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dum dum dummmm

Monday 24th August 2009

SO I found the scales, dug 'em out, fired 'em up and I've put three pounds on. (21.2 to 21.5) Not surprised at all and thought it could even have been worse. What with losing the scales and the house move and just generally being insanely busy I had rather taken my eye off the ball recently and in particular the last week or so I have basically been eating motorway rubbish almost exclusively.

Clara wants me to blame Neil Gaiman for plying me with caramelised aubergines, but that seems unfair.  I could have stuck to the sashimi if I'd wanted to.

The good news is, along with the scales I found my little Weight Watchers points calculator, so I can at least go back on the wagon in a methodical way.  My tour begins in a little over a month and it's going to be a lot less arduous if a. I can get a little bit fitter by then and b. I can establish some healthier eating habits before it starts. You CAN do better than motorway rubbish, even when you're on the road all the time; it just requires a bit of organisation and commitment.  If I can get that started now, it'll be easier to maintain then.

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remember me?

Tuesday 18th August 2009

Sorry it's been so long - been moving house AND having the busiest time work-wise I've had in a while.

I'm ALSO sorry I haven't blogged my weight for a couple of weeks - and thanks to those of you who got on my case about this, as requested - but my scales have gone missing in the move. They're here somewhere, in some box or other (our new house, while brilliant, does still rather look like a cross between the home of one of those poor sods with OCD who can never throw anything out and that place at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark) and as soon as they turn up I'll get back on the case.


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Saturday 1st August 2009

It's been an odd week in one respect; I hardly ever get On The Telly but this week I was asked to do two small telly appearances at very short notice.  On Tuesday, The One Show asked if I could present another short bit (very short, as it turned out) which I did, and which you can see here until next Thursday (my bit starts at about 9m 25s); then today (well, Friday, so technically  yesterday now) I was pottering around Richmond with Greta in tow, buying a new tax disc for the Multipla, when Channel 4 News phooned out of the blue and asked if I could do a short interview (very short, as it turned out) on the topic of Twitter, specifically these two embarrassing Twit-gaffes by sports stars. I agreed, which involved hauling poor Clara out to Richmond to pick Greta up so I wouldn't have to bring her all the way back to Ham before going into town to do the interview. It's no wonder Clara was so flustered by the time she got home that she managed to lock the Smart Car's key inside its own boot.  The good news is, turns out, Smart Cars? VERY difficult to break into. The AA guy managed it eventually though.

It's all quite propitious, though; I'm being considered for a semi-regular TV job for the autumn (about which etc. etc.; sorry to be so tiresomely engimatic but I fear blurting this one actually would compromise my chances of landing it) so it's good to get a bit more presenting showreel, and it's just good to get on the telly a bit more by whatever means.

The thing is, I'm not in any way obsessed with Being On The Telly, not in the way people in my line of work are supposed to be - it would just be nice to Be On The Telly more if only so I could tour bigger venues.  That's my fondest wish right now; to be able to generate enough money in a three or four month tour each year to be able to make that the bulk of my live work, and spend the rest of the year writing, fannying about on the radio and looking after the kids, instead of hauling my weary ass up and down the bloody country on a more or less nightly basis. There's also the fact that I've reached the slightly awkward stage in my "live" career where my continued presence on the comedy club circuit is now rather hampering the development of my actual tours - it's harder to convince people to shell out £12 or whatever for two hours of me, when they know that a couple of months later they'll get my best 20 minutes (and three other comics' best 20 minuteses) for a tenner...

In much the same way that rock bands used to tour to promote their records but now put out records as an excuse to tour, comedians, who once worked the live circuit to get on TV, now try to get on TV in order to coin it in playing big live venues.

That's the only reason a bit more TV work would come in handy right now; the more you're seen on TV, the more comfortable those who produce TV are putting you on TV. It's cyclical, and it works both ways - while it's much easier to get on TV when you're on TV, it's a bugger getting on TV when you're not on TV. Only those people who are "on TV" are allowed on TV, if you see what I mean.  It lacks a certain logic and is basically a classic Catch 22 conundrum but that does seem to be how it goes.

The OTHER aspects of being on TV I can take or leave, and to be honest a couple of them fill me with dread -  right now I get recognised in the street just often enough to keep the old ego happy without being inconvenienced in any major way. I've been out and about with Properly Famous People Off The Telly and it looks to be a bit of a nightmare, being clocked by someone every few seconds, and having to make polite-but-firmly-distant conversation with a total stranger every couple of minutes (and knowing that if your patience fails you and you tell them to f--k off and leave you alone, you'll be pilloried for it in the News Of The World on Sunday morning).

Anyway, the Channel 4 bit is embeddable, unlike the BBC clip, so here it is:


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I'm back

Monday 27th July 2009

... and I have some explaining to do


First of all, sorry for the prolonged silence; secondly; sorry I never posted my weight last week, thirdly, thanks to those many of you who have been badgering me about this, fourthly, no I don't really have a specific excuse, i just got so damn snowed under that it felt like it made more sense to hang on till this week anyway.

As it happens I did actually weigh myself last Monday; I'd gone up a pound or so to 21 3 but weighing myself again today I find I've gone back down to 21 2, so hooray, a bit, I suppose.

This last week has been a bit nuts; The History Of The World Through Twitter is now all written and finished, and the layout is being done as I type (I await a PDF for my approval). We also concluded our house purchase last week; our rental agreement on the house we're IN runs for another couple of weeks so the move itself will be incremental.  I've also been approached to do a semi-regular TV thing in the autumn; firming THAT deal up has required me to do a bit more work which I'm actually still in the middle of, so better go do it. 

Thanks again for the badgering, as a reward here are a couple of things which have made my week a bit more exciting; those of you who share my love of 60s cult TV may find this to be both intriguing and reassuring:

...while those of you with a thing for 80s sci-fi should get a bit of a buzz out of this:

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Wednesday 15th July 2009

... but it's not all bad

A few of you have emailed me and now my Mum has texted to point out that I don't appear to have done the weighing thing AT ALL this week, and you're not entirely mistaken - I did indeed clean forget to weigh myself on Monday, decide to do it on Tuesday instead, then clean forget on Tuesday again, then remembered to weigh myself this morning but forget to post it.  I really shouldn't be posting it even now - I'm having a momentary brain-break from my many and pressing writing commitments to post this now.  This is what counts as time off at the moment. Sigh.

Thing is, you see, it's Wednesday night, so it's stay-up-all-bloody-night-writing-my-Now-Show-songs night, except this week it CAN'T be stay-up-all-bloody-night-writing-my-Now-Show-songs night because this week we're recording the show at the Latitude festival, to where I and the clan will be hauling collective ass tomorrow. 

Having only just performed such an evacuation procedure for Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago I realise just how long it takes with the kiddies in tow - we'd intended to be on the road by noon; as it was we didn't get out of the house until about 4pm.  Such shenanigans are absolutely NOT an option this time as I have to BE there by 4pm in order to do the whole Now Show read-through and rehearsal thing ahead of the recording at 7 o'clock. 

So I'm having to make DAMN sure I get my songs written by some sort of vaguely civilised hour this time, and moreover I should also do another couple of bits for my OTHER ongoing writing project, specifically the book I'm writing with Jon Holmes, which seeing as it now has an Amazon listing I might as well "announce" properly (big breath)...

Ladies & Gentlemen, introducing The History Of The World Through Twitter, which does pretty much what it says on the tin - historical events recounted in tweet-form, as if Twitter had existed since the dawn of time and all major historical characters had had their iPhones and BlackBerries on the go at all times, narrating what they saw and did. 

Now you may be wondering, Hang on, it's out in October, it's listed on Amazon, it already has a COVER design, and... he's still writing it..?

Well, yeah. Such is occasionally the way in publishing, especially when, completely out of the blue, you suddenly have a BLINDING idea for a book which HAS to come out in time for THIS Christmas or it's probably not worth bothering with, and it's already the end of May.

I don't know if the Twitterers among you remember how, over the last Easter weekend, various Tweeps including Jon & myself, started tweeting "in character" as figures from the Easter story, as if it were in fact THAT Easter? Things like (on Friday morning):

jiscariot01 Well I'm thirty quid up but I feel rubbish

and then on Saturday:

JESUS Stuck in here till Monday; got nothing to play with but me shroud and this magic marker

... well, a few weeks later, I was reflecting on how funny that had been, and how the idea could be turned to pretty much any historical incident, and how you could indeed relate The History Of The World Through Twitter and OH MY GOD THAT'S THE BEST IDEA FOR A BOOK EVER BUT IT HAS TO COME OUT BY CHRISTMAS AND IT'S ALREADY THE END OF MAY...

You see, I knew by the fact that The Now Show book's copy deadline was in June that any book aimed at the Christmas market had to be ready to go by the summer, so while the book HAD to come out this year (Twitter's not going anywhere, but it won't be the object of such intense global fascination for much longer), I'd probably had the idea literally three or four weeks too late.

This was certainly the opinion of the first bunch of publishers we approached (I'd brought Jon in immediately as the idea was kind of inspired by stuff he was doing on Twitter, and also because whatever happened I wasn't going to have time to write it alone).  Coincidentally, while this was going on, Carlton Books approached ME à propos of something else entirely, whereupon I seized this non-opportunity and pitched the Twitter book idea at them, and to my astonishment, they went for it, so it's coming out on their "Prion" label.

Carlton initially gave us a deadline of mid-July (now, basically) which they eventually extended to the 27th. Given that we're going to be moving house around then (deposit went down yesterday) I may not take full advantage of that.  If it seems a bit premature to be doing covers and Amazon listings while it's still not 100% finished (it's about 75%), that was deemed necessary to get a toe-hold in that vital Christmas market.  And it's the kind of pressure I respond to, as many of you will know.

So what with this, and this and this, I've gone from never having had a word in print to having three books coming out this autumn which I've either contributed to or co-written.  Odd the way these things happen.

Of course, in the meantime, I've got the new album to do, there's talk of a possible semi-regular TV gig in the autumn if we can work it around the tour (details as & when appropriate) and I've STILL got the Now Show to write. Which reminds me.


Oh yeah. 21 2 again. Need to get some exercise. My right foot's playing up; was in to the podiatrist yesterday and he's PRESCRIBED me some exercises which I AM DOING. In my boundless free time...


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oh yeah

Tuesday 7th July 2009

DIDN'T forget to weigh myself - well I sort of did, but not quite... I remembered Monday was weigh day but I had no idea yesterday was Monday until I'd already been up for half an hour. It's been that sort of week.

As such I'd already had breakfast by the time I weighed in - usually I weigh myself before breakfast - so I'm taking the fact that I'm still 21 2 as a good sign.

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Monday 6th July 2009

i actually got a few things FINISHED today. I've got so many ongoing projects, erm, ongoing, that getting even a bunch of minor projects (specifically re-workings of two existing songs and one whole new one, all intended for the new album) done n' dusted is a remarkably good feeling.

Oh, and this entry is date-stamped Monday 6th but as far as I'm concerned it's late night on Sunday 5th, so no weight yet. I haven't forgotten. Yet.


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cyprus - an apology (of sorts)

Friday 3rd July 2009

I don't know if any of you are either in Cyprus right now, or on your way there, and expecting to see me at the Celebrity Hotel gig on Saturday; if this is the case, I'm sorry, but I won't be there.  Sorry about that.  Long and complicated reasons-why-not which I won't bore you with right now.

Meanwhile my involvement with the Latitude festival in a couple of weeks has just gone up a notch or two; I had been intending to go and record The Now Show on the Thursday and then come home, but I'm now staying for the weekend.  I'll be turning up in Marcus's Early Edition thing Friday and Sunday lunchtimes, and also doing some sort of filming for the BBC during Friday daytime.  Think we may need crowd/supporting players for this so if you're about, keep an eye out for me.

As you may have noticed on the news page,  The Atheists' Guide To Christmas is now available to pre-order from Amazon.  It's a collection of essays and articles by 42 non-religious authors on the subject of Christmas, and includes contributions from the likes of Dawkins, Charlie Brooker, Ben Goldacre, Richard Herring and, oddly enough, me. All proceeds to the Terrence Higgins Trust.

My non-appearance in Cyprus has sort of freed me up a bit for the weekend; this is good, as while I've finished my contributions to both the aforementioned Atheist Christmas book and also The Now Show Book (more details as & when) I'm also co-writing a book with Jon Holmes which I'll announce properly with a bit of fanfare next week, I think...

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Thursday 2nd July 2009

I've been running around all week since we got back from Glasto - good one, by the way and entirely through luck rather than judgement we managed to miss ALL the crappy weather, and I've now seen Bruce Springsteen, Tom Jones and Spinal Tap live, all of whom were on my to-see list - and I've completely forgotten to post my weight.  I think it might be because I'd already written Monday off as a weigh-day since the original plan was to come back from Glasto on Monday afternoon (in the event we snuck off late Sunday night, the better to allow the girls to sleep all the way home); I did actually weigh myself Monday morning but then rushed off to do things and didn't blog it.

After all that, it's a bit of an anti-climax to announce that I'm still 21 2.  Didn't exercise much discipline at Glasto but did exercise everything else - LOTS of walking about.


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michael jackson

Friday 26th June 2009

It's a couple of hours now since the news broke - or rather gradually fractured - about the death of Michael Jackson.  While unexpected, it's not exactly a complete shock, and I've found myself wondering why I'm not feeling sadder than I am.  Just a few minutes ago Clara figured it out - she'd been feeling the same way, and it dawned on her that the reason Jackson's actual death hasn't made us feel especially sad is that we were ALREADY pretty gutted about Michael Jackson -and what had become of him - while he was still alive...

The sense of loss at seeing the reams of footage currently being broadcast across the news channels of Jackson at his astonishing best back in the early to mid 80s is no more acute than the sense of loss I've been experiencing for years now, whenever that poor frightened skeletal creature that was all that remained of him was hauled out blinking into the glare of the public gaze.  The Michael Jackson who thrilled and amazed the world has, let's face it, been gone for a long time.  I'm not sure I can miss him anymore now than I already did.

It's all very sad. RIP.

On a (I hope) lighter note, I'm off to Glastonbury now, whence blogging may be problematic.  Back on Monday.  Meanwhile I can still tweet from my phone, so the Tweeps among you may keep tabs on me that way.  Those of you going to Glasto, or already there, I'm on the Cabaret Stage at 7.30pm Saturday and 9.30pm Sunday.  Wonder how many maudlin Michael Jackson covers I'm going to hear over the weekend...

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