Monday, 21 October 2013

Take Two Elements!

Any two elements... say, Electricity and Water.
On their own, perfectly harmless.
But mix them together
maybe in a bowl

Roy Steel!
Second Best Big Game Hunter in the world!
Fighter! Lover! A man of action, with all the actions of a man!
The ancient Mayan word for "fist"!
His passport says "Beast Slapper"!
And Lorrimer Chesterfield -

Leading Professor of Occult Studies at London's London University!
A brain in the shape of a man!
Demon handler and Myth wrangler!
He reads books! He writes books! Sometimes he reads the books he writes!
His brain can fell an ox!

My name is Sir Maxwell House. I took those two elements, and like some kind of scientific blacksmith I forged them, forged them into a team that would look Danger in the eye and bring it down with the Knowledge of a Man, and the Fist of a Man! They are...

The Monster Hunters!

And, oh, how I love them. Over the past two years the writing team of Peter Davis, Matthew Woodcock and J. P. Chenet has produced - in addition to the above - two stage shows, two series of webcast adventures and three specials all available to listen to at the link above NOW... and I'm lucky enough to have been invited along for the lot. I like being in a series. I've never played a recurring character before, someone whose story I didn't know the end of, and the generous attention paid to Sir Maxwell with each new episode has made for a very happy inbox. Happier still, my sister joined us for the last series, a series whose twisted arc the chaps played scrupulously close to their retro-fitted chests in the happiest tradition of this mattering. And it's surprisingly well researched. It turns out the Post Office Tower really was an official secret. And there really was an MI16. (There have actually been eighteen sections of military Intelligence in all, numbered 1 through to 19 - there was never an MI13 -  In fact I found out only very recently my uncle used to work for one: After an Oxford performance of Ring he casually mentioned over drinks above the Samuel Beckett Memorial Car Park how much the experience of sitting in complete darkness wearing headphones had reminded him of his "anti-interrogation training in the foreign service". I suppose the thirty years are up then. Mum always suspected he had spent too much time in Egypt for a playwright. The Egyptians at the time must have agreed - "I stepped into a taxi, turned out it wasn't a taxi. I said, 'I have my daughters with me.' They said, 'Do they eat eggs?' I said, 'Yes.' So they boiled up some eggs and took me away. Of course, what saved me was that I didn't have a gun on me. Everyone always says carry a gun. But I was supposed to be out there teaching, if they'd found a gun on me that would be it. So they let me go." Here if you're interested is a lecture he gave recently about his childhood in Epsom growing up beneath the Battle of Britain. This is all true. But I digress.)

The Beast Must Dies' notorious werewolf break
Back to the silly voices, the final episode of Finnemore should still be available to listen to for a day or so, including four minutes of drunken American rambling (shaved down from eight) that I never thought would be John's kind of thing, and which I am very glad he decided was. While writing this series he actually scheduled a meeting in the "Douglas Adams Room" of the Beeb's new Grafton House digs specifically to try out silly voices. Its decals, famously misquoting classic BBC comedy, did not disappoint. You may have thought it impossible to misquote "42".

They managed it. 
Ah, as I write this, Peter has just sent me this year's Monster Hunters Hallowe'en special. Dynamite.

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