Tuesday 31 October 2023

Quizzer & Chips & other stories - October's musings

Oct 1: Not to blow our own trumpet , but my team only went and won the @jenny_from_the_quiz pub quiz last night at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival
We were Helen Quigley, Andrew Sewell, John Freeman and me - Quizzer and Chips


Oct 5: Richard The Third - the Shakespeare graphic novel for fans of Dogman and Bunny vs Monkey - is available to order on Amazon now!

Oct 7: Loved: last night’s episode 1 of Ghosts final series
Hate: that the whole series has been dumped, as one, on iPlayer. This means the whole “party watch” once-a-week, must-see rendezvous nature of the show has been lost. The “water cooler discussing the recent episode” experience has been destroyed. The once a week podcast has been rendered futile.
And we have to, either, avoid spoilers for six weeks or gobble the whole series down like a toddler who finds the Christmas chocolates, with the inevitable disappointment this will bring.
Meanwhile Disney are releasing Loki, Only Murders, and The Bear as weekly episodes, because they know the value of audience-building, extending awareness, and viewer experience for broad-appeal shows.
I notice they haven’t dumped the whole series of Have I Got News For You though. Someone must know where the bodies are buried. (Or how time works).


Oct 6: Gosh Loki 2.1 was a bit poor wasn’t it?
What happened to the magic of the first series? That was all maguffin and no drama.
Pretty pictures though, I’ll give it that


Oct 9 (re article about the Frasier reboot):

“…there were three networks and 30 great comedy writers. Now we have 500 networks and 30 great comedy writers.”
Nice James Burrows interview, with good points on future of sitcom. The “theatre with a camera pointing at it” he has excelled in, with a live studio audience, now seems such a legacy product.
Emerged in the 50s, flourished in the 70s, had a second golden age in the 90s, but now seems a slightly odd thing.
Frasier ended just as The Office started, along with shows like Parks & Rec, and Malcolm In The Middle. What was once called Comedy Drama, because it had no laugh track, gradually became the new norm for sitcom. Now, with leading examples from Ghosts to Superstore, Brooklyn 99 to What We Do In The Shadows, who would ever bring a live audience back into the studio?

Oct 11 (Labour Party Conference):

Not saying it was a feeble protest, but Motsi has more dust blowing behind her every week on Strictly
Still, nice to see they’re keeping Ed Miliband busy


Oct 18: I'm not sure if this is good or not, but I'm choosing to believe it is. Richard The Third is currently #149 in Comic Book Adaptations of Classics for Children on Amazon
Well, I was impressed.

(Update: It rose as high as 40 at one point)


Oct 19: A Haunting In Venice fares poorly at box office

I know I keep sharing these "box office disaster" stories. Can we just conclude that, before 2020, lots of people went to the cinema, and that, since 2020 (for reasons no-one can explain), a lot fewer people are going to the cinema?
It's not the films' fault (though, obviously, it draws attention to films that are over-expensive to make, and ones that maybe were never all that good in the first place), it's just the way things are now.
So the bigger question is what do we do next? Do we champion lower budget movies, and use this as an incentive to emphasise new writing and novel ways of film making (like happened in the early 70s)? Do we relish our heyday of small-screen viewing (as also happened in the mid 70s)? Or do we re-invent the blockbuster again (like in the late 70s) and then invent some new technology that looks like it'll kill cinema for good but accidentally ends up reviving it (like we did at the end of the 70s with VHS)?
My prediction: More expensive streaming. I am so shortsighted I can't see another solution in the short term. Who can see something better?

 On my tour of schools in the North, up to and down from the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, I’ve been sending Hev photos of my occasionally subterranean hotel rooms, if only to stop her being jealous of my exotic travels.

The wide angle lens may not do justice to just how bijou some of these rooms are.


Oct 20: Steph's Packed Lunch cancelled

So, whither Steph McGovern now?
Once upon a time, if you defected from the BBC there was no coming back. Who remembers the fate of The Goodies, Morecambe and Wise, and poor old Simon Dee? But that was a long time ago.
So, who can we think of who’s left a lofty position at the Beeb, gone to ITV, Sky or whoever, but has then returned to the fold?
Or, in these days of monetisable podcasts and YouTube channels, does it not matter any more and she’s better off out in the wilderness?


Oct 24: Currently watching Poltergeist. It is so very obviously, and characteristically, a Spielberg movie, it’s hard to imagine how anyone has ever thought anything else.

Watched the excellent The Fabelmans last night. And realised, from the big movie tip the kid gets, that I learned everything I know from watching Spielberg films:
"When the horizon is at the top, it's interesting. When it's on the bottom, it's interesting. When it's in the middle, it's boring as shit!"


Oct 24: Blimey, isn’t Boiling Point good?
It’s the most dramatic drama of all the shows we’re watching at the mo. The actors are so real and the emotions so gripping. It’s reminding me that I’m watching a lot of stuff that’s a lot more superficial , showy. And I guess quite a lot is a bit American, in an insincere way.
It’s got a lot in common with The Bear, though I’ve got to say I find that a bit shouty and macho in comparison.

This, Loki, is now officially the worst written TV show we’re currently watching
A little research tells me it’s because season 2 has a new showrunner, who wrote 1 ep of the excellent season one, but has proved to be America’s own Chibnall.
The good news is that the excellent season 1’s showrunner is now writing for… Doctor Who!
Doctor Who 1 - Loki 0
Update: My mistake. Michael Waldron was the showrunner of Loki 1, who has been replaced by the less good Eric Martin. Sadly Waldron isn't moving to Doctor Who. He's writing the next Avengers movie.
Update: I’m being unfair to Chris Chibnall who, for all his problems with exposition and his inability to resolve a plot, devotes a lot of time to developing characters, and he writes a lot of humour that he doesn’t get enough credit for. I’ll say it now, Chris Chibnall is a better writer and showrunner than Eric Martin.

Oct 28: Congratulations to Heather Tweed for her brilliant talk at the Music Hall Society Conference today. Superstar.


Oct 29: Very sad news about the death of Matthew Perry. If only Friends was being rerun somewhere, anywhere.
Could that be any more inappropriate?


Oct 30: Re article on Friends and death of Matthew Perry

“It’s hard not to mourn, along with the actor, the spirit of the 90s, with its relentless optimism and comically low stakes”
Really? Am I the only person who’s nostalgic, not for some Spirit of the Age, but for my own personal experiences and being younger?
For me the 90s was the biggest mixed bag of highs and lows (I started the decade working professionally in comics for the first time, and a few years later had had the business collapse around me and spent a while selling double glazing. NB Things improved later.)
I don’t remember “comically low stakes”, I remember thinking I’d have to declare myself bankrupt at one time. I don’t remember “relentless optimism”, I remember working for Marvel when they actually did file for bankruptcy and I ended up out of work again.
Could this article *be* any less about me. So, how you doing?
(Friends catchphrases. I’m doing Friends catchphrases.)


Oct 31: Thanks to the fabulous punters of Canterbury Festival last night for giving us a brilliant sellout show (sounded like a sellout to us). Eurovision with extra added Halloween, great fun.

My Books and where to get them:

Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy 
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Richard The Third Amazon - Etsy

Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy 
The Book Of Esther - Lulu  - Amazon 
Captain Clevedon - Amazon

Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon  

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