Ask

February 21, 2016

“Ask me I won’t say no, how could I?”

I’m having a deja vu moment. I’m pretty sure I used this Smiths line for a blog post before. Most probably about the same thing, oh, and on my other site, Mummified Fox (Simon here by the way). Either road, I’m not going to check, because it’s just right. Ask. Always ask. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

We asked Rufus Hound if he would be in Episode 2 of STRANGENESS in SPACE. He said yes. As did Peter Guinness. Oh, and Carol Cleveland. You can hear them in Episode Two, Featherheads, here. And at the risk of just too much repetition have I told you, it’s free, so what have you got to lose? (Ok, about 24 minutes of your time, but if you feel it wasn’t worth it I will refund you the cost).

Last weekend we launched Episode 3, Step Back in Time. We asked Alexei Sayle if he’d be in it. You can hear the Episode here.

We are now funding Episode 4. It is called Pet Shock Boys. Our main guest will play a character called The PuppyMaster. Any more news would spoil it. But who could we ask to play The PuppyMaster?

I’d had someone in mind from the beginning, and when Sophie said she’d once worked with him on a Big Finish Dr Who audio drama, we just had to ask.

We didn’t hold out much hope. It can take a while to get an answer from an agent; and we do need a bit of luck on our side… all our eps are crowdfunded, all of our guests are paid the same. It helps a hell of a lot if they want to do it. If, indeed, they would enjoy doing it.

Things were silent for a while. And then Clare (our producer) received a succinct email that said “he’s in”.

So. Episode Four, Pet Shock Boys, will guest star Paterson Joseph as The PuppyMaster.

If you’re thinking ‘I don’t think I know him’, well, I bet you do. He’s a great actor. Here is is in one of his more well-known comedy roles:

I was thrilled when Paterson said yes. The last thing I watched him in was The Leftovers, where he played ‘Holy’ Wayne. If you haven’t seen it, do track it down. It’s amazing and moving and manages to be that rare thing; groundbreaking TV.

Paterson in Episode 4 is incredibly exciting, and I’m still getting over the shock of the yes! Ask!

Now I’m going to ask you folks to help us get it made. If you’re as excited as me at having Paterson Joseph take part, please help us fund this episode. We aren’t crowdfunding through Kickstarter (as we did to get STRANGENESS in SPACE off the ground in the first place). We’re crowdfunding it through our own website. Please take a look at our ‘shop‘ and see if anything takes your fancy. We have some new items now too! Episode 1 will be available on CD, remastered by our sound maestro Dave Palser, and also with lots of extras including remixes of the songs, interviews, bloopers etc. (I put etc. because they are all to be confirmed; but I promise you, you won’t be disappointed). We also have a new T-shirt bearing the logo of our (fake) sponsors Thorleigh’s. Dave designed this, and it’s lovely. Thank you Dave.

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And how did we get Dave to do these great sound designs, to make our logos, to help us way beyond we could have expected?

 


Happy Spacemas!

December 6, 2015

Hello folks. Simon here. Out of Trev and Simon. Long time no blog post. Or something. If you follow us here and only here, and you’re wondering what’s up, what gives, what’s new… I should give a quick mention to STRANGENESS in SPACE, our new, crowd-funded, sci-fi comedy audio drama; written by us, performed by us along with Sophie Aldred, and starring a whole load of comedy royalty from Doon Mackichan to Rufus Hound. You can find out more by clicking on this link.

But today I’m going to spend most of my time banging on about our new, and first ever, Christmas record. Yes! We’ve recorded a Christmas record called Christmas in SpACE. I say we… it’s actually by Pink Custard (featuring Sophie Aldred). Thing is, keep it quiet, we’re Pink Custard!

It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, linked with STRANGENESS in SPACE: It helps promote the FREE show, and will also hopefully help raise funds needed to make Episodes 3 and 4. But we hope it is a good standalone pop song too. Listen carefully and you may well hear The World of the Strange in there, Moon Monkey, and even The Singing Corner Swinging their Pants!

Here’s the video. I hope you enjoy it.

And, if you did enjoy it, please consider buying it. It’s only 79p and all money we make will go directly into funding more free episodes of STRANGENESS in SPACE. You can get it at iTunes here or you can get it at Amazon here. (If you go for iTunes we may even get in their charts!) And also, if you fancy, please leave a review.

Finally, huge thanks to those who have worked so hard on getting this made, especially Jim, Clare, Frazer, and Dave. Dave took Trev’s song and turned it into a Spectoresque winter wonder. Dave also created this epic video, using footage filmed by Frazer on the day of recording. A huge thank you x


Strangeness in Space

November 6, 2015

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Hello! it’s been a while since we last posted anything here!

Too much has happened, to tell you everything that we’ve been up to since then but we can tell you about our latest project … Strangeness in Space

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Strangeness in Space is a FREE audio sci-fi comedy drama for all ages starring us and Sophie Aldred and produced by Clare Eden. Sophie and Clare have been friends of ours, since we were all students together in Manchester, in the early 1980s but this is the first time we’ve all worked together.

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Anyway, the result is hilarious and we’ve been having a right old laugh, writing and recording it, as and when we raise enough cash, through our crowd funding campaigns. We have been lucky enough to persuade some other funny and talented people to join us along the way, including Doon Mackichan (another Manchester student friend!), Rufus Hound (he’s been to Manchester), Barnaby Edwards (he’s heard of Manchester), Peter Guinness (we think he might have a friend who lives in Manchester), Carol Cleveland (she knows someone who visited Manchester once), David Annen (he’s married to another friend of ours, who was a student at Manchester) and Sarah Madigan (who’s bound to like Oasis or the Happy Mondays or something).

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We even have a shop where you can buy cool stuff to help us raise funds, to produce more exciting episodes.

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And remember – you don’t have to pay anything because it’s FREE to listen on our website or you can download it from iTunes, also for nothing – that’s right – it’s FREE on iTunes too!

So what are you waiting for? Don’t hang about reading this for a single moment longer! It’s time to immerse yourself in our amazing audio antics and discover Featherheads, Rhinocerbikers, LEMON the computer robot, Thorliegh’s Pig Worm Powders, Pink Custard and so much more…

Follow the links and head to Strangeness in Space now!

 

PINK-CUSTARD-ss


Our Favourite Comedian

June 10, 2014

In the early 80’s me and Trev met at Manchester University. We were doing degrees in Drama (one each). I can’t speak for Trev, but I was hardly the most academic of students. Nor was Trev. As our friendship developed, so did our interest in comedy, more commonly known then as mucking around a bit and getting up late.

We were blessed with having tutors who not only indulged our experiments in comedy but also actively encouraged it. (Every Monday night students would perform their latest experimental pieces at the department’s Stephen Joseph Studio, a converted church where we once tried an ‘alternative comedy’ take on Chekhov).

One of our tutors was Dr David Mayer (later to become Professor David Mayer). David’s daughter, Lise, was the girlfriend of a former student, Rik Mayall. The two of them, along with another former Manchester student, Ben Elton, had just written a new sitcom for the BBC called The Young Ones.

We had no TV. We were students; we had no money. Any money we did have had to be spent on beer. And tins of Goblin Dumplings (50p at Oobidoo. Everything at Oobidoo was 50p. That’s why their slogan was –Don’t ask the price. We always did.)

The Drama Department had a TV. And a video player! Every week David Mayer would video The Young Ones for us. And I do mean us, the two of us. Others may have come along too, but David, gently pushing us in all the right directions, knew it was important for us to see this show.

There’d been nothing like it. And it was made by students from Manchester! Not Oxford, not Cambridge. Manchester! It was the most ground-breaking Mancunion contribution to comedy since Frank Randle (and, if you have four minutes to spare to watch this clip from Somewhere On Leave, 1943, you’ll see that Frank would have fitted very nicely into the world of The Young Ones).

Sometime shortly after this, in 1983, David said; “Lise, Rik, and Ben are going to be at my house over the weekend. Would you like to come and meet them on Saturday night.”

Ok… stop. Take a big long break in reading. I’d like to leave a big long gap on the page but that’d be daft. Just imagine the time it’s taking me, even now, for this to sink in. Would we, two stupid students, barely out of our teens, like to meet the creators of The Young Ones? At our tutor’s house?

Let’s deal with David Mayer’s house first.

It was a Mansion of Myths. We’d never been there, but we’d heard the rumours. Apparently he had a shower with three heads! And a Picasso! And we were being invited there! To meet The Young Ones! (I know exclamation marks should be used sparingly, but… come on!!!)

Now, the meeting. Of course we went. We even prepared: We spent Saturday afternoon scooting around Oobidoo, looking for fun items and generally asking the price. We settled on a wind-up spider. 50p.

And so we headed off on Saturday night to our tutor’s home in the posh part of Manchester armed only with a wind-up spider. (I don’t know at what age we learn to take wine, but whatever age, we hadn’t reached it yet).

We arrived at the house. And whatever you read from this point onwards, I assure you, did happen. David greeted us and showed us into a huge half kitchen, half dining room, with a small dividing wall about three feet high in the middle. In the dining room half there was a circular table. And there was Rik, Lise, Ben… and possibly someone else (sorry someone else). David didn’t introduce us… oh, he may have said something like “this is Trev and Simon”… but he didn’t explain who we were or why we were there. The one other thing he did do was to ask us to keep an eye on some steaks he was grilling in the far half of the kitchen.

This of two idiots whose diet consisted of tinned Goblin products.

And David disappeared! Where did he go? To this day no one can answer that. But the best bets are ‘to have a look at his Picasso’ or ‘to have a shower’.

So… we kind of stood around. The others, at the table, carried on talking to each other. At one point we wound up the wind-up spider and let it have a little walk. It didn’t get much of a reaction. But then, why should it? These fellows had demolished a house in their first episode.

We hadn’t been asked to do much by our tutor. Just keep an eye on some steaks. But that wasn’t our forte. We did our best. We wandered over to the cooker. We looked at them. And then they burst into flames.

How can a steak catch fire? I’m sure it’s easy to burn a steak, to ruin it; but for it to catch fire?

Trev struggled to get the grill out. He did, eventually, but not before the fire alarm went off.

The rest is a blur.

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On Monday night we did a daft bit of comedy at The Stephen Joseph Studio. It ended with us dropping some kind of large object off a balcony onto our wind-up walking spider. The spider was smashed to bits. And Rik, and Lise, and Ben were there.

Afterwards we talked about Saturday night. They had no idea why we were there or who we were. They said they hadn’t realised we were ‘comedians’. Which could have been a compliment or not, but either way we had a long chat with our comedy heroes. And for the next few days they were around and about. One night I played cards with Ben and Rik (Ben insisted on giving me money for a taxi home. I insisted on refusing it. I walked the three miles home in the rain. What an idiot student.) Another night we sat chatting with Rik in the bar at The Contact Theatre (the theatre connected to the drama department). He gave us lots of advice and he even gave us his phone number (before mobiles… this was Rik’s home phone number!) and told us to phone him whenever we wanted. He also gave us a quote to use on our publicity for our first Edinburgh show. He told us to use, “My favourite act!”

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Up in Edinburgh, doing our first ever show in 1984, we walked past a poster for a band. I can’t remember the band, but I can remember the quote: “My favourite band”, Rik Mayall.

RIP Rik. Thank you. x


The DevilfishhornClub newsletter

November 10, 2013

I’m going mad, rooting through boxes of memorabilia, scripts, and Barclaycard bills from 1988. Everything will be destroyed, but I’ll try and copy a few things here and there.

Just to get things going, and to try and make the task fun! here’s the first item to be archived (I will put it in the Trev and Simon Museum too).

It’s some kind of newsletter thing that may or may not have been sent out.

It contains what may have been our first ever catchphrase… Keep on laughing!

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DFHC ‘Newsletter’ January 1987

 


In Search of The Singing Corner Part 1

January 28, 2012

Here’s Part 1 in our attempt to track down Don Singing and Bob Corner, better known as The Singing Corner. We’d received a tip-off that they were hiding out in the Goat Caves of Kent and so, off we went.

Did we find them? Well, this film shows the search. We’ve since interviewed them. Hopefully that’ll be up sometime over the weekend. It’s a slow process, filming on a £60 Flip camera and editing on a 15 year old computer. That last sentence is the truth. As for the rest, you decide.


The Kent Coast Caves with Trev Neal

January 27, 2012

It’s hard doing what we do. But not as hard as, say, people who work for a living. We’re always trying to create new opportunities, pitching this and pitching that. Cornering BBC executives in toilets and canteens. Sending Kinder eggs to the latest heads of here and there; no toy inside, just the latest pitch, scribbled on the back of an old Bazooka Joe cartoon.

It’s tough.

There’s a rumour that goes around the comedy circuit; the popular comedian Tony Hancock made 324 pilots before eventually securing a slot with Hancock’s Half Hour. Even then he was short changed, the original show being called Hancock’s Hour and a Half.

But, as Richard Curtis once told us, and as Echo and the Bunnymen sing, never stop.

And we don’t.

A lot of effort and hard work goes into pitching ideas. Here’s one of our latest; The Kent Coast Caves with Trev Neal.

I doubt it will get picked up. But you’ve got to try, haven’t you.


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