Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Are You DVD Gorman?

I've had a busy few days promoting the DVD release of Are You Dave Gorman? which means I've been popping up in all sorts of radio and TV shows. It's been a bit odd and time-warpy suddenly having to promote something that I haven't had to talk about for a long time. It's a show I'm very proud of and I've no doubt that it will cast a shadow over everything else I do for a very long time to come. I'm more comfortable with that now than I was a couple of years ago.

There was a time when I felt a little trapped by the show because every offer that seemed to come in was relating to it in some way. For me, it was just one of many storytelling shows I'd done but because it was the first one that I allowed to transfer to TV there were loads of people out there who thought it was the first and only thing I'd ever done.

Actually, I think there are still people out there who think that.

At the time, I (obviously) hoped people would like the series and think, 'That's a funny story, well told. I wonder what other stories he might have up his sleeve' but instead it felt like people thought, 'Ha ha... that man is obsessed with his namesakes... I hope he finds some more... he is the namesake-man and must live forever on a permanent namesake hunting quest because THAT is what he does.'

I got offered loads of money to licence 'Stop Me If You're A Dave Gorman' T-shirts and other nonsensical merchandise that would have encouraged the idea that I was looking for every Dave Gorman in the world - something that the show had never claimed because... well, because it wasn't true. I was offered walk-on parts in all sorts of stuff where the basic premise always seemed to be the same: I turn up at the door, ask if there's anyone called Dave Gorman there and then leave when they tell me there isn't. I hated it all and said no to everything.

I think if I'd done it I would have been selling a cartoonish version of myself, sort of like when a David Dickinson character suddenly bubbles up to the surface for a year or two and makes a fortune running around the world saying 'Cheap as chips!' and 'Bobby Dazzler' for anyone who'll pay him. It's bound to exhaust itself isn't it? Isn't it? I mean it's obvious that it's just a facade. The whole point about the show was that it was a true story so carrying on with it after it was over in some weird fake way would only serve to undo the whole thing in time.

Maybe I'd be living in a bigger house right now if I'd taken the shilling and sold that version of myself to the world but I doubt I'd be very happy and I doubt I'd be very employable either. You could hardly convince an audience you had another true story to tell them if you'd spent two or three years obviously pretending to be something you're not.

Looking back I think the pressure was really on the Googlewhack Adventure show to compete with it in some way. As both a stageshow and a book it was more successful in any measurable way so I guess it did compete - as well as directly railing against the perception of me as one of those (shudder) wacky-bet-guys. (Self-indulgent? Me? Surely not.)

I think my inbox is probably as good a guide as any as to what projects dominate people's imaginations and from the day Are You Dave Gorman? first started on BBC2 my inbox was just flooded with e-mails relating to that one show. Even right through the broadcast of my Important Astrology Experiment, it was namesakes-related e-mails that kept on flooding in... despite the fact that I wasn't doing anything to stoke the fire.

Since the Googlewhack Adventure though things have been different... I get more e-mails about that than anything else these days, quite a few about Genius, The Daily Show and what have you and while there are always a fair few asking about Are You Dave Gorman? they tend to be asking more sensible questions about it and are less obsessed by the idea that I'm obsessed with it than they once were. It all makes the release of the DVD a much happier thing for me because it no longer feels like I'm selling the idea that this-is-all-I-do... instead I'm just glad that a show I'm really very proud of is out there for anyone who wants it. I'd hate for it to disappear completely... I just don't want it to be the only thing I appear to have done.


Anonymous said...

I am sure this has been asked a million times.... but I cant find the answer in any forum or FAQ.

Are there any plans to realease the Astroligical Experiment on DVD?

I would go out and buy one instantly if it were relesed!


Dave Gorman said...

I don't know why I missed this comment for so long... my apologies.

In brief: there are no plans that I know of.

It's not mine to release. It belongs to the BBC. So I know as much as you do about what they plan to do with it and certainly am not in a position to influence it either way.

For what it's worth, I explain a bit more (I think) on the page of my website that relates to the Important Astrology Experiment. (It's in the projects section)