Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pedj & Kelly

PP directed me to this video here, with the explanation: 'It's funny because it's French, and they're both straight', and I can't find it in my heart to disagree.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I have spent too long in london.

The clues:

1. Becoming quite irate that Falmouth Tesco is a bit slow to serve, and has NO BLOODY HUMOUS.

2. I wander into my Best Mate's shop to say hello.

BM: Hello!

I make my greeting.

BM recoils.

BM: What did you just do?
ME: ?
BM: You kissed me on both sides of my face.

The manager is standing in the background, She has witnessed what just happend and is staring in horror.

MANAGER: You kissed her on both sides of her face!
ME: Did I?
BM: You've never done that before.
MANAGER: You've never done that before.

I leave, burning with shame.

3. I read in the Media Guardian that Talkback has thrown a party for 'talent' at which at least one Green Wing actor was present. I have heard nothing of this, and despite the fact that I was in Cornwall anyway, and so couldn't have gone THROW A MASSIVE HISSY FIT.

Later I complain to my girlfriend, who is stuck out in rural France, looking after her severely ill mother. She is very sympathetic, and rightly so, frankly. This is a hard time for me, and I need lots of care and attention.

So I decide to take the dogs for a walk, from Flushing to Mylor, as tramping through good honest cornish mud might put me back in touch with what's important and shit.

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Actually it's great: the dogs behave (Head Dog gets a bit bouncy, but I keep my arms folded so he can't chew off any extremities) and the combination of low sun and sea fog lends the walk a pleasingly gothic touch.

Back in the car, I sit and reflect. It is good here, away from the politics and iniquities of the capital. Head Dog grins at me. Lurchers are quite grinny dogs anyway, but this one is a bit deerhoundy and a bit saluki(ey) as well, so he does have quite a pleasing face when he's not savaging my limbs.

I lean out and ruffle his ears. He is a good dog, at heart.

Terrible noxious, yet somehow organic fumes suddenly fill the car. The windows steam up, and the radio turns to static. Head Dog's grin suddenly has a rather pleased quality.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Worst Christmas Presents I Have Ever Given* (*not Received, note, but Given)

To: My gran, last christmas

This weird game, which was like a cross between Scrabble and Boggle, in which you dropped Scrabble cubes (not blocks) into a a grid, then pushed a slidey thing which supposedly jumbled the cubes randomly, so players could then argue whether 'sploof' (the sound made when someone messages you on Skype Chat) is actually a word (it isn't).

In fact, none of the pieces fit together properly, so you wrestled with the slidey thing for ages, then suddenly all the Scrabble Cubes exploded out of the grid at astonishing velocity, blinding relatives and upsetting the cat (it's dead now).

To: Best Mate, about nine years ago

One of those carved nut things, which when you open it, reveals a carved beetle thing, which wobbles its legs like it's alive. BM opens it:

BM: Some of its legs seem to be missing.
ME: Oh, maybe that's why Debs (girlfriend at the time) gave it back to me.
BM throws carved nut thing at my head.

ME: (outraged) Oh my god, you are so ungrateful!

To: My Little Brother, about (jesus fucking christ) twenty years ago (seriously, jesus fucking christ)

A penknife. Only one of the blades had broken off, and the other bit, which seemed to be an odd hollow pointy thing, was covered in rust, which flaked off when you tried to open it. I bought this at a carboot sale in the mid-december rain at Swanpool carpark and decided to hand it over to my brother as an early christmas present, so I wouldn't have to bother getting him a proper present.

I was later shouted at by my mum, who explained that it wasn't the crapness of the thing that was the issue, so much as the fact that I had extorted the money to pay for it from my brother himself right then and there, and afterwards shouted at him for not showing (again) the appropriate gratitude.

If I was my parents, I probably would have drowned me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Tornado Hell

The greatest Evening Standard article ever written.

Pick your favourite line. Mine so far is "A black roof tile speared the American walnut floating shelf, scattering our younger daughter Ella's birthday cards", but there are so many others.

I hope Happy the cat turns up though, obvs.

UPDATE: oh, sorry, look, Happy turns up at the end. Took me a while to get that far. What with MY EYES BLEEDING.

UPDATE 2: to be fair, I'm with her on the Scientolology thing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Coke hates kittens

AKA "Large corporation in 'behaving like bastards' shock."

Looky-loo, coca cola rips off my mate's band's video!

This is Seven Seconds of Love original video 'Ninja'
This is the Coke Advert

Normally I find this sort of thing a bit tricky, as it's hard to copyright ideas and so on. But this one is taking the piss somewhat. A man explains via the medium of pulling faces.

The sad thing is, I know the band as a whole to have the moral fibre of a jellybaby, and would probably have handed over the entire video rights for fifty pence and a collective handjob.

Coca cola, you have lost my trust. As a brand, you are in my eyes diminished. The red in your logo now stands, as far as I am concerned, for the blood of the innocent, creative, kitten-animating artist, trampled in the rush to make your product seem both 'hip' and 'now'. I hate you. Coca Cola, I hate you utterly.

I won't be boycotting though, as I never drank the ghastly fizzy sugar syrup in the first place.

UPDATE: all right, yes, technically it's the ad agency who ripped them off. But now Coke have been alerted to the crime via m'blog, and HAVE CHOSEN TO DO NOTHING. So it's okay to be cross with them still.

Also, as Richard has pointed out in the comments, Guiness/their ad agencies are bastards n'all. In fact there's a long and distinguished history of ad agencies whipping stuff from penniless creatives. There's probably a wiki somewhere.

*wanders off*

Seven Stages of Rejection.

There are seven stages a comedy writer must inevitably go through after a script is commissioned (in this case Project TSTWTMCISOBOMOWMG), then the final result is rejected:


'Are you sure you read the right script? The one I wrote? The good one? Seriously though, are you sure you read it properly? It's quite complex written down, you might have missed a bit. You can have another go, I don't mind waiting.'


(I seem to skip this one usually.)


'Oh crap, somebody read the blog. Or saw me do that thing at that party. Or found the binbags.'


'Does my hair look okay to you?'


'I still think you read the wrong script.'


'It's too late now, I've still got your money! Hahahahha! You idiots!'


'Hmm, if I change the names, which bits of the script can I re-use for the other thing I'm writing at the moment?'

UPDATE: The ending on this post is a bit weak, frankly, but people shouldn't read too much into this, as the Project TSTWTMCISOBOMOWMG script was particularly strong. Also, Evans has a new green coat.

MORE UPDATE: Ooh, it might not have been completely rejected after all, I may just have to take out some of the killings. This will call for a new opening however. And a new ending. Maybe I'll move those bits over to make a standalone short film. In which the dialogue consists mostly of 'aaaaaaargh splat'.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A realdoc writes

About the ever-spiralling decay of an institution we'll only miss when it's too late and it's gone. Still, as long as most tabloids' theme this christmas is 'oh noes, the PCs are taking away our Christmasses!', I'm sure it'll get the attention it deserves.


I'm going to be guilty of the most astonishing bad taste, putting this in the same post as the above link, but there we are, fuck it.

Walking back from the shops today, I found myself walking behind a blind man, tap-tapping carefully along with his white stick. Because my average walking speed is slightly faster than that of a man already running quite fast, it became apparent that I was going to have to overtake him. Now I imagine that if you're blind, having someone swoosh past you with no warning could be a bit scary, so I stepped right out into the road to give him plenty of space.

Of course true irony would have been if I hadn't seen that lorry coming, but I did, so it was fine. I went back on the pavement, and then saw, in the distance, another blind man with a stick, on the same side of the pavement, coming straight towards my one.

So I stood there for a while, and just couldn't work out what to do. As they drew inexorably closer, part of me wanted to shout out 'Hey, blind guys!'. But this seemed somehow rude. Maybe I should run back and stand between them with my arms stretched out, braced for the crash ? Or I could take the arm of one and gently steer him round the other one, but this would require some kind of explanation, and all I could think of to say was 'Come with me if you want to live', which seemed a tad excessive.

I stood, frozen with indecision, and yet I could not look away. And I'll be honest, as I watched two blind men slowly and determinedly head towards each other, both oblivious to the others' existence, a dark and terrible part of me thought: this might end up being very very funny.

What actually happened of course, was they heard each others' sticks tapping on the ground, so one stepped politely aside for the other, and then they continued on their way.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Peanuts vs Marvel

Two great American mythologies merge (from the ever-reliable Drawn illustration blog).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Series 2 puppet opening

Accusations have made, in the previous posts comments thread but one, that no thought was made of putting puppets in Green Wing. In fact I did a 'puppet recap' scene for Series 2, which, bewilderingly, was never used. So I thought I'd put it up here instead.

UPDATE: Actually, now I read them again, it's not that surprising they weren't used.


Puppets of MAC, MARTIN and GUY hanging out of the back of a cardboard ambulance.

But Mac, I don’t want to die!

Don’t worry Martin, I’m sure this will all work out fine!

Oh no! I ‘kissed’ my own mum!


Ambulance teeters a bit then crashes below the level of the booth. An unseen hand flings blue confetti up in the air. Then silence.
Suddenly, ten finger puppet BROWNIES appear over the top of the booth.

(squeaky) Look! Bodies in the water! Come on everyone! Remember the Brownie code.

They disappear, and the limp puppet bodies of MAC PUPPET and GUY PUPPET flop over the top of the booth.

Oh no! Where’s Guy?

We looked everywhere, but we could not see him.*


Mac is not very well. We should take him to a hospital.

We’ll take you!

(feebly) Don’t.... tell....

Don’t tell anyone about this part? All right Mac, I promise.

MAC PUPPET droops limply again. BOYCE puppet pops up.

What’s this, what’s this?

Oh Doctor Boyce! Guy ‘kissed’ his own mum, then drove into the sea, and now he’s gone, and we were rescued by Brownies!

Well don’t worry, Martin, because I’m going to make everything all right now!

NURSE PUPPET pops up, showering BOYCE PUPPET with kisses.

Oh Doctor Boyce, you’re the handsomest doctor in the whole world! Mmmm kissy kissy!

BROWNIES pop up again.

And that’s what happened!

BOYCE stands up and takes a bow. Pull back to see a sign saying ‘Edinburgh Fringe’, and a small group of tourists, all applauding wildly. BOYCE grins, then looks alarmed as a hand reaches out, and NURSE PUPPET hauls him back behind the booth.

Oh and there was a bit about Doctor Mancoo as well:



Carboard car careering wildly out of control.

Brrrrm Brrrrrm! Ah! My brakes!

Car hits a model tree, then paper flames rise up and engulf the car.
Finally a bandaged MANCOO PUPPET rises into view, hooked up to a model IV machine.

Beep... beeep.... beeep....

BOYCE PUPPET appears next to the MANCOO PUPPET

(to audience) So Dr. Mancoo ended up in his own hospital, and no-one ever found out who cut his brakes.

Cut to-
A school assembly full of children.


Kids applaud wildly. BOYCE stands up and takes a bow. One or two teachers start clapping, rather uncertainly. Suddenly the NURSE PUPPET drags BOYCE back into the booth, which starts shaking violently. Teachers start ushering the kids out, rather speedily.

* This was to do with the original plan for Guy, where he washed up back in Switzerland (?), where he went feral and was befriended by a pack of wolves (we spent ages on this). This was then down-graded to living out of a box near the hospital, and then dropped altogether.

Some of the alternative endings are fun, but obviously I won't put them up until the special has gone out (January 4th)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A bookseller speaks:

"The ISBN number used in Torchwood for Emily Dickinson's poems was wrong. It started in 019 the book was the Faber edition of the complete poems, and as such would have an ISBN starting in 0571. A schoolboy error. "

Good work PP.

UPDATE: PP also informs me that the quote 'O Captain, my Captain' comes from Walt Whitman, not Emily Dickinson, which I like to think I would have known, but probably I wouldn't. Also, I gave up on Torchwood after episode two, so I don't have the faintest idea what he's talking about.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Torchwood - Episode 10. I LOLed.


Back in Cornwall now, after an absence of about six weeks. My first impulse was to head into town and see if the Tiny Tears doll is still wedged into the second indentation in the 'W' in the Woolworths sign, but instead I headed for my parents' to pick up the post.

Heading up the steep lane on the last bit of the journey, I could see the figure of m'mother in the distance, accompanied by her two dogs, Dog A: small and bouncy whippet, and Dog B: Mostly Deerhound, the list of whose crimes breaks roughly into the killings (which also involve eatings) and the the eatings (which for all I know involved a killing), and now have a semi-regular listing in the Guardian Weekend Guide. Sadly, he probably gets the Express.

Mother waved, and the two dogs detached themselves from her side. Dog A trotted prettily towards me, tail wagging in a friendly fashion, by which time Dog B (much much biggger) had crossed the distance between us and had my forearm clenched firmly between his jaws.


Finally he lets go, dances around a bit and goes back to my mother.

MOTHER: (sympathetically) Tch. Did you forget to fold your arms?

There was a massive storm last night all over Cornwall, and fallen trees litter the roads and pathways, although oddly no-one heard a thing (Police Baffled). I picked up a broken branch to carry back, because we live off the land down here, and Dog B immediately seized the end of it, growling fiercely and making it approximately ten times heaver. Apparently he 'thought it was a broom'.

Later on I sit at my parents' and nurse a cup of tea. Dog B creeps up to me and sadly lays his heavy head upon my knee, his large brown eyes gazing up into mine.

ME: Oh fuck you.

UPDATE: the post, by the way, included a small knitted Spider-Man finger puppet, sent to me from Chile. Thanks Paula.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Treatments and Outlines

Treatments and outlines are a written way of tricking a production company into spending a large amount of money on an idea you've had that might turn out to be complete rubbish.

Theoretically, the idea goes like this: during a meeting your agent has managed to get you with a hapless representative of said production company, you throw together enough random phrases and current new sound-bites that eventually, by sheer chance, you come up with something sounding vaguely credible. Or ''It's about a dead radioactive Russian dissident who shares a flat with... Denise Van Outen!"

The representative likes your Van Outen idea (horribly likely actually), so you go away and write a outline - usually a couple of pages, but it could be four or five - and rewrite it until the production company are confident enough to give you some money for it. The fools! Possibly this is a few hundred quid that gives them the rights to shop it about the channels for six months, or they might commission you to write a more detailed treatment (could be eight to twelve pages) which will contain details of the main characters, the setting, and probably rough plotlines for all prospective episodes.

If they like this, you then get commissioned to write the first script. If they like that you're in pilot territory, and that's a whole different world.

So theoretically it goes: outline, treatment, pilot script.

The problem with this system is that if a script gets generated this way, it's essentially been assembled by committee even if the writer's name is the only one on it. In order to try and get through each stage, you're tempted to file off the rough corners, take out anything that sounds a bit controversial (or if it's a certain kind of comedy, put stuff in just because it is controversial). So ideally, the treatment you're writing is for a series that you know the production company wants to make, but leaves you with enough space to write the series you want to make, which is probably slightly different.

You'll notice I'm writing all this from the point of view that all writers are all creative geniuses, and all producer-type people are stunted money-grabbing know-nothings, whose only aim is to thwart your artistic vision. This is, of course, mostly false, but it does contain just enough of a grain of truth to help you sleep at night. Producers, of course, aren't allowed to point out publicly that most of the writers they work with simply aren't that good. This stops most of them sleeping nights at all, because of the rage and frustration, but at least they're paid more money than writers.

And if they're not, why are you hanging around with them?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Uneasy Listening (now with lots of updates and a youtube bit)

UPDATE: 'The Crow' not by AIM at all, but by DJ Food, which explains why I couldn't find it on the album. D'oh! (and thanks Orb).

This time round, I did catch Howard Goodall's programme, which was on rhythm, and was excellent, and inspired me to finally do that podcast of all rhythmically-weird stuff I've been meaning to put up for ages.

Bluecat Podcast 1: Eargasm

At least it starts all rhythmically-weird, but if you stick with it, you'll find it goes through some increasingly odd but rather glorious mashup things, then a breakbeat piece that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck every time I hear it, and ends with a Radiohead cover of such perfectly icy beauty as to be almost glacial.

I'll do a proper track listing later, but I quite like listening to these things without really knowing what's coming up next, so I think you should too.

In other news, I've been frantically catching up on 'Dexter', the US Showtime series about a likeable crime scene blood spatter analyst who in his spare time is... a serial killer (who only kills other serial killers). It's quite possibly the greatest television show I've ever seen (apart from episode three of Heroes). Muchos kudos to the mighty James Moran who put me onto it. Good work sir.


Righto, this is a bit vague I'm afraid, as some of these are audio files that have survived four different Apple Crumbles and have ended up with their serial numbers melted off in the process:

First bit of speedy-up hip hop weirdness was 'Long Vein of the Law', by Subtle (who also lark about as rap outfit Clouddead and the indier Why? (both highly recommended).

The three mashup things are:

The poj masta remix of 'Toxic', then that 50 Cent mashup by I don't know who, and then the only mashup to feature Sigur Ros's Starálfur (in there with Kanye West and Twista) of which I'm aware (this last by flosstradamus apparently).

Penultimate song is the achingly poignant 'The Crow', by Aim, although I can't tell you what album it's off, annoyingly.

And lastly, the cover of Radiohead's 'Creep' is by the Scala Choir. So:

1. Long Vein of the Law - Subtle
2. Toxic (poj masta remix)
3. 50 Cent in the Jungle
4. 'Overnight Star' by Flosstradamus/Sigur Ros/Kanye West/Twista
5. The Crow - (not Aim at all, but) DJ Food
6. Creep - Radiohead cover by Scala

Thought I'd keep this in the same post, but blimey charlie, this is ace:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I loathe I'm A Celebrity and its utter contempt for nature.

Normally my hatred for various television programs manifests itself in the form of not watching and finding something else to do instead, which means you can't really vent, or you end up looking like something from the Daily Mail or one of the stupider bishops.

Big Brother, for example, strikes me as increasingly unpleasant form of class warfare*, and one that can't be excused by picking on the stupid. In fact, I'm fairly sure that picking on stupid people makes it just a little bit worse, as stupid people really ought to be protected by the brighter ones, nurtured and cared for and treated kindly, as quite often they turn out not to be stupid at all, and even if they don't, well, you had a go.

I could go as far as to describe Big Brother, and those behind it (producers) and in front of it ('oh my god it's awful isn't it but you have to watch it don't you' journalists, of which the Guardian seems to employ an increasing number) as a bunch of over-privileged yahoos with the compassion of an African dictator. And to those who say 'Ah, but the public loves this stuff', I would say: 'Well They're Cunts And All'.

However, I didn't watch it, so these opinions are baseless, and wildly ignorable.

On this occasion however, I did watch an episode of I'm A Celebrity at close quarters with some colleagues (stout-hearted and compassionate folks all), and frankly it rather freaked me out. Something about the way the contestants joyfully screamed and wriggled and yelled as they had insects poured on them, or crunched underfoot, or pulled off their backs filled me with what I can only describe as a bleak loathing for all humankind.

It's entirely possible that the assorted creatures didn't have a clue what was going on, or were having a fabulous time, maybe even thinking 'Ooh, that David Gest didn't sound a bit like I thought he would, hang on, I think he's sussed, I'll just scuttle round to his other shoulder'. And I have bought a spanking new leather manbag, and on my recent working trip (ahem) to Mallorca I managed to live on Mostly Sausage, so clearly I'm a massive hypocrite. And yet something about the way those people behaved with the animals, as though they existed only as rather revolting props, demonstrated just how homo sapiens has become divorced from the rest of the natural world in a way more profoundly tragic than any number of documentaries about polar bears splashing miserably about in melting icewater could ever achieve.

Furthermore, I missed the Howard Goodall thing about music Sunday night on Channel 4. ARSING BLOODY BOLLOCKS.

*This isn't to say I loathe all reality television - the cello one off Faking It made me cry out loud.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

praying mantis

praying mantis
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
This beast was easily three feet long. He went for Fay and Ori, but I leapt out of the jacuzzi in time to intercept his lunging foreclaws. Our battle spilled down the hill and into the abandoned town centre, where I was finally able to beat him to death with (oh the irony) an olive branch.

We will eat well tonight.

THINKING ABOUT IT: I could have tied him to the orange gas cannister, lit it and rolled it into the sea where it would have exploded for maxumum dramatic effect, but you only think of these things afterwards.

PS: praying mantis is fine really, he just wandered back off into the garden.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ooh good post

Hamilton's Brain writes about First Direct's potentially rather bastardatious scheme...


- no Mark Heap or Stephen Mangan nominations in the British Comedy Awards this year. Not that the other actors aren't deserving (and Tamsin's up in the Best Female Actress category, naturally), but when you know how much both of them put into their performances, it's a real shame not to see this recognized. Ah well, and hey ho. Still, if you're reading this and you're near anyone who organises the British Comedy Awards, please subject them to a Hard Stare.

UPDATE: actually that's a ridiculous thing to say - of course it's recognised, otherwise there wouldn't be one squillion people turning up to have DVDs and books signed and then going 'squeeeee' on the internet. And I can inform those people that the actors quietly go 'squeeee' as well afterwards in the pub. Ignore me, I am a twunt.

In other news, the Loud American Producer one of our number brought with us asked if he could make a guest post on this humble blog, which I was quite up for until I found him staring at Youtube, shouting things like 'Hey you guys, you wanna see a man die?'. Anyway, he left very early this morning, possibly because Fay and Ori kept shouting things like 'Go away, we hate you'. He took it all in good heart however, and as we all know, producers don't have feelings like normal people.

He did find this though, from a US show called Reno 911, which I had seen ages ago, but not all the way through:

Also, ooh, French Steampunk Illustrations.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

bedroom view from the villa o'development

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.

I left the armed compound for a stroll this morning and can confirm that this part of Mallorca, at this time of year, is comprised mostly of builders and huge dogs, arranged in alternate groups of varying sizes. More news as it comes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Finally this whole 'blog' thing comes in useful.

My mailbox at james hyphen henry dot co yoo kay has gone bonkers in my absence, so if anyone's trying to send me anything important, they need to use my hotmail address instead. If you don't have that, it means I don't love you, and perhaps I never will.

UPDATE: wait, I think I've sorted it now, so if you've had mail bounced back, do try again. OH MY CHRIST this is interesting.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've run out of credit on my phone as well, so I can't reply to texts. Also the jacuzzi has yet to heat up; apparently it will take at least another 24 hours. I CANNOT LIVE LIKE THIS.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I flee abroad.

Rob and Ori (and Fay) have convinced me that the only way to escape the hordes of autograph-hunters following our every move is to go and do some post-Green Wing development work with them in the Balearic islands for a week. That sentence started off silly, but the second half is true.

That said, the airport we're flying in to is apparently the number one place for CIA secret renditions, so if I don't come back, can someone tell my mum I was right about Rob the whole time, and it was all a trap after all. However if I do see some big men in dark suits hustling someone with a bag over his head into a waiting van, I shall attempt to enforce international law by shouting 'stop, you cunts' and being shot. So that's my plan for the week.

In other news: two of the three things I've been waiting to hear back on (Cornish Teen thing and Superhero movie thing) have just done jolly well, although intensive contract negotiations are being made, so I can't murmur anything other than a quiet 'woo hoo'. The third slot on the fruit machine (the blogcom thing, don't worry, it's won't be called that) is still spinning, but if that comes up with a big pound sign as well, I might go mad and treat myself to a lager shandy top and a bit of a lie-down.

In the meantime why not look at some of the other blogs on the list to the right? Or catch up on the blue cat backstory with some of the posts from when it wasn't the sickening stream of self-congratulation and hair anecdotes it is today:

Injured Paladin
Doctor Who/Green Wing crossover (rejected)
Lying Producers
The Cornish Birthday Dinosaur (purely because I like the photo)
Apple tree
Being Shouted At In Museums, Part the Second

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Green Wing Book Signing Friday 10th November 1-2pm

Which is, I know, tomorrow. It's at Forbidden Planet in London, on Shaftesbury Avenue, and I didn't realise how soon it was until I went there today and saw the posters. Rearrange the following words into a sentence: Writers, Told, Never, Anything, Are.

Julian M, Stephen RT*, Karl T and the always gorgeous Pippa H will be there to sign books, so if you get a chance go along and... well, buy one. FP have a great roleplaying section as well, so if you could also buy a copy of Pendragon, a game of Arthurian quests, and tell me what it's like, I'd be most grateful, as I've been meaning to buy it for twenty years now (ouch) and never got round to it. But I digress.

If people are wondering why the signings are so London-based, it's because trying to get the cast together at short notice is horribly difficult, what with them being successful and working lots and that. Of course this time next year, they may all be doing regional panto, and there's no shame in that.

*or whatever

UPDATE: well I did go in the end. Hello to the people from the Green Wing Fan Forum (excellent t-shirts). I tried to leave a hello thing on the forum, but couldn't make it work instantly, so gave up. Me and Ori and Rob ended up signing stuff as well, and at one point were asked gently by the Forbidden Planet staff if we could move a bit as we were blocking access to the Batman action figures - perhaps the greatest moment of my life.

My hair seems to have driven some impressionable young people wild (I think they were all wound up to see Julian, who couldn't make it in the end, so they had to make do with what they had), and later that evening, having ventured out from Canterbury's Pennyfeather Towers into the City Arms public house, a man I have never met before stumbled over and stroked the top of my head. I was later informed he was a funeral director.

I may have to dial it down a notch.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

By the way...

...if you work in a commissioning department, and you're called either Josh, Florrissa or Tilly, the post below was merely an unfortunate coincidence, and you shouldn't let it put you off commissioning me for paid work and that.

Or 'Blogcom'

Thanks for the wolves stuff - I was wondering if it was possible to create a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-style uberpack. It might be, not sure yet.

That sitcom thing, where the main character is sort of based on me and the blog, only with more guns (codename: Project TSTWTMCISOBOMOWMG) is now with a person in a large broadcasting company, who is hopefully even now sitting round a table with people called things like Josh and Florrissa and TIlly, and saying things like 'Guys, it's crazy, but it's so now!'. But then looking at the current lineup for Friday night television on Channel 4, or at the fact that Tittytittybangbang has been recommissioned, Josh and Florrissa and Tilly, whatever company they work for, are clearly a massive shower of twats.

UPDATE: although the person sitting with them, who's looking at my script, isn't a massive shower of twats, let's make that quite clear. They are gorgeous and witty and in every way quite pert.

Think I just got away with that.

Project TSTWTMCISOBOMOWMG already has a producer attached, and we discusssed casting at a very early stage, mainly because it's easier to pitch if you can say it has a lovely Famous Comic Actor-shaped space in the middle of it. It doesn't, not really, so we moved onto potential casting acting-people who could be phoned up in the unlikely event I came down with a cold and was unable to play the role myself. This is the thing about producers, they have to be able to think through the unlikeliest of scenarios, unlike writers who are gritty and earthy (like the SAS get sometimes) and deal with just the facts.

PRODUCER: How about (mentions the name of an actor whose first name begins with a Letter, and whose second name begins with a Different Letter)?

ME: Well, other than him being THE MOST UNFUNNY PERSON ON THE WORLD, who has shown not a flicker of acting talent in his ghastly career thus far, unless you call the ability to make people high up in television (hello Josh and Florrissa and Tilly) give him vast amounts of money and airtime so that he might do nothing other than be viciously unpleasant to members of the public who are then intimidated into signing releases so that their humiliation can be broadcast to millions, making the world once again just a slightly less pleasant place to live, 'talent', and some might, he'd be great, yeah.

PRODUCER: Have you ever met him?

ME: Nope, and I don't want to, as I suspect he is a massive ****.

PRODUCER: Oh, okay.


ME: Erm, you know that conversation we had about casting?

PRODUCER: Yeeeeees?

ME: You actually suggested (mentions the name of an actor whose first name begins with a Letter, and whose second name begins with a Different Letter, just like the other one, but is spelled slightly differently), didn't you?


ME: Oh, I thought you said (mentions the name of an actor whose first name begins with a Letter, and whose second name begins with a Different Letter).

PRODUCER: Christ, no, he's a massive ****

ME: That's what I thought.

PRODUCER: So what do you think about (mentions the name of an actor whose first name begins with a Letter, and whose second name begins with a Different Letter)?

ME: Oh he'd be great, yeah. But obviously it still makes more sense to play the main role myself.

Slight pause

PRODUCER: Oh noes, my phone have gone (sound which could be static, but also sounds suspiciously like someone noisily crumpling up a piece of paper to the earpiece).

ME: Helloooooo?

In reality, I've never heard Producer swear, but you know, these things have to be punched up a bit.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Slightly frazzled arooooo

I was swimming in the Caribbean, animals were hiding behind the rocks, except the little fish. No, wait, that's a song by the Pixies. In fact, I was in the south of france, where I was staying with a Grecian bust, a stuffed monkey and a stuffed monkey's girlfriend (who hasn't got a blog). And to think that a few years ago, that sentence wouldn't have made any sense at all.

French fun fairs are the most depressing in the world. A French man sat huddled in the too-small seat of one dodgem car, eyes glazed with intensity, mouth emitting a thin stream of gallic drool as his hands wrenched the steering wheel from side to side in a desperate attempt to avoid the other cars. Except all the other cars were empty. And no-one had turned the thing on yet.

The rest of my time there was very pleasant though, the vineyards of the Languedoc looking particularly lovely in the autumn mornings, the only sound the clattering of Sunday Times journalists' laptops and the random screams as pissed-up hunters shot each other while wild boars let down their tyres, giggling.

But I'm back now, tired and unshaven, and in need a list of fictional wolves, for a thing. Preferably from classic children's books, but others will be considered. Not counting werewolves either. So far:

Romulus and Remus
Peter and the Wolf
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Maugrim (from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)
Diefenbaker from Due South
White Fang (Jack London)

Fairytale Wolves (red riding hood, that one with the pigs and the blowing down of houses)

And then of course it occurred to me to look at Wikipedia, which has more, (Akela! D'oh!) but it's a bit anime-heavy, so are there obvious ones missing?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Won't you spare me over til another year?

If I was a character in the GURPS roleplaying game (bear with me*) my character advantages of having Fabulous Hair (it's growing back now) and Pleasing Height would have been paid for with the character flaws Too Much Imagination and Constantly Getting Distracted by Things.

I'm currently really quite distracted because I have three different scripty things that have hit hiatus at the same time and are now drifting languidly in the realm of Waiting For People To Get Back To Me.

Waiting For People To Get Back To Me Thing One is a sitcom based sort of a bit on the blog, which is based sort of a bit on actually me, only with more guns. It has now gone off to the television channel who paid me to write it, so they're having a think about whether they want to make a pilot episode. Because it is based sort of a bit on me, I am quite emotionally involved with the project and consequently a bit distracted.

Waiting For People To Get Back To Me Thing Two is a treatment for a drama series I have come up with, about being a teenager in Cornwall. It has now gone off to another television channel who are having a big think about whether they're going to pay me to write a proper actual script. Because I was a teenager in Cornwall for a significant part of my life I am quite emotionally involved with the project and consequently a bit distracted.

Waiting For People To Get Back To Me Thing Three is a film script about superheroes, which the Film Council liked, and might be paying me to do a redraft, as although the script is mostly brilliant, the end could be more exciting. Because I am a superhero, I am quite emotionally involved with the project and consequently a bit distracted.

So, anyway, I was in Pizza Express, being a bit distracted, and thinking blimey, these are all ideas I've come up with, on my own and everything, when a dark shadow fell over me, and when I looked up, a forkful of tiramisu perfectly equidistant between plate and mouth, it was with no little surprise that I saw Death standing over me, his bony skull visible under a black hooded robe. Blank eye sockets bore into my own, and an empty bucket was thrust just under my face.

Now obviously, it's Halloween, but because I'm not fucking american, and I was, as I may have said, a bit distracted, my internal thought process went like this:


Externally however, I vocalised said thoughts like this:


A lump of tiramisu slid from my fork and landed, plop, back on my plate.

And then Death rattled his bucket rather impatiently, and I realised it was just someone in a costume, so I told them I didn't have any money. There was another Death on the other side of the room as well, and a smaller Death, robes brushing the floor, but everyone was more or less ignoring them, so in the end they wandered out, although they didn't say a word the whole time, which was quite impressive.

Anyway, the whole thing freaked me out. But I'm okay now. Honestly though, I don't deal with this sort of thing well. Good costumes though.

* There's a bear with me! Argh! Run!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

OMG shoes

It's funny because it's sweary.

Although Songs about weapons for children is possibly better. Maybe you have to be in the right mood.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mmm... lichen.

The tragic thing about comedy writers is that they very rarely get to make proper jokes themselves, so when you do, it is a big day for everyone.


PATCH: So we'll be meeting my cousin for a meal, and her boyfriend Hugo's coming, who's Norwegian.

ME: What does he do?

PATCH: He studies reindeer movements.

ME: (QUICK AS AN ACTUAL FLASH) Won't take long, they're basically just (makes galloping motion) with the occasional (tosses antlered head).


PATCH: Yes, very good.

ME: Hahhahahaha! I am comedy.

Five minutes later I get Patch to tell me about Hugo again, so I can make the same joke.

If anyone else out there knows someone who is studying reindeer movements, they can use the joke too. It is an Open Source Reindeer Joke.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It had a steel claw!

Not the Steel Claw, but never mind. I thought the first episode of Torchwood was pretty good. The Cardiff setting works well, the script was tight, and the ending was * *** ** * *******. Didn't like the way every third scene was wildly over-lit, and that shot of Captain Jack standing on top of high building in the style of Buffy's boyfried/a Batman was a little bit too cheesy, but I'll definitely be watching more: not something I thought after seeing the first eps of the new Who (either series) or Robin Hood.

Full disclosure: my agent sent off scripts of mine to Who, Robin Hood and Torchwood, in each instance long before the series was actually screened. Never heard anything back from any of them, so one tends to get a bit emotionally invested in the viewing of the first episode of each of these. In this particular instance my feelings were of renewed annoyance I never heard anything back along with: 'hmm' and 'Ooh, I wonder if one of those things in the background could be a-' which usually bodes well.

In some of the other viewings of course, my feelings could be described as 'enormous relief'.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Patroclocast Uno

Patroclus has returned!* She's bumped all her stuff over to Quadrireme. Celebrate her being-backness by listening to the Patroclocast, which has a song by Tilly and the Wall, who are quite quite marvellous, and whose songs are darker in tone than any band whose percussion section consists entirely of tapdancers has any right to be.

It's got other stuff as well. I was the one who introduced her to Barry Adamson, so I'd like full credit for that please. If the actor who gets cast for my spy/blog sitcom is the right colour, I can use Barry's cover of the 007 theme, called 'Bond is Black', but if he's not, I won't.

* I didn't only just notice she was back, but I was busy worrying about Alan. Prioritahs.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Duke of Sucre III: the liveblog

5:10 - Wake up. No sign of Alan. Feel oddly relieved.

10:01 - Get into office - still no sign of Alan.

10:27 - Consider walking past office where Alan might be.

10:28 - Worry I might be taking this too far.

10:30 - Nah, he's not there.

10:34 - Maybe he's poorly.

10:35 - Mmm... almond croissant.

10:40 - Realize the sweet sweet pasty only makes me think of Alan more.

10:41 - Typing 'Alan more' makes me think of 'Alan Moore'. Shall I get that 'Lost Girls' thing he's just done? Dunno, looks a bit pervy. And quite expensive.

11:14 - Mournfully hum 'Superman' theme to self. No Alan.

11:15 - Start to worry about being banned from Talkback. Fuck it, they only make programmes about houses these days anyway.

12:05 - A tee-shirted man comes into office 'looking for sugar...' It's commenter Pugh! He reports no sign of Alan. Or his 'big car'. The plot thickens (with sugar).

13:44 - Confirm that Alan is not in Richard's Megastore (GW2 top place in the TV DVD charts), or nearby eaterie Julia's Meadow. AlCon now set at 'Reduced Sugar'.

14.20- He's not in the lego department in Hamley's either.

15.06 - Producer asks if I've sent scenes bundled as one document, to producer's mac address. In fact I have sent scenes individually to a different address. Oh Alan, why hast thou forsaken me?

16:49 - No Alan.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Duke of Sucre II

I've just encountered Alan Sugar again. I wasn't singing this time, and I turned the corner into the Talkback foyer, and nearly bumped into him for the second time this week. This time he more sort of frowned at me a bit (possibly because he'd got a little bit too used to me derderderring the Superman theme at him), and didn't seem terribly keen on moving aside to let me pass, despite the fact that he was standing rather in the centre of the foyer taking up quite a lot of ergonomic space.

This is not the Alan I am used to. The frowning takes him back down to zero, but the be-grudging move nudges him, I'm afraid, into the arena of the karmically unsound.

Still, I'm in again tomorrow, so AS has every chance to redeem himself, perhaps with a small gift left on my desk, hint hint. Or a thousand pounds haha actually he's probably heard that one before.

Let us see how this develops.

UPDATE: comments thread now contains a variety of games suitable for Talback-based Alans. Readers, do YOU have a game based on a popular phrase containing the word 'Sugar?' Why not add it below.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Duke of Sucre

On the way into the office this morning I was humming the theme to 'Superman' (because there's a song on a Sufjan Stevens album called 'Man of Steel' or something), and I got to the 'da da DAAAAA!' bit, and turned right, and realized I had gone 'da da DAAAAA!' into the face of Alan Sugar.

He smiled at me bemusedly, and I kept going for a bit (it occured to me that his show, 'The Dragon's Apprentice Factor' is based in the old Green Wing offices now, so I suppose we could have had a chat, I could have given him a bit of advice on where the spare key for the stationery cupboard is), then I thought about turning back and explaining that I wasn't singing the Superman theme at him, I don't think he's like Superman in any way, and the smile he gave me made me think perhaps he thought I thought he was in some way a Superman to me, which he isn't. Clearly he is more of a mini-Lex Luthor, and if I think of him (Alan) at all, which I hadn't up until that point, that is how I would shelve him, mentally.

(The original Superman, by the way, back when he started in the nineteen hrumpties, used to smash up evil slumlords, wifebeaters, corrupt politicians and smarmy businessmen, although that's obviously a bit dodgy at the moment, with the current goverment, so currently he seems to be sticking to alien fiends and evil versions of himself).

But then I thought, well, I don't know him at all, and it's not fair to be rude to someone based on the fact that they smiled at you in the street, so instead I picked up my pace again and went on my way, and in fact, for smiling at a stranger in a foyer, Alan Sugar, I salute you.

UPDATE: oh, apparently he's not that nice. Tch.


Patroclus tried to do something clever with her blog and move it somewhere else, only that didn't work, so the blog is currently in limbo, and quinquireme dot blogspot dot com seems to link to a pervy search engine. So you might want to remove your links there, and I'll put up her new address when she sorts it out...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Daddy, what were you doing during the Television Wars?*

Thought I'd bump this from the comments section of the previous post, where it might get a bit lost.

In response to this question for patroclus from cello:

Qu'est-ce qu'il ya P? I just thought I detected a sly dig at TV. You know you're a bit susceptible to that. 

And given whose blog this is, and how a TV programme is at least partly responsible for your current state of bliss, it seemed a little unjust. 

But apologies if I was being over-touchy. I am starting to get paranoid, seeing telly-haters under every bed. Maybe I should start a McCarthyesque campaign to rid the country of TV detractors.

I steamed in with:

I'm not even sure what counts as 'television' these days. Does watching imported DVD's on my laptop in bed count? Because that's all stuff I choose to watch, so it's mostly great.

I genuinely can't remember the last time I watched television as transmitted. I have a dim recollection of flickin g through the four channels I can get, screaming with rage and frustration and then going to do something else instead.

I can certainly imagine not bothering to get an actual television set, the next time I move. Might get a DVD projector if I can afford it though.

...and patroclus herself then came back with:

Ooh, no, I wasn't having a go at telly. I was just referring to the fact that big chunks of script had started appearing in this here comments box.

But on the other hand, the last time I turned the actual telly on (rather than watching a DVD) was to watch the last ep of GW back in May, so James also has a point. People *are* still watching telly, it's just they're watching it in DVD form, or as clips on YouTube, or as illegal downloads of stuff that's not available here yet. 

So when C4 (for example) thinks that twenty- and thirtysomethings aren't watching its quality Friday night programming, it's not that they aren't watching it, it's just that they aren't watching it on the TV set on a Friday night. 

And with the actual telly, it's just too difficult to identify the good stuff among the 8,000 channels of rubbish. It's a chore even to flick through the Sky menu, there's just so much...

Ooh, bit of a tirade there.

So, throwing it open local-radio-stylee, how much do you hip young(ish) blog commenters watch actual traditional telly?

* sadly, the answer would get me into trouble. But it's quite rude.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It had a kind of primitive punchcard system

I have been asked: "Which ep of series 2 had the jacquard loom in it?"

Not a clue. Does anyone know? For me, it was the sheer BRILLIANTNESS OF THE WRITING in that scene that made the rest of the episode around it quiver and fade like the morning mist, which is why I can't remember which episode it was. Are the keyring bits in that episode? I wrote both of them too, yes yes, you may touch me. But not there.

UPDATE: skeadugenga reckons episode 4 for the jacquard loom, which sounds about right, cheers.

Also, Katy from Titan Books has asked me to remind people that Green Wing The Complete Series 1 Scripts book was written by Victoria Pile, Robert Harley, Gary Howe, Stuart Kenworthy, Oriane Messina, Richard Preddy, Fay Rusling and James Henry, it contains all the scripts from series 1, as well as great new bonus material written exclusively for the book, and scores of colour photos. 320pp; £14.99 paperback; Titan Books. Available from all good high street bookshops, plus online from amazon and play from the 22nd October.

This is the day after I put up the Ad-Free Blog thing over on the right, but I reckon it's okay if it's my own stuff. Well, shared with the other writers, but you know what I mean.

ALSO, I left my camera behind in London, which is a shame, as the posterboard thing for the local paper says 'Locals Support Depp Freedom', which is great, but just slightly too self-aware to be up there with "The Bushes: What's Going On In Them?".

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Talent Thief

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
My good chum Alex has his first kid's book out - it's called The Talent Thief, and it's a cracking read, and on offer with amazon at the moment, so go and buy it now, to support Cornish writers everywhere. Well, in this case specifically Alex, but I'm hoping the largesse will spill over.

It's great knowing another writer in Cornwall - Alex has done his fair share of kid's telly as well (at one point being considered the 'go to guy' for any series involving animated footballs, which is possibly what made him shout 'aaaargh' and go and write a great spooky thriller for kids instead), so we can have those proper bitchy moaning conversations, where you don't even have to say the whole sentence, just name a well-known production company or producer or actor and hear the groans of recognition and/or hatred. Alex also said to me the immortal words: 'well of course, you can only really get about three and a half hours of good writing in any one day, so there's no need to spend too long fretting about it it'. Yay Alex.

Hello to all the blogging people I met last week, in the whirl of social events that I... whirled through. Sorry, I'm tired. But you were all lovely.

I also had a fabulous dinner with (amongst others) the marketing head of a not-huge, but highly prestigious broadcasting channel who, after a right chat about blogs, looked me in the eye and said 'so have you got a blog then?'

What's this? This thing here, just visible when I look down? Oh look, it's a knife in my heart.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I didn't like being a consumer anyway.

The problem with maintaining a strategy that requires you to move on every time you are a) ignored by more than three members of staff in an almost empty shop or b) treated like a moron, is that eventually you will run out of mobile phone shops in Chiswick.

Also: a 'video flyer' for 7 Seconds of Love Saturday 7th October at the Borderline. Lots of young people having fun. But don't let that put you off.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Quite a long post about that new Aaron Sorkin thing.

Americans care a great deal about what we British-style people think of them. We are the Greeks to their Romans. Or possibly we're Greasy about their Roamings, I get confused.

Any-old-way, Aaron Sorkin, who wrote West Wing and A Few Good Men, apparently gets asked all the time at parties whether he's really one of the writers behind Green Wing, and he probably sighs and stares at his canape, which is odd, because the same thing regularly happens to me, only the other way round, and with chips. I have begun to suspect that Mister Sorkin became drawn into the world of the comedy writer though this repeated mistake. 'Another show with Wing' in the title', he probably thought, 'Hmm', and decided to google it, and if he came across this blog and realised that comedy writing was in itself an highly dramatic and also occasionally humorous subject for a television show, who am I to begrudge him taking my life and turning it into telly for Americans in a 'show' called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?

I myself have been talking to Channel 4 about developing a televisual showing based on the dramatic and also occasionally humorous events of this blog (true), but so as not to step on Mister Sorkin's toes, I decided that I would keep most of the details accurate, but instead of being a comedy writer, I would make myself a top cool secret agent with guns who also keeps a blog. Which isn't that big a change, because if I ever had the opportunity to run through baddie-filled warehouses in slow-motion whilst holding a gun in each hand I could totally do it.

But I digress, and it is unfair to overshadow Mister Sorkin with my own massive talent and fableous hair (although in photos his hair looks fine, anyway, it's not a competition). Now, I had begun to suspect that Mister Sorkin was trying to contact me discreetly to ascertain my opinion on his American works thus far, through coded references to Bob the Builder made by President Bartlett (and quite a subtle Planet Cook nod in A Few Good Men, but you really had to look for that one).

So, when the first couple of episodes of Studio 60 were mysteriously left in a mysterious location (which rhymes with 'blimternet') for me to 'happen upon', I decided that maybe I should take time out from my schedule of thinking/lying down, and give Mister Sorkin the validation he so clearly needs.


1. American comedy writers are paid a lot more than british ones. Not just one and a half times as much, either, or two times as much and a free bus ticket. American writers have so much money they can afford to have nice clothes and had problems from eating too much cocaine. I have never been offered drugs whilst I worked in television, which makes me wonder sometimes, in the middle of the night, if I am not actually very important in the grand scheme of Television Things. In fact I have been offered cocaine only once, at a party for some retired music therapists, which made cocaine seem frankly not a very cool drug. I didn't take it anyway. Don't do drugs, kids.

2. When American networks have to announce a big change to a show, American journalists sit round quietly and wait for the important lady to stop talking, before asking insightful and probing, but basically respectful questions. Were similar announcements to be made in Britain, I strongly suspect journalists' questions tend to be along the lines of 'Where the free booze you promised us?' 'Why is your program so shit?' 'Why haven't you resigned yet?' and the more enigmatic 'Your face my arse'. To be honest though, the British way is probably better, and if Brighton was washed away by a big storm in which thousands of people died and the people supposed to be in charge weren't, and the people supposed to help didn't, the authorities would probably not have got away with it. But America is a different country with different traditions, and we should respect that.

3. Some American comedy actresses are Christians. Well that happens here, but it's mostly quite discreet. This lead into the next bit...

4. Before a big live show, all the comedy writers and comedy actors and actresses hold hands and have a big prayer. Now your reaction to this might be, as mine was, ew gross, no way, I'd rather be punched in the face etc, but hang on for a moment. What if before a taping of The Friday Night Project or something with Jimmy Carr in, all the participants had to look each other in the face and think, really think about whether there was an afterlife, and if so, would their actions be accountable in it? I reckon Friday night telly would get a lot better. So, Good One Americans.

5. American writers and actresses sleep together. I thought this was a deliberately surreal streak, but then in America, the line between writers and producers is more blurry, and marked out with million dollar bills, so it sort of makes sense. Note that I am not calling actresses ladyho's. Although some of them get their baps out for cash. And sometimes have sex on camera for more cash, so it's a tricky call. But then I just did some scripts for viral adverts for a mobile phone and internal comedy sketches for a bank a few weeks ago, next to which being a big 'ho seems quite a noble profession. Anyway, actresses are not ladyho's, or if they are, so are actors and writers as well. I might delete this bit later, it got away from me somewhat.

6. American Men Television Executives are shallow, scheming and a bit odd-looking, whilst American Lady Television Executives are principled, honest and beautiful in a dignified way with great fashion sense (viewing companion became somewhat detached from the narrative at this point trying to work out where American Lady Television Executive got her skirt from, ah bless). Fortunately this is exactly how it is in the British Television industry as well, so top marks Mister Sorkin.

7. American Comedy Writers have a board with their ideas on. This is mostly empty, and quite often someone changes their mind and takes down two of the three existing ideas, and everyone sighs. This too is also true over here.

SO IN CONCLUSION: I want more money.

Don't forget: GW assistant producer Patrick's band 7 Seconds of Love playing at the Borderline off Charing Cross Road Saturday 7th October, doors open 7ish.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

7 Seconds of Love

Which is the band of Patrick, who was the assistant to the producer of Green Wing, and basically put up with me phoning him at all hours to whinge about stuff that wasn't his fault (breathe) and thus I think everyone should be going to the Borderline off Charing Cross Road this Saturday to see them do their funky ska-type stuff.

I will be going, and Miss P will be going, and other people will be going as well, so if you're in popping-along distance, you should go too, so that Patrick can show you the meaning of Rock.

There are proper links and that to do, but I'll put them up later, or I'll never get round to this, and I want loads of people to go.

UPDATE: there, I linked the word 'band'. Exhausted now. But I think it might be a nice blogging meet style green wing crossover thing if people are up for it. I mean, you know, whatever.

GW DVD signing

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
I thought I'd go along to the GW series 2 DVD signing, just to see what it was like, and oh dear god, the screaming! The fainting! The smell! Fortunately everyone knows what actors are like when their agents aren't around, so the fans were very forgiving.

See what I did there? I turned the whole thing around. Keep an eye out for that sort of thing if you're new to the blog, there's plenty more where that came from.

But yes, um, quite a lot of people, past whom me and Green Wing Richard were whisked, to stand at the front* and be coronated with little plastic passes by the PR team. It was very like the end bit of the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, except with Mark Heap mouthing 'wanker' at me. And then when I barged in front of a paying fan to get a script signed for charity, Julian Rhind-Tutt pointed at me and said 'Look, a nutter jumping in! He is from Nuttsville, I'll be bound!'. This was actually quite dangerous, as heavy security guards had already decided they didn't like me, and behind me were ONE MILLION rabid Mac fans who would happily have torn me limb from limb at the merest gesture from their ginger love god.

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.

Anyway, the paying fans didn't mind me jumping in, which was good, and Television's Doctor Mac then took pity on me and told them that I was a writer, and one fan also took pity on me and asked me to sign her DVD, so I did, which felt brilliant, and I was insufferable for the rest of the evening.

My favourite bit was when Stephen Mangan stood up, generating an unearthly high-pitched wailing chorus from the queueing fangirls**, which then turned into a disappointed rumbling moan when he sat down again. However Stephen is very modest, so he probably just thought there was something wrong with his chair.

And then I got back and watched the making-of documentary on the DVD, to discover that the stuff I had done and had been told would be in it was in fact not in it, but that the very short bit that had supposedly been taken out because I was making fun of the actors was in fact in. Showbusiness is a funny old contrary old business and no mistake crikey blimey.

* Where I took loads of photos of the actors, as my turning up had coincided with the official press photo moment thing opportunity, and as all photographers are pale Cockneys whose growth has been stunted by years of living on jellied eels and silver buttons, I was able to stand behind them and snap over the tops of their pasty heads quite happily. Sadly all the photos but one came out blurred, I suspect because my hands were trembling with rage and jealousy, but there we are.

** I'm worried this looks a bit patronising, so from now on I shall refer to all Steve Appreciators as 'The Manganettes'.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Back in London

rubbish dragon
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
I forgot to add this earlier, there were a couple of rubbish dragons sticking out of the top level of Tallin's Town Hall. I like them, I think any building would be improved by them, and I foresee half-hearted mythical knick-knackery nailed up all over town halls by the end of the year. Bagsy a one-legged Thor for Falmouth. Later this week I may go and balance a papier-mache basilisk on the pinnacle of the British Library . I've always wanted an excuse.

We forgave The Wanderer his wanderings in the end, as it turned out his phone had been stolen, and when he paid for a taxi to take him back to the ferry terminal to get the last boat home (the one we got), he was taken to the wrong terminal and had to sleep on plastic chairs for twelve hours. So he suffered enough without me being rude about him on the internet. The big twatter.

More news on Johnny Depp nearly getting the freedom of Falmouth: the town council turned him down on the grounds that it was clearly a big PR stunt by the film company and JD himself would know nothing about it, and were the council to offer JD said freedom, and be like, all 'we love you JD, come and shop in Smiths, and have a pint in Five Degrees West', and there's ample parking at the Gasworks and that', Johnny would be all 'Where? What? What are you talking about?' and the council would realise he didn't love them after all, and run home crying.

I'm paraphrasing, but that's roughly what they meant. Still he's welcome to stay at mine if he's desperate, I can move the boardgames off the spare bed and then we can go through comics together and I can show him which ones he'd be good at starring in the films of (Iron Man, and maybe even Doctor Strange, but I still reckon Jeff Goldblum would be best for that one).

Also, looking at that link thing, just noticed:

"...Falmouth town council member Mike Varney told local newspaper The Falmouth Packet: "I welcome the association with the film but that's as far as it should go. I do not like the idea of the council selling its soul just for publicity. There are many other people who are residents of Falmouth who are more deserving of such an honour and we don't want to impinge on the positions of freeman and honorary freeman of the town that already exist."

OMG!!! He means me!

This will come in very handy when I look for a new flat.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tallins, Taigas

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
I should have said, we didn't spend the night in Tallin, as we were able to persuade the ferry people that our tickets had gone astray, so they just printed us new ones. And the Wanderer returned yesterday morning, just as we were seriously starting to think we ought to inform the authorities. I had gone out to the shops to get a paper, singing 'Diamonds are a girl's best friend' to myself (why do people think I'm gay, why?) and suddenly realised our missing party member was sauntering casually towards me, looking slightly stubbly but completely un-murderered. He'd stayed in Tallin for the night, then made his way back on the ferry the next morning.

marsha klein said...

Would you recommend Tallin (bastards in capes, cursing locals etc notwithstanding)? We couldn't go to Estonia when we were in Helsinki recently because the children don't have photo ID, but we're hoping to go back soon (without kids).

Hmm, it was good for a day's visit, but it's much poorer than Helsinki, hence the constant procession of people trying to flog you complete rubbish. In fact, me and Patch met up with the lovely Taiga in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art where she works (and gave us free stuff, woo hoo!), and when we told her where we'd been she looked at us with horror and told us of the relative not-safety of Tallin. I think it's fine as long as you don't stray too far from the centre though.

(Taiga also told me that the Underground Mall of the Dead is also a bit of a dodgy place to hang out, although I suspect on a Sunday morning, I was probably the most dangerous thing down there. After the McDonalds Express, obviously)

Anyway, back to Tallin - if you're not being accosted by various caped and/or cursing accosters, or idiots wandering off with your tickets back, it's a beautiful old medieval city, and if you climb up the spiral staircase of the main church, you get a fantastic (albeit slightly wobbly if like me you're scared of heights) view, depicted.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Green Wing DVD signing at (Oxford Street London) Virgin Megastore 2nd October, 6pm.

According to Rob "Julian, Steve, and Pippa are supposed to be coming to the signing, and maybe some of the others, but not Mark".

I should be back from Helsinki then as well, so I might pop along, but one of our party of four disappeared on our day trip to Tallin in Estonia and hasn't yet returned, so I may end up hanging around helping Estonian police with their enquiries. Apparently, the person concerned is apparently a bit of a wanderer, and I wasn't emotionally attached anyway*, so I've got the film rights signed away nice and early.

Still, I'm sure he'll turn up safe and sound etc. whatever.

(If you suspect a lack of sympathy caused by the fact that said person buggered off with our return tickets to Helsinki, you'd be quite right. Although obviously I hope he hasn't been mur-diddly-urdered or anything. Because I imagine that means paperwork)

Also on our trip to Tallin we were serenaded by bastards in capes whilst we were trying to drink gunpowder tea, and later thrice-cursed by locals after refusing to buy ex-soviet passports. All in all, quite an eventful day.

* It wasn't Patch by the way, she's sitting next to me as I type this, shouting at her laptop because people are still sending her work emails WHEN SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE ON HOLIDAY. If you are one of these people, I will be smashing you up when I get back, so look out.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A country where I quite want to be.

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Helsinki, city where the roads look like pavements, the pavements look like roads, and hungry trams patrol the borderlands, desperate to smear the unwary into a thin but nutritious paste. I quickly decided the only way to survive was to run towards a flashing green man the moment I saw it, which could well prove my downfall if there's ever an alien invasion, but I'm willing to take the chance.

Not much open on Sundays, although there is a large shopping centre directly underneath Helsinki's main rail station. The huge blast doors and solidity of its construction make me wonder if it wasn't designed to house various newsagents and fast food outlets so much as a refuge against nuclear war with the Soviet Pact. Or America. Not that much was open early on a Sunday morning, and by the time I had travelled down two escalators, the Dawn of the Dead-ness of the place had started to spook me.

At which point, and I kid you not, a hunched figure rounded the end of the corridor of closed shops ahead of me, moaning heavily and dragging one foot.

Fortunately her husband rounded the corner about two seconds later, and the two Korean tourists continued on their way without noticing me staring at them in horror. I hope her foot gets better soon. Or possibly they were deliberately winding me up, I don't speak Korean.

Helsinki zoo was open on a Sunday however. It's on an island a couple of miles away from the city itself, and neither Patroclus nor I were put off by the boat returning from the zoo seeming much fewer in numbers than the amount of people getting onto it, if that makes sense.

Anyway, it was a good zoo. Favourite animals were an actual wolverine, some snow-goats and a spiky lizard. Not sure about the axolotls* though, and towards the end I was quite tired and consequently became confused by a cut-out silhouette of a gazelle.

* A small voice from behind me calling out 'Ooh look, their ears go in and out!'. Further tactful investigation has confirmed patch did know these were gills, she was just winding me up, and I am almost entirely convinced this is true.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Green Wing Scriptbook! Available I think 22nd October, but it may change.

It's mainly a collection of series one scripts (dur), but there are other odds and sods as well, and photos of some actors, but who cares about them? Sadly the plans for a centrepiece pop-up Doctor Statham had to be abandoned, for financial and legal reasons, but it's worth a look anyway.

Of course some of use in the writing team are already published authors*, so I'm sure the other chaps will at some point feel the need to turn to me for advice on how to cope with the adulation, literary readings, autographs and such. Still, I think the shift in lifestyle will come as a shock to many of them, but really, what can you do?

While I was amazoning, I had a quick look at the reviews for the series 2 DVD (silly boy) and saw this...

"I'm amazed at some of the reviews for Green Wing series 2, its as if members of the show's production team have written them!" which I can honestly say Not Guilty, but to honest, probably only because we're not paid enough. Also there's an apostrophe in "it's"**.

* I notice that second-hand copies of this masterwork are still available for eight of your earth pence, which as pre-school animation writers' contracts are traditionally drawn up by chortling demons in top hats, is still more than I got paid for providing the original script.

** Ha!

UPDATE: any spelling mistakes in this post are natural flaws that show the simple unrefined beauty of this product and as such, should be seen as vital and and a bit quirky and that, and not undermining my own points in any way.

Sorry for the lack of response to comment, have been without connection for ages, and am currently sitting in cafe in Chiswick try to type this before my battery runs-

Monday, September 18, 2006

Aaaaaaand there goes my new ipod.

That one lasted just three months, and ironically enough was apparently slain by the new iTunes upgrade, which tried to weave its magic spell on the beast, then quietly reported a bit of a problem and went away, embarrassed. The ipod is now utterly dead, impervious even to the restart pressy button trick which usually gets some response.

Fortunately I was prepared for this very moment (although I didn't expect it to come quite so soon) and purchased every warranty I could to go with it, so Argos are sending it away, just as I was about to go on holiday for a week*. I don't expect I'll get any of the files back off it though, the little blanc shit.

Don't buy ipods.

* which annoyed me, but then I thought that as I'm going away with other people, spending eight hours a day plugged into The Postal Service and choral (not acappella, I don't even know why I said that) covers of Foo Fighter tracks might be a bit anti-social anyway.

That, and my bed collapsing (I wasn't doing anything) and one-bedroom flats in Falmouth turning out to cost a millions pounds a month, and even then only available over the winter, as owners can presumably charge summer visitors two million pounds a month, and various writery problems that have made it clear with brutal clarity just how far down the food chain we are, and last week all went a bit sour really. However I'm off on the afore-mentioned holiday (first proper one for four years, lying in bed for weeks wondering where all the work is doesn't count, I've checked), so I'm expecting things to get better. And, you know, seeing people I haven't seen for too long and have missed terribly, blah blah feelings etc.

And this always cheers me up:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My eyes! The citrus stingeth so!

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Some discussion as to what Tactical Kits (the sort of thing Jack Baur demands before going off to shoot Evil Terrorists) would look like if they had them in the seventeenth century.

Patroclus pointed out that they would be called 'Tactickal Kittes' (also a good name for a seventeenth century secret agent), and her further discussion with Mrs Patroclus Snr determined that such a thing would have to include the following:

A box of matches.
A handkerchief.
A pomander (some confusion as to what a pomander actually is, although defines it as primarily as "a mixture of aromatic substances, often in the form of a ball, formerly carried on the person as a supposed guard against infection but now placed in closets, dressers, etc..") I thought this was what it was, but I decided to check, in case it turned out to be a small country, or a sense of impending ennui or something, but it wasn't, so that's good.

I would add to this list:

A brace of sawn-off matchlocks.
A stinky brooch (for planting on suspects and then tracking their progress by looking out for people shouting 'Pooooh! There goes Sir Stinke, up to no good, I'll be bound, egad' and that sort of thing).
A bulletproof periwig.

Also, the Tactikcal Kitte would look like a viol case (apparently a 'viola' case is an anachonism - this could clearly bring the whole Flintpunk project crashing down around our powdered ears, well spotted PP!).

And, my pomader would be a dried orange studded with cloves, only if you press the cloves in the correct sequence, it TURNS INTO A GRENADE.

Also, on an unrelated topic apart from general silliness, Mitchell and Webb's bit about the under-researched medical drama which had lines likes 'Give me the kind of medicine that makes you better if you have the specific illness it was designed for, but it bit worse if you have another kind of illness entirely' and 'oh no, he is poorly from the wrong kind of electric' was just lovely. I also very much enjoyed the closing banana dance.

ALSO: Apologies to anyone directed here from the Wall Street Journal - clearly there has been a terrible mistake. Although because the site is subscription-only, I have no way of knowing what it said. But anyway, sorry.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Am Scriptwriter, Hear Me Burble

I had to do my first verbal pitch for a feature film the other week. If you've even seen 'The Player', it's that bit where the Hapless Writers try and convince the Studio Executive to invest millions of dollars in their movie, which is usually as yet unwritten, by making it sound like the best thing in the world. The quickest way to do this is the 'X crossed with Y' format ('It's like Magnolia crossed with 2001! But funny! And with heart!).

Now I hadn't actually realised I was supposed to be pitching in that meeting, so I was a bit taken aback when after some perfectly nice rambly chat about science fiction of the nineteen seventies, we cut to this (to me) complete non sequitur:

EXEC: So, Big Financial Man will be coming in in just a minute, so if you're okay to do the pitch now...
ME: Hmm?
EXEC: Did I not say his schedule had changed and we were having the Pitch Meeting today?
ME: No, I thought this was the Pre-Pitch Meeting.
EXEC: Ah, it was, but now it's the Pitch Meeting.
ME: (whining) Where did the 'Pre' go? I liked the 'Pre'!
EXEC: By the way, if during the pitch, Big Financial Man starts picking his nose, or wanders off for a wee, or just, you know, gets up and wanders off, he's not being rude, that's just how he is.
ME: Okay, but if during the pitch he does any of those things and I PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE, I'm not being rude either, it's just how I am.

I didn't really say that last bit, but I was within my rights I reckon. 'Just how he is', honestly. It's like that stupid Levellers song with the chorus 'Only one way of life and that's my own' which all the stupid hippies in my sixth form used to sing along to in a smug self-righteous way, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the same sentiment could equally well be used to excuse the actions of anyone from Hitler to the people behind Big Brother, who I don't place on any kind of moral parity by the way, Hitler being clearly mentally ill and lead astray by those around him.*

But I digress. The pitch actually went very well, and then segued into a discussion about Benjamin Disraeli, who hadn't been part of the pitch in any way, so I'm not sure how he found his way onboard, to be honest. Weirdly enough, I felt better having to pitch it out of the blue, as it's very easy to overthink these things, and end up sounding horribly stiff, and thrown by the simplest question. Like 'Why should I go and see this film?' for example, which I tend to answer with 'I wouldn't, cinemas are all icky and full of talking children and mobile phones, ew, wait for the DVD' which misses the point rather.

Anyway, in the end it went to The Other Guy - it wasn't an original idea, the film company had bought the rights to an Obscure Thing and were looking for writers to develop it, so I had written a treatment and it had got down to the two of us - but as I got the call on my way to BBC Drama where I'm developing a thing set not a million miles away from Cornwall (okay then, it's set in Cornwall), I didn't mind too much.

Still, my first proper film pitch. And he only picked his nose a bit, and I didn't punch anyone, so frankly a good day all round.

* Warning, I am not an actual historian.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And chips.

Best Mate has a week off, and it's not like I have a proper job anyway, so I thought I'd drive us out to Durgan, walk down the beach, up the hill and around the coast to have lunch at the Ferryboat Inn, which is verrr pleasant. I couldn't quite remember how to get there though, so when I woke up at four o'clock this morning, I checked the directions from the pub website. Then I went back to sleep, and when I woke up properly, I had to check again to make sure I hadn't imagined them, so starkly beautiful are they in their simplicity.

Still we got there anyway, the afternoon only very slightly marred by the fact that we were talking about Colin Farrell, so I stepped out of the car shouting 'HA HA, FOOK YEZ, YEZ TERRIBLE BOLLIX!' only to realize I was right next to a very nice couple who had presumably just taken their spaniel for a pleasant walk, which I was possibly spoiling slightly. I managed to smile and say 'hi' in an urbane sort of way, but that might have made things worse, as though I was teetering between two wildly different personas. Perhaps I should have kept up the mad shouting Colin Farrell persona until I was out of earshot, although BM probably wouldn't have thanked me.

Sorry very nice couple. The Thai Fish Cakes were splendid though.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Yay comedy blogs

Adam Buxton writes in his blog about his part in Neil Gaiman's Stardust, which although not a comedy film per se, does seem to include lots and lots of top british comedy people. Some of whom get to meet Clare Danes, the lucky lucky bastards.

Being in an actual room with one of these actors I enquired to the extensiveness of getting-to-meet-Clare-Danesness of his part.

ACTOR: I got to lie on top of her.
ME: ...
ACTOR: And then I bounced up and down, harder and harder, but then a policeman arrived, and now I can't talk to her anymore.
ME: Which bit of that's true?
ACTOR: I can't remember.

Adam's post also included the pisstake of 'Snatch' done with toys, so go hither and giggle, it's great. 'Snatch' is in that weird category of sequels (I know it's not really a sequel, but it's close enough to count), which is only one percent less good that the original, but somehow utterly devoid of the first film's ramshackle charm. See also Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Or rather don't, obviously. The first one was aces though.

But do get the A&J podcasts off of iTunes, or possibly the XFM page or something, not sure, but look 'em up. The most recent one (18?) is particularly fine, and includes lots of Colin Farrell-based swearing, haha yer bollox.

In other news, I've been watching 24 series 4 - only got as far as halfway through series one, and this seems exactly the same: Kiefer is great, almost everyone else is absolutely rubbish. But crikey, it does keep rattling along.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

And then they start kissing, because they've been in prison too long.

Extras was a weird beast - sometimes made me laugh a lot, but mostly I didn't really understand what was going on at all. I'm not a massive fan of shows that 'deconstruct your preconceived notions about what celebrities are like in real life', as usually I don't really care what they're like in real life. If I did, I'd read magazines about celebrities, and watch chat shows, and then kill myself. And people like Ben Stiller play up to this concept so knowingly, the whole thing gets very murky very fast.

The stuff that worked for me was the relationship between the fictional characters (and Stephen Merchant was great, so I was pleased to hear he'll be in it a lot more in the second series).

Anyway, on a slighly different topic, with that episode of Extras that had Patrick Stewart in it that was repeated recently, when it first went out, didn't some reviewer chuckle along to the 'low budget identikit fantasy movie' that opened the episode? And wasn't it in fact, er... The Tempest? Or did I completely imagine that?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Nice biscuits though.

I only got on a plane (eek) and flew to the south of france (oooh) to see the lovely patroclus (aaaah) then. That's all. Only that.

Good conversation with the chap next to me, who like everyone else on the plane was a semi-retired English businessman in his later forties. I'd already been in London for a week without a razor, so I was the sole representative of the tribe of scruffy bearded scriptwriters in their thirties.

MAN: So where are you going?
ME: After Perpignan?
MAN: Yes.
ME: To a small village about an hour away.
MAN: Do you know what it's called?
ME: Nope.
MAN: Can you speak French?
ME: Nope.
MAN: Did you get any Euros?
ME: Nope.
MAN: Is someone coming to meet you?
ME: I really really really really hope so.

Fortunately she did come and meet me, although I was bit distracted, as there was also a welcoming committee of french chicks with guns! Even the french army is sexy! The french army chicks were holding their guns close to their uniformed french bodies, and casting saucy looks down the line of English passengers. Sort of saucy, but also sort of like they particularly wanted an excuse to shoot somebody, so I looked straight ahead the whole time and decided not to make jokes about, I don't know, surrendering and running away but maybe putting up a bit of resistance, and other french things.

And then patroclus (who is sexier than three french chicks with guns, but rest assured that's all I will say on the matter) and I went to a quite posh seaside hotel (steady).

Lots of the hotel rooms had a little tiled mural on the corridor wall, so as you walked down towards your room you got a series of images that went:

1. A nice underwater scene.
2. Some animals.
3. Examples of local food, cheese and that mainly.
4. A tiled mural of death.

I took a photo of that one, as many people believe this blog is a TISSUE OF LIES, so here it is. Death, with his great big scythe (of death), looking a bit tired, underneath a big moon.

Good work the French!

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.