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Monday 30th December 2013


It's not even new year yet, but my main new year's resolution (it's the same every year) to eat less and exercise more is progressing well. I got to the gym and did lots of walking and ended the day with 400 calories in hand. This time I felt a bit hungry (and was annoyingly heavier than I had been two days ago - I know muscle is heavier than fat, blah, blah, blah - even though the challenge is to lose weight, I am not going to obsess about that as the underlying motivation is to be fit), but didn't crack. It's all easy enough when you have time and little to do of course.

I am supposed to be thinking of ideas for Edinburgh - I am thinking of doing a stand-up show and a play next year - but nothing has really come to me yet for either. I might do a non-thematic stand-up show, or at least try to move away from the serious subjects that I have covered recently and just try to do something light and silly (with maybe nothing rude in it either - that would be a challenge), if so I will probably go with the title "Lord of the Dance Settee". It's harder to come up with an idea for a play, as really you need to be hit by something and then decide to write about it. I am still ruminating about my more serious Rasputin project about Felix Yusopov, "I Killed Rasputin" and had some half-hearted thoughts about trying to put my idea about some comedy fans speculating that Steve Martin has been replaced by a double (around the time of LA Story) and then discovering that this is the case. It would really need Steve Martin to be in it and I think he's unlikely to come to the Fringe and it's quite a tough sell as it is ostensibly critical of his more recent work (though in the end it's about the unrealistic expectations that we fans have of our heroes). I like the title of "The Man With Two Brains In The Iron Mask", but ultimately it's probably too niche and complex a project for Edinburgh. I could always try to recreate "Punk's Not Dead" but do it about Monty Python fans heading out to one of the reunion gigs. I certainly like plays that are about a group of friends, set in one place and there would be a certain irony in me revisiting old ground whilst writing about the Pythons doing the same.

Instead I tried to get ahead with my Metro columns, though only managed to do one more, about the young cyclist who nearly ran my wife over on the pavement and that I nearly had a fight with. I think most middle-aged journalists would use this incident as proof that today's youths are out of control, but I wanted to try to use my column to point out that such incidents are incredibly rare and that the prejudice against the young would not be countenanced against any other minority. Although the kid had been in the wrong, the escalation of that incident was totally my fault. I am supposedly the adult and I should have walked away from it all or given the kid some leeway. Maybe there's a play in him making good on his promise to send his dad to fuck me up. My wife thinks Ray Winston should play his dad. Maybe a different actor can play me every night, so that Ray can actually fuck them up for real. I'll put that one on the maybe pile.

We went to the cinema for the second night in a row, this time to see Anchorman 2. I'd heard mixed to bad reports on this, so was delighted to have laughed heartily many times in the first half hour, especially at Steve Carell (not that that makes up for Dan In Real Life). But alas it went on way too long and came right off the tracks at the end, with some pointless and surreal plot developments and an unnecessary attempt at satire of rolling news. The main characters are strong enough without having to jump the shark (a joke that they were perilously close to making themselves but then backed away from) in the second film. There is (mild spoiler alert) a host of big celebrity cameos near the end, but that's the kind of thing required to keep something like Scary Movie 9 afloat. I would happily have watched Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig be  weird for the last 45 minutes if they really couldn't think of anything to do. It definitely felt like the second half of the film was beneltoned. And beneltoned by a 3 year old child (and then what happens is he goes blind and then what happens is he lives in a lighthouse and then what happens is he rescues a shark and then what happens is he sings a song. I will make up the song now. Write it down and make sure this is exactly what he sings. Even if it isn't at all funny. OK?) But I laughed more at the first half than I have at a mainstream comedy film for quite a while. So watch that and then sneak into a different screen to see something else.
Hope they use that quote on the poster.

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