Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Solitaire's the only game in town

Neither comedy nor writing is the “Hardest game in the world” no matter what people might tell you. The hardest game in the world is in fact ‘Escape from Colditz’, which is so hard that it beat up ‘Perudo’ and ‘Risk’ with a hand tied behind its back three years in a row in the world’s hardest games final and the edge of the board is capable of cutting diamonds, the fingers of children, their life expectancy and, when opened out, their will to live.

However they’re both quite tricky games- comedy and writing (not ‘Perudo’ and ‘Risk’, forget about them, they’re absolutely not relevant), and consequently the intersection of these two is also fairly difficult, particularly because for me writing requires solitude and comedy requires an audience. I think that's the reason all the truly great performed comedy is written by duos - Muir and Norden, Galton and Simpson, Took and Feldman, Marshall and Renwick, Lee and Herring, and of course Chuckle and Chuckle. They need to wrestle over the words, argue over what’s funny, hold a great big pen between them and struggle over its direction, try to amuse each other and agree that yes, they were better when they had the two big dog costumes and worked on a more purely visual level.

This is why writing can sometimes take me a while- I have to compose it with a free head and hand and no self criticism or it can’t flow and then come back to it later with the cold eyes of a hard to please audience, and pick it to bits. It’s Jekyll and Hyde only more Jekyll and Heckle.
Sometimes, I don’t talk to myself for weeks afterwards.

Gas man came today and some DVDs, bringing the astonishing sight of Tom Baker speaking candidly and seriously about himself and the complete fag of moving the kitchen table (under which sit far too many shoes) to open the trap door to the cellar, though not necessarily in that order, you understand.
Perudo’s rubbish, by the way, even the name, and you lose interest half way through the far too involved instructions. Now, writing interesting and comprehensible game instructions that’s quite possibly a harder game than writing comedy.

It's all about the cutting- writing comedy, and making solitaire diamonds shine too, I expect...

Thursday, 25 January 2007

The story so far...

Ian is 38 and has just had the biggest break in his career ever, well two of them actually-
  • break 1) resigning from his job and earning only £120 over the next four months, that was a damn long break I can tell you,
  • and break 2) getting a six episode radio show commissioned by the BBC in the same week as being shortlisted for a BBC playwrights' award.
The upshot of this is that people now finally seem to believe I'm a writer, and all I really have to do to maintain this illusion now is just keep writing.
So, why am I setting up a 'blog instead? Well, I admire Richard Herring's Warming Up greatly and like the way he uses that space to explore ideas, examine his navel, force himself to be entertaining daily, and erm, warm up for the proper writing. Furthermore, everyone else has one now. If nothing else it'll get my thoughts out the house now and again even when I'm not getting out much myself (hence the puntastic title).
Don't expect anything earth-shattering here, and don't expect daily missives either. Expect the unexpected if you like (it sounds like one hand clapping in a forest where no one can hear it)...