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Thursday 7th November 2013

Warming Up #4001 (ah no one cares about that now). A bloke winning 4000 horse races gets into the news. But a bloke doing 4000 blogs doesn't?!! I didn't even have a horse doing all the actual work. Although I sometimes did sit on my high horse, knitting yoghurt. But surely the horses are the ones that should be in the news if anyone is.

And let's take a moment to remember the victims of 7/11. Oh hold on that happened in America. It was the 11th July. As you were.

A full and interesting evening which began with me going to Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue for a signing of a Doctor Who based book that I contributed to called Behind The Sofa (all the profits go to Alzheimer's Research so it's a double good buy). Some of the other people who had added memories of either watching or appearing in Doctor Who were alongside me, including Al Murray, Rufus Hound, Sophie Aldrich, Sophia Myles, Steve Berry (who put the whole thing together) and (excitingly for me) Katy Manning. Katy played assistant Jo Grant, alongside Jon Pertwee in the series and she is the first assistant and I really remember and possibly my first ever romantic crush. Luckily I was at the other end of a long table from her so there was no danger of me embarrassing myself or making a mess. Even after forty years the ripples of first love still flow. I was sat next to Sophia Myles who was in the eponymous star of "The Girl in the Fireplace" episode with David Tennant. The super-fans of this series are an unusual breed, though I admire their unselfconscious love of the show (as I pointed out the last time I did one of these events) and I certainly identify with them. Sophia said that they are mostly too scared to say anything to her, but then I suspect most of them aren't that used to talking to any woman, let alone one of the stars of their favourite show. Having witnessed my own tongue-tied embarrassment on meeting Jo (I mean Katy) I told Sophia that in forty years time she'd no doubt still have awkward middle-aged men lumbering up to her and failing to communicate the confused feelings in their stomachs. She didn't look thrilled at the prospect.

Rufus was, as usual, a bundle of comedic energy, drinking rum, cracking jokes and giving all the people we were signing for a good deal of his time. I had been thinking about him earlier as I prepared for my other gig, which was at an event organised by Twitter (I don't think especially to coincide with their stock market launch). I had been worried about it as it was in a night club and in the middle of what was essentially a party and there was a good chance people wouldn't be up for stand up from an obscure comedian. I also had to do 15 minutes of material about social networking, so had to write a special set. Rufus would have found such a gig effortlessly easy, I had been thinking, launching into it with puppyish enthusiasm, whereas I was worried that I might not be to everyone's tastes. But it was not just an unusual location, but I was part of an eclectic line-up, having to follow advertising guru Trevor Beattie and spin doctor Alistair Campbell. An already surreal evening was getting more strange. I thought the chances of a room full of cocktail drinking Twitter staff and advertising people were unlikely to shut up and listen to 45 minutes of speeches. But it was actually really interesting and the audience was polite and attentive. Weirdly enough Campbell reference the Stephen Fry interview withouth realising that it was me who had given it. He was a much nicer guy than he is on the Thick of It.

Aware that I was the least well known of the three I started by saying, "I know what you're thinking - this can't be the real Richard Herring. They can't have actually got him. Well they have... then I held up a big blue tick that I had printed up earlier and said. "Yes it is. I'm verified!" Thankfully it got a laugh (it had taken me about half an hour to print it up due to various printer problems and initially accidentally printing a Twitter bird, rather than a tick). I did have to point out that I am actually not even really verified on Twitter. No one would pretend to be me. Given that I genuinely love Twitter it didn't prove as difficult as it might have been to come up with 15 minutes of material about it and people laughed at most of it. The closest they came to being upset was when I joked about Michael Jackson dangling his baby out of a window, but luckily they were enjoying me pushing the boundaries of taste a little. And I successfully adapted my Steve Bennett from Chortle punning about my death so it was about Twitter uses instead, which I was pleased about. What could have been an horrendous gig turned out to be a good one and with the added bonus of free booze and then later some semi-burlesque entertainment with a very strange, but impressive dance topsy-turvy display from a woman with scary shop mannequin style masks on her face and on the back of her head and then with another double faced mannequin head between her legs. But after all I had seen and the people I had been with nothing seemed unusual any more. It didn't even occur to me that tonight might all have been a dream, even though it had all the elements of being so.

I stayed and hung out with the Twitter nerds, though wondered whether it might have been more fun with the Doctor Who nerds who were drinking across town. It was a lot of fun with the Twitter nerds, but I could only be in one place. I doubt there were any semi-nude women at the Doctor Who party though. Unless Katy Manning had decided to recreate her famous Dalek photo shoot.

And as a treat for subscribers to the RHLSTP video, the astonishing Ross Noble podcast is now up on gofasterstripe for just £3.50. Why not buy the whole series of 8 (with both Simon Pegg and Stephen Merchant still to come) for just £15. The free audio version of the Noble podcast will be up on Tuesday next week (or thereabouts).

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