Wednesday, 21 February 2018

"What silly voices we might have!"

Arms, Simon?

All 4 episodes of "Angstrom" are now listenable-to in some form or other on the web - the first episode as a Comedy Of The Week podcast here, the other three still available on iplayer here. Playing the narrator finally allowed me to put all those Anglo-Saxon classes to use (TANGENT: that's where I first learnt that English poetry originally followed lines of four stresses rather than the five beats of classical verse, which are an affectation towards Italian. This is why Peter Hall was talking bols when he said iambic pentameter just followed our natural speech patterns: ask most people to quote Shakespeare and they'll say "To BE or NOT to be, THAT is the QUES-tion", not "To BE or NOT to BE, that IS the QUES-tion". They'll say "A HORSE, a HORSE, my KING-dom for a HORSE", not "A HORSE, a HORSE, my KING-dom FOR a HORSE". They'll say "SHALL I com-PARE thee to a SUM-mer's DAY?" not "Shall I com-PARE thee TO a SUM-mer's DAY?" I mean, I COULD GO ON, PETER.) Anyway, I don't know how much of this Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley were down with, but they're both excellent musicians (and always banging on about how comedy is music*) and I adore how the finished show sounds - on top of just how much it makes me laugh - and am very proud to have been part of that rhythm section. As for my accent, I don't know... Leslie Caron? And Bols Aashol's voice has, I now realise, more than a bit of Jim Carter in "Detectives on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" about him, which I've no regrets about at all. Joel and Jason don't seem to have any regrets either, and working for them always provides a great opportunity to receive their unconditional love. Thanks to them and producer Lyndsay Fenner for such a leap of faith. Angstrom was, and is, happy.

Oh, NOW you fold them!

... As of course is John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, whose Series 7 finale aired last week. Fans of the show will probably already know that producer Ed Morrish posts his own accounts of each episode on tumblr. I would only add here that John and I went through a number of voices for the Better Memory Entrepreneurs before settling on what you hear; that they sound so much like our goldfish voices is a genuine coincidence which I only wish we'd realised at the time and committed to even more. And how do you top last year's Musical? Well - as Juliet Brando put it on twitter - with a "Finnception" by which I mean, if you haven't already listened to the episode, there's absolutely nothing unusual or spoilerable about Episode 6 at all, it's all just normal great Finnemore goodness.

Pictured: Liam Gallagher's coffee maker, which we found taking up half the studio on day 1.

Even a lip-gnawing, own-tail-chasing louche twat like me can appreciate being in two such special things in a month. As much as performers bring lines to life, lines bring performers to life; John is Geppetto, Jason and Joel are Sid from Toy Story; both are examples of master toy makers, and being brought to life by both was magic fun.

Oh and did you know WE'RE GOING ON TOUR?!

Not with these guys though. Well not yet, at least. Here's that cracking Angstrom theme.

*Let's elaborate: Of course they're right, but "is" is a big old two-letter word. I'd say comedy requires what music requires, but more than it and less of it (although you can't have too much) and the "it" is the wheels of comedy, not the motor, which is an idea (however if I knew more about music, maybe I'd realise ideas are the motors of music too.)


  1. Angstrom was absolutely great, and quite the perfect thing to listen to as I stress about the snow. (I’m pretty sure listening to the show was precisely what got me through my – slightly terrifying – drive home in the snow last night. I hate driving. And snow. I don’t think I could hate it any more if it were actual fragments of my own body falling from the sky.)

    Your narrator voice has a beautiful rhythm – I don’t know anything about poetry, and very little about the English language, but you definitely put those Anglo-Saxon classes to good use, if that’s where you got it from. I happen to find Bols Aashol’s voice distinctly reminiscent of your Sir Maxwell House, especially in some places, but maybe that’s just me.

    (Pretty random, but I love the fact that the first episode of Angstrom aired the same week as the JFSP episode featuring the caterpillar crime scene sketch – with you playing a chief police officer in a murder without a body case on both occasions. I know I’m just being silly, but still.)

    As for John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme, well, it’s always interesting to see how John manages to top the greatness of the previous series – and by ‘interesting’ I mean the laughing-myself-out-of-breath kind. I’ve lost count of just how many times I’ve listened to the final episode, especially the Leaving Do song – which I definitely didn’t have a little cry to the first time it aired, though I’ve had it stuck in my head for ages at work, and quite happily so.

    (The best thing about JFSP is that it combines such fantastic writing, and acting, and music, and singing. Oh, and that it always manages to put a smile on my face, no matter how sad or tired or stressed out I am. It’s just – brilliant, as one very enthusiastic airline steward would put it.)

    I’m so happy that the show is going on tour, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to come and see it at some point. Either way, I hope you all get to have a fantastic time; I don’t know any of them personally, but all of the cast seem like they’re absolutely lovely people, so there’s that.

  2. Thanks! And, yes, busted. Bols had Sir Maxwell written all over him (he's even given an "Ah, there you are!") but I made him slightly Northerner. Why fight it! (Curiously, I think David "I'm 25" Reed's boss voice sounds a bit like Sir-Maxwell-counterpart George Crisp in "Death on Hell Mountain". David Reed is an extraordinary improviser by the way - I recommend you becoming a fan of his.) The Finnegang meanwhile are, as you surmise, fun and kind, it's just a shame about the smell.

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