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Month: May 2009

Many years ago, Richard Digance had a dream. With mainstream television on a drive to attract younger, more idiotic audiences, the journeymen and journeywomen of the entertainment world were no longer getting a fair crack of the whip. People like Digance, who can still fill clubs and theatres, weren’t getting screen time anymore, and younger acts on the live circuit had no chance of getting on TV at all. Putting his head together with fellow comics Mike Osman and Jethro…

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The German digital channel EinsFestival is currently showing a rake of early 1970s Top of the Pops in the dark watches of the night, in the original English (or whatever language it is that DJs speak) unsubbed and undubbed. Having missed out on the UK Gold run of later shows in the mid-1990s, I’m atoning for my sins by hoovering these off the satellite onto shiny discs. Last week’s edition dated from 15 November 1973. Now, one of the guarantees…

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There’s not an awful lot I miss about being a full-time wage slave, but I do have occasional yearnings for the banter and in-jokes that occur between colleagues on the same wavelength. When I worked on the now defunct trade paper Publishing News a decade or so ago, sharing space and humour with people like Rodney Burbeck, Roger Tagholm and Ralph Baxter (not to mention ad boss Matt Levy, who started the Crisp Olympics via internal email to decide on…

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What an age we live in. I write this on an East Coast main line train to Glasgow Central, using the free wi-fi provided by National Express. Observation: download speeds were non-existent until York, when dial-up speeds were achieved. Obviously, if there were no-one else on the train, I’d get full-speed. Selfish bastards.

How clueless are the bookers at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall? They’ve cancelled Ken Dodd’s booking for a show in December 2009, after “a significant number of audience members left before the end” of his show there last December. This, apparently, raised “concerns to our manager on the night as to the quality of some of the performances within the show”. Quality? The only problem with a Doddy show is quantity. When I went to see him in Lowestoft, I enjoyed…

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If a chap can’t be a shameless self-publicist on his blog, where the hell can he? Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I sat in a windowless room in Norwich talking to actor/comedian Miles Jupp* down the line in London. The reason for this disembodied conversation was that I was contributing to his BBC Radio 4 documentary By Jove, Carruthers, in which he explores the tendency of the name Carruthers in fiction to embody a certain type of character, with…

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Half-watching Friday Night with Jonathan Ross earlier while trying to get on with something else, I sat up and paid attention after Tom Hanks had been on for about a minute. Film-wise, I can take or leave pretty much everything he’s done since Dragnet, but, holy cow, he’s a great chat show guest. A proper, bona fide Hollywood star, but with a quick wit and a willingness to talk about something other than the product, just like Jimmy Stewart and…

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This week, I have been mostly reviewing my relationship with Facebook. First things first, I’ve found the whole shebang faintly sinister since I read a Daily Telegraph magazine feature about the founding of the site. I sat, riveted to the bog, by the details of how a high-achieving Billy No-Mates code monkey stole a couple of fellow students’ idea for helping people at their institution keep track of each other socially, and turned it into a global business. It struck…

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