You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘BBC’ tag.

The Lesser Of Three Evils

The Lesser Of Three Evils - picture (c) Monica Sablone

The eagle-eared among you may have noticed that I was not invited to the LBC Mayoral debate that turned into a triple-fuckathon in the lift. Despite that fact that this would clearly have been the best place to showcase my own, quite spectacular, personal lexicon of vulgarity together with half-baked theories about what London does or doesn’t need, I wasn’t invited.

LBC didn’t see their way clear to extending me an invitation. Neither did the BBC ask me on their Newsnight special last week. All in all, I can only conclude that there has been a wide-ranging media conspiracy to conceal me from the general public.

Perhaps partly because I am no longer an official candidate for London Mayor.

As March reached its end it became clear that I wasn’t going to have raised the £10,000 deposit needed to stand for Mayor of London. We raised some, but nowhere near enough. It was a little galling to realise that we had more than enough support in the boroughs to get the 330 signatures we would have needed, but that simple lack of funds was going to prevent us doing it for real.

Not to mention that the whole process was a massive pain in the arse. Who would have thought that standing for Mayor on an ill-thought-through platform, pretty much as a laugh would be hideously expensive, involve soul-crushing amounts of admin, and could possibly mean that you go to jail for electoral fraud? Really, who?

So, I’ve put off blogging about this out of embarrassment more than anything else. I feel like I’ve let a lot of people down. People who made posters life this:

My finest hour

Hell, yeah!

I’ve let down the hundreds of people who offered their signatures, and offered to collect others. And I’ve let down the people who pledged money.

Never will London see itself protected by an army of highly-trained chinchillas. And that’s on me.

However, Sir Ian’s campaign continues. There will be more blog posts, more videos, more revelations, and some very special guests. However, my name (and his face) won’t be on the ballot.

Not that they won’t be on one soon.

After all, we did raise enough to stand as an MP. Twice over.

And Sir Ian has given a solemn pledge not to stand against Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam in 2015…

Advertisements
This is the internationally recognized symbol ...

Image via Wikipedia

This whole article is a parody of this. If you haven’t read the horrible Rod Liddle piece, you probably won’t get this.

My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become a bigot.

Nothing too bigotty: a light moment of racism posing as ‘political incorrectness’ on national TV; working myself into a really frothing high dudgeon at the idea of the poor once a week; or that newly-invented bigotry: hatred of the disabled.

There’s lots of money to be made from being a bigot. If you can reliably work the readers of a tabloid into a lather with a mixture of baseless opinion and made-up statistics, the editors will literally chuck money at you until you can afford to go and live in Florida like Littlejohn.

And it is far easier to be a bigot than it ever was. It used to be thought of as bad form to cultivate outright hatred of the disabled. It was felt that you had an unfair advantage because they were, well, disabled. Nowadays, however, with the imprimatur of the government you no longer have to be ashamed about kicking people’s crutches away. After all, what are their crutches but a crutch? Thanks, Lib Dems!

And being a bigot is incredibly fashionable: from Clarkson to Littlejohn, from Jeremies Kyle through Vine, the airwaves are dominated by men in middle age who are desperate to find someone to blame for their thinning hair and thickening waistlines. Impotent? That will the fault of the gyppoes at Dale Farm! Sense of malaise at having done nothing with your life? It’s probably the fault of the spendthrift Labour government. With every follicle that closes our moral certainty increases.

The world is shit. And it’s everyone else’s fault.

And who can blame us? Not you lot. Every time we find a new scapegoat, you all get to put the boot in, too. As long as we cultivate an air of national nastiness, in which there’s no problem that can’t be solved by puking hot bile at it, you can all vent your frustrations, too. Just realised that the mortgage payment will bounce? That’s the fault of a feral youth.

The latest figures about bigotry came out this week. They suggest that 50% of those writing deliberately provocative, ill-informed, poorly-constructed opinion pieces in the tabloids are actually fit for proper work.  Some of us don’t believe a word of what we’ve been paid to say, and yet we churn it out, day after tedious day. Some have been doing it for more than a decade.

But when you suggest that these people are nothing more than loathsome pondslime you get accused of victimising the mentally infirm.

Well, I’m not. I’m victimising the morally infirm.

Or at least, I’m trying to. But it will probably go in one ear and out of the other. Like the imaginary bullets Melanie Phillips dreams of firing into the heads of gay Islamicists from the BBC.

The Right-wingers will say, hey you fat old fag-enabler, more money is spent on Jobseekers’ Allowance than is spent on maintaining out eight or nine top bigoted columnists. To which I say: not by much.

But that doesn’t make being an awful, twisted bigot; a festering, crapulent, pustule of a person, who has a picture in the attic of someone who gave up long ago and hanged themselves in despair; a monstrous toad who fell into a bucket full of wet lips okay, does it?

That’s like saying we shouldn’t get worked up about people being cautioned by the police for the common assault of a pregnant woman because murder is much worse.

It’s a silly argument.

More than anything, though, those posing as bigots just to get their tabloid-assured moment in the sun, and the odd appearance on Celebrity Come Dine With Me are doing a disservice to those who really need our help: the actual bigots. Rather than directing our expressions of concern, and warmth, and facts to those who could really use them, we end up shouting at Rod Liddle. So nobody wins. Except Rod Liddle.

It has been easier to pose as a bigot ever since tabloids started espousing positions through their own self-interest that would previously only have been held by unspeakable turds: in favour of torture, against human rights, in favour of turning our backs on refugees, the idea that disabled people are disabled through some fault of their own, demonisation of the poor.

I think we should all pretend to be bigots for a month, and… No, hang on. That’s a horrible idea. A stupid idea.

Let’s not, eh? Let’s really not. Instead, let’s not be bigots at all for a while. The next time you hear the news, or the government, or a neighbour saying something that is clearly intended just to get you blaming someone else for your problems, why don’t we all have a cup of tea? Or a sit down? Or a ponder of the ways in which we’re culpable for making other people’s lives miserable.

Tell you what, let’s all pretend not to be bigots for a month. Or a year? Who knows, we might discover we’re not actually bigots after all…

(Warning: Many of these videos contain adult language and situations, varying picture quality, and frequent uses of ‘the c-word’. Usually in reference to Nick Clegg.)

The Coalition may be a disaster for old people, young people, poor people, disabled people, students, aircraft carriers, unemployed people, people who buy things, people with children, ill people, people who like sports, people who hate sports, and women. But for some of us things have never been better. Those of us in the musical comedy or protest singing games are experiencing a boom time. Us and the people who make riot shields.

Ever since the election there has been a profusion of online video activity: songs, raps, and poems all pouring out at an incredible rate. This is partially due to the availability of smartphones, and the fact that people can watch videos almost anywhere, at almost any time. It’s also, however, because of a palpable sense of anger, directed particularly at the Lib Dems, and, even more particularly, at Nick Clegg. Which serves him right for making this video: Liberal Democrats – Say Goodbye To Broken Promises

The videos range from the furious to the funny, from the wry and disappointed to the barely coherent rant. Perhaps the most obscene of them all is actually in danger of charting this weekend. Yes, on Sunday afternoon we’re in danger tuning into the chart countdown only to hear Kunt And The Gang’s “Use My Arsehole As C*nt (The Nick Clegg Story). More on that at the end.

I’ve trawled through the cuts-related songs, and have come up with a Top Ten. Sort of. There are ten of them anyway. So get your rioting shoes on, and boogie on down to the following inappropriate sounds…

10) Dan Bull – Another Prick In Whitehall

Even-tempered monotone rapper Dan Bull hoists Nick Clegg by his own petard, in a wonderfully bleak reworking of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’. A delight.

9) Mitch Benn – I’m Proud Of The BBC

One of the earlier examples of the form, and although specifically relating to the BBC, this set much of the template for a lot of the songs that were to follow. The rest of the template is of people trying to rhyme the word ‘Clegg’ with the word ‘cock’. Sometimes with a surprising amount of success.

8 Sir Ian Bowler – Dear Students

This is one of mine. Some people like it. I am saying no more about it.

7) SUARTS – Can’t Cut This

Some impressive dancing in this MC Hammer parody from the students at SU Arts. But when, oh when, will someone tackle Sir Mixalot’s “I Like Big Cuts (And I Cannot Lie)”

6) Grace Petrie – Emily Davison Blues

This one’s not a comedy song, but a heartfelt protest song in the great British tradition. If they achieve nothing else, the Coalition can retire to their country estates knowing that they’ve led to a revival in earnest songs written in the first person plural that overuse the words “this land”. Beautiful and angry.

5) Dan Bull – Millbank Wankers

Lyrical reasonablist Dan Bull has another go this time in the sole example of the pro-police protest song on this list. Or, I should imagine, any other list…

4) Lee Kern – MERRY CHRISTMAS (X-FACTOR’S OVER)

Lee Kern gives a blast of pure, visceral fury here. It’s not actually to do with the cuts at all, it’s about X-Factor, but I was getting really tired of listening to songs about Nick Clegg (I get it. He’s rubbish).

3) Captain SKA – Liar Liar

Old-school reggae. About Nick Clegg. We’re living in a world turned upside down.

2) Samuel Gaus & Unnamed Accomplice – Universities’ Lament

Samuel and his unnamed friend here come up with some entertaining harmonies, but shouldn’t they be in lessons? If they’ve got time to write songs, they’ve got time to work in a call centre to fund their degree…

1) Kunt And The Gang – Use My Arsehole As A C*nt (The Nick Clegg Story)

This is a glorious masterpiece of obscenity. A dazzling example of filth, and it’s currently at Number 78 in the charts. If they can sell 3,000 more copies by Sunday (iTunes link) then we all get to eat our Christmas dinner knowing that a song with title is currently nestled in our nation’s Top 40. And they’ll have to play it on the radio…

So that’s it. A breathtaking rundown of the exuberant creativity that’s been provoked by the Comprehensive Spending Review. Again, not a sentence you often hear. Right. I’m off to rhyme Cameron with something…

In September the In The Gloaming podcasts won the Parsec Award for Best New Podcaster. We jumped around like victorious loons for a few seconds, until we remembered that we hadn’t made a new episode since March.  And that we had no upcoming episodes in the pipelines.

To the outside observer In The Gloaming looked cold and dead, and only we knew there was still a flicker of humanity inside just waiting for the right time to blossom. It felt like being Nick Clegg.

There were lots of reasons that we hadn’t been able to do as many episodes as we’d hoped. People’s schedules clashed, they got work or didn’t get work at the wrong times, we weren’t getting as many downloads as we might have hoped (the episodes had been listened to about 6,500 times at that point). However, most of the reasons we weren’t able to churn them out on a monthly basis were self-inflicted, and could have been avoided with a little thought early on in the process.

So, here are my tips about what NOT to do, if you want to make an audio drama podcast of your own:

Don’t bother making audio trailers – One of the first groups of people to be interested in what we were doing was one comprised of people who were doing the same sort of thing. People like 19 Nocturne Boulevard or Wormwood. And they often wanted to swap audio trailers, little snippets that could be stuck on the end of another show to spread the word. We never bothered to make these because we were too busy making the shows themselves, and thought they probably wouldn’t be worth the time in the number of new listeners they brought to us. We were wrong. There is a very small group of people used to listening to new audio dramas as podcasts. Get them involved from the beginning. Be generous with your time and effort with other podcast producers. Trying to forge the path completely on your own is hard and lonely. These are people who would like to advertise your podcast for free. Let them.

Be half an hour long – This was, in some ways, an intentional error. Part of the point of In The Gloaming was to prove that we could make half hour shows of radio quality. We wanted people’s response to be ‘This should be on the radio’, and to prove that it was ready to be. However, people often split up their listening to a podcast, catching a few minutes on their way into work, so broken shows work well. Narrative comedies that require unbroken attention (including any magnificent aural soundscapes you may create) ask a lot of the listener, and finding half an hour to listen to an episode (forgoing half an hour of television or proper radio or actual interaction with other humans) can be difficult. It suited our purposes, but it was far from ideal for in Internet show. If you’re planning on doing audio dramas or narrative comedies, why not think about ten- or fifteen-minute episodes? They will be easier for people to find the time to listen to.

Don’t have a business plan This isn’t quite true. We had a plan, it just wasn’t a hugely good one. It was (as I outlined above) Get Picked Up By The BBC. When that didn’t materialise the next obvious option was to look for a sponsor. However, those things we’d designed to make it more like a radio show made it less effective on The Internet, and so we didn’t have the subscriber numbers we needed to get a sponsor. We had a little income from the tip jar – enough to cover the podcast hosting – and we had a merchandising site, but nothing people wanted to buy on it. There were successful revenue streams: live shows, signed scripts, etc. However, by the time we had worked out how to fund the shows, we had stalled on producing them for long enough that the momentum was gone. The lesson here is: at least have an idea how you’re going to make enough money to cover your costs, and always implement your business plan quickly. You may well have a number of people willing to support you financially, so give them a way in which they can. Speaking of which:

Fail to make the things people want to buy – In our case: CDs. We’ve had lots of requests for CDs. People want to give them as gifts, people who aren’t au fait with downloading, people who want to show their support. There has been constant demand for CDs of the episodes. I did try to get this set up at one point, using Lulu, but found that they made all their CDs in the US, and then shipped them to England making them hugely expensive (even though we were only charging $4.00 each for them). I then wanted to add some audio liner notes to each one, a little extra that wasn’t available on the website, but never got around to recording them. The fact that there was no UK service that would do what we wanted and that I couldn’t be bothered to fulfil orders myself meant that we missed out on the one revenue stream that seemed promising.

Underestimate the amount of time it will take – Each In The Gloaming took a few days to write, a day to record, and two or three days to edit. That’s at least a full work week out of every month. When you’ve got children (or, you know, a job) that’s just not feasible. Perhaps we’ll do them quarterly in future, but monthly doesn’t seem like we can do it at all.

Post irregularly – We started with a monthly schedule, but soon got bogged down with diary incompatibilities, and just the sheer amount of work it was. The fact that we couldn’t be relied upon to produce podcasts every month meant that a lot of the momentum we started with dissipated. Set yourself a schedule and stick to it. Don’t stick to two-thirds of it. Stick to it, no matter how difficult it is. Then sit back, learn lessons, and plan Season 2.

Don’t collect emails – We never had an email list or any promotion beyond writing a blog. This is silly. Do better than us.

Don’t allow embedding – It took us six months to find a service that allowed easy embedding and sharing of mp3s on Twitter and Facebook. We went for a paid service that was not as good as what we could have got from WordPress, and didn’t offer the stats or functionality. We’re now faced with the rubbish options of continuing to use a (paid) service that isn’t as good as other ones or to change the website RSS feed, and risk losing all of the subscribers who are attached to the old feed. Do your research about how you’re going to distribute your podcast before you set up a standing order…

Basic, fundamental errors. Tonnes of them. We couldn’t have been more dim if we’d just dribbled into the Internet whilst smashing ourselves in the face with a flat-iron.

However, we’ve had more than 100 downloads a week, every week, for more than a year. We were asked to perform at the World Horror Convention 2010. It’s led to other bits of work, and to the selling of some of the short stories written for the site. The live show is getting a full run in the Brighton Festival next year (Friday 13th May, for those who want to book tickets). We’ve won awards. And we’ve got a producer attached, who’s making an In The Gloaming feature film, which should be out next year.

That’s how not to do it. Go and do better…

Subscribe with RSS

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12,004 other followers

Twitter Feed

Advertisements