Last Week – Sunday 16 October 2016

He’s A Little Monster

All of the usual stuff, getting up, going to work, coming home and tending to an increasingly insane kitten, they all happened last week. Poor little Geigy has been rather unwell, but his course of antibiotics has now come to an end and we’re thinking about unleashing him on the unsuspecting world again. He’s reached back into his early kittenhood, in that he’s been a bit of a prick again. He’s taken to using my legs as scratching posts, and I regularly get him pulling himself up to my waist via the convenient clawholds of my buttocks. The endless wah-wah-ing as he tries to get outside have become frantic. He’s a beast who needs his trees. I’ve been taking him for walks on his lead again with limited success – he can’t get high enough in the tree to satisfy his arboreal nature, and the lead isn’t long enough for him to go frog hunting properly. Poor baby. He’ll be terrorising the other cats with friendship soon…

Weeknight Unfreedom

Marilyn’s currently teaching our MissImp Level 1 (beginners) improv comedy course on Monday evenings and has Rhymes Against Humanity rehearsals on Tuesdays, so I’m left to my own devices more than usual. I am of course, using that time with wisdom and for self-improvement.

I have been playing with Lego and consuming the TV show Dark Matter. I’m most of the way through season 2 and its been very entertaining. It’s a pretty low budget thing, where they start off having lost their memories, discover that they used to be terrible people and choose to lead their new lives, but are constantly drawn into crime and conflict with big bad corporations. It’s fun, and the characters have spun out into interesting and intriguing directions. Well played Syfy!

Except last Monday of course – I went out for a work thing in the evening. One of our guys, Rod Duncan (author of The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter and the other books in the Gas-Lit Empire series) had been invited to a SF panel at the very top of the Nottingham Waterstones. Since that’s actually in our backyard, we all went along. I think Rod is the seventh of our authors I’ve met (I’m not keeping count terribly well) and he is entirely lovely. He and the rest of the panel had many interesting things to say about scifi and creating their universes. I resisted buying any books, which I still feel guilty about, but Rod’s books are firmly on my to be read mountain/treacherous slag heap.

L-R (Andrew Bannister, Mike Brooks, Deborah Install,Rod Duncan
(L-R) Andrew Bannister, Mike Brooks, Deborah Install,Rod Duncan

Improv Time

Thursday brought the monthly delight of Gorilla Burger – Improv Comedy Carnage. It’s a show I deeply enjoy compering, full as it is of madness, hysteria and very funny scenes. It’s the third one we’ve done at The Ned Ludd, who have been pleasantly accommodating folk. A really good turn out as well, with a bunch of completely new people and even some genuine audience members. I’m very pleased that a narrative game variation on the ‘Village of the Damned/Because That Scene Happened, This Scene Happens’ games turned out so well. Since improv seems to have lots of long tedious names for forms I’m calling it Consequences. It’s dead simple – 5 performer in a line on stage do two scenes, one with the person on their left, and one with the person on their right (the two at the ends have a scene together), and they retain the same character in each scene. The only note is that each scene is somehow the result (the consequences!) of the scene that has just happened. It played out remarkably smoothly despite my explanation… A fine night with tonnes of super short scenes to allow the 23 people in the hat to get enough playtime.

Saturday gifted us with both my manwife David and another evening onstage. Consenting Partners (as Lloydie is quick to remind me) is the UK’s longest running dedicated two-prov night, in which mere pairs of performers take to the stage giving sets between 15-30 minutes long. It’s a very different challenge to playing with 5 or 6 other people, or just playing a single scene. First up Ben Macpherson and Liam Webber teamed up for the first time with SHAMAI (Super Hyper Awesome Manga Anime Improv), their rendering of the experience of watching manga/anime into a live performance. Jesus Christ. From the quasi-Japanese gibberish, robots, fungus headed beasts and introductory title song Fabulous Fungus Team it was quite a delight of silliness. I’m keen to see the rest of the series. Since it was Lloydie’s ‘Birthday Edition’, he got in a quick set with former Bagging Area team-mate, Martin Dewey-Findell. It’s always lovely to see them on stage together (I love playing with them both) and Saturday was no exception.

Atomic Budgerigar
Atomic Budgerigar

Finally it was our turn – Marilyn and I returned as Atomic Budgerigar. It’s our third outing together and I think we got to a less distressing and traumatic experience for us and the audience than before. This time we hit the big stuff: religion (it depends on the number of legs the animals you consume have), truth, tiny horses, mortality, and finally how horrible ducks are. We very much enjoyed ourselves, and it’s great to know we can put on a good show without having a massive row beforehand… The finale was, of course, Lloydie and his Two Seats, Four Cheeks partner, Jen Rowe (from The Maydays) – as smooth and funny as expected. We’ll have to book in another one before Christmas I think.

Finally, To The Cinema

We finally got around to watching Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, whose name I’ve had to look up three times because it’s so similar to other things. It’s enjoyable, but is very slow and oddly paced. Pretty much nothing happens until the last twenty minutes when a lot happens all of a sudden. I think it was worth it for the final battle on Blackpool pier, and their resurrected ocean cruiser, and Harryhausen skeleton warrior tribute. It was great to not see Eva Green’s breasts; her pipe was a refreshing change.

I’d forgotten – last week was quite busy…

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