Tuesday, 3 February 2015

a conversation I dreamed a few weeks ago

Two people are having a conversation.

***

Person 1: My name is Charles Donnelly Player. So my friends call me 'CD Player'. Get it?

Person 2: Seedy Player?

Person 1: No, C. D. Player. Like a CD Player.

Person 2: Oh. Yeah, I get it.

...(pause)...

Person 2: Or, what about, instead of that, you call yourself C Deep Layer? That's even better.

Person 1: What does that mean?

Person 2: You know: Deep Layer. Like... you have a deep layer. Like underneath the surface, there's a hidden deep layer to you. One of your layers is deep. And the 'C' is your first initial. Get it?

Person 1: Ohhhh, right. Yeah, I get it. I think 'CD Player' is better, though.

Person 2: But why would you want to be named after an obsolete technology? You might as well call yourself 'Windows XP'. 

...(pause)...

Person 2: If your middle name was Xavier. 

...(pause)...

Person 2: And your first name was Windows.

Person 1: ...

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014: The Year in Burst Blood Vessels

I hope you're wearing your retrospectacles, because things are about to get looked back on. Nostalgia, comin' at ya. Light the prior-fire, because what once was old will be covered anew. 

That's all 100% true, because it's time for:

DiamondBadger's Headscissors Review of 2014

Here are previous entries:

2013

I like to summarise things in categories, particularly at this time of year. I haven't written a blog post for ages, though, and I'm struggling to string sentences together. I've forgotten how to think, how to be engaging, and how to think I'm engaging.

Still, with sections this clearly demarcated, only a fool could stumble. And am I a stumbling fool? My grazed knees tell the story.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas. It's over now, so take those chipolatas out of your hair. You look ridiculous.

Life-Changing Event of 2014

I can't remember anything interesting that happened this year. No holidays, no moving house, no new skills, no new facial hair. 

In last year's version of this, I predicted that I'd put up the mirror we bought. We did put up the mirror, but it took several months and several armed robberies of B&Q. 

I can see myself now.

Podcast of 2014 (category un-retired)

Podcasts have come back with a bang in this household. In fact, 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Podcast. 

I, along with a large chunk of the western world, listened to Serial. I don't have any strong opinions on it, but I thought I should let you know. No strong opinions at all. I certainly didn't kill anybody, if that's what you're thinking. I like Koreans.

Ahaha, a joke about a real-life murder! It's a suitable topic for entertainment! It's an invasion of privacy! It's legitimate journalism! Justice! Respect! Awful people on Reddit! It's not about that! It is about that! Mail Chimp! Jokes about Mail Chimp! Joking about Mail Chimp is an invasion of privacy! Justice! Respect! That dead lawyer's voice! Due process! An acceptable ending! A disgrace! A revelation!

There. That's probably covered it.

My favourite podcast of the year is Comedy Bang Bang. I can't remember when we began listening to it, but we're now so involved in its world and its characters that I can't believe we ever didn't listen to it.

If you haven't listened to it, it's a comedy podcast that loosely takes the form of an interview. Various comedy stars are on there, and there are also people doing characters. It's almost all improvised. There are hundreds of episodes, so it's difficult to know where to start. Maybe a Best Of episode? Or this one. Or anything with Paul F Tompkins or Lauren Lapkus on it.

One of the funniest people on there is Andy Daly, who portrays a wide variety of characters from cowboy poets to German tourists to embodiments of pure evil. Daly is a ridiculously funny improviser. We may hear about him again later.

He was also featured in a spin-off podcast, featuring some of his characters: The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project. It makes me laugh. Try this one as a taster.

I've probably been listening to some other ones too. 


TV Programme of 2014

I've been watching a fair bit of television this year, which in the old days would have been something to be ashamed of. Luckily the idiot box is idiot no longer, and is venerated as the highest culture available for consumption (above sculpture, asthma-ballet and every single book).

New Stuff

I am in love with the Zeitgeist, so I was forced to watch True Detective and Fargo (the two must always be compared to each other, and never assessed on their individual merits). I didn't love either of them. True Detective was more ambitious and had higher highs, but also had a fair chunk of stupidity. Fargo was much more consistent but never wowed me. I'll probably watch the second seasons of both, though.

Louis continued to be excellent and unlike anything else on television. Not so many laughs this year, but some compelling drama.

I watched a couple of new animated shows: Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman. The former was co-created by Dan Harmon, and reminded me of Community in that is was wildly ambitious and imaginative, occasionally superb, but never quite forming a satisfying whole.

I still haven't finished Bojack Horseman yet, but have really been enjoying it. It started off as a pretty funny show with a standard set-up, but as the season goes on, it becomes more rich and emotional and densely serialised. A surprising joy.

Mad Men was also on. I can't remember anything that happened in it.

Oh yes. That nipple.

I don't think they should have split up the final season. I have a short attentio

Old Stuff

We watched the old 80s TV drama The Jewel In The Crown on DVD, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's one of those classy old British dramas that are full of great character actors and big themes.

I finally got around to watching Twin Peaks on the lovely new Blu-ray box set, and it obsessed me for a month or so. It falls apart a bit in the second season, but the highs are pretty damn high, and it's a fun world in which to immerse oneself. Except when it's absolutely terrifying.

Another diamond I belatedly found waiting for me was Deadwood. I've written about it at length here. It's amazing, and automatically jumps into my top ten TV shows of all time. I haven't made that list, so that statement is probably meaningless.

But my television show of 2014, by a distance is... (trumpet purchase, trumpet lessons, fanfare)...

Review

It's Andy Daly! Remember him, from before?

In this comedy, he plays someone who reviews life experiences. It's a funny premise, and would have been great if it was just him reviewing funny stuff. But there's a strong story arc throughout the season, with lots of fun callbacks and lovely emotional bits. The final episode is one of my favourite single television episodes in some time. I haven't made that list (or even thought about it), so that statement is probably meaningless.

I don't know if it's available in the UK (it's not even out on DVD yet), so find it any way you can. And when it comes out, buy three copies.

Here's an example bit:




Shoe of 2014

I'm going to go with the snow shoe. I always thought snow shoes had to be tennis rackets, but I've taken a different tack and have used an umpire's chair. The snow would have to be pretty deep for it to be ineffective.

Film of 2014

New Stuff

Let's rattle through these. I've basically been left underwhelmed by every film I saw at the cinema this year. That probably comes down to my mindset, rather than the quality of the movies in question. I might just be difficult to please in a public venue.

I might be missing some, but I think the only films I saw in a cinema were Boyhood (impressive, but not as interesting or moving as I'd anticipated), Gone Girl (schlocky, dull, strangely cast), Guardians of the Galaxy (pretty fun, but no more so than the other dozen Marvel movies that have come out in the past five minutes), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (wimped out on its interesting potential, made Black Widow boring again).

I did see a couple of films on Blu-ray that came out in 2014. Under The Skin was great and creepy and just my cup of tea, with some really memorable bits. Only Lovers Left Alive was really fun and really funny, and only occasionally as irritating as its premise suggested.

Old Stuff

I saw The Conformist and McCabe and Mrs Miller for the first time this year, and wrote the words "TOP NOTCH" on the DVD cases (figuratively - one was on Netflix).

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (the original film and the Blu-ray 'Missing Pieces') was my favourite film experience of the year.


Moment of 2014

This might be a good time to mention my beloved Southampton Football Club. I've fretted about them at various points over the past year, particularly when we seemed to be selling everyone off, but this season has been fantastic. The manager is great, the players are great, the football, the league position, the Twitter feed - all wonderful. I've needed a lot of cheering up this year, and the Saints have managed it more often that not.

My moment of the year was being at St Mary's to watch us beat Sunderland 8(eight) - 0. If you have to spell the number, you know it was a special occasion.


Music of 2014

Not too many comments here, just some BANGIN' (good) TUNES (song choices).

Bilal - A Love Surreal (this is actually from 2013, but I got the album this year and it's one of my favourites)



Tiny Ruins - Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens (single)



clipping. - CLPPNG



The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave 




D'Angelo and The Vanguard - Black Messiah

By doing this so late, I get to include D'Angelo's album on my end of year review! Take that, early December idiots!

The album is fantastic, and my number two record of the year.



My favourite album of the year is... (recalls trumpet skills, fanfare)...


Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2

This was number one on Pitchfork's 2014 list, which would normally put me off (I'm insecure and like to seem original). But this is so good, I can't choose anything else. I love Killer Mike, and I liked the first RTJ album, but this was a big leap forward from that one. I've listened to this many times, as loud as my ears will take.





Misunderstanding of 2014

Accidentally bought five hundred ovens for someone who wanted a single fridge.

New Habit of 2014

Heroin. I haven't actually taken any heroin, but I have been thinking about it. I might be addicted to thinking about it. My friends and family took part in an intervention, in which I was advised to "shit or get off the pot". 

So I've stopped thinking about it.
 

Stuffed Animal of 2014

This is a soft crocodile. He was a birthday present from Lucy, and what a present he was! You can't argue with a crocodile.




His name is Snarlin' McFarlane.

Ordeal of 2014

2014

Albert of 2014 (category retired - stupid)

Stand-up of 2014

I haven't seen much stand-up, but I did do a couple of shows this year, One was terrifying and exhausting, And the other was the day before yesterday. It went pretty well. I actually did this material (the nature programme stuff) and, with a safety layer of irony, it went down a treat.


Number of 2014

1.1

Celebrity Sighting of 2014 (category retired until I see someone famous)


Picture of a Vegetable Made in MS Paint of 2014

(Yes, I do this every year)




Odd Celebrity Crush of 2014

I think I fell in love with St Vincent. Her album has been riding high on many end-of-year lists, but I haven't heard it. I don't know any of her music. I don't even really know what she looks like.

But I loved the little "oh" noise she makes in response to a terrible joke at 0:17 of the below clip.



That's it. Just the little noise.

I'm into it.

Language of 2014

Esperantzen.

Tool of 2014

Niall-Gun

Annoyance of 2014

The fonts are all weird. All of them. Not just dingbats or whatever.

Disclaimer of 2014

All opinions are my own. Even yours. I bought them at auction.

Clothing Item of 2014

I bought a soft, dark red, long-sleeved t-shirt. It makes me look like someone from the past and future simultaneously.

Hero of 2014 (category retired - Lucy is permanent holder of the title)

Comic of 2014 (new category!)

Since I started buying comic books again, I've been meaning to add this section to my year-end review. But it's getting late and I just don't have the time for an in-depth analysis. What a shame. I'm sure I would have been very insightful.

Never mind, I'll expand it next time.

In 2014, I've really enjoyed the sci-fi series Saga, the always great Astro City, the hilarious Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and Archer & Armstrong, which is also hilarious, but I can't write that twice (can I?).

But my two favourite series are these:

 Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's amazing Daredevil, which is sadly ending soon. It may be the greatest Daredevil run ever, and that's saying something.



The new Ms Marvel series by G Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona got a lot of media interest ("A female Muslim hero?!") and there were concerns that it might be a publicity stunt. But it's been fantastic. I love Spider-Man-style teen hero stories (balancing heroism with the restraints of everyday life), and Alphona's artwork is brilliantly unique.



Catchphrase of 2014

We've started referring to hot dogs as "bun-longs". Is that a catchprhase?

Fact of 2014

Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay of Beverly Hills Cop II in my new RPF fan-fiction story.

Best Bit from My Review of 2014

I didn't mention ebola.

Prediction for 2015

Are they going to reboot Scarface? I bet they're going to reboot Scarface.

And it will destroy US diplomatic ties with Cuba. They've only just been re-tied, guys! Don't let this get in the way!

***

Well, that certainly started well.

Just like 2015 will!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Let's all join the same army.

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.