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Thursday 25th January 2007

In the afternoon I headed off to Kentish Town Road to do an interview about Ted Chippington for the BBC2 show, "The Culture Show". Then this evening I was shooting off to Elstree to be a guest on "Big Brother's Little Brother". Quite a contrast. Not sure what that says about me. Media whore? No, no. Versatile commentator on popular culture. Hmmmmm.
Not sure when the Culture Show thing is on, but it was an enjoyable chat with Stewart Lee and Simon Munnery about the influence of Mr Chippington on our own careers. Having watched a few clips and listened to some of the records recently it has become very clear how much we all essentially ripped him off in the early days. We watched a fascinating appearance on Pebble Mill at One, part of which can be viewed on YouTube, where almost forgotten presenter Paul Coia (bizarrely sporting a neck brace) fails to get the joke on every level (though I think maybe he's trying to join in, but just looks rude and arrogant). Though as Stew pointed out when he closes the item by saying "I suppose when you're a cult, you're beyond reproach", he accidentally speaks a great truth. It is probably the only moment of insight in the man's career. Still he married Debbie Greenwood, so it can't all be bad.
You can hear a bit of Ted Chippington's stuff on this website, if, as I suspect is likely, you know nothing about him. The "Are you the front end of an ass?" routine is the thing that I remember laughing at most as a young man when I first heard this record in Steve Cheeke's kitchen back in the mid-eighties (Cheeke interestingly also introduced Munnery to the record, when he met him at Cambridge - if Chippington is the great unsung influence of a generation of comedians, then Cheeke must also be up there somewhere as having played a hand in the development of some quite obscure comedy over the last twenty years. He was in God and Jesus with Munnery)
Listening to the front end of an ass routine again, it sounds like an amazing piece of theatre. I love the way the stupid heckler is trying to get in with his "joke" for ages, but Chippington's dead-pan and unphased response is perfect and has remained with me ever since. I love the way that on the night people probably thought the gig had been a failure and maybe even that heckler felt good about his brilliance, but the recording turns possible disaster into a triumph and makes the heckler look like an idiot who like Coia (very similar in fact) isn't clever enough to get the real joke. I would say that in posterity and down through the ages Chippington wins the contest, except that of course, very few people will ever hear the recording (though the Tedstock gig is all about bringing out a 4 CD collection of his work, so do buy that please). It's performance art of the highest order and Ted was a man who was way ahead of his time.
I realised listening to all this, that my Yoghurt routine still has the heavy influences of Ted, even to the point that it is deliberately crafted to wind up people who don't get it. It was the gigs where I got lambasted by angry idiots that I enjoyed the most.

"Who the fucking Hell are you?"
"I'm Ted Chippington for the third time."

I would say buy tickets for Tedstock, where Ted is rumoured to be performing himself, but they sold out ages ago. I told you about it. Why didn't you listen?

BBLB was OK as well. I didn't get to expound any of my well thought out theories about the series - for example I blame Leo Sayer for the whole racist debacle. If he hadn't broken out of the house, he would have been voted out that night, Carole Malone would still have been in there and I believe she would have kept those girls in line and stepped in to stop the bullying and the inappropriate remarks. So it's Leo that we should be castigating.
I did however manage to say that the older people in the house were acting with dignity, which wasn't something that you usually expected of Big Brother.
I preferred doing the Culture Show. Not sure when that item will be on, but it's fronted by Mr Lee and should be well worth watching, so keep an eye open for it.
Meanwhile today I learned that I shall be continuing my punditry by appearing on the Richard and Judy show next Wednesday to discuss a book as part of their infamous book club. Hope you can tune in. I don't really have time to read the book, so might just try and get away with saying stuff that appears on the jacket and the quotes and hope no-one notices.

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