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UK comic Tiernan Douieb is becoming more political and is going to Iceland

Tiernan Douieb in London this week

Tiernan Douieb in Piccadilly Circus, London this week

A few years ago, the comedian Tiernan Douieb was at risk of having the Michael Palin problem: people just thought he was too nice.

I had a feeling Tiernan decided to change his persona sometime around 2010, by bringing politics into his act, so I asked him about it this week:

“Oh, I think I’m still quite friendly on stage,” he said. “I’m trying to do the politics in my own voice, by saying I’m an idiot but this is how I understand things and this is why I’m upset. I’m not trying to get on my high horse and say I know more than the audience. But, yeah, I did want to get away from just doing silly gags.”

“Why were you worried about being loveable?” I asked.

“I wasn’t so worried,” Tiernan laughed. “But, at the moment, I’m just generally very angry with the government and I thought I want to talk about this because, for the first time, it’s really bothering me. I felt what I was saying on stage – the gags – didn’t really… I didn’t care about it any more.

“My family – my dad and brother and mum – are all quite political and I’ve generally been the crap one who didn’t care really care enough until a couple of years ago. I did start doing political stuff a little before the Coalition came in – about the financial crisis. It felt like a good challenge and I quite enjoyed getting my teeth into it – saying to myself: How do I make this horrible situation funny?”

“So how do you make a horrible situation funny?” I asked.

“If you look into a subject enough, there will always be something ridiculous, but you’ve got to research it. I’m learning. I’m still learning. I’m finding that there are gigs I can’t really do the political stuff at, especially on a Friday or Saturday where people seem to just switch off. People have the automatic assumption that, if you start to talk about politics, they won’t enjoy it. They just think: This is going to be boring. I’ve just finished work. This is the last thing I want to hear. I want to hear dick jokes.”

“So,” I asked, “you perform one type of routine Sundays to Thursdays and another type Fridays and Saturdays?”

“That’s almost it,” agreed Tiernan. “Also if I’m compering, I don’t do political stuff very much then because, selflessly, I’ve got to set it up for the other acts and, if I do something that changes the opinion in the room…

“The other problem with doing topical or political stuff is that it changes every week. I have bits of material I have where I go: Argh! I can’t do that any more! because they’ve changed that policy or whatever.”

“Did you also start writing for the Huffington Post because it gives you more gravitas?” I asked.

“Well,” said Tiernan, “much like you, I used to write a daily blog on my website. The object was to force me to get up and write something each day. Then, because my blog was about all sorts of things, I thought I’d write one for the Huffington Post which was just political stuff. And then I gave up writing my blog because I got bored with writing something every day.”

“I find,” I said, “that writing a daily blog does force me to do things. But I still don’t understand how to use Twitter effectively. Performers love it, though: possibly because they want constant attention.”

“Personally,” said Tiernan, “I like using Twitter because it helps me to generate jokes. I can write a topical joke very quickly and then it’s out there immediately.”

“But doesn’t that also mean,” I suggested, “that you’re giving away good jokes for free and, if you then use that joke in your act, it feels like a stale joke because people who follow you on Twitter will have heard the joke already?”

Tiernan disagreed.

“I don’t use a lot of jokes I Tweet,” he explained, “because they are so topical. If I do three short jokes based on the news, they won’t be relevant tomorrow. I do Twitter for the same reason I used to do a blog: I find it keeps me really sharp. I get up every morning and think What gag can I get from that?… And what gag can I get from that?… Bam-Bam-Bam… I need to start my brain in the mornings, otherwise I can sit there aimlessly for hours. And often I put on Twitter a short joke that, later, I find is a theme I can develop. If it gets ReTweets, I know people have found it interesting. If I do a couple of jokes and they work, then I Tweet I’m gigging there… and that does work as self-promotion. At the Edinburgh Fringe, I sold 4 or 5 tickets a day, just as the result of Tweets.”

“And your next big project?” I asked.

“I’ve got a director friend and we’re talking about doing a video-cast every week – 5 minutes on YouTube of political humour, really topical. We’re both very sick of the fact there’s so much that dictates what’s on television and radio. We both have a lot of projects turned down because everything needs to be changed: You’re not allowed to say that on television or whatever.

“Sod it! We want to do an angry political rant every week. We might call it The Partly Political Broadcast and make it as funny as possible but with a point.”

“So you’re going to carry on down the political path, then?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m enjoying it. But I’m not a big Labour Party fan either. I think they’re awful as well. I don’t think anyone really speaks for the people or really cares. It’s mostly about earning money and I think, while that’s the case, there’s a lot to say.”

“What about Boris Johnson (the Mayor of London)?”

“I hate him,” said Tiernan. “I got booed at a gig for saying I hated him. He’s awful. He’s terrible.”

“But he makes people laugh…” I said.

“That’s the thing about being funny,” said Tiernan. “You can get away with everything. Comedians are dangerous.”

“And Boris is a comedian…” I said.

“No, he’s a clown.”

“What’s the difference?”

“He’s more farcical,” said Tiernan. “He’s more slapstick. His scripts are well-written. I’d love to know who writes his speeches. I think he improvises parts of them. I went to one of the Mayoral Debates and I didn’t really like any of the candidates. Brian Paddick was reading a script…”

“He was the gay policeman?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Tiernan. “And he was just so wooden and boring… but Jenny Jones and Boris came over as being very normal. If you watch enough performers and performance, you can tell when people are being ‘real’ and they just seemed genuine. But Boris ‘mugged’. Any time anyone else spoke, he would pull faces and distract the audience, so people were giggling. It was so cruel.”

“But effective,” I said.

“Incredibly so,” said Tiernan. “I just hated it.”

“Perhaps you should be a politician,” I suggested.

“I couldn’t do that,” said Tiernan instantly.

“The problem,” I said, “is that, to be an effective politician, you have to be two-faced and have adjustable morals to deal with all the shits you have to negotiate and compromise with.”

“I’m going to Iceland on Monday,” Tiernan said. “for my first holiday in two years. I like their ethos. Not their eating ethos – sheep’s heads and putrified shark – but the Mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr, was a stand-up comedian and went in to the election for a bit of a laugh. He formed a party called the Best Party and some of their policies were We’re definitely going to get a polar bear in the zoo and Free towels at all the swimming pools and all the voters went Yeah, We’re so sick of everyone, we’ll vote you in and he ended up being Mayor and now he’s going to run for Prime Minister.

“Their whole ethos is just Peace. They want to be a peaceful nation. They don’t want an army. They’ve got these lovely ideas. I mean, they still eat puffins, but… I dunno… the whole place appeals to me.”

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Filed under Comedy, Iceland, Politics, Twitter

Comedian Lewis Schaffer gets attacked for his allegedly woman-hating blogs about TV presenter Justin Lee Collins

Lewis Schaffer – sexist or vulnerable?

Last night, I got a call from Lewis Schaffer.

“The shit’s hit the fan,” he said. “I don’t want to be Frankie Boyle. I don’t want people to be mad at me. Well, just a little bit. That’s my default position. My parents were always mad at me. That meant they were paying attention.”

Last Friday, Lewis wrote a blog which started:

According to the Daily Mail, British comic Justin Lee Collins is on trial for “Harrassment (Causing fear of violence)” for calling his girlfriend a “fat dog” and telling her she was “riddled with cellulite”.

The blog was headlined: No man ever used the words “riddled with cellulite”. A defense of Justin Lee Collins.

The next day, Lewis followed it up with a blog headed: Justin Lee Collins attempts murder while Alan Carr watches. Believe it or Not!

“People are complaining that I’m defending violence against women,” Lewis told me. “That I’m a woman-hater, that I don’t understand what domestic violence is.”

“So what is your view on domestic violence?” I asked.

“That it’s best kept in the home,” said Lewis. “On stage, that’s funny. Maybe in print, people don’t know it’s a joke.

“People are viewing me like some archaic male chauvinist. I’m not. I don’t like people getting upset with what I write. My goal is to make people like me. The trouble with comedy is that, if you try to get people to like you, they don’t like you; and if you try to get people to hate you, then that doesn’t work either. Some people are saying to me – John, you yourself have said to me – I should be like Frankie Boyle and get into arguments, but I don’t want to get into arguments with people.”

“But,” I said, “that’s your schtick. On stage, you are confrontational. You tell the audience they are crap; you tell some audience members you don’t like them; you tell them you hate Jews, then you explain you’re a Jew and tell jokes about the Holocaust. That’s confrontational.”

“It isn’t confrontational,” Lewis argued, “because it’s interactive. They can see my face. The trouble is I write my blogs in the privacy of my own home and people can’t see my face when they read a blog.”

“So,” I said, “if you tell a live audience they’re crap, that’s OK because they can see your face and your eyes when you say it and you can see them, so you can control their perception of you?”

“Yes. It’s a very complicated situation,” said Lewis.

“I’ve seen you say on stage that you don’t like women,” I told Lewis. “But, of course, the audience knows that’s not true because they can feel the comic attitude. But a lot of your act on stage superficially is about how awful your ex-wife was and women are.”

“Yeah,” agreed Lewis, “it is about that but I think, at the end of the show, people realise who the real loser is – and it’s me. They walk away thinking I feel sorry for that woman being married to that man.”

“You have had some people walk out of your stage shows outraged, though,” I said.

“I have had many people walk out of my shows,” said Lewis, “and usually they walk out not after what I say but in anticipation of what I’m going to say because they think Oh my god! I can’t listen to this!”

“And in fact,” I suggested, “if they stayed and listened to more, they would realise it’s more balanced.”

“Yeah,” said Lewis. “It’s balanced. I don’t blame my ex-wife for everything. At the end of the show, people see that. They see I’m a flawed human being.”

“So your basic problem,” I suggested, “is that you’re used to saying things in a conversational way… You tend to talk WITH the audience in your shows, not just talk TO them… It’s a dialogue… But, when you put the same words down in cold print, people can’t read between the lines.”

“Yeah,” said Lewis. “A lot of what I do is tongue-in-cheek and most people realise that when they see me.”

“But they don’t necessarily see that in an individual blog?” I asked.

“If they read all the blogs, they realise that. The problem is I do care. I never do a blog that everyone agrees with. If I were to do a blog that says women are oppressed, some people would disagree. When I write a blog about Justin Lee Collins being pilloried and that no-one is speaking out for him…

“What I was reacting to in my blog was the sense of imbalance that’s being projected about Justin Lee Collins. I don’t know the guy. If I met him, I might not even like the guy. Anybody who screams at women… I’ve never done that… I withdraw into my own shell when people are attacking me. I’ve never ever screamed at a woman.”

“So give me an example of how people are criticising you…”

“Well, they’re saying that I’m… Well, one well-known female comic didn’t even have the nerve to say what she didn’t like… She asked if any comedians were going to speak out against me. It was one of the Tweets. But she didn’t come out and say I don’t like what this guy said. She didn’t say that, but she was thinking that, probably…”

“So,” I asked, “have people actually said to you in the flesh that you are blogging bad things?”

“No, just on the internet,” replied Lewis. “It’s the power of the Tweet. The irony is that, behind closed doors, I went a little mental and crossed a line I shouldn’t have done and, behind closed doors, they’re going all mental on me. Everyone’s in the privacy of their own little iPhones and iPads so they can say and write and do things that they wouldn’t say and do in real life. If they spoke to me, they’d know… They know me…

“Yeah, I am bitter. I do hate women. And I love women too. Women hate women. Life’s complicated and I’m even more complicated. I am famous for my bitterness. I’m bitter about men too. This blog happened to be bitter about women. There’ll be a future blog that’s bitter about men. Just wait…”

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Filed under Blogs, Comedy, Misogyny, Performance, Sex

Edinburgh Fringe… Sex workers, naked men, a Twitter sensation and Alan Carr

One fan of Chris Dangerfield’s act has expert views on shows

Enterprising Edinburgh Fringe act Chris Dangerfield, whose show Sex Tourist is sponsored by a local escort agency, e-mailed me this morning:

“A sex worker with a blog likes my show,” he said. “How nice. She’s also asked me out for a coffee.”

Headed Hooker-tainment at Edinburgh Fringe, it is an interesting blog and no doubt hopes to ape the success of Belle de Jour.

But, as the lady’s fees start at £190 per hour or £1,000 for the night, I am not plugging the blog’s address except for hard cash.

Interestingly, though, she says this:

________

Assaulted with jokes about sex workers from the very first show I saw at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival, I’m trying to understand why we’re supposedly the edgiest, funniest material on everyone’s lips right now…

Now that racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are less acceptable in main-stream entertainment, it seems like sex workers are really the only ‘other’ people to pick on. Because that’s the real reason that this kind of comedy works; it used to be OK to laugh at people of colour or gays because it used to be OK to think they actually *were* different.

It’s OK to make jokes at sex workers because they in no way could be sitting next to you in the audience, oh no. Sex workers all walk around with red flashing lights over their heads, everyone knows that… Transphobia particularly is still fairly prevalent in entertainment, and anyone saying that the acceptance of drag or ladyboy shows is good for trans rights is fairly misguided…

The unspoken issue here is that, of course, many performers at Edinburgh must also themselves be sex workers or have had sex work experience. Supporting a creative career is very hard to do around a 9-5 job although, of course, other kinds of self-employed or freelance work are probably possible.

________

Now, from naked women to naked men…

Two thirds of the Greatest Show on Legs arrive in Edinburgh tomorrow. Famed for their Naked Balloon Dance, they are the reason why it was widely said the late Malcolm Hardee literally had “the biggest bollocks in showbusiness”.

They have not performed at the Edinburgh Fringe this century and, with Malcolm Hardee dead and Steve Bowditch banned by the Peter Buckley Hill Free Fringe from performing at the rival Alternative Fringe’s Hive venue on pain of excommunication, the line-up is original members (I use the term innocently) Martin Soan and Martin Clarke plus the shy performing wallflower that is Bob Slayer.

They are billed as performing their hour-long show – Aaaaaaaaaaaaarghh! It’s the Greatest Show on Legs – from this Wednesday to Sunday but are now adding what they call a public dress rehearsal (without dresses) tomorrow night at 9.15pm. Well, I’ll be there for sure.

Janey Godley’s viral sensation – on stage tonight in Edinburgh

And I will also be at the other big unbilled gig of the Fringe week tonight – Janey Godley’s one-performance-one-night-only play #timandfreya based on the extraordinary viral Twitter success of her live blow-by-blow tweets about an overheard argument in a train between the titular Tim and Freya.

The half-hour stage version was dramatised by Janey’s daughter Ashley Storrie, who also appears in it tonight.

“It was an amazing conversation between Tim and Freya,” Janey tells me, “Everybody loved it. But it’s no really a play because there’s gaps. I was Tweeting between Glasgow, Carlisle and Oxenhome. So Ashley had to adapt it and introduce new characters to drive the story forward.”

Ashley herself plays the new character Laura and Philip Larkin (no, not that one – he’s dead) is Alec.

“Do you know why they’re called Laura and Alec?” Janey asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Because they were the characters in Brief Encounter,” said Janey.

“And you’re in it?” I asked.

“I play the ticket collector,” Janey replied. “Rick Wilson, the lead singer from the Kaiser Chiefs, called me and wanted to play Tim because he was fascinated by the story when he read the original Tweets. And I got an e-mail from an actress in Los Angeles who wanted to come over and play Freya. This is true! I said, No. It’s for one night and there’s no money! I’m no letting people do that. That’s insanity.

“One really weird thing is that lots of people have been Tweeting me and e-mailing me saying they do a wee Tim & Freya sketch themselves in their office. They’ve been ‘acting’ the Tweets out loud to each other.

“Rick from the Kaiser Chiefs told me he and his girlfriend did that and everybody read it out and an actor Jack Klaff, who was in Star Wars – he played Red something (Red Four) – Ashley recognised his voice on the phone as a man who was in Star Wars… Jack Klaff called me and gave me ideas about what to do with the story, so everybody’s been calling me and wanting to be involved.”

“Rick Wilson really wanted to do it, didn’t he?” I said.

“Yes, he phoned to apologise when the band schedule eventually came through: I can’t do it. I’m really sorry.

“And the comedian Alan Carr,” I said.

“Yes,” said Janey, “Alan Carr was desperate but he has a Channel 4 pilot tonight. He wanted to push a trolley saying Teas! Coffees! Teas! Coffees! which would have been good.”

Whatever happens tonight, like the original train journey, it should be an interesting trip. And as the real Tim – the man on the train – contacted Janey after he read the Tweets, even he might be there in the audience…

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Filed under Comedy, Sex, Theatre

The Twitter fight that may become a one-night Edinburgh Fringe event

(A version of this piece was published in the Huffington Post and on the Indian website We Speak News)

Janey Godley before her first play opened in New York, 2007

Here in Milan, mosquito bite mania has spiralled out-of control with searches on the internet turning up vinegar and banana skins as possible remedies for my multifarious sores.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, Janey Godley Twitter mania seems to be spiralling.

The real Tim leaves the Virgin train at the saga’s end

Three weeks ago, my Scottish comedian chum was on a train and heard an argument between a couple called Tim and Freya (their real names) which started even before the Virgin train had left the station and continued pretty much throughout the journey.

Knowing I am not an everyday Twitter follower, she tweeted me from the train carriage to take a look at her ongoing live commentary #traintales on the relationship disaster happening before her very eyes/ears. I was agog as the saga unfolded and I was not alone.

Janey got an enormous number of people following the soap opera as she Twitter reported it live and many re-Tweeted her tale to their own followers as it unfolded. That was three weeks ago.

Then, last Friday, both the Guardian and the Independent newspapers ran pieces about the saga and the thing went viral with people suddenly blogging and Tweeting about it and, between them, Janey’s blog and Tumblr and Storify got over one million hits between them in three days.

“I think it’s the first time a Twitter fight went viral,” Janey told me, “and I got lots of interest from the big agencies and news folk and it opened a debate about personal privacy because I had used the couple’s real names.

“I am planning to dramatise it into a 40 minute play and perform it for one night only at the Edinburgh Fringe next month. Anthony Alderson at the Pleasance venue wants to stage it. Ricky Wilson, the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs wanted to play Tim but can’t and Alan Carr wants a cameo but probably won’t make it – he and I are still hoping he can, though.

“I want to do it as one night work in progress event and I know how to adapt the tweets into a dramatic stage play. My daughter Ashley Storrie will be the ticket collector who makes the asides which I made in my original tweets and there are other watchers and the audience will be invited to tweet throughout the play.

“It will be the first time a Twitter fight has been made into a play…”

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Filed under Relationships, Sex, Trains, Travel, Twitter

I am worried that I was wrong to give advice to this comedian on how to blog

Lewis Schaffer shows his true colours

I was going to blog about something else today. But then I looked at my e-mail Inbox.

I may have a rival daily blog. I am worried.

When I was a student, in the dim and distant years of the last century when people still used quills and wore flared trousers, I got myself a summer job in the press and publicity department at Penguin Books. One day, they had a visit from a man who was starting up a publishing business in Malaysia. He had asked if he could look round the  Penguin operation at Harmondsworth to see how it was organised on the ground.

Very politely, they told him everything they could to help him. All about their relationship with their printers, their distribution system, the economic set-up of the company and so on.

At the time, I wondered, Why are they doing this? They may find in the future that they have trained their own business rival.

I still do not know why they did it.

Last week, Lewis Schaffer, the not-yet famous American comic based in London, phoned me, asking advice.

“I think maybe I should scale down all the online stuff I do,” he told me. “What do you think, John? Maybe I should stop Tweeting on Twitter, stop doing stuff on Facebook, stop all this social networking stuff or scale it back. Or maybe I should increase it.”

This was classic Lewis Schaffer; it went on for about ten minutes.

I was watching the climax of a movie on TV. I kept watching and listening.

Occasionally, I would say, “Mmmm,” or “Ah.”

I know from experience that it comforts Lewis Schaffer as he talks. He does not phone for advice; he phones to talk. At one point, I managed to get a word in and perhaps foolishly gave him some advice:

“You should blog,” I told him, still watching and listening to the explosions on the TV screen. “You are a natural blogger,” I told him, still on verbal auto-pilot, “I think you should give up performing your own comedy shows. You should be a ‘meeter and greeter’. That’s what you enjoy. You should meet people at the door, shake their hand, greet them, find out about them, have long chats with everyone, make friends with them. That’s what you like. You don’t do shows because you like being on stage; you just do it to chat to people. Don’t bother to perform a show on stage. Why bother? It just gives you stress. Just welcome people to the show but don’t do the show. Blogging is performing without the stress of performing.”

“Who do you think I should blog with?” Lewis Schaffer asked. “Who do you blog with?”

“Wait a second,” I asked him.

Five people got machine-gunned on screen.

WordPress,” I told him. “I think you should either use WordPress or Blogger.

“Blogger has the theoretical advantage that it is owned by Google, so it might prove better at some point in the future, but Google picks up everything on the WordPress blogs anyway. I used to blog on Blogger, but I preferred the templates on WordPress. Really, it would be better for me to blog on both. To duplicate the blog and have it running on both. But there have been so many blogs now that it would be too complicated to go back and duplicate everything and I don’t think it would be very effective to start duplicating now.”

“What about Janey?” Lewis Schaffer asked.

“Ah!” I said, “Janey Godley… Well now…”

“Janey is another league entirely. She has a man who duplicates her blogs on I think it’s something like 170 or 180 or more different websites. When she was at her blogging peak, I know she was getting over 500,000 hits every week, because I worked it out for her on about three occasions over a period.”

“Jesus!” said Jewish American comedian Lewis Schaffer.

I paused.

Another three people died on screen and a car went over a cliff.

“Janey’s main blog is on Blogger,” I continued, “but it doesn’t really matter because it’s everywhere. Do a Google Search for “janey godley” + blog and you get some idea. She also has a widget on the homepage of her website which links to her blog and updates every time her main blog is updated. But she tends to Tweet now,” I told him. “She blogs less but could Tweet for Britain in the Olympics.”

“I don’t know, John,” Lewis Schaffer said to me. “I think maybe I should scale down all the social networking stuff I do. What do you think? Maybe I should stop Tweeting on Twitter, stop doing stuff on Facebook, stop all this online stuff or scale it back. Or maybe I should increase it. What do you think?”

This was classic Lewis Schaffer; it went on for another ten minutes.

I kept watching and listening to the movie on the TV screen.

Eventually, Lewis Schaffer talked himself out.

But I woke up this morning and there was a Google Alert in my mailbox.

Lewis Schaffer seems to have started a daily blog three days ago. It is on WordPress. His latest blog is about stress and worry. It is headlined The Power of Worry. It includes the words:

I was happy with my gig.  One old guy did walk out in front of the stage and gave me and the audience of 150 a big, theatrical yawn. I can make people walk out in seconds but I climbed on top of a table and shouted at the guy “Do you think you hurt me by leaving? My wife left me and took my kids!” 

I think Lewis Schaffer has found a way to write a blog about worrying… about which he will worry. He can be very funny when he does not worry too much about being worried. And often when he does. And he does, still, have the best Holocaust joke I have ever heard.

But what if the increasing number of people who read my blog decide that his blog is more interesting? Should I be worried? Or should I just print a photograph of Lewis Schaffer, naked, with this blog and hope it puts people off?

These are testing times for me.

I highly recommend Lewis Schaffer’s ongoing twice-weekly comedy shows in London and his blog (if he keeps it going). Just never ever give him your telephone number. Truly. Just do not do it.

POSTSCRIPT

There may be more pressing things to worry about, though. Just as I was about to post this blog, I got a text from comedian Bob Slayer, on his way back to Britain from Australia. I am looking at it now, with rising fear. It says:

Landed in Brunei. 3.5 hours til flight, so going on 2 hour tour. Unfortunately is wrong time of day for monkey tour so going to food market. Maybe to eat monkey?

Now he is safely out of Australia, I will go and re-post those two blogs I temporarily removed about his exploits in Oz.

But I pity the poor people and monkeys of Brunei.

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Filed under Books, Comedy, Writing

In the cyber world of viral publicity, BBC America sent me an e-mail today

Today, I was invited to go to a media show next week – MediaPro 2011 – and all they really wanted to know in cyberspace was my e-mail address and Twitter name.

Why?

I have no idea.

I have a friend who works for a major charity. Coincidentally, today she sent me an e-mail asking:

“Do you like Twitter?”

My answer was:

“I don’t really understand it – possibly because I do not have a smart phone.”

And I do not understand it, though I use it slightly for self-publicity.

It could cope with it a bit more once I understood the use of the hash sign.

But there is the problem of people actually seeing any message in the Twittersphere.

A comedian I know who also uses it for publicity sends any message mid-morning, late afternoon and near midnight to try to get it read.

It seems very popular with celebs and performers. I can’t imagine why they talk to each other on it, though.

My comedian chum Janey Godley Tweets extravagantly and swears it is useful if, for example, she goes to a new city – people will tell her useful information.

It has immediacy, which something like Facebook does not necessarily have. But coming with that is transience – if you Tweet a message at 10.30am, someone following 800 people may not see it if they don’t look until 3.00pm.

It is in that (what I think is an) odd area where, instead of talking to one person on the phone or in an e-mail, you talk to multiple people and (for reasons I cannot begin to fathom) you are having a conversation with one person which anyone is invited to listen in on.

As far as I can see, if you want to Tweet some one specific person, you might as well text ‘em.

I told my Charity friend:

“You might take a look at Google+ for work… Google+ seems to me to have a more up-market clientele than Facebook.”

(Nothing personal to my Facebook Friends).

The best proven way to get publicity, though, is to be included in my daily blog.

Bizarrely, BBC America would seem to agree. Today, I got an e-mail from someone at BBC America:

_______

Hi,

I work for BBC America, the U.S. cable television channel. I came across your blog and wanted to reach out, because BBC America is premiering a new series, WHITECHAPEL, on WED OCT 26 that I think would be interesting to you and your readers.

WHITECHAPEL is set in modern-day East London where a copycat killer is terrorizing London – and it’ll take everything these police officers have to keep history from repeating. The force is faced with the brutal and bloody history of their streets, from echoes of the 19th century & Jack the Ripper to the infamous 1960s crime twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Can these officers “solve the unsolvable and catch the most famous serial killer that ever lived”?

WHITECHAPEL is from the producers of the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey and starring Rupert Penry-Jones (MI-5, Cambridge Spies), Phil Davis (Sherlock, Bleak House) and Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Viva Blackpool).

Don’t miss WHITECHAPEL every Wednesday at 10/9c starting Oct 26 only on BBC America. Can’t find BBC America on your cable dial? Use the Channel Finder in the top-navigation bar on bbcamerica.com.

PLUS:
• Watch the extended trailer now: http://bbca.me/WhitechapelTrail
• Get an exclusive look Inside the Making Of… WHITECHAPEL: http://bbca.me/MakingWhitechapel
• Watch a special advance sneak peek of the series premiere: http://bbca.me/WhitechapelPeek

Cheers!

_______

Now, I will plug anything for anyone if it sounds interesting – as the above proves – for a bit more profile, but why me?

I may bullshit, but I am a minor little blogger in the grand cyber scheme of things.

I know BBC America will have sent out hundreds of e-mails. But why to me?

I am not  complaining in any way. Far from it. I am delighted, but…

Why me?

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I am getting a Scottish passport – with Sean Connery

American comedian Lewis Schaffer recently Tweeted a #ff recommending this blog for its “casual xenophobia and non-casual name-dropping”.

Well, for sure, when Scotland gets independence, I am going to get a Scottish passport as soon as possible because it will be safer than a British or (by then) English passport.

If your aircraft gets hijacked or you get involved in any other terrorist mass hostage situation, the first people to be shot are the Americans – obviously – or sometimes the Israelis who, for some semi-mystifying reason count as Americans in such situations.

The next to be shot – depending on the former colonial history of the people with the guns and the bad attitude problem are either the British or the French.

The last people to get shot are likely to be Irish or Swiss passport holders… The Irish because even the most uneducated terrorist has probably heard of the IRA and you don’t shoot your own; it’s like Toyota owners being polite to each other on the roads in Britain. And the Swiss are fairly safe because even the most uneducated terrorist is likely to know the Swiss are neutral in everything and have never done anything – they did not even invent the cuckoo clock.

It’s also probable, of course, that most terrorist organisations bank with the Swiss and you don’t want to annoy people who are giving you a good interest rate and hiding your identity from the CIA, the NSA and MI6.

So I am going to get a Scottish passport when Scotland breaks from the United Kingdom.

I have no idea why Lewis Schaffer – who continues to appear on stage every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in London’s longest-running solo comedy show at The Source Below in Soho – should complain about name-dropping.

But, then, he’s a New York Jew.

What does a colonial kid like that know?

Marilyn Monroe once reportedly asked Laurence Olivier when being served doughy things at a Jewish dinner while they were filming The Prince and The Showgirl in London:

“What are those?”

“They’re matzoh balls, Marilyn,” Olivier told her.

“Gee, Laurence,” she replied, “Don’t they eat any other part of a matzoh?”

Also has the otherwise street-savvy Lewis never heard of adding random Tags to blogs to try to get extra hits? I haven’t even mentioned the racist Britney Spears animal sex tape scandal involving Prince William, Kate Middleton and Justin Bieber referred-to by the porno stand-up comics in the inept IKEA ad currently running on British television but obviously not on the hardcore sex channels nor on Colonel Gaddafi’s cage-fighting Libyan TV channel? The one with the trans-sexual goldfish. Nor have I mentioned granny sex (popular with Lewis). Nor Japanese schoolgirl facials.

What is it with the Japanese and sperm?

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