planet of the vin diesel box-sets

As is the custom nowadays, didn't see Doctor Who until after the kiddies were in bed.  We never see it go out live anymore; this is of course purely in order that we might vet it for scariness before we let Greta anywhere near it, and NOT because she would inevitably talk all the way through it, possibly resulting in me going a bit The Shining on her ass.

Well, it sort of WAS Pitch Black on a bus, wasn't it, but by no means the worse for that.  Michelle Ryan seemed to be going for the same kind of aloof sexiness as Diana Rigg in The Avengers, but, like Diana Rigg in The Avengers, generally came over as unbearably smug (you still wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers, mind you).  DT just reminded me how much the show and the public are going to miss him (no pressure, young Matt).  Weird that Lee Evans went for a slightly variable Welsh accent when there's been a preponderance of genuine (and frequently incongruous) Welsh accents throughout New Who.  Nice that he got a proper Lee Evans moment with the fire extinguisher.  more


I had a dream...

... in which the President Of The United States was no longer a beady-eyed ignoramus with a fake good ol' boy accent, the emotional sophistication of an eight-year old, the eloquence of a Sinclair ZX-81 and the intellectual curiosity of a radiator, but had been mysteriously transformed into a supremely cool, effortlessly articulate and dazzlingly smart black dude.  Then I realised that everybody else was having the same dream as me.  Whether we all live happily ever after remains to be seen, but today was still a pretty good day.

Not least because (in other news) it was my birthday.  Presidential Inauguration Days always land on my birthday, so thanks again to the people of the USA for managing not to ruin it (this time).  I think my only real problem with being 39 is that it doesn't sound like anyone's REAL age.  It's what someone aged 45 would say they were if they were trying to lie about it.  I'm waiting for the next time a journo asks me how old I am to see if there's any hint of yeah-right in their reaction. more


Neil before Janice

...except after C. Or something.

It's now 2am and I've been on the go pretty much all day; up this morning to do a phone interview with (I think) the West Sussex Gazette; then into town to do a down-the-line interview with Radio Bristol (ostensibly to plug the Bath gig which is, as I said yesterday, sold out, apparently, but hey ho); then off round town to do a bit of shopping, then meeting up with Clara and Astrid (Greta having been farmed out to Grandma for the evening) to go to dinner with Neil Gaiman, who's in town again as part of the promo tour for The Graveyard Book, which went straight in at No.1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List this week, and rightly so. more


Oh alright then

...since you ask

I promise I wasn't being tiresomely enigmatic the other day when I didn't go into details re. the Fun Thing I had to do on Thursday morning; it's just that I needed to crack on with some writing, and to be honest I wasn't absolutely sure of all the details myself yet.  Anyway, a few of you have emailed asking what it as all about, and I've done it now, so here's what it was all about (probably a bit of an anti-climax now, but still): more


Goonshadow

This one had two goes on the radio; I wrote it for It's Been A Bad Week around the time poor old Yusuf Islam was turned away from the US and then incorporated it into the ep of Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music in which Yusuf actually turned up as a character (played by me with a comedy Greek London accent for which I can't apologise enough). Yusuf Islam more

Ar ey mate, I've gorran award!

mitch Benn & Ken DoddAfter eighteen years’ absence, I have been officially re-declared Scouse.

Not that many people realise I’m from Liverpool. It’s not a secret or anything, it’s in my biog, it’s on my wikipedia page (as are some things even I didn’t know about me), but thanks partly to my hopeless mish-mash of an accent and also a widely circulated but erroneous biog which has me born in Edinburgh (I wasn’t; I did my degree there and hung around for a few years afterwards during which time I started doing stand-up) it still comes as a surprise to some people to find out I’m Scouse born & bred (la). And proper Scouse, too, not one of your born-somewhere-like-Newton-Le-Willows-but-call-yourself-Scouse-to-avoid-having-to-explain-where-the-hell-Newton-Le-Willows-is types, yer actual Scouse. Born within the sound of a car alarm, as the old maxim has it. more