Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What an age we live in. I write this on an East Coast main line train to Glasgow Central, using the free wi-fi provided by National Express. Observation: download speeds were non-existent until York, when dial-up speeds were achieved. Obviously, if there were no-one else on the train, I'd get full-speed. Selfish bastards.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How clueless are the bookers at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall? They've cancelled Ken Dodd's booking for a show in December 2009, after "a significant number of audience members left before the end" of his show there last December. This, apparently, raised "concerns to our manager on the night as to the quality of some of the performances within the show". Quality? The only problem with a Doddy show is quantity. When I went to see him in Lowestoft, I enjoyed the full 5 hours, secure in the knowledge that I was a 5-minute walk from my bed. Others will have had further to travel and might reluctantly have made an exit before the finale. I'd be very surprised if the people who left the Nottingham show thought that they'd got anything less than excellent value for money, and would have booked up for December 2009 and left early again. I think we're dealing with weasel speak. When anyone says guff like "the management team therefore took the difficult decision to give this long-running and much-loved show a break during 2009" you know they're hiding something. "We can't afford to pay overtime to the usherettes" is probably closer to the truth.

Monday, May 11, 2009

If a chap can't be a shameless self-publicist on his blog, where the hell can he? Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I sat in a windowless room in Norwich talking to actor/comedian Miles Jupp* down the line in London. The reason for this disembodied conversation was that I was contributing to his BBC Radio 4 documentary By Jove, Carruthers, in which he explores the tendency of the name Carruthers in fiction to embody a certain type of character, with the help of people like me. It was all jolly good fun and the finished article is on tomorrow (Tuesday) in the 11.30am slot long reserved for splendid quirky features like this one.

*Best known to parents of toddlers as Archie the inventor in Balamory, but last seen on non-children's TV playing an estate agent selling a lengthy lease on his anus to a couple in need of a home.