Lewis Hamilton, the stud and the PR…

Lewis Hamilton, studless, in 2016 (Photograph: Mario via Wikipedia)

I get sundry PR releases sent to me.

I normally don’t use them, but this one I copy and paste below in its entirety without comment…

…though I would draw your attention to the regulations in Rugby League…


MERCEDES FINED £21.9k FOR NOT DECLARING LEWIS HAMILTON’S NOSE STUD

Though his choice to wear the stud in Singapore triggered a visit to the stewards, Lewis Hamilton told them doctors had advised him to leave the stud in, rather than continue to take it in and out, on medical grounds. FIA Deputy Medical Delegate Dr Ian Roberts looked at the medical report and concurred with the opinion. As a result, the stewards decided to take no further action.

The situation left us wondering what rules other sports have enforced regarding jewellery. Experts at UK retailer Steven Stone have done some research and revealed everything you need to know!

I’ve pasted some key points below, however you can read the full story here.

  • Lewis was summoned by stewards at the Singapore Grand Prix for wearing his nose stud, but provided a medical report stating that he’d been advised to leave the stud in
  • The FIA have confirmed that deputy medical delegate, Dr Ian Roberts, reviewed and concurred with Hamilton’s medical records, but Mercedes had failed to declare it, which resulted in a fine of £21,900
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the strictest regarding jewellery
  • In Rugby League, referees inspect players’ equipment before the start of the game
  • With no rules in place Emma Raducanu recently took to the Wimbledon court kitted out in £30,000 worth of Tiffany jewellery

Football (Soccer)

Jewellery is a total no go in football, with the FA not allowing players to wear anything that is dangerous. All items of jewellery (necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, leather bands, rubber bands, etc.) are forbidden and must be removed, with players inspected before the start of matches.

Basketball

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is incredibly strict and their rules don’t end with prohibiting jewellery – in the past four decades, they’ve also banned du-rags, personalised Band-Aids, and headbands. They also became the first major professional sports league to impose a dress code for players when they’re arriving at and leaving matches or sitting on the bench.

Rugby League

In Rugby League, the regulations state that a player cannot wear anything that might prove dangerous to other players. Referees inspect players’ equipment before the start of the game (or delegate this duty to the Touch Judges) to ensure that players aren’t wearing anything of an offending nature – such as rings, rigid shoulder pads or dangerous studs.

Rugby Union

The regulations of rugby union do not allow players to wear jewellery, gloves, shorts with padding sewn into them, or any item contaminated by blood.

Tennis

Whilst Wimbledon has a strict all-white rule for players, it doesn’t seem to have anything in place regarding jewellery – something that female players take particular advantage of. Just last week, Emma Raducanu took to the centre court kitted out in £30,000 worth of Tiffany jewellery.

Baseball

Instead of fully prohibiting jewellery, Major League Baseball just request that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game. Similar to that in American Football, this has caused controversy, with the most infamous story taking place over a decade ago, when the glare from Seattle Mariners reliever Arthur Rhodes’ earrings threw off the Cleveland Indians hitter Omar Vizquel and resulted in a bench-clearing brawl.

American Football

Though the National Football League (NFL) restrict “hard objects”, they don’t enforce a jewellery ban. Though this has caused controversy in the past and there are a wealth of stories that suggest a ban may be a good idea – for example, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib once snatched a gold chain off Oakland Raiders’ Michael Crabtree’s neck during a terse exchange.

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RIP Jeanette Cousland… So it goes…

Jeanette (right) with Scotsman critic Kate Copstick after a Grouchy Club show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014

I got a shock phone call this morning to tell me of the death of the always lively and bubbly Jeanette Cousland – aka ‘Machete Hettie’ or sometimes ‘Machete Hetty’ – who appeared in this blog over the years.

She died 15 days after being told she had cancer.

On 21st September, on Facebook, her son Barry Martin posted:


Hi folks,

2 weeks ago my mother Jeanette was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given weeks rather than months to live. She had been in good health until then apart from a bad back the last few weeks. She was just 54 the day before. 

We are at home now and keeping her at peace. She has a great support team with me, my brother and Kirsty.

She is still with it and I can pass on any messages that would cheer her up. The family is still in shock and we are pretty devastated. Please do not call my mother just now: she is sleeping a lot of the time. Also not too many questions for me or Ricky as it can get a bit much. Please, she would not want people to be sad and always tries to make people laugh.

She is still with us now and we are trying to keep her at peace as much as possible.

Thankyou,

Barry, Ricky and Kirsty, my mum’s best friend


The next day, her son Ricky Fyffe posted:


It is with a heavy heart myself and my brother Barry Martin have to announce the passing of our one-of-a-kind mum, granny and sister, Jeanette Cousland.

After an all too short battle with lung cancer, she passed away peacefully this afternoon at home with her family by her side. 

After a period of mourning, we will update everyone on the funeral arrangements in due course. 

Our mum will forever be in our hearts.


Jeanette’s last post on Facebook was on 12th September.

She lived in Leith, Edinburgh…

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The Edinburgh Fringe blame game: a guide to the usually accused culprits

The Edinburgh Fringe is held every August. It ended almost a month ago.

After every Edinburgh Fringe, there is a blame game played about how the experience was awful and the Fringe is deteriorating. Usually, this revolves around the spiralling cost of accommodation and/or the physical and/or organisational chaos. But, for performers, mostly it’s the cost of the venue hire and/or the accommodation.

For beginners, here is a simple guide.

The locals blame the Council or the number of performers; the performers blame the venues and the Fringe Office; the venues blame the Council and the University (who temporarily rent a lot of buildings to venues); the Council blames the Fringe as an overall event and tries to appear to support the ratepayers; the Fringe Office tries to hide; the landlords, the shops, the Council and the University take the money gratefully.

Repeat annually.

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It is not as easy nor as quick as you might think to build a squirrel feeder

Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award designer John Ward has occasionally been described in this blog as “mad inventor John Ward”.

There is a reason for this.

I have recently had some emails for him, cobbled-together by me below:


I have just finished construction of ‘Top Nut’, my latest squirrel feeder – as seen in Moulton-Seas-End (which is nowhere near the sea). It is based on Star Wars type stuff and cobbled together from all bits and bobs.

A few years ago now when I saw the squirrels we had running about in the garden I realised that a trail of nuts would lead their inquisitive minds to the pile of nuts or whatever I have built for them.

It has taken a week or so to get them to investigate Top Nut, but they are now getting used to it. 

I have taken some ‘grabbed’ photographs through the kitchen window so they’re not that clear. Now I know how Attenborough’s lot must feel sitting it out, waiting…

How did all this come to pass? I hear you ask.

The wheelbarrow we used in the garden had collapsed – it’s always the metalwork that rots or rusts through it seems. So what was left was the heavy duty plastic barrow part plus the wheel.

The more I looked at the shape, the more I wondered what it would look like upside down.

Inspired by what it DID look like upside down, the plan was to build another squirrel feeder – You can’t have enough squirrel feeders I always say, moreso as we live rural.

The barrow bit was cleaned and large holes cut into it based on when we get winds – it blows straight through – a lesson learnt years ago with the bird table that was blown over and basically destroyed… So that was sorted.

Next the ‘deck’ or floor was a discarded off-cut from a sheet of MDF, the miracle TV ‘makeover’ show product that seems to be used for just about everything in building anything in this day and age.

It was shaped to fit the upside down barrow bit leaving a narrow, half inch margin all round so that rain water can escape so as not to flood it – and it works very well I am happy to say. Tick the box marked ‘Forward Planning’ here.

I also applied five coats of waterproof vanish to seal it against the elements, which took over a fortnight, on and off, to allow each coat to cure or dry properly hence being waterproof (I hoped…).

Next was a stable but firm base. This was achieved by cutting an industrial type slotted racking support in half to make a ‘V’ shaped support, then welded to a metal plate to partly form the base.

This was bolted to an old office chair base that was being thrown out by a local company that I ‘rescued’ from their skip (with their knowledge – although they didn’t quite seem to believe what I was building).

To gain squirrel access to the craft, I made a ladder from a plastic PVC off-cut from somebody who was having new soffits (the bits that hold the guttering up) and double glazing put in. The treads are plastic packers as used in the building trade to even brick/woodwork up… cut down to scale and stuck on with superglue.

Next up was making the superstructure. The rear ‘motors’ are four old 35mm film slide projector reels, reversed then glued/screwed end to end.

They were then attached to two loudspeaker ‘horns’ to form the ‘motive power’ with the actual top being an old industrial size fluorescent plastic based light unit, cut in half and glued together to form the ‘upper hull’ section.

The various ‘wings’ on top are parts from a discarded electric buggy/wheelchair.

The ‘flight deck’ is made from an old desk ‘odds and ends’ tray cut in half and miniature ‘seats’ handmade using an old black imitation leather shopping bag for covering and inserted into small square type flower pots to form ‘bucket seats’ that are about to scale considering the size of our semi-resident squirrels – Sid and Shazz.

The controls are assorted colour beads and anything lying about. The ‘gear stick’ is based on a 1987 model British Leyland Maestro car. The ‘handbrake’ based on a Ford Sierra of the same era.

Between the seats at the rear is a scale model fire extinguisher. Should there be anything untoward happening on the flight deck, then this won’t make the slightest bit of difference, but it looks good!

The outside solar power and heat transfer modals are waffle plates – one per side – from a sandwich/waffle maker that somebody donated to the construction as they never used them as they only use the sandwich, toasty plates so they are brand new, unused.

The ‘front screen’ is an empty space with thin elastic threaded through drilled holes to form the ‘screen surrounds’ similar in appearance to WW2 planes.

The ‘Sid and Shazz’ sun visor – going back to the 1970s – where it was the thing to have the driver and passenger’s name in the sun visor over the windscreen – is a separate piece of Perspex with their names stuck on with letters from Poundland.

PS: in the first video, and possibly in a photo or two, there is a sign with ‘Painting by Carl’ on it.

He is the paint sprayer for a local engineering firm who was silly enough to ask if he ‘could do anything towards your project’ and so he sprayed the exterior of Top Nut in the machine grey you see.


John Ward is available to customise any totally insane projects you may have.

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Four hats – drawn by 11-year-old Lily

The last blog posted here was a story written by multi-talented Lily, the 11-year-old daughter of writer-performer hyphenate Ariane Sherine.

Now here are four artworks by Lily…


This one (below) is called ‘Bianca’ because it is white and blank…

This one is called ‘Hattie’ because… well, because it’s a hat…

This one is called ‘Delancey’ for random reasons I can’t remember…

And this one is called ‘Nova’ for fairly obvious reasons…

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“The Beef of the Three Sausages” – a new original story by 11-year-old Lily

Back in December 2020, there was a review posted in this blog of a new movie based on the traditional pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk. It was written by Lily, the then 9-year-old daughter of writer-performer hyphenate Ariane Sherine.

The multi-talented Lily, now 11-years-old, has been writing fiction since then and this is her latest piece:

THE BEEF OF THE THREE SAUSAGES

Once upon a time, there were three sausages: the planet-loving vegan, the intelligent pork, and the beef, who would rave about the strength of cows but was not too strong himself – especially emotionally. 

Every day, the plant-based sausage would brag, “We are simply SO good for the climate! If the whole human population ate only us then the world would never need to fear for the well-being of our planet!” 

And the pork sausage, pig-like as ever, would boast, “Us pigs and boars are the brainiest of the lot – and I’m not telling a porky!” And then laugh at his own ever-so-smart witticism.

As much as the beef sausage attempted to prove that he, and indeed all cows, was equally as remarkable as the other two, all he could manage was a feeble, “We are very strong!” This only earned him guffaws and taunting, and him being a gentle soul, it was simply too much for him to cope with. 

Too much for him to cope with in many senses – for the other two bangers went so much further than calling him a cow. They would hit him with sharp utensils, typically a fork, but one day, it was a knife that hit his flesh. 

It was plunged in by the vegan, who felt no guilt about this whatsoever – despite how strongly he felt about the fossil fuels entering the atmosphere, the beef sausage’s soul leaving the planet did not weigh him down at all. 

A week passed, and suddenly he found that he would start to absent-mindedly pluck the leaves from hedges he walked by, and was even about to order a taxi without specifically asking  for an electric one! But of course, he paid little notice to this – simply intrusive thoughts. 

Perhaps, though, a little more peculiar, was that the pork sausage would continuously somehow get the simplest of equations drastically wrong! When he would ask to be ‘tested’ on his maths (which was only a request for compliments in truth) the vegan sausage would roll his eyes and  say drolly, “55 x 4.” And the pork would reply, “215!” 

Additionally, he began to question famous theories, like finding fault in one of the numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence. Of course, he paid little notice to this – for the sharpest minds would often have intrusive thoughts, and it was simply a sign of creativity, surely. 

But a month later, the vegan would pull up plants, do crazy protests that climate change was a pack of lies, think thoughts that they should buy a diesel car. The most peculiar thing was that he had the strongest feeling that these thoughts were not truly his, as if he was a puppet with dictated beliefs. 

Similarly, the pig would forget his times tables, put down its own species and almost WORSHIP cows, as much as the vegan would lead protests about the ‘dangerous fantasies’ scientists were enforcing into people’s minds. Both felt like they were somehow being controlled. 

It was only when the trees became beef sausages and the pigs suddenly died that they realised they were being haunted by the cow they’d killed. 

And such mental anguish was felt by the vegan sausage, who had committed the crime, that they burnt away the world they had tried so hard to save just 6 weeks ago.

THE END

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Earl Okin watched that scene, digging the Dancing Queen aka Elizabeth II…

“The main thing I remember was…”

Timeless and ageless entertainer Earl Okin posted this memory on his Facebook page. Reprinted here with permission:


I suppose that I’m among the relatively few here who can remember singing the words ‘God Save The King’. There’s a famous newsreel clip of King George VI seeing off the young Princess Elizabeth (born the same year as Marilyn Monroe) and her husband as they flew off to Kenya. It was the last time that the King would be seen by the country or his daughter. That last goodbye took place on my 5th birthday.

I suppose that we knew that this Elizabethan reign couldn’t last forever, but now that it has ended and that we’ll once again sing ‘God Save The King’, it all seems surreal.

There are other royal families, other Queens, but if anyone for the last 50 years or more said ‘The Queen’, we all knew of whom that person was talking. Elizabeth Windsor, in all her 70 years on the throne hardly put a foot wrong.

25 years ago, we had the tragic accident that ended the short life of a princess who was known as the ‘Queen of hearts’, but, in the end, it is probably Elizabeth Windsor who has earned that title from most members of the country and her beloved Commonwealth.

That said, Elizabeth Windsor was not The Queen. The Queen was a role that she played to perfection, but we learned much more about the real Elizabeth Windsor earlier this year in that famous last video with Paddington Bear.

Back around the time of the Silver Jubilee in 1978, I was invited to perform at a VERY posh party in Windsor. It was in the massive grounds of someone called Mrs. Heinz. The quests included Rex Harrison, Richard Rodgers, David Frost, Gore Vidal…the list goes on….but the guests of honour were the Windsor sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret. With no media present, they could be themselves. To the music of Monty Sunshine and his band, the Windsor sisters danced with everyone… all evening.

The main thing I remember was how much prettier The Queen was in real life – real film star looks.

15 years ago, I lost the Queen of MY heart. My mother was just a year younger, just before her 95th birthday, and she died without warning. I was a zombie for some weeks, so I know what poor now King Charles III will be going through and he has new royal duties to attend to… I don’t envy him.

Back in 1901, the country must have felt the same way. Victoria had been Queen since 1837. There was a new king…Edward VII. He turned out to be a very good one. I’m sure that Charles III will be too. So…once again let’s sing ‘God Save The King’.

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Medical update. Genetic testing, maybe “unexpected results” and Red Bull…

I was hospitalised for a week in May 2020 and – again for a week – in July 2021. On both occasions, my calcium level had suddenly sky-rocketed to a dangerous level which resulted in my kidney function plummeting to a very, very dangerously low level.

The only positive thing to come out of it was that the second hospitalisation resulted in a seven-day series of fairly dramatic blogs. I await offers for the TV sitcom or Netflix movie rights.

Both times when I was hospitalised, after a week of (I think) basically just saline drips, my calcium/kidney function levels returned to non-dangerous though still abnormal levels.

But the doctors had absolutely no idea why the levels had, without warning, suddenly gone mad in the first place. 

Subsequently, it was impossible to treat the problem because the cause was completely unknown.

Multiple scans, X-rays, blood tests and bunging radioactive material into my blood stream has failed to find any cause. But it happened twice. Without warning. I am taking no medication to stop it happening again nor to normalise my levels because, with an unknown cause to treat, there can be no treatment.

To add to the confusion, in February 2022, according to a blood test, without warning, my calcium level suddenly returned to pretty-much normal and my kidney function – although not 100% right – became reasonable, not dangerous and it seems to be stable. My kidney consultant said, at first, he thought he had been given the wrong patient’s results. He and my calcium consultant told me the cause of the suddenly-improved results were a total mystery to them.

The latest idea to try and find out what is going on is that I am going to be given a genetic blood test. Apparently this costs the NHS “a few thousand pounds”.

I seem to have a main kidney consultant and a second, associated, kidney consultant. In a video call yesterday, the latter told me:

“There are some genetic tests we want to do. You’ve been through every test in the book and no-one’s figured it out. It would be a useful thing to do. We’re just looking at a certain panel of genes.

“The thing about genetic tests,” he added, “is  they can sometimes throw up unexpected results or sometimes unwanted results. It’s unlikely in this case, because we’re not looking at everything; we’re only looking at things to do with calcium – the panel of genes that control calcium.

“But, even then, we have to warn you that there’s a possibility it could throw up unexpected results, OK? Theoretically that could have implications for family members.”

I am uncertain whether or not this means I could discover I am related to Adolf Hitler or that I am a member of a previously-unknown alien race.

“The results,” the doctor told me, “could take ages: it could take six months, something like that. It’s not going to be fast; and then we’ll take it from there. It’s going to be very exciting to try and find the results. You’re only the third patient I’m doing this on.”

I’m not sure whether I should be gratified or worried by that.

One thing no-one seems interested in is that I felt ‘light-headed’ – a sort of woozy, floating, uncertainly-balanced feeling inside my head – in the lead-up to my first hospitalisation in May 2020 and this continued until roughly New Year this year, 2022. 

In March 2021 – in fact, for a few months – I had occasional, very serious vertigo – having to hold on to the walls or anything static to avoid falling over while the world whizzed around me. This went away after a few months but the slightly unbalanced and unbalancing feeling inside my head continued until…

In around October 2022, on a whim, I started drinking a can of Red Bull in the morning. 

As soon as I started doing this, the wooziness in my head decreased then stopped and, since then, I drink a can of Red Bull every morning with breakfast. My balance is better; in fact, my balance is now fine.

I never drank any Red Bull between the lead-up to May 2020 and October 2022 (remember I was hospitalised again in July 2021). So the Red Bull could not have contributed to my problems but, bizarrely, it seems to have helped alleviate some (I guess side) effects. 

I think I have read that Red Bull – basically it’s caffeine and sugar – can be dangerous because it speeds up the heart. But, as my heart beats quite slowly – in the low 50bpm when resting – this might not be a bad thing.

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The making of The Comedians’ Choice Awards at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

I have mentioned the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards in the last couple of blogs. The actual trophies were designed and made by mad inventor John Ward who is particularly keen (via an email this morning) that I mention he lives in or near Moulton-Seas-End in Lincolnshire.

If you go to Wikipedia, you will find there is an article on Moulton-Seas-End currently illustrated with  a sole photograph (below).

John Ward clearly is, indeed, a man out standing in his own field.

Moulton-Seas-End, home of John Ward  (Photograph supplied by Kate Jewell via geograph.org.uk)

I suspect he may be trying to drum up tourist trade for Moulton-Seas-End, which is nowhere near the sea.

Having established specifically where he lives, onwards more generally to this year’s Comedians’ Choice Awards.

These, like the Malcolm Hardee Awards, are currently organised by the British Comedy Guide with trophies designed by John Ward but, in this case, there is sponsorship from London’s Museum of Comedy.

The Comedians’ Choice Awards were founded in 2014 and aim to help highlight “the amazing work of those at the Fringe who may well otherwise go unrecognised, as judged by those who understand their efforts the best: their peers.”

Every comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe is eligible to both cast a vote and to be voted for.

There is no panel of judges, no industry specialists. The performers themselves decide who wins. Voting is conducted during August via an online form administered by the British Comedy Guide.

The Comedians’ Choice Awards are presented in three categories:

BEST SHOW at the Fringe.

BEST PERFORMER – The best individual comedy performer at the festival.

BEST PERSON – “A person who the voter feels should get recognition for their contribution to this year’s Fringe. This does not need to be a performer; it can be anyone associated with the comedy industry at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, from reviewers to producers and venue staff.”

The Best Performer and Best Show winners and the Best Show shortlist nominees get invited to take part in a special Comedians’ Choice showcase season at London’s Museum Of Comedy in October.

This year, as a bonus, streaming platform NextUp Comedy will also record some of the Museum Of Comedy nights, with the performer receiving a revenue share.

The actual trophies, as I said, are designed and made by John Ward, who lives in or near the village of Moulton-Seas-End in Lincolnshire. He tells me:


John Ward, from Moulton-Seas-End, with the original Award

Before the Covid, if you recall we met up at Milton Keynes with the then ‘new’ Award that – unbeknown to me at the time – was then given in three classes and not one as I first thought.

Trying to replicate that one this year has been slightly chaotic… Since the Covid malarkey, things have been a bit fraught in acquiring the same materials in the making of.

The materials that went into making that Award are not readily available nowadays – blame the Ukraine business, the 3 Day Week, fluoride in toothpaste, wotever.

John Ward, resident of Moulton-Seas-End, crafting an Award

The new design is more handy for standing on a bookshelf, fireplace or to use as a door stop.

It’s in a mask configuration with the now standard ‘red nose’ being central, with a slanted ‘comedic eye’ on one side with the Comedy Guide emblem opposite making the twin ‘eyes’ as such with raised eyebrows.

The ‘grinning’ mouth has been chiselled out and filled with red ‘sparkly ripple’ type finish inserted and is not symmetrical but, as you look at it, there is a small curl on the left hand side at the top of it.

It is secured to the base with twin screws and a central wooden dowel so, in theory, there is not much chance of it falling apart… but, then again, they said the Titanic was unsinkable..

I have made nine of these: three for 2021 to give to the winners from then, three for this year 2022 and three for next year 2023, with each year being designated its own colour scheme.

The colours per year are: Gold, Silver and Bronze. This year, for 2022, it’s Silver.

Three years’ worth of The Comedians’ Choice Awards


THE COMEDIANS’ CHOICE AWARDS

2022 WINNERS

BEST PERFFORMER

Jordan Gray …performing in Jordan Gray: Is It a Bird?

Sharing the news on social media, Gray said: “This means EVERYTHING to me.”

BEST SHOW

Rob Copland: Mainstream Muck (Gimme Some of That)

In a nod to his unconventional show, when asked what it felt like to win, Copland supplied this statement: “\m/”.

BEST SHOW SHORTLIST

Ali Brice: I Tried To Be Funny, But You Weren’t Looking
Chelsea Birkby: No More Mr Nice Chelsea
Colin Hoult: The Death of Anna Mann
The Delightful Sausage: Nowt but Sea
Elf Lyons: Raven
Luke Rollason: Bowerbird
Siblings: Siblage
Shelf: Hair Stuart Laws – Putting Zoo

BEST PERSON

Martin Willis

He is managing director of show production company Objectively Funny. The company also produces and distributes the Small Book on Mental Health at the festival, to support performers.

Martin Willis said: “It is a massive honour to win an award like this, one that’s voted for by people involved in shows here. It means the world to be recognised by a community that I care so dearly about, and I’m incredibly grateful.

“That being said, it cannot go unmentioned that in the history of this particular award the winner has always been a man. That fact speaks both of the demographics of the voters but also of what we actually see from behind the scenes. For an industry that is historically male-dominated onstage, there is a vast array of brilliant women that have made so much work possible in so many ways – technicians, producers, agents, venue programmers and people that do whatever job needs doing with care and gusto.

“I would like to accept this award on behalf of the Objectively Funny team that has worked so hard to make excellent things happen at this festival: Ellie Brayne-Wyatt, Maddy Bye, Kathryn Higgins, Olivia Phipps and Lois Walshe.”

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This year’s Malcolm Hardee Awards: It all ended in tears and a fight by a bus.

Highly unlikely to ever want to rest in peace…

Yesterday’s blog was about the travails of this year’s Malcolm Hardee Awards Show at the Edinburgh Fringe. The show was cancelled on the day (by the Award organisers) at The Counting House venue and then suddenly moved to another venue, Bob Slayer’s Blundabus: a double-decker bus. No reflection on the highly-esteemed Counting House.

Yesterday’s blog sort-of encompassed my philosophy of organising things… 

Anything that CAN go wrong WILL go wrong. 

And anything that cannot possibly ever go wrong WILL STILL go wrong.

The best thing is to prepare everything in advance to the last detail, organise everything with fallback positions and then, when the whole thing suddenly starts to go arse-over-tit despite all that, it is easier to manage the new chaos caused by one single unexpected disaster than have to sort-out this new and impossible-to-predict problem AND all the sundry could-have-been-foreseen-and-planned-for potential multiple problems.

You should plan for the foreseeable-knowns; you can’t plan for the unforeseeable-unknowns.

Malcolm Hardee also had a philosophy about First World problems: 

“Fuck it! It don’t matter do it? There are people starving in Africa. Not all over though. Round the edge – fish.”

I am in London. Three people have told me anonymously what happened in Edinburgh on Friday night/the early hours of Saturday morning .

One person, who had arranged to see the 11.30pm show at The Counting House with a group of people from London said: “I saw that the show had been cancelled and assumed that was the end of it. Wish I’d known that Bob had stepped in. Small venue though.”

Someone else, comic Giacinto Palmieri (who actually attended the re-scheduled 01.00am Blundabus presentation), opined: “A show that was so alternative that there was no show… Malcolm Hardee would have appreciated that.”

Apparently the awards were announced from a small stage in front of the double decker bus. When Jerry Sadowitz was announced as winner of the ‘Act Most Likely to Make a Million Quid’ Award, there was, I’m told, “a noticeable but small Boo! from the crowd”. 

After the Awards, a vivid verbal contretemps then ensued between two of the people involved in the show which, it seems, can best be described as a non-meeting of minds between, on the one side, ‘very tired & emotional’ and, on the other, ‘very irritated and Woke’. It all ended in tears, as such things are prone to do.

In yesterday’s blog, I wrote that an email sent to me at 02.59 on Saturday morning told me: “The news announcement (of the Award-winners) might be a little delayed… One bit proved quite controversial, so the judges are going to need a chance to decide on the wording first.”

It turns out this referred not to the decision on winners of the Awards but on the wording of the press release mentioning comedian Jerry Sadowitz. 

The press release was eventually issued yesterday afternoon. Here it is (I have added pictures):


For immediate release

MALCOLM HARDEE AWARDS 2022 RESULTS

The results of the Malcolm Hardee Awards 2022 have been announced during a ceremony at the Edinburgh Fringe.

The awards – handed out in the memory of comic, agent, manager, club-owner and prankster Malcolm Hardee – celebrate and promote the spirit of anything-goes comedy anarchy at the Edinburgh Festival.

This year’s winners are:

COMIC ORIGINALITY

Two thirds of The Flop: Dan Lees (left) and Cammy Sinclair (Photo: Stephen O’Donnell)

The Flop: A Band Of Idiots (Dan Lees, Tom Penn, Cammy Sinclair)

Comedy trio The Flop – Dan Lees, Tom Penn and Cammy Sinclair – performed their show at The Banshee Labyrinth at 10:10pm between the 6th and 20th August.

Their brochure blurb explains: “60 minutes, 12 notes and three idiots. Musical mayhem and expert clowning from the greatest band in the whole world… ever.”

Mr Chonkers was also nominated in this category.

Ivor Dembins without Edinburgh Council’s rubbish men (Photograph: Stephen O’Donnell)

CUNNING STUNT

Ivor Dembina

The 2022 Cunning Stunt prize goes to comedian Ivor Dembina, for his reaction to the Edinburgh bin collection strike, promoting the growing piles of uncollected rubbish as performance art.

 

ACT MOST LIKELY TO MAKE A MILLION QUID

Sadowitz: offensive future millionaire?

Jerry Sadowitz

Originally scheduled to play just two shows at the Pleasance’s EICC venue as part of his national tour Not For Anyone, cult comic and former Hardee protégé Sadowitz made national headlines when his show was unceremoniously axed after its first night, with Pleasance claiming both “[we are] a venue that champions freedom of speech and we do not censor comedians’ material,” and “the material presented at his first show is not acceptable… this type of material has no place on the festival”. Coherent, much?

Judges explained: “Ironically, after being cancelled, Sadowitz is seeing a huge increase in ticket sales for the show’s tour, and is now adding a date at the 3,600+ seater Hammersmith Apollo in November.

“The Million Quid is getting closer for the most unlikely of reasons.”

*** *** ***

The usual, anarchic awards show was not able to take place this year, but a results ceremony was held at Bob Slayer’s infamous BlundaBus venue at 1.00am this morning.

The winners each receive a specially made trophy designed by inventor John Ward.

This year’s judging panel was Marissa Burgess, Kate Copstick, Bruce Dessau, Jay Richardson, Claire Smith and Ian Wolf.

The Malcolm Hardee Awards have run since 2005, the year of Malcolm Hardee’s death. They ended in 2017, however having been ‘much missed’ at the 2018 festival, they have now been revived by British Comedy Guide, with the blessing of original organiser John Fleming and the Hardee family.

Find out more about the awards and previous winners at:
https://www.comedy.co.uk/hardees/

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Filed under Bad taste, Comedy, political correctness