Tuesday 30 October 2012

Monday 29 October 2012

Fan Socks - a great mini tour ends in style

With the greatest of thanks to Cathy Stroemer and family, here are the home-made Scottish Falsetto Socks they brought to yesterday's show in London, rather messily signed by me in blue pen. Honoured and flattered.

With a triumphant show at the Leicester Square Theatre in London, where the Scottish Falsetto Socks drew their biggest London audience yet, our October mini-tour drew to a close. Now, with the exception of comedy club gigs where we'll be playing 20-30 minute slots, the Socks have finished their big gigs for 2012. Boo Lingerie had a splendid run at the Edinburgh Fringe and has just enjoyed our best selling mini-tour taking in Aarhus and Copenhagen in Denmark, then 8 UK theatre dates, every one of which exceeded our expectations both in quality and quantity of response and audience.

This success may well have been helped by the special promo videos which we made for most of the shows. Indeed the lowest audience numbers came from the show which didn't have a promo vid (Aarhus, Copenhagen and Manchester), whereas the ones that did all filled up beautifully (those being Birmingham, Bury, Teddington, Preston, Aberystwyth, London).

So now the work begins on next year's "In Space" show, and at the same time there's the Sci Fi Sitcom Trials (deadline Nov 4th), for which I really ought to try writing something. And, if I ever manage to get a connection cable that works, having lost the last one in Copenhagen, we'll get back to uploading Socks videos. Stay tuned. Oh, and you could always have a look at the Socks 2013 calendar....

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre 2013 Calendar.
This unique celebration of the Scottish Falsetto Socks will see you through the year 2013, containing as it does every single day - with none missing - and all public holidays lovingly hand-mentioned, and costs just £10.25. Have a look for free and order now, you know it makes sense.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Nice review of the Socks & the Sitcom Trials

From this past weekend in Manchester, a fine review.

The Sitcom Trials/The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre – LIVE!

Posted on October 24, 2012

Kev F. Sutherland is a talented man. The mastermind behind both The Sitcom Trials, and the acclaimed Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, he is also an comic strip creator for The Beano and Doctor Who Adventures – and that is just a tiny selection of the work he has done.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of The Sitcom Trials it basically showcases new sitcoms (submitted by you) in a head-to-head, enhanced audio style. This takes the form of a script in hand reading with props, sounds and other aids to enhance the ‘viewing’ experience. Each sitcom ends on a cliff-hanger with the audience voting for the one that they want to see the end of.

Taking place in Bristol, Manchester and London, The Sitcom Trials has been enormously successful, no doubt down to its combination of varied scripts, enthusiastic hosts and talent on the stage. Kev Sutherland is the compere for the nights, and whips up the audience into frenzy ready for the treats that await them.

Obviously most of the scripts are work in progress, but you can quickly see the gems of ideas being polished. Certainly in Manchester’s Halloween special there were some great, and demanding ideas performed with gusto by the assorted cast (pictured from left to right including Kate Collins, Bex Harrison, Michelle Ashton, Jamie Fillery, Phil Chadwick and (front) Sean Mason). 
You could do far worse for comedy than pop down and see some raw talent in action at The Sitcom Trials. As was pointed out, you’re never more than ten minutes away from something new if there’s a sitcom you don’t like which is something that can’t be said of an hour long comedy act you might have paid a lot more to see. There’s always the possibility that the next big thing could be discovered right in front of your eyes as well…

Having sprung out of The Sitcom Trials, is an award winning success story of a pair of talking, singing and dancing socks. Like a modern day Punch and Judy act, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (and so am I, and so is he etc.) continue to delight and entertain with their “Socky Horror Show”.

This special show for Halloween features the argumentative socks as they goad the audience into an hour of non-stop laughter. Never before have two cotton socks been so hilariously funny.  With some witty observational humour, and hilarious songs (“I’m a sock, I’m a sock, you wear me when cooking with a wok”), all mixed together in an endearing tongue-in-cheek way, it is easy to see how the cheeky pair have become a hit.

It’s very easy to forget that there is only one person behind the Socks, such is the intensity of the performance as the two argue with each other. Part improvisation, Sutherland’s creations also react to the audience (“See what you’ve done, you’ve made the front row groan now!”) and carry their array of increasingly bizarre props. Effort is also taken to include local jokes, and hilariously backfired when there was only a slight titter from the audience. One sock turns to the other and wryly quips “Hmm, we’ll cut that out next time, obviously that’s a nice place to be going. For future reference, where is the worst place to go in Manchester?” which was greeted with uproarious laughter. You had to be there, but it demonstrates the talent and improvisation at work.

Taking in tributes to horror movies, a spectacular rendition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a magic trick (not to be spoilt before you see it) and even Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Theatre wows, entertains, and has you in stitches. Fresh and vibrant, and something completely and utterly unique, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre is a complete must-see.
For more information on The Sitcom Trials including upcoming shows and how to take part, visit the website at http://www.sitcomtrials.co.uk/. The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre continues it’s tour with dates available via their Twitter @FalsettoSocks 
Posted in: Comedy

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Socks 2013 calendar promo video

Oh you'll like this. Go on....

A video with a specially recorded song by the Socks promoting their brand new 2013 Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre calendar. 13 brand new images, perfect for Christmas. Order it now.

This year's theme is science fiction, and this beautifully printed calendar features illustrations by Kev F out of The Beano showing The Socks in a series of familiar sci fi movie poses including Star Wars, Robocop, The Matrix, Blade Runner, 2001, Planet Of The Apes, The Fly, Alien, The Terminator, Back To The Future, A Clockwork Orange, and two more which I can't remember off the top of my head. Oh yeah, Attack Of the 50 Foot Woman, that's another one.

This unique celebration of the Scottish Falsetto Socks will see you through the year 2013, containing as it does every single day - with none missing - and all public holidays lovingly hand-mentioned, and costs just £10.25. Have a look for free and order now, you know it makes sense.

Friday 19 October 2012

Socks on tour, cuttings and churches

With thanks to @Mr_Mark_Brown, this cutting has appeared in a paper in Preston. If anyone can find us a hard copy, I'd love one.

Another cracking gig in the Socks mini tour last night saw them raising the roof at Landmark Arts in Teddington. Well, we say raising the roof. This is literally the highest roof under which we've ever performed, check it out:
It's literally a church, converted into an arts centre in the 1970s and, despite its gothic appearance, only actually built in the 1880s, with the highest ceiling you've seen. About the same height, I would say, as Bristol Cathedral. So, quite an echo to contend with, and I must say the Socks did it with aplomb. A cracking gig, nice encore, and another very good turnout. It would seem the video promos we did for this mini tour, coupled with the Twitter campaign has genuinely turned into bums on seats. And we sold some t-shirts last night, which is an angle which we must not let slip as these tours continue (oh god, I was almost temoted to use the loathed phrase "going forward". Don't worry, I caught myself in time).

Let us see what happens with Preston tonight and Manchester tomorrow. Preston had the video, but no direct Twitter campaign, and Manchester had neither. Let us see how that is reflected audience-wise.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Big birthday thanks - and a pleasant surprise

Happy birthday to me, squashed tomatoes and wee, etc... And just look at the Socks posing for a thankyou photo with a couple of their favourite presents. The cards are drawn by my nieces Shona & Kirsty and are works of genius. The Socks' woolly jumpers are knitted by my sister in law Anet, inspired by the Socks' performance of The Killing, and aren't they perfect? Expect to see them in a video soon.

And the book is The Beatles in Comic Strips which I saw recently in an arts bookshop and dropped the hint I'd quite like it, so my sister Jude duly obliged. It's a delightful book which I'd heartily recommend, featuring comic strip depictions of The Beatles from 1963 right up to the present day from comics all over the world. And it contains an unexpected bonus which I had no idea was in there. Me!

Yes, when you get the book, check out page 137, and the small article about obscure British satire comic Brain Damage. They mention three of the famous artists who were in there, the third of whom is me. Seriously. What were the chances of that?

I've just noticed they've mis-spelled my name, which takes none of the gilt of the gingerbread. A birthday present from serendipity and coincidence themselves, what could be better?

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Thanks-tastic! Comic Art Masterclass news

Oh come on, how's that for a thankyou card? From the kids in year 5 & 6 at St Mary's Primary School in Wavendon, Milton Keynes. My autumn season of Comic Art Masterclasses is well underway, having already taken me to London, Leicestershire and Milton Keynes, with visits to Ireland both North & South coming up in the next month. If you want me to come to your school and teach kids how to do comics, leaving them with a comic containing a strip be every one of them, an individual caricature and all my wisdom in a child-brain shaped eye-and-ear-injected info-nugget, you know where I am.

I'm Kev F, the comic writer and artist whose work appears in The Beano, Marvel comics, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf Smegazine, Viz, 2000AD and many points inbetween. If you would like to bring my Comic Art Masterclass to your school or art centre, drop me a line, a comment, a Twitter, Bat-Phone, whatever works. Click below to see more, including video and contact details.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Perfect storm of meh

I'm usually quite the chipper, confident and upbeat chap, especially in recent years since my work's been going well, and even more so in the last year or so since we got rid of the unpleasant neighbours downstairs. So it's a shame to find that, in the run up to my birthday, I've been feeling a tiny bit depressed. Only a very tiny bit and it'll soon clear up. (This is as nothing to my birthday in 2004 when I went to Jonathan Ross's house, which is let's face it a fun thing, to film an interview with him to show at the following weekend's comic festival I was organising for which he was one of the star attractions. Oh it's a long story, but it was a dreadful time, lost me lots of money, and made me very depressed at the end of what had been a very very hard year. This is nothing like that)*. And, as with all such moods that pass over me, it comes from without not within, and has come from a perfect storm of little things.

Money is, inevitably, the first thing. And October is often a crunch month for my cashflow as I wait for the money from August's Edinburgh Fringe to come in and suffer the tiny blip that comes from having had no other work than Edinburgh during August. In past years this settlement comes in the last week of October (except, famously, in 2010 when I was left waiting longer, the fear of which hangs over me this year). So I know all will be in there soon, but right now I've got the collywobbles of the odd unpaid bill over the last few days. For example my tax bill is due. It always comes at this time of year and, one week after they've sent the bill for the whole lot, they send a scary letter chasing you. They get paid every time, in the end, when I get my Edinburgh money, but somehow they never remember that bit.

On top of that it's just small things making me feel down. One was Sunday morning's confrontation outside the house. At 9am Sunday Heather sees, through the kitchen window, some young men trying the door of my car and then trying to "bounce" it out of its parking space. I run out to remonstrate and, it turns out, they're scaffolders trying to reverse their truck into the driveway and can't get in past my car, even though I'm parked in a legitimate and clearly marked parking space. I move my car, reluctantly, and complain to their employer by email. He apologises the next day, which is all good. But of course that hanging over us for a day left a feeling of very slight trepidation and ennui.

Then I wrote a blog which I, cheekily and insensitively, entitled "Which Doctor Who turns out to be a Savile-like paedo?". I quickly renamed it, and I think the questions I ask, the fears I raise, and the links I've included are all valid. However when I posted a link to it on the Doctor Who forum Gallifrey Base, it got a very negative response and was removed by the moderators within half an hour, with my right to respond also being removed. That made me feel a bit like a guilty schoolboy.

Added to that there is my adsense adverts, which have been withdrawn from my websites and the money from them withdrawn because it appears I've clicked on my own adverts, which you're not supposed to do. Mea culpa there, I was inspecting them to see who advertised on my sites, but may have done it a bit often. So that slap on the wrists made me feel a little guilty.

Other tiny niggles include a cheque I was paid by a venue I played last week which was made out to the wrong name (Scottish Falsetto Socks instead of UT Productions). I got them to amend it and initial it, and paid it in on Saturday, but I remain concerned that it might not go through. At, of course, a time when I really need it to go through.

And I seem to have lost the cable that connects the video camera to the computer, which is a pain because it's most likely I lost it in Copenhagen (which is the last place I used it). Yesterday afternoon I recorded the music for and filmed a nifty ad for the new Socks calendar, to the tune of Late Night Double Feature Picture Show from the Rocky Horror Show, then found I couldn't get it off the camera onto the computer. So I went and re-filmed it on my new camera, the little digital snap camera as used in Adelaide. But, as I found in Adelaide, for some reason I can only get the photos off the camera, not the video clip. So this frustrating piece is filmed but unrecordable. I may have to film it using the webcam on the laptop, something I've never done before and which I don't predict will look good. That was Monday night's time-wasting distraction, all done when I really had better work to be getting on with.

And there's Saturday's Socks & Sitcom Trials shows in Manchester which I fear may not be as well publicised and well prepared, respectively, as other shows, with the financial and feel-good implications that will bring.

And, having written that all down, already I feel better. I'm sure by lunchtime I'll have forgotten I was even feeling this way. Mudda, fadda, kindly disregard this letter.


* This also doesn't compare to my 18th birthday when I got locked out of our student flat and had to climb in through a downstairs window in the middle of the night. Or my 19th birthday when my mate Steve and I were at a comic convention without a room to stay in so we slept in a multistorey car park. And I see from my diary I spent last year's Big Birthday on my own in a hotel room in Dublin feeling sorry for myself. And 2003's was a bad one too, involving the Sitcom Trials team recording a show on Commonwealth Radio while I was consumed by an uncharacteristically fuming rage. I conclude from this that I get a bit down around the time of my birthday, which coincides regularly with storms, winds, the nights drawing in and the encroachment of winter. And I'm always broke. I see here in my diary from October 2009 I had a corporate job caricaturing in Amsterdam and embarrassingly had to get the client to pay my hotel bill in advance cos my cards were all maxed. Plus ca change.

UPDATE No 1: That cheque made out originally to the wrong name is showing up on my bank statement, which bodes well.
UPDATE No 2: I've ordered a new Firewire cable from Amazon. It costs an exorbitant £1.36 to which I think I can stretch.
UPDATE No 3: I just received a royalty cheque. For £2.50. Hooray for Chalkface (some illustrations I did 10 years ago that bring me in ever-decreasingly royalty cheques every autumn). Mustn't grumble.
UPDATE No 4: Had an unexpected call about a possible project. Though I haven't worked out if I'll make any money from it. it's a creatively exciting though. So suddenly all roses.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Could Doctor Who be dragged into Savile sex scandal?

That's a cynical attention-grabbing headline if ever I heard one. And I hope beyond all hope that the answer is "no". I am sure that is the answer.

And by linking to this clip I'm by no means suggesting anyone involved in it is in any way suspect, apart from Jimmy Savile, obviously.

But it is a worrying time for all lovers of nostalgic television as skeletons continue to be unearthed from the closets of Television Centre. Jimmy Savile was, it transpires, a serial molester of young women, whose crimes were covered up by those around him either through ignorance, or through the sexist culture of the times that failed to take suggestions of such behaviour seriously.

And it has led to this week's Top Of The Pops 1977 repeat being shelved, as it was presented by Savile. Ironically BBC 4 had just started allowing the episodes featuring Gary Glitter to be shown in full. I fear, however, that they might find it hard to continue showing any of the old episodes as, frankly, it's hard to watch any of those bands without finding them looking like wrong uns. The Bay City Rollers, famously, include a sentenced paedophile on the drums, Dave Lee Travis appears to have been an habitual groper, and even Radio 1's most highly respected DJ John Peel is well known for having married his wife when she was fifteen. (More unsavoury details can be found here).

A couple of years ago, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre predicted the effect certain people's pasts could have on pop music

Which bring me to my Doctor Who fears. Reading this excellent but chilling article by former child actor Ben Fellowes, we learn that, allegedly, there are, or were, paedophiles in every conceivable corner of the entertainment business. He tells of a paedophile ring in the advertising industry, being pursued by a naked leading man in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane while he was 13 years old (an offence covered up by the director), being propositioned by a leading actor on Eastenders and hounded by him throughout his run on the show, and being manhandled by politicians (who he names) while being used in "sting" operations by ITV's The Cook Report while still only 15.

Add to this the details about cocaine being delivered by BBC couriers to BBC rehearsal rooms and this one person's account alone starts painting a picture of life behind the scenes of TV that starts to look seedy in the light of the Savile affair. Here Jane Root describes a culture "of sexist behaviour towards adult women throughout television, not just at the BBC, that was seen as acceptable then and which is, I hope, unimaginable now", while here a female TV producer who has to remain anonymous paints a picture of the sexual harrassment that still exists in the industry.

So how untouched by sleaze could my favourite programme, Doctor Who, be? When you Google "Doctor Who Scandal" you get the devastating revelation that contestants in The Million Pound Drop were asked a trick question about who's played The Doctor for longest. So far the worst anyone has had to say of Doctor Who is that Tom Baker used to turn up for work drunk, and new companion Jenna Louise-Coleman has been falsely named in a hoax sex-tape story. But let us not forget one of the series low points was when Jim Fixed It for a young viewer to meet The Sontarans.

My fear is that Doctor Who's 50th anniversary in 2013, which should be a celebration of television from the sixties to the present, full of classic archive material and nostalgic reminiscences, will go the way of Top Of The Pops 1977, scuppered by just one revelation about a leading actor turning out to have had a distasteful guilty secret. Let us keep our fingers crossed this doesn't happen.

UPDATE 14:12 15/10/12: I just tried to raise this concern on the Doctor Who forum Gallifrey Base and the thread got removed in under half an hour. I don't think it was the right place to ask.

References to Jimmy Savile were also banned from this week's Mock The Week, News Quiz & Russell Howard's Good News.

And here's a hilarious collection of Savile conspiracy theories from the David Icke website. Energy Vampires anyone?

Socks 2013 Calendar now available

Great news, Socks fans, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's official 2013 calendar is now available from Lulu. Check it out...

Click on the picture and you will be able to preview all 13 images in the new calendar and, if you so inclined, order a copy. It is, needless to say, the ideal Christmas present, and best ordered sooner rather than later.

This year's theme is science fiction, and this beautifully printed calendar features illustrations by Kev F out of The Beano showing The Socks in a series of familiar sci fi movie poses including Star Wars, Robocop, The Matrix, Blade Runner, 2001, Planet Of The Apes, The Fly, Alien, The Terminator, Back To The Future, A Clockwork Orange, and two more which I can't remember off the top of my head. Oh yeah, Attack Of the 50 Foot Woman, that's another one.

The all-singing all-dancing promo video. Click & enjoy

This unique celebration of the Scottish Falsetto Socks will see you through the year 2013, containing as it does every single day - with none missing - and all public holidays lovingly hand-mentioned, and costs just £10.25. Order now, you know it makes sense.

Friday 12 October 2012

Socks take Boo on the road

Courtesy of Jo Clapham, a photo of the Socks live, last night, at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham.

You can always tell I'm getting busy when the blog posts get fewer and further between. The more that's happening, the less time there is to write about it. So it is right now when the Socks have begun their October mini tour of gigs at the same time as Kev F's Comic Art Masterclasses have kicked in for the new term. Above you can see a photo of last night's gig in Birmingham which, taken from the audience, looks remarkably like almost every other photo taken from the audience, like this one and this one and especially this one. This doesn't really capture the variety of the show, but trust me they loved it.

Last week in Denmark were the first two outings of Boo Lingerie outside of Edinburgh, though having to remove all Brit-centric references made those odd shows out (by the way The Killing routine absolutely killed, wish we'd recorded it). Last night in Birmingham, in front of a near sellout audience at the Birmingham Comedy Festival, we performed our first ever 90 minute version of Boo Lingerie and it worked.

The 60 minute Edinburgh show was expanded, with its ending saved until the end of part two, its running gags stretched across the full 90 minutes (with the Prime Minister running gag, which was removed for Denmark, going unprecedentedly well. When you can get a laugh from "The Lovely Bonar Law" you know you've got a sympathetic crowd). Old favourites Earth Song, Word Association and I Change The Key found themselves back in, the latter being a very good opener to part two, while Bucket List found itself squeezed out.

Oh, and it turns out it's too soon for Jimmy Savile jokes. Good job we didn't try including the Songs You Daren't Sing Routine (though I think it might make a comeback sometime).

Tonight we play Bury Met, then next week Preston, Teddington and Manchester. If the shows are as good as last night, you're in for a treat. And if Jimmy Savile gags start to work, who knows what new material might be on the horizon?

See the Gig Guide below for details of this Autumn's tour dates in London, Birmingham, Bury, Teddington, Preston, Manchester and Aberystwyth.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Socks 2013 Calendar - another teaser

That Socks 2013 Sci Fi calendar gets closer still. With just one of the 13 illustrations still to colour, here's a glimpse of one.

They're all sci fi pastiches starring the Socks and, yes, they're all brilliant. The 2013 calendar will be available well in time for Christmas.

Meanwhile if you want a copy of the classic 2012 Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre calendar, it's still available. 12 all new illustrations by Kev F Sutherland, only available in this calendar. Check them out:

Silence of the Lambs, Abbey Road, Gone With The Wind, James Bond, Tubular Bells, Trainspotting, The Kray twins - seriously even we can't believe how good this is and we made it. Available now, only £10.25 from Lulu.

I believe we've said enough.

Love, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

Thursday 4 October 2012

The Killing - new video from the Socks

Brand new from the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, filmed in Copenhagen, The Killing.

We performed this as part of our show last night at Lygten Station in Copenhagen, a fantastic venue in an old railway station and a highly enjoyable gig with a small audience. It went well, particularly the Socks pronounciation of Forbrydelsen. If they're lucky we'll be doing it again tonight in Aarhus.

See the Gig Guide below for details of this Autumn's tour dates in London, Birmingham, Bury, Teddington, Preston, Manchester and Aberystwyth.

Monday 1 October 2012

October in the Scottish Falsetto Socks' calendar

This is how we celebrate October on the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's 2012 calendar, by doing Abbey Road...

You can still buy the calendar with its 12 unique brand new specially drawn cartoons by Kev F formerly of The Beano. It's good for another 3 months and is a collector's item joy to treasure. Click on the image to see more of the calendar and the link to the shop, or if you can't wait, buy it here.

Oddly, this picture appeared as the September image on the printed version of the calendar, as I see staring on me in my office right now, and Silence Of The Lambs is actually the October image. Whatever, they're all in there and they're all lovely. And, by the way, should you want a copy of the 2011 Socks Calendar (the first), it's still available here.

See the Gig Guide below for details of this Autumn's tour dates in London, Birmingham, Bury, Teddington, Preston, Manchester and Aberystwyth. We're also in Denmark next week, if you can make it.

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