[This is the text I sent out to members of my mailing list - it's a thing to join! To add yourself today, email me at email@example.com with the word “SUBSCRIBE” in the subject line and I promise all your dreams of free postage on a book will come true. (Your dreams are awesome.)]
Well thank goodness, 2020, and all its twentytwentiness is nearly done.It really had to go and make a thing of itself, didn't it, unlike those other years we can barely remember having anything in, like 2007, 1994 and 1879, 754 and 11.But while it has a few days left to run, why don't you, dear reader, make a face to yourself to express to yourself how the last year has been.I'm doing one now - join me.
That's good.Yeah, nice.
But here's some light at the end of the year-long tunnel of 2020.
Each year, good or bad, I write to my excellent Mailing List folk an annual sumuppance of things done, things next to do, things I've loved, and an offer of free shipping on products for people who have taste or decorum or both.And that includes you, what with your fabulous 2020-face.
Superdoops and Hopewards!
In February, I appeared on BBC 1's long-running medical drama, HOLBY CITY, playing the role of a statistics-obsessed patient.
Some 2020 doings:
In late October I was in Episode 1 of THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT, on the Netflix channel, playing Mr Hume, a Biology teacher with good advice about eating your vegetables.
Obviously with THE SITUATION, my live appearances were pretty minimal this year.
I performed at THE NATIONAL THEATRE in March, in a piece called Anything You Can Do (AI Can Do Better) written by the brilliant Stewart Pringle and directed by the terrific Sara Joyce.
The show was part of the National Theatre / Wall Street Journal Storytelling strand and was intended to be performed over the course of the year, but then events happened.
I performed a reading of WHO HERE'S LOST? at Bookseller Crow on the Hill in January, and I turned up at the ALTERNATIVE COMEDY MEMORIAL SOCIETY in March, but that's been about it.
I did do a couple of online things though:A reading for the WIGTOWN BOOK FESTIVAL in September, and a book recommendation slot for BOOKSELLER CROW on their Book Bubble Babble video series in early November.I was also a guest on the fabulous PODCAST FROM THE PAST, hosted by Tom Jackson, where I shared stories with Tom and the excellent Siân Pattenden, about postcards sent, received and collected over the years. I spoke about a trip to the awesome Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California, with Stewart Lee and Kevin Eldon in 1995.
Send your ears to this page and download the Personal On-Demand broadcast to listen to at your leisure.
My plan had been to take my new comedy piece WHO HERE'S LOST? as well as my "lecture" about cartoons, PRONOUN TROUBLE, and the live author event parody, BOOKTALKBOOKTALKBOOK (also featuring the wonderful Joanna Neary to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, and various other places throughout the year.But that didn't happen.If things look good for this plan in 2021, I'll let you know in the spring.I live in hope.
I have a number of projects in the planning for next year; here's a brief excerpt of something that may or may not become called The Realms of Possibility:
At Elemonses he ate his lemon alone and in silence. Last night he’d slept with a kleptosomniac and he’d woken to find that in the night she’d stolen three of his collection of pottery animals with teapots. Not animal teapots; they were too easy to collect. The missing items were a fox with a teapot, dressed for some reason as Soviet Premier Konstantin Chernenko; a representation of an olm with a glass teapot, with the phrase, “Mmm, olms” on the base; and, most sentimentally, a pangolin pouring tea for a family of quokkas. He'd met her at Slightly Larger Than Average Vernon’s, the celebrity eczema waxwork museum and kebab shop, and they'd simultaneously admired the dry patch on what looked like Tom Cruise’s inside wrist while eating their shawarmas.
- THIS IS WHERE THE SUPER SPECIAL ANNUAL OFFER TO MEMBERS OF MY MAILING LIST IS FOUND BUT YOU HAVE TO JOIN THE LIST TO GET THE OFFER -SO IF YOU WANT FREE SHIPPING FOR CHRISTMAS ON ITEMS IN MY WEBSHOP, EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org WITH THE WORD "SUBSCRIBE" IN THE SUBJECT AND I'LL SEND YOU THE LINK.
Once again, apologies if you're only getting this because you have previously bought a book from me - thank you and apologies for being a business pest - sorrythanks.
Should you have some spare book tokens, why not pop along to somewhere like Bookseller Crow or Word on the Water or use Bookshop (indeed other local bookshops may well be available more locally to your locality) and treat yourself, or someone with equally brilliant taste as you, with something excellent.
A few of my favourite books out of those I've read this year (not necessarily published this year) have been (in no particular order):
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
The Evidence by Christopher Priest
Anita Loos by Gary Carey
Weather by Jenny Offill
And Having Writ... by Donald R. Bensen
Night Train by David Quantick
Books continue to be the best, and I am always delighted to receive any tip in return.
Some of my favourite films out of those I saw in 2020 were the highly excellent Bill And Ted Face The Music, Palm Springs, I'm Thinking Of Ending Things, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Bait and Steven Soderbergh's B&W version of Raiders of the Lost Ark with the Trent Reznor score
I saw some great shows in the young days of 2020: Snowflake/Tornado by Stewart Lee; Showbiz by Frank Skinner; and, from the brilliant Lucy Hopkins, The Ceremony of Golden Truth at the Vault Festival.
I feel sorry for 2020 that it didn't have other similar great shows during it.
But may I again recommend the remarkable mentoring project Scene and Heard, which partners children from Somers Town in London with volunteer theatre professionals, and creates inspirational moments and the funniest, most wonderful shows you'll see.
This year has seen new challenges for the charity, but you can support the amazing work they do by zipping to their website and purchasing a book of quotes from two decades of brilliant plays written by children and performed by professional actors.
It's hilarious and wise.
TV topness has included Infinity Train, Evil, Schitt's Creek, Star Trek: Lower Decks, The Queen's Gambit, and El Ministerio del Tiempo.
Musically, here's a EweToob Playlist of a few of my most enjoyed songs of 2020, not all of which were first released in 2020.
(Trigger Warning: some of the videos are music only or lyric video clips. Some include sentiment, others contain curse words. There are stallions and Stallyns. There is rock, jazz and country. These are all entirely justifiable in context.)
I've gone on way too long, but thank you for getting this far.
I really think we're going to have a win next year, and we'll look back at this one as a rough patch we just had to get through to get there.
Please accept my early compliments for the season, and allow me to wish you an absolutely astounding 2021.
Be excellent to each other.love and peace!