rubber plans, you can’t move for them

Activities:

~ her – watering fake trees. Hmm.

o feeling worn out
o feeling worn out
o feeling worn out

~ him - 1980s: working in the field of female facial reconstruction

o now: nothing, he’s too worn out

Enemies:

- gravity
- town (sinisterly plotting to get rid of itself)

Objectives:

- to translate rather vague visual images in the song into an snazzy video set in a supermarket to demonstrate how, really, we’re all just victims of our own need for commodities and, like, life is a big supermarket where we are all artificially over lit, over-dressed, bored, confronted with uniform products that only purport to be different and are like, trapped in the shopping trolley of consumerism being pushed through the store by the mother of brand aspiration. Nothing a crashing guitar break can’t solve though – look, they’re going crazy in the supermarket! Phew, I’m worn out now though.

And from fellow GWer Richard (who I never knew was a Rufus fan):



"Beautiful Child"- Rufus Wainwright



Occasions on which to feel a Beautiful Child again:

* Goddammed Hills, when older than.

* Room, filled with toys.

* Wailing walls and burning crosses, falling.

* No gain/blame/pain.



Ways in which new feeling will be demonstrated:

* Banging on Crib, excited.



Extent to which child will be feeling beautiful:

* Such.



Miscellaneous:

* God’s Twilight.


This one's from Paula...

... so if anyone's in Waterstone's Canterbury today, pop in and congratulate her.

Nationality -
* Greek

Background -
* loaded

Academic Career to date -
* thirsty for knowledge
* BA (hons) Sculpture
* Central St Martins college, London

Proposal -
* a study of lifestyles of poor, British underclass
* intimate anthropological study of "common people" conducted in situ

Expenses claim -
* field trip to supermarket
* purchase of rum and coke for research assistant
* sundries (ie "fags")

Research aims -
* lie in bed at night
* watch cockroaches climb walls
* dance
* drink
* screw
* have nothing to do
* smoke fags
* play pool
* pretend not to have been to school
* not to laugh at poor people

Potential pitfalls -
* fitting in
* being mistaken for a hated "tourist"
* arousing contempt of research assistant
* research assistant turning out not to be "common" but poncy, middle-class
fashion student on a full grant, replete with standard-issue student
politics, whose masculinity is clearly threatened by his girlfriends'
father's wealth.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I had to have a go...

Not Rufus, but I think I've got the hang of it...

A place we all know, where the 'little one' goes to dream:
- The land of make believe

Tapping at your window:
- Shadows.

Whispering 'will you come and play':
- Ghostly voices

Rejected payments for 'come and play' proposition:
- All the tea in China
- All the corn in Carolina

Will be with us once again:
- Superman

Waiting patiently in your garden until it can 'have your heart':
- Something nasty.

Taking up outlaw career, apparently not for the first time, out to be gotten by 'them', pursued by running people, and possibly about to be visited by an invisible tea-making assassin:
- You.

Songs much scarier in list form than when sung by Bucks Fizz:
- This one.

Well, there goes the day...

Lyrical deconstruction.

Via Summer, via Boing Boing

Queen songs seem to be the best so far, but I think Rufus' 'Gay Messiah' is just asking for it. As t'were. Better do some actual work first though.

Monday, March 28, 2005

For good reason.

The Arcade Fire, by the way, might just have made the greatest album in the world. Rufus Wainwright is so last week. Well, next week, technically, in Truro, but you know what I mean. Anyway, they're playing in London in May, and I'm quite seriously thinking about going to see them, which for me is a big deal, as I don't go out much.

Not much blogging at the moment, mainly because I'm frantically trying to get my new sitcom pilot script finished in time for Agent Ginny to forward it to the person at the BBC with whom I'm having a meeting on Wednesday. The script's gone quite odd, though, and I can't work out whether to steer it back into the realms of relative normalness (I'm trying to do something more mainstream, that could go on telly at half-eight or therabouts, so no swearing or suchlike). I might just let it head off on its own and then pare it back later on, as stuff that can seem delightfully quirky when you wrote it often transforms when you're not looking into 'self-indulgent zany madcap whackiness'. And I'm on thin ice there already, obviously.

This trailer by the US stand-up Sarah Silverman is doing the rounds on some of the comedy forums, and I thought it might be worth re-posting in case anyone was interested. I think it's for a DVD. Not sure, but potentially quite funny, and to be brutally honest, she ain't ugly. And I like the 'kissing the mirror' bit.

Large amounts of emotional energy have also been expended recently on trying to set up my new Netgear wireless broadband system thing, which would mean I could harvest the rich bounty of the internet without having the person I share flat with shrieking her phone calls about a foot from my face, which has to be a bonus. Unfortunately, just when I thought I was getting somewhere, the instructions, which I painstakingly pieced together from three different sources, went from the easily understandable 'plug thing A into thing B, wait fifteen seconds, look for green light', to the more worrying 'to check DCPH compatability with HCDBRF/G router, open SYS/Kerplunk folder and bumbletwitch netherwhimbles binybingybingybingywheeeeeee.', at which point I panicked, obviously, and rang Gandalf.

I was trying to avoid it, really, but I just couldn't do it. Anyway, he'll let me know when he's over next and if I bribe him with a bottle of wine he'll watch as I connect things and make the all-important 'teeth-sucky-in' noise when I'm going wrong. It'll probably sound like a steam loco convention, but there we go.


Didn't mean it Rufus. I still love you.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'M ON THE PHAETON! NO, THE PHAETON!*

Fantastically, on the train back from London, I had to explain to Ben in the GW office that a 'thrupenny upright' was a Georgian slang term for a prostitute.

Except, because I was on a train, I ended up saying: 'No, a 'slang term'... A 'SLANG TERM'.... yes, Georgian... no, a prostitute..... A PROSTITUTE..... A CHEAP WHORE!... Eighteenth century... CENTURY, yes, that's right....'

What do they teach them at school these days? The whole carriage was doing that thing when they were pretending not to listen, but doing so in a very focused, listeny, English sort of way. I'm not sure it's going to make it into the script anyway. Sometimes I do get a bit carried away with the wordage. Although I like to think I'm past what David Quantick referred to in the current and excellent Miles Kington series on R4 as 'the aardvark stage'.

Of course, the conversation I really wanted was me on the phone to Agent Ginny, going: 'To LA? Right now? They demand it? DEMAND IT? Well, it's terribly incovenient...'. But I haven't heard back from the film company yet, and it's over the deadline. Ah well. On the plus side, I've nearly finished my next spec sitcom script (although I had to stand up Evans last night to do so - my apologies oh beautiful one), which is handy, as I've a meeting with someone in the comedy department of the Beeb next week


* It was a kind of carriage. I'm reluctantly coming to the conclusion that comedy that requires footnotes is perhaps best described as 'not comedy'.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Me no licky face today.

Sadly, there were no GW rehearsals today after all, as we needed to get on with the scripts, so I was unable to satisfy anyone's face-licking requests. Although I did pass Sarah Beeny (scroll down to Oct 27th for relevance) in the Talkback foyer, so obviously I was tempted to lick her face, but she might not have read the blog recently, in which case she would just have thought I was a bit strange.

Just as I was starting to wonder where the slugs (Aug 23rd) had gone, maybe even thinking something along the lines of 'You know what? I kinda miss those crazy guys', Summer pointed out this blog entry. So at least I know they're fine.

The meeting with the executive from the Cartoon Network went well, I think. A couple of times, anvils dropped out of the ceiling, flattening her into a two-dimensional caricature of herself, but both times she just blew into her thumb and popped back to normal, so that was okay. I didn't mention anything, it seemed rude. The meeting's about me possibly developing this action/comedy/adventure series for kids which a couple of other people have already been working on, which sounds fun, and when I was asked if I had any experience in creating functioning fantasy worlds with their own mythology, history, and laws of physics, I was able to say 'Well, I have played Dungeons and Dragons for seventeen years....'. Not normally something one would bring up at meetings, but the executive seemed familiar with the concept and replied 'Say no-'.

I think the last word was going to be 'more', but at that point it turned out that an executive from a rival cartoon company across the road had painted a hole in the floor, as she suddenly plunged out of sight and fell seven stories down. Peering cautiously over the edge of the hole, I was just in time to see a tiny animated puff of dust appear. When that finally settled, I could just about see a weak thumbs-up gesture, so I decided the meeting was over and let myself out.

Monday, March 21, 2005

British chaps: using foul insults as friendly banter since 1677

Feeling guilty about that earlier post now. Probably ought to say that my dad is a lovely, lovely man, and I'm pretty sure says stuff like that just to wind me up. And in case it sounds like I'm portraying myself as some kind of paragon of liberal sensitivity, I should all in all honesty relate the tale of when I took my friend and Canterbury bookshop colleague Matt C up to London Village to a showbiz partah.

Any cred points I might have hoped to accrued were somewhat dashed after we came out of the pub we'd decided to pop into on the way, and an archetypal Large Black Man waved over at us.

LBM: You guys want a ride?
ME: Matt, we have to go! He's offering us a stolen car!

Long pause.

MATT: Mate, he's a minicab driver.

Equally long pause.

ME: Oh.
MATT: Christ, you really are from Cornwall, aren't you?

I always felt the momentum of the evening never quite recovered from that point.

Anyway, I'm heading back up to London tomorrow (I'm much more sophisticated now - I'm aware that Charing Cross and Embankment are practically the same station, for example). Wednesday I'll be in Agent Ginny's office, phoning the film production company to see if my screenplay has rung all the right bells. Or, more likely, failed to even ring the wrong ones. Maybe it's better to try and get the hang of London before I go traipsing off to LA.

Wouldn't want to put their insurance up or anything.

NB: PP called while I was writing this, and said he was considering adding a comment to that earlier entry, backing up the 'my dad's very nice' point. Dad let him into the house and everything, despite PP being a Homosexualist Jewite. Although it was me who called him that. Within two days of meeting him. And then I licked the back of his neck in a staff meeting because someone dared me. It's funny the stuff you can get away with working in a in a bookshop. Although maybe it was just that one.

PP also would like it to be know that he recently saw Acorn Antiques, which had the pleasantest-smelling audience he had ever experienced. And lots of men who'd come in from out of town, clutching Paul Smith bags and trying to pick each other up in the bar. More news as it comes.

Paul Pennyfeather. Acorn Antiques. Gay.



I'm going now, in an attempt to stop digging myself out of a rapidly-deepening hole...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Orbyn

Been trying to leave a comment on Orbyn's blog or email her, but can't make either work, so I'll put it here instead - Orby, it's good to take a break, but I'll miss it if you go forever. You give good link, and your writing and photos are goodly too.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

It's not as if I even react...

Some conversations with your parents you just have to write down before you forget them:

MUM: Ooh, there was a play on the radio about a comedy scriptwriter yesterday.
ME: Oh right?
MUM: Yes, he was out of work.
ME: Okay.
MUM: Because you can't say 'An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman..' any more, because of political correctness.
ME: Or possibly, those jokes just aren't that-
DAD: -or nig-nogs.

Pause

ME: Mmm?
DAD: You can't say 'a wog, a nig-nog, and a woo-woo...'

Longer pause.

ME: A 'woo-woo'?
DAD: Yes.

Pause

ME: You made that up.
DAD: (suddenly distracted) Apparently, it says here in the Daily Mail, a women was arrested for throwing a cucumber at her brother.
MUM: I'm sure I've thrown much worse things than cucumbers at my brother.
ME: Oh my god.

Still, he gave me a very nice bottle of wine for tonight, so all is forgiven. Still, if there's any gorgeous sistahs out there who'd like to freak my dad out, could you come over to my parents' with me and pretend to be my girlfriend? It would be hilarious. Well, for me. Actually, I'm sure Dad would be very charming, and you'd probably get an excellent bottle of wine.

Maybe I should drag David McAlmont over, for double points. He hasn't released an album for ages, so he's probably up for it...

(I should have asked him what the rest of the joke was. But I have a feeling he might have seen the project through, and that would have been worse...)

Friday, March 18, 2005

Kids of today, etc.

I'm back up London next week, for a meeting with the Cartoon Network (everyone should have one of those at some point in their life). It's for a project which is in its early stages, and is confidential, so posting details could queer the pitch somewhat, as t'were. It sounds fun though, and if it goes well, I'll be rewriting the 'series bible': the mighty tome/scrappy few sheets of paper that define the main character, antagonists, potential themes for future episodes and so on. Series bibles are fun objects in their own right, especially when said series has been around for a few years and they become thicker than actual, well, bibles. And bibles for animated shows are best, as they're full of brightly coloured concept art which really helps trigger the imagination. And depress me mightily for being a rubbish drawist.

My Bob the Builder one got lost on the move from Canterbury to Cornwall, which was a great shame as it had things like lists of all the propmakers had ever made (tiny laptop - 1, tortoise - 1, rabbits -30, that sort of thing). Many many years ago I went to a book fair for schoolkids which had loads of actual writers doing talks for children, one of whom was Elizabeth Beresford, creator of 'The Wombles' who told us that the BBC animation crew used to take the Wombles and their props home at weekends, and quite often had to rush home because they'd left Uncle Bulgaria's hat on the mantelpiece.

Much better than my last talk to my mum's primary school, who were doing a scriptwriting module (with a laptop and screen projector - it was like finding out modern schoolkids take their geography fieldtrips to Mars), and when we got talking about books they liked, I told them that the writer Lemony Snickett also doubles as the accordion player in my favourite band, The Magnetic Fields. Cue sea of blank faces.

As if one of the ten year-olds was going to say 'Hmmm, I quite like the Fields, but really Merritt's spin-off project The Future Bible Heroes appeals more to my current musical sensibilities, which are rooted very much in the electropop style with the occasional foray back to the dream pop subgenre of the early-to-mid-nineties. However I remain resolutely unconvinced by the Gothic Archies'.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT UPDATE: I now have a cool sabretooth tiger, and the ability to scare wild animals, which is handy. They only run away for ten seconds though, it turns out, and then come back and eat you while you're doing a celebratory dance. Also I keep picking up bits of armour I can't use, so if anyone knows what level my hunter (called Shard, wave if you see her) can wear it, and be killed by things slightly less often, I'd be terribly grateful.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Whereas 'Constantine' is actually just a small village in Cornwall.

Moving on from the recent shock revelation that the Seven Pillars of Wisdom in Thing are not in fact magic, but rather metaphorical, here are five books that would make fantastic movies if you made an adaptation based on the title rather than the contents:

THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS: CIA cryptologist Keanu Reeves must prevent the crowning of Vaticania's first clone pope by decoding the cryptic scribbles left down the back of at least three different sofas in France by the beautiful but deadly Wooster twins, Ambrosia and McNulty.

'TIME OUT LOS ANGELES GUIDE!' cry the inhabitants of that famous city as a holidaying british lass, only recently promoted from the Brownies, tries rather too hard to get every craft badge available in one afternoon. May contain crazy dancing.

LITTLE WOMEN: Actual little women. Only in space, like.

THESAURUS: Prequel to the popular 'Thesaurus Destroys MechaThesaurus' film of 1963.

THE LOOKING GLASS WAR: Duelling mages in modern-day New York fight an underground war using enchanted mirrors. Protagonist discovers himself to be merely one of many reflections of the evil head wizard, who lives in a secret apartment underneath Central Park, and can only be killed by having a fragment from the broken remains of the First Mirror (created by, I dunno, the Angel Gabriel prob'ly) pushed into his heart by an animal with a symmetrical name. Protagonist rejoices when he discovers both his and the villain's name is Mr. Snore Herons, but is nearly thwarted when a close re-reading of an ancient prophecy specifies true visual symmetry rather than a simple palindrome. Fortunately, quick-witted protagonist realizes he is but moments away from a fish stall, and the film climaxes with him slapping the villain to death with a dab.*

*Yes all right. Matt's pointed it out now in the comments (within seconds, may I add, so if your websites are late, that's why), and the blog subheading has been revised accordingly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The AA Girly Map of Great Britain


Don't know where this came from (well, it came from Evans, who got it from someone at work, but I don't know who originally did it), and it was really sent to me to pass on to my friend Sass, but it's very good, so I thought I'd sort of hold it up to the internet whilst it was in transit, as t'were.

I'm just glad I no longer work in a bookshop, as fairly soon, someone would come in and ask if we had a copy.

Anyway, I was in a friend's gallery this morning (she works there, she doesn't own it, I don't know anyone that posh) and I very nearly put one of my large feet through a painting which was resting on the floor against the counter. I felt guilty at first, then realised it was one of those special 'for tourists' paintings with childish approximations of seagulls, and splodgy tourists and splodgy childish quaint houses, and in one corner (it was pointed out to me) a figure flashing her splodgy childish quaint breasts. Anyway, the more I think about it, the more I sort of wish I had put my foot through it, despite/even-more-so-because it was enormously expensive. Anyway, I'm meeting my friend later on for coffee, and I can already hear a cry of 'damn these heels!' and 'oops' and 'well, to be fair it was shit and overpriced'. They must be insured for stuff like that, surely...

I'd put a piccy up of the hideous painting, but I don't want to get my friend in trouble. And I genuinely think it might be some kind of disguised space virus, like in that film (I think it was called 'The Disguised Space Virus'), so it's probably best left. But anyway, yeesh.

RTS Awards

Three hearty huzzahs for Tamsin Greig, who won 'Best Comedy Performance' at the Royal Television Society Awards last night. Of course the power will now go to her head, and she'll start appearing at rehearsals dressed as a Russian Empress, preceeded by dwarves scattering rose petals, but never mind. It's time Mark Heap gave the costume back anyway.

NB: Tell cello off the C4 forum that I wasn't there, or I would have said hello. In fact, 'Hello' anyway. Hope that counts...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Or maybe "The Winters Tale" in a glossy magazine office.

Update on the BBC site about the proposed Shakespeare adaptations, which all sounds rather marvellous (for details on me trying to crowbar my way into this, look here. Three hour-long plays at first, with more to come if those are successful. Might there be room in there for a half-hour sitcom adaptation of Romeo and Juliet?

Well, probably not, but you never know. Can I suggest that nobody writes a modern-day adaptation of 'Midsummer Nights Dream' where Titania and Auberon are represented by David Beckham and that other one? I'm sure no-one's going to, but always better to be safe than sorry...

I'd quite like a resetting of The Tempest in a call centre, although I've no idea how you'd go about it. I'm sure some bright spark can come up with the details (Whee! Look at me, I'm a producer!).

NB: just read more info in the Guardian. Initial adaptations are: The Taming of the Shrew in politics (Shirley Henderson as an opposition MP told to find herelf a husband to make herself more electable), Much Ado as an early evening regional news show and Midsummer Night's Dream in a holiday park, all of which sounds rather excellent.

I'd love to see one of these things handed over to people like Simon Pegg/Jessica Stevenson, or Neil Gaiman, or Mark Millar though, just to see what they'd do with it. Commissioning editors, james and the blue cat has spoken. Ignore his wise words at your peril.




Ooh shit, third-person. It has begun....

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Fellowship of the Wrong


lineup
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
These are my people.

They're not happy about it, I'm not happy about it, but there we are. I really wish I could remember which site I got this photo from (and I should clarify: I'm not in the pic - I just found it online and thought it was, frankly, marvellous). If anyone recognizes it, let me know. Every single person in this photo is a comedy genius. But I think the ninja might be the best.

If anyone out there ever wondered what Live Action Role-Playing was like, this video of a different group of LARPers will answer all your questions). But probably prompt you to ask a lot more(the video looks like it isn't doing anything for ages, but be patient.) There's also an updated version with special(ish) effects and a soundtrack by Slayer here , but I think the original really gets across the true fantasticness of a man throwing beanbags at another man whilst shouting 'lightning bolt!' (courtesy of Boing Boing).

I'm pootling around with a script about live-roleplaying at the moment (called, obviously, 'Fellowship of the Wrong', so don't steal the title, or I'll LIGHTNING BOLT you), although it's really sitting in a drawer until I decide what to do with it. I do think LARPing could make a great comedy drama series though, in that it's an inherently ridiculous thing to do that at the same time has its own strange dignity. There's just something about a bunch of people charging around the woods with plastic swords pretending to kill/be monsters that makes me hug myself with glee. Lightning Bolt man, I salute you.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Seriously, Truro.


want two
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
So, on the 5th April (three days before my birthday, but let's not make a thing out of it), Rufus Wainwright will be playing in Truro. Bloody Truro. Not sure what happened there (possibly a slightly tiddly game of pick-the-tour-dates-with-a-pin-and-a-map) but let's just be grateful that in a bizarre twist of fate, Rufus Wainwright will be playing about ten miles from where I live. Just before my birthday. Which is on the 8th, by the way.

If you're still not sure what Rufus sounds like, or why the live stuff is a big deal, here's some live smashingness:

Rufus Wainwright - 14th Street (Live)

And if you don't like that, you are a gargoyle, with a heart of stone, and no-one will ever love you. So if you're around Cornwall at that time, book a ticket now at seetickets.com. Look, I've made it really easy for you.

Not by Rufus, but here's a song about libraries, sourced by the Mighty Evans. Everything the song says is true, and archivists are even sexier than librarians, obviously, and the only reason he doesn't sing that is because 'archivists' is hard to rhyme with. 'Love their lists' possibly? Or 'exude sexy mists'? Don't feel you have to tell me your own versions though. Just sing them quietly, inside your own heads, and if they're good, I'm sure I'll hear them too.

More of a Halloween thing really, but...

I'm hoping this is Flash, so it's not just another broadband-only thing and either way you'll need sound, but this is great.

Spent much of yesterday packing up stuff from my nan's bungalow, as she's gone into a care home (a nice one, just behind her old house, which, most importantly, doesn't smell like a care home ). I get custody of the books until we work out what to do with them, and took the opportunity to start reading T.E. Lawrence's 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' and Mr. Unknown First Name, Second Name Homer's 'The Odyssesy'. Both of which I have always meant to read. Anyway, I got a page into both (one at a time, I wasn't trying to read them simultaneously) and realized I was making the 'buhuhhhh' noise, and thinking about how to kill more stuff in World of Warcraft, so I stopped.

I hate not being able to get into proper, grown-up books. And it can't be the subject matter: deserts, WW1 and... probably Pillars, with Wisdom in them (roleplaying games do tend to give one a rather literal interpretation of life) in one, monsters, sea battles and sewing in other, and you can't ask for more than that. I just find them terribly flat to read, and dammit, I demand entertainment. Although I did also get a huge bag of filter coffee from my nan's as well, so maybe I'll regroup later on.

Yes, arguably, I should give each one more than a page before putting them on the pile of Books That Are Good For Me as opposed to Books I Will Actually Read. But it's also a mood-based thing. Plenty of books have sat around on my shelves, barely touched until one day I think: aha! maybe it's time to give Book X a go.

In the meantime, I'm going to watch semi-animated anti-folk pop videos and try and work out if I fancy the singer or not:

Regina Spektor - Us

Having watched it about seven times, I think I possibly do. Regina has a very endearing wink. Also, how many times a day do you have an excuse to say 'Regina'?

NB: That reminds me of working in Waterstone's when the Vagina Monologues came out, and lots of nice middle-class ladies wanted to buy a copy, but were a bit embarrassed about asking where in the bookshop it would be, so asked for the 'Fuh'-gina Monologues instead, because then it wouldn't sound rude. A less well-mannered and polite bookseller than myself would have made them spell it, but that seemed rather unsporting.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ya ta ta ta ta Hollywoooooood......


Hollywood
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Well, maybe not quite. But the screenplay has worked its way up the chain of readers to the person at the top of the production company for which it was written, pretty much (not naming any names at the moment). This is sometimes referred to as 'tailored writing'* and it's pretty much an all the eggs in one basket situation, in that if that particular person/company decides not to go for it (and the chances are that's probably what will happen) you're left with lots of eggs and no basket. Or an empty basket. Or a basket of broken eggs. Either way, a nasty eggy smell.

I should hear in the next couple of weeks, but have provisionally agreed to fly out to LA (I've been there before, I'm allowed to call it that) for a meeting if it gets that far. I've also agreed to a much smaller budget for the film if it gets made, but that's, you know, not a problem. On a practical level, the screenplay is mostly centred around one location, and the SFX are, I hope, achievable on a low budget - going for atmosphere rather than spectacle. Think 'Sixth Sense' as opposed to 'Ghostbusters'.

I wasn't sure whether to write this at all, as the chances are very much agin anything happening, and talking about it at all seems like a sure way to jinx it. But on the plus side, I'm pretty scared of flying, so I don't go, it's still a win-win situation.

Must call Evans later, as she did some work experience for the very same production company, and I have worrying recollections of her describing the building's location as being between a strip bar and a crackden. So if I do go, I suppose at least that's the evenings entertainment sorted out....

More importantly, happy birthday Igo. And, I also like the speedy-up bits in GW, but only by about the third episode, when I went 'oh I seeeeeee! I think the Marty! Boycey! bit was when it all came together for me. I was worried it might put people off, but in fact people either grew to see why those bits were there, or if they didn't like them, they just sort of tuned them out. Like I do with annoying people.

No-one else gets birthday messages though. I'm not Gus Bloody Honeybun.

Reference for Spotlight viewers from the mid-80's there.

* Well, that's what Agent Ginny called it, about an hour ago.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Just watched...

...the last Look Around You and though the main thing still didn't connect with me, I absolutely loved the tiny snippet of info film about the 'hand birds' (apologies if that only makes sense to about three people). I'm sure that proves something, just not sure what. There's probably an extended analogy to made involving cups of tea. Either way, I'd much rather stuff with the courage of its convictions was around than heartless, gutless shit like The Friday Night Project.

Very odd website here. Not sure how much I like the actual art (lots of naked female-style people with odd eyes and creepy animals), but the intro page is fantastic - you can lose yourself clicking on every tiny element just to see what animates next. Couldn't find out who did the website design, but a small blue cat award on the way to them when I do.

Came to it via Making Light, by the way, not by Googling, you know... rudeness.

The Hall for Cornwall has a new playwriting competition, open to anyone living and working in Corwall/the South West. Closing date is 3rd May, which isn't far away, but the work only has to be between 15 and 25 minutes long, which makes it doable over a couple of weekends, I reckon. Any scripts entered will get a short written report by the end of August, so it's worth doing just for the feedback, I reckon.

Green Wing New Zealand!

Friday nights. Review here. Thanks Kirses. Hope they like it.

3rd time lucky...


Night-Elves-and-Mount
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Things that have happened in World of Warcraft online roleplaying game that could also quite easily happen to me in real life:

1. Accidentally getting into a duel with a dwarf.
2. Shouting 'Come on, let's kill some Gnarlpines!' and running into a tree.
3. Getting a giant spider for a pet when what I really wanted was one of those cool sabre-toothed tigers.
4. Trying to wear too many cloaks at once.
5. Getting on the wrong boat.
6. Deciding not to bother with any quests, going for a walk in the woods instead, and being eaten by bears.
7. Falling off the edge of the world.



Saturday, March 05, 2005

Originally, this was all one sentence.

One of the many pettifogging annoyances of being a chap is the complete inability to explain how one would like one's hair cut. When I lived in Canterbury I built up a excellent relationship with Mike from Blake's Hair and Beauty (I only made appointments for the former part).

Mike looked a bit like Louis Theroux, and played lots of Playstation 2, and saw films, and we regularly put the world to rights. And then I moved back to Cornwall, without even taking the time to say goodbye to Mike properly, although I'm sure he saw me leaning against the window while he was cutting someone else's hair (and how long had that been going on?) my face flat against the glass, while I searched endlessly for the right words to bid farewell, my tears merging with the rain and running down into the medieval gutters, while the cathedral loomed overhead like a big building made of different types of stone.

So I went to have my hair cut on Friday. I used to have my hair a bit like Angel did in the second series of 'Angel'. Before he got fat. Even his hair got fat, which was weird. But then I let my hair grow, and it got straggly, and I tried to explain my hair-based needs thusly:

ME: Okay, my hair was about the perfect sort of length about two months ago. So can we go back in time two months and have it looking like it was then?
HAIRDRESSER: Essentially, no.
ME: Oh.
HAIRDRESSER: But I can take about an inch off it if you like.
ME: Okay then.

Only it's more than an inch. And if it was a bit more, that would be okay, or a bit less would be okay too. Instead of being just the right length to leave me looking like, say, Tanita Tikeram. With more stubble*. So now I'm going to have to stay in and play World of Warcraft until I run out of food, or my hair grows a bit, whichever comes first.

Although I did go out earlier to put some stuff in the compost bin, and when I took the lid off, at least four or five worms were clinging to the lid, eyes tightly closed, trying not to be noticed. And I'm sure that's happened before, only their jedi worm mind tricks didn't work this time (the one who could wave his hands like Alec Guiness was probably off that day), so the spell was broken and I remembered all the times worms had been clinging to the lid of my compost bin. Bloody loads, now I think of it.

But there's no soil under the lid. And don't worms traditionally ally themselves more towards the general notion (and motion) of 'down'? Maybe they have one rebel thinker, a Jonathon Livingstone SeaWorm who shouted 'Now lads! Head for the light and soon we shall rule the skies!'.

Or they're running a moonshine distillery/speakeasy in my compost bin, and when I'm gone, the bits of grapefruit peel and carrot tops all slide back to reveal blackjack tables and cocktail bars. I wouldn't put it past them. Never trust anything you can cut in half and watch crawl off in two separate directions, that's my motto.

Well, actually the Henry family don't have a motto as far as I know, although we do have a crest, (I think we got it off the internet) of a pelican feeding drops of its own blood to its young. I think it's supposed to make the younger Henrys feel guilty. I think the alternative images were two hands thrown up in despair. Or maybe a group of self-obsessed whimsies, rampant.

With a motto reading 'Harrumph'.

* Doesn't mean I look anything like her brother Raamon, by the way, who used to be in that series about lawyers who had lots of baths and was apparently in that thing on Friday. He doesn't get on with his sister though, from what I've heard.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Mewsic

Having said Look Around You didn't quite work for me, I did like the Kevin Eldon song from the first episode. And now someone's done a dance mix. It ought to be rubbish, but it is in fact, both good and funny, and is top of the list at Freelance Hairdresser. Same chap also does a lot of excellent remixes/mashups under the name Soundhog, so keep an eye out.

While it's still up, I would also suggest dashing over to Music For Robots, scrolling down to the Feb 28th post and listening to It's Gonna Be A Long Walk by Apparat. Perfect blue cat music, in that it sounds like a string quartet being attacked by a ravening band of misfiring geiger counters. Lovely.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

These views are of course, purely subjective.

Don't know if anyone caught that new Paul Whitehouse thing Help! on Sunday night, but I thought it was bloody marvellous. PW is easily a good enough actor to carry off all the different characters, and it's always nice to see Chris Langham on screen again (I thought I'd completely imagined Chris Langham being on the Muppet Show many many years ago, but there was a 'Best of' program a while back, and there he was). Not sure if People Like Us is available on DVD yet, but I really must get it soon.

I was starting to think that I just didn't get comedy on TV anymore. The focus at present seems to be on getting all the little details spot on, which is great, and not bothering with characterization or laughs, which isn't. Chris Morris's new show 'Ooh, Those Young People And Their Silly Trousers' hasn't make me laugh once, and Monday night's 'Weren''t The Late Seventies/Early Eighties Inherently Hilarious' proves that, um, no they weren't really.

In answer to queries (and neatly working in the Glass Houses/Stones theory), the last I heard, 'A Sad Load of Old Puerile Filth About People Only Barely In The Medical Profession Which Ran Slightly Too Long And Had Annoying Speedy-Up Bits To Distract From The Barely Competent Writing ' (thanks, Dad) is still coming out on DVD in October. But things change, and who knows which way C4's spinny wheel of decisions will... spin. But if it comes out any later than that, they'll miss out on the Christmas sales which are about four times higher than any other period (there, I learned something from five years in retail, other than that Waterstone's vouchers can also be spent in HMV, which is handy if reps insist on giving you rubbish crime novels as weak bribes for ordering more rubbish crime novels).

Head over to the Ori's blog if you fancy writing comedy stuff for radio 4 by the way, as there's a link to their BBC site, which is now preparing to look at unsolicited material for the new series. Unlimited riches and long walks up red carpets can only await the lucky few whose material meets the cruel and unrelenting standards of the Bearded Ladies. I tried last year and didn't get anything in, which can only suggest that the old It's Not What You Know It's Who You Know is complete bollocks. Although in restrospect some of the stuff was a bit rude for 6,30. And the rest wasn't that funny. Apart from that...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

MEETINGS

Just when I decided that my Romey Loves Jools script was reading too much like a one-off rather than a potential opener for a series, I had a call from Agent Ginny. Apparently the script had landed on the desk of a production company just as they'd had a call from BBC3 about the possibility of commissioning some modern-day takes on Shakespeare plays as part of an upcoming Shakespeare season. So we had a meeting, which is always fun. Early days yet, but you never know.

Also, this company are pretty keen on letting the writer take a stake in the production, which in the case of R+J is pretty important - I've got a very specific idea of the style which would best suit it, and the music I'd like to use (costumes and sets like a BBC Shakespeare production, directed like an episode of 'Friends' (but without the canned laughter) and with an electropop soundtrack going in and out like an episode of 'Spaced'). And once you've made what is effectively a pilot by the back door, there's a much higher chance of it being taken up as a series.

All this is extremely unlikely, to be honest - a more realistic but still optimistic scenario is that the R+J scripts acts as enough of a foot in the door to allow me to pitch an idea for a new script that's more suited to what they want. I'd love a crack at a modern-day Midsummer Night's Dream....

The other useful meeting I had whilst up in London Village (my hotel was just off London Street, which I particularly liked) took place at eight o'clock in the morning, in the snow. I turned up at Talkback only to find that whoever was supposed to open up had been incapacitated by either alcohol, or the snow, or both, leading to a small group of early-rising types huddled together on the steps while we waited for the Person With The Spare Key. One of the people I was talking to was married to a kid's TV producer, so he suggested I send off my CV to her on the off-chance, which, once I we'd gained access to the building, I duly did. Again, no idea if anything'll come of it, but it's always nice to open an email with "I was chatting to your husband early this morning while we were both standing outside in the snow....'. Has a pleasantly Spartan feel to it, lending a manliness that is so often regrettable in its absence in my communications. Most of which start with 'Hello Petal' and get increasingly whoopsie-ish from then on.

WAYS TO SPEED UP A MEANDERING WORKSHOP No. 1

Glare at actors over the lid of your laptop and say sternly- 'I came all the way in for Cornwall for this, you know.'

It went a bit quiet, and for a moment I thought I might have gone too far, but we did get back on track after that. It did slightly backfire the next day though, when I was trying to suggest some improvements to a scene in a vague and not-quite-making-any-sense sort of way, and one of the actors looked at me and said - 'I' came all the way from Camden for this, you know'. So it might have been sort of a one-shot deal.

LINKS NOTE:

Due to me deleting the old blog in a fit of grumpiness, the old links in the profile page no longer work. Fortunately I had backed everything up against me having one of my eppy fits, and have now uploaded it all to the james-henry.co.uk site. So the links in the sidebar over the right under 'old stuff' are still active, for what it's worth.