Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Telly Stuff Then

Bear in mind that because I am a Powerful Industry Insider, a) I get previews of entire series in advance, I certainly don't get them off the internet and stuff, and b) my opinions are quite simply Worth More. I'm sorry, but there it is.

HEROES: bit rubbish at the start, gets brilliant from episode three, final episode very slightly not as good as it might have been, but doesn't detract from the series as a whole.

DEXTER: ignore all the critics who just don't get it, man. Dexter is primarily a comedy show, which then turns round and sucker-punches you at the last moment. For anyone who hasn't caught it yet, Dexter is a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami PD, specializing in catching serial killer, who in his spare time is... a serial killer himself, devoted to tracking all all those other killers who have fallen through the net. Way funnier than it should be, and the excellent characterisation keeps you seeing things from Dexter's point of view, even when you know how inappropriate it is. I can't recommend it enough.


FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS: Heard the original series on the radio, and didn't think it worked at all, which was a shame, as I'm a big fan of the Conchord's goofy novelty folk act. HBO have transferred the series' setting to New York, where it works brilliantly. Occasional moments of surreality (Labyrinth-era David Bowie UPDATE: NOT THAT ONE YOU IDIOT, THE EYEPATCH ONE DURRR advising one character to get an eyepatch to improve his image, then sympathising very sweetly at the resulting lack of depth perception is favourite so far) contrast well with the Conchord's flat, deadpan New Zealand reactions. What the Mighty Boosh would be like if they calmed down a bit.

In Other News: I have recently met my second American Television Producer, making it two in total. The first one was the Shouty One, this one is the Quieter One.


Meeting has begun, we have all been introduced.

British Television Producer: So, are you a multi-multi-multi-multi-multi-multi-millionaire then?

We all lean in expectantly.

The Quiet American Television Producer: Um, well, it's hard to say really.

We all lean back, satisfied.

ME: He is.
The Other Green Wing Writers: Yup/Definitely/Woo Hoo!/Mug him.

The Quiet American Television Producer discreetly looks at his watch.

Frantically we all signal for more free booze before it's too late.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I need to get a new, updated driving licence.

In order to do that, I have to get a passport photo, and In order to do that, I have to go into town, to the supermarket, who have a passport photo machine. But I'm going to have a hair cut, so I may as well do that first. But then I've spent all my cash, so in order to get my photos done, I have to go to the bank, withdraw some money, and buy a grapefruit, which gives me the right amount of change to put in the machine.

I get my passport photo done.

Then I get home and realize I need some stamps, so I have to go out again. When I get back, I realize I need an envelope and I CAN'T BE ARSED, so I decide to play Warcraft instead.

In Warcraft, my new Paladin, called Zing, needs a new hammer. But in order to do that, I have to travel across two continents by griffin and boat, and I haven't got any cash. In order to do that, I have to go and kill some gnolls. But that will take ages, unless I get a new hammer.

I go to bed and put my head under the duvet for a while. This seems to work fine.

UPDATE from blue cat's In Contrast Department: some wonderfully warm-spirited comics drawn by a Japanese POW in a WW2 Soviet camp (from Drawn). It's incredibly moving. I am slightly ashamed to have the link plonked on the end of a post about me wittering on about fucking Warcraft, but there we are.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Monsters from Dungeons and Dragons That Would Also Suit As Names For As-Yet Untitled Awkward Social Situations.

aboleth \A-boleth\:

1. "a revolting fishlike amphibian found primarily in subterranean lakes and rivers. An aboleth has a pink belly. Four pulsating blueblack orifices line the bottom of its body and secrete gray slime that smells like rancid grease. It uses its tail for propulsion in the water and drags itself along with its tentacles on land. An aboleth weighs about 6,500 pounds."

2. the shrug given by a French garage mechanic who, on having been giving strict instructions three days earlier to order the left-hand wing mirror (or 'retroviseur') for a Ford Transit, walks over to the van as it drives into his garage and peers mournfully at the clearly undamaged right-hand wing mirror, thus making it clear to everyone present that he has in fact ordered the incorrect-hand wing mirror (or 'retroviseur') for a Ford Transit, thus necessitating a ten-hour drive from the South of France to the northern port of St Marlo without really being able to, you know, see properly and stuff.

After expressing a magnificent aboleth, Bernard walked slowly over to a large cardboard box and pulled out what was patently fucking obviously going to be a THE WRONG FUCKING van wing-mirror, before abolething once more and disappearing back into his festering rot-hole of a garage-pit.

svirfneblin \SVIRF-neblin:

1. A sub-race of gnome. Also known as 'deep gnome'.

2. To sit in the passenger seat of a Ford Transit, cursing the French quietly, but with great intensity.

After svirfneblinning for no little time, a random truck mirror and duct tape were procured from a different garage entirely, so that James and Patch could navigate back across France with only the occasional shout of 'You're fine to overtake- JESUS FUCK STOP! Okay no, you're fine- ARGH FUCKSTICKS WHERE DID HE COME FROM' and so on, followed by further periods of svirfneblinning.

Anyway, we're back now.

Friday, July 20, 2007

In which x xxx x xxxxxx xxxxxxx

In the south of france, poolside, I take a call from BBC Drama, which, as an opening sentence can only really bettered this week by vignettebricks' "The past few days have been tumultuous in the Legoverse". Anyway, back to the conversation, which must, for reasons of professional discretion, be a bit censored, although it's about my teen drama thing.

BBC DRAMA: xxx xx xxxxx xxx xxx?
ME: South of France.
BBC DRAMA: xxxxxxx xxx, xxxx xx xxxxxxx xx x xxxxxxx!
ME: Probably, yes, sorry.
BBC DRAMA: xx, xx xxx xxx xx xx xxxxxxx xxxxxx.
ME: Ooh brilliant!
BBC DRAMA: xxx, xxx xx xxxx xx xxxx xxxxxx xxxxxx xx'x xxxxx xx xx xx x xxx xxxxxxx xx xxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxx
ME: Fair enough.
BBC DRAMA: xxx xxx xxxx xxxx xxx.
ME: Okay.
BBC DRAMA: xxxx xxxx!
ME: Aw, thanks.
BBC DRAMA: xxxx xxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx, xxxxxx x xxx xx xx xxx.
ME: Of course.

So, as you can see, a very interesting conversation indeed.

UPDATE: yes, well I feel I have overplayed this somewhat and inadvertently come off as smug and annoying, so to put it in perspective, what's really happened is the chances of Teen Drama Series actually making it on screen at some point have moved from (in a sliding scale of about ten) a One to a Two. Big meetings coming up about potentially Which Channel It Would Really Suit, and What Time It Would Go On.

Answers of All Of Them and All The Time are apparently not acceptable.

However, to keep the bandwagon rolling, I can exclusively reveal that I and all the other Green Wing writers are being taken out by one of the producers of Xxxxxxx on monday night. Seriously. Xxxxxxx!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"... made the Bordeaux to Toulouse run in less than twelve parsecs."

Am currently in the South of France with Patch. We are larking about in a Transit van, Patch on main driving duties, me on backup, much like Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcom. Although I don't remember Han Solo having to stop driving every now and then because his too-short summery dress is riding up. Or Chewbacca complaining because he left his Kate Atkinson paperback* on the sun in the dashboard and the binding glue melted so all the pages are starting to fall out.

Songs you don't really want to have on while driving your (not technically insured in foreign climes) van on narrow winding roads only to have another van come too fast round a corner and smash off your wing mirror: that high-pitched one by Mika.

Internet access was cut off after being at the house for one day BLOODY FRENCH. Still, I got a lot of ore mined in Warcraft, and that's what this week's really all about (it isn't, we're sorting out Patch's mum's house so it can be sold).

Patch and her father are putting in for repairs at a nearby asteroid field village. I'm keeping an eye out for Mynocks.

* the new one, it's very good.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Arch-parodist Caroline Phillips, of 'My Tornado Hell' fame is is back!

Anyone who thought her article did an astonishing job of taking a horrible situation (having a tornado smash up your house) and wringing any chance of sympathy from it by describing it in terms an interior design magazine/crawly-arse gossip column would blush at, was suffering from 'trauma envy', apparently.

Maybe we should all leave this before she gets a book deal out of it. Still, I'm glad Happy the cat came back.

UPDATE: right, I wasn't going to get into this again but "there’s something new and positive — a whirlwind of creativity that will linger: three babies have been born to my neighbours since then."

That's not "a whirlwind of creativity", that's just "fucking", isn't it? Always good to have a new term for it though.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rufus Wainwright at the Eden Project

rufus in lederhosen

Which he referred to as 'Teletubby Valley', a not-entirely-inaccurate description. He did lose a few points by asking the crowd to 'bring a black friend with you next time', which is a bit annoying, frankly, as I'm getting rather tired of people pointing out that Cornwall isn't that ethnically diverse, as if we didn't know. Like everyone's going to start looking around, saying 'well we did have some black people around, I put them down earlier, but no, they seem to have just wandered off, maybe they're forming a steel drum band, that's the sort of thing they do, isn't it?'.

In fact we do all have a black friend, but it's the same bloke, he's called Zion*, and he couldn't come tonight because he's home with Crohn's Disease ARE YOU HAPPY NOW RUFUS?

rufus and crowd

Also, it's quite hard being lectured on being too white by a man wearing lederhosen. Anyway, sorry. Other than that, the concert was great, as were Hot Chip who supported. Although they weren't that interesting to look at, frankly, so here's a picture of some big lighty-up domes biomes, sorry.


In other news, I went into the bathroom this morning to find a really quite extravagant slug trail all over my towel (photo not provided). The culprit was lurking up in the corner of the ceiling, giggling at me. Until I flushed him down the loo, the giggling sluggy bastard. You don't mess with a man's towels.

* Yes it's his real name.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cornwall is so hot right now.

Specifically my bit of it.

Initial reactions to my photo on there: apparently I look: 'grubby', 'sneery', 'about to sneeze' and 'a bit like a homeless person'.

*feels a sudden strange sympathy for Posh Spice*

UPDATE: also: 'slightly unwashed' 'like you've got a cold', 'like a recovering drug addict'.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Things that are Random, but (mostly) Good.

My mate Alex's children's book The Talent Thief is out in paperback this week - with a foxy new red cover, although amazon doesn't seem to have it up yet. Aha, it's up now.

Alex has also sold the film rights, we have discussed this, and I am not jealous, it's fine. The book's cracking, all Thirtiesish with old racing cars and strange monsters and stuff. Alex and I are currently on a dare to buy the lego Millennium Falcon (about three hundred and fifty quid). I think he will crack first.

What else? Er...... this is the fantastic 'Audition' sketch, starring David Cross (Arrested Development) from the show, er, 'Mr Show', which I've only ever seen on YouTube.

Can't remember where I saw if first though, apologies.

More random things:

An illustrated timeline of what would happen to New York if all the people in the world disappeared overnight. Apparently the subways would fill with water in two days, brrrr. Or alternatively, 'sploosh'.

In other post-apocalyptic news I have read Cormac McCarthy's new book 'The Road'. It was very very dull and although my copy was half-price from Waterstone's I think it's because it doesn't have any commas in they just seem to have dropped out onto the floor and people probably think they spell out a message although it would take ages to read.

Pursuant to my trying to lure Patroclus into the strange world of pen and paper RPGs (I'm not one of those people who thinks their partners have to be into all the same cultural baggage as them, honestly, it's just that it's my central frame of reference for most things, so I think it would aid communication considerably), I had another go:

ME: So there wouldn't be any humans in this game at all, all the races are descended from humans stuck in this huge underground-

PATCH: Are there elves? These things always have to have elves in.

ME: No, I want to get away from all the sub-Tolkien stuff.

Quite a long pause.

ME: Although there are dark elves in it.

PATCH: So what's the difference between them and normal elves then?

ME: Well-

PATCH: Do you have to wash them separately?

ME: ...

Secretly, I was very proud indeed.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Look I've been meaning to tell you all about this, honestly, but I couldn't find the right time.

I love Cornwall, but sometimes the cold impersonality of the county, coupled with its brisk businesslike pace, makes me yearn for a simpler place, where strangers have time to talk to one another, and everyone knows your name.

Thus, Chiswick Sainsbury's:

I pass the GIRL ON THE TILL some money. She stares at me rather intently.

GIRL ON TILL: You've cut your hair!
ME: Hmm?
GIRL ON TILL: It was long before, but now you have made a dramatic change!
ME: Well, I haven't had it short and spiky for years, and I fancied a change, and it's the summer. (pause) Is it okay?


GIRL ON TILL: It looks very nice.

Oh bollocks, I've just realised I forget to get some printer paper.

Sorry everyone, I seem to have got Twitter and Blogger mixed up (remember Twitter? Big thing about three weeks ago).


What happened was my film council contact person went off sick for a while, and Camilla came back to me with more notes. She's quite right, and in the meantime I read an article about monstrous film cliches you can't even get away with ironically these days, one of which I have totally done, bums. So I'm doing another rewrite.

I have already had emails questioning the authenticity of the till conversation. It is true, and happened at 8.59 this morning. I'll be honest, it slightly freaked me out.

For Anonymous: link to 'clams' article

To be honest, just because some of these have been over-used, doesn't mean there aren't new and interesting ways of using them again. You just have to work a bit harder, that's all.