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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Honestly, you can't move around here for former actors. As if it wasn't enough to have Allan Love talking pollocks, refusing to know his plaice, thinking the world is his oyster, flexing his mussels, baring his sole, and giving a cod performance on Channel 4 last night, I now have to contend with the cashier at the bank trying to land a part in my next play.

I've just been down the road to pay in my vast royalty cheque from last Saturday night (which I'd be willing to declare to the Jobcentre if only it was vast enough to cover the bus fare), where I was served by the usual friendly cashier who looks a bit like David Dickinson, only browner and less manly. Unfortunately, having handed him a cheque printed with the words 'East Bergholt Dramatic Society', his little eyes lit up and he said "East Bergholt? That's in Suffolk, isn't it?".

I said "Yes". Which was my first mistake. My second mistake was to feign interest when he started talking about the roots of his theatrical career in Felixstowe. True, it only encouraged him, but it's hard to walk away when there's a glass barrier between you and your paying-in book, and frankly you don't want to get on the wrong side of a man who has access to your PIN number.

Anyhoo, to cut a long showbusiness anecdote short, it turns out he was the understudy for Oliver in one of the original 1960s productions, and spent many a happy evening in Suffolk watching his Mum being killed on a nightly basis. She was the actress playing Nancy.

He finished by asking if there was anything he could do for me (star in a play, for example), before adding "Well, you know where we are if you need us". I smiled and nodded, whilst making a mental note to try Northern Rock in future, before making my way out past the long queue of impatient customers who'd been just forced to endure an impromptu episode of 'This Is Your Life'.

But on the bright side, having banked all that money, I was able to head straight to Lidl, where I found this incredible bargain...

Ho Ho Ho!
£1.99!!! That's my Dad's Christmas present sorted. I'd buy one for myself, but I don't need to spend money to look stupid.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was walking up St James's Street with a bottle of milk at 6pm last night when I was overtaken by a fire engine. It stopped just up ahead of me, and for a moment I thought they were going to ask for directions, but no. It turned out that Grubbs Burgers were on fire.

I was the first photographer on the scene, which makes it all the more annoying that I can't take a decent photo to save my life. As the picture above completely fails to show, the shop was actually filled with smoke, but to be honest it's always like that, which is probably why the couple at the door seemed to think they might still be able to get in and order a quarterpounder. The fact that the counter was being manned by a couple of firemen with breathing apparatus didn't seem to put them off. I expect they like their burgers flame-grilled.

Interestingly, Grubbs is only yards away from Love's Fish Restaurant (which was probably forced to serve smoked fish for the rest of the evening), so I suspect it might have been some kind of publicity stunt for tonight's edition of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on Channel 4. I mentioned in July that Gordon was in the neighbourhood, sorting out Kemp Town's culinary catastrophes, and tonight's the night we finally get to see just how bad the local food was before he arrived.

The one noticeable change is that the place is no longer called Ruby Tate's Oyster Bar, with a picture of a crustacean outside which used to make me feel ill every time I walked past. Thanks to Gordon, it's been renamed Love's Fish Restaurant, after the owner Allan Love, and now features a menu board on the street which I have a habit of walking into. Still, rather that than the restaurant.

According to The Argus, "Mr Love has never tasted any of the dishes at the oyster and seafood restaurant because he hates fish". Which is a bit like Paul McCartney opening a butcher's shop. He also claims to be a former actor, but looking at his IMDB page, the man's screen credits appear to consist of one episode of 'Hammer House of Mystery & Suspense' and a small role in 'Pop Pirates', so I not sure Love was much of a luvvie.

In other local thespian news, the BBC have just announced that my ginger neighbour is returning to EastEnders. I'm shocked and stunned. Mainly because Lisa bumped into her around the corner last week and she never said a word. Whatever happened to communities where everyone knows each other's business?

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's the hottest ticket in town...

Yours for a fiver.
Well, it's the hottest ticket in Brantham. Mainly because I stole it.

Anyhoo, I'm back from the Essex/Suffolk border (I still don't know which side of it Brantham Village Hall is on), I've networked with some of the leading lights of amateur theatre, and I've learnt that Ledgers can be improved with a bit of music and a dance routine. I've also witnessed an outrageous act of theft by Lisa, but I said I wouldn't mention that.

NCP Car ParkWe made it up to Chelmsford on Saturday afternoon with Lisa snoring around the M25, and her mother and I chatting about the weather whilst sitting in the traffic jam on the right (it's so handy when the BBC provide photos of your journey for you). Once at my parents' house, My Mum let us eat cake, while I watched Lisa's mother win £22 on a horse called Crime Scene. That name would seem quite appropriate six hours later when Lisa's light-fingered tendencies came to the fore, but as I say, I won't be mentioning that.

At 6pm the five of us piled into two cars, having established that no one wanted to squeeze into the back of one with me, and we headed up the A12 to Brantham. Having located the village hall in the dark, I chose a convenient parking place next to a fire exit, and we made our way around to the front of the hall where I found my Dad trying to break into a glass-cased noticeboard to steal a piece of paper with my name on it. Fortunately he failed. He should have asked Lisa for advice. She's the expert on theft.

Once inside, I met Angie Heath, leading light of the Brantham Amateur Theatrical Society, director of numerous plays, and sole organiser of the 19th Brantham Play Festival. Although at the time I didn't know who she was. Angie liked the look of me enough, however, to hand over two free tickets and a free programme, before turning down my Mum's request for another four programmes, on the grounds that they might run out. We eventually compromised on two. I thought Lisa might steal the others, but she didn't.

Ledgers, now in its second glorious year.Ledgers was one of two plays being performed that evening (the other seven were on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, so I missed seeing Wivenhoe Youth Theatre in Bed together), and featured the same cast as last year, but with a different director. According to the programme, there was no one in charge of lighting or sound, so it's a miracle it wasn't performed in silence and darkness, but hey, at least Alma Bowen was on time.

Taking over the director's chair this time around was Val Eldridge who, as mentioned last November, is chairwoman of the East Bergholt Dramatic Society. Val's fingerprints were noticeable in a number of places, most notably in the new intro and outro music ('Suicide is Painless' and 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'), the smartening up of Robyn and Malcolm, and in a number of nice touches, particularly this bit...

Eyes Wide Shut
... which will mean nothing to anyone who hasn't seen the play. I also liked Pete's new John Travolta impression in the bit where he says "I, for one, can do without Malcolm's version of 'Staying Alive'".

Anyhoo, Keith, Karen and Roy all did fine jobs (and I'm not just saying that because Roy gave me a royalty cheque in the interval), and as the metaphorical curtain came down, Lisa's mother turned to me and said it had all been "quite good". I wasn't sure how to take that. Personally I was very pleased, although I felt that some sections of the audience could have done with a warm-up man.

As for 'Semblence of Madness', it was a bit like following 'Only Fools and Horses' with 'King Lear', but it featured three tour de force acting performances which made me wish I was a casting director for a west end theatre company. It just goes to show what you can do with three spotlights, a couple of chairs and a lot of talent. By the end, Lisa said she was genuinely disturbed. Although she might just have been using that as an excuse for her future crimes.

'Ledgers' and 'Semblence of Madness' were the festival's last two plays, and after a brief interval, during which I won a Chocolate Orange in the raffle, the trophies were handed out for the weekend's best performances. This year's adjudicator was Kerry King from the Headgate Theatre in Colchester. Kerry has an M.A. in Contemporary Theatre, and presumably knows what she's talking about, so when she stood up and praised Ledgers for having "a clever script", I was tempted to kiss the woman. Unfortunately, despite announcing that the author had grown up in Essex and suffered from "mental depression" (as opposed to the physical depression you get from being run over by a steamroller), Kerry didn't seem to realise I was in the audience. Even when I heckled her from the front row. So I decided to just let her get on with handing out the awards.

All three actresses from 'Semblence of Madness' came away victorious, and I like to think Ledgers can claim one third of the Best Director trophy, as Val Eldridge won that for her work on three of this year's plays.

Having tried to get the back of my head into a photo for the East Anglian Daily Times, I then chatted to Keith Raby about my complete failure to write any plays in the last two years, before moving on to Angie Heath who told me about her new youth theatre group, and asked if I could write a play for seven girls and one boy. I said "Um..." while I tried to imagine how Be Worth It could work with a cast of under-18s.

Stopping for a brief word with Roy Bramwell, I then made my way back to the entrance, where Lisa and my Mum were busy looking at this...

Hot Property
I joined them in admiring the display of photographs, and complimenting the artistic creativity which had gone into it, after which someone said "I wonder if we'd be allowed to take it home..?". I replied that maybe we should find someone to ask, and turned back towards the hall to look for a figure of authority who might be able to give us permission...

... at which point I heard the sound of drawing pins being hastily removed, and turned to see a mysterious figure in black, running out of the door with a photo display under her coat. I won't name names, but the person responsible knows who she is. And she snored most of the way home too.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Type or DieLisa was feeling a little down last night (possibly due to guilt dating back to Wednesday's museum trip), so to cheer her up I downloaded the free demo of The Typing of the Dead and challenged her to slay the putrifying undead using nothing more than her touch-typing skills. It's basically Mavis Beacon meets the Zombie Flesh Eaters.

Being a trained audio typist with years of experience, she naturally jumped at the chance to prove she was better than me at a computer game, so I told her I'd scored 1953 on the Arcade Training mode, and settled back to watch TV while she tried to beat me. It kept her quiet for a good hour. Unfortunately, the whoops of delight which started coming from the computer desk told me she'd succeeded, and despite me improving my highest score to 2094, she still holds the flat record at 2319. Damn that woman.

Anyhoo, I have no time to battle zombies today (although when I saw Lisa crawling out of bed this morning I did get a strange urge to start typing). I'm off to the Brantham Play Festival, and not only am I taking Lisa with me, but her mother's tagging along too. It's the closest she's ever come to visiting me at work. Unfortunately every time I've been to the cinema with her, she's fallen asleep, so Lisa's under strict instructions to keep prodding her throughout the performance. It wouldn't look good if she snores through all my best lines.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A couple of days ago, Dave mentioned the problems of apostrophe placement in the British potato industry. Well here in Brighton we don't have potato's. But we do have melon's...

I took that photo at Brighton Museum on Wednesday. I know, it sounds unlikely, but it's true. Despite it being the middle of half-term at a family-friendly visitor attraction, the museum currently has a display of prostitutes' calling cards on the ground floor (at children's eye-level) to illustrate Brighton's steamy reputation as the dirty weekend capital of Britain.

Good TackleThere was also this one, but personally I find the apostrophe in melon's more offensive. And if you're wondering what that white ribbony thing on the right is, it's a bra strap. It was quite a classy display.

We didn't spend long looking at the sexy underwear though, because just yards away there was a display which invited us to "tell other visitors what you think of Brighton" by writing something on a postcard and sticking it to the wall. To be honest they were struggling for contributions, and someone called Rory had just drawn a picture of himself, which wasn't really what was required, so having already contributed to the art exhibition upstairs by getting her hands on Mr Shindo's balls, Lisa was keen to have a go at this one. She ended up writing a joke about rest homes, I scribbled "I prefer Eastbourne", and we made a swift exit before the security guards arrived.

But on the subject of cultural displays, tomorrow sees the highlight of the theatrical year in East Anglia, and my name is already up in lights. Well, it's in the Essex County Standard. At the very bottom. It's not so much a headline as a footnote. I'm sandwiched between the boy who wouldn't grow up, and a madman, so I should feel quite at home come tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Feeling BlueRegular readers of this blog will know that I rarely criticise anyone, and always try to see the best in every situation, but seriously, "'Please Touch!' Denim" was rubbish. I'm almost inclined to think it was some kind of practical joke. Here's how it was billed on the museum website:

Wednesday 24 October
'Please Touch!' Denim
Brighton Museum Link Room
1–2pm Free drop-in
Handle and examine indigo-dyed denim fashions from the Costume & Textiles collection.
Eleanor Thompson, Curator of Costume

Well I've now met Eleanor, and she's very nice, but frankly she's being paid to run the world's smallest jumble sale. The 'Link Room' turned out to be a tiny space halfway up the stairs, in which they'd placed a table. On the table were five or six items of modern children's denim clothing, plus one denim bag that looked like it had come straight from Top Shop. And, er, that's it.

Even more bizarre was that next to this small collection of rejects from the local charity shop were a pile of white cotton gloves for visitors to wear if they wanted to handle the denim. I spent a good thirty seconds convinced I was on Candid Camera. Worse still was that Lisa and I were the only ones there, meaning we were forced to stand in silence in front of two pairs of kids' jeans trying to decide whether to put on a pair of gloves and stroke them like some kind of fetishist, or run out of the room screaming.

Fortunately Eleanor broke the silence by telling us that "some of these clothes date from the 1970s". I felt like saying "Well you really should have thrown them out by now then". My only regret is that the event was a one-off. If it was on again tomorrow, I'd be telling everyone to go, just to witness how breathtakingly pointless it is.

Anyhoo, touching the denim might have been enough to make anyone feel blue, but I'm pleased to say that the actual exhibition ('Indigo: A Blue To Dye For') was a far better experience. I'd tell you all about it, but I've just written a report for The Argus, so to avoid repeating myself, click here.

ShindigOf course, what I didn't tell The Argus is that Hiroyuki Shindo's fantastic textile art installation 'Shindigo Space 07' now looks nothing like the picture on the right, after Lisa decided to find out whether any of the balls on the floor were stuck down, discovered they weren't, and started moving them around. In the end I had to agree to buy her a rock cake from the Pavilion Gardens Café just to get her out of there.

Back in February those rock cakes were personally recommended to me by local historian Geoffrey Mead and I promised a report on them "in the near future". Well it's taken me eight months (mainly because they cost £1.35 so I've had to save up), but here it is at last:

To be honest, my Mum makes better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This notice is currently stuck to a lamp post around the corner from me in Eaton Place...

Anyone for a cocktail?
Yes, it's true, the RSPCA have found a cocktail. I'm not sure you can really classify it as an animal though. Unless it's a party animal. From the description I'd say it's probably pineapple and... um... Earl Grey. Although here in Kemp Town it's perhaps more likely to be a cocktail of drugs.

Of course, it's just possible they mean cockatiel. Which would make far more sense. Both Patsy Palmer and Annabel Giles live in Eaton Place, so if I wanted to find a bird that's worth a lot of money, that's where I'd look.

Anyhoo, Lisa's not at work today (I've no idea why), so being the perfect boyfriend I've offered to take her into town to look at denim. She thinks we're heading for Next or Monsoon, but in reality I plan to drag her around Brighton Museum, where they're currently holding an exhibition entitled Indigo: A Blue to Dye For. I'm only going for the fantastic puns.

I found out this morning that the exhibition has been featured on the BBC's Woman's Hour, presumably because indigo is a girl's colour. Men go more for navy. I've just listened to the show, and according to host Jenni Murray, the display features the world's oldest pair of jeans. Which came as a surprise to me, as I thought they were in my wardrobe.

Anyhoo, from 1-2pm this afternoon, the museum are holding an hour entitled 'Please Touch Denim', during which visitors are encouraged to get their hands on an old pair of jeans. I spend most of my life in charity shops, so that's nothing new to me, but the event's followed by an afternoon called 'Jean Genius' (I think I went to school with her), which is described thus:

"Take inspiration from the Indigo exhibition and the fashion gallery to alter and embellish your jeans. Please bring the jeans that you wish to accessorise."

It's actually aimed at children, but I'm going to tell them Lisa's special needs and see if they'll let us in.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can I Be Frank?I was walking through Hove this afternoon, admiring the view, when who should hove into that view (of Hove) but Pat Butcher's former love interest, Christopher Ellison. I've seen him once before on the streets of Brighton, when I bumped into him outside the police station last year, a meeting which was particularly ironic as he used to play DCI Burnside in The Bill, and I look like a criminal.

This time, however, he was standing outside a restaurant on the corner of Wilbury Road, looking like he was waiting for someone, and wearing his trademark grumpy expression, possibly to make sure he was recognised. I gave him a friendly, yet optimistic, glance which said "I never watch The Bill or EastEnders, but I'd be willing to let you buy me lunch", but sadly he failed to respond. It's not always easy to read my facial expressions.

The interesting thing though, was the location. As mentioned here before, Wilbury Road is where Freemasons go to die, so it's possible Chris is a Worshipful Master at the local Lodge and was feeling a little peeky, but personally I'm more interested in who he might have been meeting. Dusty Springfield (which is what you'd get if Marge Simpson stopped cleaning) used to have a house in Wilbury Road, but these days the street is home to Steve Coogan. I know that, because heroin addicts go there to urinate.

Obviously I could be reading far too much into what may have been no more than a local resident having lunch, but when a new series of Alan Partridge is announced, co-starring Chris Ellison as the Director General of the BBC, remember, you heard it here first.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Are you having a laugh?It turns out I was wrong about 'Best of the Fest'. From the apparently unambiguous title, and the fact that each of the three weeks of the Paramount Comedy Festival end with such a show, I naturally assumed it was going to be a compilation of the best of that week's fest. I feel a fool now. In fact, Friday night's show featured a total of five comedians, three of whom weren't performing solo until the next day, while the remaining two didn't feature at the festival at all. It was like watching an EastEnders Omnibus made up of clips from the following week's episodes, mixed with footage from an entirely different show.

But I'm not complaining (for a change), because unlike an Eastenders Omnibus, it was actually very good. Leading the famous five for the evening was Irish comedian, actor, voice of the Carphone Warehouse and former boyfriend of Letitia Dean (what was he thinking), Ed Byrne. Ed's got a new hairstyle these days, which is a vast improvement on the old one and makes him look more like a skinny Hugh Grant, and less like the woman from Ring. I was hoping to find details of the transformation by visiting his website and clicking on 'Ed's Blog', but unfortunately he hasn't posted anything since November last year. Frankly he makes Lisa look like a regular blogger.

But in common with Lisa, Ed's remarkably funny and I love him. He might look a bit like a geek at a chess convention, but he's also one of the finest comedians I've ever seen. Having started the evening on a high, we moved on to Simon Amstell, current presenter of 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks', former presenter of 'Popworld', and the man who made Britney Spears cry. Of course that was in the days before her life fell apart and she had something to cry about. It wouldn't be such an achievement now.

The biggest revelation of Simon's act was that he talked about his previous boyfriend, leading me to work out (finally, after about ten minutes) that he's gay. I can't believe I didn't know that. He should wear some kind of badge so that people like Lisa don't waste their time fancying him.

It's David O'Doherty TimeAnyhoo, despite being heckled by a woman in the front row who pointed out that he had notes written on his hand, Simon was very good. He was followed by the only one of the five performers that I've never seen on TV: David O'Doherty. Which is ironic, because he was probably my favourite. The man specialises in "very low energy musical whimsy" (or 'VLEMWy') played on a mini electronic keyboard sitting on his lap. And if you can't visualise that, click here.

The man was brilliant (in a low energy way) and deserves a bigger audience. Making it all the more ironic that his solo show on Saturday night clashed with the rugby. I can't wait for his autobiography, which he plans to name 'Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Book of Sudoku' in an effort to sell more copies.

David was followed by the interval, during which I bought Lisa a thimble-full of ice cream for two quid, then it was on to Chris Addison. Chris is one of the stars of The Thick Of It, but with Chris Langham in prison, that now seems unlikely to stretch to another series, so Chris (Addision) has just finished filming his own sitcom instead, poetically entitled Lab Rats. You heard it here first.

Chris wasn't bad, though if someone has to get my vote for least favourite act of the evening, it would have to be him. The man does a decent dinosaur impression though, and I liked him on 'Have I Got News For You'.

The final act of the night was Mark Watson, who I've seen a couple of times on 'Mock the Week' without ever getting that excited about. In person, however, he was great. Ordinarily I'd hate with a passion anyone who at the age of 27 has read English at Cambridge, published two award-winning novels, been nominated for a Perrier Award, and done a two-week run at the Sydney Opera House, but oddly I found him immensely likeable and very funny. I must be mellowing in my old age.

Unlike David O'Doherty, Mark Watson's solo show on Saturday didn't clash with the rugby. It was on immediately afterwards. So I bet his audience were in a good mood.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Loitering Within TentI went to the Jobcentre yesterday (that's not it on the left) and had a nice chat with an employment adviser about doing some part-time work. She told me it's not really worth it financially and advised me not to bother unless I want something to put on my CV. And that was before she even knew what it was. Fortunately, having spoken to her for ten minutes, I think I managed to talk the woman round and convince her of the benefits of work (rather than the work of benefits), and by the time I left, she was remotivated, inspired and keen to find a job... for someone else.

So having single-handedly restored the DWP's work ethic, I went on to the Dome box office to pick up two tickets for tonight's 'Best of the Fest', an evening of stand-up comedy in which all the top performers from the last seven days of the festival get the chance to regurgitate their best material for people like me who haven't bothered to go and see them.

Unfortunately, as the photo above demonstrates, it was hard to get to the box office in New Road without walking into a wigwam. I thought at first it was an illegal travellers' site, but it turned out to be the focal point of the Brighton Festival of World Sacred Music. You can't move for festivals in Brighton at the moment, and this one's a corker. I particularly like the way they've attached sticks to the metal crash barriers to make them look sacred.

Raymond RedfeatherIf you're wondering who's in the tent, well it's none other than Raymond Redfeather. Yes, Raymond Redfeather. Redfeather's a traditional Native American name. I'm not sure about Raymond. But either way, he sounds like a children's cartoon character. That's him on the right, sucking on a curtain rod.

I discovered from the sacred sandwich board outside that Ray was conducting a one-day 'Native American Flute-Making Workshop' in the "stunning Festival Tipi". Stunning if it fell on your head, yes, but otherwise I felt a little underwhelmed. Possibly because I'm not in tune with the earth.

One thing which was stunning though, was the price. When I got home, I described the event to Lisa and asked how much she thought a one-day Native American flute-making workshop in a city-centre tipi would cost. Her reply was:

"You mean you have to pay???".

Well of course you have to pay. Ray's come all the way from Colorado. Although, as the programme says, "Please note that Raymond has great respect for nature and no trees are felled to source the wood for these flutes", so you can't help wondering how he squares that with the carbon emissions from a transatlantic flight. But anyhoo, the man's got bills to pay, not least the renewal fees for his website, which seems to have lapsed while he's been out of the country.

So if you want to loiter within tent and do a bit of whittling at the feet of a flautist, you will indeed have to part with... £130. But if you're unemployed it's only £120. Or two weeks' worth of Jobseeker's Allowance. Now that's a part-time job worth having.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Yesterday was the twenty year anniversary of The Great Storm (so called because of the storm of controversy surrounding Michael Fish's lack of skill as a meteorologist). Meridian TV, which I'd describe as my 'local' news channel if it wasn't for the fact that it seems to cover Dorset to Kent, taking in Berkshire and the Thames Valley, thereby encompassing half the country, chose to celebrate the occasion in the most appropriate way possible: by giving out an entirely inaccurate weather forecast.

I'd been planning to join a 3-mile guided walk around Stanmer Woods yesterday afternoon, organised by the council's Countryside Service for people like me who are desperately looking for something to write about for the next issue of The Kemptown Rag before today's submission deadline. Unfortunately having seen the weather forecast on Monday night, which talked of heavy rain sweeping across the south of the country all day and gave the impression that anyone stupid enough to be on a hill in Brighton at 2pm was liable to be cut off by rising flood waters, I cancelled my plans and agreed to take Lisa's Mum to the dog track instead.

So I spent an enjoyable morning looking out of the window and wondering why it wasn't raining, before eating my lunch under a blue sky, changing my plans (again) and rushing off to the woods.

The walk (poetically entitled 'It Was 20 Years Ago Today') wasn't the most well-attended event I've ever been to. It turned out to be just me, four pensioners, my old mate Dave Larkin and his lovely assistant Lisa (no relation). Dave had a couple of photos of Stanmer Park taken after the Great Storm in 1987 which looked more like Hiroshima in 1945, but it's amazing what a difference a couple of decades can make. Thanks to the council's knee-jerk policy of excessive planting, Stanmer now has far too many trees in all the wrong places (apparently). I sense that Dave would quite like to chop some of them down, but the councillors disagree, and there's no point fighting them on the beeches.

So like the over-60s version of The Blair Witch Project, we spent two hours wandering about in the woods looking at fallen trees, woodpecker holes and fungus, whilst learning how to recognise a walnut tree from the smell of its leaves, and how to eat a poisonous berry without dying (apparently you have to avoid chewing the seeds - let me know how you get on).

It wasn't until I was in the thicket of it, however, that I realised we had a celebrity in our midst. It turns out I was with the Pru...

I'm with the Pru
(The rare sight is the one on the right).

Yes indeed, one of my four fellow walkers was none other than ace fungus-finder Pru Gridley, famous (in toadstool circles) for being the 13th person since 1960 to discover Tree Hedgehog Fungus in the UK. Sadly, despite Pru's nose for a mushroom, we didn't find any hedgehogs nesting in trees, and instead had to make do with a slice of King Alfred's Cake, so called because it looks like one of Lisa's burnt waffles, and is just as inedible.

Having stood in the council's coppice wood and heard Dave admit that they pay their workers in twigs and leaves, we made our way back to the car park and I sped home (in the sunshine) to jump into the shower while Lisa phoned her Mum to say that I'd changed my plans for a third time, and would be able to go to the dogs that evening.

Lisa lovingly prepared a bag of drinks and sundry supplies for our night out in Hove, which we then proceeded to leave in my kitchen, but despite suffering from dehydration all evening, it turned out to be well worth going. Lisa's mother, as mentioned here before, is the jammiest woman alive, and having walked through the door 30 seconds before the first race, she slapped down two quid on number three without even looking at the race card, and got upstairs to the grandstand just in time to see it romp home in first place.

As for me, well I bet £21.20 on eleven races and won a total of £32.85, so even taking into account the medicinal brain food (portion of chips with mayonnaise) that I had to buy to help me study the form, I still finished ahead of the game. Especially as Lisa's Mum paid my £4 entrance fee. I was planning to pay her back out of my winnings, but with one race to go, she looked at the race card, picked out the three names she liked most, and put a quid on a (frankly ridiculous) 80-1 trio. Two minutes later she was eighty pounds richer. So never mind the entrance fee, the woman's lucky I didn't charge her for petrol.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's another comedy job advert courtesy of Brighton Jobcentre Plus...

Driving Me Quackers
I presume it's the British equivalent of doing a cattle drive across the mid-west. A bit like City Slickers, but instead of herding cows from New Mexico to Colorado, you drive ducks from Brighton to... um... Bath. It's obviously only temporary because birds fly south for the winter, so there'll be nothing left to drive by the end of November.

But as an alternative, Brighton & Hove City Council are currently advertising for an 'Assistant Intelligence Officer', and state that:

"Experience of working in a fraud related environment is an essential requirement."

I told them I've been going out with Lisa for three years, and they said that would do. If anyone can sweet-talk their way through the front door and spend all your money, she can.

But in other, far more important, news, the PotsSecret phenomenon is officially taking hold, and I should have a book out by Christmas. Having only intended it to be a one-day exercise in time-wasting, I've since been flooded (well, slightly dampened) with e-mails from secretive artists desperate to share their innermost feelings via the medium of ceramics. Unfortunately most of them don't have access to a kiln, and as one of them put it, "I was hoping there was something I could just click on and then write a secret". Honestly, Mrs G of Chelmsford, haven't you ever heard of suffering for your art? Have all those years of watching The Generation Game been for nothing? You need to get out that potter's wheel and start peddling.

Not that a lack of technical know-how seems to have put off the mysterious L from Brighton. She sent me her secrets anyway and told me to put them on a pot myself. I'm not sure people are fully grasping this concept.

But fortunately I have received one fully-formed piece of art. I don't know who it's from, but the author states "I just can't be bothered to blog". So frankly it could be half the people I've ever linked to.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lisa coloured her hair yesterday evening with Garnier 'Intense Brown' hair dye. It looks very nice. It doesn't look quite as nice splattered all over my Cosy Cream carpet of course, but the good news is that if you get down on your knees for half an hour while she's in the shower, and start scrubbing with a bottle of 1001 Stain Remover, it is just about possible to remove it.

Sadly, the same isn't true for pine shelving units. But the intense brown streak (which in artificial light looks more jet black) now decorating the front right-hand corner of my living room shelves actually adds character to the room. Which is just as well, because having tried stain remover, eye make-up remover and Dettol, nothing short of a chainsaw's going to shift it.

So I'm not bitter, and Lisa's welcome to dye her hair again at my flat any time she likes. As long as she dyes it cosy cream.

Anyhoo, if there's one thing I like to do in life, it's procrastinate. So despite having a job to apply for and an article to write, I found myself sitting in front of the computer yesterday afternoon getting annoyed by the world domination of PostSecret, the ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard, whereupon they're scanned and placed on the web.

On top of celebrating his one-hundred-millionth visitor recently, creator Frank Warren (not the boxing promoter) has just published his fourth compilation book based on the blog, and within five days of being released it's already reached number 12 on the Amazon Bestseller List. Which is particularly annoying as the blog's only been running for three years and Frank doesn't have to write a single word of it himself.

But rather than become bitter and twisted (or spend my afternoon doing something worthwhile), I decided to make myself feel better by creating a rival site: PotsSecret, where people can mail in their secrets anonymously on homemade earthenware. I think it'll catch on. And within two hours of closing the kiln, I'd applied for that writing job and submitted an article to the Argus. Self-therapy rules.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Back in those heady days of September when I was happy to walk around in public with a ridiculous moustache, I strapped on a man-bag, picked up my mother and went to the Phoenix Gallery to put my arm around a totem pole. I'm not entirely sure why. But five weeks later, having cast aside the facial hair and the mother (but not the man-bag), I went back there yesterday afternoon for 'Open Phoenix', their annual weekend of free art and general weirdness.

Bird BrainWhen my Mum and I were there last month, we encountered Jim Sanders in his bare feet walking between the toilets and a small room on the ground floor where he was busy painting a mural to go on the outside of the building. Well I'm pleased to say he's now finished it. And it appears to be a picture of me with a bird on my head. Jim obviously took a lot of inspiration from the way I said "Hi" outside the men's toilets.

The picture's described on the gallery website as "a giant 7 square metre painting", thus proving that artists don't understand maths. It's actually a 49 square metre painting. But if you look closely, you'll see that it features this signature:

Just call me Jm.It's possible that Jim can't spell his own name, or that his initials are JM, but personally I think the missing 'i' is a social comment on cultural blindness.

The other development since my last visit is that Jim's managed to sell one of his totems (possibly to a pole dancer) for £2,000. All those hours spent trying to find enough bottle tops to cover an eight-foot piece of driftwood was clearly time well spent.

Anyhoo, my main reason for going was to take part in 'The Big Draw', an effort by Martin Symons to create a giant collaborative felt-tip medley with the help of members of the public. Unfortunately, having donned my smoking jacket and entered the drawing room, it soon became clear that most of those taking part were about six years old, and all of them could draw better than me, so I just stood at the back and felt inadequate.

But to cheer myself up I decided to do the open studios tour. The Phoenix, it turns out, is like an office block for artists, and you can spend hours climbing the stairs and wandering the corridors, poking your head into room after room and watching the artisans at work. Although if you do it on any other weekend of the year, you're liable to be arrested for trespass.

Melody MakerThere was also the chance to view a collection of short films curated by Victoria Melody. That's her on the right with the big gun. They included 'Breakfast', a three-minute exploration of how to make toast with power tools, and 'Deep Fried Vitamin', in which the artists persuaded the owner of a kebab shop in Birmingham to batter a vitamin for them. Personally I preferred 'Stone', a two-minute short by Roz Cran, who likes to dress up as a rabbit and interview pigs. As she says on her website, "Am I leopard? Am I lettuce? Am I bucket?". I think they're rhetorical questions.

It was all quite enjoyable, though naturally I didn't understand a word of it. I did, however, like the little café they'd set up on the first floor. I was just outside the door at 3:30pm when there was an almighty crash as one of their trestle tables collapsed under the weight of a victoria sponge, sending cake across the floor in every direction except mine. I thought at first it was some kind of audio-visual art installation, and was tempted to start taking photos, but judging by the looks I received, I think maybe it was just a tragic accident. I knew it was a mistake to start clapping.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had a hit yesterday for 'Julie Reinger sawn in half'. That's what I call wishful thinking.

And talking of wishful thinking, I was standing in my hallway at midday today wondering if I might get any post before 1pm, and having concluded that I probably wouldn't, I decided to go to Asda. So I walked out of the door, around the corner, and was less than halfway to Jimmy Somerville's house when I met our postman on the corner of Great College Street, leaning against a wall with his mailbag over his shoulder and his nose in a book of Sudoku.

It's ironic, because the way he delivers mail for the wrong flats on a daily basis, you'd think he had no head for figures at all. Maybe it was some kind of wildcat strike.

I was tempted to head straight back home for my camera, but unfortunately he caught sight of me staring at him with a look of disbelief on my face, and quickly put his pen away. Only to carry on again once I'd passed by. It must have been quite a tricky puzzle, because it was 1:30pm by the time I got my post.

Of course Royal Mail wouldn't give me an interview for the job of Rottingdean Postie on the grounds that I don't have an unbroken work history, and I might get Seasonal Affective Disorder if I have to get up before Jeremy Kyle, but if I'd only mentioned a love of Sudoku, I could be in there right now... with my feet up in front of the TV waiting for a better pay deal.

Anyhoo, the good news is that as I walked down the fish aisle for some Smart Price tuna, Asda FM were playing Terra Naomi over the public address system. They must have read about her in The Kemptown Rag.

In other news, I'm applying to work in this building...

Extraordinary Tenacity
That's an artist's impression. In reality there's not as much green mould growing up the walls. The job is 'Copy Editor/Writer', and under 'Required Skills' it lists "Extraordinary tenacity", so I think it's me to a T (that's T for Tenacious). I started my application last night and I've already lost interest, but if I can be bothered to complete it, I think I'm a dead cert.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Anyone expecting another blog post of epic proportions, linking to a dozen different comedians and involving more scrolling than a quilling convention, can breathe a sigh of relief:

We didn't get in.

Yes, despite assuring the bloke on the door that we'd laugh at anything (and showing him my blog to prove it), he told us the event was full and wouldn't let us pass. We really should have made friends with the nutter who sat next to us on Monday night. He told us he had tickets for Tuesday, but couldn't find anyone willing to go with him. I can't say I was surprised. The man was clearly dropping a hint, but on the downside he looked a bit like King Kong, only more unstable, and I wasn't entirely sure we'd be safe in his company for two nights in a row. So we just smiled and pretended we were deaf. Needless to say we regretted that decision at 7pm last night.

But having sweated cobs at the Corn Exchange, we decided to drown our sorrows in a Diet Coke by heading off to Hector's House (I do love a pub with its own MySpace site). Floors and Walls are playing a free gig there in November, and having bought their album from HMV last week and learnt all the words (including the swear words), I'm now in a position to recapture my youth by rapping along in the mosh pit with the other hoodie-clad youngsters. Although last night we just had a soft drink and went home. I didn't want to overdo it.

Tickets are still available.But on the subject of comedy failures, I've received word from East Anglia that anyone who missed last year's three-night run of my play 'Ledgers' due to there being something good on the telly that week, has another chance to experience the magic of suicide on the 27th of this month.

The East Bergholt Dramatic Society want to pay twenty quid of their own money to perform Ledgers at this year's Brantham Play Festival, and frankly who am I to stop them. It's eleven months since the last performance, so I'm classing this as a revival. Tickets are selling fast (I expect), so if you want to see just how much comedy mileage I can get from a bit of depression and a packet of Penguins, you need to book now to avoid disappointment.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Comedy BlueOk, when they said free tickets to a TV comedy recording, I didn't realise they meant five shows filmed back to back, lasting four and a half hours. We were barely home before midnight. It reached the point where they actually had to bribe us with free sweets and money to stay til the end.

Fortunately I'm anyone's for a Gummy Bear, so wild horses couldn't have dragged me out of there. I also got more TV close-ups than a QVC presenter (mainly because I agreed to laugh every time the camera was stuck in my face, regardless of the quality of the material). Unfortunately they failed to capture my best side, and kept zooming in on the gap between my teeth, making me look like a cackling pirate at a hoedown. I knew we should have sat on the other side of the hall.

Anyhoo, for a free night out, it was great value for money. Lisa and I left my flat together and on time (it's shocking, I know), at which point she caught the bus and I walked. Guess who got to the Corn Exchange first? But still, her £3.20 bus fare did give her a grandstand view of me disappearing over the horizon on foot, and I'm sure it was quite exciting wondering if she'd ever catch me up.

As it turned out, we didn't need to arrive that early, and having made it through the doors, we had our pick of the best seats. I chose the end of the second row, right next to the cameraman. I'm now officially the face of Comedy Blue. I might have to get myself an agent when it's broadcast in February.

Host for the evening was Jason Byrne, who I've seen on TV a few times and never been that impressed with, but in person I have to say he's very good. And not just because he looks like Howard Jones. The man's surprisingly funny, especially when he ad-libs. He should forget about writing material, and just lark about in front of an audience all day.

Jason's job was to come on, do five minutes of stand-up, introduce the first act, take us into the commercial break, immediately say "Welcome back!", introduce the second act, close the show, then repeat all of the above ad infinitum. Or at least for four and a half hours. It was all quite intense. Not only were the commercial breaks non-existent, but there were no pauses between each show, meaning that the moment Jason said "Thanks for watching, and goodnight!", he was straight on to "Welcome to another edition of Comedy Blue!". I barely had time to eat my Gummy Bears and perfect my fake laugh for the camera.

Anyhoo, the first act on was Craig Campbell, (or Crack Cowbell, as I thought they said), a bearded Canadian who was pretty good. Although I didn't like his trousers.

Kitty FlanaganHe was followed by Kitty Flanagan, an Australian comedienne who was possibly my favourite of the entire evening. And not just because I like cats. She pointed out that New Zealanders talk like stroke victims, and came up with an ingenious way of using parent/child parking spaces at the supermarket. I could have happily married the woman for her sense of humour alone, but obviously I have Lisa, and she knows a lot of offensive jokes, so there's really no need.

First up on show two was Jim Jeffries, another Australian who I've seen a couple of times on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks'. He provided one of my highlights of the evening with an anecdote about his father, a train load of Germans, and a concentration camp. I couldn't repeat it, but trust me, it was funny.

Then came Gary Delaney, the first Brit of the night, who was completely different to every other comic there, specialising as he does in fiendishly clever one-liners. Much like myself. Obviously. He came out with lines such as "I live next door to a family of anorexic agoraphobics. I bet they've got some skeletons in the cupboard."

Gary was followed by an angry American whose name I completely failed to catch. Fortunately he was among my least favourite comedians, so it's no great loss. After Mr Angry came the festively named Jarred Christmas, an endearing Kiwi who commented that "On beaches in New Zealand you can build sandcastles. On the beach in Brighton you can build... castles."

After Christmas we were let out of the auditorium for twenty minutes to eat free sweets and write our filthiest jokes on a piece of paper. The best ones were read out at the end of the show. I submitted my favourite gag about Donny Osmond (which I can't repeat here for legal reasons) but sadly it wasn't quite offensive enough to make the cut.

Paul ChowdhryThe second half saw the arrival of Carey Marx and his cuddly bear Parsnip, who was there to soften the blow of his most offensive material, after whom came Paul Chowdhry (see right), another of my personal favourites, who began by saying "I won't be doing any of my early stuff - Purple Rain, etc".

Paul was great from start to finish, as was American Scott Capurro, who I've seen on TV a couple of times. Scott was by far the most offensive act of the night, and some of his material was verging on the illegal, but he also happened to be the most brilliantly funny guy (or should that be gay) on stage.

The penultimate performer was Dave Hadingham who looked and sounded like an east-end criminal who smokes sixty a day, but who actually came out with some of the cleverest gags of the evening. I warmed to him immensely. Which is more than I can say for Andre Vincent, the final comedian, who never really did it for me, and ended up calling the whole audience 'f***ers' for not laughing at his last joke. He left on something of a low.

By this time it was gone 11pm, and much like anyone reading this blog post, we were all wondering when it was going to end. Fortunately the TV producers had foreseen that situation, and at the start of the night had given us each a raffle ticket, with a cash prize of £125 on offer to anyone who managed to stay til the end. It was a wise move. Half the audience had left by the middle of the second half, so without the raffle, Andre Vincent would have been playing to an empty room. Which might have given him a better reaction.

So having filmed the audience's best jokes (Why are men like parking spaces? Because all the good ones are taken, and the only ones left are disabled), Jason Byrne got a bloke out of the front row, spun him around on the floor, poured the tickets into his mouth, and got him to pick the winner by choking.

Tragically neither Lisa nor I picked up the cash, but we had such a good time, we're considering going back tonight for the second half of the series. Sadly there aren't any tickets available, but I have it on good authority from the woman in the box office that if we hang about outside looking cheerfully telegenic, they might let us in. I think it's worth a try. If only for the free Gummy Bears.

Monday, October 08, 2007

They think it's all over. It is now...

              Hair                                Herr                         Hare-Brained

To be honest, I never really felt comfortable as Hitler. Lisa looks a lot like Eva Braun, and I love small furry animals, so once I had the moustache I felt an overwhelming desire to invade Poland. Or at least Flat 1, which is where most of them live. I had to shave it off within half an hour, otherwise I'd have been straight in there, telling them to turn down their music.

Anyhoo, I feel strangely naked now, but at least I can brush my teeth without having to spend ten minutes trying to get toothpaste out of my moustache.

My last act as a hairy person was to wander amongst my own kind at Brightona 2007, a bikers' convention down at Madeira Drive yesterday, which was entirely different to the one four weeks ago. This one had an 'a' on the end of Brighton. I'm sure it was pant-wettingly exciting if you love motorbikes, but if like me you prefer to walk everywhere (except when you're driving a graffiti-covered Skoda) it's a fairly dull event. Although the first band on, Sweet Redemption, performed a song called 'My Sickened Mouth', which is the kind of title which makes you want to visit their MySpace site.

Personally I was only using Brightona as a petrol-scented route to get to the Dome. Having looked up most of the acts taking part in the Comedy Festival, I soon found that all the ones I wanted to see are sold out, which makes me think I shouldn't have waited until it started before trying to book tickets. I did discover, however, that tonight and tomorrow they're filming Comedy Blue for the Paramount Comedy Channel, and, wait for it, tickets are free. Naturally I assumed that with a lot of shows sold out, the chances of there still being tickets left for a free one the next day were on the slim side of zero, but I needed the exercise, so I walked along to the Dome box office and...

Yes, if you want to pay £12 to see Jason Byrne on Saturday, the show's almost sold out, but if you'd rather see him tonight for free, and have a chance of getting on TV, tickets are still available.

The only drawback is that it's oversubscribed in order to ensure a full house, meaning that ownership of a ticket doesn't actually guarantee you entry, and it's strictly first come, first seated. As the man in the box office told me, "Make sure you get here early". So the tickets may be free, but I'm not sure I can afford to take Lisa.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A Lovely PearMmm... get well fruit.

Interestingly, since my Mum decided to give me the remains of her basket of fruit and send me home yesterday afternoon, she's been fine, whereas I've felt decidedly rough. It must be something to do with leaving the fresh air of Essex and returning to Brighton. Either that or my Mum's passed on a hospital superbug in a kiwi fruit.

While I've been away, the Brighton Comedy Festival has begun, but hey, that's nothing. I read in the Chelmsford Weekly News on Thursday that if you're in Great Baddow next month, you can see Winston the Singing Farmer. Yes, Winston the Singing Farmer. Brighton had Billy Connolly on Friday, but did he win 'Busker of the Year' at the 1991 Sheringham Carnival? No, he did not. Well he probably didn't. To be honest I wasn't there.

Anyhoo, on the medical front, my Mum went to see a nurse on Friday afternoon, taking with her a letter from the hospital informing her doctor that she'd had both legs operated on. She hadn't. Mind you, the surgeon on Wednesday was apparently convinced he was doing the left leg, when in fact it was the right, so my Mum should probably just be grateful she's still got legs, and didn't have them both chopped off in some kind of administrative error.

Having received some TLC from the nurse, which resulted in her having to take some post-operative painkillers for the first time, my Mum was then in a fit state to join me on a trip to Halfords for some blue paint to cover the go-faster stripes I managed to scrape into the side of my car when I got up close and personal with a pillar in a multi-storey car park a couple of months ago. It wasn't my fault. The pillar moved.

Obviously I couldn't get quite the right shade of blue, so having left my Dad to do all the work while I settled down to watch QI, I awoke on Saturday morning to find that my car now looks like it's had a sky blue snake painted down the side by a first-time graffiti artist. But still, it distracts people from the fact that I'm driving a Skoda, so it's probably a good thing.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hardcore PawnI feel like a pawn in someone else's game.

I'd like that game to be Twister, but I don't think my Mum's leg is up to it. The good news though is that she's out of hospital, and has managed to avoid catching MRSA. Sadly I failed to get to Chelmsford in time to set eyes on the B17 bomber ward, due to being held up at Brighton Jobcentre chatting to a woman with big earrings about the state of the British sandwich industry. As a result I didn't leave the south coast until midday, by which time a crack team of medical experts had given my Mum half a bowl of Rice Krispies and sent her home.

Fortunately however, I arrived just in time to take delivery of the get well chocolates from Big Sis, which, I'm pleased to say, were very nice. I'm now working my way through the basket of get well fruit. Frankly I feel better already.

As for my Mother, following three hours of complicated vein surgery, her leg is now bandaged to high heaven and she's got enough painkillers to take down an elephant. Oddly enough though, she hasn't felt a thing so far, and hasn't had to take any pills. Mind you, she's only got the surgeon's word for it that he actually did anything to her while she was unconcious. Personally I think he was out playing golf.

Anyhoo, the doctor's instructions are that she has to keep moving, and mustn't stand still. It's like the pensioner version of Speed. If she drops below 3mph her leg will explode. So I did my bit to aid her recovery by forcing her to walk to Sainsburys with me yesterday afternoon for some medicinal lasagne to go with my get well bananas. The surgeon didn't say she had to push the trolley and carry the shopping, but I thought it wouldn't hurt.

So satisfied that my Mum was on the mend, I decided to leave her doing circuits of the kitchen and go to Southend for the evening to visit my brother. Having convinced my 8-year-old niece that my moustache wasn't fake (that only took about half an hour), she declared that I looked like a Colonel, while my sister-in-law said I reminded her of Kevin Costner in Wyatt Earp. Thus proving she's a lot more polite than the rest of my family.

My niece is currently into the idea of unpowered flight, so we spent an enjoyable evening trying to parachute off the top of the stairs with an old bedsheet, and attempting to fly with a pair of cardboard wings. Interestingly, despite the fact that she'd made them, it was muggins here who had to take the inaugural flight each time, and I'm not sure the scatter cushions at the bottom of the stairs were really sufficient to pass health & safety guidelines.

But the good news is we survived, and having read her a chapter of the Narnia books, admired her new wardrobe (I'm not sure if the two are connected), and examined a photo of her with an owl (don't ask), there was just time for me to hear the story of the severed mouse head on the doorstep, and handle the green slug monster, before I was waved goodbye with the immortal words: "Make sure you shave before I next see you". I knew I should have stayed with my Mum.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I took this photo down on the beach on Tuesday afternoon...

Kids today...
It appears to be a group of students trying to join themselves together with black sacks and bin liners. No, I don't know why either. I expect it's some kind of modern art. Or sexual fetish.

This could be me.But youth culture aside, the good news is that I've successfully completed my application to be Ben Stiller in 'Night at the Museum'. Yes, I'm now only four weeks and one rejection letter away from being a full-time 'Information & Security Officer' at the Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

The person specification states under 'Other Requirements' that you must be "Prepared to wear the corporate uniform" (ie. not go on duty in the nude) and have an "Ability to stand or patrol for long periods, and react quickly in an emergency situation". So they've obviously seen the bit in the film where the T-rex comes to life and wants to play fetch.

This being Brighton Council, the application form was, naturally, a joy to complete. I think my favourite question was:

"Have you, or do you intend to have, your gender re-assigned under the Gender Recognition Act (2004)?"

I put myself down as a maybe. Growing a moustache has opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me, and the only place to go from here is to become a woman, so I can't rule it out.

Interestingly, it was in the news a fortnight ago that the hyphen is dying out and is currently threatened with extinction, so it's good to see that Brighton Council are doing their bit to increase numbers by re-assigning it to new habitats where it hasn't previously existed.

Anyhoo, with my future in the hands of the council's HR department, I'm off to Chelmsford for a couple of days. My Mum's taken a break from commenting on this blog to go into hospital for an operation on her leg. They can rebuild her; they have the technology. But even so, I feel I ought to visit. She's currently in ward B17, so I'm planning to arrive in a Flying Fortress and drop flowers on her from a great height.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I swear this is genuine...

Sandwich Artist
Yes, Brighton Jobcentre are no longer interested in sandwich makers. They're now looking for Sandwich Artists who are keen to spend 45 hours a week learning the art of great sandwich making. Unfortunately I'm not sure I have the positive outlook required to butter bread for a living, and besides, I see myself as more of a bagel sculptor than a sandwich artist, so I've decided to look elsewhere.

I'm currently waiting to be turned down by the hospital for a fourth time, but in the meantime I've decided to apply for the post of Information Officer with the council's museums department. It basically involves wandering around the Royal Pavilion in a silly hat, talking to small children about gout. They actually have four vacancies at the moment, so it'll be just like all my other applications, but with quadruple the disappointment when I don't get it.

In other news, I'm currently labouring under the weight of a thousand luvvies. No, really. My blog visitors have more than doubled in the last forty-eight hours thanks to a stranger posting the link to Sunday's blog post in the comments section of The Stage website. Since when I've been inundated with theatrical luminaries keen to look at my moustache. The original comment is here, but personally I'm more concerned about Debbie two comments later who accuses me of being gay. She must think Lisa's my fag hag (I can't believe that term has its own Wikipedia page).

But on the subject of homosexual hair, I can now announce that due to overwhelming public demand (from one person), I've posted yesterday's moustache film on YouTube. You can view that here. And for the benefit of my mother, who's desperate to see Floors & Walls' music video filmed in the multi-storey car park down at the marina, but who couldn't get last week's link to work, it turns out that's on YouTube too. She'll be rapping along in no time.

Incidentally, if anyone's wondering why I haven't yet taken a razor to my top lip and moulded myself into Hitler, it's because I've decided to leave my moustache as it is until the end of the week while I do a tour of some of the people who sponsored me. They all want to get their money's worth by laughing at me in person.

Flight of the ConchordsAnyhoo, while I'm here, I should just mention 'Flight of the Conchords' on BBC4 tonight at 9:30pm, a comedy series featuring New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody duo. It started last week, and I missed it thanks to a combination of poor digital reception and a mind like a sieve, but I fully intend to watch it tonight (subject to both of the conditions above). Why? Well, because erstwhile blog commenter and close friend of Howard Jones (I've still got the photo) Captain Fargon, who never manages to post anything on his blog, but still finds time to e-mail me (he has a lot in common with Lisa), claims to know some of the cast (probably minor extras), as well as the talented web developers behind, the web's number one resource for comedy folk music from Middle Earth.

So watch the show. It's apparently very good. Or as the Captain said to me last week, "The first 3 or 4 episodes are a bit ropey, but it gets better". I probably shouldn't mention that.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's October 1st, and that can mean only one thing:

TacheBack 2007 is now over, and I no longer have to walk the streets looking like a Mexican bandit fresh from a Saddam Hussein lookalike competition. Hurrah!

To celebrate the end of my fundraising, BmyCharity have just decided to update my donation page, so that it now looks a lot nicer. Shame they couldn't have done that a month ago. But fortunately it's not too late to donate. Well technically it is, but feel free to sponsor me anyway. I could do with the money for a razor.

Anyhoo, I'm currently glued to BBC News 24 awaiting the announcement that prostate cancer has been cured thanks to a donation of £124.15 from a bloke with a ridiculous moustache, but in the meantime here's some documentary footage which is already being tipped (mainly by me) to win next year's Oscar for best short film. Look out for Chloe's tail before the closing credits. Oh, and turn your speakers up. You have no idea how long it took me to get the pictures synchronised with the music...