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!

 

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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 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.


2011 in review

January 3, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


BBC Radio 7 Comedy Club

August 14, 2010

Yesterday we did a bit of work for BBC Radio 7. We’re presenting the Radio 7 Comedy Club on the 27th and the 29th August at 10pm. Here we are, in the studio, looking funny.

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Trev and Simon Podcast No.11

December 30, 2009

Hello folks. We all three (me, Trev and Andrea) hope you all had lovely Christmases and are about to have lovely New Years. Happy New Year, and a big thank you to all who listen and leave comments either here or on Twitter or Facebook or Talkbolox. We truly appreciate it and we have great fun doing the bloody things.

Here’s number 11. It’s not too long you’ll be glad to know. It may be a bit rough and ready (how would we know?). We raced to a pub in Hammersmith (the Queen’s Head, pub boffins), sat at the back, drank, ate, talked. That’s how it goes. Andrea, our producer, apologises; the sound isn’t up to scratch, some microphone malfunction, but let’s not worry about that. Let’s just laugh in the face of the New Year and raise our glasses to one another.

You can listen to it/ download it here

Just click on the link above to listen to it. Or to download the podcast: On a PC, right-click on the link, then select ‘Save Link As’ and download it to the selected location on your computer. On a Mac, hold down Ctrl and click the link, then select ‘Save Link As’ and download it to the selected location

And here’s what’s on it:

  1. Welcome to the end-of-year special!
  2. Simon’s New Year Resolutions
  3. Seafarer’s Ale
  4. Trev’s new hat
  5. Trev and Simon’s New Year Resolutions
  6. Trev and Simon open their Christmas presents (and card)
  7. Our albums of the year
  8. Trev’s political highlight of the year
  9. More questions from listeners
  10. Hugh Something
  11. How kids were treated on Saturday morning TV
  12. A quick break for lunch
  13. Simon’s loaded. Again
  14. The Year Of The Podcast! And next year’s plans
  15. Annoying each other
  16. Simon’s new books
  17. Past resolutions for the future
  18. 2010 film writing/starring
  19. (A group of people arrive and are a bit noisy)
  20. What comes after the Noughties?
  21. Simon’s date in a crate at the Tate
  22. Simon sings
  23. Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart
  24. Simon’s off to America
  25. Trev’s off to Twitter
  26. Final sound effects

And here, to end on, is a picture of Trev’s box.

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On the subject of our embarrassing back catalogue…

March 17, 2009

Let’s face it. We’ve all made mistakes. Trev and Simon’s Thai Pop Spectacular was a big mistake. Our Saturday morning run had come to an end. The much hoped for Channel 4 series never happened, so we ran away to Thailand in the hope of becoming pop stars. Things got a little out of control and somehow this was the result. It’s all behind us now and we’re able to laugh about it. At the time it wasn’t so funny. The dieting and the leg stretching was sheer hell. The album was a flop and we quickly returned to the UK with our bruised egos.

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