Monday, 15 December 2014

The GWD

Two and a half weeks since my last blog post. It's hard to escape the feeling that we might have begun The Great Winding Down.

It's been a great run, of course. So many moments to cherish. We'll all remember that post I wrote in the middle of the night that made no sense. We'll always have the posts where I start talking to myself and get frustrated. The amusing sketch where two planks have a surreal dialogue will be with us always.

But the posts are getting less and less frequent. I seem to be running out of things to write about. Or at least lacking the ability to spin nothing into gold (or, more usually, straw).

There hasn't been a clamour for new material from (what I presume to be) my many readers. I suspect it's a bit like The Simpsons. It's been a long time since the golden age, and I'm damaging my legacy by continuing to write. It might be time for Headscissors to be taken behind the wolfshed and put out of its misery gun-style (like a dog in a film that I've heard about).

But I don't have it in me to shoot either a dog or a blog. The good thing about blogs is that they feel no pain. Also, you don't have to take them for walks, or buy them injections. I can just leave it here, and come back to prod the corpse every couple of months.

Of course, I still have my end-of-year review to come. That's something to look forward to. What song did I like? How many injuries did I curate? What are my lows and lowers of 2014? You'll find out, and you'll be hugely impressed by my eclecticism.

But for now, I'll make myself a cup of tea.

PLANK 2: That sounds nice.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

And Troughs

I watched all of Twin Peaks on Blu-ray recently. The TV show was quite variable in quality, but I generally enjoyed it. I really liked Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the prequel-type film. I'm surprised that it was so poorly received. I suppose it was down to context and expectation and the fact that most people just aren't as sensitive and discerning as I.

It has David Bowie in it. He's doing an accent of some sort. In the long edit of deleted scenes - The Missing Pieces - he screams a lot. If this screaming had been included in the theatrical cut, I'm sure the film would have received greater acclaim.

There's a huge pile of extra features on the set. One in particular caught my eye, ear and brain. This is composer Angelo Badalamenti talking about how he composed the Twin Peaks love theme. It's pretty great, because he's talking about the process as he plays. Whenever I see Badalamenti interviewed, he always seems really enthusiastic about his work.

The video is moving and impressive, but also quite funny. It's almost told as an erotic encounter between Badalamenti and David Lynch. But isn't all creative collaboration an act of intellectual and spiritual intercourse? Even between the Wayans brothers?

Yes. It is.

Angelo Badalamenti explains how he created the music for Twin Peaks from md rutherford on Vimeo.

Friday, 21 November 2014

From Adam

"Cooking is so gay. Remember: God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Stove."

That's a fine-tuned version of an old tweet. The trouble is, I can't really tweet it like that. Even with the quotation marks, the irony might not come across.

The old version was:




It's clunkier, but less homophobic. Maybe clunky is funnier. I haven't decided yet.

Thinking about this has taken up most of my morning.

I suppose I could tweet the first thing, but include a link to this blog post. That way, I get credit for unclunkiness, but also credit for thoughtfulness. A pejorative use of 'gay', yes. But in quotation marks, accompanied by a URL to an essay on how problematic it is.

My only worry here, is that this post is already pretty clunky. Any goodwill I may have had for my unclunky tweet will immediately dissipate. Or will at least dissipate by the time they read the word "dissipate", which is as clunky as word as you might hope to see.

I could have said that the goodwill I had for my unclunky tweet will "immediately go". 'Go' is much less clunky than 'dissipate.' It's such a clean word: small and round. You could inhale it without even noticing.

Hey, here's a great new joke I came up with.

Hey, my meat paste has just disappeared! I must have accidentally bough dissipâté.

You see?! Jokes.

...

Uh oh.

Uh oh.

A serious spanner has been thrown in the works.

I just tried to search for my original 'Adam and Stove' tweet, and I've found that it's been done before. Three times.

And two of them were done before my original one.

This is heartbreaking. I thought I was so original, but no. I am not original.

Luckily, none of them are as good as either of mine. Let's take a look.










The first one has a typo right off the bat, so that's out. Pretty clunky. And not good-clunky, like mine.

The second one gets points for taking an extra leap (leaving out 'Eve' entirely), but it's too ambiguous. Either:
a) The gay guy speaking is Adam, and he's complaining because he'd rather be spending time with Steve than doing the housework
b) The gay guy speaking is Steve, and he's saying that by doing said housework, he has abdicated his own identity and has essentially become the stove.

Who can say? Still, tweet two is my favourite.

Tweet three was only posted a couple of days ago. That's weird. Is there some confluence of creative energies in the ether?

I think tweet three is just too crude. Sometimes the delicate touch is needed. It's also reducing human-appliance relationships (and, by analogy, gay relationships) to a purely sexual thing. It's not all about "fucking". It's about forming a meaningful connection with another person (or blender or whatever).

So, to sum up.

Tweet 1: ✮ (deducted one star for the typo)
Tweet 2: 
Tweet 3: 

My clunky original tweet (with the takeaway suggestion): 

My fine-tuned tweet (with pejorative 'gay'): 

Reminder: I rate tweets on a hundred-star scale.

This experience has been humbling, but I'm sure I'll learn from my mistakes.

And yes, I did try to see if anyone else had done dissipâté. But I don't think Twitter searches are sensitive to accents.

Thank God.

***

(Update - just realised I was only looking at the 'Top Tweets' for 'Adam and Stove'. There are loads of others. None better than mine, though. None better than mine.)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Prestige

I thought it would be funny to just copy and paste the screenplay to Christopher Nolan's 2006 film The Prestige here. It would be really long. People might think I was going to satirise it, or put in some jokes, but I wouldn't do that.

It would just be the screenplay. The whole screenplay. The whole disappointing screenplay. As a blog post.

But then I thought: no, I won't do that. I'll just write about thinking about doing it.

Also, it might violate copyright. I'd hate to get sued. The publicity might bring in a few more hits, but I don't want to have to go to court. It's a long walk.

I recently changed my shampoo schedule. I've realised that my hair looks much better when it hasn't been washed for a while, so I now only shampoo in the 'four letter' months (June and four fifths of March).

I've heard that one's natural oils are better than any artificial cosmetic anyway. And blood is better than paint.

You have everything you need conveniently located in your own body. Thirsty? Weep. Hungry? Bite nails. Swami? Cultivate turban-like quiff.

Even though I'm only shampooing twice a year, I've increased the regularity of my using conditioner by 800%. There's some in my hair right now. If there are any typos in this entry, it's because I have conditioner-lather in my eyes.

I specifically bought 'loads more tears' conditioner. I'm really thirsty.

My aim is to have hair that is in fantastic condition, but not very clean.

Like Russell Brand! J/K!

I am still shampooing my body hair, though. I'm not so vain that I care how my body hair looks. If someone sees a tuft of something sticking out of a sleeve, buttonhole or stonewashed-denim ripzone, then so be it.

I will be conditioning half of my body hair at an increase of 800%, much like my head hair. My entire western hemisphere is covered in conditioner right now. If there are any typos in this entry, it's because my hairy fingertips keep slipping off the keys.

So, the western hemisphere is shampooed at a normal rate, but highly conditioned.

The eastern hemisphere is also shampooed at a normal rate, but instead of conditioner, I've chosen to... I dunno... weave it into a tapestry or some shit.

***

This isn't one of my best entries, but don't be put off. Even a jockey needs to run the occasional practice lap before he mounts his horse for the first time. It's all part of a cycle.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll just finish with a clever callback to something I wrote earlier, in a weak post-hoc attempt at structuring my writing.

...


L'Oréal Paris.

Friday, 7 November 2014

What You've Done

I'm working on a series of sketches featuring a wise-ass gumshoe-type who is taken to various ramshackle locations, and each time sarcastically says "I love what you've done with the place...".

That would be the whole sketch. There would be a series of them. It would be his catchphrase.

I know rapid-fire catchphrase-based sketches are a bit 90s, but I think they're due for a comeback.

Here are my suggestions for the early sketches.

INT. ABATTOIR - DAY

Two henchman drag GUMSHOE onto the killing floor. There are animal carcasses everywhere. Blood on the walls, rusty saws, bones, hooves. They throw him at the feet of a BUTCHER wearing a bloody smock.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the place...

END OF SKETCH

That one's not great. But it's just there to set up the premise. There would be several of these in every episode.

INT. THE OVAL OFFICE - DAY

Two secret servicemen drag GUMSHOE into the office. There are plaques everywhere. Wallpaper on the walls, nice carpet, desk, potted plants. They throw him at the feet of BARACK OBAMA.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the place...

END OF SKETCH

We're already rolling.

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering what the joke is. Well, there isn't a joke. It's not that kind of sketch. The trick is repetition. People enjoy it when they expect something to happen and then that thing happens.

INT. THE EARTH'S CORE - DAY

Two mole-men drag GUMSHOE into a lava cave. There are lava everywhere. Lava on the walls, rivers of magma, molten rock, fires. They throw him at the feet of a FIRE DEMON.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the place...

END OF SKETCH

All of these sketches will appear in the first five minutes of the sketch show - just to get people up to speed.

After this, we can start stretching our comedy wings.

EXT. WORLD TRADE PLAZA - SEPTEMBER 11 2001

Two firemen drag GUMSHOE out of some rubble. There is dust everywhere. Crying people, paramedics, police officers, general distress. They gently help him to a STRETCHER-BEARER.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the place...

END OF SKETCH

Edgy.

You see how versatile this is? We can do anything with it.

By this point, we'll be about seven minutes into the sketch show, and people will be getting complacent. So we mix things up.

INT. CHINA SHOP - DAY

GUMSHOE walks into a china shop. There is crockery everywhere. Jugs, bowls, saucers, vases. The OWNER is behind the counter.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the plates...

The OWNER accepts the compliment with good grace.

END OF SKETCH

Yes, we are also going to do one set in a fish and chip shop. You can probably figure out the punchline. (Clue: it features a certain type of fish. Plaice.)

We're winding down now. Only a couple more in this episode. You can have too much of a good thing.

INT. GUMSHOE'S HOUSE - DAY

Two neighbours carry GUMSHOE into his own house. There are GUMSHOE's possessions everywhere. Furniture, photographs, Blu-ray collection, cat. They gently help him to the SOFA.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the place...

The neighbours look at each other, concerned.

NEIGHBOUR 1
(TENTATIVE) We haven't done 
anything with the place. 
This is *your* house.

GUMSHOE looks around and smirks.

END OF SKETCH

We'll be about ten minutes into a twenty-eight minute episode at this point (this will be on the BBC). The gumshoe sketches will stop for the next eighteen minutes. People will think we've forgotten about them.

But we haven't forgotten about them.

After the credits have rolled, we'll have one final surprise:

INT. HOUSE OF MIRRORS - DAY

GUMSHOE stares at his dozen reflections. He looks around and smirks.

GUMSHOE
(SARCASTIC) I love what you've 
done with the place...

His smirk falters.

GUMSHOE
(TENTATIVE) I love what you... 
(BEAT) What ALL of you...


His eyes well up with tears.

GUMSHOE
What have you done?

GUMSHOE'S REFLECTION 1
Done to what?

GUMSHOE
To the place.

GUMSHOE'S REFLECTION 2
We've been working so hard on it.

GUMSHOE'S REFLECTION 3
Do you like it?

GUMSHOE gulps. A single tear rolls down his cheek.

GUMSHOE'S REFLECTION 4
Well? 

GUMSHOE'S REFLECTION 5
Do you like what we've 
done with the place?

GUMSHOE trembles, and then falls to his knees.

GUMSHOE
I...(BEAT) I LOVE it.

The reflections break into a kaleidoscope of smirks.

END OF SKETCH

END OF EPISODE

And that, my friend, is how you write a recurring sketch character.

A viral hit if ever I've seen one.

Now all I need is a sketch show.

And some lava.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Warm Welcome

"In the land of the blind, the idiot with the laser-pen has to do something else to get attention. He probably starts kicking people or whatever idk."

***

Welcome! Welcome, friend!

Please - let me take your coat and scarf. You must be weary. I've saved you a space by the fire. And to drink? Hot chocolate? Could I tempt you with some brandy? There will be time to discuss business later.

...

I've always been interested in people who live in the margins.

No. Sorry.

That's a typo.

I've always been interested in people who live in the margarine.

How to they breathe? What do they wear? What are their dreams, their hopes, their fears?

Someone should make a documentary about them.

Where do they go when their home is spread on toast? I've never seen even one of these people. How are they able to hide to thoroughly?

I've never even heard anyone reference them before. The people who live in the margarine must have connections in the political and media spheres, suppressing any mention of them in public discourse.

They must be flying under the radar.

You would think that there would be a whole range of 'margarine people' merchandise available. There's certainly a market for it. And yet, a cursory search for "T-shirt slogan - Living Large and In Marge" only brings up dozens of pornographic Simpsons cartoons.

We need someone to get under the lid, if you will, and find out what makes these people tick. Perhaps Jon Ronson would like to look into it.

Yes.

Yes.

Ah, the hot chocolate is ready. Also, some cocaine, if you'd like to...

No. How silly of me. Of course not.

Hmm. I'm still holding your scarf and coat. They're surprisingly heavy.

Geez. What have you got in these pockets?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Eggshell

I haven't dreamt a good joke for a while. And that pattern continued with this effort from a couple of nights ago:

Why do penguins huddle together?
Because there's safety in numb birds!

It technically makes sense, which is something. Dreams can be totally incoherent, but not here. Penguins might well be numb. It's cold in Antarctica.

But the punchline depends on "numb birds" sounding like "numbers". I don't think it's close enough.

Better luck next time, brain.

***

I think this month will break my record for the fewest blog posts in a calendar month. It's nice to know that, after all these years, I can still push boundaries. Even if the boundaries in question are the boundaries of inactivity. And it's not so much of a "push" as a "slump-against".

I've been slumping against boundaries for years. Sometimes I'll completely lose my footing and slide down the boundaries, scraping up my back something rotten.

Sometimes my head will loll against the boundaries at the end of a long day. Sometimes I'll smack my face against the boundaries whilst trying to take off my socks.

You have to test your limits. Otherwise, what's the point?