Friday, August 15, 2014

The disorganised stuff has been organised...

As I wrote yesterday, it's been a bit complicated putting things together when three separate projects are all landing at about the same time. Which is why details on events have been confirmed at different times... and things have been making it here (and to my website) bit by bit.

But I think I now have all the various elements in place. So here they are. And because there are four different types of event going on, I've tried to make it as clear as possible what's what.

There are Screen Guild Shows, book readings, signings and work-in-progress gigs... and of course, come October 3rd, I start a 50 date tour...

What Where Whatsits
August 20th Screen Guild Hackney Picture House This is the gig I set up to allow me to try out new material and play with ideas. Four ace comics, introduced by me. More details.Tickets
August 22nd Book Reading Edinburgh Edinburgh Book Festival. Sold Out. But you can check for returns. The book is called Too Much Information (or Can Everyone Just Shut Up For A Moment, Some Of Us Are Trying To Think)
August 28th Screen Guild Hackney Picture House I might be refining the material I try out on the 20th. I might be doing completely new stuff. It might be a mixture of the two. The guests will be different. More details. Tickets
September 4th Book Launch Battersea Arts Centre A night to launch my new book. I'll be reading a few bits, explaining what it's all about and doing a Q&A. I love doing these events. The ticket price includes a copy of the book. Tickets.
September 10th Book Reading Newcastle, Mining Institute (for Waterstones) I'll be reading a few bits from the book, explaining what it's all about and doing a Q&A. I love doing these events. Details (Should be live from Aug 16)
September 11th Book Signing York, Waterstones From 12.30, I'll be in Waterstones, York to sign books and have a chat. Come along. And have a chat.  
September 11th Book Reading Leeds, Waterstones I'll be reading a few bits from the book, explaining what it's all about and doing a Q&A. I love doing these events. Tickets.
September 16th & 17th Work In Progress New Greenham Arts Centre Two shows in an intimate setting to help me put the pieces together and make things hang together as a show. Kind of.  Tickets
September 21st & 22nd Work In Progress Braintree Arts Centre Two more shows to allow me to shuffle the pack.  Tickets
September 23rd & 24th Work In Progress Andover,
The Lights
I've done a few tour warm ups in this venue... always a great place to play.   Tickets
September 29th & 30th Work In Progress Wolverhampton, The Slade Rooms More tour previews Tickets
October 1st Work In Progress Tring, The Court Theatre And finally... Tickets
... and then the tour kicks off on October 3rd...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This Post Contains Too Much Information

I sometimes get the impression that people expect my life to be more organised than it really is. Some people seem to imagine that in my profession there must be a scheming agent working out a series of five-year plans on my behalf. Or behind my back. The truth is that - like burglary - it's all much more opportunistic than that.

With live work I have a degree of control. With everything else it depends on someone else giving me an opportunity. Offers come and go. You try to apply judgement as to what is and what isn't a good idea. And so on and so on.

My new book comes out in September. The new series starts in September too. And the tour kicks off at the start of October. That looks like some kind of masterplan is in place, where all the pieces slot together in some kind of perfect storm of mutually beneficial publicity. But it's not. It's a coincidence.

I'd agreed to write the book before the first series was commissioned. I just couldn't start work on it until the series was done and dusted. And the tour was planned before the series had been recommissioned. It's force of circumstances that means they're all coming in to land at the same time, not masterful puppetry on the part of my controllers.

In some ways it adds complications to things. The publishing company, the broadcaster and the promoter are all different entities. They all work on their project and it means things are hitting my diary in haphazard ways.

I really like doing book-readings and normally, when I have a new book out, I try to do as many as possible. I'd normally do a dozen or more in the first couple of weeks. Because they're fun. But this time round, because the tour is imminent there simply aren't that many free dates to play with.

I'm going to be doing a pre-publication event at the Edinburgh Book Festival on August 22nd (although I think that one's sold out already).

The official publication day is September 4th and I'll be doing a launch event that night at Battersea Arts Centre. (Tickets are £20, which includes a copy of the book).

On September 10th I'll be heading to Newcastle for an event at Waterstones and on the 11th I'll be doing a lunchtime signing in York before an evening event in Leeds. The details for all three of those should be here.

And in non-book related news, I have another couple of tour warm-up shows to announce. On September 16th and 17th I'll be doing work-in-progress shows at New Greenham Arts near Newbury. (Expect it to be a bit rough and ready. And, y'know, fun.)

There'll be a few more tour warm-ups to announce soon.

They'd all be announced at the same time if things were a bit more planned.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Passing the baton... to myself.

We finished taping the second series of Modern Life Is Goodish a week ago. I probably should have mentioned it before now. But it's been so all-consuming a project that I've sort of forgotten how to do everything else.

It really was all-consuming. This was the first World Cup since I was a teenager that has passed me by completely. Didn't watch a single game. Got it all on my Sky+ box obviously so will be catching up with England's inevitable triumph soon. No spoilers.

If you came to any of the dry-runs for the series - to Worthing, Canterbury, Fareham or Maidenhead - then thank you. You helped to make the show a really enjoyable process for me. Not writing things down. Not having endless meetings with people trying to second-guess what they think an audience will like, and letting the story-telling elements develop organically through the process of, um, telling-the-stories is a far more enjoyable way to work and I think we get something much more genuine out the other end as a result. (It's a collaborative show, lots of people bring all sorts of talents to bear, but I dread the idea that it would ever feel like it was made by committee.)

Of course, now that it's over it's time to look to the next challenge. The tour. The tour kicks off in October, but as with the series, I don't want to sit around on my tod, second-guessing what will work best. I want to try stuff out.

So I'm reviving the Screen Guild for two more shows. These are mixed bills of comedy that I curate and introduce. I only book great acts. That guarantees that the audience has a good time. And as I host the shows, I get to try out any new ideas I might have knocking around. As with the last season, the shows are at The Hackney Picture House (they have to be close to home as I can't make 800 powerpoint slides while on a train) and will be on August 20th and 28th.
You can get tickets here.

(I might do the same stuff both times. I might not. It depends on how much I can squeeze into a show and whether things need polishing or changing. That's the point, I suppose... if I knew exactly what I was going to do at each of these shows, there'd be no point doing these shows in the first place.)

In September I'll start doing some one-man shows as tour warm-ups. The details of which aren't finalised yet - but I'll be letting my mailing list know some time at the end of this week or the start of the next. And I'll blog the details too.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Goodish Return

I haven't been tweeting, blogging or doing pretty much anything online lately as I've had plenty of other stuff on my plate.

On Saturday night, we taped the first two episodes of series two...
... and it all seemed to go pretty well.

Thanks to everyone who came along.

Thanks also to everyone who came along to the dry runs in Worthing. Doing the shows live is far and a way the best way of honing things and as I want the finished product to be as unedited as possible - so that I can link ideas together, rather than just having a mish-mash of disconnected thoughts and gags, it's essential that I at least try and squeeze it into time before we get to the recording.

Anyway... there were sleepless nights along the way - I always forget just how time consuming creating 800+ slides of powerpoint can be - but it was a really enjoyable experience. And that's it now... we're strapped in to the rollercoaster and the shows are coming thick and fast.

I've got one last show of the Screen Guild gigs at the Hackney Picture House on Thursday - which doesn't necessarily feed in to the series, but then there are dry runs in Canterbury before the next recording on June 25th.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Lost & Found

I was in Brighton earlier this week... where I found this camera abandoned on the beach.

When I first saw it, it was just lying on the pebbles and I was sitting a short distance away having a drink with some colleagues and so we watched to see if anyone came back, frantically searching for it.

An hour passed.

There was nowhere sensible to hand it in to and there seemed to be little chance of it making its way back to its owner, so rather than leave it to the ravages of sun, rain and salt water I thought I'd look after it and make best efforts to find its owner.

If it was digital I'd have a look at the photos and upload something that people would identify... but it's a film camera so I can't. Well not yet. There's a film in the camera and if I don't get a response from this, I'll pay to get the pictures developed and try again.

But for now... there are some initials on the case. If this is your camera, get in touch and let me know what those initials are and I'll work out a way of returning it to you...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Derby No More.

Unfortunately I have some bad news regarding the Derby date on the upcoming tour. For reasons beyond my control - the show has had to be cancelled.
If you live locally you probably know that there was a fire at the venue in March and, while I was under the impression that they were initially hopeful that it could be repaired and back in a few months - which would mean my show (on November 4th) would be fine, they're now saying that the venue will be closed for 18 months. Indeed, they're still not sure whether it will be repaired or replaced.

We've tried to find another venue in Derby but it hasn't been possible. The venue would need to be at least as big as the Assembly Rooms, technically equipped for a show like mine not to mention free on the right date, or at least on another date that worked with the tour etc and there doesn't appear to be any such venue. We widened the search to elsewhere in the East Midlands - I was hoping that as the Nottingham date appears to be sold out there might be a way of adding a second date there for example... but the dates can't be made to work.

If you've bought a ticket for the Derby show, I can only apologise. If the seller hasn't already contacted you to arrange a full refund, then do get in touch with them.

The full schedule of dates is here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tabernacle Doo Dah


So you'll be pleased to hear that series two of Modern Life Is Goodish isn't going to be called anything silly like Modern Life Is Goodi2h. You might also be please to know that we've now sorted out the dates for the recordings... and that means that the tickets - which are free - are available.

As with last series, we'll be recording two shows each night. Like the first series, the shows will all be recorded at The Tabernacle near Notting Hill. It's a lovely atmosphere, a far nicer place for an audience to be than the normal, anodyne atmosphere of a TV studio.

Unlike last series, there are eight episodes this time, so there'll be four recordings instead of three.

They'll be on Saturday June 7th, Wednesday June 25th, Wednesday July16th and Sunday August 3rd.

The weekend shows will be doors at 5.15 and the Wednesday shows will be doors at 5.45.

If you'd like to come along you can apply for free tickets via the TVRecordings website.

Tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis, but hey, they are free.
(That said... there were a few priority tickets for each recording... but they were reserved for members of my mailing list who found out yesterday).