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Sunday 11th May 2014


For the next 11 weeks I predict that my blog will be a dry description of what work I have done, interspersed with a burst of exercise. I am really desperate to get on with the play, but first I need to get the last Meaning of Life script and the sitcom episode I am writing out of the way. The latter is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated.

But today with a try-out spot at the Tabard in Chiswick ahead of me I decided to concentrate on the Meaning of Life, managing to cobble together about 20 minutes of material and finding a good potential sketch in an old Objective script. I am fascinated by the way that scientific progress is always depicted as a bad thing in films and books, even though in reality it has been a largely positive experience (you know, until the world ends due to global warming and nuclear weapons). But science and medicine have improved our lives beyond anything our ancestors could have imagined, so it's interesting that we still have such suspicion about it. I had totally forgotten that I had covered this idea in my old radio show and I genuinely had no memory of any of the material I did in that, so it doesn't feel too much like cheating to resurrect some of it like a Frankingstein (as that's what the material is about). I had hoped to make this series all new material, but I do also have to make it as good as it can be given the restraints of time and money and only the most obsessive fan would have heard all of this stuff before. And there will be new stuff too.

And it feels like a shame that some good material has been used up and basically forgotten (definitely by me). If you only like brand new stuff then you can fast forward through the old bits. Show 5 felt like the most successful show partly because there was enough bits that I was confident about to get me through the newer pieces. It's a difficult balance, but it's also an experiment. RHMOL feels a bit like it might be a bridge to more exciting projects in the future. I am pleased with it, but it was always going to be a tough ask and a learning curve. I guess the reason that no one else is doing this is because it seems foolish to spend your own money and use up a good proportion of six months of working time to create something like this. But my gut tells me that it will be worth the effort and expense, even if it is going to be hard to compete with shows with 100 times the budget where the writers have the luxury of being paid to create their stuff.

I hope you might feel that this effort and the end product is worth a pound. Or even a pound a month. And if you get a series pass there's an awful lot of bang for your buck. Make a contribution here. Or just enjoy the shows for free here. And spread the word. They will be popping up, slowly, for the rest of the year. I hope you will stick with the series in spite of its protracted release times. What the team and I are doing is really not easy.

I broke off from the work to go for a swim. The local Virgin gym pool is not the greatest place to be on a Sunday lunchtime. It was crowded and there were loads of kids, but I still carved out 30 minutes of laps. There were just two lanes for adult swimmers and the fast lane was empty so I went in there, knowing I would move down to the slow/medium lane if anyone else showed up. This is what happened and I was annoyed that the woman I was sharing the lane with seemed to be confused about which direction to be swimming in. Until she got out and I looked at the arrows and realised that I had just assumed they were the same as the fast lane ones, but were in fact the other way round. I wouldn't like to read that woman's blog about the jerk who insisted on swimming in the exact opposite direction.

The try-out at the Tabard went very well. And the Frankenstein sketch is a winner, which I think will look great when it is animated. The audience were lively and fun and when I told them that the other sketch I did about God and the Angel Gabriel arguing about how they should keep the things that man was never meant to know a secret would never be heard again, they all went "aaah" as if that was a shame. "Well you should have laughed at it if you wanted it to survive, you idiots," I told them. "You had the power to save it, but you killed it."

Work and exercise. That's your lot.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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