Saturday, 13 February 2010

"Hhuhhh...?"

(originally posted on myspace here)



I think today sees the last location shooting for the fourth series of Mitchell and Webb. I was driven over bright and early to Pinewood Studios last Friday to watch the Caesar sketch I'd written being filmed. I'm not used to being driven: "I'd love to see the look on John Terry's face when he wakes up this morning! Sir?" Shit. A: Sir! B: John Terry?! Think! John Terry, headlines, something about sex, football? Is he a footballer? Maybe I can veer the conversation onto O'Reilly's interview with John Stewart, will the driver have seen that? He won't, will he. And we drove through the gates of Pinewood and I was very excited. Look!

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(James Bachman took that. My camera's bust.) Pinewood's not as paved as I thought it would be, I have to say. I picked the wrong shoes, should have gone for something without holes. And it was very quiet although I suppose it was eight in the morning. Wandering about the perimeter I thought it looked like the Kazakhstani space programme only with more posters of Terry Scott. The atmosphere on the Caesar set itself was lovely however, lovely and warm, really cheering. My only worry is the decision to film the whole thing underwater which might play merry hell with the timing. But we'll see. 

Great comedy can certainly be achieved underwater, as the film below demonstrates. I saw it that same evening at the reopened Shunt Vaults. (They're open again tonight. It will be quiet I think. Even if it's packed it will be quiet, which is how we like it. Things might get ugly if too many people turn up expecting a DJ or live band or noise, but I hear Nigel's dashing over between shows to do his Barry White Mussolini, so then again it might all be fine.*) Anyway, Gemma supervised the construction of a cinema - what more do these people want? - and that's where I hid out last Friday. Occasionally someone might pop their head round and go "You have got to be fucking kidding me. Are you all on acid? Are you on acid?" And then go, "Are you all on acid?" And then leave. But I think the film's brilliant. If you're not hooked within the first seconds however, don't waste your time:
 

 And it's interesting to see the one actor playing the husband clearly not "getting it", especially as everything I can find online about the film's director - an avant-gardist named James Sibley Watson Junior - suggests HE didn't get it either... deemed the whole thing a "failure". But I get it. And the lovers, they certainly get it. They're hilarious. They're inventing a new type of comedy before our eyes. Can there be any funnier shot of someone sitting on a straw hat than this? Any greater pun than "I have given you my awl"? What it reminds me of most is when, very occasionally, you dream a sketch and in your dream it's the funniest thing you've ever seen and you'll be thinking "I wish I'd written this," and then you wake up and go "Brilliant!" And then you realise IT'S THIS FILM.

*update: I have returned. It was not quiet. But it turns out I like that as well. And despite having nothing to do with what's out on I enjoyed passing up and down once again with my baby and a discounted beer in my hand like I was the King of Art.

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