Saturday 30 July 2011

Friday 29 July 2011

On Torchwood Miracle Day

After three episodes of this new style of Torchwood I'm now realising how slow this is going to be. I confess I am one of those viewers who loves contrast, variety, difference, novelty. That's probably why I liked Doctor Who in the first place.

And I remember how much I liked the first series of Torchwood more than that year's Doctor Who season. Episodes like Lost In Time, Small Worlds, Countrycide, Combat and Random Shoes couldn't have been more different from each other and each stands alone as an example of imaginative fantasy fiction writing that you can watch time and again. I've watched each at least three times, some more.

I can't see that happening with Miracle Day. Each episode is just an episode of a long soap opera, and when it gets to its end I'll say fair enough, that was fun, and I'll never watch it again. And will any one episode really stand out as the classic that you'd give a Hugo Award to? Will there be a Human Nature, a Fathers Day, an Empty Child, a Blink? I don't think so.

So, as a long, trundling, occasionally imaginative 10 hour ongoing drama, it's pretty good. But as someone who got fed up of The X Files when it stopped being stand alone stories and turned into a dull soap, I can tell it's going to lose me when I miss an episode and can't be bothered to catch up with it.

Here, a flashback to how stimulating Torchwood once was:

Thursday 28 July 2011

P-TWUMPF! - Sound effects from Captain Clevedon

One of the most fun thing about lettering a comic strip (a job I'd happily delegate, but Captain Clevedon is a cottage industry) is the sound effects. You get to make up the spelling. Here, in their onomateopeaic glory, are five of my favourites:

Nothing New Under The Sun: The Dandy

It's always flattering to think you had an idea first and, though I know I've had no influence here, I can't help but spot the similarity between this week's Dandy comic and something I did a few years back. This is the new Dandy:

You see what they've done, emphasising the parodies, spoofs and "mock" aspects of their content, by doing it in the style of a lifestyle magazine. A bit like I did back in 1989 with the Mockery:

Based on the then design of the very popular Q Magazine, I put caricatures of current celebs into a spoof magazine design. This, of course, was just a dummy that never saw the light of print. However the idea did hit the newsstands, in 1991, looking like this:

... which formed the back "flip" cover of issue one of UT comic, the parody spoof comic I edited. It lasted for 18 months and I have fond memories, even if I may be alone in that. The original front cover, which set the template for the rest of the run, looked like this:

UT Comic, more ahead of its time than any of us realised. That's it, nostalgia break over, as you were.

EdFringe Sockstalgia Part 1

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre aren't at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, the first year we've missed since we started #edfringe-ing it in 2007. It's been fun to take a breather, and especially to have money at this time of year, which is an unusual and pleasant state of affairs. And I have to stress I'm not missing Edinburgh at all, partly cos the Fringe hasn't started yet, and partly cos I was there last week doing a show in Peebles so got to see the Fringe venues being put up and get a feel of the start of the whole Festival vibe. But mostly I'm not missing the Fringe because, well, I'm just not. I'm already saving up to take the Socks to Edinburgh in 2012, but for now a gap year seems just the right thing. It's also a chance to have a look back at the 4 years, and 4 different shows the Socks have taken to Edinburgh. Here's a clip from our debut year, 2007.

Blimey, the Embra routine and the Flyer song. I'd totally forgotten those. Because that piece is so much about the Edinburgh Fringe, I've always figured it would be unintelligible to the rest of the country so it's never been part of the touring show.

And look at those costumes, or lack of them. It's hard to imagine now, but when the Socks performed their first Edinburgh show they did it naked. At one point during the run the Sock on the left acquired his kilt, but he would only put it on halfway through the show. And the Sock on the right remained naked throughout.

And that set is so bare. The now familiar tartan set, with its proscenium arch, didn't appear until the 2008 show. And right through their spring 2008 tour I was performing the Socks show with a set with no sides. Anyone entering the venue sideways on saw a bloke sitting in a seat behind the black set. If I couldn't manage to attach that tartan sheet to a wall behind us, we were as good as invisible. My, aren't we all glad the Socks have put on a little visual pizazz since the early days.

Still pretty funny back then though, bless their cotton selves. More trips down memory lane ahead, I'm sure. And, if you're lucky, they might start writing something new. The 2012 show's only 53 weeks away...

PS, in case you missed it, a nice review of the Socks in Cardiff, as part of the Brown Bear comedy night, from Buzz magazine.
"Their inherent license for playfulness paired with their meta-fictional intelligence and clever observations do raise a few surprising giggles and bring an unquestionable sense of variety to the line-up" - Buzz

Friday 15 July 2011

Socks at Leicester Comedy Festival

Here's a fun find, a video of the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre recorded by someone other than me, performing and doing what might loosely be called an interview, at the Leicester Comedy Festival. Enjoy.

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