Tuesday, 26 November 2013

come up and see me some time

I have been too busy to look at the internet.

1. We recorded series 3 of Warhorses of Letters yesterday. Stephen Fry, Daniel Rigby and Tamsin Greig are really good.

2. Tall Tales is on Weds at The Good Ship, Kilburn. We have a couple of new faces, and a whole load of old ones.

3. You can't come to the Christmas Show if you haven't bought your tickets already. It's faintly possible we'll be arranging an open dress for Monday 16th Dec. If we do, I'll put details here...

This might not be the most boring post I have ever written, but you can't say I didn't give it a go.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

little things

1. It is now possible to buy tickets for this year's Mighty Fin Christmas Show. I wrote the script but Sue Pearse wrote the songs and they are amazing.

2. I love these big arrows. (Thank you, Simon Kane, who the very lucky will get to see in this year's Mighty Fin Christmas Show.)

3. I am a bit English to be comfortable with anyone saying they should 'be more grateful of their natural beauty' but this video about a forensic artist getting women to describe themselves and then having other people describe them is quite something. (Thank you, Robert Thorogood.)

4. Yes, yes, yes, I know. But I enjoyed this video of a guy in an audience.

5. Among all the collections of artificially collected but still very good photographs taken by different people for different reasons with different levels of artifice, this is the one I enjoyed today. (14, 31, 40.)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

he's behind you!

I have started my book. After briefly consulting with a legal expert (a lawyer), I think I am not going to get into legal trouble. This is because the only person who might misunderstand the book's true nature is what the legal profession calls 'a moron in a hurry' and you don't have to worry about them unless you are trying to cross the road.

Bamber Gascoigne is an interesting character. I've had some BG Wikipedia tabs open for a million years waiting for me to do something about them:

1. You know BG (assuming you to be British and not younger than 35) as the host of the original University Challenge. Fine.

2. While at Oxford, he wrote a musical called Share My Lettuce, which was put on the West End starring Maggie Smith and Kenneth Williams. Fair play.

3. It is extremely hard to find his first novel, Murgatroyd's Empire: a 1972 satirical novel concerning an entrepreneur who finds an island of pygmies, and trades them arms for treasure, recreating the development of European medieval weaponry and armour. I want to, though.

4. In 1983, BG wrote Quest for the Golden Hare, which is about a very weird 1979 publicity stunt sort of thing. Kit Williams wrote and illustrated a beautiful children's book called Masquerade. He filled it with clues to the whereabouts of a beautiful golden hare which he had made and buried in a clay pot.

The book sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world, and people went treasure hunting.

In 1982, Williams announced that the hare had been found by a guy called Ken Thomas. Triumph? Disaster. Six years later The Sunday Times exposed Ken Thomas as Dugald Thompson, whose business partner John Guard was the boyfriend of Veronica Robertson, who was in turn the former live-in girlfriend (not a phrase you hear much these days) of Kit Williams.

How did Guard solicit Robertson's help? They were both animal rights activists and he said they'd put the money towards the cause.

Robertson guessed vaguely where it was from things she had learned when she lived with Williams and Thompson then tricked Williams by sending him a drawing which convinced him they were right - he told them to dig.

Vexingly, some physics teachers had cracked the code and they dug up the hare in its little clay casket. But they didn't notice it and left it lying in the upturned earth, where it was found by Thompson, who was loitering nervously nearby.

Later, when he found out, he was annoyed. The hare sold for £31,900 in 1988. The story sometimes reemerges when someone who didn't know it finds it interesting. This is one of those times.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

make 'em laugh

Because my stupid knees aren't impervious to being fallen on, I can't play hockey or run at the moment. This usually fills me with all the rage I use hockey to get rid of. At the moment, things are slightly improved by aqua-running, which all the pro sportsmen with torn cartilage and plantar fasciitis have been doing to keep in trim for the last few years. You go in the deep end with a float round your waist and run hard. I will keep you up to speed as to whether it really works, running fitness wise. Other people find me pretty funny, I bet. I try to go when it's quiet.

Via Slate 1 (Politics Gabfest): The Eager Beavers. Why is this not a film? Maybe it is.

Via Slate 2 (Hang Up and Listen): Wendell Scott. Crikey. The only black driver to win a NASCAR race until this year, and he did in 1961 - he was not chequered flagged as the winner and didn't get a kiss from the white beauty queen, but the race organisers eventually had to admit he had won. (On the podcast, which is the best way to get the story, it's the last item, about an hour in.)

Via I Can't Remember: Funny plagiarists on Twitter.

Ok, graduation speeches are often shown around the place. Lots of them are great. It's a pretty easy gig. This one is particularly good, though.

The Selfish Giant is excellent. It is also, by the by, absolutely beautiful. I wanted to own about a dozen stills from it. (Rigorous note of possible bias - I know the producer.)

On Monday I will start writing a new book.