‘I wonder if comedy was larger in those days. You could make a bigger, larger, twat of yourself’
– the late great Rik Mayall on a supposed Golden Age of Comedy.
I’m starting to enjoy this election.
“It’s a wee bit on the horrendous side, is this town-going.” – John Clarke/Fred Dagg
The late, and very much missed, John Clarke. For his birthday.
Contains Harris Street, just outside where the library is now, and bits of Victoria Street in that vicinity. Filmed in roughly 1976: it looked much the same when I moved to Wellers in 1982.
For queens birthday weekend.
Whenever I hear of new knight, I think of this.
‘as the waiter will know, the method of payment is something we have had under consideration for some time now…’
This is bloody brilliant. Aussie humour, but the application is pretty universal.
‘Well, it’s nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.’
‘Mash ups’ or dubbing different souonds onto existing film footage have become all the rage since Youtube became popular.
But they’re not new, really.
This was done by Not the Nine O’Clock News, circa 1980, with a speech by Northern Ireland protestant leader Ian Paisley, the sounds of Northern Irish band Thin Lizzy, and – for reasons which are not clear – a bit of footage from Rod Stewart’s band of the time.
Scene: A field. An unmistakable historic figure from 200 years ago stands, alone and glowering, in his French uniform, his arm tucked in characteristic pose.
A stentorian voiceover demands, rhetorically: ‘Why did Napoleon keep his hand inside his waistcoat?’
Napoleon pulls his hand out. His trousers fall down.
This was one of the earliest things I can remember laughing like a drain at for several hours afterwards. It is stuck in my mind for that reason and also because it was the first time I realised how you pronounced ‘Napoleon’.
I had read the word – probably in Look and Learn magazines – but had no idea how to pronounce it.
Napoleon was, I think, played by either David Jason or Terry Jones. The sketch was from Do Not Adjust Your Set, a tv series made in Britain in the late 1960s by several people who went on to form of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
It is best described as a kind of children’s version of Monty Python, although it pre-dates that series.
It was shown in New Zealand in the early 1970s – I think 1972.
And I loved it. The combination of eccentricity, humour, and historical references like the one above was just magical.
It was just so gloriously different.
It’s been on my mind at the moment because I threw together an iTunes music playlist for a road trip last month labelled “Brits” which included the obvious ones such as the Kinks and Madness and Ian Dury and the Jam and the Smiths…and then, for light relief, the Bonzos.
Vivian Stanshall was…well, an alcoholic nutter, and probably rather awkward to be around. A brilliant eccentric, though.
The Bonzos only had one hit – I’m the Urban Spaceman – and the B side was this lovely piece.
I first heard this on a jukebox in an Auckland cafe, sometime in the mid-eighties, and lay on the floor under the table laughing uncontrollably.
‘An editor isn’t like a general commanding an army; he’s just the ringmaster of a circus. I mean I can book the acts, but I can’t tell the acrobats which way to jump.’
Antony Jay, who created the superb BBC comedy ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes Prime Minister’ series has died.
A lot of folk – including, according legend, then-British Prime Minister Margeret Thatcher, regarded it as a documentary. When it started being shown on TV in New Zealand I was at polytech and boarding with the family of a top New Zealand public servant. I don’t think he ever called it a documentary (and he had worked in the British civil service before coming here) but it was about the only programme he watched and I was left with the distinct impression it struck a very strong chord.
‘Open government, Prime Minister. Freedom of information. We should always tell the press freely and frankly anything that they could easily find out some other way.’
It was also a reminder, in its way, of a more robust political culture than New Zealand has. Many of the episodes were based on either current events or on real previous events recorded in various boat-rocking memoirs by former ministers or by officials.
This excerpt is taken from an episode based on the Westland row which saw Michael Heseltine walk out of Thatcher’s cabinet. Sir Humphrey’s speech at the end is magnificent.
New Zealand doesn’t have much of that. In recent times, Ruth Richardson’s autobiography came closest. Simon Carr’s ‘The Dark Art of Politics’ had some insights into working for Jim Bolger and then for the Act Party in the mid-1990s but there was a sense he could have told much, much more.
This episode, about memoirs of a former PM, could have been about almost any former UK minister, probably from the Harold Wilson governments as those administrations unleashed a library of bilious memoirs.
It’s also brilliantly played, especially by Eddington.
This, from the Twitter feed of Zach Braff says everything that needs to be known, or said, about the Pokemon Go thingy.
Apart from the fact that, really, it’s not an internet fad until those Pokemon whatjamakallits start planking.
Oh, and if you don’t know who Zach Braff is – he played JD in the comedy ‘Scrubs’ which made me laugh immoderately on many an occasion.