In December 2014, I wrote a short piece about a pizza junk mail delivery boy which was deliberately out of character with my other material. I was working at the computer, staring vacantly out of the window when one of these guys rocked up outside, looking as if he wanted the world to swallow him up whole. Alan Sillitoe’s Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner got into my head somehow, but I didn’t want a tale laden with the kind of pathos I didn’t feel qualified to write about; so I played a straight bat. When the narrator rejects outright a small moment of tenderness because he is preconditioned to expect the worst, there’s no fanfare: it’s just how it is. And I like that.
It was the last story of forty in Amateur of Life and Death. I was unashamedly channelling The Fast Show‘s Rowley Birkin QC, when his catchphrase “I’m afraid I was very, very drunk” is turned on its head because it isn’t funny. It catches your breath, and still to this day remains one of my favourite moments of character comedy writing. My cousin Mark Dicey illustrated it beautifully (see above), but I knew I wasn’t finished with it yet. I tentatively introduced it into the Broken Biscuits live set recently, with an accompanying urban landscape soundtrack recorded by Donald Ross Skinner in the 90s. But it needed something more to set it apart from the other posts, so I made it into a film.
Franck Alba’s haunting soundtrack, recorded in his bedroom in a matter of hours, is just perfect; and Alan Maclean’s wildly expressive features could not have been better for the ‘old geezer’. With a bit of help from one of my dearest friends Julitha Ryan, the whole thing was conceived, shot and edited in Crystal Palace over three days, and is now ready to be outed at Brighton Fringe next week. Hope you like it x
I’ve been working away for a while now. But the mighty Donald Ross Skinner & I have been undeterred, despite being separated by crippling distance. However, I thought it might be of interest for you to take a glimpse through the mask of consummate professionalism, and enjoy a fly on the wall take on the fact that I am a bit pants, held together by smoke and mirrors, red wine and black and white filters.
Super scary, this one. I was up alongside some seriously amazing authors who know their onions considerably better than I do. And I got myself a proper Brixton heckler to boot!. Massive thanks to Zelda, Sheila & Sharon for letting me do my thing. Oh, and Final Cut Pro: I want a quiet word with you in the Green Room x
Shot on the coldest night of the year to a robust audience, mollified somewhat with free booze and a significant hard cash bribe for the applause. Performing my own work marks a significant departure from the original concept, but as a little of the thespian runs in the blood, I thought I’d give it a go. And although both cameras were riddled with interior dust and on the blink, there’s a satisfying lo-res charm to the edited result which those social media instafilters can’t replicate.
I did a few readings at the fabulous Bookseller Crow for a local launch, just after the all-singing, all-dancing one at Vout-O-Reenees in November. Thank you to Jackie Keane for filming this without my consent. My lawyers are drawing up a writ as we speak and I look forward to seeing you in court.
This is the Kickstarter promo Donald Ross Skinner and I shot and edited in order to raise funds for ‘Amateur of Life and Death’. Life had not yet beaten us into a cocked hat, so there is a charming naive optimism to be seen here. I am happy to report that it was instrumental in raising more than the required amount, and you can still purchase it here in the sidebar for stupid money. Dig deep x
An amalgam of some of the audio sessions we filmed in 2015. They were enormous fun to do, usually culminating in the consumption of copious amounts of Pinot and an absurd photo op with a potato. There is no adequate explanation for this. At the time, the excellent Rupert Ingham was doing the narration and I was directing it all from the sidelines. Although things are a little different now, I sincerely hope we can work together again in the future.