Tag Archives: podcasts

How a spoken conversation exactly quoted can mislead the reader of a blog

Another thing unseen in a transcription is what Copstick was wearing

Also unseen in both transcription and podcast is what Copstick actually wore on the day

This blog is a verbatim transcription of a section of the weekly Grouchy Club Podcast.

In this week’s 44-minute podcast, writer Kate Copstick and I mostly talked about techniques for interviewing people. But, at one point, the subject of the print transcription of oral interviews came up.

Below is what we said… printed as a transcription. But you might also want to simultaneously listen to what the exact words sounded like when they were originally spoken.

There is link to a recording on SoundCloud HERE. the link is is also posted at the end of this blog.


COPSTICK
Is is interesting – especially when you quote verbatim. When, for example, you put down a transcription…

JOHN
You mean me or when ‘one’ does it?

COPSTICK
No, no, no. I mean you, John – you. Like when (you quote) a chunk of the Grouchy Club or whatever… Even… Not that I’m one for taking back anything that I say particularly, no matter how stupid it might be… But there is a big difference in feel to a live conversation and then suddenly seeing it written down and you go: Actually, that sounds a bit bad. Only when you see it written down. Because the other thing is that you can’t hear someone’s tone of voice when you just transcribe.

You can say: “Yeah. well I think they should all be hanged.” and (when you hear it) you can think: Oh! That’s a little bit sarcastic or ironic. But if you just (write down) COPSTICK: I THINK THEY SHOULD ALL BE HANGED, then the pitchfork brigade come out.

I think sometimes pure transcriptions can be dangerous, because you take away the aural context.

JOHN
Yeah. You are right. It is slightly different and I try to get round that. Obviously, there is one thing we are not going to talk about, where…

COPSTICK
No no no, let’s not.

JOHN
Let’s not talk about that one. But, on any other occasion, do you think it badly misrepresented you?

COPSTICK
Oh, I mean I’m not… I suppose I am talking about me, but it’s just… Of course I’m talking about me – I’m always talking about me. What else would I want to talk about? But…

JOHN
It’s interesting, though…

COPSTICK
It’s sometimes when I read – I remember the conversation and then you read it and you go: “Errr. That sounds a little bit bald.” And, of course it is. But, when you’re talking live, you can kind of get away with more because, in an ideal world, people see your face and, when your eyebrows bounce or whatever or you’re smiling, you go: Mmmm, she’s having a bit of a laugh here.

Even if it is sound only, the inflection is there. But when you write it down, all of that is taken away and you just get I THINK THEY SHOULD ALL BE HANGED.

Then the people that know you better go: Oh! She was having a laugh and people who don’t know you or know you and dislike you go: Well, of course she wasn’t! She thinks they should all be hanged. Appalling!


The 3-minute section of this week’s blog quoted above can be listened-to here:

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Geezer job: Dapper Laughs, Oscar Wilde and a bit of ‘buzz word’ offensiveness

Dapper Laughs - “dead in the water"

Dapper Laughs – perhaps laughing all the way to the bank…

Daniel O’Reilly in his character (Is it a character?) of Dapper Laughs is the comedian who just keeps giving to journalists. He needs better PR advice. Or does he?

His ITV2 show was cancelled after phone footage emerged of him telling a woman in a live comedy show audience that she was “gagging for a rape”. Then he went on BBC2’s Newsnight show to apologise and say he was dropping the Dapper Laughs persona. Then he revived the ‘character’.

And now, yesterday, in a Sunday Times Magazine interview, he appeared to be saying that the controversy had all been because he was not actually taught that rape was wrong: “Not once was I invited to learn more about sexual violence, rape and sexism and the problem is the attitude toward men… Instead of attacking me, why not educate me? I would happily accept it and then help and educate the millions of men who watch my stuff. I haven’t been. Instead I’m told to fuck off and stop my comedy.”

Who knows if that is what he meant to say or did say or not.

The interview might or might not be a miscalculation and might or might not be unconnected with his upcoming tour Theory of Nothing and an upcoming DVD release.

We’re Not Racist and We Love Gays

Ben Adams and Lenny Sherman are successful podcasters

I talked to comedians Lenny Sherman and Ben Adams about him.

They record a regular podcast together: We’re Not Racist and We Love Gays. And Ben runs Broken Toaster TV which produces “dark comedy sketches and shorts” for online viewers.

“We used to run gigs for Dapper Laughs,” Ben told me, “and we got friendly with him that way.”

“Ben was the one who introduced all of us lot to Vine,” Lenny explained. “He got Dapper Laughs on Vine. I used to MC a weekly gig for Dapper Laughs – he’s very good at promotion and marketing and that sort of thing.

“You get exposure from Vine and our podcast has sort-of built-up from that: a cult following. We’ve got over 20,000 followers on Vine and about 3,000 listeners for our podcast. We’ve done over 40. It’s on iTunes. We’ve got the Twitter page, got the Facebook. We done a live show at the Lost Theatre last October. It all links up. It’s all publicity. We’re doing the Camden Fringe this year – two 25-minute sets of stand-up.”

Ben and Lenny live at the Camden Fringe

Ben and Lenny live at the Camden Fringe

“Why the Camden Fringe and not the Edinburgh Fringe?” I asked.

Ben told me: “I went to the Edinburgh Fringe once and, unless you’ve got money and the proper marketing behind you, it’s almost worthless. you go up there and almost every single poster has got 4 Stars, 5 Stars. It becomes meaningless.”

“And,” explained Lenny, “I just can’t afford it, to be honest. I would love to go. to be at a comedy festival – probably the best one in the world – I would love to. But I just can’t afford it, John. I’ve been going four years.  The first year, I didn’t go up to Edinburgh because I was in prison.”

“For what?” I asked.

“Fighting at football. Millwall. I got attacked. I was defending myself. It’s not something I’ve ever hidden. I’m not really that sort of comedian. I’m more sort-of one-liners. I’m not really a storyteller, not personal – though there’s a lot of layers to my stuff. I play on the stereotype. People stereotype me. And it’s about switching the stereotype.”

“That,” said Ben, “is what I’m trying to do at the moment. I’m trying to become more of a storyteller. I started six years ago and it was joke-joke-joke and a lot of it was edgy, shocking stuff. But now I’ve got to a point where I don’t want to do that any more. I’ve got all this material that really works, but I want to move more into storytelling.”

“Someone,” said Lenny, “described my comedy as vulgar intelligence. But it’s not vulgar. Vulgar’s the wrong word, though it’s adult. It’s not mainstream; let’s put it that way. I mix it up as well. I done a lot of improv – I mix a lot in and try to be original and different. I am what I am. I can’t go on stage and talk about lentils.”

“I have found,” said Ben,” that, since doing the podcast, I enjoy telling stories a lot more. I think that’s where my niche is.”

“People say to me,” said Lenny, “You should talk about when you was in prison and, if you done that, you would get a Perrier Award.”

“Your podcast is very successful,” I said.

Lenny Sherman

Lenny Sherman knows a bit about merchandising and tattoos

“We do merchandise,” explained Lenny. “and, on the podcast, I done this story about some geezer I was banged-up with who had a Born Evil tattoo. The feedback we got from that was great. We even had merchandise with Born Evil written on it.”

“So,” I asked, “you have managed to make money out of Vine and the podcast.”

“I,” said Ben, “have made quite a bit of money out of Vine. Adverts and things. We got a free watch as well. You get e-mailed by companies. We were going to do something for Domino’s Pizza but that fell through.”

“Dominoes are always falling down,” I said.

“Dapper Laughs,” said Lenny, “will get: Will you wear our jacket? We’ll give you five grand. Or McDonalds: We’ll give you three grand. The more followers you’ve got…”

“… the more money you get,” Ben completed.

“What about Dapper Laughs losing his TV show?” I asked.

“I don’t want to pass judgment on that,” said Lenny.

“I think his show got taken out of context,” said Ben. “A lot of people never even saw it.”

Lenny Sherman & Ben Adams

Lenny Sherman & Ben Adams: maybe better PR than Dapper

Lenny added: “I felt he should not have gone on Newsnight. I thought: What the fuck you doing? Not only that, but that fucked it up for everyone else. I notice now, when I do jokes, if they hear buzz words… I’ve got a joke. This joke pretty much sums me up:

“A geezer says: What are your views on Muslims?

“I say: Pretty good. I’ve got a penthouse overlooking a mosque.

“When the audience hear the word Muslims from a geezer like me – working class Cockney – they think Ooh-ooh-ooh. But then I switch it to a harmless joke. I switch it.

“When Dapper Laughs did Newsnight, I thought: What the fuck are you doing? I don’t agree with everything he done – don’t get me wrong – but… I’ve got very strong opinions on edgy comedy. My comedy is what’s natural to me. I sort-of get both sides. I like all sorts of different comedy. But I don’t like this edgy comedy when they’re just talking about rude stuff for the sake of it. Come on, you’re a grown man or woman! Why are you acting like a schoolkid?

“What we do is natural. Everything we do is natural to us. There’s no false anything. We tell it like it is. Then you get people on the other side who react to buzz words too much. There’s this culture of Oh no, you can’t talk about that! Why not? You can talk about whatever you like, provided you’re not being an arsehole about it.”

Ben Adams - occasionally offensive

Ben Adams – slightly offensive?

“If I do a joke that might be slightly offensive,” said Ben, “people never look past the offensiveness or that one buzz word. Because they don’t appreciate what kind of joke it is. They stop at the first hurdle and think: Hang on! I don’t like this!

“Someone described my comedy as Treading the line between offensiveness and playfulness expertly – which I thought was perfect. Frankie Boyle might say a joke and be a bit harsh., whereas I will be a cheeky little boy about it.

“I lost a lot of my love for stand-up recently. I wanted to change direction and it took a while to get the balls to do that. If you go one way, you might end up on TV on 8 Out of 10 Cats, then you might go on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, then you might get your DVD Ben Adams Live! But I don’t want any of that. It all seems unappealing. It sounds awful. I want to make my own way, which is why I film comedy sketches and we have the podcast and do our own shows. I like the idea of finding and playing to your own audience.”

“This is what we’re all about, really, really.,” said Lenny. “I’m not saying I don’t want to be on those TV programmes. I’ll do anything. If it’s right, I’ll do it. But I think the way forward is getting your own audience. With Dapper Laughs, I thought there was a lot of irony in that. People said: Oh! He shouldn’t do that! He’s going backwards! but a lot of what he done was very progressive and he’s shown people: Look! You can do it! You don’t need ‘them’. You can just do it yourself. That was really groundbreaking, if you take away the sexism and the other stuff. What he done was like really monumental.”

“You contacted me for a chat,” I said.

“The reason we asked to see you,” said Lenny, “is we wanna try and make a bit of noise now. We’ve been under the radar a little bit.”

“Well,” I said,  “Oscar did say: There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

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Richard Herring on buying back his own TV series from the BBC, not being more famous and regaining happiness

The creation of the universe, the paranormal. Whatever next?

Richard Herring’s new self-financed 6-part online TV series

In two of my blogs earlier this week, comedian Richard Herring talked to me first about creating free content like his podcasts to entice people into his live shows and then about his self-financed online TV series Richard Herring’s Meaning of Life – he is recording the second episode at the Leicester Square Theatre this Sunday.

Richard first rose to fame as a double act with Stewart Lee on BBC radio and TV in the 1990s.

“I remember when we were doing TV pilots,” Richard told me, “you’d be thinking This is great, but what are the people upstairs at the BBC going to think about it and will we have to change it for them? To not have that pressure is amazingly freeing now. Part of the reason I went into podcasting in 2008 was because of the Sachsgate thing. Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross had done all this bad stuff on the radio and then the BBC clammed up. You couldn’t do anything.

“People were saying You mustn’t even swear in the warm-up to the show in case there’s a journalist in the audience. It was just insane and I thought, Well, if I do it on my own, I can say whatever I want.

“You did have the advantage of being established,” I said.

“I had a little leg up,” admitted Richard, “in terms of enough people knowing who I was from having done that stuff with Stewart in the 1990s – it had a very dedicated following really of 14-year-olds who then grew up and did stay quite loyal to us. But it wasn’t a massive cult thing. It wasn’t like I started podcasts and a million people listened. And, if anything, most people would now know me from the internet stuff I’ve done. I think most of them are surprised when they find out either that I worked with Stewart or that all this old stuff exists.

“We are bringing out all that old stuff ourselves. The BBC wouldn’t bring out Fist of Fun as a DVD or repeat it, so we bought it from the BBC and we’re hopefully buying This Morning With Richard Not Judy from them too. But it’s more expensive to buy and I think DVD is falling off the radar a bit.

“Fist Of Fun” - now out as a DVD with BBC logo

The Fist Of Fun DVD out now with BBC logo

“We paid around £50,000 to buy two series of Fist of Fun. We’ve got the rights to sell it for around five years and we sell them at £25 a series. So you only need 2,000 people to buy them and you get your money back, though there’s other expenses on top of that.”

“What about Equity and the Musicians’ Union?” I asked.

“The BBC do all the clearances,” explained Richard. “About £10,000 of that £50,000 is for the clearances. The BBC still own it ultimately. We’re just leasing it and after a certain amount – when we’ve made our money back – they get 25% of the money we make.”

“Why didn’t they want to do a DVD themselves?” I asked.

“Because they didn’t… they never liked… It was amazing we got four series. We did two series of Fist of Fun. The second series had better material, but the first series was a really beautiful kind of… It had its own feeling. We were learning on the job, but Fist Of Fun was overflowing with ideas. There are jokes flashing up which you have to freeze-frame to get. It was a young person’s programme. The BBC got worried it would scare off their viewers, so they made us go into a studio for the second series and slightly spoiled it. Then we got kicked off. Then we came back and did two years of This Morning With Richard Not Judy.

This Morning With Richard Not Judy

Lee (right) & Herring This Morning With Richard Not Judy

“But, again, they didn’t know what to do with it. They kept cancelling the repeat and moving it around and there were weeks off for sport. By the second series, the newspapers had just started writing about it and we felt, if we did another series, it could just get over that hump. But then Jane Root came in, didn’t like it and she was at BBC2 for five years (1999-2004). So that was the end of it.

“Stewart and I had met at Oxford University, but we weren’t a very archetypal Oxbridge type of act, so we didn’t really get any of the benefits of Oh, come on in… We just confused everyone.

“I went to Oxford because of the comedy. I studied History but I went because I wanted to get into the Oxford Revue. I was a massive fan of Monty Python and I just dreamt of getting into the Oxford Revue. I wanted to be a comedian.”

“So you dreamt of being the person you now are,” I said.

“But more successful,” laughed Richard. “I probably wanted, then, to be the most famous and successful comedian EVER – which I don’t now. I just want to keep working until I drop. As long as I’m still creating interesting stuff and keep trying to push back boundaries and to slightly fail.

“To fail at what I wanted to do has been good for me. With Lee & Herring, if things had twisted a different way, I think maybe we could have been like Little Britain and I think that would have destroyed us both in different ways. I think I would have gone off my head with the excitement of being that famous and Stewart would probably have killed himself if he’d got that famous.

Richard Herring’s show Hitler Moustache

Richard Herring’s Hitler Moustache show

“Now I think I’m in almost the perfect position for a comedian.

“Being too famous can distract you and restrict you. If I were David Walliams and I had said Oh, I’m going to have a Hitler moustache for a year I think my management would have gone No, I think you’d better not do that, because you won’t get this or that contract. The fact I have the autonomy to make insane decisions creates some interesting experiences.”

“But then there’s the money,” I said.

“We didn’t really earn any money from Lee & Herring. After ten years of working together, we’d had five years of not being paid and five years of being paid a bit, split between the two of us. By the end of it, I’d put the deposit down on a flat. That’s all I’d managed to do.

“But when I wrote 37 episodes of Time Gentlemen, Please! (2000-2002) – not entirely but mainly on my own – I was paid very, very well per episode so then, for the first time in my life, I had money and I sort-of took two years off. I was still doing bits and pieces. I wasn’t not working. I was doing a lot of writing – or trying. I was still doing some work. I did Talking Cock, which did pretty well and, for the first time in my life, I got repeat fees – from Time Gentlemen, Please!

Talking Cock was revived as The Second Coming

Talking Cock – later revived, with The Second Coming added

“I’d bought quite a big house and had a big mortgage and every time I thought I was in trouble a cheque would drop into my lap that was enough to keep me going. I was sitting in this big house which I’d been going to move into with my girlfriend who had a child by someone else. We were going to have a family. I had this house. But then we broke up and so I was sitting in the attic trying to write about cocks and slowly going a bit crazy. I had lost my way a little bit.

“Writing the blog helped but coming back to stand-up was massively helpful. It meant I got out and performed and I realised – although I’m happy writing and I like writing – I need to perform a little bit.

“When I came back to stand-up, I did a gig in Hammersmith in a little room to ten people and Jimmy Carr was 100 yards away at the Hammersmith Apollo playing to 3,000 people. But I was thinking: I’m really happy.

“My problem was I had been sitting back waiting for people to come to me which, in the old days, you had to. In the 1990s, you had to get commissioned by a broadcast company to make a radio show or a TV show. But now you can do it yourself. I can make Richard Herring’s Meaning of Life without a broadcast company as a six-part online TV series.

A ‘selfie’ taken by Richard Herring last week

A ‘selfie’ taken by Richard Herring last week

“A lot of comics make excuses about why things don’t happen for them – and there ARE good excuses; there’s a lot of luck in this business – but you’ve got to work hard and, increasingly, there’s so much competition, so many good comedians. But you can now make your own break – though, even then, there’s luck involved.

“It’s much more important to be doing something you’re happy with and be happy in your life. I think for a long time I wasn’t. Certainly 10 or 15 years ago I was quite unhappy, but I turned it round.”

“So where are you off to now?” I asked.

“I’m going home to my wife. She’s making me some tuna.”

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Comedian Richard Herring on financing his own TV series and an alternative to losing money at the Edinburgh Fringe

Richard Herring ponders the meaning of life online

Richard Herring ponders online meaning

In my blog a couple of days ago, Richard Herring chatted to me about creating free content like blogs and podcasts as a way to generate paying punters for his live shows.

He has been podcasting since 2008 and his Leicester Square Theatre Podcasts – available on iTunes and on YouTube – continue but, this Sunday at the Leicester Square Theatre in London, he is also recording the second episode of his new online TV series Richard Herring’s Meaning of Life.

The Meaning of Life is another leap forward, he told me over a fifth coffee at Bar Italia in Soho, “because it’s going to cost me money, which none of the other stuff has really done.

“All the podcasts used up my time, but they’re basically free-to-do. I just recorded them on a computer or whatever. I spent a bit of money on equipment, but not very much. Then I just put them out and it’s fairly easy to do. But, with The Meaning of Life, the idea was me thinking: I’d like to do my own 6-part stand-up show on TV, but nobody is particularly interested in giving me that opportunity – so why not do it myself?

A ‘selfie' by Richard last week

A thoughtful ‘selfie’ taken by Richard last week

“We’re doing six shows and, including all the editing, the cameramen and so on – I’m not getting paid, but we’re paying everyone else – it’s going to cost me around £20,000 to film six of them.

“There’s six monthly recordings and that’s a lot of work. I’m trying to write new stuff and not use any old material. I’m writing at least 30-45 minutes of new material each month. I’m trying to use no stuff from my previous stand-up shows but there’s a few things from the 1990s where I think: Well, there might be something in developing that idea.

“We’re recording them every month but really we should have done them every two months. I under-estimated how much work would be involved. I have to write them properly and I go out and do a few gigs on the circuit to familiarise myself with the material. It’s mainly me doing stand-up, but we’ve got an animator who’s 3D animating a sketch with my voice and Christian Reilly is doing the theme music and there’s an interview in each show.

“The first one will hopefully be out at the end of this month – it will probably be about 45 minutes to an hour long – and it will have taken two months to put it together. It would be nice if they came out every month, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to manage that.”

“And I presume the material won’t date,” I said.

The creation of the universe, the paranormal. Whatever next?

The creation of the universe, the paranormal. Whatever next?

“No,” laughed Richard, “because it’s about the meaning of life. Each episode is about a big subject. The first one is about the creation of the universe – so that doesn’t really date. The second one’s about the paranormal.”

“And,” I said, “as an online show, it will get you seen worldwide.”

“Yes, the great thing about the podcasts is I’m getting Australian and American fans without travelling. I haven’t been out to Australia in ten years; I’ve never done anything in America. And I’m building up a sort-of fan base. Within the business, people know who I am, but I’m under the radar of most people so, if people do discover me, it’s quite a surprise for them and there’s a lot to catch up on: the TV stuff, the DVDs and hours and hours of podcasts.”

“I guess,” I said, “you’re under the radar in, say, Sacramento.”

“Oh definitely in Sacramento. But, even in the UK. If I walk round the middle of London for two hours, two people might recognise me. It’s nice in a way because it means I can carry on doing my job. I can sit in a coffee shop and work and look around and see what’s going on. No-one clocks me. If I were Ricky Gervais, all I would hear would be: Is that Ricky Gervais?

“On the last series of the Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, a website was offering me around £5,000 to advertise during it. I decided it wasn’t really enough money to justify selling-out, but also they wanted me to do an advert in the middle of the podcast as well as at the start and the end and I felt it would break the flow and my audience would laugh in the face of it and then they wouldn’t pay me anyway. I also figured If they think they’re going to get £5,000 of business out of advertising on my podcast, then it is surely worth more than £5,000 as an advert for me.

“I think one important thing about The Meaning of Life is showing what you can do if you’re prepared to put up some money.

Going to Edinburgh is financial death for some

The Edinburgh Fringe can mean financial death for some, though success for Richard

“People go to the Edinburgh Fringe and spend £10,000 and five people come and see them and they get one review. If you have got £10,000, why not make a very good one-hour video with some sketches in it instead?

“If you can find three friends with three video cameras, you can do it. You can do whatever you want. You can put that on YouTube for free and potentially millions of people can see it and you can send that link to journalists and producers when they’re not being bogged-down in Edinburgh.

“If you’ve got that much money to spend and to lose, then that’s a better investment than going to Edinburgh and spending the money doing a show that’s fantastic and 100 people see it and that’s the end of it.”

“But the problem is production quality and covering costs?” I suggested.

“Yes,” agreed Richard. “I thought we could make The Meaning of Life look like a normal TV show, but my shirt’s hanging out and it looks a bit messier. We get a little bit of money from the door because the tickets are very cheap – £10 – I struck a very bad 50/50 deal with the Leicester Square Theatre because I thought no-one would come and people are coming.”

“And the bonus of doing it yourself,” I asked, “is you have fewer content restrictions?”

“Yes,” said Richard, “The thing about the Leicester Square Theatre Podcasts (which are videoed and put online at YouTube) where I interview a comedian for an hour-and-a-half or two hours is that you couldn’t do it on broadcast TV. No-one would let you do two hours of talking to one person on broadcast TV.

Stephen Fry on Richard’s Leicester Square Podcast

Stephen Fry was guest on a recent Leicester Square Podcast

“In the end, someone like Netflix might buy them: someone who doesn’t have to put it into a fixed schedule. Four of my stand-up shows are already on Netflix.

“Within five years, I think most people will just have a TV and they’ll select what they want to watch from the BBC or YouTube or richardherring.com and they’ll watch it whenever they want. So we are all broadcasters now. It’s just finding a way to get some money back from that.

“I’ve heard club comedians say Oh, I can never get on the Michael McIntyre Roadshow – which I can’t get on either – but now you can make your own TV show. You can go into any club with three cameras. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. No-one is watching stand-up saying: Ooh, it has to be swooping cameras on a big stage. If the material’s good, you can put it up online and that will cost you let’s say £500 to pay the cameramen and edit it together. It can be done. There’s no excuse any more for not doing it.

“People used to say Well, I WOULD write a novel if anyone would publish it. You can publish it yourself now. You can upload it as an eBook. You can get it out there. It’s exactly the same with all of these things.

“It’s also about understanding that you don’t have to be paid immediately, that it can build up.”

… CONTINUED HERE

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Of credit fraud, Rocket Science and an elf

(This blog originally appeared in What’s On Stage)

It’s as inevitable as rain at Wimbledon or mud at Glastonbury – things going wrong immediately before the Fringe, just to add to the last-minute pressure and increase my chocolate-eating.

On 16th August, my home phone is moving from BT to O2 and my broadband is moving from Pipex to O2. All arranged – letters from O2, BT and Pipex confirming everything… then, today, a letter and text from O2 saying they’ve cancelled it all. Eventually (after 50 minutes with O2, BT and the mysterious Equifax company), it turns out I’ve suddenly developed a bad credit rating (despite being Mr Squeaky Clean) and O2 have turned me down as untouchable despite the fact I already have my mobile phone with them.

The very dodgy-feeling Equifax credit agency won’t tell me why they’ve given me a bad credit rating without me telling them endless security details about myself over two days – details which they don’t appear to have.

I have a funny feeling this may go back to a bizarre letter I got about a year ago from Littlewoods saying they were going to stop my account because of credit problems. This surprised me as I had never had any account with Littlewoods and it seemed to involve someone ordering goods via my address in North West London for delivery very close to the home of a dodgy South London semi-gangster who appeared in Killer Bitch, the soon-to-be-a-cult-classic movie which I financed.

Dealing with the Chaps has its downsides as well as its upside.

The upside is ease of problem-solving. I once told one of the Chaps about a person who was giving me hassle and he said: “Back of a pillion. Pop-pop-pop. End of your problems.” I declined, though with profuse thanks for the offer.

The downside is you may get your identity stolen and/or end up in a packing crate on a dockside in Albania.

Time will tell with the very unhelpful Equifax – well, the next two days – including tonight when I’m videoing Helen Keen’s late night Camden preview of her Fringe show It Is Rocket Science! V2 and tomorrow when I’m leaving London at 0600 to drive up to Edinburgh with elfin comedian Laura Lexx (she once worked as an elf in Finland) and Helen Keen’s set and props.

Helen Keen’s preview of It Is Rocket Science! V2 last night got a very fast and very good review at lunchtime today, around twelve hours after it finished. An admirable example of the power of modern technology, which is also evident in the release today of a Janey Godley Nokia app for mobile phones.

This clever little app keeps the user updated on the move with what’s going on in the sometimes very very very odd world of “the Godmother of Scottish Comedy”… “Scotland’s funniest woman”… “the most outspoken female stand-up in Britain”.  You can check her 500,000-hits-per-week blog (I have seen the figures and think that’s usually an underestimate), watch videos she’s uploaded to YouTube and download the regular podcasts she’s currently making with her daughter Ashley Storrie.

All this techno stuff is enough to make the late ‘godfather of alternative comedy’ Malcolm Hardee turn in his urn. He found even simple e-mails a bit daunting although (unlike me – but who knows what the future holds) he was arrested and imprisoned for credit card fraud. He found it surprising in his latter years that he was bombarded by letters from American Express and other credit card companies offering him gold cards immediately, no questions asked.

Malcolm is in my mind because, last weekend, the Independent on Sunday listed its Top Ten Tips for comedy shows at the Fringe this year. Number One was Aaaaaaaargh! Malcolm Hardee Documentary Preview. It’s possibly the first ever time a film, as opposed to a live performance, has been recommended by a national newspaper as the best comedy event to see at the Fringe.

It’s definitely an event rather than a film, as it involves the screening of a 32-minute documentary The Tunnel (about the notorious comedy club which Malcolm ran), plus the trailer for a longer documentary currently in production: Malcolm Hardee: All The Way From Over There plus a trailer for that longer film. There is a trailer for The Tunnel short itself on YouTube here.

Ah! 21st Century Comedy!

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