Friday, December 24, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Every now and then - like this morning - our regular producer has to miss a show and we have someone else come in and do the show... and one of the things they always comment on is how responsive - and intelligently so - our audience is. Especially for a Sunday morning. That makes me feel reet proud. Ta.
Absolute Radio are being really supportive of the DVD (I think the fact that I only missed one radio show when I was on tour and that was because I was in Belfast helped) and done a deal which means their listeners can effectively get free delivery (in the UK). I think it's a really nice way to connect the live radio stuff I do with the live and vice versa and a nice pat on the back for the show - and a better deal for the listeners too.
There are two or three ads for it playing on the station every now and then and seeing as it makes for the cheapest price I thought the decent thing would be to mention it here too. I didn't know how to upload a sound clip to the blog... so I've made this video to accompany it.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
So... Jackie Collins - the publishing phenomenon and sister of Joan - has a website. On her website there's an autograph-request-form. You have to fill in your name and address and so on and, if you like, you can send a comment along with your request.
But maybe not everyone that wants Jackie's autograph has her easy way with words. Maybe there are some people who get a bit flustered when faced with that comments box because they don't know how to express whatever it is they want to say.
Well that's okay because Jackie thinks of everything. She's read your mind. She knows exactly what you want to say. Or at least her web designers do. They've kindly added a pre-written, suggested message for you. Lovely.
PS: I'm always wary about including a link like this in case people decide to use it to send messages. Play nicely people.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
It was done as a DVD extra for the Googlewhack DVD. A commentary seems to be obligatory as a DVD extra but it didn't make any sense on that show because it's a show where I tell a story so what would the commentary be? "This is the bit where I was at the airport..." "Well yes... that's what you just said in the show."
But I love the band Helen Love and I loved the idea of introducing them to other people. I didn't think they'd do it... but amazingly they did. And I think they did an amazing job. The animation was done by Rob Manuel who people might know from the excellent B3ta.
Anyway... having found it and as I've arrived late to the youtube party, I've put it onlone... so here it is.
By the way... with the new DVD, I have done a commentary. It's a stand-up show after all so there's are times when there's something to say about the material. But I didn't want to do a straightforward commentary where it's just me taking myself a bit too seriously and I didn't want to over-analyse things with a Director's Commentary or whatever... so this is who recorded the commentary with me:
Yep, this DVD has a Mother's Commentary.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Yesterday I started to get a lot of requests from people asking me to promote a Twitter account called @FollowersInNeed on the grounds that they were promising to donate 50p per tweet to Children in Need for every follower they could get.
Which sounds like a brilliant thing to retweet doesn't it? Because people don't need to do anything except follow them and money goes to a good cause! In fact, that's so good it's... oh... hang on... that makes no sense.
Who would promise to do that? They'd need to have unlimited funds to make a promise like that. What if they got 2million followers? It could happen if one of the goliath's of twitter got behind them and encouraged their followers to get on board. Have they got a million pounds to donate? If they have, why are they only donating £7,000 for getting 14,000 followers? How does the number of followers they have relate to how much largesse they're prepared to show a particular charity?
It would make a small amount of sense if it was a big company doing it. Companies make large donations to charity because it breeds goodwill for their brand. (And because they're nice) . If they could make a big donation, get all that public goodwill and come out of it with a load of nicely buttered up followers they could send links and stuff to that might be seen as worthwhile.
But even then I don't think they could afford 50p a follower. And it would be easy to verify. They'd have their name and branding on their twitter page. There'd be some legalese around explaining what their limits were so that an unexpectedly large follower count didn't spin them into financial ruin and most obviously of all - there would be links on their own corporate website linking to it. One-way links are always a dead giveaway.
Of course @FollowersInNeed didn't have even the whiff of authenticity about them. Their page looked as though it had been written by children trying to sound like adults. There was no explanation as to who they were and how (or why) they were donating the money. There were vague phrases about how money was being "raised in local villages" and so on but that only added to the confusion. (Aren't all villages local to somewhere?)
I mean, if you're organising fundraising activities in your local village(s) you don't need to then filter the funds through to a charity with some correlation to the number of followers you have on your anonymous twitter account. If you raise £500 you donate £500. If you raise £5000 you donate £5000.
What if you promise to donate 50p per follower and get more followers than you can afford to donate for. What if you get less followers. Is the rest profit? It's obviously nonsensical.
So I used twitter to ask other people if they also thought it looked dodgy. Lots of people did. Some people had already seen it and thought the same. (@ACloakedFigure & @CharonQC, I think, amongst them. Others too)
At the same time I also got a small amount of grief from a few people telling me off for it on the grounds that it-might-be-real and they're-not-asking-for-any-money-so-what-harm-can-it-do? and so on.
And here's the thing: I think it's harmful. I think a fake account like that is doing harm simply by existing and, worse still, has the potential to be used for even more harmful purposes.
Here are a few ways in which it can be harmful.
1: Charity-fatigue is a recognised phenomenon. People become hardened to charity requests the more they feel they're on the end of them. Having some fake charity feeds buzzing around just adds to the morass.
2: People are making choices. As I said before I don't think you can (or should) retweet links to every charitable account going. If someone decides to retweet that one instead of a genuine good cause, the good cause loses out.
3: Say they run the account for a while and get 50,000 followers. Most of those people won't remember that they followed them. It doesn't feel important. So they can then change the account name to something else entirely and start using the account for more obviously unwholesome things. Like spam. Or malware.
More likely - in this instance - was that they were just kids. A few people were telling me it couldn't be a scam because they had nothing to gain. But don't kids knock on doors and then run away? Don't kids get the phone book and make random phone calls. Don't kids just get off on the fact that Amanda Holden from off the telly - OMG! - fell for their trick and retweeted them - them! - to over 200,000 people!
That's still a scam. It's just a vanity scam.
Importantly, I think questioning these sort of things is right whether they turned out to be legit or not. If they are legitimate they should be offering authentication already. If questioning them makes them do so, they'll raise loads more for their charity. And if they're not legit they'll get found out and that's good too. Win/win.
I certainly wasn't the only one questioning them - nor likely the first. And as you might expect with twitter it snowballed a little bit. Because the way they responded only made even more people get suspicious which led to more people questioning them and more people retweeting those questions and so on. The more visible they were the more people were scrutinising them and they didn't really stand up to any scrutiny. There can't have been many people left looking at their childlike, defensive answers who didn't think they were a fake account.
If you had been in any doubt their next move rather sealed it. They posted a message saying they were about to change the account name and use it for something else and asked their followers not to abandon them, "especially Amanda Holden, The Wanted, JLS and saturdays fans!! ..And cheryl fans!" (Yep, pretty sure they were just kids.)
They then changed the name of the account to @LovingTeamHolden (or something like that - they were definitely thrilled to have had her tweet them). But that didn't last because loads of people tracked the name change and continued to ask questions. So they became @closingaccount_ and then finally @LovingTeamSats - a fan account for The Saturdays. As I type the account has been deleted completely.
Luckily they were unable to go back and use the name @FollowersInNeed again because the very smart @JackOfKent who was following the whole fiasco nipped in and registered a new account in that name. So the existing account in the name @FollowersInNeed is benign... it basically exists just to prevent anyone else from using it again. (Oddly that hasn't stopped new people following it).
Today a new account sprang up using the name @FollowInNeed and making the same silly, unverified claims. It might have been the same people or it might have been someone else. Who knows. Either way, they closed the account within 3 minutes of me asking them a question.
There might be others. Some of them might be for real for all I know. But if they don't have a link on their page to some other site that explains where the money is going to come from and how and why it is related to the number of followers they have then I'd suggest the chances are they're not likely to be legit. You certainly shouldn't be too embarrassed to check because you're worried you'll look mean questioning a good cause.
With that said... there is an official Children In Need account: @pudseybear but of course nobody's going to magically donate money to the charity just because you follow them. You can donate yourself, if you feel so inclined, by going to bbc.co.uk/pudsey
For what it's worth, I believe that @FollowMeRecord is well intentioned but just awfully unthought through. If anything it's probably their naivety that inspired the young scammers. Their newly created blog suggests they have some local businesses offering them some money but up to a limit of £7300. So they need to get 14600 followers. 7 grand is not to be sniffed at, mind. But I'd be very surprised if they really do raise anywhere close to it. My guess - and it is just that - is that they mean well but haven't actually got assurances from any of the businesses. Certainly one of the businesses mentioned on their page is denying ever having heard from them.
But this is just opinion. I have no way of verifying them either way.
Oh... and while I'm here, there's a story in the Express suggesting that @coastaltrek is also less than real. I've no idea. But as with all these surely the main point should be that people should apply their own judgement. Don't take anything at face value. I don't believe anyone's going to donate to a charity on your behalf simply because you followed them on Twitter. If you can't verify it, just don't pass it on.
I called Harry. I said, "Hello..." and he put the phone down.
It all sort of suggests that they were lying in the first place or that maybe it went a bit pear shaped. But TweetRumours definitely doesn't feel like the work of 3 adults. I don't think I'll publish his number. I might well pass it to the police though.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Oops. It seems my it's-only-available-through-my-website message isn't getting through. (I shouldn't be surprised. I still get at least one e-mail a week asking me if Are You Dave Gorman? will ever be released and that's been out for years.)
I think people read the words and think I'm probably trying to shill them or something. Maybe they think that buying it through my site would be my preferred method... but it's not that, it really isn't. The DVD won't be in shops. It won't be on amazon either. I was offered a deal by one of the big distributors but I decided to see if this was viable instead. After all, I'm not seeking world domination - I just want the people who want it to be able to find it. So it's distributed by recordstore.co.uk and you can get it on their site - which is exactly the same as getting it from davegormanstore.com
The thing is... I don't mind e-mails like that. It's easy to reply explaining where it can be got. But it obviously makes me wonder how many other people have made the same search elsewhere and given up without sending an e-mail. Which inevitably leads to a post like this. I reckon if significant numbers of people are only getting half the message it must mean the message isn't clear enough.
But then, to everyone who has already got the message perfectly well, a post like this looks like shouting. No doubt I'll now get e-mails from people saying, "we know... give it a rest." To those people, my apologies.
Am I sounding paranoid yet?
Hey... here's a preview clip. The third and final one, I think. It does have some swearing in it, mind, so careful who you watch it with:
I'm not trying to persuade everyone in the whole world to buy it - I don't want to get Peter Kay's Mum a greenhouse. But it would be nice if enough people bought it to make it viable to do more in the future.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Which is odd. Because you structure a show, then try to craft it so it looks less structured than it is... and then feel flattered when someone notices the structure.
But there you go.
I hope the "only disconcerting thing" isn't too disconcerting for people. I know some people won't know it exists. Not you. You're reading this. You know it exists. But others.
But then, I've no desire for world domination. I'd just like the people who want it to be able to find it. It's here.
(And everything else I've done - that's available - is here.)
Monday, November 1, 2010
I have to mention that the DVD isn't in shops because every day I get at least one e-mail from someone asking why they can't find it. I don't think they believe me when I say that it's exclusively available online... at www.davegormanstore.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010
You'll note from the endplate:
that it's going out on Sunday night and not Monday. This is slightly annoying what with people being creatures of habit and all that... the technical reason given is - genuinely - that a scheduler counted wrong. Amazing.
Anyway... Sunday. 11pm. The last episode. With Noddy Holder and Shappi Khorsandi. No two guests' names have ever been more fun to say!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Here's a preview clip:
There'll be some extras - clips we couldn't squeeze into the show etc. - on the Genius website - as soon as the show is finished and no doubt a few others going up during the week.
It's on at 10pm. On BBC2. On Monday.
Friday, October 22, 2010
If you haven't already seen it, the X Factor Compactor allows you to mix up the features of the X Factor panel, War, Famine, Death & Pestilence. I mean, Simon, Cheryl, Louis & Dannii. Which is all very well but what drew me in was Simon's observation that some of the chimeras have an eerie lookalike quality. Simon had found a blend that added up to a damned good Andy Kershaw.
Here are mine:
A chubby Alan Cumming:
A blow dried (and glasses free) Dominic Holland:
and Jim Davidson with mascara:
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
At this time of (genuinely worrying) cuts to the BBC, let's not forget that we're public service broadcasters first and foremost.
I might have been away but the show - which is pre-recorded - has been rolling along nicely. It was very gratifying to come home and see all the lovely comments about episodes 3 (Richard Herring & Vanessa Feltz) and 4 (Chris Addison & Mel Giedroyc).
My bum - at the time of typing still available on iplayer here - seems to have gone down very well. I think I did well to whisk my wife away to foreign climes while that was going out on the telly.
I hope you can tune in on Monday for episode 5 with Alexei Sayle and Tim Minchin.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I keep my site up to date, pay attention to comments left on my facebook page, twitter regularly and, of course, keep this blog turning over too.
But for a wee while I'm about to be a bit less attentive as other things deserve my attention more.
If I don't reply to an e-mail or a comment here, there or wherever please don't think me rude.
For the next two weeks, Richard Herring will be standing in for me on the Absolute Radio show - Sundays from 10am til noon. By coincidence, he's also a guest on the next episode of Genius - Monday at 10pm on BBC2. The other guest is Vanessa Feltz.
They genuinely bring out the best in each other. I hope you can watch it.
I've been trying to link to the online extras that are going up throughout the series but I'm bound to let that slide this next wee while. So if you're on twitter - do follow @BBCgenius who'll be letting you know about all those things or just keep an eye on the website bbc.co.uk/genius because new clips - some specially filmed and some clips we couldn't squeeze into the show.
There. That's my "I'm away from the office" message for blogland.
I'm having fun.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I've had a fair number of tweets and e-mails asking why we haven't done red button extras this year. I don't know the reasons behind it but I do know that there are just as many extras. It's just that instead of putting them on the red button, they're online. I guess it means they stay there longer instead of disappearing when a new episode comes along. So the show 1 extras are still there now that show 2 has been on t'box. Clips are going up after each episode and also through the week.
So, for example, after episode one they added an idea that we couldn't squeeze into the show (a hamster powered car) as one clip and also a video of Master Genius, Pat Harkin's top 5 ways to make Britain better. And after episode two, there was the clip I linked to in my last post (exercise cutlery) as well as a video of the day I went to Maggie's house to catch up with her and her sister, Trish. If you've seen that particular show you'll know who I mean and if you haven't, well, that's what the iPlayer is for.
The extras are all on the genius website: www.bbc.co.uk/genius
Monday, October 4, 2010
It was a really packed show this week so there was simply no way of squeezing this in as well. If you want to see the whole episode, it'll be on iplayer for week... starting just aboooouuuutttt.... now.
This week, someone else has had a go.
I'm a bit scared.
The guests are The Hairy Bikers & Jane Moore.
Here we are:
Saturday, October 2, 2010
So last week a French chocolatier decided to make a boat out of chocolate. It was seaworthy.
It was featured on the BBC news website. You can see a video of the boat in action - or the boats inaction - here.
(You might have to be in the UK to watch that. Not sure.)
And what did I see staring out at me from the boat's sail?
Something that looked pretty much like a genius logo.
I don't think we've had anyone suggest a chocolate boat before.
But really, you don't need to make a whole boat and get it on to international news shows in order to bring it to our attention. You can just send us an e-mail or a tweet if you like.
Or maybe it's just a coincidence. Either way... nice subliminal advertising. I don't speak French but I'm pretty sure that if you listen to the video you can hear the chocolate sailor (easy!) saying that he's looking forward to the show on Monday. BBC2. 10pm. With the Hairy Bikers and Jane Moore.
I think that's what he said.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Meanwhile, episode two will be shown on Monday night at 10pm.
The guests are Jane Moore - who used to be my oppo on Annually Retentive - and The Hairy Bikers. I don't think I've ever seen an audience get more excited about a guest (or guests) before. The Hairy Bikers have rock star status. I think the three of them makes for a really good and silly mix.
Here's a clip from the show. The idea in question being inflatable underpants:
Hope you can tune in.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
We have some fancy Roberts D.A.B. radios to give away on my Absolute Radio show - not to mention a lot of softmints. A year's supply to be precise. Not that I think it's possible to be precise when measuring a year's supply of softmints... but then I don't think it's really worth quibbling with to be honest. The point is someone somewhere has tried to work out what a year's supply of mints is and it doesn't really matter what it is they came up because I promise you it's a lot of mints.
Anyway... we'll be giving away a radio - and some softmints - every week for a wee while and the person we give it to will simply be our favourite softy of the week.
You can interpret the word 'softy' any way you like. It might be a story about you being all romantic but it might just as well be a story of you backing down in the face of a bully. It's up to you.
Share your softy story with us via the show's website here - and if we read yours out, we'll send you a radio and the mints. Lots of them. Mints that is. It'll just be the one radio.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I meant Player.
That's right. iPlayer.
Yep. You can watch episode one of Genius on the BBC's iPlayer. That's what I meant.
It's here: GENIUS
There's also a late(r) night repeat of the show on Saturday night: BBC2 at a quarter to midnight.
And of course, episode two will be on next Monday at 10pm.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Using @bbcgenius on twitter and the Genius group on facebook encouraged loads more people to get in touch with loads more ideas. But nobody sent more than Pat Harkin. Which is why when he was in the audience we surprised him with this.
Incidentally, the silly Mastermind theme music that sings Pat's name... that was recorded by our producer Simon and researcher Dan without telling me. So if I look a little surprised by it... I was.
Have I mentioned that the series starts on Monday night? At 10pm. On BBC2.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I have a Flickr account. I use it to post photos. I like photography because it's a creative outlet that has nothing to do with how I make my living. It's just a hobby, no more no less.
Flickr allows people to comment on photos. Occasionally people use that facility to comment on other things. When that happens on my photos I delete the comments. I figure there are loads of ways of getting in touch with me so I keep my flickr pages kind of clean and on-topic: photography.
Today I found the attached comment on one of my photos. It wasn't a provocative photo... it was this one:
It's not a photo that offers an opinion about Christianity or faith. There were no other comments on the photo that related to Christianity or faith. It seems obvious to me that the comment is more than a little out of place.
It's especially ridiculous as at the time it was left the front page of my blog was hosting a really lovely and polite discussion on the nature of Christian Values with 30 to 40 comments and no flaming whatsoever. (Those are the numbers on the blog itself rather than on the facebook page that it's imported to)
I have no idea what he means with the opening sentence. I recognise all the words but they don't add up to a sentence with any understandable message. I'm sure other flickr users would be as confused as I am by the words, "I saw your sign on another fickr stream." Wha?
My favourite line in the comment is, "and never once have we ever shoved Christianity down anyone's throat"... which is just perfect in the middle of a post that seems to be doing exactly that.
Of course, having deleted it I was immediately accused of censoring him and of not being able to handle the truth etc etc etc. I engage in online discussion and debate freely and often. There are loads of ways people can get in touch with me. But there's a time and a place. A comment like this left on a photo like that makes the person leaving the comment the online equivalent of the maddo on the bus who sits down and starts talking to you about Jesus. (Or candy floss, or blisters or anything else for that matter) Deleting the comment - and blocking them - is really just moving to a different seat on the bus.
By the way... I don't want to start a discussion on the merits of his words. I'm just not that interested. I love that the post before this one yielded a polite discussion on a subject that almost always becomes inflamed - especially online. For what it's worth, he seems to me to be behaving in a way that will annoy people of every stripe. If you disagree with him that's obvious. But I think his oafish, shoving-things-down-people's-throats behaviour does a disservice to those who agree with his opinion also... because he just contributes to a negative stereotype that isn't helpful to anyone.
So if you want to leave a comment let's keep it on the subject of online manners rather than the subject raised by the man who had none.
Oh... and I've blurred out his ID so as to avoid anyone seeking him out on flickr. It's not worth it.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I can see no point in adding a great deal to the noise surrounding the Pope's UK visit. The same debate is being held everywhere else already anyway. (Though I would say that this Guardian piece is a very reasonable take on the Nazi red-herring that was unfortunately introduced to the debate)
But I do want to ask a genuine question about the phrase Christian Values. I'm not asking because I know the answer. It's a genuine question.
The thing is, when someone defines Christian Values to me they always sound to me to be lovely values. But they also seem to be values that aren't exclusively Christian. Indeed they seem to be values that are shared by pretty much every other faith. And by people without faith too.
But when someone talks about, say, British Values, they normally mean "values that are particularly British"... in other words, values you wouldn't normally expect to find in other nations.
When someone says, "I expect the fans of this club to give the manager time because that's how they do things here, those are the values of this football club," the implication is that these aren't the values at most other football clubs.
So, when people say, Christian Values, do they mean values that are peculiar to Christians. And if so, what are they?
Because, well, because they seem to me to be just, well, Human Values. Am I wrong? I'm not asking about the way in which anyone arrives at a belief. That seems far less important to me than the end result. (Although I know which route I prefer). I'm talking about the beliefs themselves.
[I will monitor comments. If it gets a bit flamey, I'll shut it down. That's really not what I'm trying to achieve here. It's a genuine question. Are there values only held by Christians, values only attainable through faith?]
Friday, September 17, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Mondays. At Ten. On BBC2. Got that? Good.
It starts on September 27th.
If you came to any of the recordings then you know the show has a very different format to last year.
In series one there was some tongue in cheek pomp and ceremony with the guest in a throne and the potential geniuses entering on a revolving stage. With hindsight all of that was taking up time that should have been spent hearing more ideas, putting in some more actual content. We used to get through 4 or 5 ideas in a show - and because they were ideas that had been pre-selected, I always knew what they were and we pretty much always had a prop built for each one. It gave us some great moments but it also committed us to spending a certain amount of time with each and every idea.
We all wanted to make the show looser this time around. So instead of inviting 4 or 5 people to each show, we've invited 70. And instead of having one guest per show we've got two. And on one occasion, three because, hey, you can't have just the one Hairy Biker now can you? So the show has become more of a forum where every one of those 70 people can get involved and share their ideas and the guests can investigate some and dismiss others.
There are still a couple of things in each show where I know what's going on and we've built this or that - but by not doing it every time it's much less predictable. On the whole I think it makes the show much more relaxed, improvised & free flowing. In most episodes - in fact, I expect all of them - we'll hear from 20-30 people... that's more than we squeezed into the whole of the first series.
We've got a load of extras that we'll be putting up as online exclusives as the series rolls along. There's a behind the scenes video and a Genius Generator - a collection of ideas sent to us on video - up on the BBC Comedy blog right now.
But, um, yeah... it on Monday nights. It starts on September 27th. It runs for 6 weeks. I hope you like it.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
It comes from a man called Tolch. He wanted his submission to go before the committee. It worked too. We're shallow like that.
It's a gavel.
It's what every authoritative committee needs.
The Pun Street part of the podcast will now have extra added gavel.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Telegraph speculated here, and the Guardian here (includes a video of the logo moving for those who missed it) and as the day has gone on most of these articles have been rewritten to include the idea that it's probably just here to celebrate google's birthday.
But I think I'm the first to spot that if you move your cursor in the right way and bounce the right number of balls to one side, you can make it do this:
I apologise. I am a child. You have every right to expect better.
Monday, September 6, 2010
So, here's the thing... Jim Killeen's film is a documentary about him googling his name and then trying to meet and interview other Jim Killeens. I don't know much more than that. I haven't seen the film.
But my inbox suggests that a lot of people are getting a bit angry on my behalf. Most of them ask if I've seen it, if I've contacted lawyers, if I'm suing him or any other variations on that theme.
It's kind of flattering that people feel, um, kind of protective towards me and I really do appreciate that people are looking out for me but my attitude is that it really doesn't matter. In fact, I don't even think it's all that similar to things I've done. I suspect in most cases people are conflating two of my previous projects and getting themselves a little confused.
For those who are unfamiliar with my past - and I never expect anyone to know my cv inside out and backwards - many years ago I went looking for 54 of my namesakes. But I doubt very much that I'm the first person to have done something involving namesakes and I was certainly never going to be the last. But not having seen Jim's movie I can't say that there's any other similarity. I don't think there is.
As hard as it is to remember a pre-Google world, Google hasn't always existed and even when it did exist it didn't immediately become the go-to resource it is today. If it had been my search would never have happened. If you've seen the show or read the book and if you enjoyed what you found there, the chances are that what you enjoyed was the unfolding of the story. It wasn't really about finding out what Dave Gormans were like or what affect a name might have on someone or any of that it was about how one event led to another. We didn't set out on day 1 to meet 54 Dave Gormans. We set out to meet one. And something he said led us to meet another. And something he said led us to...
You get the idea.
Now, imagine a world of smart phones and Google. I'm in the pub. I mention to my friend that I'd heard the Assistant Manager of East Fife was called Dave Gorman. He doesn't believe me. Instead of the conversation leading us to board a train bound for Scotland, one of us would have whipped out a phone and used Google to prove a point. And that would have been that.
The first domino wouldn't have toppled and there would have been no chain of events. There would have been no story to tell. The very thing that makes Jim's film tick is the same thing that would have prevented my story from even beginning - the readiness of information.
This is the reason that I turned down offers to do a sequel. We didn't meet my namesakes in order to make a TV show. We made a TV series out of stuff that had happened. There's an important distinction. But a second series never made any sense to me because it could never have been a genuine and authentic story. We'd have had the resources of a TV company on our side. We'd have been able to find a whole series worth of namesakes in advance of filming any of it. Then we'd have been able to plot the best journey between them. So where would the story be? And what would we be doing it for? To make a sequel? What kind of motivation is that? It just doesn't make any sense to me as an idea because it would inevitably involve having to manufacture pretend hardships and that would be an insult to the genuine tale I'm so proud of.
I'm not suggesting that googling people and going to meet them is a redundant exercise per se, just that it's not what I did. Nor would it have made sense (to me) to do a second series under such different circumstances because it would have to have been either a completely different type of show or just a manufactured - and therefore, somehow dishonest - piece of work.
(That and I had a spidey-sense that I didn't want to paint myself into a corner as the wacky-namesake guy... something I wrote about in a round about way when the DVD of Are You Dave Gorman? was released a while ago.)
The other story I've told that people seem to conflate with it is Googlewhack Adventure. I'm not surprised by this. I've got used to meeting people who've never seen any of my stuff but think they know what I've done because they've read this or that in the press etc. (And I'm sure I do the same about other people all the time) On many occasions I've met people who sort of know that I once met some namesakes or something and also know that I did something with Google in the title and they, just, well, they just assume they're the same thing because it sort of makes sense. And I guess it does. Sort of.
But Googlewhack Adventure's got nothing to do with it. Again it's not really a story about an internet word game. It's another story about how one thing leads to another; about a chain of events - about a breakdown. And one of the things that precipitated it was my frustration at the cartoonish wacky-namesake-hunter people assumed me to be. I turned down the Are You Dave Gorman? sequels and the merchandise and so on for - what I think were - healthy reasons. A less healthy part of my make-up reacted to the same pressure to be that guy in a different way and, eventually, Googlewhack Adventure was the result.
So genuinely, Jim's project doesn't seem to me to be all that similar. If I catch it one day I'll let you know if I still think that. It's a film I'd never have made but that doesn't mean it's a film that nobody should make. It might be brilliant. I hope it is.
Either way, there's no value in wasting energy in getting upset. The next thing is always more exciting than the past.
Talking of which... there's this DVD you might like...
Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
You might also remember that a short while ago I discussed in this parish the fact that I wasn't going to call the DVD Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop & Stand Up because it wasn't what the show was about and it seemed to be more confusing than helpful.
Well, as you can see from the banner ad, the groundbreaking title we went with in the end was... Dave Gorman. Stand Up Live. Yep. Well, it ended up being one of those things where keeping it simple was probably best. And it is the first time I've done a straightforward stand-up DVD. (At least it is in my head where I don't think of Googlewhack Adventure as a stand-up show on account of it not being me-telling-jokes and stuff)
My Mum came into London today to help me out with one of the extras. I was asked if I'd do a commentary... which seems a bit odd for a stand-up show... so I thought I'd see if my Mum wanted to do a Mother's Commentary instead. Which is odder. The picture is us just before we started recording. I've no idea if it'll be of any interest to folks or not. We'll see.
I've stuck with the company that made the Are You Dave Gorman? DVD available because I like the cut of their jib. It means that, as with Are You Dave Gorman?, you won't see the DVD in the shops though. Instead, they've created a special storefront site for it here--> davegormanstore.com
There's no official release date as yet. That's because there's no way of knowing how long it takes to get it certificated etc. But it is available for pre-order right away and the intention is to just turn it around as soon as we can.
The cover will probably look a bit like this:
I do apologise for the marketingy nature of this post by the way. I know that when I added a picture of the DVD to my facebook page it upset at least one person who didn't like it for that reason. But then again, if you'd decided to release a DVD you'd probably tell people about it too. No point releasing the thing in secret now is there? And besides, look! Here's an old picture of what Mark E. Smith would look like if he wore my glasses:
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Sometimes they're from organisations and sometimes they're from individuals who are doing a sponsored walk/run/swim/bike ride/all-of-the-above for a cause that's dear to their hearts because of something that has happened to them or to a loved one.
Retweeting their cause to my followers would take next to no effort... so why don't I do so?
Well, if I was to retweet one request the only fair thing would be to retweet them all. To not do so would involve making a value judgement about one cause over another and that would be impossible to do properly without spending a silly amount of time evaluating them all and checking that every link was valid and for a cause I truly supported.
On top of that, I know from experience that when I do tweet a link to a charitable cause I then receive another 20 requests for other causes almost immediately. If I received only 5 requests in a day but retweeted them all I would soon be multiplied to 100 tweets. Tweeting loads and loads of charities isn't loads and loads better than tweeting one. It's worse. It turns them into an impenetrable mush. Nobody would go through them all. Nobody would be able to choose one or more from the pack. It would do none of them any good whatsoever.
I'm not the first person to wrestle with this conundrum - Stephen Fry had this to say and shortly afterwards Graham Linehan tipped his hat in Mr Fry's direction saying the following. It appeared they'd come to a sensible way around the problem but as far as I'm aware neither of them has been able to maintain such a scheme so I can only conclude that it didn't really work.
It seems to me that to be of any value to a charity, tweets of this nature need to be used sparingly. Tweeted occasionally they can have an impact. Tweet all of them all the time and they just become wallpaper. So, with apologies to everyone who feels let down, I'm afraid I'm only going to tweet good causes that I feel compelled to do so for my own reasons. Anything else would, I'm afraid, be either grossly unfair to some or useless to all.
Now, do go and donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee for the Pakistan floods. In the UK you can donate £5 by texting GIVE to 70707. Or you can donate via their website http://www.dec.org.uk/ or by calling 0370 60 90 900.
Monday, August 9, 2010
But yesterday I was back...only to discover that the rest of my colleagues had disappeared. Apart from Rich - who's job is as unpaid as it is ill-defined. (But trust me, one day he'll be in charge of all the world's radio because he's that smart and talented.)
Our latest signing - hotshot producer Chris - is having a holiday. Apparently the fact that he'd booked it before he got the job meant we had to let him take it. What's wrong with a bit of tough love, I ask? Employment Law comes the answer.
And my on-air chums; Danielle and Martin are both away for a while as they've got a show at the Edinburgh Festival. They've only gone and written a musical. It's called Gutted. A Revenger's Musical. I saw an early preview of it in London and it's genuinely very, very good. Go and see it if you're up at the festival. But don't hang around and heap too much praise on them because I don't want it to go to their heads. If they realise how talented they are they'll never come back to the cosy fold of Sunday morning radio with little old me. I don't want them getting ideas above their radio station.
So, anyway, as far as voices-and-button-pushing stuff goes all of a sudden I was the most senior man in the studio yesterday. Hotshot-Chris was replaced by Overqualified-Justin while Martin and Danielle were replaced by Bob Golding and Mel Giedroyc respectively. Or irrespectively... there's no rule that says it has to be a boy-for-a-boy and a girl-for-a-girl... but you somehow just know it is.
We used to have a regular interview on the show. But around new year we stopped because we always ended up tossing away e-mails and texts from listeners that we liked in order to accommodate the guests. We decided to only have guests when we really, really loved them instead of just as a matter of course. (We've had Harry Shearer and Neil Hannon since, so you can see that we meant it).
But back when we were having a weekly guest, Bob came in to talk about the one-man play, Morecambe that he was starring in, in the West End. I loved him and made a mental note to make sure we invited him back whenever the opportunity arose.
Mel's one of those people that it feels like we should have met and worked together loads of times. I can't quite work out how our paths didn't cross sooner. As it goes, I first met her a couple of months ago when she was a guest on Genius. Again, I thought she was fab and made a mental note to make sure we worked together again at the first opportunity. (The latest series of Genius is all filmed and ready to go by the way... we're just waiting for Mr & Mrs BBC2-Scheduler to tell us when.)
So while there were a lot of new people in the studio yesterday there was also a lot of loveliness bouncing around. I had an ace time with my new radio chums.
We'll be the same mix next week. I imagine it'll feel like we're all old hands who've been doing the show together forever. Oh... and it would be remiss of me to not mention that the podcast is available on itunes here.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Yesterday's games were truly brilliant. Every quarter final had moments of tension. The surprise package was Bernd Roith who pushed Barney all the way. No matter what was happening in the game he just looked unflappable. I hope he goes on to bigger things. Being in the players' lounge as he came back down after the match made me feel really privileged. He was greeted by a huge burst of spontaneous applause from his fellow pros. Genuine warmth and admiration and something I'm glad I got to see at close quarters.
Several players that everyone knows do well week in, week out on the pro-tour turned up with their A-game yesterday. If Jamie Caven, Colin Lloyd or Wayne Jones can stay at that level today it could get really interesting.
It's going to be a tough day for whoever wins through. There's a quarter final, a semi final and the final to get through in one day. They'll need to get their heads right three times. After each match there has to be a come down as the adrenaline subsides, but somehow they'll have to manage it and get back into the right place for the next game. Going to be an exciting day.
Keep me company on twitter through it if you can!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The darts itself has been exciting - last night there were a couple of first round matches that you wouldn't have expected to see til the later rounds in most formats - but also it's exciting to be involved in the broadcast.
I've done live stuff from time to time but doing live sport is different because the content is constantly changing and decisions about what or won't happen next are taken very quickly and a lot of stuff produced on the fly. That keeps you on your toes.
There was one interview on the first day where I couldn't hear the link in my earpiece so was - presumably - just standing there doing nothing for a few moments.
Then I suddenly heard a lot of noise in my earpiece and assumed (correctly) they were yelling at me... so I started the interview.
But then I spent the rest of the interview feeling paranoid that, having not heard the link in to the interview, I wasn't going to be able to hear them telling me to wind it up either and that somehow threw my microphone technique out of whack as my concentration went elsewhere. Sorry, Terry.
But that was just one interview out of ten or eleven (or more?) that I've done so far and the only one where it's been an issue so I'll take that as good odds on the steep learning curve involved in doing something new.
By the way, some of the interviews are live while others are on tape and go into the show if the unpredictable schedule allows but all, I think, will end up on the Bravo website.
The biggest - and most obvious - problem on Day 1 was with the scoring.
There was a software issue with the system that puts the score on screen which meant the wrong score - or no score - was there at times. Too many times. This has a knock on effect because it's a reference point for the commentators and for the spotter.
For those who don't know, the spotter is an expert who knows the game inside out and backwards and tells the director where he thinks the player is going to aim next.
But if he can't see the score, he doesn't necessarily know whether the player is on to a double yet and that makes it impossible for him to call properly making the camerawork look worse than it ought to be.
Luckily for us we have Eric Bristow spotting. He's amazing and it's largely down to his quick thinking that the shots of the game were decent on what could have been a disastrous first day.
As it goes it seems to have been quite well received and the software was kicked around overnight and the problem sorted out. I think the graphics were all pretty smooth on the second day. As a result, everything seemed to run a bit more smoothly.
It gets incredibly busy from here on in... with afternoon and evening sessions through today and tomorrow. Your tweets with comments and questions for the players etc. have been really interesting and useful for the show - so thanks for that.
The loveliest comments have been from people saying that they haven't watched darts before but that they've given it a go and really enjoyed it. That's ace. Of course it's not for everyone... but it does get very dramatic and what they're doing on the stage is ridiculously difficult and hugely impressive as a result.
A lot of my input is filmed in the player's lounge. There's a practice board in there which largely goes unused because there's also a practice room with four boards in it... so I've whiled away some time throwing my own darts every now and then. Ridiculously, I hit a 140 with my first three arrows. My cameraman saw it happen. I wish I'd left it at that and not thrown anymore. He'd have thought I was actually good. It's too late now, he knows the truth. (I did beat him at round-the-clock yesterday though).
Not the easiest place for a non-meat eater, this. I've largely survived on bread and cheese so far. I've bought fruit, though. Vegetables? They can wait.
Oh... by the way... because I'm over here, we won't be doing the radio show this Sunday. But we have made a mini-podcast to fill the gap so I'm sure that'll go up some time on Sunday or Monday.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm also getting a fair few e-mails and comments from people who've seen the trailer and are more than a little surprised that I'm involved. Believe me, nobody is more surprised than me. But I'm a fan and I was available so I could hardly say no now could I?
I'm not going to be commentating mind you - they have a team of experts on board for that - my role is more minister without portfolio. What I want to do is convey my own enjoyment of the darts in the hope that that'll bring the inner-dart-fan out of a viewer here or there. I did an interview with a pdc fansite here about how it came about and obviously, as the event approaches I'm thinking more about how I'll play things.
One thing I'm aware of is that Bravo isn't a sports channel per se. I know there are darts fans who'll seek out the darts wherever it is shown and I'm not too worried about them because I know they'll find what they're looking for: darts. But I think we should probably be thinking about the less committed darts fan - maybe the first time viewer - and what we can do to bring them in to the sport and make it as accessible as possible.
If you've any thoughts on what you'd like to see - whether you're a darts fan, an occasional armchair fan* or a complete newcomer - do let me know how you'd like us to handle things. What kind of thing do you want to see? Is there a question you'd like to ask a player that never gets asked? Is there anything about the game you'd like to know more about? Is there something we can do that will encourage more people to actually play the game? Let me know your thoughts.
Oh... and if you're a facebook kind of person, there's a page for Bravo's darts coverage here and, of course, they're on twitter as @BRAVO_Darts.
By the way. That double one at about 22 seconds in. I threw that. On purpose and everything. It only took me 9 darts. Oh yeah.
If there's one thing I'm hoping to get from the trip, it's some tips that'll improve my own game. To that end, I'm making sure there's plenty of room for improvement.
*By which I don't mean that you're a fan of armchairs.