Hoo-ray and up She Rises.

So much has happened since my last post in March that this blog risks sounding like an itinerary. The main news is that Hitchin Mostly Comedy will return in the summer at a new venue, the Queen Mother Theatre . The road to this decision was convoluted, though enough fell into place en route to leave me optimistic about this new start. The catalyst was a survey I ran via our mailing list a few months back, in which I asked, "If the club returned in the current climate, with tickets still around £15 (and with similar line-ups), would you still attend?"; the response to which, in simple terms, was a resounding yes. Nearly 250 mailing list subscribers responded in a single week, with around a hundred also taking the option to leave some feedback. And only two people were abusive, which counts as a win when you consider they posted their comments online anonymously. Imagine how many more insults we would have received if the comedy club was a woman. Particularly if she was Diane

Hancock's Hour and a Half

Over the weekend, as a little treat, I attended a screening of three episodes of Hancock's Half Hour at London's Riverside Studios, which was the location of their shooting some sixty-six years earlier; I'm down with the kids (of 1957).  The event was staged by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society , of which I'm a member, and was the third screening at the venue, though I couldn't make the previous two due to the recent rail strike hoo-ha. So this trip was a case of third-time lucky for me. My last visit to the studios was in 2008, when Glyn and I filmed a promotional interview for our first Edinburgh show, The Balloon Debate (footage I recall seeing once at the time, but never since). Being TV nerds, we were excited to be at the former site of TFI Friday for work reasons. We probably even hummed the opening riff to The Riverboat Song as we walked around the building.  It's no secret that I love Hancock's Half Hour. Why would it be? The writing's timele

I Say a Little Prayer For You.

I was sad to hear of the death of Burt Bacharach last week. There's little I can say about his music that someone else won't have said before, and no doubt better. To have had a career that spans so many decades is already extraordinary before you even consider the number of songs he wrote and how many live rent-free in the public consciousness. Even his simpler songs, such as Baby It's You or Magic Moments, have a depth that betrays their simplicity; listen to John Lennon's rendition of the former on The Beatles' first album, Please Please Me, and its hits you straight in the heart. Who cares that he was a twenty-two-year-old singing through a cold that day? The emotional pull of his vocal still gets you. It's no wonder that Bacharach started his career as a jazz pianist. So many of his songs achieve the feat of sounding both musically intricate and effortless. Dropped beats and unusual chords abound without confusing the ear or throwing you off. It's class

Under Starter's Orders.

Like most people, I'm gradually easing into 2023, quietly hopeful of what it may bring. Admittedly, current world events don't create the most optimistic backdrop. Only today, the attention-seeking, Tribble-headed man-Muppet Boris Johnson disclosed a phone conversation with Putin early last year, in which old Vlads let slip that a UK missile strike "would only take a minute" (a statement I found less upsetting than Boris saying, "He called me on the blower" like the walking caricature he is). Optimism is a matter of perspective, really. Personally, my January's been a drudge, as it often is. I had a near-miss workwise when I was pencilled for a job that I ultimately didn't get, which was frustrating, though at least it broke the seal casting-wise. By this stage of my career, I've had enough pencils to fill a Ryman the size of Jupiter, but what can you do? It's better to be nearly wanted than not wanted at all (and the less said about my recen

'F' Off.

Last night, we recorded the discussion that will form the meat* of our 'F' instalment of The McCartney McAlphabet . The episode's been in the offing since August, though we kept postponing it, though the will to record was always there. But despite the long hiatus, it was great to be back, although I don't think I played my A-Game - or should that be F? - tonight. I wasn't on form though the edit will reveal if this reads (and if there's a subject I can bluff whatever my mindset, it's Macca). But despite my rustiness, it left me keen to get back in the swing of recording more episodes. I've been in the creative doldrums since I returned from the Fringe and desperately want to break the mental logjam with some new activity, and the podcast is a good start. It's an excellent way to stretch my mental legs (by which I mean 'the legs of my brain' and not some weird limb spasm). It's also worth noting the lovely boost we had when we released ou

I've Got The Music In Me.

I'm grateful for the little light that came on today, metaphorically speaking*, while playing a few old songs on my acoustic. It was like a gap in my DNA was filled** to complete me. I felt comfortable despite being out of practice, and for once, I didn't question what I was doing; it just felt right. I had a brief moment of clarity that wasn't undercut by my mood or sense of self-worth. If I can tap into this, it might give me the impetus to start something new. It probably helps that I've been revisiting the songs from my 2018 standup show, 'David Ephgrave: My Part in His Downfall', by posting video clips of them on social media as a placeholder until I start my next project (whatever that is). In truth, it's hard to know where to begin with that. The combination of Mostly Comedy's closure after so much difficulty and my long, drawn-out route back to the Fringe has left me burnt out emotionally, creatively and financially, and I need a chance to regrou

A Tale of Two Podcasts.

My ongoing mission to tie up loose ends saw me recently edit the final episode of More Than Mostly Comedy (recorded at the last Hitchin Mostly Comedy on 9th December 2021) and my share of the edit of our most recent instalment of The McCartney McAlphabet . Both are available wherever you pick up your podcasts (you lucky thing, you). I'm now in the unusual position of all my editing being up to date, which is a rare treat. In the case of More Than Mostly Comedy, I purposely saved it until I felt ready to look at it and for a time when the stresses of the Fringe had passed. I knew it would be bittersweet because of the circumstances. Unsurprisingly, I didn't want to spend much time wallowing in the last remaining link to something that had been so central to my life for fourteen years. The thought of being confronted by audio from a show that wasn't supposed to be our last was daunting. Both my partnership with Glyn and Mostly Comedy were things I'd fiercely protected, a