Tuesday 1st January 2013
Two thousand and thirteen (or should it be twenty-thirteen?). I never thought I'd live this long. Not because of the Mayan curse, only an idiot would believe in that, but because Nostradamus predicted the end of the world would come in September 1999. As a kid I had assumed that I would be dead by the time I was 32, so to still be rolling onwards at 45 in a year that should never have been seems impossible. What were you thinking Nostradamus? I'm glad you never won that barbecue.
We're off on holiday tomorrow so most of the day was spent making preparations for that. I can't remember looking forward to a break as much as I am looking forward to this one. I am going to get in a fucking hammock and not move for a fortnight. Of course annoyingly when you're a writer, it's the time when you're doing nothing except read when you have most of your ideas. There's no escape from my brain until Total Recall becomes a wonderful reality. I am going straight to Mars to meet the three-breasted woman then. And to trick people with a hologram projection of myself (though on one occasion it will actually be the real me).
I did get a bit of time to read one of my Christmas books The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. It's about the scientific revolution in the late eighteenth century, so far mainly astronomical and ballooning. A couple of people I have written jokes about have made an appearance: William Cowper - who discovered the bulbourethral gland in male genitalia, which was then named after him (I rename it William Cowper's Only Achievement in the Talking Cock book, although apparently he was also a poet)- and William Herschel who discovered Uranus. I wrote a sketch for That Was Then This Is Now (and actually for Richard Herring is All Man before that) about the naming of that planet (although the pay-off referenced that fact that he didn't give the body that name, instead choosing to name it after George III). I didn't know too much about Herschel but his story is a good one. He was an amateur astrologer who made his own telescopes and who originally was a bit of a joke amongst the snooty scientific community. Admittedly he did claim that he had seen forests on the moon, so they might have had a point, but then he was the first person to discover a new planet for 1000 years, so suck on that the establishment.
What a time of adventure and danger it was though, with people sailing to Tahiti and enjoying the different morals of the native people (and then mainly dying of cholera on the way home) or experimenting with balloon flight with no real idea of how to control the unpredictable new invention and occasionally dying, but much less often than you'd imagine. Again scientists were generally quite snooty about the showmen who took their lives in their hands to escape the earth's bounds and even today it seems we give more credit to the Wright brothers for discovering flight, but these were actually the first men to defeat gravity and fly amonsgst the clouds.
Anyway, I heartily recommend the book. I am looking forward to finishing it, lying in a hammock and drinking beer. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
The Radio 4 Great Lives about Rasputin (a bit more seriously examined than in my sitcom) was broadcast today is now up on iPlayer. I haven't heard it yet, but it was fun to do so I hope you enjoy it.
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
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