Thursday, 31 December 2015

Friday, 25 December 2015

To All Our Readers...

"A merry christmas to you." 

"Merry Christmas 
from everyone here at Google! 
 Faster! Hahahaha! Faster!"


 "Hey! Hey! Hey! The Happiest of Holidays
from your friend the wheels, 
to anyone who uses wheels!"

"From all of us on here Loose Moon Alpha, 
we hope you enjoy a 
Merry Christmas and a prosperous new 

"HI GUYS!!! Thanks to all our fans for making this an AMAZING 2015!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, and here's to an EVEN BETTER 2016 XXX thumb emoji"

"Merry Christmas Everyone! 
No YOU'RE in the distance!"


" - - - - - - " 

Yes! To ALL our readers... 
from ALL of us here at the Ole Unattended: 


Wednesday, 16 December 2015


"Bwaap! Okay! Nothing to see here! Move along. No, I don't want to hear it. You don't have to go home but you're not staying here. Move along now, apes. Shoo! Beep! (They were they wearing those before, right?) Bwaap!"


(In other news, it looks like my psychedelic sci-fi slacker radio romantic comedy epic "Time Spanner" might actually be getting a pilot! And I hear this the very same day Star Wars opens and Peep Show ends? Coincidence?!?!?! #wheelswithinwheels #openyoureyessheeple)

Friday, 13 November 2015

Smashing Time

Lemon and McCartney

"The Goliath Window" here.
The fourth in Jonn Finnemore's beautiful "Double Acts" series (industry secret: The fourth episode of a series is always the best). SEE how much sleep I got the night before the recording like a proper professional not staying up late all excited like a chancer. HEAR all the lovely stupid sounds John wrote for me to make. WONDER whose bare flesh that is actually being slapped. (It's not mine, I know that - I was holding a script). KEEP up, as six-thousand perfectly selected words are delivered in just under twenty-seven minutes - surely a record! LISTEN to the others too - they're no Episode 4 obviously, but they're still gems and have people in it who are excellent and famous and probably got some sleep.

And on the subject of double-acts, and male modelling, and slapping flesh, and a thinky one and a punchy one, the Monster Hunters return with brand new Hallowe'en webcast "The Doll's House" here.

Featuring me as Sir Maxwell House (no relation... although very possibly a relation to Mark in The Goliath Window, let's face it... voices) and perfect for a Friday the 13th, this beauty features Sir Maxwell posing for a waxwork, lots of unnerving snickering in the dark, Lorrimer Chesterfield's flat getting further annexed by idiots, and Roy Steel facing the very real chance he might be losing his lady powers. Well, I mean, time moves on, Roy. It's won't be the seventies for ever. And what would the Monster Hunters look like in the eighties, eh?


The most off-putting opening credits ever? 

 (If any of you do fancy braving the pilot episode, let me know in the comments below 
where in God's name you think the ZANY first scene is supposed to take place.)

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Clean Shirt

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"@slepkane has requested pictures of Don Draper illustrated with Mark from Peep Show quotes. Please encourage this."
I have my reasons.
Huge thanks to @Bright0nKath, @untiltheygo, and in particular to @MrJamesBachman, who did nearly all of these and came up with the hashtag #MadMenWithVen.
(And apologies, obviously, to Jez.)
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Peepshow starts ending this Wednesday. You probably know that.
Mad Men - with its roads not taken, era-defining attention to detail, existential angst, heart-breaking sex addiction, trouser-wetting, office-shitting, lawnmower injuries, revenge vomit and aging child cast - was very definitely the American it.
But that ended.
And now Peepshow - which did it all first - is ending.
Or returning, depending on your POV.
I hope Jez gets that Honda account.

"There are a lot of television rules about story-telling that I didn't believe in... 
like, that you can't tell an internal story... that that's only for novels."

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

What am I Where-ing?


Thanks for asking! I'm doing this at the Shaw Theatre tonight.
Tonight. In five hours.
And then Thursday and Friday.
We'll work out exactly what I'm doing nearer the time.
Can't wait!

Hoo... that post took a lot quicker to write than I expected.

Thursday, 17 September 2015


"Oh they go there, do they?"
"Waggee, look -"
"No!" Waggee butted in, "I understand your 'thing' with clothes, Zip. You like wearing clothes, I've accepted that. Which is precisely why I put the hook up... WHO THE FRARK IS SHE?!"

From "Zip Startrousers Swipes Right"

 Actual illustration by Tom Kidd

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Going to see

When you join the Labour Party you receive emails addressing you as "comrade" which is a bit hilarious. Now Corbyn's leader of the party, and a non-appointed front bench are resigning in droves, and it's still a bit hilarious. Here, anyway, is what I reckon...

"I see you, the media!"

I genuinely don't think I'll forget that first TV debate. I'll never forget thinking "Well 'favourite' Andy Burnham's nobody's favourite now surely." But more than that, I won't forget the woman in the audience who asked why refugees should be given a home while she might lose hers, and how Corbyn scolded her and took this opportunity to attack the show "Benefits Street", and then how Yvette Cooper said she didn't want to see her lose her home either, and how I thought that that was important. Both Cooper and Kendall appeared to have a far greater understanding of the true importance of Social Security than their male counterparts. It was practical, not ideological. So why did I end up voting for Corbyn?

Maybe it's because the next time I saw Yvette Cooper on television she was talking about how her policies were "for the future, not the past..." and I just couldn't take any more guff. "We need to send a clear message" - every candidate was saying that apart from Corbyn. Maybe it's because I found candidates campaigning for the party leadership on a platform of how attractive they'd prove to the opposing party off-puttingly bone-headed as a strategy: "Vote for me because I'll ignore you." Maybe it's because I wanted an opposition that opposed and didn't just abstain. Maybe it was because of that thing I wrote about wanting a Labour movement that engaged with the electorate as an energy to be harnassed rather than a market to be captured. Maybe it's because, horrible as this sounds, Cooper's husband couldn't even save his own seat so I found it very difficult seeing him on the steps of Number 10, even by association.

Mainly though, I think I voted for him because I wanted him to win. To see. Just to see. That might strike you as irresponsible, and I take the passion of those on the Left who attack Corbyn as unelectable extremely seriously, but I just can't agree yet. Arguing that his leadership would condemn Labour to the political wilderness ignores the fact that Labour have lost two elections now, while Nigel Farage made a far larger dent in the political discourse than Miliband without even winning a seat. What exactly is a wilderness if not where Labour already was? There'll be voters at the next election who were born in 2002. Try warning about them about "the lessons of the '80s".

This image is included to fool people.

And was the 1980's really such a wilderness? I remember that wilderness producing pretty much everything British that I loved about growing up: the television, the comedy, the music, the comics. So - however long Corbyn leads the party for - I look forward to some excellent art coming out of it.  The Great Consensus is over, maybe not for good, and maybe Corbyn will prove an immediate disaster in which case it will be back stronger than ever, but at least it will have earnt it. I'm very excited that we're finally going to see. And until that happens, let's not use the word "sensible" in a debate again. (Tony Blair argues that most "sensible" people recognise it wasn't the whole economy that broke, just a small part of it. The chain didn't break. Just the one link... Also, if we're going to discuss the National Economy in terms of a family making savings then let's shrink the banks down by the same degree and admit we're talking about a family that owes money to, at best, another family whose lives they saved... or if the banks are larger than this, admit that that's a problem. Focus, Simon.)

Likewise this image from Roger Quimbly.
Although what's not to like?

And how long will Corbyn lead the party? I thought during those debates he'd have no taste for it - that he was a direction rather a director. But his often stirring and occasionally whiney acceptance speech yesterday showed me a man who was up for it. So we will see, won't we? Personally I'm worried about Tom Watson as deputy. He's a magnificent campaigner and there's much talk of him uniting the party BUT... he did call Michael Gove a pipsqueak. But you hate Michael Gove, Simon! Haha, yeah... No, yeah, I really do... but if there is a lesson from the 80's, I think it's also the lesson of 2010 and 2015, the lesson Obama learnt, helping him beat the far more centrist Clinton: it has never gone well for the political Left when it talks about Good and Evil. Do your job, focus on the facts, convince through competence, smile, be courteous, and let the Right go mental and out themselves.

Speaking of security, an almost identical message found its way to me
as an email from CCHQ, somehow circumventing my spam filter.

Nobody likes being told off. Let the artists handle the telling off. Corbyn needs to learn that immediately, and so does Watson. Which is pretty much where we came in, with Corbyn scolding a scared woman and Yvette Cooper trying to reassure her. Right! I'm off to see what I've missed in the past hour.

"Does that make us targets for gunfire?" 
An example of excellent art.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Book of Kirby

Here's something to be adored: It turns out that Jack Kirby talks exactly like the Bible. Not the way Stan Lee thinks the Bible sounds, not full of "thee"s and thou"s, but like an actual Genesis, with every event preceded by the thought that created it, every short sentence beginning with "And..."
Just watch this glorious interview with the creator of the Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer, etc. etc. - hear him declaim what's transcribed below, and imagine what those comics would have been like if he'd been allowed to fill his own speech bubbles.

I see that story first.
I feel that story first.
I know those people first.
When I put them down they’ve already lived
And I put them down as I’d like them to live on those pages.
My stories are very sincere.
My stories are people stories.

My inspirations were the fact that I had to make sales
And I had to come up with characters that were no longer stereotypes.
In other words I couldn’t depend on gangsters, I had to get something new.
And of course for some reason I went to the Bible.
I came up with Galactus.

And there I was in front of this tremendous figure
Who I knew very well
Because I’ve always felt him.

And I remember in my first story I had to back away from him
To resolve that story.
And of course the Silver Surfer is a fallen angel.
And when Galactus relegated him to Earth
He stayed on Earth.
And that was the beginning of his adventures.

And they were figures that had never before been used in comics.
They were above mythic figures.
And of course they were the First Gods.

And I began thinking along those lines.
And the New Gods evolved from those lines.
And I began to ask myself:
“Everybody else had their Gods. What are ours?
What is the shape of our society, in the form of myth and legend?
Who are our Gods? Who are our Evil Gods?
And who are our Good ones?”
And I tried to resolve them in the New Gods.

And I came up with some very, very interesting characters.
And very good sales
Which satisfied me immensely.

Now I didn’t resolve the questions.
I’m a guy who lives with a lot of questions.
I say: “What’s out there?”
And I try to resolve that.
And I never can.
I don’t think anybody can.
Who’s got the answers?
I sure would like to hear the ultimate one.
But I haven’t yet.
And so I live with a lot of questions.
And I find that entertaining.

I find that entertaining.
And if my life were to end tomorrow
It would be fulfilled in that manner.

I would say: “The questions have been terrific.”

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"What we're trying to do really is create a living hell, have people pay admission..."

Coyle & Sharpe

Okay on the one hand, pranks r the wurst. On the other hand though, the funniest stuff's never written on a blank page.

I knew nothing about Coyle and Sharpe until ten minutes ago but I urge you now to listen. Honestly, you're reduced to spending your evenings looking up celebrity roasts of Ted Knight on youtube thinking you've seen and heard it all yet there's fifty-year-old treasure like this lying around unregarded. Thanks to Robert Popper then for regarding, and to Sam Bain for reposting. I can't tell how you happy this makes me.

Another prank that has made me very happy, by the way, is BBC3's Murder In Successville. Beautifully played by six foot seven inches of Tom Davis, and beautifully shot for tuppence by James de Frond (I understand he had to fork out for his own drone) it's live and mad and corpsey and oh, just lots of things I haven't seen British Comedy be in ages. It's not on Wednesdays any more though but something that still is is Before They Were Famous, and the last of my Henrik Ibsen Christmas Cracker jokes. 
Henry Gibson.
Now, see, I'd heard of him.

Ostensibly a riff on the writing styles of the greats, the real theme of this show - and what, I suspect I'm not alone in discovering among the new writers commissioned, made the sketches so fun to write - is rejection, and sympathy for the idea of trying to turn the smallest commission into The Great Work.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


The Bible and Darwin are travel writing, the cancer is zombies... 
Chuck and George Stroumboulopoulos both making an effort.

Chuck Pahlaniuk - I found out, while researching how to pronounce his name for the latest episode of Before They Were Famous - is every bit as refreshing an interviewee as Alan Moore. My sketch "Chuck Palahnuik's Prankster's Nook" doesn't even attempt to reflect this, obviously. But sometimes you just have to take Fight Club and a half-remembered Goodies' Criminal Book of Records gag -

(Specifically I misremembered this as
"Amaze your parents - Tell them you have cancer")

... and run with it. You've a month left to hear this on iplayer, and I reckon a day left to hear the Alan Moore. I loved doing them. Have I said that already? 'Ere:

- Chuck Palahniuk is the author of “Invisible Monsters”, “Rant”, “Snuff”, “Choke”, and the novel for which he is most famous, “Fight Club”. His themes are cultural marginalisation, self-destructive aggression, crises of identity and the impulse towards anarchy, so it was surprising to learn that he cut his teeth editing the letters’ page of the children’s supplement of the Portland Tribune, under the banner “Chuck Palahniuk’s Prankster’s Nook”.

Hey Pranksters, Uncle Chuck here with another big sack full of your cries for help. Let the pranking commence.

Dear Pranksters,
My name is Vanessa and I am nine. Our math teacher Miss Gimball is really mean and boring, so one day the whole class decided to prank her by stapling a bunch of paper cups into a pyramid on her desk, and then filling them full of water! She made the Principal call our parents but it was worth it. Math is hooey. Does anyone you have more ideas for cool pranks that we can play? Love you, Uncle Chuck!   Vanessa, 9

Hey Vanessa,
Your attitude towards education is symptomatic of everything rotten in this country, and I salute you. Remember kids: The world is selling you a lie. A Chuck Palahniuk’s Prank Club Membership Card and Brochure are wending their way to you as we speak, featuring all kinds of cool deals on products such as the exploding lighter, the electric showerhead, and the bullet-through-the-cheek trick. In the meantime, here’s a cool prank - When the principal calls you into his office, wait until he has your parents on the phone, then punch yourself in the mouth. Punch yourself hard. Keep punching until he hangs up and I guarantee, when your family see your what’s happened to your face, you won’t have any trouble from him or Miss Gimball.

Now, a complaint: 

Mr. Palahniuk, my name is Wendy Gunderson. This morning I came downstairs to find my kitchen in disarray and my eight-year-old son James looking for a litre of vinegar. When I asked him what it was for, he directed me to an item in the “Cool Things To Try” column of your Prank Club brochure entitled: “How To Turn Your Skin into Soap.” Is this behaviour typical of the club’s activities? Please cancel my subscription to the Tribune. He is eight.    Wendy, 26

Dear Wendy, 
Please be assured, we here at the Prank Club are just as mad with Jamie as you. What he has done completely contravenes Club rules, as set out on the membership card. It clearly states: The first rule of Prank Club is: You do not talk about Prank Club. The second rule of Prank Club is: You do not talk about Prank Club. The third rule of Prank Club is: Always be a pranky neighbour. I am sorry for him, and I am sorry for you, but I am not sorry not for your kitchen. Here’s a more appreciative letter. It’s in block capitals:

                                           ROBERT 47       P.S. I HAVE NEVER KNOWN A WOMAN.

Dear Robert, welcome. You are in a safe place now. I will give you a new name to celebrate your joining us. “Robert” was not helping you. “Robert” is no more. Kids, let’s all welcome our new recruit by sending in suggestions for what he should now be called. Personally, I like “Worthless Bob.”  Hey, I recognize this next prankster:
Chuck, this is your editor Kevin. Stop telling children to punch themselves in the mouth. I’m really serious about this. I’m going to have to take you off this page if it continues. You need to see someone. This isn’t cool.         Kevin, 38

Hey Kevin. You should let go a bit more. I feel your job is ruling your life. Don’t you live in the same building you work in? Hey kids, the address is up there at the front of this paper - why not come over and buck Kevin up with some surprise pranks? 

Finally, Prank of the Week. Let’s see who’s won the $5!

Hey Chuck, my name is you. I would like to nominate myself for Prank of the Week because I have just set fire to your house in a psychotic fugue. Now you are free, free from your catalogue-chosen hell, free to be who you are, which is me.    You, 23

Congratulations, Chuck! Cool twist. I don’t remember that happening at all. Well, that’s it for this week’s Pranksters’ Corner, kids. 

And remember: Nothing of this.                             

Purple cream living room 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Isn't he great? He's so great. 

When producer Claire Broughton sent out a list of possible authors to spoof for the third series of Ian Leslie's Before They Were Famous I can't have been the only writer excited to see Alan Moore's name on it. How much of an overlap actually exists between fans of 2000AD (I smuggle John Wagner in there too) and Radio 4 comedy is another matter, but on a purely, selfishly personal level - considering this is the first time I've performed my own stuff on the radio, and probably the first time the great man's been impersonated on Radio 4 - I couldn't be happier with how "Alan Moore's scripts for Fred Basset" turned out. Hey, Dave Gibbons tweeted me today! The artist of Watchmen? Yeah, him: "really funny (and accurate!)" he said - JUST SAYIN'! Sorry... But this is exactly why I've left it so long to write this post - I can't write charmingly about it, I'm too obnoxiously happy! 
Anyway, it's available to listen to for another month, with great work too from Marc Haynes, Abi Burdess, Benet Brandreth and Alex Lowe as Alex Graham.

 And here, for posterity and the deaf, is that bit in full:

- For one extraordinarily prolific period in the 1980’s, Northampton-based writer and cartoonist Alan Moore spearheaded a revolution in comics with such “graphic novels” as “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta”, both of which would later be turned into big budget films from which Moore immediately disassociated himself. His correspondence with artists often ran to hundreds of pages in length, providing evidence of a garrulous polymath with a flair for the esoteric, driven to push both collaborators and the boundaries of his chosen genre to their absolute limit. One of Moore’s first correspondents was the Daily Mail’s Alex Graham, who was looking for new blood to take over writing duties on his popular dog-based cartoon strip “Fred Bassett”. Moore’s strips were never published, but his scripts survive...

Hullo Alex! 
Great to hear you’re interested in running an eye, or preferably both, over my as yet pretty much let’s face it about-as-untested-as-a-chat-up-line-in-a-bordello efforts. Shall we crack on then? Fasten your seat belts, as the actress said to the aeroplane, and eyes down for a full house..
 Panel I: 
 Panel 2 -

Dear Alan,
Thanks very much but I don’t think I’ll be able to get all that in the one bubble. Have you anything with fewer words? I like the idea of Fred looking out of the window though.          
Yours in anticipation, 
Alex Graham

Hullo Alex! 
Uncle Alan here. Point taken. Let’s go wordless. Comics are a visual medium, and the absence of thought bubbles frees us from having to pretend a dog thinks in sentences which, to my mind at least, seems marginally less likely than a human thinking in smells. If you’re sitting comfortably then - 
 Panel I: 
Fred looking out of the rain-swept window, his nose glistening. Behind him, a newspaper torn to shreds, the remnants of its headlines still visible. The word fragments "-UCLEAR" "-MEGEDDON" and "IMMIN-". 
 Panel 2: 
We pull back. Thirty feet above the house, Fred still visible in the window. Next door a barbecue is being rained off. 
 Panel 3: Pull back. We are above the clouds now but the weather is clearing, The Swan visible in the gaps, its drunken patrons searching their pockets for car keys. On one of the clouds: a lip-stick-tube-shaped shadow. 
 Panel 4: Pull back. The Earth -

Dear Alan,
I don’t really want to draw that.
For one thing it’s a hundred and twenty seven panels long, Fred Bassett traditionally runs to three or four. For another, we’re outside the known universe as early as panel thirteen, and I’m not comfortable drawing backgrounds on the best of days. Shall we give it another go?
Alex Graham.

Hullo Alex! 
Message received. Onwards and upwards then, here’s the new script. Roll up your sleeves, gird your loins, send the ladies out of the room, pull up a chair, hoist the main brace, check your mirrors, press your trousers, pawn the silver, hide the vicar, declog the veeblefetzers, check down the back of the sofa, fire up the engines -

Alan, Alan…
That letter was four hundred pages long and I was still on the introduction by page 103. 
In happier news: The BBC has now said they’re interested in a television show with no less a talent than Lionel Jeffries providing the voice of Fred. I hope you’re as excited about this development as I am.
Looking forward to something a bit shorter,
Alex Graham.

- Complying with Graham’s request, Alan Moore’s next letter ran to just one sentence…

Burn what we have wrought, Alex, burn it to the ground and we can but hope from the resultant scorched earth a purer form may bloom.

- Graham turned next to a fellow Scotsman famous for the terseness of his scripts. A colleague of Moore’s, John Wagner would later create the ultra-violent, twenty-second century lawman "Judge Dredd"...                              

Fred Bassett. 
Panel I: 
Owner to dog: “SAY WOOF, BOY. SAY WOOF.” Dog: “SHAN'T.”
Panels 2-4: 
Owner shoots dog in head with a complicated gun. 
Pours petrol on dog. 
Lights match. Caption: ”WOOF!

                                 You’re welcome. 
 And of course Moore was actually a wiz at the animal-based comic strip. Of course he was...
(From Philip Sandifier's exhaustive and ongoing history of Moore: The Last War in Albion.)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Chris Grayling Rejohnfinnemembored

So farewell then, this guy. Not John. Chris Grayling.

It's been a bit of a weekend for Greatest Hits: old policy announcements and fire station closures reposted on Facebook, protests in Whitehall, complaints about a media blackout, again on Facebook, think-pieces warning against a drift to the left (of Labour's pledge to spend even less on the NHS than the Tories, presumably) - even the resurrection of the Hipster Cop meme from 2011's Occupy Wall Street (although our Hipster Cop is far more hip), so I make no apology for posting this classic from 2013 to mark the change of Lord Chancellor. It's alright though, he's being replaced by Michael Go-*sets fire to self beneath a placard that says "Past Caring"*.

Oh and I've started following Louise Mensch on twitter: Man... that's opening the door to a bathroom that's had the plumbing ripped out. I tried to counter her retweets about the protests in a civilized and enquiring manner, but ended up just relaying details about the Ben Stiller film "Flirting With Disaster" that was on Film4.

Well, whatever gets you through, as Mensch herself has written.

Have fun. Continue.


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Fun Fox Facts

- This is one of the first sketches I wrote. It stars David Mitchell, Robert Webb and James Bachman.

- The seed of the sketch was not in fact the fox-hunting ban, but the case of Armin Miewes and Bernd Jurgen Armand Brandes.

- I wasn't alone in finding the idea of somebody voluntarily turning up to someone else's house to be eaten funny. My friend Will's favourite detail of the case is Miewes accidentally letting Brandes' severed penis burn on the stove in pepper, wine and garlic because he was so engrossed in a Star Trek novel. Will liked this thwarted attempt at Hannibal Lecterish sophistication. (Ironically, the casting of Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal probably has more to do with the Miewes case than it does any previous incarnation of Lecter. I haven't seen it. Is he into Star Trek?)

- The fox is named "Grace" after the Jeff Buckley album. This line was cut. Also cut was the line "Drop the cheese", fox slang for "Show me the money". As I say this was one of my first sketches.

- According to Wikipedia, Miewes has since become a vegetarian.

Friday, 8 May 2015



This clip has fascinated me for a while. Who was right? Tony with his theory that the mountain was just too high, or Ken with his theory that nobody trusted Labour's sums? Or secret Tony with his secret theory that Labour weren't centrist enough? 

Well, we know Tony got it right in 1997 because he was elected Prime Minister by a landslide. But then we also know Ken got it right because he was elected Mayor of London by an even bigger landslide in 2000.

But maybe that's just London.

Watching the results come in this morning in 2015 I witnessed Labour - which I've recently joined - lose no time in blaming the electorate. Neil Kinnock stood there in a strangely brown, smoke-filled room, essentially accusing the voters of being cowed into compliance by a campaign of fear. But blaming the electorate didn't work for him in 1992 and it won't work now. Blaming me won't work either. Okay, I never went leafleting, but who likes leaflets? Not putting people off is a very important part of campaigning. No, for all Miliband's achievements in opposition, Labour had five years to campaign and did next to nothing apparently in the belief that Conservatives are just people conned by the media into believing they're Conservative, and that if you take on the media the spell will lift. That's not how fear works. "How to be radical and still get elected" - that was the plan, but you do have to get the electorate on board, and in hindsight Miliband's biggest mistake was most concisely illustrated by what he said to Russell Brand six minutes and fifty seconds into that second game-changing "Trews" (game-changing in London, I mean):

"Tories are a sort of Virtual Party these days, so they sort of exist with advertising and money but they don't have people."

Do you see where he went wrong? It turned out they do, Ed. Lots of people. All over.


I like London.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Election Break

Here's five plus cracking minutes of German rap and lo-fi jumper backwardcam happily brought to my attention by Jeremy Hardingham. Hallo.

Let's all have fun tomorrow, and thereafter.

Thursday, 30 April 2015


 Or: "Why this

made me finally join the Labour Party."

I didn't see this coming a month ago.

I don't mean the interview, although no I didn't see that coming either; for the last five years Labour's appeared infuriatingly reluctant to engage with any grassroots movement at all, let alone stick up for one, a disengagement that's done far more to see off the old two-party system than anything the Lib Dems managed. Now Plan A enters its endgame Ed Miliband's campaigning for a majority like he's the only game in town, but surely he's left it too late. Probably. Almost definitely. It's maybe too late, but not I think too little, because the more Miliband campaigns for a majority, the more I actually believe that he actually believes he can pull it off, and I find that I find that exciting.

And to find that exciting I must at some point have stopped believing he was an eye-watering liability, so when did that happen? Certainly not during the Scottish referendum, nor his last conference speech, nor even the 2012 conference speech when he gabbled on about Disraeli instead of food and jobs and homes. It was recently, maybe as recently as the publishing of the Tory Manifesto: the shoddy maths was an open goal, but Miliband's been presented with open goals before and still managed to kick himself in the face... Suddenly I have a very strong mental picture of - THAT'S who he reminds me of:

Back to two weeks ago though. Here, finally, was the most cogent and coherent (those words don't mean the same thing do they?) argument against the Tories being made - not in an online petition or in an article circulated around twitter - but by the Labour leader himself. Maybe he wouldn't be useless in office, I suddenly thought. Maybe he's just useless in opposition.

The following day "The Making of Ed Miliband" appeared in the Guardian, an account of his period in opposition that, while not exactly glowing, at least showed that not nothing had been going on in all those years and that the Labour leader had, if not a plan, at least an aim. Put more simply than I've heard him put it himself, that aim was: "How to be radical and still win British elections." It was something Ken Livingstone had also hinted at years earlier... "I like Ed because he's a socialist". It's a very interesting read, and at the end of it I knew I would be voting Labour.

Then the following day this happened:

It was extraordinary: by refusing to appear, Cameron had let the entire debate turn Ed into a statesman. But it was also a cunning plan: leaving Miliband on his own to court coalition with anti-austerity nationalists allowed Cameron to paint Labour as nation-wreckers - I adore how cunning Cameron is by the way, he's the only one playing anything like three-dimensional chess - and we can see this was the plan, by the way, because that's exactly the picture the Tory machine has gone on to paint. Except Miliband didn't court that coalition. He didn't fall into the trap. Indeed his attacks on Sturgeon drew quite a bit of fire and eye-rolling tuttage. I was among the tutters, which again begs the question: Why do I now find the idea of a Labour majority exciting? I'm against austerity - today it was revealed there are just 48 affordable house in London, and yet we're still told the money isn't there. So I'm against austerity and look! Here's a fierce anti-austerity coalition of minority parties! I'm also historically a big fan of minority parties. Except two of these parties are nationalist, and I'm not a happy nationalist. And the third is - well, differently austere. Green. I mean, isn't being green all about austerity? Oh yes, then this happened:

Five years ago I held my nose and voted Labour because I didn't want to contribute to any chance of exactly what then happened happening. But it happened, and this blog fell silent for a while. It's worth me remembering how genuinely threatened I felt. How much I hated those in office and how much I wanted to write about how much I hated them, and I how I didn't, and how people I knew ended up pilloried and in some cases jailed and kept awake by the police simply for being in the same building as protests criminalised by the last Labour Government, a government which had created something like a police state just in time to hand it over to the Tories, a government that ended free higher education, that dismissed the housing crisis as the fantasy of ignorant racists, and that fucked about with some wars.

Do you know what the last Labour Government didn't do though? It didn't single-handedly bring about a world-wide recession. Do you know what it did do? Saved the economy by bailing out the banks. Do you know what happens if you bail out banks? You run low on money. All this though was clearly news to Cameron and Osborne, who had no idea the country would be low on money and therefore had to hastily jettison their manifesto in favour of a programme of austerity measures that have since hurt a lot of people I think it's the job of a civilized democracy to try and see don't get hurt. In fairness to them both though, they did all this without complaining. But this is old news. Osborne's told us not to get complacent about the recovery, so I'm assuming everything's only ostensibly all completely fine now.

I've never seen Ed Balls so happy as when Labour lost. I'm not sure I've been able to forgive him for that.


Yes! Peter Oborne! Three days before he sadly but sensationally resigned from the Telegraph because it refused to publish anything bad about HSBC Oborne wrote "if Ed Miliband does become prime minister, he will have done so without owing anything to anybody." He wrote it in the Spectator - so maybe I should be a little more guarded about referring to a Tory Machine - and the piece resurfaced around the time of the Opposition debates, which is when I read it. It's that rare thing: a blistering commendation. "It is extremely unusual for opposition leaders to win votes in the House of Commons and Ed Miliband has made a habit of doing so." Oborne then goes on to give chapter and verse. When I read that I realised I could vote for Labour without holding my nose. There was achievement there. There was survival. There was Olympic spirit. Remember? Opening ceremony? Tim Berners-Lee? "This is for everyone"? I've always said whoever could make that motto their own would win a majority. Miliband hasn't attempted to. I do have a problem with that. He's not very good with words.

But put him next to Russell Brand...

Five years ago I also wrote "It's like Battlestar Galactica, isn't it. Is it? It's like Mad Men. What's the word I'm looking for? It's drama." This too is drama. This is brilliant. It's brilliant because it's so obvious. Disaffected voters have a spokesman, that spokesman's an international celebrity with nearly ten million twitter followers, so speak to him. It's never been easier. And here Miliband is, jacket on, tie done up to eleven and utterly himself because ultimately, whatever you think of Russell Brand, he will let you speak. There's so much sniffiness in the News about simply defining our terms, but here that is finally allowed to happen. I have friends who have nightmares consisting solely of  Brand saying the word "paradigm." But the word does mean something.

"I have rolled up my sleeves, because I have rolled up my sleeves. What's Ed Miliband doing? Talking to someone who thinks you shouldn't vote? What an idiot. Has he rolled up his sleeves? I have."

 I remember Gordon Brown delivering tub-thumping speeches in front of applauding crowds five years ago. I remember thinking: without them, he's nothing. He needs the machine. He can't brook any opposition. Miliband on the other hand has had to. I think this "Trews" is the best public speaking Miliband's done, and it needed Russell Brand for it to happen, which is also what makes it such great drama. This is Obama talking to Bill O'Reilly. You could also maybe say it is a cry for help, but it's a cry a lot of people I know have been waiting to hear. So shrug, Ed, look like a goon, it doesn't matter, I get it: Politics is hard. And it starts with the people. I agree. It's us against the machines - Not the machines by which things eventually get done, but the machines in the shadows, the non-dom free-sheet proprietors and pollsters, the bullshit-spinning giant spiders whose clumps of web we're told are simply the terrain. A coalition is inevitable, we're told. Nothing's inevitable.

That's why I find the idea of a Labour majority exciting. And that's why I joined the Labour Party today.

Fun two weeks.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

10,000 Bad Drawings #00013-#00024

Ahh, drawing monsters and making no-budget sci-fi films, this is the life! I've got some catching up to do clearly, but here's twelve more. (Really though, I am going to make more films. I think Mintu's going to turn up in one. Watch this cyberspace.)