Saturday, 31 December 2011

My Top 10 TV shows of 2011

My Top 10 TV shows of 2011

I watch far too much TV which apparently is very bad for you. As I've been watching this much since I was a kid, I figure the damage is done, This year, with fewer comedy gigs and evening engagements than previous years, and no Edinburgh Fringe to give me a whole month off telly viewing, I have seen far too much TV (well I say "seen", it's on in the background and I'm working at the same time "pretending" to watch it. Yes I am) and some of it was not in the least bit abysmal. So far from abysmal, I've rearranged them from my head into a Top Ten of my favourites.

You may care to play "Other Peoples Top Ten TV Shows Bingo" if you like. If you have seen all of my Top Ten, you win and can imagine it's the 1980s again (you remember? When whatever you'd seen the night before, you could say "Did you see..?" to someone at school the next day and they would have? So easy, so long ago...). Here is my Top Ten TV shows of 2011, after a few outsiders & special mentions...

Bubbling Under:
(do things still bubble under the charts any more? Or enter "with a bullet"? If not, they should)

Little Crackers (Sky). They're only on at Christmas, only shown once as far as I can see, and not available on DVD for some bizarre reason, but these 10 minute mini-movies telling stories from the childhood of comedians are a treat. Highlights of the 2010 season included Catherine Tate, Stephen Fry, Dawn French & Meera Syal, and in 2011 we have enjoyed Jack Whitehall, Johnny Vegas, Sheridan Smith, Shappi Khorsandi, John Bishop & Sanjeev Bjaskar. A sweet series, but not in the Top Ten.

30 Rock (Comedy Central), Curb Your Enthusiasm (More 4), The Office (Comedy Central), TV Burp (ITV) and Big Bang Theory (E4). All favourite comedy shows of some years standing, but all in danger of jumping the shark or going through a bit of a patchy patch. 30 Rock remains the strongest, Curb & Burp have had some stonking episodes, but none is on its best series, and Big Bang & Office are almost unrecognisable from the shows we first grew to love.

University Challenge & Mastermind (both BBC). Firm favourites but, dare I say it, we find ourselves preferring the celebrity versions.



Most Disappointing: Torchwood Miracle Day. Had two excellent episodes (the opener and the stand-alone love story set in the 1920s) but the rest seemed to be made up as it went along, incoherent, messy, frequently ridiculous and ultimately the biggest collection of wasted opportunities of the year.

Most Frustrating: Later with Jools Holland. As someone raised on Top Of The Pops and the Old Grey Whistle Test as my weekly televisual guide to what was hot and what was not in popular music, I mourn their absence and find Later to be the worst possible substitute. One week this year the average age of performers on the show was over 60, and its selection of acts ranges from indulgently retro to depressingly repetitive. It is popular music's Old Folks Home, makes the Grammies look "down with the kids".

So, that Top 10...


10 - Doctor Who
The favourite TV show of much of my childhood, and again from 2005, it has made itself bloody hard work to stay in love with for the last two series. Steven Moffat's episodes have been brilliantly written, flattering to the intelligent and challenging, full to the brim with ideas, and rewarding on subsequent reviewings. But sometimes the characters have taken second place to the labrynthine storylines leaving us with stories which, when resolved, leave this particular viewer a little cold (especially in comparison to the way characters were used in Russell T Davies' series of the show). The scripts by guest writers have varied too much and lacked outstandingly memorable images and characters to get this series any further in my favourites list. I did love The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe, might I say.



9 - Rev
A surprisingly satisfying comedy whose description suggested it could have been patronising. middle-class, mealy-mouthed with no obvious target audience outside of the devoutest of Radio 4 listeners, Rev is modern, witty, insightful, touching, original and genuinely funny. And it won the ratings in a double bill with Ricky Gervais's Life Is Short which many found Schadenfreudtastic.

8 - Downton Abbey
Shut up, it's very well written. Yes formulaic, yes old fashioned to an extent, and yes the Christmas episode was very disappointing. But in our house we didn't see series 1 until this year, catching up with a DVD box set, which led straight into series 2, so we've overdosed on a very high quality of classy British TV writing which can only be applauded. Fave character: Daisy the kitchen maid (welling up already).

7 - Only Connect
It's the quiz that's fun to play. You don't necessarily have to know things, you can have an educated guess. But it helps if you know things. And Victoria Coren is funnier than Paxo, QED.

6 - Bob's Burgers
Did anyone else watch this? It was on Channel 4 but it's not come up in conversation yet. For everyone still bothering with The Simpsons and Family Guy, you have missed a treat with Bob's Burgers. Great characters, stories that make this writing lark look far too easy, and the sort of animation that it is all too easy to take for granted. Find it, watch it, see what I mean.

5 - Fresh Meat
Surprisingly, Bain & Armstrong only wrote the first episode, with every other ep being written by new writers. Which means there is a scary number of quality bright young comedy drama writers out there, which makes the Sitcom Trials and Sitcom Mission's continued existence seem almost futile. And Jack Whitehall can act, the bastard. My favourite line of the year: "Shit my pants." Okay, quiet year.

4 - Misfits
Howard Overman's series is a triumph of effort over budget, knocking bigger-budget sci-fi shows like Being Human and Torchwood into a cocked hat. I still haven't seen series 1, somehow, but have seen all of series 2 and 3 in the past year and couldn't admire it more. This show is as exciting as comic books used to be when I was a kid. And that really is saying something. Most distinctive faces of any TV cast ever, they would win any Cheekbones-Off anywhere anytime.

3 - The Walking Dead
Also like comics used to be when I was a kid, because it's adapted from a comic, The Walking Dead has shown how to spin out a limited budget and a restricted storyline with aplomb. For an entire series, the cast have been stuck in a house, near a wood, with a barn, looking for a missing kid, with a strict ration of one new zombie per episode, and they've made it gripping, surprising, engaging and funny. This year's Mad Men.


2 - Top Of The Pops 1976
This social experiment, which I'm delighted to learn is going to be continued in 1977, sees every surviving episode of the year's Top Of The Pops shown at 7.30 on Thursday night, exactly 35 years after it was first shown. One part nostalgia to one part... okay it's all nostalgia in this house, but if you weren't there I can only hope it is an education. From the opening song which you don't remember ever having heard in your life, through the long-forgotten follow-up single, via the presenters whose very existence seems to be the result of a casting process as disturbing as it must now be illegal, this television show is something you simply could not make up. Historians of the future are learning so much from this musical time capsule. Jonathan King and Gary Glitter have to settle for belated apologies, having been cut out of the repeats. (As JK has said in his defence, would you edit Hitler out of the World War 2 documentaries?)



1 - Party Down
A revelation. The only series I've watched every episode of twice this year and easily the best sitcom (or comedy drama, discuss) of 2011. Except it's from 2008/9. Hev discovered it via Virgin Media's TV On Demand (it's still not available on DVD in the UK, as I learned while trying to buy it as a Christmas present). It was denied a third series because the actors got asked to do bigger things, and it was on Starz which can't compete for audiences, but it is such perfect writing and performing that it will always be a comedy show whose passing will be mourned. Everything a sitcom should be. Characters who you get from their first lines: Ron is a 3D Homer, Roman is the cast of Big Bang Theory but much more pathetic, and Henry and Casey are the most will-they-won't-they will-they-won't-they couple since Sam & Diane and Jim & Pam. The characters are clear from the start, their story arc is inobtrusive yet defining, and the comedy ideas are simple, original, solid, filmic and very funny. Ron's School Reunion is painful and brilliant, Steve Guttenberg's Birthday is the best example of a story which rewards having watched the previous series without leaving you out if you haven't. And is funny. I cannot recommend Party Down highly enough.

And those were my favourite TV shows of 2011. Happy New Year.

Kev F




Review of Kev F's 2011 (in cartoon)

I started doing this last year, no reason why I shouldn't try maintaining the tradition. Here is my review, in cartoon form, of my 2011...



If you touch it it'll get bigger, fnaar fnaar. And if it's not all clear for any reason, those statistics look like this:

In 2011 The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre played:
- 4 Weddings (2 straight 2 gay) & 3 Birthdays (2 x 50th and a 60th). That's our demographic in a nutshell.
- and made 2 visits to Denmark, playing 6 shows in Aarhus and Copenhagen
- as part of the 64 shows they played in the year. This included..
- 0 appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in 5 years (we return in 2012). Here's a nice review from Brighton.

I took an unforgiveable 46 flights including 9 trips to Ireland, a week in Abu Dhabi and an actual holiday (a non-working holiday, a rare thing) in Venice.

My only TV of the year was an appearance on BBC Northern Ireland online plus a 10 second appearance on The Gadget Show plugging the Nintendo Wii uDraw. (I forgot the Socks appeared on the ITV News during the Leicester Comedy Festival, and on Danish TV while we were in Aarhus.)

I published 4 comics this year - Hot Rod Cow, Sinnerhound, Tales Of Nambygate and the best-selling (in Clevedon anyway) Captain Clevedon. And I forgot to mention appearing in Doctor Who Adventures & Match!

I chalked up an incredible 124 days of Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, colleges, art centres and libraries, from Ireland to Abu Dhabi as well as Scotland, Wales and lots and lots of England plus I did 13 days (or nights) caricaturing at events including Mendhi parties, Batmitzvahs, street parties, weddings, workplaces and something in a castle on Guernsey, meaning that, including the drawings done as part of the classes, I drew well over 5000 faces in the year, possibly over 6000. When I meet any of you again, forgive me if I don't remember everyone's names.

Oh, and I turned 50 this year. Don't tell everyone.

Now, what surprises do we have in store for 2012. Any ideas?

Happy New Year when it comes.

Kev F







PS: Here's my review of 2010, in case you missed it.

PPS: Lest I want to keep score of the number of days I spend doing Comic Art Masterclasses, it goes:
2006 83 days (and 88 pages of Beano drawn),
2007 74 days (and 95 pages of Beano),
2008 92 days (Beano pages not totalled but that's when they stopped),
2009 100 days,
2010 109 days
and 2011 124 days.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A year of comics by kids 2011

(I've edited this entry down as the previous version had too many images to load with ease)

2011 saw me working in a fascinating range of schools teaching my Comic Art Masterclasses all over Ireland, and England, Wales and Scotland and, in January, Abu Dhabi. Abu flipping Dhabi! In every school, working with up to two groups in a day, the kids produce comics containing a strip by every single one of them plus a caricature by me. Here are some of my favourites of the year.

 
When Businessmen Go Clubbing, Murder By Tesco Tomato - from Clevedon via Bourne in Lincolnshire and Harrogate.

Peter The Ginger Space Monkey, Dr Evil Eats Piggy Poo, first comics of the year. Click to see

Laymoona and other Abu Dhabi comics


I'm A Firin' My Lazor - my favourite title of the year (though there is stiff competition). From pupils in Wilts, Hants, Dartmouth, Burgess Hill and Ascot.

Journey To The Centre Of My Nose, Revenge Of the Trigger Happy Hamsters - from Kings School Gloucester, Bromsgrove Prep, Burleigh High, Loughborough, Mary Elton Primary Clevedon and St Andrews Primary Salisbury.

The Adventures Of The AK47 from Tescos, Ya Mam, Cheese Bob Lol Fish - Wales, England and Dublin.

I Like Apples, Kiss My Big Fat Bum, Revenge Of The Daleks from Swindon & Birmingham

That's What She Said, Captain Cockwash - Cork, Dungarvan

Can I Have My Apple Back Please?, The Queen Does The Splits...
...comics from Dublin, Birmingham, Kidderminster, Wiltshire

Your Bum Is Under Under Arrest, You Should Never Eat Sprouts - Cardiff, Gosport, Glasgow, Malmesbury & Bromsgrove.

Alien Belly Button Kerfuffle, from schools in Chepstow, Bristol, Ormskirk, Devon, Leicester, Clevedon and Walsall

Pretty Piggy Zombie, Toilet Seats & Pineapples - by kids in Swindon, Bradford, Waltham Forest, Maidenhead and Weston Super Mare


When Susan Boyle Strikes Back, Invasion Of The Gummi Bears from Falcarragh County Donegal, Navan County Meath, Cheltenham, Loughborough and Somerset

Barack O'Llama, Bubble Head Pants Face, Dublin, Hampshire and North Somerset


Jellyfish In A Jar, Willy Ward Sells His Ford - from Waterford, Wexford and Enniscorthy in Ireland, at Hull Truck Theatre, and at schools in Somerset, Oxfordshire, and Welwyn Garden City.

Shut Up Pig Terrorist, Death To America By Battering To Death - from London, Carnforth, Bushey, Dublin, Sheffield, and Caton & Wray in Lancashire.

Bumblebee Ate My Bottom, last comics of the year.

As always I aim to teach kids all there is to know about the fun fine art of telling stories in pictures (did I ever mention I've been writing & drawing comic strips for everyone from The Beano to Marvel & Doctor Who to Viz for over 20 years?), producing a comic book in a morning or afternoon session, a copy of which they each take home, containing a strip by every one of them plus an individual caricature by me.

I'm taking bookings into 2012 now, so get in touch quick if you're interested.




Saturday, 24 December 2011

A year of comics by kids from the Comic Art Masterclass

2011 saw me working in a fascinating range of schools teaching my Comic Art Masterclasses all over Ireland, and England, Wales and Scotland and, in January, Abu Dhabi. Abu flipping Dhabi! In every school, working with up to two groups in a day, the kids produce comics containing a strip by every single one of them plus a caricature by me. Here are some of my favourites of the year.


I'm A Firin' My Lazor - my favourite title of the year (though there is stiff competition). From pupils in Wilts, Hants, Dartmouth, Burgess Hill and Ascot.

Peter The Ginger Space Monkey, Dr Evil Eats Piggy Poo, first comics of the year

Laymoona and other Abu Dhabi comics

Journey To The Centre Of My Nose, Revenge Of the Trigger Happy Hamsters - from Kings School Gloucester, Bromsgrove Prep, Burleigh High, Loughborough, Mary Elton Primary Clevedon and St Andrews Primary Salisbury.
I Like Apples, Kiss My Big Fat Bum, Revenge Of The Daleks from Swindon & Birmingham

That's What She Said, Captain Cockwash - Cork, Dungarvan

Can I Have My Apple Back Please?, The Queen Does The Splits - Dublin, Birmingham, Kidderminster, Wiltshire


Your Bum Is Under Under Arrest, You Should Never Eat Sprouts - Cardiff, Gosport, Glasgow, Malmesbury & Bromsgrove.

When Businessmen Go Clubbing, Murder By Tesco Tomato - from Clevedon via Bourne in Lincolnshire and Harrogate.

Alien Belly Button Kerfuffle, from schools in Chepstow, Bristol, Ormskirk, Devon, Leicester, Clevedon and Walsall

Pretty Piggy Zombie, Toilet Seats & Pineapples - by kids in Swindon, Bradford, Waltham Forest, Maidenhead and Weston Super Mare

When Susan Boyle Strikes Back, Invasion Of The Gummi Bears from Falcarragh County Donegal, Navan County Meath, Cheltenham, Loughborough and Somerset

Barack O'Llama, Bubble Head Pants Face, Dublin, Hampshire and North Somerset

Jellyfish In A Jar, Willy Ward Sells His Ford - from Waterford, Wexford and Enniscorthy in Ireland, at Hull Truck Theatre, and at schools in Somerset, Oxfordshire, and Welwyn Garden City.



Shut Up Pig Terrorist, Death To America By Battering To Death - from London, Carnforth, Bushey, Dublin, Sheffield, and Caton & Wray in Lancashire.

Bumblebee Ate My Bottom, last comics of the year.


As always I aim to teach kids all there is to know about the fun fine art of telling stories in pictures (did I ever mention I've been writing & drawing comic strips for everyone from The Beano to Marvel & Doctor Who to Viz for over 20 years?), producing a comic book in a morning or afternoon session, a copy of which they each take home, containing a strip by every one of them plus an individual caricature by me.

I'm taking bookings into 2012 now, so get in touch quick if you're interested.

RECOMMENDED COMIC BOOKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS for Comic Art Masterclass students, teachers and librarians




Merry Christmas from the Socks

A very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Super Solstice and Humungous Holidays from the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.



And to all who know us, from Hev & Kev.



And a Happy New Year when it comes



Hev & Kev & the Scottish Falsetto Socks


Friday, 23 December 2011

Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn. A year on the road.

My I've done some travelling this year, and some flying and some staying in hotel rooms. More, I think, than any previous year (I'll tot it all up shortly). Occasionally I can be arsed to take a photograph of my hotel rooms.

Some have notably big bedside lamps:

(That's The Point Hotel in Edinburgh. Very designer, ergonomically challenging.)

Some have excellent views:

(White's Hotel in Wexford. Some surprisingly impressive new architecture in Wexford.)

Some have bathrooms as big as a house:

(Abu Dhabi. Massive bathroom. What more can I say?)

Some have very big windows:

(This room in Edinburgh was taller than it was wide or long.)

And most look a bit like this:

(This is in Dublin but it could be anywhere. For the record Campanile's have the best free wifi throughout and good breakfasts but you have to pay extra for them; Ramada's have an annoying TV service and the internet is by cable only so good luck using your iPad; many hotels start breakfast too late to be of any use if you have to travel or get to work first thing in the morning, I mean breakfast at eight? Who's that useful for? The presenters of World At One maybe; and I managed to avoid Travelodges all year so cannot report whether they've started giving you soap and breakfasts yet.)

Kev F




Thursday, 22 December 2011

Not-stradamus. How my 2011 predictions turned out.

Paul Cornell, on his blog, has set the the fun game of guessing what will happen in the next year. He's set 30 questions, and lots of people have had a stab at being Nostradamus. Below are my guesses. But first let's have a look back at my own predictions for 2011 and how they panned out.

MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2011 and how they panned out. So far.

The website PaddyPower.com does a nice line in Novelty Bets. I didn't put any money on, but just for fun what did I predict for 2011?

Bet: Who will replace Chris Moyles as Radio 1 Breakfast DJ?
I predict: Fearne Cotton 12/1
Result: Chris Moyles stayed in the job

Bet: First band to officially split in 2011?
I predict: McFly 8/1
Result: Wrong.McFly are together and two of them won reality shows. I was so close.


Harry Judd from McFly, officially not splitting in 2011

Bet: Who will win London mayoral election in 2012?
I predict: Boris Johnson 8/11
Result: Not happened yet

Bet: Who Will Play Alex Hurricane Higgins in his biopic?
I predict: Simon Pegg (no odds given, so 200/1?)
Result: No biopic yet

Bet: Who will play the next James Bond?
I predict: David Tennant (no odds given, so 500/1?)
Result: Not announced yet

Bet: Who will play Holden Caulfield in the film of Catcher In The Rye?
I predict: The fat kid out of Mad Men (Sally's friend?) No odds given, so 200/1?
Result: Not announced yet

Bet: Who will win Oldham & East Saddleworth byelection?
I predict: Labour 1/6
Result: Yes, I was right.

Bet: Who will win the Nobel Peace Prize 2011?
I predict: Vladimir Putin (no odds given so 100/1?)
Result: Wrong. It's a bit like I wasn't taking this category seriously. The three joint winners were Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman.

Bet: Which volcano will be next to erupt?
I predict: Totally unheard of one that's not erupted for 200 years. (no odds given, so 50/1?)
Result: Sort of right. The first to erupt in 2011 was Grímsvötn, which was totally unheard of. It is, however, Iceland's most frequently active volcano.

Bet: Next actor to play Superman?
I predict: Milo Ventimiglia (no odds given, so 200/1?)
Result: Wrong. Henry Cavill? Who the hell is Henry Cavill?

Bet: Who will win US Presidency in 2012?
I predict: Sarah Palin 10/1
Result: Not happened yet (but my candidate's already out of the running)

Bet: Who will be the next BBC Trust Chairman?
I predict: Joan Bakewell (no odds given, so 100/1?)
Result: Wrong. It was Chris Patten.

Bet: Who will win Eurovision?
I predict: Croatia (no odds given, so 10/1?)
Result: Wrong. It was Azerbaijan. Croatia didn't even make the final 25, getting knocked out in the semi finals.

Bet: Who will host the Brit Awards?
I predict: Russell Brand 6/1
Result: Wrong. It was James Corden. He wasn't bad.

Bet: Will there be a White Christmas in London?
I predict: No. (You get 11/4 on it being white, what's that make non-white?)
Result: Not happened yet, but not looking likely.

So, my predictions for 2011, putting aside the ones that haven't happened yet, shows I have a Nostradamus rating of Minus 5, edging toward a Minus 7 or 8. In fact I only got one thing out of 15 completely right. And on the plus side, I didn't put any money on those bets, therefore saving myself a minimum of £15 and a potential fortune. Well done me!



****************************************************************************

THIS TIME NEXT YEAR GAME, Paul Cornell's 30 Questions
(You can join in at Paul's blog, he is inviting your replies and, I think, offering a prize to the person who turns out to have guessed closest next year< In bold below are my stabs in the dark.)

1: Name *one* musical act, other than any that took part in (that is, was a contestant in) TV talent show The X Factor, that will have a UK Number One single (on the standard chart the BBC use) between February 1st, 2012 and December 13th, 2012.
Jesse J

2: Who will be the British Prime Minister at midnight on December 12th, 2012?
David Cameron

3: Who will be credited as writer on the last issue of Action Comics that comes out before December 13th, 2012?
Paul Cornell

4: Name *one* writer (apart from Steven Moffat) who will write a script in the next season of Doctor Who (specials and charity episodes don't count).
Paul Cornell (I really really hope)

5: Will life on another planet (not necessarily intelligent life) be generally regarded by the scientific community as having been discovered before December 13th, 2012?
Nope

6: Which book will win Best Novel at the 2012 Hugo Awards?
I Partridge by Alan Partridge

7: What about Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form at the same Awards?
Misfits, series 3 final episode

8: Will any of the 2012 Academy Award (Oscar) nominees for Best Picture be (within a generous description) in the genres of science fiction, fantasy or horror?
Yes (War Horse and Hugo)

9: Name *one* historical figure (apart from H.G. Wells) whose name will be mentioned in a new episode of Warehouse 13 broadcast in the UK before December 13th, 2012.
President Nixon (Until I read this question I'd never heard of Warehouse 13).

10: In the three Test Matches played between England and the West Indies in May and June 2012, which England bowler will take the most wickets?
Sorry, I'm Scottish and therefore do not recognise Cricket as a sport.

11: Will any more missing episodes of Doctor Who be discovered before December 13th, 2012? (I know some of you are just going to say 'I hope so', but only concrete answers get you points.)
Nope.

12: Name *one* author with a story in the June 2012 cover dated edition of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
Paul Cornell

13: Name *one* (with all episodes existing) Doctor Who story that will still not have been released on DVD (in the UK) by December 13th, 2012.
Dimensions In Time, Children In Need Special

14: Name *one* (new, not reprint) Marvel Essentials volume that will be released (in the USA) between June 1st, 2012 and December 13th, 2012. (You don't have to give a volume number, just name a series.)
Ghost Rider 2099

15: Which musical act will provide the main title theme song of the 2012 James Bond movie, Skyfall?
Coldplay

16: Will the physics community generally accept (to what they call a 5-sigma level of uncertainty) the discovery of the Higgs Boson before December 13th, 2012?
Yes.

17: And for that matter, will they, in the same way, before the same date, accept that neutrinos (in that particular well- reported experiment or any other) can travel faster than the speed of light?
No.

18: Name a DC New 52 comic (one of the 52 launched under that banner) that won't have an issue released in August, for whatever reason. ('They'll all have one' is allowed, and what I'd hope for.)
Frankenstein Agent Of Shade

19: Other than The Lizard, name another villain who'll appear in the movie The Amazing Spider-Man. Or will there not be any other?
Man-Wolf / John Jonah Jameson

20: In what month of 2012 will the Archbishop of Canterbury retire? Or not this year at all?
June

21: Name *one* song performed or heard in Glee in a new episode shown between March 1st 2012 and December 13th, 2012. (Let's go with UK broadcast dates, which are just a couple of days after the US ones.)
Little Does She Know (originally by the Kursaal Flyers)

22: Of the actors who have played the Doctor (in any medium), who will have the most Twitter followers at midnight on October 1st, 2012? (Genuine accounts only. Anyone within 100 either way gets a point.)
Colin Baker

23: And how many Twitter followers will I have at midnight on August 1st, 2012? (Don't be rude, now. Same rule as for question 20.)
22,347

24: Which country will top the official medal table at the end of the London Olympic Games in 2012?
USA

25: Will Captain Britain appear in at least a single panel of any new Marvel (US) comic released in September 2012?
Yes

26: Who will get the Republican nomination for US President? (Just a name, please, not an essay.)
Mitt Romney

27: Will Kate Bush release any new music (that is to say, any track that has so far been unreleased) between January 1st 2012 and December 13th, 2012?
No

28: Will Peter Dinklage's character Tyrion Lannister slap anyone onscreen in Season Two of Game of Thrones?
Yes (I have never seen Game Of Thrones)

29: Will the makers of the upcoming (2013) Star Trek movie reveal that the character of Khan will be appearing in that movie before December 13th, 2013?
No

30: Who will win this year's Boat Race? Oxford or Cambridge? Or will both sink?
Oxford

********************************

More prediction fun: 7 Predictions for 2011 written for the New York Times in 1931.

Thomas Edison's Predictions for 2011 written in 1911. He appears to predict the Kindle.

Some spectacularly bad predictions for 2011 from a "leading psychic". Baby for the Obamas? Hilary Clinton to win Nobel prize? Sarah Palin divorce? First successful brain transplant? French to develop first bionic eye? Playboy mansion to burn down? Hollywood starlet to give birth to a dwarf? It's good to find someone whose clairvoyant powers are worse than mine.

Some rubbish Foreign Policy predictions from 2011.






Some Socks sets from 2011

And, with a private party in Edinburgh done and dusted, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre have completed their live performances for the year. And what a wonderful and varied year it's been, with the Socks performing in the widest variety of venues. Here are just a few of them...


A nice big room in Peebles (our second appearance there, at the Eastgate Theatre).


Stafford Gatehouse, a particularly photogenic set. We return next May.


A civil partnership celebration in the Castle that Paul McCartney used to own on the Mull Of Kintyre. I know. And yes it was as brilliant as it sounds. Okay, our gig was 45 entertaining minutes worth of the festivities. Getting to join the party and to stay in the castle was even more memorable. As was the three hour drive each way from Glasgow, making it the most remote gig of 2011 (just beating Woodend Barn in Banchory, Aberdeenshire).


A field, in a less-then-well-populated festival in Lechlade, Gloucestershire. Sadly the 100 or so people who tried valiantly to fill a field were not enough for the event to make a profit. I have yet to be paid.


A gig that we never thought would work, with our set stuck in the middle of the foyer of Fairfield Halls Croydon while the audiences for two other shows filed in and out. Amazingly it went so well we return next year.


Falkirk. Er, not much to say about this one. I'm sure it was brilliant. (There was an audience, by the way, this was taken before they'd arrived. Obviously.)


And here's us in a conservatory. Again you wouldn't think this gig would work, playing to 25 people in a private house at 6.30 on a wet Tuesday night in December, but what can I say, we killed.

Most of the time I'm much too busy to take a photograph of the set (and sometimes it just looks a bit rubbish, er, that is to say I hardly do it justice) so you'll just have to imagine this year's Socks performanes at another civil partnership and two 50th birthday parties (in Margate, London and Edinburgh), our international sellouts in Aarhus and Copenhagen, the thirty-odd theatre shows that comprised our Spring & Autumn tours, and our less conventional gigs including an open air show in a hardboard mock-up of Shakespeare's Globe in a park in Windsor and a return visit to the historic Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow which holds the record for the coldest gig of the year (they're not allowed heating, it's a conservation thing).

2012 holds the prospect of a month of nightly gigs in Adelaide and the same again in Edinburgh, with an additional 20 theatre gigs already lined up, with more to come as well as comedy clubs and the inevitable private parties, it looks like being a busy enough year to be getting on with. Here's to it.





Monday, 19 December 2011

Video from Heather's exhibition in Bristol

Here's a treat, the brand new video of Heather's Chapman's Monkey exhibition in Bristol. Just a taster, you've got until Wednesday to see it live



And here's Heather's own blog post on the exhibition, summing it up nicely I think.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Live from Heather's exhibition at Centrespace

Here we are at Heather's new exhibition, Chapman's Monkey, at Centrespace Gallery in Bristol, and here are the first few snapshots I've taken.











Hev's taking more photos and videos which will do justice to the works, especially the newer smaller pieces (long term Hev Tweed art lovers might recognise the larger Anubis figures who have also appeared at earlier shows). Meanwhile, anyone who's thinking of dropping in, we're open until Wednesday, 11am - 5pm.

Heather Tweed - Chapman's Monkey @Centrespace Bristol

Thursday, 15 December 2011

At the German Market. Handling Stollen goods - & other trivia

Having done my last schools of 2011, with just three Socks gigs to go (Saturday Westbury, Sunday Kings Heath, Tuesday private party in Edinburgh if you're interested) the thing that's keeping our household busy at the moment (apart from the winds and storms outside - we found that missing wheelie bin by the way, thanks for asking) is the preparation for Hev Tweed's new exhibition Chapman's Monkey which opens in Bristol tomorrow night (Friday) and runs till the middle of next week. After which it's Christmas.

So new Socks videos have been thin on the ground, only one produced so far this season (Baby It's Cold Outside), and so have my diary posts. However I have managed to doodle some thoughts on Twitter, so here's a round up.

Weds 14 Dec: So how come #theimpressionsshow have dropped the Claudia Winkleman bit? It's totally the most nailled impression of the series #film2011



Returning to Leicester Comedy Festival 2012

Dec 14: For the benefit of @dailymail readers, Walking With Dinosaurs will have "reconstruction" flashed across the screen throughout #frozenplanet

Press for tea. Only in Bristol RT @CarltonJefferis

I went to the chemists, I said do have any essential oils for people who are shaky on their feet? She said Tea Tree? I said I am, yes.

Dec 13: Just finished This Is England 88. Or, as it's known in our house, And Then Nothing Happens.

Also suitable as Chinese New Year present: Scottish Falsetto Socks 2012 calendar #toodesperate?



Misfits Zombie episode is brilliant! Makes up for no Walking Dead.

They won't let me into this party because I've brought a TV channel with me. I've tried telling them, it's my +1

Phew. Just as we'd concluded 50 x 2nd class stamps had gone out with the recycling, we've found them. Thankyou Santa.

Hooray, just confirmed final Socks gig of the year, a private party in Edinburgh. Unless anyone wants to book us for Hogmanay, that's us.

It is now hailing in Clevedon. It never rains...

Did you hear Australia? Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre tickets for @adelaide_fringe now on sale. Spread the word


Dec 11: There's a band called NKOTBSB. http://www.nkotbsb.com So is that New Kids On The Back Street Boys? *tries to think of stupider names...*

Hanoi Rocksy Music #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
U2Unlimited #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Durandau Ballet #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Boney M People #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Crosby Stills Nash Young Gifted & Black #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Wham Wham Wham! #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Men At Kraftwerk #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
My Chemical Brothers #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Guns And Rose West #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB
Take That Petrol Emotion #nostupiderthanNKOTBSB

Dec 11: Looks like it's me and Frankie Boyle not at the Comedy Awards on Friday then.

My TV is playing The Concrete & The Clay. Must be watching ITV 4+2

(above retweeted by Ian Rankin @Beathhigh Yes, be impressed)

Dec 11: I have the vague feeling we've just followed every single person in Adelaide. Do Tweet if we missed you #adelaidefringe

I saw a film, I saw a film with you, it made me cry right through, and it was Old Yeller http://youtu.be/sWzTs5bxxnw #coldplaymadesadder

This calendar needs letting out at the back. Must be an add vent calendar.

Ho ho ho, the endings of cartoons still funny when changed to....

Dec 10: Just watched Thor for the first time. What a load of twaddle. Non-existent characters, atrocious dialogue. So many missed opportunities.

Dec 10 (tweeting throughout Casualty): Don't want to spoil ending of Casualty for +1 viewers. But, re who dies and who doesn't, Hev just said "Aah, they're still alive". Harsh.

Dr on Casualty just mentioned an Escherotomy. Is that cutting out intertwining optical illusion staircases that... *abandons contrived pun*

Girls falls into bed. Hospital full of locked doors. Tonight's preposterous Casualty's a bad Literal Version 80s pop vid. With dodgy CGI

Both Hev and I have now referred to Casualty as "your programme". I think we're in denial.

And what's with these air shafts? Who knew Casualty had the set of Alien hidden behind the walls?

Casualty is quite literally doing a Doctor Who. Blowing up their Tardis set so they can build a new one in Wales.

At the German Market. Handling Stollen goods.

Better to have a crack in your frozen canal, than a frozen canal in your crack. Edinburgh photo by @auntyemily

Dec 9: Hev refers to National Portrait Gallery as The Museum Of Faces #reviewshow

And the rest of my recent tweeting has been some rampant Youtoobling, which I might collect up if I can be bothered.






Baby It's Cold Outside - Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

New from the Socks, a fresh recording of their take on the Christmas classic Baby It's Cold Outside.








Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...