This is a page of projects that don't go anywhere else and links and miscellaneous etceteras
Things you'll find here are NEWS bulletins, LINKS to other websites, information about my OTHER WORK and details of unproduced (and/or uncompleted) PROJECTS.
Here is my mailing list bulletin from the most recent year:
To subscribe to my mailing list email me with the word Subscribe in the subject line and added you'll be.
Along with Dave Green, the founder of Need to Know and my companion in numerous special projects in the 1990s and beyond. Now a force for good at the EFF. Also coiner of the term "life hacks" and therefore crucial.
Along with Danny O'Brien, the founder of Need to Know and a deacon of nerds. We have collaborated on many many special projects over the years and will do again. Also a member of the terrifyingly excellent Fakebit Polytechnic.
A brilliant comedian who I've been delighted to work with since the 1980s. He has maintained a daily weblog for years now. Also makes terrific podcasts about comedy and snooker.
Arguably the United Kingdom's most rigorous comedy mind. Wrote the introduction to More Trees to Climb for which I am ever grateful as it's beautiful. Another person whose work I have loved since first performing it in 1988.
An extremely talented comedy writer and actor. We were in the Oxford Revue in 1988 together, did Planet Mirth, and she also played Edna's mum in Undone.
Just an extraordinary comedy actor and writer whose shows are essential every time. Also a terrific cartoonist as you'll see when you click through to her site.
So bright, such a funny mind and an excellent musician to boot!
An incredibly sharp character actor - the brains behind the musical genius Gary Le Strange and many other terrific things.
ARTISTS I LOVE
The brilliant writer whose world view is being realised faster than we know.
The extraordinary artist whose painting Beehive was the digital print that hung as a backdrop to Each of Us
An inspiration throughout my life - an incredible songwriter and all round human being of the first order.
An awesome writer. His books take your mind to places your mind didn't realise it was takeable to.
Just the funniest, most thoughtful novelist around. Treat yourself and buy one of his books. Yourself will thank you.
Author of Random Acts of Senseless Violence, one of the true life-changing books. A hero.
Wonderful artist, book cover designer and illustrator.
THOMAS COOPER GOTCH
My favourite painting in the world is The Exile (Heavy is the Price I Paid for Love) on display at the Arthur East Gallery in Kettering. It's well worth a city break to go and see it.
A brilliant cook, writer and person. Her demonstrations of how to cook without a kitchen are excellent.
A superb painter whose work portrays different parts of the world so clearly and humanly.
Why I Hate Saturn is a masterpiece and this comics writer/artist is a genius.
A wonderful writer whose work also encompasses illustrated journalism. London Walks is a fabulous book, full of the sights and sounds of the city.
An amazing illustrator and comics creator. Also a terrific human.
London's premier comic book shop. They host fantastic events and it's one of my top places to be in.
A series of free concerts on Saturday lunchtimes at the Union Chapel in Highbury. Amazing music and an incredible venue.
The comic that made me who I am. Funny, irreverent, bursting with imagination and cool. The comic, not me. I only wish.
The excellent festival in Cornwall featuring books, music, performances and so much more.
SCI-FI LONDON FESTIVAL
London's annual festival celebrating the fantastic in film.
The book festival of my home town. Lovely people and always a fascinating line-up.
The summer street fair in my neck of the woods.
BOOKSELLER CROW ON THE HILL
Another great shop full of books, friendship and humour. And books.
TODAY I LEARNED
A place to learn something every day from folk who have learned something that day.
Another knowledgey source.
Rumours and myths debunked and confirmed.
PEOPLE I'VE WORKED FOR / WITH
The brilliant lighting designer who has been made all my shows gorgeous since the 1990s.
A wonderfully skilled graphic designer and typographer who has created my posters since 2004.
The wonderful human, now at the RSC, who has directed all my shows since 1997 and is a genius at inspiration and theatrical wonder.
SUNS OF THE TUNDRA
The fabulous progressive metal band who write the scores to my solo stage work. I've also recently collaborated with them on live performances of their new album, Bones of Broken Ships.
ANDY LANE PHOTOGRAPHY
The excellent photographer behind the camera for most of my show images since 1993.
The venue in Edinburgh where I've performed all my solo shows. An amazing set of people led by Christopher Richardson and Anthony Alderson and I owe them so much.
SHOW & TELL
The terrific comedy and theatre producers and promoters behind my recent tours. Their acts are excellent!
The Italian co-producers of Tre Desideri (Three Wishes). So awesome!
The Italian co-producers of Tre Desideri (Three Wishes). Also awesome!
NN CONTEMPORARY ART
Northampton's contemporary art space - a must-visit if you're ever in town.
Tom Hodgkinson and team have published my journalism over the years and I've been delighted to work with them as Sports Master of the Idler Academy at Port Eliot. The London shop is also a haven of calm and clever.
ME ONLINE ELSEWHERE
It was a delight to talk with the excellent Tom Jackson and the brilliant Siān Pattenden about postcards sent, received and collected. This was recorded just before the first Lockdown in March 2020. Tom's book of postcards and his Twitter account are both absolutely wonderful.
I appeared in this episode of Leila Johnston's phonic on-demand broadcast, talking about my work and my dumb ways of working.
At the Port Eliot Festival in July 2018, I was a guest on this podcast. I appeared with Andy Miller, Cathy Rentzenbrink and John Mitchinson, and we discussed How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard (which is also on the Pronoun Trouble Reading List).
I appeared in this episode of Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast. We talk about bananas.
OTHER STUFF I DO
SCENE AND HEARD
Since 1999 I've been volunteering at this amazing charity in Somers Town, London. It's a mentoring project that uses theatre to give kids a positive experience and they create plays that are surreal, romantic, uplifting and hilarious and they're like nothing you've ever seen. The most important link on this page and the one that means the most to me.
CUMBERLAND LAWN FRISBEE TREE GOLF CLUB
Since 2003 I've been organising tournaments of Frisbee Tree Golf in Regents Park every season. This is where to find scores and a map of the course etc.
So as well as doing all those theatre shows, TV programmes and radio projects, I've done lots of other things.
My professional career in the media began in information distribution - I was a paperboy while growing up in Whittlebury, Northants and Whitstable, Kent. Other jobs in my younger days included working as a shop assistant in Riceman's department store in Canterbury and as a hop cutter on a Kent farm at the end of glorious summers.
In the early 90s I worked at the Guardian Media Group on The Guide and The Observer Preview magazines and for some of their other publications. Then I worked at Virgin Net in their very early days as a start-up. This was in 1996 when Netscape 2.0 browsers ruled the world and when we first saw Java we thought that was as good as the web was ever going to get. They were great people to work with and for, but office life wasn't really for me. Also I was useless. My main contribution was writing the installation instruction booklet and a very rough style bible for the news site.
In 1996-97 I worked on the UK version of 'You Don't Know Jack!', the comedy quiz CD-Rom game. This was a lot of fun to do and I think we came up with a pretty funny game. It was shortlisted for an interactive BAFTA and although it didn't set the sales chart on fire, it found its place. The British game was produced by Somethin' else for BMG and we worked closely with the American producers at Berkeley Systems and Jellyvision.
Amongst the magazines and papers I have written for are the following: FOCUS, CULT TV, TOMORROW'S WORLD, BLAST!, SPEAKEASY and WIRED UK. I mainly wrote about comics or sci-fi or cool new things - for example, I reviewed Mark Leyner's 'Et Tu, Babe' for Wired and found myself in PRIVATE EYE's Pseud's Corner. That was good. I've had pieces in THE IDLER, PILCHARD TEETH and THE EROTIC REVIEW as well.
Oh yes, I would also write the back page 'Weekender' column for the GUARDIAN GUIDE. I did about 15 columns over a year and reviewed occasional movies such as The Mask and Star Trek: Generations. Then I was asked by Tony Ageh, the inspirational head of the Guardian's Product Development Unit, to help come up with a weekly magazine for The Observer. It was to have previews, TV listings and interesting comedy pieces and Catherine Wilson and I (with a great team of designers) came up with a really good dummy issue and we called it PREVIEW. It was a good experience and I'm really proud to have been part of an excellent team there.
Other work includes appearing on a few TV adverts over the years. To the right of this text is a shot of an 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' ad that the people at Spitting Image made. They based the sad lonely cow who's just doing his laundry on a picture they had of me. True.
Over the years a lot of ideas didn't become stage shows or radio series, but I still think they have value.
One day I might collect them up and put them into an eBook for you to read.
LOSING FACE - 2014
This would have been the second part of Other Things (see Nice Things below) and was commissioned as a script by BBC Radio Comedy. It was about a gallery owner who one morning wakes up with a thug's face instead of his self-described cultured features. But no one else notices. He comes to terms with the situation - and then he spots someone wearing his face. The crossover with Nice Things was in an appearance by an art restorer / the sister of the woman who daydreams on medium wave and I think would have made an intriguing unifying world of strange fun.
WEIRDS OF BRITAIN - 2013
The first episode of a possible series of a sci-fi light drama. This was about a newly appointed monster hunter whose smartphone was his Excalibur. Instructed by the previous Weird Hunter - her final act had been to re-release all the monsters she'd captured, he would solve mysteries and bring to heel all the weird aspects of our British nature - the HuntWeird, the TownWeird, the SadWeird - and bear all their scars until it was time for a new hunter. His predecessors include Shakespeare (who'd hidden the weirds in his plays) and Turner (who secured them in his paintings) and they sometimes give him advice. Pretty complex, but a lot of fun too!
THE PRESENT - 2013
In 2013 I tried to come up with concepts as rich and full of possibility as Undone and this was another. The Present is about a community of stranded time travellers all from different possible futures who are competing with one another to ensure their version of the future is the one that comes about. Devious scheming and duplicity and lots of other fun things emerge, but they have more in common here in their shared past than they would in their alternate futures. It's pretty complicated but funny too I think.
LEASIDE - 2013
Another successor to Undone in terms of a light drama with sci-fi concepts. A pair of brothers involved in the esoteric departments of the British government (one is the keeper of the magical menagerie, the other is an alchemical engineer) are relocated to a stately home in Cumbria due to metropolitan cutbacks. When another strange civil servant (the curator of the national songs) joins them, a love triangle develops. Unicorns, magick (with a K), tattoos and a house that seems to have every architectural feature in the British Isles all come into it. Lots of ideas for this one, but I fear it's not a goer.
NICE THINGS - 2012
A radio script about a woman whose daydreams can be tuned into at the end of the medium wave radio dial. Her boyfriend seeks out the truth about her past and discovers more than he bargained for. This was going to be one of a series called Other Things that all crossed over in a weird comic/scary universe.
RED APPLES - 2010
My first idea for a follow-up to Undone. This one is about a normal single Dad whose world is turned upside down when his ship's crew arrive and explain he's actually a time travelling pirate who has been mind-wiped and dumped in 2010 London. Weird but a lot of fun and tons of potential.
THE FOUNDATION - 2006
A pilot script about a group of friends who win the lottery but are complete idiots about it. Their one friend who didn't come in on the syndicate helps them run their charitable foundation but is secretly trying to embezzle the lot - but he's just as useless as they are.
THE MINISTRY OF ALTERNATE AFFAIRS - 2003
A pilot script for the BBC about an offshoot of the Foreign Office that deals with Britains in parallel universes. The BBC had put the call out for sci-fi comedy ideas and the one they went for was the excellent Hyperdrive.
THEN AGAIN - 2002
A screen story about time travelling pensioners. Time travel will never be invented, so the argument goes, because if it will, why isn't the present full of time travellers? But what if it is and what if we don't notice them because they're us? A couple spend their whole lives and careers not quite getting together in love but when they hit 70 they make a breakthrough and develop a technique to send their consciousnesses back to their younger bodies. Naturally they return to their firm 23 year old selves and shag like monkeys. But is there another use for the machine, one that might just save the world? It went into development for a short while with Monkey TV in 2008, but exists only as a scriptment at the moment (part script / part treatment).
THE UNTHINKABLES - 2002
The worst load of psychics you could ever come across. It's the story of a group of people thrown together by what seems like a set of coincidences who form a potentially useful team of ESPers. Only the British government doesn't want anything to do with them. The team consists of pre-cogs called Good News and Bad News who can only predict optimistic or pessimistic future events, Sickhead, who can induce various mental illnesses, The Stowaway, who has moved her consciousness into the body of a supermodel and now can't get back, and three others. It currently exists only as a screen story.
MARRYING ALICE - 2001
It's all about a guy who is jilted a few days before his wedding but decides to clone his fiancee and marry the clone. But then he bumps into the original on their honeymoon and she has second thoughts. Does he marry her again? Does this make him a bigamist? It's a naturally weird romantic comedy. I have a radio play script of this and a longer scriptment.
HUMAN SOUP - 2000
A flatshare horror-comedy where people resent the fact their co-habitees have been turned into vampires and are now super-cool. Aone-act stage play that was really just an exercise in writing dialogue for the stage. Three Wishes, which was written about the same time, is so much better.
THE LENGTHS HE WENT TO - 1999
Your basic love triangle as written by a ten year old sci-fi fanboy. A newsreader moves in with an engineer and an actor and begins to play with their heads. One of them has to win her, so what do they do to get ahead? Did you just suggest inventing a pair of bank robbing giant robots? Yeah? Darn, it's obvious isn't it. Well, anyway, that's the play. Never performed.
ALL NEW ADVENTURES - 1998
A play about a team of former teenage superheroes who get to their late twenties and realise they've overachieved very early in their lives and very massively. It's a dry comedy about friends and lovers and what happens if Nintendo make a game of your life and you can't work out how to win it.
VALENTINE'S DAY POEMS - 1997-2002TALES FROM A STRANGE PLACE - 1992
Each year I would write a love poem on Valentine's Day. Three of them are included in Each of Us (and other things) as some of the other things.
A set of fables and magical stories I wrote on an old electric type-writer. They include The Girl who Grew Apples in Her Hair, The Flower whose Petals were Mirrors, The Curator of the Echoes, and many others. The Curator was a feature of Not Everything is Significant; it was a story the characters were familiar with and reflected their world. One day I'll type them all up and pop them on here.