I am not quite sure how but I made good progress on the Rasputin script today. The reason I am surprised (apart from having been failing to get much done for the last two months - the initial and unrealistic deadline was the end of August) is that I was on Twitter an awful lot encouraging people to #putashrekinit.
It began with someone asking how the film The Seven Samurai could be improved (after I had been briefly discussing the Shreks of Westminster Bridge) and I suggested it should be called "The Seven Samurai and One Shrek". @solearthur then suggested a film called "Four Weddings and a Shrek" but I said that it'd be better if it was called "Four Weddings and a Shrek funeral". It didn't take long for others to get involved and this was a pretty easy internet game to play, being as it just involved putting the words "a shrek" into a film title (or indeed any work of art in any medium - all can be improved by a shrek). The only thing I had to explain was that whilst Shrek is a shrek, a shrek is not necessarily Shrek (and should never be in these films) and that we weren't looking for the usual Twitter tag-game puns here (Star Shrek: InsurrShrektion or the Usual Suspshreks) and that it was important that the title always had "a shrek" in it, not just shrek.
Quickly titles were flooding in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, A Shrek", "Rita, Sue and Bob Too and a Shrek As Well", "No Country For Old Men or a Shrek", "Kramer vs Kramer vs a Shrek" or "Kramer vs Kramer and a Shrek", "The Englishman who went up a Hill and came down a Shrek", "Frost/Nixon/a Shrek". It was stupid and mainly facile, but it had me crying with laughter as I ate my lunch in Eat. It quickly became quite unfunny as the suggestions poured in, though I suspected it would become funny again after about four more hours. More amazingly #putashrekinit was the top trend in the UK, something I have not experienced since the heady days of #whoisvirgilioanderson?
Some were slightly cleverer than just putting a Shrek in it such as "What's Eating Gilbert Grape? A Shrek" where the fun was that the film title ruined any of the mystery of the question and also of course that film would be great if Gilbert Grape was being eaten by a Shrek. Much of the humour, I suppose, came from imagining how any film would be affected by the addition of a Shrek. People started putting a shrek in film posters and works of art -I don't want to be accused of being Shrekist by saying all Shreks look the same, but I suspect that they always put Shrek in to the posters rather than a shrek.
I was enjoying the titles that became cumbersome like "Withnail and I (I am a Shrek)" or "Bend it Like Beckham and Bend it like a Shrek as well", "A Man For All Seasons and a shrek for summer and winter, but definitely not for autumn," "Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces, One Of Which Is A Shrek," "One Flew Over a Cuckoo's Nest Which Contained a Mentally Ill Shrek", "It's a Wonderful Life Since A Shrek Turned Up and Stopped Me Jumping In A River", "I Know what you did last summer and I am also pretty sure about what a Shrek did in September".
What was also amusing were the people who had spotted the #putashrekinit and were confused as to what was going on, or saying it should be Shrek not "a shrek" grammatically or wondering who Ash Rek was. My favourite was a man who blamed this pathetic meme on it being half-term holiday. If only he could have seen the 45 year old man with tear-stained cheeks who was supposed to be working on his script sitting in a cafe.
And of course in all the excitement I did put a shrek into my script.
The game did not trend worldwide (which I think Virgilio Anderson managed in those days when less people were on Twitter) but gradually it fizzled out. Then later I said it was glad it was over and from now on I was going to put a Tim from the Office in it, which in this game was to re-write lines as if a character was played by Tim from the Office. Elementary my dear Tim from the Office and so on. Usually followed by Tim from the Office looking into the camera confused. This got taken up by quite a few people, but I won't bore you with details and give you the fun of making up a few yourself.
I will concentrate on completing the script tomorrow and not instigate any more games.
In more Richard Herring doppleganger news someone said they had seen me in Richmond in a suit and that I was surprisingly tiny, but adorable. But I was in Shepherd's Bush, wearing jean, probably surprisingly tiny. The "Richard Herring" was asked by a passerby who shook his hand if he was me and apparently he said that he was. Be wary out there folks. The evil Richard Herring or Herrings are hoodwinking you and any crimes they commit are nothing to do with me. If it hadn't been for all the Shreks (the a shreks?) distracting me I would have found that quite disconcerting.
By the way, there's been a bit of a redesign at the Metro and my columns will be in the Friday edition from now on. There's a fun one about Guy Fawkes to look forward to.