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Monday 5th February 2007

Tedstock tonight and the first performance from the 90s double act Lee and Herring for almost eight years.
Typically we left it til the last minute to prepare for this. Stew came round to mine in the early afternoon and we tried to remember some old stuff to do and ways we could change and update it.
We watched a bit of the first episode of Fist of Fun to remind ourselves of how we got into the gnat's chuff joke. It was strange to see ourselves from so long ago, looking so young, especially that we had each other for reference to see how we had aged.
We had the idea of taking the piss out of the ubiquitous Mitchell and Webb Apple ads and I had written some new stuff about Stew not wanting to do the reunion and me being desperate to do it in the hope it would revive my failed career. We managed to include this as a general theme, whilst dumping most of what I had come up with. But we had terrific fun struggling to remember old stuff and then thinking of ways to mock ourselves and our audience. At one point Stew was sat laughing on my sofa and it reminded me of the old days when writing was sometimes the most terrific fun. When we came up with the whole "aaah", "Not aaah!" idea I remember tears rolling down our faces. Later on we probably ended up having more disagreements and laughed with each other less and I had sort of forgotten how many brilliant times we had had together. But with a seven year rest and with both of us happy with who we are these days all that silliness was forgotten. Ultimately we were always good friends, but when we had to work so hard and so consistently it was easy to forget about that side of things.
In my lounge it all felt like a great idea, but later when we were on stage and running through it to an empty Bloomsbury Theatre it suddenly seemed self-indulgent and stupid. This is fairly normal for comedy scripts.
We needn't have worried too much. I turned out to be a most amazing evening, possibly the best live comedy show that I have ever been involved with. Stewart had done an amazing job of putting together a bill of old farts doing their embarrassing 80s routines and new young things who had been influenced by Ted Chippington without even knowing it.
I did a tortuous routine based on the "my wife went to the West Indies" gag, that me and my school friends had come up with in a tent in Weymouth in 1983. I had done it as a routine once at University in 1987. I couldn't really remember too much about it, but came up with some stuff this afternoon and it went surprisingly well. Doing it again made me realise quite how much I had been influenced by Chippington in those days - it was entirely ripped off him. It was terrible and embarrassing, but that was kind of the point. The audience got it. I was pretty certain at this point that Stew and me would be OK later.
I watched the second third from the audience and it was marvellous. Phil Jupitus did some of his early poems with a wonderful self-awareness of how badly they had dated, but then did a couple of new poems that were moving and beautiful and funny. Josie Long and Simon Amstell were amazing too.
Simon Munnery was (and is) the best of the night for my money, but frankly everyone was just terrific, mainly because of the wonderful atmosphere created by the event and the audience.
And the Lee and Herring reunion went stupidly well. It would have been a hard one to mess up, but I think we had the right mixture of old favourites, with a new perspective and we slipped back very easily into the old relationship. It was immensely enjoyable and so weird to have the audience chanting along with bits of it - most noticeably with the businessman "in his suit and tie". It's hard to describe and I think you had to be there really, but it was a very satisfying reaction. Even if it was just 500 or so people who remembered us, it was rather lovely that we got to do this again one more time.
Ted Chippington followed us, probably the only person on the evening who didn't do his old material, doing stuff that confused and confounded the crowd, but this was sort of fitting. Then a slightly embarrassing rendition of "Rocking With Rita" which everyone was meant to come on to join in with, though most people didn't. It was a suitably anti-climactic way to end the night.
Ted I think was a little bewildered by the attention, but it was good to be able to acknowledge his influence on what we've done. And it was a true honour to be a part of this amazing line up.
I don't think I have really done any of this justice here, but I think it would take me too long to do so and maybe it is one of those things where the experience was more important than the post-mortem. This is what Chortle had to say.
It was really good. You should have been there.

Anyway, here's the script we wrote, though we adlibbed a good deal and forgot bits
S Hello IÂ’m a mac
R And IÂ’m a pc. Interesting how I dominate both the home and the office.
S Yeah thatÂ’s the funny thing
R What do you mean funny?
S Well, the way I see it you wouldn‘t run your home like an office so why run your office like a home.
R Fuck off. Fuck off.
S What?
R It should have been us.
R ItÂ’s great doing Tedstock Stew. I saw Simon Amstell Stew, backstage, from Never Mind The Buzzcocks. HeÂ’s on the telly Stew, like I used to be. He could get to have sex with any woman he wants.
S Hmmmmm. You are an ignorant man.
R What you mean heÂ’s gay?
S Yes.
R What? Uuuugh.
S ThereÂ’s nothing funny or embarrassing about sex Rich, so thereÂ’s no reason why we shouldnÂ’t be able to discuss peopleÂ’s sexual preferences in a mature and grown up way.
R Nice.
S Ah yes. There is a reason isnÂ’t there. The reason is you.
R I know all about sex Stew, and I saw a bare lady once. It was in a magazine but it still counts.
S A magazine.
R Er no. The internet. It was on the internet.
S YouÂ’re updating this. You are out of date. You are like a PC.
R Fuck off, just fuck off, that should have been me. What went wrong? What went wrong?
S Calm down.
R ItÂ’s weird right, because I havenÂ’t had a serious relationship for about three years now.
S Three years.
R Yes.
S It was three years when you wrote this material.
R Yes.
S How long is it now
R Fifteen years. Fifteen years. It should have been me Stew.
S Strange isnÂ’t it, because take mayflies for example, they only have three hours inbetween hatching anddying in which to find a mate, and yet they always succeed, donÂ’t they right. So if a small unpleasant fly can manage to form a sexual relationship in an 8th of day then youÂ’d think you could have managed it in 39years.
R Yes Stew, but I am more choosy than a fly Stew. I would never try and get off with a fly, for a start. Well, not unless I was really drunk. Alright Stew, youÂ’ve badgered me into it with your questions questions questions, I did once actually get off with a fly at New Year and it was quite good actually because a gnatÂ’s chuff is literally as tight as a gnatÂ’s chuff.
S Yes but thatÂ’s because a gnatÂ’s chuff is literally a gnatÂ’s chuff. What youÂ’ve done there is youÂ’ve misunderstood the art of simile. YouÂ’ve confused being like something with actually being the same as something, with actually being the actual thing.
R Ah yes. I have. HavenÂ’t it. I like all flies Stew, IÂ’m not prejudiced. Mayfliers, dragonflies, butterflies. Mind you, theyÂ’re all butterflies by the time IÂ’ve finished with them. Last Tango In Paris.
S Yeah thatÂ’s the funny thing
R What do you mean funny?
S Well, the way I see it you wouldn‘t run your home like an office so why run your office like a home.
R Fuck off. Fuck off.
S What?
R It should have been us.
R You know Stew, IÂ’ll tell you something you donÂ’t know. Smoking is a drug. You are a drug addict. Tobacco is a drug. I am anti all drugs Stew, even drugs used in hospitals to help little children. You are a drug addict Stew, you are addicted to drugs etc
S Rich, Rich, Rich. Heroin is a drug.
R It isnÂ’t.
S It is, itÂ’s a drug.
R It isnÂ’t, itÂ’s just a pick me up, gets me going in the morning
S ItÂ’s a dangerous drug
R It isnÂ’t dangerous. If it was dangerous thereÂ’d be a health warning on the packet. ThereÂ’s nothing on the packet.
S Drug.
S Drug
R IsnÂ’t. You smoke drugs, everyone knows that.
S You are addicted to drug of heroin.
R Im not
S If youÂ’re not addicted have you ever tried to give up.
R No. It makes me go all shakey, and unwell, so itÂ’s a health tonic, keeps me healthy.
S How do you afford it? You havenÂ’t really worked since the late 90Â’s.
R Well, I have ways.
S Ways?
R Yeah, if I go to KingÂ’s Cross there are businessmen who pay me to have sex with them. So itÂ’s a win win situation. I get to have sex, and be beaten and stuff, like I deserve, and then I get money for the heroin.
S You spend all the money on heroin?
R Not all of it, I have to spend the rest on a string of flies and gnatsÂ… BLAH BLAH
S You are sickÂ…. Sick sick
R Who is the real sick man? ETC ETC.
S ItÂ’s you.
R Yes.
S I feel terrible. I want to help you.
R You want to help me do you.
S Yes, I want to help you.
R What do you want?
S I said I want to help you.
R Are you sure thatÂ’s what you want
S Yes, that is what I want.
R No it isnÂ’t. You know what you want?
S No, what?
R What you wantÂ…
S What
R You want the moon on a stickÂ…
S Yeah thatÂ’s the funny thing
R What do you mean funny?
S Well, the way I see it you wouldn‘t run your home like an office so why run your office like a home.
R Fuck off. Fuck off.
S What?
R It should have been us.

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