Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe record cover? (aka The Goons and also available in ‘vinyl’) – do you have this or other collectible albums stashed in your loft?

Escape from the War!

The ’50s witnessed the blossoming of British creative talent leading into the ’60s

Following the narrowest of escapes many years later, even after Dunkirk*,  like the Goons, our intrepid editor is delighted to report that all appears to be well, following a successul rear guard action – his mad antics will be described later – stay tuned  🙂

 

The Goons featuring

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine and Harry Secombe

–  the other fabulous foursome!

First there came Spike Milligan

* Following the media repression and misery of the war years, they burst out from the constraints of authoritarian wartime Britain into Radio like a un-coiling spring, as an outrageously funny irreverent foursome to poke fun at the ‘wooden’ establishment that had held them in check for so long!

Although a jazz vocalist-turned-entertainer of the troups during wartime Britain, Spike Milligan could be considered as the lyrical / satyrical / anti-war / anti-authority ‘John Lennon’ founder of this particular fabulous foursome, along with co-writers Larry Stephens and Eric Sykes. Spike wrote and performed comedy sketches as part of concerts to entertain troops during the war years as a signaller in the Royal Artillery 56th. Armoured Division. Hmmm.. dad must have known of him as a member of a similar Division. The editor also remembers reading one of his amazing books  quite early on – which together with Waugh’s Scoop and Voltaire’s Candide probably didn’t do him much good either, speaking as a ‘sensible citizen‘ of questionable sensibilities, that is  🙂

Peter Sellers and Ian Carmichael as sensible citizens, tongue in cheek, in “I’m Alright Jack” – another hilarious attempt of the social classes to return to civilian life in post-war, re-uniting Britain! The whole nation’s returning soldiers appeared to be suffering from a form of collective PTSD – for which manic humour and a liberal measure of ‘for God’s sake pull yourself together man’ were prescribed! Hence – ‘I’m OK, you’re OK, we’re OK’; I’m alright, We’re alright, You’re alright, Jack?

Note: this clip doesn’t do the film justice – watch the whole film to get the full comedy including the ‘you’re not the detergent type’ Ian Carmichael clip – and Peter Sellers as the union shop steward! Sellers went to work on the character and role of “Fred Kite” with all the obsessive and meticulous attention to nuance and detail he lavished on Dr. Stragelove! When the social classes eventually and inevitably collided as Carmichael dated his pretty daughter in the spirt of the times (the new progressive and socially-mobile ‘swinging’ ’60s), ‘war’ threatened to break back-out again, but it was held in masterful restraint as ‘preventative internecine warefare countermeasures’ by union man Sellers in his hysterically funny portrayal!

Each to their own: Fred Kite – father and union man

The role of ‘sensible citizen’ as “reluctant comedian” in The Goon Show (as in real life) was played by ex. RAF intelligence officer Michael Bentine

On the editor’s young adult reading list

Serious dutiful absentee citizen Bentine (above) – then along came  Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers (below)

The editor particularly remembers the radio dialogues between Sellers, Secombe aka ‘Neddie Seagoon’ and Milligan!

The Goons was first broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1951

 

Nick  🙂

Having the gift of the gab is rarer than you might suppose:

lifes journey, sometimes refered to as the bumpy road, can be made a lot easier and smoothed-out if you have it and a lot rougher if you don’t!

Although Sir Terry was much liked, the Editor struggled at first to find common ground here: the Eurovision Song Contest and its organizers as headquartered in Vienna which he visited briefly last year – and bumped into on the central station there, managing to crack a joke with the Station Master about golf whilst not personally considering retirement just yet. He thought it was more funny than the Editor did at the time – but we do share a slight sense of dark humour with our Saxon friends, also having a bit more of the Blarney in common. Terry didn’t take things (work, retirement or life) at all too seriously it appeared, including humour itself that is, unlike our foreign German-speaking friends 🙂

The Editor thinks both Terry Wogan and David Bowie read and listened to music and the arts widely (as enthusiastic autodidactic learners rather than structured academically-trained thinkers) and that therefore they were able to experiment more freely with ideas.

Bawler or Boomer?

Terry was certainly a boomer, never a bawler!

Life compared to a Waltz rather than a bumpy road

As he might have said: And now for some some steam music? Why for steam radio of course – to be enjoyed by older boilers like me – and you, and you!

To be followed hastily by; and of course younger boilers like your dear self, Madam!

(In typically self-deprocating manner)

And something for Radio 2 Listeners?

This one’s definitely more for Radio 3 listeners however: –

In some ways, life for Terry could be regarded as a waltz rather than a bumpy road, rather like Johann Strauss’ steam engine where dancers glide and reciprocate in gentle circular motion with each other – rather than clash up against immovable obstacles! Perhaps this is why people liked the elegance of steam engines compared with the rough argy-bargy of engine and carriage-shunting, Diesels, buffers and all the ‘stop-go’ motion involved in marshalling yards!

Round House Turntable – seeing things in the round – good things like music come in round packages

And for a Radio 4 type discussion perhaps..

Waltz piano sheet (and pianola) music from Vienna: the popular music of the time

The Editor claims also to be 1/16th. Irish though, from those Kellys from Cork rather than neighbouring Limerick.

Let us know of your encounters – witticisms, be they informal, remote or otherwise, with Sir Terry!

Terry shared with the Editor a common reluctance for having scripts for what he said live and online, and much of what Terry said was indeed straight from the heart and un-rehearsed, which gave it a spontaneity – and also made him inadvertently a master of understatement.

read on ..

Nick

(contact: nick4182@hotmail.com)

Europe 2.0: Great Scott!

There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots!

And so it is sadly with today’s politicians, their pundits, commentators (and lecturers): – going to begin this lecture by making some bold mission statements, debunking some historicism and rehashing some old  declarations – and support our retailers: –

 

But back to the future:

it was assumed that we would have made great strides discovering the ‘governing dynamics’ of the Scientific Universe at least by now – as in “Back To The Future”: –

Finding the 1.21GW required for fictional time travel by DeLorean – but only just in time!!

Time flies like an arrow ..

The DeLorean time machine’s destination date was set to 21st October 2015 Wednesday last week as Back to the Future Day, a time the scriptwriters predicted when we would have discovered and invented gravity-defying hover-boards and time-defying flux capacitors!

In our parallel future however, the 1.21 gigawatts required to power the famous Flux Capacitor is replaced by 14 TeV at CERN today, as the quest for the ‘governing dynamics’ of the universe  (hence providing us with an understanding of Gravity and Time ultimately) a “Theory of Everything” – which still eludes us.

Flux capacitor

.. but fruit flies like a banana!

‘Back to the future’ in the political democratic arena: –

In the political and democratic arena by comparison, there appears to have been be little or no change in managing basic human nature: 21/10/2015 still retains the undemocratic and dystopian economic and political structures that Biff Tannen and his henchmen inevitably created!

Karl Popper echoed this pessimistic view of utopias in his devastating critique of the use of Historicism in the Social and Political Sciences. If you want to have a deeper understanding of politics and economics, you need philosophy too – as well as an understanding of the economics of supply and demand.

So what are the governing dynamics – of government?

Popper asserted we just don’t know and that government by precedent and historical analysis of its constituent social and human sciences is incomplete i.e.  flawed.

One thing is certain however, the future is not inevitable!

Both unpredictable and unexpected things events may take place in government by politics. “Events, dear boy, events”.

In one mechanistic political future; the inventors get the upper hand with discoveries and hover boards make levitation and flux capacitors make time travel possible. In another predicted informatic or technical metaphor future as predicted here; online democracy becomes ubiquitous through online gaming and creates governmental and electoral reform! Technology can and does inevitably change our methods of working and their governance over time.

The quest for a gravity-levitating machine as a device as a mechanistic invention rather than a scientific discovery has not, as far as the editor knows, produced a sustainable lift system; only brief and small changes in an objects weight over short periods. If such a system were to do so, it would have a profound way in which we govern ourselves!

All rise!

The last time the editor researched “gravity drives” along with “perpetual or practicular motion”  was a over decade ago, so things have developed since rotating pairs of gyroscopes on a balance to measure their weight! Perhaps it is also interesting to note that so keen were the Victorians to invent and patent ‘practicular motion’ devices, the Patent Office actually wrote a clause to refuse their submission!

Europe 2.0

  • Europe 2.0 should and could (therefore) be a region and a zone where individuals, groups and Nation States can experiment creatively with participating democracy, constitutional framing, economics and social groupings – not an over-arching bureaucracy where all practices are locked-down and set in stone!
  • Europe should (following on) be thought of as a collection of dynamically-re-configurable systems rather than static immovable bureaucracies
  • In case you were pondering; – “just in time” governance as in manufacturing is not, repeat not the same as dynamic constitutional framing –but  rather, it forms an important sub-set thereof!
  • Back in the days of the early computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, we had punch cards for ‘batch card processed’ production relating to automating weavers looms. Our democracies have however remained set in stone i.e. ‘batch card processed’. This can be referred to as ‘static constitutional framing’. The result is pre-ordained, bureaucratic, exclusive and inflexible
  • Modern computing comprises real-time user interfaces like Windows. ‘Front end’ user-driven screen processes operate  ‘middleware’ business logic to manipulate ‘back end’ data processes to realize their ‘just in time’ governance in production systems – working in ‘real-time’ as “three-tier systems”
  • Take a moment to consider this: a flexible manufacturing system with its distributed economies of production can be compared with a future Europe with its distributed democracies – as a user-friendly computing machine metaphor.
  • A future Europe can therefore be considered to be an aggregate of dynamic economies and dynamic democratic constitutions with dynamic resource allocation!

 

Europe 2.0: Dynamic Constitutional Framing for Economic Growth: what are the   advantages?

  • Interactive government by eDemocracy as proposed engages electorates through real-time user (hence electorate) participation in online gaming
  • A Europe comprising a collection of dynamically-reconfigurable systems is a Constructionist Europe comprising building blocks, rather like ‘smart social LEGO’
  • Used as an antidote to, rather than a replacement for, elective representative democracy within and between bureaucracies
  • Provides pathways to implementing smarter government aka. electoral reform that will be required to match smarter technology on a country-by-country basis
  • A recipe for economic and social growth
  • Leaving the best until the last: a Super State as so described – namely Europe 2.0 – can maximize the choices available for its ‘end-users’ – namely its electorates – on demand and on an individual by individual basis. The parallel is drawn with modern automobile production where no two cars leaving the production line are necessarily identical as each has been chosen from a wide array of choices available to the individual purchaser: for example body color, engine, model, interior trim and optional extras. No two cars rolling in sequence off the production line are alike.
  • One size no longer has to fit all and we each have the right to govern and be governed by consent as self-determining individuals!

 

Nick @NPRFTEDesign

Scoop! Tax Credits

P.S. Update: for a most recent example, The UK House of Lords exercises ‘dynamic constitutional framing’ to defeat the House of Commons in today’s news!

If you are concerned the reforms will hit you as a carer, we’d like to hear from you!

Sales Pitch Tips for Market Stall-holders

Comedy at Cottingham.tv: in celebration of individuals characters and individuality  we ask:

Q. Are you a Bawler or a Boomer .. or a Mouse?

A. Speak up boy!

Q. How do you attract customers to your stall to make your sales pitch?

continued ..

 #bawlerorboomer?

 

Nick

 

Poet Ian McMillan performs his Pop-up Poetry Tour in Cottingham Library

 

Performing “The Ghost of Alouiscious” using his fold-up paper-chart and off-the-library-shelf selections of names picked at random from the pages of books and markers, he worked with his audience to make-up the lyrics as we went along!

His style is to pick and mix words with the audience

One could surmise he might have seen “Aloysius and the ghost of uncle Harold” on the bookshelf, but it was meant more in fun in an Edward Lear-like made-up wordsmith sense. Ian’s performance was likeable, funny and engaging, spiced with northern grit and a delivery Morcambe and Wise would have been pleased with!

Coming to a library near you!

Ian is performing in libraries in East Yorkshire including around Hull, Beverley and Bridlington.

 

 

Nick

 

 

Alternative Ways Of Connecting With The Electorate – Cottingham.tv is like Barrie McKenzie also on a ‘cultural mission’!

Barry ‘singing for his supper’ for John Lennon in a VW camper van: ‘strewth, starve the lizards – I’m so thirsty I could drink out of a Japanese wrestler’s jockstrap!

These are just the introductory-level salvos of a barrage of increasingly irreverent jokes comprising colourful metaphors – used with connect with the audience quick-fire – and make them buy lots of tins of Fosters lager to quench their thirst in the process!

Edna Everage plays the ‘straight guy’ as the ‘voice of constraint’ and Tommy Cooper plays Arthur McKenzie  read on ..

Posted by admin at May 1, 2015

Category: Art, Books, Comedy, Cottingham, Cottingham Springboard, Election, Elections, Humour, Tommy Cooper

The search for smarter ways to ‘connect with the electorate’!

There must be a ‘third way’ .. psychologically speaking!

Fortunately no one was injured

and we do (still) have ways of making you laugh!

Always Leave Them Laughing

The Psychology of Tommy Cooper

Tommy Cooper’s redeeming quality was his unique ability to connect with the audience (rather than electorate) and thereby let them in on his surprise and amazement when a trick he performed actually worked and humour conversely when it didn’t. Audiences would be engaged in the build-up of the punch line and Tommy’s apparently clumsy clown figure was always far more interesting than the trick – the way it should be with the best comedians and most remarkable people!

He used to practise his well-rehearsed routines in front of a wall rather than a mirror because that enabled him to look past himself into the audience to better engage with them. His clumsiness was however meticulously rehearsed and agile.

In psychology, this is known as building rapport and empathy.

Whether the trick worked or not, we just laughed helplessly!

Do you remember that distant stare of bewilderment into the audience looking for answers when things went wrong? It was as if we were all somehow implicated!

So is there a message? Is there method in the madness?

Answers please to Cottingham.tv

Nick

P.S. Do you know anyone who does a good Tommy Cooper impersonation?  Get in touch! Like the greatest comedians he is almost impossible to impersonate!

 

Benny Hill’s humour:

too non-PC Today?

Best of Benny Hill Sketches – in a re-work

Bring back British Humour – bring back softer southern comedy!

What might Benny have done if he were amongst us today?

Comedy Script

The bucolic gardener, lurking in the grounds of an Edwardian Country House where ‘30s “Who-dun-it” meets ‘70s “To the manor born” set in the slightly dysfunctional and out-dated comedy sit-com genre, is invited in for an impromptu’ meal in appreciation for his work by husband and wife gentry.

Benny is lurking furtively in the undergrowth, tending a Venus statue whilst keeping a watchful eye on female staff passing by.

Husband: Ah there you are! Thank you so much my dear friend for mowing the lawn and come in for a meal!

Wife, interjecting: and thank you so terribly much for keeping our hedges and r-rhododendrons down – absolutely super job old chap – do come in and sit down!

Benny sits down at the table, tucks serviette into his neck and remains taciturn and motionless, overwhelmed

The meal is served ..

Waitress serves up a ploughman’s lunch, bending over to reveal all in expected revealing attire

Benny’s eyes swivel above his thick glasses

Husband: do tuck in!

Benny mutters to camera, eyes swivelling and ogling: “Tuck in? How are ‘they’ possibly supposed to tuck in?”

Wife repeats: I insist – thank you so much for lending a hand – do tuck in!

Benny takes the initiative and lends a hand ..

Wife, continuing, attempting to break the ice – unaware of Benny’s behind the table initiative: “They say there’s no such thing as the working classes nowadays you know!”

Waitress then exclaims; shocked in a low voice, whaling to camera to camera: “No, Warlocks! Warlocks!”

Husband, thinking it was Benny: “Ah I see, then you really did mean more than one – a coven of male witches”?

Waitress: Loads of warlocks please!

Benny; deliberating: “Definitely not the warlocks!”

Wife interrupting: Hmmm – that’ll make things interesting – do you think having more education could help? – I know; we could have a Warnock committee!

Benny smirking to camera: – “to keep a breast of a hard situation”

Husband, interjecting: “No: Seeing things in the round; The Warnocks”?

Wife: No; teams of Warnocks!

Benny, breaking into a smile; “No … loads of, witches”

Husband: Oh, no, covens, I insist!

Waitress: Oh, warlocks!

Camera pans back and the servants all appear in a line gradually: Benny gets up to run out to escape the waitress rounding on him, followed closely by the husband and wife ..

The chase ensues out of the house, gathering momentum, into the grounds: the theme music starting up: waitresses, witches and warlocks as the servants and guests of the house all gradually divesting themselves of their robes to underwear as they walk out into the garden, breaking into a run, followed by the Warnocks waving their paper scripts as reports!

 

Footnotes

Benny Hill’s “Warlocks sketch” became famous and it was time for a remake!

Watching “Murdered to Death” whodunit presented by the Brough Petuaria Players at Darby & Joan Hall in Cottingham a few years ago gave the editor encouragement to try scriptwriting,

A long dining table makes communication a little difficult hence the wife who isn’t necessarily hard of hearing misreads the situation creating scope for a comedy.

 

(c) Nicholas Robinson, 5th. February 2015

Evelyn Waugh SCOOP!

NEWS SCOOP SENSATION!

Read all about it here at Cottingham.tv and Hull Books!

Cottingham.tv’s editor Nicholas Robinson involved in a series of sensational international news and press scoops!

BBC Newsnight and then BBC News have been broadcasting our electronic democracy and politics press scoops here on Cottingham.tv this week also through the night, also with a “life in comedy after politics” becoming “actively considered” by at least one leading politician, further to our “Tribute to comedian Norman Collier”!

In Evelyn Waugh’s novel Scoop! The roving news reporter from a local rag achieves fame and notariety for going out into ‘bongo-bongo land’, to ‘stir things up a bit’ amongst the natives, to then create and report (or scoop) the news reporting internationally back home!

The plot thickens: Licence to Kill!

If you remember James Bond and the evil press baron Elliot Carver filmed in Hamburg, stirring-up trouble in the South China Sea, an arch villain of democracy disguised his identity with a ‘Stealth Boat’ and hid behind digitally-encrypted digital satellite systems. This was also based partly on Evelyn Waugh’s famous novel SCOOP!

Back to the Present

In this case however, the BBC re-invented their own beck end of beyond’, to be not our own lowly UK provinces (that would be too close for comfort), but in several ‘banana republics’  in South America!

In this case, a lowly provincial Brit (this humble editor) got to invent and scoop the news first!

To Ewan Evans, acclaimed promoter of British inventors on Dragon’s Den and latterly of Newsnight & co: “I must have tuned out for a minute there Elliot”!  No: better; let them eat cake! Electronic Democracy – not merely to be seen as an alternative to electronic balloting – was invented as described by this Brit right here! Google agrees!

 

The trouble with democracy is: –

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried”

that we invented it here and in Europe; but it’s always someone else’s fault when it goes wrong!

Nick

 

Norman Collier Tribute

Remembering fondly his chicken sketches, Norman was one of the great disruptive Northern Comedians who like Les Dawson cut his teeth on the “Working Men’s Club Circuit”. Chicken in the basket was, along with scampi and chips, a favourite choice served up to happy workers – and campers – in ’60s and ’70s

It is unfortunate that there are only a handful of those wonderful old clubs left! They  provided a livelihood and way up for so many emerging entertainers and comedians.

Bring Back British Humour – Bring Back Old Labour – all is forgiven?

What’s sauce for the goose?

Courtesy: http://www.theguardian.com

The editor misses Tommy Cooper, Eric Sykes, Hattie Jacques, Les Dawson, Morcambe and Wise and many others. Today’s generation seem to have lost the ability to do standup – as ‘do or die’ one-liners – maybe it’s because monologues are now more in vogue and less likely to get shouted down. Audiences have indeed mellowed – or is it because we’re all supposed to be middle class now?

Come on John – you can do it!

We all want you in our hearts of hearts to try to be more like icon Les and ‘spread your wings a bit’ like Norman!

Batley Variety Club is undergoing a revamp!

The Club Circuit faces an existential threat with clubs now reinventing themselves.

Watching Nigel Farage being wined and dined last night – the author resolves to get out more – perhaps he could help pubs and clubs if elected and not proceed to drink his hosts under the table? That brings to mind another contemporary stand-up comedian Al Murray. Interestingly Al has as his stage persona the jingoistic pub landlord  which happens to be his alter-ego in real life. Al brings a bit of the 70s back with his punchy northern humour which is laudable and in contrast with ‘having the world resolve itself through the bottom of a beer glass’!

Perhaps the adversarial Punch and Judy knock-about days of the ’70s are now well and truly behind us and their ‘industrial strength’ comedy is just too non-PC? In the inimitable words of Benny Hill: “Warlocks!”

 

Nick