Monday, July 21, 2008

Alan Moore on the phone to Zack Snyder

Alan Moore
Originally uploaded by whatisanimagetoyou
Z) Hi Alan. Such a buzz to finally speak to you. I just want you to know we're going to do everything we can to adapt Watchmen as faithfully as possible.

A) I'm glad to hear it.

Z) Just a couple of things I wanted to pick your brains over.

A) Fire away.

Z) Who would win a fight between Superman and Dr Manhattan?

A) I'm sorry?

Z) It's just we got into a bit of a discussion in the production office the other day -

A) I think you're missing the point of the character. Dr Manhattan is more of a meditation on superhero as God, with limitless power but also a godlike moral detachment due to his quantum perspective -

Z) He'd so kick Superman's ass. I'm right, aren't I? I mean he wins the Vietnam war on his own! Blowing up all the gooks. Boom! He's like a giant blue Rambo.

A) Erm. Yes. I suppose so.

Z) And Nite Owl versus Batman? That's gotta be a close one.

A) Again, that's not what the character is about. He's a retired middle aged man with a pot belly who can only get it up when he wears his costume -

Z) Alan, Alan, Alan. You have seen 300? I don't do pot bellies, mo fo. I was thinking more of a kind of lean mean ass kicker. Pow! Like, I want to extend the Rorschach prison break-out sequence to give Nite Owl and the Spandex Spectre a chance to really throw some moves.

A) Sorry? Spandex Spectre?

Z) Yeah. We've renamed the Silk Spectre. See, her name didn't make any sense any more, after we took all the silk from her outfit -

A) What? Why did you do that?

Z) Marketing thought silk was too pervy. So we replaced it with spandex and leather.


Z) Hello? Alan? Alan?


(All of the above is, of course, satire. I am no way implying that Alan Moore has ever spoken to Zack Snyder, nor ever will.)


Saturday, April 19, 2008


Charlie Brooker
Originally uploaded by Your Humble Narrator.
Last week, I went to the “BBC Vision” party.

I went to it last year, wrongly assuming it was for up and coming writers and would be set in a scout hut with cheesy pineapple on a stick as a dozen writers milled awkwardly. It was, in fact, the total opposite of all of my assumptions, being in a hall the size of an airplane hanger, containing hundreds of celebs of all ranks, with stuffed quail. On a stick.

It was, in short, like stepping inside my own television. If my telly could only get channels beginning with “BBC”.

I am not famous. Not even nearly. But I have done stand up comedy for years, which is a kind of fame inoculation. Standing before hundreds of strangers, night after night, who clap cheer and laugh at your words, then sitting in a cramped crowded dressing room kind of takes the sheen off showbiz, of any kind. You've crossed behind the curtain and you can never fully go back.

So upon seeing David Tennant, chatting with a group of friends, my immediate thoughts were “Oh, there's David Tennant. That's cool. Nothing particular to say to him, other than 'Good job', which isn't really worth interrupting a conversation for. I'll move on.” And so on, around the room, with dozens of vaguely familiar faces.

I saw Charlie Brooker, acidic Guardian columnist, and considered saying “Hello, I've been a fan since you wrote for PC Zone.” but decided against it, as that would probably be the end of the conversation.

I did a few loops of the room, grinning at the bizarre nature of it all, then went home.

This year, I was determined to make sure there would be people there I knew. I asked around my small group of stand ups I still have links with, and lo, there were three who had also been invited. This year, I could have a posse.

I'm not going to name them, partly because they're my mates, and partly because I'm going to be doing enough name dropping in this piece as it is, and want to keep a little bit in the indulgence bank.

Rolf Harris was there. (Let's get the big guns out of the way first). And a lot of news readers, and a lot of makeover show presenters, and that shouty American bloke from The Boosh (Rich Fulcher) and Kenneth Cranham and Graham Norton and the bloke from behind the bar who serves Maggot Bhunas in the Old Gregg episode of Boosh, and that bloke, wasn't he in an ad for beer? And that news reader that I used to vaguely fancy.

At a certain point in the evening, I was at the perfect level of drunken playfulness to take advantage of serendipitous event. I spotted Tom Bell, stand up comic, on one side of the bar. On the other side was Rasmus Hardiker, who plays the vacant boyfriend of Jack Dee's daughter in Lead Balloon. Check out the linked pictures. I think you'll agree, especially if you're drunk, that they look very similar, close enough to be brothers. Obviously I would have to introduce them, despite the minor barrier that I knew neither of them.

And I did. And it worked like a charm. And it was a good laugh. And they both agreed that they looked similar and I left them chatting happily away. And I met Antonia Campbell Hughes, who plays Jack Dee's vacant daughter, and who was very nice.

Standing near Tom Bell was Isy Suttie, who reminded me that I had seen her perform years ago at try out stage in Nottingham – I had complemented her and recommended a couple of comedy writing books - which she had bought and appreciated. I was left with a warm glow about something I don't even remember doing, very much like wetting the bed.

I met Tim Minchin, who has a great brain under great hair. And I introduced myself to Morwenna Banks, opening with my anger that all the men talked over her on her recent appearance on the Jonathan Ross radio show, and ending with fanboy gushing about her part in Absolutely.

All in all, it was a great evening and as I staggered out into the night, I reflected on the fact that I hadn't spoken to Charlie Brooker again, but there was always next year. As I was pondering this, I noticed there was a man falling into step beside me as I left.

It was Charlie Brooker, who provided me with the perfect cherry on the cake for the evening.

I stuck out my hand: “Charlie Brooker! I've been following your writing since PC Zone.”

“God.” he said. “There must be something wrong with you.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What A Beautiful Baby

Originally uploaded by mdhbarnes
I've just finished a new spec film script.

My first outline for the script was dated 13th January and I finished it yesterday, which means it took me roughly two and a half months, from sitting bolt upright in the bath shouting “Eureka!” to hitting “Send” on my e-mail as it wings it's way to my agents.

(mimes stirring invisible pot with both fists)

“Go Jamie, go Jamie!”

It's a paranoid science fiction thriller very much in the mould of Philip K Dick. And it rocks.

Of course I'm biased. I'm the father. All parents think their children are beautiful. But this one is. It really is. So when everyone peers down into it's cot and coos “Soo cute.” I'll know they're not lying.

And when those self same onlookers pull out their cheque book and say “You child is so cute, we want to take it to Hollywood, chop off all it's limbs, grow it new ones, give it a face lift. Oh, and comb it's hair.” I'll look at them, with their pens poised over the cheque and simply smile and say “It's Mathieson. With one 'I' and one 'E'...”

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Adam Bloom Is A Lovely Guy

Adam Bloom
Originally uploaded by Steve Best
Adam Bloom is a lovely guy. Don't get me wrong.

He's a stand up comic that I've bumped into a few times over the years and he's always friendly and nice. But he's hyperactive. And he's one of those comics that's never “off”. I don't think I've ever discussed anything with him other than joke structure, the strengths and weaknesses of his act, my act, other comedian's acts. At speed. With intensity. Which is fine for a few minutes backstage. But hours of it can become wearing. I've heard stories of comics losing it with him over the years. So when I read the headline:

“Comic Bloom is locked alone in a bunker for 48hrs”

I thought another comic had finally snapped:

Annoyed Comic: “Right! That's it! You dissect one more of my punchlines and I'm locking you in the dark in a nuclear bunker for two days.”

Adam: “But maybe you could make it a double punch – or a call back.”

Annoyed Comic: “You were warned...”

Turns out my “other comic snapping” was well wide of the mark – he volunteered. But the thought of it really made me laugh. If I had to pick a comic to lock in a bunker alone for 48 hours that really wouldn't cope with it very well, it would be Adam.

All the best if you're reading this, mate. Good luck with the recuperation.