Tuesday 11th December 2012
One of the joys of remaining modestly successful is that I usually get invited to the BBC Radio Light Entertainment afternoon Christmas party. Some writers and comedians may fade away, others may go on to careers in film and TV, but if you can negotiate the tricky path to occasionally getting on the radio you're in. And you get to go to a party with the best people. I genuinely feel fortunate to still be eligible to attend. The TV versions of these things are always full of paranoid stars trying to weigh up where they stand in the firmament of twats, but not the radio people. Here it's just fun to meet up with friends old and new and get slightly squiffy with them.
I probably first went to this shindig in 1990 (maybe 1991) and as a wide-eyed 23 year old was slightly blown away at being in the same room as such greats as Nicholas Parsons, The Andrews Sisters, George Melly and too many more to mention. I would always get very drunk very fast and then try and talk to some of my heroes (for many years Paul Merton only knew me as the drunk young man who would come up and tell him how ace he was and talk about an obscure 1980s TV stand up appearance) and then try and kiss women.
Today I was a bit ill and didn't think I'd drink too much. I saw Paul in the distance, but didn't harass him and of course the kissing women thing is no longer allowed or likely even if it was. So I stuck to drinking and exceeded my two beer cut off by about five times, before heading to the pub for some whisky.
Nicholas Parsons was there again today (and will probably still be so in another quarter of a century) and now, of course I am one of the more senior figures in attendance. In the last few years I've only had time to pop in or been too busy to go at all (or not invited on the years I haven't been up to much), but today I was free to stay as long as I wished. I chatted with some of the writers that I'd shared the Weekending Writers' Room with in 1990 which was a joy (Julian Dutton from "The Harpoon" and the photocopier advert has scarcely changed a bit) and got to meet David Nobbs, one of my all time writing heroes, who was gently complaining that he was being told to rewrite the middle of one of his scripts (if it can happen to him then it happens to us all). Peter Baynham tweeted from Hollywood to say how envious he was of me being here. And he was right to be envious. Yeah, he might be writing for Blockbuster movies and mixing with A-list superstars, but did he get to drink warm lager in the BBC Radio Theatre at 3pm with Ben Moor and Ged Parsons? I wouldn't have swapped places with him (though I wished he had been there too). Sometimes you don't realise how lucky you are that things didn't turn out as you hoped. Being famous and successful is all well and good, but you do tend to get surrounded by pricks.
I sloped off at about seven before things got really messy, but then had the fun of doing some Christmas shopping whilst quite pissed. Getting drunk in the daytime is something best avoided for most of the time, but occasionally it's just the most luxurious and best thing you can do. I had to choose some presents for my 4 year old God daughter and her little sister whilst quite drunk. It's a fun and strange juxtaposition to be boozed up in a toy shop. But it makes you realise how weird and hilarious the toys actually are. It's like a strange art exhibit where someone had decided to parody adult life by making tiny and ridiculous plastic replicas of all of our stuff. And satirise them by boiling them down to their bare essentials and making them a funny colour. Never have I seen the ludicrous heart at the whole concept of a Post Office until I saw the tiny pink plastic version available to buy in this store. It mocked the whole nature of posting things and applying for licences and with its clunky plastic coins, the nature of money itself. Why should one mass replicated bit of rubbish have value and another not?
These are the kinds of questions you ask whilst drunk in a toy shop.
This was a good day, though I suspect I will regret getting drunk on top of my cold tomorrow. But fuck it. I still get to go to the BBC Light Ent Party. For now.
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Tickets are now on sale for both my Edinburgh Fringe shows. "We're All Going To Die!" is on at the Pleasance Beyond at 8pm Book here
Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast is at Stand 1 daily at 14.10. Book here
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
A video explaining the idea can be seen here
You can buy tickets to the shows from the Leicester Square Theatre website
You can still download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes
You can subscribe to this blog on Kindle. Now only ï¿½0.99 a month here. Or just carry on reading it on here for free.
Also on your kindle (or any smart phone or tablet with the kindle app) catch up on the early years of Warming Up (with extra retrospective additions) with Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles (only ï¿½3.53 each)
[ Email this edition of Warming Up to a friend ]