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...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Goodish 3.4


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.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Homes Under The Hammer. Without Music. Take 3.

I appreciate that this won't make a great deal of sense if you haven't seen the first show in series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish.

You can fix that by heading over to UKTV Play and watching it now if you have a handy hour or so.

If you have seen the show, you'll know there's a section where I show some clips from Homes Under The Hammer... only I've stripped out the music they're playing under the clips and put in what I think are authentic sound effects instead. (I promise this makes sense in the context of the show.)

Anyway... I make these clips in my shed at home and there's one that we couldn't fit into the show so I thought I might as well throw it online anyway. I used three clips in the original dry run, live performances and they all worked really well... but this one was just too long to justify keeping it in when the same point was being made by the shorter clips. (Mind you, I suppose that in itself says something about how long a clip HUTH are happy to include when it contains... well... not that much, really.)


Friday, September 11, 2015

Well this is bloomin' lovely...

If you're the kind of person who needs persuading to move your TV out of the comfort zone of the first four or five channels, I hope this is the kind of review that might persuade you...


The first episode gets one* more repeat on Saturday night at 10pm or you can catch it on UKTV Play here.



















*I say "one more repeat". I mean "one more repeat for this run". Obviously it'll be repeated again because... well, because Dave. But you know what I mean.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Martin Roberts, Gentleman...

I Storified this because it seemed like the best way of encapsulating something that seemed to me to be rather sweet...

That said, I ought to add that it's about the first show in series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish... if you haven't seen it and are intending to; here be spoilers!

If you do want to watch the show, it's repeated tonight (Wednesday) on Dave at 10.40pm and again on Saturday at 10. Or, you can watch it on UKTV Play here... now!

And now... I present, Martin Roberts, gentleman...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Goodish Day To You...


Tuesday is set to be a very busy day, all told.

There's a big event in the morning called UKTV Live. It's a showcase for all the channels in the UKTV network (Dave, Gold, Watch, Eden etc etc) to show off their new offerings to a gathering of journalists and I'm set to do a bit previewing series 3.

An audience of journalists?

10am?

It sounds ghastly, I know, but I've performed at the last couple of these dos and they've always been a giggle.
 
It's a bit odd that it coincides with the first day of the series... it's obviously a bit late in the day for the print press... but even so, it's a fun event and with Dave commissioning series 4 & 5 even before series 3 has started going out, it's nice that we seem to be considered a part of the family over there.

After that, I'll be visiting a few radio shows here and there before heading over to the top secret bunker that the Dave channel broadcasts from. The idiots have drafted me in to do the continuity announcements for the evening. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson after last year. The fools.



****UPDATE**************************
It seems I spoke/typed too soon... there's a technical hitch and I won't be able to do the live continuity after all.
**************************************

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Now Seems Like A Good Time To Try And Persuade You To Join My Mailing List...

... no... don't go... I won't be long.

 Mail. Phone. Phone.

With the recent announcement that the lovely people at Dave have already commissioned series 4 and 5 of Modern Life Is Goodish, I had a lot of tweets and a few emails and so on asking me how to get tickets for the recordings.

Tickets for the recordings are free - and come with a cautionary sidenote - but the best way to get one is to be on my mailing list. That's because the company that handles the ticketing - TVRecordings.com - allow me to give my mailing list first dibs. I send an email to my list with the dates and details and they don't advertise it anywhere else for a day or two so that mailing-listees get a chance to put their requests in first. In series one to three, we've never had to advertise it anywhere else because the full allocation goes in that first couple of days.

Join - or leave - the mailing list here:
Enter your name and email address below:
Name:
Email:
Subscribe Unsubscribe


Of course, I don't just use the mailing list to plug the free tickets to my series, I also use it to plug the not-free tickets to my tour and the not-free books and DVDs that I write and produce and so on. But I don't send out weekly emails (or monthly or whateverly, for that matter) and try not to bother you unless there's something I've done that I think you might be interested in. And if you read an email and don't want to buy a book... I'll never know so really it's not that big a deal.

Let me persuade you some more... then again, it might put you off. Oh well. Forewarned is forearmed.

During series 1, I decided that a good way of dispensing with the odd props and things I had lying around following the making of the shows was to give them away in little competitions. The only manageable way I could fathom for doing this was to make it available to members of my mailing list. It seemed healthier than one of those "everyone tweet the answers" things that is really used to generate publicity by crowding out other people's timelines.

So, I gave away the Gorscreen from episode 1...  

... the 'Hello Magazine pullover' from episode 4, modelled by the winner, Mike Ericsson, here...




... and the, um, shitting hat (sorry) from episode 3, modelled here by the winner, Dee Traynor's toilet...

I did the same again in series 2 and I have a small stash of stuff from series 3 that I'll give away in a similar fashion over the next eight weeks or so. (Have I mentioned that series 3 starts on Tuesday night?)

Anyway... I do get that people have a reluctance sometimes because, hey, Twitter is cool and giving someone your email address feels like a big commitment. But Twitter is only useful if you're on it at the time a tweet is sent and I don't know about you but I'd rather get an email in my inbox than trust to lucky timing. In fact, I've just taken my own advice and signed up to the mailing list of the brilliant author Dan Rhodes. I follow him on Twitter. But I was still many months late on discovering news of his latest book. I just hadn't seen those tweets. (He's brilliant by the way... I especially recommend, Gold and Little Hands Clapping).

You can subscribe - and unsubscribe - from my mailing list here:

Join - or leave - the mailing list here:
Enter your name and email address below:
Name:
Email:
Subscribe Unsubscribe

and here's a boring blogpost from a while back explaining the double-blind opt in blah blah blah behind it all...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Series Three Is Less Than A Week Away...

... which means that this...


... is now possible. Y'know... if you're a series-link kind of person.






Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lights, Camera... Action Figure.

You might well have seen a trail for the new series by now. There are a few different variations out there, but the gist of them all is that someone in the marketing department is treating the show like a price-comparison website and trying to bribe people to watch the show by offering a free toy in the shape of a, um, Dave Gorman action-figure. But I overrule the idea because it's silly. (And they get withdrawn anyway because they're toxic and dangerous etc etc.)

There's one for every episode for you to not collect...


Grown men, playing with their dolls.
I haven't actually seen one of the ads go out as yet - but I can always tell when one's been on the telly because I get a small flurry of tweets from people telling me they actually want one of the dolls.
Some people seem genuinely disappointed that they're not available. But they're not.

You can't get one. Even I can't get one.

When I respond to say as much, some people seem convinced that this is some kind of cunning double bluff and that we'll make them available as an ironic, nonsense bit of merchandise at some point.

We won't. We really won't.

(No, I don't think they look like me either.)
For what it's worth I've always found the idea of merchandise a bit weird for a comic. Maybe weird's not right. Uncomfortable?

I've never been comfortable with the idea of selling myself as a product. I tell stories for a living. I'll cheerfully sell you tickets, books and DVDs and so on because those are all just different ways of delivering what I do.

T-shirts, key-rings and, heaven help us, dolls are something else. I know plenty of people who do sell that kind of merchandise - some of them, friends, many of them comics I admire.
And people have tried to persuade me to join their ranks because it could/would make touring a more lucrative enterprise.

But there's always been something making me resist the idea. The way I see it: I don't think I'd be comfortable standing next to someone in a pub if they had my face on their t-shirt. So it would be a bit weird of me to sell them that t-shirt?

I don't know. I don't think there's any great moral argument being made here... it's just not something I'm very comfortable with.

Not available, not even in bad shops.
That doesn't mean that on the day of the shoot I wasn't quite keen on getting hold of one of them when we'd finished.

But it wasn't allowed. Presumably, because they needed them all for some post-production reason.

I'm probably not the best judge as to whether or not they look like me or not but I'm not very convinced. On the day I spent some time trying to work it out.

I'd hold one in my hands and look at it from all angles and as I turned it slowly between my fingers, there'd always be one moment - just one, precise angle - where it seemed to resemble me... but then a millimeter more rotation and it would look nothing like me again.

I wanted to get one because I wanted to send it to my Mum. Anonymously. She didn't know anything about the trail and there would have been ample opportunity to have one dropped off at her house before any of the ads had been shown on the box. Imagine coming home to find a doll designed to look like your son waiting for you without any context to explain its existence?

She'd have called me to ask what it was and why it was there. I'd have denied all knowledge of it. She'd have believed me and...

Oh well. Too late now.

I don't know what's happened to them since the shoot. I dread to think.

The heads and the clothes were obviously all made for the job. (Whoever painted the heads very flatteringly left all the grey out of my beard - which I'm very grateful for.) But the bodies were all from existing dolls. I have the body of a One Direction singer, apparently.

I think they were all Nialls. Or maybe they were Liams. They had to all be the same one because the neck size varies from doll to doll otherwise.

So pity the poor props buyer who had to go to a toy shop and buy eight Niall dolls.





Monday, August 24, 2015

FYI...

Series Three of Modern Life Is Goodish is now in the schedules. It starts on Tuesday, September 8th at 10pm and will be there every Tuesday for 8 weeks.

Just so you know...

Friday, August 7, 2015

More Goodish News


Since we finished making series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish recently I've had a lot of people asking me when it's going to be on. I don't know yet although it seems likely that, as with series 1 & 2, it will launch in September. I won't be shy of letting you know for sure as and when it gets a confirmed date.

What I wasn't expecting to find out at this stage - but I'm absolutely bloody delighted about - is that the channel already know they want more of it. They've commissioned series 4 and 5. Blimey. Just another 16 hours of stand-up, then.

Apparently, UKTV estimate that the second series reached 7.8 million people... and the biggest audience was 102% up on the slot average. If you watched any of series one and two - thanks. I hope you'll enjoy series three too. And then four and five. When we make them.


PS: This is the corporate announcement which contains more numbers I don't really understand.

Monday, August 3, 2015

That's A Wrap

Photo by @hicksm6
We finished filming Series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish last week.

Blimey. That was an intense few months.

There isn't an easy way of making eight hour long shows. Making the powerpoint files - I reckon there are around 3,000 slides in a series - is always going to be time consuming. In the last couple of months there have been a fair few days where I've started work at 10 in the morning and not finished work until 3 or 4 the next day... and then only to get some kip as I lie in the passenger seat of a car as we head out to a small theatre for a dry run.

But there's no getting away from the fact that making the shows work live first is the best way of making them work on TV. And putting several hundred slides together - and trying to do it well - just takes a long time. I wish I could see a shortcut through it - but there isn't one I can see that doesn't chip away at the end result in some small way.

Photo by @thatsafineidea
I wanted to let the dust settle a bit before I talked about something that I've had a lot of comments on: the ticketing for the series.

It seems that this series, more people have been turned away and a lot of people have been sending me messages full of anger and outrage at the fact that the show has been - according to them - massively oversubscribed.

I don't think that's a completely fair reflection on what's happened. I'll try and explain.

They issued the same number of tickets for all the shows this year as they did for all of the shows  last year.

This year, the most we turned away was around 80 or 90 people. But on one occasion it was only 30ish. That's still more than I'd like to see turned away. But then, last year, issuing the same number of tickets meant that on one of our four recordings (we do two shows in a night) we didn't turn anyone away and we could have squeezed a handful of extra people in.

The factor that varies so much is not the number of tickets issued. It's the number of people who turn up.

For reasons that I don't quite understand, tickets for recordings are free. They always have been. I imagine they always will be. I like the idea in principle - after all, there's an income involved in the making of the TV show that has nothing to do with any ticket revenue.

But it also creates a problem. If you get a free ticket to something and then decide that you can't be bothered on the day... well, so what? If there's football on the TV? Or your babysitter cancels? Or you find yourself in a sunny beer garden and your mate's just got a round in? Or you weigh up the idea that you might not get in anyway and so decide not to spend the money on a train fare? There are no consequences. So people ask for tickets... only to then not use them all the time.

And this happens to pretty much every TV show that has a live audience. I know of one show - a big rating, popular show that has an audience of around 400 people. It regularly issues in excess of 3000 tickets. It rarely has to turn away more than 20 people and sometimes isn't full. That's a hell of a lot of people taking tickets and then not using them. And nobody knows until the day who is and who isn't going to come along.

I suppose they could try issuing 2500 tickets for their show. But what if the 500 tickets they didn't issue were the ones that would have gone to the 500 people who would have turned up... and they ended up only issuing tickets to the 2500 who don't bother?

On Modern Life Is Goodish the audience - there are around 200 of them - are in between the cameras and me. If we end up being 50 people down it will affect all of the shots. Having a full house is essential.

How would you solve this mathematical conundrum? The one thing that I know would solve it - selling the tickets - isn't allowed. It has to be based on guesswork and previous attendance rates. Which is what it is based on. Sometimes there's no excess. Sometimes there's a relatively large excess. That's down to the randomness of human behaviour and has nothing to do with those issuing the tickets.

I wish every one who requested tickets would just turn up. But over time, I've come to accept that this just isn't the case. Sometimes 30% of people show. Sometimes it's 80%. Most of the time it's somewhere in between.

Many years ago, when I made my first TV series - The Dave Gorman Collection - a decision was made to not over-subscribe the tickets for the first recording. We were in a tiny studio that could accommodate just 100 people. My mailing list at the time was tiny. So small that I could remember many of the email addresses. Because the gigs I was doing were in smaller venues I also knew a lot of their faces. Everyone felt so certain that because all the people asking for tickets were from that mailing list, they would all come and it would end up being rude to massively oversubscribe. So we issued 110 tickets for the first recording. 50 people turned up. The other seats were eventually occupied by people who had been turned away from an oversubscribed recording of Goodness, Gracious Me. They didn't seem thrilled by the idea of watching someone they'd never heard of, doing something a bit weird rather than a series of sketches by the people they'd been excited about when they left the house that evening.

It's the 60 people who didn't turn up that night who are the problem. It would be so much better if we could issue 200 tickets for these recordings and do so in the confidence that they'd all show up. But we can't. Because they simply don't. But at every recording this series - significantly more people got in than didn't. In fact, the number of people turned away is not only smaller than the number of people getting in... it's also smaller than the number of people who are requesting tickets but not showing up. Which illustrates how unpredictable people are.

It's an imperfect system. But when 280 people turn up. That's not because the ticketing people issued 80 tickets too many. On another night, they could issue 80 tickets less and end up with a theatre with only 120 people in it. There isn't a way of knowing who will and who won't show in advance. If there was - we'd issue 200 tickets to the right people.

Oddly, one of the people who sent a very angry email about not getting in to one of the Series 3 recordings did have tickets for one of the shows in Series 2 also. But they didn't turn up that time. In their head, we were supposed to issue two more tickets for the series 2 recording because we should have predicted they weren't coming... but issue  two less tickets for the series 3 recording because we should have predicted they were.

None of us likes to see people turned away. But insisting that we should have known how many people would show up and therefore could have done something about it in advance just doesn't add up. One thing we do do is ensure that anyone turned away on the day is offered a guaranteed seat at a future recording. But do you know what - some of the people who request that, then don't show up for that... and so the prediction game remains as difficult as it ever was.






Friday, July 3, 2015

Sprint Finish

We're three quarters of the way through the recordings for series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish. Two more shows to go.

Doing two shows in a night sure as hell makes it feel like it's whizzing by. We've turned out six hours of fresh stand-up in the last three months. Blimey. Now there's a sprint finish to get the final two sorted for the end of July.

I really enjoyed the last two shows. Especially the final week of preparation. That's because that final week mostly happens on stage and that's the fun bit. Doing a dry run on stage one night, re-writing it the next day and then doing it again and so on and so on is perhaps the most enjoyable part of this job.

You find out infinitely more about how to handle material by running it with real audiences than you ever could do by staring at it on the page or by any number of meetings etc. My way of not-staring-at-it-on-the-page is to, um... not put it on the page in the first place. I find scripting stuff in advance takes something away from the material. For me, it's almost always best to take an idea on stage, rather than some words. The words that fall out as you try and explain things to people are often better than whatever you would have written because you're not imagining an audience - you're there with them and can sense how much they've taken in, whether the first part of an idea has settled in the room or not etc. Writing stuff out in advance turns it into a test of memory rather than an exercise in communication. I want people to attend a show, not a rehearsal. I'm sure that watching a rough-around-the-edges show is better than watching a polished rehearsal.

Writing it down means you create something that feels like the "correct" version. Which is a very rigid way of dealing with something that hasn't yet been tested. I figure that if my focus is on saying it the right way that involves closing my mind to other possibilities that feel better in the moment.

Lawks, I'm navel gazing today. Sorry.
 
A few related bits and pieces.
1: We recorded two episodes of the show last Sunday. That's Sunday the 28th of June. These were our fifth and sixth shows of the run, although that's not necessarily the order in which they'll be shown. We start the recordings around 6.30pm, but the audience normally starts filing in at around 6 which means I have to have the final version of the powerpoint loaded on the laptop before then. I only mention this because last Sunday something happened at 5.24pm that changed the endings to one of the stories I was telling. So I was screen grabbing something and adding a couple of new slides to the presentation about five minutes before we opened the doors to the audience. This is why I love making the show in this way. It's home made. I make the powerpoints myself. There's no "sorry the graphics department have gone home" to deal with. And because we never lock in on a definitive it-must-be-like-this version of the show, we can make changes five minutes before the recording starts. It's much more exciting making TV like that. 

You'll notice I haven't said what it was that happened. That's because I don't want to post any spoilers for the series. I guarantee that when it's on the telly there'll be some people thinking, "I bet that didn't really happen on the day of the show" in part because people expect telly - not live telly, at any rate - to be planned out in advance and inflexible.  But it did. It really did.

2: As the series is nearing the end of production, that means I'm also nearing the end of this run of Screen Guild gigs - there's one more, next Friday at the Hackney Picture House - and three more dry runs for the series too. All of which are at Norden Farm, Maidenhead towards the end of the month.

3: I've been so busy on the series, I failed to notice that yesterday was publication day for the Too Much Information paperback. But it was.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tinder Night Garden

I've spent the last week or so wondering whether I should mention this or not. What the hell, here goes.

I received an email from someone who - for good reason - would rather not be identified here. She's in her 30s. She's single. She live in London. She uses Tinder.

If you don't know what Tinder is, well, according to Wikipedia it's a "location-based social discovery application that facilitates communication between mutually interested users." I'm not sure that's made it much clearer. It's a dating app. It shows you pictures of people you might be interested in on your phone. Because it's on your phone it knows where you are and so it sort of knows that they're close to you. You swipe the picture one way if you're interested in them and the other way if you're not and if a mutual attraction is discovered then it allows you to get in touch with one another.

At least I think that's what it is. I'm a married man. I got married in 2010. Tinder was born in 2012. I have no first hand understanding of what it is and how it works. The closest I've come to it before now was at a dinner party a year or two ago when a group of us crowded around a friend's phone as she showed us what it looked like and we all chuckled at quite how many men had chosen profile pictures that featured them and dolphins. A lot of men seem to choose dolphin pictures.

I imagine people put quite a lot of thought into choosing their profile picture. That picture is what people will judge you on. Will they swipe right (good) or will they swipe left (bad)? It all depends on whether they like the look of you or not. So you'd probably want it to be you-at-your-best, right? In any case, you'd certainly want it to be you.

Wouldn't you?

Well, apparently not. Because, as my anonymous correspondent reveals, someone somewhere is using a picture of me.
"Is this you?" asks anonymous, to which the answer is yes.
"And if it is you, is it, um, actually you?" To which the answer is no.

Honest.

It really isn't.

I mean it is my face. But it's not me.

I suppose on some level I ought to be flattered by Ed's choices. (Of course, I know there's no reason to assume that a man who isn't using his own face would use his own name, but for ease, let's call him, Ed).

I'm not really sure what Ed hopes to gain by using my photo on Tinder.

I'm guessing he (or she) isn't trying to set up actual dates and that it's got more to do with sending spam or somesuch but even so, on some level, it ought to be flattering that someone thought it would make a passable profile picture.

Especially for someone listed as 32.

As I write this, I'm 44. I was, I think, 40 when that picture was taken.

As far as I'm aware the only place it's been used is in the Independent where it accompanied an interview I did while promoting the first series of Modern Life Is Goodish.  Even though someone is clearly up to no good, the fact that they're taking 8 years off me while they're at it makes me feel just a tiny bit happy.

Sort of.
But probably not so happy that I'm happy for Ed to continue with his lie. So I'm trying to track Ed down. (If I can do so, it might make its way into series three.)

If you're in London. On Tinder. And female. And you happen to find a man called Ed who looks suspiciously like me, could you please let me know? Please don't swipe right. I mean, obviously, you'll have a strong, natural urge to do so - who wouldn't - but without knowing what he's up to, I don't want to be responsible for anyone making contact with him in any way. Especially on a platform I have no real understanding of.

But if you do find him, could you let me know where you were and - if Tinder tells you this sort of stuff - how far away from you he was supposed to be? I promise I won't share your name and details with anyone. You can send me an email via my website, or find me on Twitter or on the slightly-harder-to-navigate, facebook.

But you can't contact me on Tinder. I'm not on Tinder.

Right. I'm going to post this. Cue the "yeah, yeah, we believe you!" replies!





Thursday, May 14, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Screen Guild Gigs...

So far, the dates for this fourth season of Screen Guild shows have been released one by one. This hasn't been because we were holding any information back, it's because there are only so many dates that work for me and it wasn't immediately clear that they worked for any one venue. (Which is why the first two have been in different places.)

But that's all been sorted out now, so we have the dates for the rest of the season. The final three shows will all be at the Hackney Picture House - the lovely venue that hosted all of the third season of shows.



So the dates for the remaining three shows are:
Saturday, May 16th,
Friday, June 12th
Friday, July 10th.
You can get tickets for any of them here.

For the unfamiliar, these are shows that I host while introducing four guest acts. The Screen Guild is my new material playground - the place where I get to experiment with new ideas and work up material. Without it, there wouldn't have been anything to tour these last few years and nothing to make Modern Life Is Goodish out of.

There's a page on my site devoted to the shows, so if you want a fuller explanation as to what it is, why it is and why it's where it is, this is the link to clink.

Incidentally, we're making series three of Modern Life Is Goodish right now - two episodes filmed, six to go - and that means there are also a few other live shows happening, always in the week before each recording... oh, and then the Straight To The Point* (*The Powerpoint) tour continues later this year - and early next. Details for everything live can be found on the Live Dates page.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Austerity & All That.

My parents were very keen on the idea of savings. If I or my brothers wanted some new toy or what-have-you, we were told to save up some money and buy it. Occasionally it would be, "if you can save half, we'll pay the rest". Whatever it was, we were raised on the idea that you can't have everything straight away. It's a message that's still kind of hard wired into me.

The Smallest Radiator In The World

But when, as an adult, I was able to buy a flat my parents didn't tell me that I was making a terrible mistake and that I shouldn't get into that much debt. They didn't tell me that I should save up all the money first and that only then should I be able to buy a property. A mortgage isn't the kind of debt I was raised to be scared of. It's the kind of debt I was raised to aspire to.

But it is a kind of debt.

I was thinking about this on my way in to work this morning. Because one of the things I keep hearing in this election campaign is about the various parties' plans to eliminate the deficit. And when I hear the phrase it sounds like common sense. Because debt is bad. Just like my parents taught me.

But then not all debt is bad. A mortgage - one you can afford, at least - is sensible debt. It makes more sense to live somewhere and pay for it while you're doing so, than it does to go without.

And it feels like Great Britain is doing quite a lot of going-without at the moment. And the excuse for all these austerity measures - all this cruelty - is that these cuts are necessary. These are tough decisions that nobody wants to make. It's time to tighten our belts. Etc etc.We must eliminate the deficit.

But isn't that, y'know, a load of bollocks? It seems to me that we really shouldn't be trying to eliminate the deficit. In fact, I'm pretty sure we ought to have a deficit. If we're paying for things that will exist for generations, the cost of those things should spread across the generations. Especially when the alternative is to go without. Great Britain ought to have a mortgage. And spending money on educating people and keeping them healthy seems like the best way of ensuring that future generations will be able to keep up the payments.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oh The Dates, They Are A-Changing

I'm afraid the first thirteen shows of the next leg of the tour are going to have to be moved. I know how annoying some people will find it and I can only apologise and hope that you'll agree with me that it's for a very good reason.

I've only got myself to blame. I broke the first rule of showbiz which, as everyone knows, is to never have sex with your wife nine months before a bunch of tour dates. Sorry.

Or in other words. I'm going to be a Dad. Woo hoo! (Woo hoo always looks sarcastic. I don't mean it to be.)

Knowing exactly when a new human is going to announce themselves to the world is tricky. But there is no way on earth that I'm not being there. So the choice we were facing for the tour was to either
1)  carry on as planned and almost certainly have to cancel a show or two or more on the day or at very short notice.
Or
2) make a decision now to move a few dates.

It seems to me that doing it at short notice would be far more chaotic. At that time, people would have booked trains and hotels and so on. Finding replacement dates that work would have been harder too. Rightly or wrongly this seemed like the less disruptive course of action as it gives everyone a sensible amount of notice.

The dates that are moving were for shows that fell between the 4th and 22nd of October. We were able to reschedule one of them to November but the rest are in January. I am of course very grateful to all the venues that have taken this so well and worked with us to find the best replacement dates they can.

The new tour dates for the tour extension, now look like this - the ones that have been moved are against a different background colour.
OCTOBER 2015
23 - JERSEY Opera House
24 - GUILDFORD G Live
25 - CHELTENHAM Everyman Theatre
28 - POOLE The Lighthouse
29 - SALISBURY City Hall
30 - WATFORD Colosseum
31 - READING Hexagon

NOVEMBER 2015
1 - NEWCASTLE Theatre Royal
5 - WIMBORNE Tivoli Theatre
6 - DURHAM Gala Theatre
7 - MOTHERWELL Concert Hall
8 - LANCASTER Grand Theatre
11 - CRAWLEY Hawth Theatre
12 - SWINDON Wyvern Theatre
13 - YEOVIL Octagon Theatre
14- COVENTRY Warwick Arts Centre
15 - SALFORD The Lowry
18 - CHELMSFORD Civic Theatre
19 - NOTTINGHAM Playhouse
20 - NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate Theatre
21 - MIDDLESBROUGH Town Hall
22 - DUNFERMLINE Alhambra Theatre
25 - BASINGSTOKE Anvil
26 - BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall
27 - CAMARTHEN Lyric Theatre
28 - CARDIFF St David's Hall
29 - WOLVERHAMPTON  - Wulfrun Hall

JANUARY 2016
18/19/20 - NORWICH The Playhouse
22 - HEREFORD - The Courtyard Theatre
23 - CORNWALL - Hall for Cornwall
24 - EXETER - Corn Exchange
26 - SHREWSBURY - Theatre Severn
27 - BROXBOURNE - Civic Theatre
28 - ALDERSHOT - Princes Theatre
29 - CHATHAM - Central Theatre
30 - CROYDON - Fairfield Halls
31 - HAYES - Beck Theatre

If you'd bought a ticket to one of the reorganised dates and still want to come along, the people to contact are whoever you bought your ticket from, whether that's the venue or an agency or... well no, that about covers it. Hopefully, they'll be in touch with you any way.

I really am sorry to be letting people down like this. But of course I'm also being absolutely head over heels about the reason behind it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Russ Abbot vs Radio Gaga

I think I might have uncovered something even bigger than the Blurred Lines/Marvin Gaye thing...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Goodish Tickets.

It's nose to the grindstone time on series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish and it occurs to me that, when it comes to the recordings it would be really rather lovely if there was an audience there to watch the shows.

I told my mailing list about them yesterday (they always get first dibs) but if you're the kind of person who'd like to see the show being recorded - this is the link you need.

We record two shows each night... and as people who've been to see any of series 1 and 2 can hopefully confirm, we really do try to make them work as live shows on the night. It isn't a let's-record-a-load-of-stuff-and-then-try-and-make-it-work-in-the-edit sort of thing.

All the shows are recorded at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill and this series we're doing them all on Sundays - which hopefully means that fewer people will have that will-I-be-able-to-get-there-in-time-after-work panic.

The recordings are on May 3rd, May 31st, June 28th and July 26th. Doors at 5pm and we should be starting the recording at 6pm.

It'd be lovely to see you there!

Oh... and of course there are warm up shows, mixed bills and the continuation of the tour in the autumn... all of which are detailed on the Live Dates page.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Screen Guilds & Screen Builds...

Hello there. I had a lovely time in New York, ta for asking.

But I barely had time to get over my jet lag before I was back in the office for the start of Series 3 of Modern Life Is Goodish. It's the early part of production: all about corralling my thoughts and looking for connections between things.

The start of a process that will generate 8 hours of new material is also the point at which I have to put myself and my new ideas in front of some audiences - because it's only when it's in front of an audience that you really find out whether it connects or not.
 

And that means it's time for my monthly night - Dave Gorman's Screen Guild - to return. With regular one man and a mic stand-up, it's easy to try out new ideas because there are loads of clubs that can accommodate a guest popping in for a 5 or 10 minute spot. But my double act partner -  a 9 foot by 12 foot screen - doesn't really fit in most clubs. And even when it can fit, it doesn't, y'know,  fit ... because it has to take over the stage for the whole night and having a big screen getting in everyone else's way so that I can do 5 minutes with it in the middle of the night is just a bit weird and disruptive.

So instead, once a month I do 30 to 40 minutes of stuff in between some guests (that I know will be brilliant because I choose them) and that solves the riddle. As well as giving me a fierce deadline to keep me working on things.

We've done three seasons of it so far and it's been the most enormously helpful way of building material for the two tour shows and fourteen episodes of TV that have been created since I started them.

We've only been able to set up the first show of this fourth season as yet - but others will be following on a roughly monthly basis. The first one is going to be on March 14th at The Proud Archivist in Haggerstone.

As well as my monthly club night, as the recordings get closer, I always need to do dry runs of the shows that will eventually become the complete episodes. I do them in blocks of three and do rough run throughs of two shows each night because, well, because we record them two at a time too.

The dry runs are all set up for block 1:
APRIL 26, 2015
SUNDAY
COLCHESTER ARTS CENTRE SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets
APRIL 28, 2015
TUESDAY
FAREHAM, ASHCROFT ARTS CENTRE SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets
MAY 1, 2015
FRIDAY
BARKING: THE BROADWAY SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets

... and block 2:
MAY 24, 2015
SUNDAY
TRING: THE COURT THEATRE SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets
MAY 26, 2015
TUESDAY
CAMBRIDGE, THE JUNCTION SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets
MAY 29, 2015
FRIDAY
ALDERSHOT: WEST END CENTRE SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets

... and block 3:
JUNE 21, 2015
SUNDAY
JUNE 23, 2015
TUESDAY
JUNE 25 2015
FRIDAY
NEWBURY: NEW GREENHAM ARTS SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. Tickets go on sale March 11th

... and block 4:
JULY 19, 2015
SUNDAY
JULY 21, 2015
TUESDAY
JULY 24 2015
FRIDAY
MAIDENHEAD: NORDEN FARM SCREEN BUILD: Two rough and ready one man shows. get tickets

They are, by necessity, within a certain distance of home - because the whole point of these shows is that in between, I do rewrites etc - and I can't remake a 700 slide powerpoint presentation while making a 5 hour journey to a venue.

But that's what touring is for. And the tour - Dave Gorman Gets Straight To The Point* (*The Powerpoint) -  has been extended with 39 more dates in the autumn.

Details for this - and all these warm ups - can be found on the Live Dates page of my site.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sharknado...

I'm half way through the run in New York - 6 shows done, 6 to go - and I'm loving it here. (Someone should definitely come up with some shorthand, symbolic way of conveying the phrase "I love New York", I think it could sell.)

The weather might be about to throw a spanner in the works. If the news is to be believed, tonight and tomorrow will see New York being hit by "one of the top two or three blizzards in the city's history."

Still... this church on 5th Avenue has its priorities sorted. Blizzard? It could be worse:

If you're in New York and dare to venture out on Tuesday, the show will be at SubCulture - 45 Bleecker Street at 7.30pm. I'm there on Wednesday night too and then doing two shows each night (at 7 and 9) on Friday and Saturday before - sharknado permitting - flying home on Sunday.

The full schedule of shows is here.

UPDATE: I've just had a call telling me that Tuesday's show has been cancelled because, well, because everyone is being advised to cancel their shows as City Hall wants everyone to stay where they are and not travel. At all. Blimey.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Start Spreading The News...

I'm leaving today...

... actually, I'm not. I'm leaving on Monday. First show, Tuesday.

I've done two runs in New York before now. On both occasions, I set out to do a six week run and on both occasions I ended up staying for twelve weeks. I don't have much time to settle in on this occasion and extending the run isn't an option either. I have to hit the ground running. It's twelve shows and then home to start revving the engine on series three of Modern Life Is Goodish.

I'll be on at SubCulture from Tuesday 20th through to Saturday 31st of Jan. No shows on Thursdays. Two shows Friday and Saturday.

If you're in New York and want to come along... come along!