Monthly Archives: September 2006

Some Kind Of Comedian

One of the Carltons most sought-after stars is a chap called Ian Ward, who has often been told that he should go a become a stand-up comedian. Well, he took the advice, and went and became one. I went to see him and several other acts a few weeks ago, at The Ship in Borough (phenomenal reviews, eh?).

Ian has a blog here, which has the tagline, “Quantity guaranteed…” (!). He also has a video on Google Video here, which gives a good idea of his style of comedy. However, when I saw him he had obviously honed his material and style and so on, because he was hilarious. Now I like to think I’m a good audience member for comedy, because I enjoy being made to laugh, and it’s possible to get me to howl if the material and the timing is right. Mairi has also told me I pound tables when the hysterics take me, but I wouldn’t know. Too busy laughing.

The audience in the overlit upstairs room in the pub consisted mainly of friends of Ian, and also of the other acts, who were all just starting out (I think, and in some cases, hope). So there was a certain amount of immediate sympathy. But they needn’t have worried! Most of the acts were great, and I hope that the good ones continue and do more.

Ian himself came on second, and his material is basically the kind of thing he talks about normally. A bit sick in places, which doesn’t bother me, but which got a couple of winces from the crowd. But he was really good and funny and I hope he does more.

The most accomplished and experienced act of the night was a double act by the name of Amphlett and Candy, who look like Michael Nesmith without the hat working as a supply teacher, and Reese Shearsmith crossed with a Blue Meanie. They made me laugh and laugh – they reminded me of the League of Gentlemen and Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, but totally original in their way. I was forced to say thank you in the bar afterwards.

Sadly there was a downside to the evening, in the shape of the compere. I don’t know where they found her, but she had this amazing knack of killing whatever atmosphere had been built up by the acts stone dead. She didn’t just link the acts, she rambled and wittered on, and I think she thought she was doing some standup herself. But really, shut up, get off, and lets get the next act on. I almost feel guilty for writing such vitriol, but it was embarassing, presumptuous and annoying.

But all in all it was a good night, especially as I got to see many people I haven’t seen in a while and get drunk with them. Hi to you all, and sorry (just in case).


I’ve mentioned Daneeta Saft before – she and her cinematographer partner Patrick are in the (hopefully) final stages of editing their documentary Tokyo Cowboys. I met them a couple of weeks back for Daneeta’s birthday, where further evidence of their interesting and varied lives was presented. One thing I didn’t know was that Daneeta’s home town is New Orleans, and that her family have a history very much tied up with the place.

The other morning, Daneeta texted everyone to tell us that she had an article in the Saturday Guardian! It makes fascinating reading, Daneeta, and I hope it can go some way to paying for the completion of the film.

Something else that would help the completion is you lot pop yourselves over to the Tokyo Cowboys website, where there is a PayPal link to allow you to donate some pennies towards the completion of what I’m sure will be a great film. (Actually, the link is a bit borked at the moment, so hold off for now)

By the way, I forgot to mention that my Mute records co-fan Matt, who was at the pub celebrating with Daneeta and co, is the owner of a keen pair of TRON SHOES. Yeah, but I do a great impression of the enemy mastermind in the videogame GORF (“Ha Ha Ha Ha. I am the Gorfian Empire”), so we’re evens.

Seahouses In Pictures

I finally got around to uploading my photos of the holiday in Seahouses.

I also stuck together all the video clips we took of Shuggie running around on the beach, and set it to music.


Sorrento 2006

On Friday Mairi and I are going to Sorrento, on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. I’m going to try and write a bit each day, but I won’t be able to upload it until we get back, so watch this space.

I’m also going to try and take tons of photos, and put them on Flickr for you alllllll to see.

Edit: Here they are

We Went Driving…

I was just listening to my iPod at work, drowning out the cries, you know, when three shuffled tracks came on in a row which gave huge me waves of nostalgia. All three tracks had a very strong connection to a place, a group of people or a person. I felt I had to tell you.

Title: David’s Last Summer
Artist: Pulp
Album: His ‘n’ Hers
Nostalgia Location: A reasonably spacious room in a student house in Gordon Road, High Wycombe, early 1995
Feeling Inspired: I had returned from Germany. I had been living in an utter shitehole elsewhere in High Wycombe, with crap people and a criminal landlord. But now I was in a nice room, in a, well, still crap house, but with great people. My social life was blossoming, and things were going well. It wasn’t to last, of course. I had to graduate and leave, and sadly didn’t manage to keep in touch with everyone I now wish I had, but there you go.

Title: Madrugada Eterna
Artist: KLF
Album: Chill Out
Nostalgia Location: A pokey room in a student house in Henrietta Street, Manchester, late 1990 – early 1991
Feeling Inspired: In my first year of college, aged 18, I lived in a room which was one half of an attic in a large house in Manchester. I wasn’t ready to fend for myself and study at the same time, as my results showed. I spent a lot of time in my room, worried about the course, about some essay or program I had to write, and that I felt (correctly as it turned out) unable to do. And to try and calm down, I listened to this album a lot, along with its companion piece, Space, while looking out of the window at the common opposite. And so, it is now associated with stucco-effect plasterboard walls, and (ironically) a mild sense of panic.

Title: Small Town
Artist: Lou Reed and John Cale
Album: Songs for Drella
Nostalgia Location: The kitchen of a small apartment in Am Burgfried, Flensburg, Germany, early 1994
Feeling inspired: As part of the course in High Wycombe, I got to spend a semester studying in Germany. I arrived in Flensburg in early 1994, stayed in the YHA hostel for the first night, and then managed to track down a room in an apartment with another guy, Gerhard, who was the Social Sec of the Student’s Union. The first week I was there, Gerhard was away, and the course hadn’t started yet, and the other English students hadn’t arrived yet. So, I was a bit stranded, and I have to say I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was all fine within a fortnight, as everything got moving, but that first week was scary. Gerhard had a tiny cassette recorder, and few tapes, including some great old ska from The Busters, and Lou Reed, including this album he did with John Cale to apologise to the late Andy Warhol for being rotten to him. Some great songs, but this opening track always makes me think of pottering around a tiny kitchen, figuring out what the hell I’ve got myself into.

Is It A Horse?

Part 2 in the ‘Unusual Breeds on Tooting Bec Common’ series

While out walking Shuggie on the Common, we keep coming across the more unusual breeds of dog. We ran in to a Malamute a few weeks back, and then this week, while enjoying the sunshine and the smell of the damp grass, and avoiding the huge puddles, another beast of a hound approached. It was big and hairy, and was wearing a muzzle. This gave me pause. Yes, the muzzle would stop it biting, but why was it wearing one? It’s owner, a French girl on a bicycle, came over to chat. She told me the dog was a Briard, a French sheepdog, “from where they make the cheese”. It was lovely, and apparently needed lots of grooming.

But what about the muzzle? Well, she said it was just when he was with big dogs, he got excited. As it was, he was very friendly with Shuggie, who was doing his nervous sniffing and quick tail-wagging, on account of the size of this thing. He was friendly with me too, leaning against my legs heavily while I scratched his ear. Then the Briard lay down on his back, and rolled his eyes in that mad way dogs have, allowing Shuggie to poke his schnoz in the Briards nethers. Nice.

Watch this space for more breed encounters!


Scriptless Wonder, July 2006

A quiet interlude before the heaving masses arrived. It was much more cheerful than this looks, honest. Picture courtesy of Ian Ward.

Shuggie vs. Mollie

Shuggie versus my brothers dog Mollie, a couple of Christmasses ago.