Friday, March 25, 2016

Polished, Unpolished & Mid-Polish

So there's just one show left for the Gets Straight To The Point* (*The Powerpoint) tour... well, actually, as I type, there are three, it's just that there's only one you can still get tickets for: the show takes it's final bow at the Royal Festival Hall on March 31st.

As the tour ends, I'm normally asked whether or not there will be a DVD. There won't. I wrote this about the tour before this one... but the explanation's exactly the same. 




When the tour is over, I won't be taking much of a break. A new series of Modern Life Is Goodish looms and so I need to start the process of building new stuff. To that end, I'm about to start a new season of Dave Gorman's Screen Guild.

This will be the fifth season - I've been doing them since 2011 - and I'm delighted to announce that the shows are returning to their original home; Hoxton Hall. The venue was out of commission for a couple of years while they went through a major refurb but the atmosphere at Hoxton Hall was always something special so it's great to be going back.

The Screen Guild is my new material playground. It's where I try out new ideas while hosting a show with four guest acts that I know are brilliant. All the material from the tour... and from the tour before that... and most of the material that's made up the first 22 hours of Modern Life is Goodish was given its first airing at the Screen Guild. It really has been that fundamental to all that I've done in the last few years.

There's more information as to the what and why of these shows on my website so I'll just tell you that, as it stands, we've scheduled four shows for this season.  They are:

THURSDAY, JULY 14TH... and tickets for all four are available here.


If a tour show is where I display the material that's been fully honed and the Screen Guild is where things are hopefully unearthed - well then there's another sort of show I do that's all about doing the actual polishing.
For Modern Life Is Goodish to work it has to feel composed. It can't just be some disparate bits of material... it all has to hang together. There may be different threads in an episode, but at some point they will always coalesce.

That means that the show we record has to be as close to the finished product as it can be. We can't film 90 minutes and cut it down to an hour in the edit without undoing all the connections.

So before every recording I run the shows live a few times, making changes between each run, working out where the ad breaks will be and generally honing the stuff as best I can. I do them in batches and work on two episodes at a time.

Series four must be happening because we have these booked in already.

JULY 24, 
JULY 29 





Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Babymetal fans are intense aren't they...

If you're a regular in these parts, you'll know how thrilled I was with the way in which Martin Roberts responded to being featured in episode one of this series. Well now I can add Christine Hamilton to the list too:

Incidentally, the episode in which Christine featured was taped on June 28th... I blogged about it a few days later because of this tweet...
... although at the time I wasn't able to include the details because I didn't want to put any spoilers out there for the show and I didn't want to alert Christine to the how, why and what of it all. But as you can see she sent that tweet at 5.24pm on the day of the recording. We open the doors to the audience at 6pm. It's not unusual to be making last minute changes to the show's content in the final half hour before the recording, but it's normally decisions I'm making because of having to cut or add time or because I've tried something a few different ways in the dry runs and have taken til then to assess the relative merits of the various options... it's rarely done because someone has run into the dressing room and shouted, "Hamilton's tweeted about the beehive!"

Still, it was nice to get proof that I was telling a true story, moments before I started telling it!

There was another part of the show that seemed to attract quite a lot of feedback... the part in which I referred to the number of retweets given to some of Harry Styles tweets... a lot of people were aghast at the fact that I said "Baby Metal" was just two random words...

That's just a smattering of the tweets that came in about it. Within a minute of it being on the box I'd tweeted to say that yes, I knew they were a band... but they still kept on coming. And they carried on coming in their droves on Wednesday night and on Saturday night when the show was repeated. And they're still coming in now. Blimey. Oh... and there was also this - and others like it - on facebook:

There are lots of things I say in the show that are true. There are also lots of things I say that aren't true. I think the audience is normally able to work out the difference between the two... and when I'm fibbing, I'm sure they can tell why. Last week for instance... I don't think anyone was thinking I genuinely have a pet elk.

To be clear... when I first saw the Harry Styles' tweet that contained just the two words, "Baby metal" I didn't know what it was about. I'm a 44 year old man. I don't feel stupid for not being completely up to date on the Japanese Metal Idol scene. My thought process on seeing it was, "that looks like a tweet containing just two random words... which will give me a good excuse to mention that Eamonn Holmes tweet I've been looking for a way of putting in the show... I wonder what Harry meant? I'll google it. Oh. It's a Japanese Metal Idol band. That's interesting. Still... no point saying that... or I won't be able to make the joke about Eamonn Holmes."

This sort of thing happens all the time. I play dumb about something in order to connect some of the dots. I assume that the audience knows I'm doing it... and when it's really obvious that it's going on, it probably enhances the joke for people.

Of course, in a situation like this, it's not really obvious that it's what's going on. After all, a large number of the audience won't have heard of Babymetal either because... well, because they're a Japanese Metal Idol band and not everyone feels obliged to educate themselves in every pop-culture sub-genre. But it still seems odd to me that those who know would imagine I'm so incurious that I would get as far as saying the words on a telly show without having googled them first. And why - when it doesn't really matter - would I take a joke out of the show in order to show off that I now know they're a band?

In series 1 there was something similar about a tweet that used the words, "That's like dent without the burns." I didn't know what it meant when I read it. I played dumb - aided by the lack of capitalisation... I mean, if you're not going to write 'Dent' when it's someone's surname, how do you expect someone to intuit what you're on about? The audience laughed. And then hundreds of people told me it was a Spiderman reference. Two years later, if the show is repeated I still get a burst of tweets telling me the same with varying degrees of outrage.

There's something rather sweet about someone watching a show that they know is two years old, believing someone's unaware of a Spiderman fact and thinking, "comic book fans aren't the sort of people to have pointed this out to him... so I'd better step up to the plate and let him know..."

I think the fact that these two examples relate to a band and a comic-book villain is probably a pointer as to why so many people feel the need to correct my "mistakes". There are dozens of other similar examples that have passed by in the three series without anyone feeling the need to comment. But they don't tend to relate to pop-culture. When they do - especially when it's an area of pop-culture that people use to define their personalities - the urge to show off one's superiority is so much greater. (The fact that my shows are often about pointing out the mistakes or falsehood of others probably adds to it as well.)

Honestly... I do google things. It's just that the version of events I select is the one that leads to the biggest laughs when I road test the shows.

Anyway... episode five is on at 10pm tonight. It starts with a whopping big lie. But only for the studio audience. I tell the viewers at home about the lie before the show starts. It's okay, it's a white lie. Well... it's actually a green lie...

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Best Two And A Half Days Of My Life...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Competition? Check. Prize? Check. Shirt? Check.

This last week saw the biggest entry to one of my mailing list competitions since I started running them. There were about twice as many entries as normal. The vast majority got the answer right - my Elk's name was Brooks - but quite a few people went with Brubs. Which is what, I'm told the subtitlers went with also. But Brooks was right... and the winner was a Chris Jones. The sign and wallet will be on their way soon.

As a prize for this week, I thought I'd offer up last week's shirt. That's the shirt I'm wearing in the picture above. It's been washed. I couldn't give it away unwashed for all sorts of reasons. I'm no expert, but for all I know the winner could extract my DNA from the sweat and then plant it at various crime scenes, fitting me up like a kipper. That would never do. So washed it is.

To be in with a chance of winning it, you'll need to be on my mailing list. I'll be sending out the email with the question some time on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Next Prizes

Thanks to everyone on my mailing list that entered the first competition of the series. The winner was Joe Jenks from Crewe who's already had a CelebVM video message from Homes Under The Hammer's Martin Roberts and will soon be getting some Homes Under The Hammer carpet(!) and a copy of the Found Poetry booklet too.

The feedback on episode 2 has been great... and it's an episode that contained a couple of props... which means it also contained a couple of prizes. There's the framed picture - that has now been taken down by the pub whose wall it once graced - and the wallet you see below. 

On Tuesday I'll email my mailing list with a question about episode 3... and then a lucky dip from the right answers will provide the winner.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Most Satisfying Kind Of Feedback...

I know this won't make much sense unless you've seen episode two of Modern Life Is Goodish... if you haven't and want to, it's on UKTV Play here.

But for those that have, this sort of feedback is very satisfying. Not the tweets themselves - although I'm grateful to Les & Lisa for letting me know - but the knowledge that a word or phrase coined for the show has been heard being used out in the wild.

Of course the primary aim is/was to make an audience laugh. But the knowledge that some of them did that, and then carried a part of the show off with them on a night out a day or two later is just, well, satisfying.