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Sunday, 16 October 2016



At the turn of the century I made this rarely seen genre defying masterpiece – Processed Egg.

Who knows what it all means? Answers on a postcard to the usual address...

"A Man sits alone at his desk. He is drawing a comic strip. He finishes drawing then slumps back into the wheel chair he is in. In a rage he tears up his drawing and throws it away. He wheels over to the other side of the room and strums a guitar. He gets up from the wheelchair and walks to the kitchen to fix himself a ham and processed egg sandwich. He sees a pretty girl walking down the street. He puts the sandwich down and runs outside. He follows the girl from the other side of the road. He crosses to meet her and bumps into her, secretly groping her breast. He runs away. Back in his room he puts on a record but turns it off after a few seconds. He looks at a photo of a girl. He rips it up in anger and then slumps back in the wheelchair. The phone rings. He has an awkward conversation about going out tonight. The Man declines the offer. The doorbell rings. A man with a clipboard is at the door. The bell rings. The Man crouches in a corner, sobbing.

The Man sits in his wheelchair with a beer. He picks up the torn photo and crudely pieces it together again. He yawns and goes to bed. The camera closes in on his face."

Starring Vic Pratt and Diana Tully

Written, Directed and Produced by Jan Manthey – 1999

This was a return to the darker territory of my anti drugs epic TEENAGE ECSTASY. It was helped enormously by the terrific lead performance of my eternal muse, Vic Pratt. He looked just the part in his ill fitting red tracksuit. Also great was the spooky music that ran throughout the whole film. This was done by a man who I only ever met once. I only knew him as Michael. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Michael, let me know.

The title of the film came from this disgusting foodstuff that we bought from the local shop (Sanco’s) that was used for the actual sandwich that Vic ate in the film. It was very thin, slightly mushy grey looking ‘ham’ with a greenish equally thin slice of ‘egg’ in the middle. If it were sold in Waitrose or some such place it may have a crust around it and be called Gala Pie. I believe that this processed foodstuff was also out of date by some margin and I also believe that Vic polished off the product after filming...
This film also marks the first appearance in my Ouevre of the delectable Diana (who is also the current Mrs Karno) who went on to star in future KinoKarno productions.
Editing was done in my then customary arduous manner of two VHS machines linked up. It was a rather hit and miss affair but that’s how it was done back in the olden days. And check out the hand-made titles...

The film was successfully shown at the Portobello Film Festival and also won an award at something called the London Low Budget Film Festival. No prize was ever received nor did the LLBFF ever screen any of the ‘award’ winning films film. In fact it has never been heard of before or since. Nevertheless I am proud of the achievement. Here is what the LLBFF had to say about the film:

“Short film about a man finding it difficult to come to terms with the loss of his girlfriend. The comedy of a no a no-budget approach to heart rending melodrama is well exploited. Several imaginative touches, a nice sense of the absurd, and good conviction from the actors.”

PROCESSED EGG became part of a projected trilogy called 'THE COLOUR OF DESPAIR'. Part two was filmed on Super 8 film and used some complex techniques involving different film speeds. However, the film got burnt up in the ancient projector that I have. The project is currently on hold. Possibly forever.

Until I recently transferred it to this new fangled digital format, PROCESSED EGG only existed on a very old, fragile, cheapo VHS tape after the Master copy accidently got erased. Despair indeed.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Can You Keep It Up With This, That And The Other For A Week?

Good Evening KinoKarno fans,
It has been some time since I last 'blogged', so I trust you have been keeping well.
As some of you may know I am known to have dabbled in the mysterious, dark world of film making...
It is my intention to present to you over the coming weeks some of my efforts together with exclusive 'making of' information. Believe me there was blood, sweat, tears and egg spilt during these times.
So to kick this off, what better way to start than with my saucy homage to the great British sex comedies - Can You Keep It Up With This That And The Other For A Week?

Can You Keep It Up With This That And The Other For A Week?
"Robin Evans is a chirpy window cleaner out on his round. He laments that he never gets birds, but today might be different. He calls at Gloria McGurks house. She answers the door in her negligee and tells him to clean the bedroom window. Robin sees her stripping off and he soon ends up on the bed with Gloria down to his underpants. Gripper McGurk turns up unexpectedly, having been released early from prison. He chases Robin from the house. Robin escapes without his trousers. Professor Gaylord had invented a Sex Ray that will make him irresistable to women, but needs someone to try it out on. Robin calls at Mrs Gaylords. She too answers the door in negligee. She soon has him pinned down to the kitchen floor. Her husband Professor Gaylord enters and drags him off to be the tester for the Sex Ray. The Professor trips on Robin's bucket and overdoses him with the Ray. Both the professor and his wife are attracted to Robin and chase him out of the house. Robin once again has only his underpants on. He tries to steal a dressing gown from a housewife's washing line, but she sees him and is also attracted to him. Robin hides out in the woods but is captured by a zookeeper who thinks he is Ethel the Ape. Zookeeper tries to kiss Robin but Ethel appears. She too fancies Robin. He runs away whilst Ethel and the Zookeeper fight. Robin encounters a Vicar, a Nurse and a Photographer who all want him. He bumps into Gripper who now wants him as well. All the characters chase him. He sees a Policeman who also chases him. He is cornered by Professor Gaylord and all the characters jump on him and writhe in ecstasy. One by one the charcters are picked off by a large hairy hand. Robin is relieved he has been saved, but faint into Ethel's arms when he sees it is her that saved him.
Robin sits on a comfy sofa whilst Ethel serves him cocktails. He winks at the camera and says " Well, it ain't such a bad life after all. Cheers!"

Directed, Written and Produced by Jan Manthey
Edited by Douglas Patterson and Jan Manthey
"Can You Keep It Up...?' Theme Tune Written and Performed by Vic Pratt
Incidental Music by Alan Mills
Robin Evans - Vic Pratt, Gloria McGurk - Diana Manthey, Gripper McGurk - Norman Stebson, Professor Gaylord - Smeaton Westurby, Mrs Gaylord - Jenny Hammerton, Zookeeper - Jonathan Cockerell, Vicar - Lee Scott, Mrs Noggett - Elizabeth Leicester, Photographer - Jed Leicester, Nurse Nookie - Sarah Lee, P.C Zucker - Rob Norfolk, Angry Motorist - Mark Duqueno and Ethel The Ape as Herself.

Exclusive extracts from the personal diary of Jan Manthey:

30th MARCH 2002
Approximately 2 years after I wrote the script I have finally got my act together and started my latest masterpiece. It is the first one that I have actually written as a comedy, as opposed to my other efforts that often turn into comedies during their making. Also first film shot on digital. I recently had to revise the script. I had a nurse character in it but I do not know enough girls willing to appear in this filth so I changed it to a camp photographer. I refuse to use stereotypes. The first scenes to be shot were of Professor Gaylord, Mrs Gaylord and Robin Evans, all played by veterans of the INSPECTOR ZUCKER VS GORGO film shoot. For these scenes I had to build a Sex Ray Machine. This I cobbled together from various bits and pieces I had
lying around including:
Some old CCTV camera holders, a sea monkey aerator, a light saber, a yellow tube, a Sesame Street speaking 'Ernie' machine and, re-used from ZUCKER, a seventies hair drying machine.
Vic had to wear some disgusting underpants that I had bought from Camden Market. They turned out to be very tight, smaller than I expected. Basically if there were any stirring in his, admittedly small, loins then they would have split.
Jenny supplied her own costume, which was rather revealing I must say. It was a black basque type thing with black suspenders and stockings. It certainly showed off her ample cleavage. She had that kind of Liz Fraser look that I was after. Smeaton had standard issue Mad Professor Lab Coat, Glasses and Curly Wig.

Conditions were a bit cramped but it all went very well indeed. There was much fun to be had in the scenes where Mrs Gaylord ravishes Robin in the kitchen, especially the Point of View shot of Jenny sitting on top of Vic. There were many gratuitous shots of Jenny's cleavage. After a splendid lunch we moved onto the scenes with the Sex Ray Machine. The machine I made was falling apart the second I took it out of the car, and I knew it wouldn't last long. It just lasted till the end though. In the script the Sex Ray is supposed to blow up creating lots of smoke. Sadly I do not have the means to create this effect, so I will have to hope something can be done in editing. The final part of the day was filming the Professor and Mrs Gaylord (clad in skimpy negligee) chasing Robin (in underpants) out of the house onto the street. Must be a normal occurrence in Amersham as no one seemed to notice. Going well for the June deadline for the Portobello Film Festival.

20th APRIL 2002
Back to the grind after a two week break. It is getting difficult keeping the momentum going. Once again went to Amersham to film three scenes with the librarian, Vicar and Zookeeper. First problem was that the Vicar didn't ever show up. These scenes would have to be done another time with a different Vicar. We went to the woods to film the Zookeeper/escaped Gorilla scenes. Vic had no trousers on and a leopard skin dressing gown. No one was around in the woods though. Jonathan Cockerell as the Zookeeper had a special hat that I had bought. Also a large net on a stick. Ideal for catching gorillas. I had to don the suit of gorilladom for my portrayal of Ethel the Ape. There were a few technical problems with the suit and I couldn't see through the mask, but we managed to fumble through the shots.
Next we had the problems. We had to film on the street and Vic was somewhat under dressed. Everytime we thought we found somewhere someone would wander by and stop and stare. Had they never seen a grown man in pants and a leopard skin dressing gown before? We wasted much time and nothing was 'in the can'. Demoralised we went back to Vic's for tea and cake. We filmed the scene in an alleyway near Vic's house, but it did not come out good at all.

31st AUGUST 2002
My how time flies. I almost got filming again in the past few months but I couldn't quite get it together. Still we are here now. The scenes to be filmed involved Vic as Robin being seduced by blond tart Gloria. The shots of Vic peering through the bedroom window as Gloria starts undressing are very amusing. Diana (the missus) as Gloria looked particularly stunning blond wig, over the top make up and regulation sexy negligee. The original script had Robin climbing in through the window, but this could not be done as the windows did not open like that. It was a shame because the payoff would have been Robin clambering down the ladder clad in only his underpants. Still changes had to be made... Speaking of which, I had to take over the role of Gripper as the chap who was to play the part proved to be somewhat elusive. This was not ideal, as I do not look tough enough to play the 'heavy'. I disguised myself with padding and a moustache and put on my finest Arthur Mullard accent. I just about pulled it off. A good days work in all, although not as I originally intended, it was of sufficient standard to pass the Jan Manthey seal of approval.

18th MAY 2003
Time has flown once again. I felt it was time to get this darned film wrapped up once and for all. I suppose we had a good excuse for the break in filming as the missus went and had a baby. So we had to wait for her to be able to dress as Gloria again. I assembled the largest gathering of actors for one of my films, and that was quite an acheivment. Jenny (Mrs Gaylord) brought a female friend along who for reasons unknown had a nurses' uniform with her. She was soon in the film. My original script actually had a nurse character, so it was quite fortuitous that this happened. The main scenes shot were of Vic running around in his underpants being chased by all the cast. This caused typical reactions from passers-by when they see scantily clad people running around the streets. The ensemble cast was excellent and ad-libbed brilliantly, especially for the shot where they corner Robin and bundle him to the floor to molest him. The cast certainly got into the spirit of the occasion and I believe a few bruises were picked up as thing got a bit 'boisterous'.
I even managed to squeeze in a role for my 8 week old son, Percy, as the photographic subject of the extremely camp photographer.
Now filming is complete, and I have 20 days to edit it so I can enter it for the Portobello Film Festival. Will I get it done in time?

20th AUGUST 2003
"Will I get it done in time?"

15th JULY 2004
Well it is finally done. The epic is finished. It is only 16 minutes long, so it may not seem epic length. But it was an epic struggle to complete. This was the first film edited on a computer and I must say the results are spiffing (compared to my old method of two tape players). It is good to see one of my films with completely clean edits, special effects and overlapping sound. Astounding. Also great music. Excellent theme toon from Vic, and 'Al's Bossa', 'Farce in 'A'' and the 'Erection Symphony' from Mr Alan Mills.
The cast, though, are what made the film.
VIC PRATT as ROBIN EVANS: Brilliant Askwithian expressions. Classic British pasty skinny body.
DIANA MANTHEY as GLORIA McGURK:Looks good in negligee. Great sultry performance.
SMEATON WESTURBY as PROFESSOR GAYLORD: Great manic performance. Disturbing shot at end of film as he humps Robin.
JENNY HAMMERTON as MRS GAYLORD: Classic British sex comedy curvy figure.
LEE SCOTT as VICAR: Solid performance.
ROB NORFOLK as P.C ZUCKER (note the name, continuity fans): Another funny performance, always makes me laugh.
The film looks just like a pastiche of a seventies British sex comedy which is exactly how I wanted it. Now read on to find out how CAN YOU KEEP IT UP WITH THIS THAT AND THE OTHER FOR A WEEK? conquered the world of film festivals...

The film is shown at the Portobello Film Festival, and many of the cast gather to watch it in a pub on Ladbroke Grove. The screening goes down well, with a few laughs and equally as many bemused looks on peoples' faces. It is certainly the rudest film there, which is a bit sad really. I mean there's no nudity, just a bit of good old British naughtiness.

The film is to be shown at the Sutton Film Festival. On a big proper screen at the UCI cinema! The screen is enormous, Vic's pants will look huge! The cinema is about half full, and I scraped together some of the tired cast to come and see it. My film is due to begin at 6.30. The time comes. There is a long pause. I begin to think something is wrong. More pause. Nervous shuffling and coughing. But then... Phew! It begins. The soundtrack for some reason is deafening, so I can't tell if people are laughing or not. The showing was another great success, and it was definitely better that some of the other stuff shown at the festival.

The film has been accepted to be shown at the prestigious TROMANALE Festival in Berlin.
Berlin is a great city, for one thing there is plenty of wurst, and probably the best place in Europe to hold the chaotic festival that was Tromanale.
It was held at a mysterious out of the way riverside venue called C-base, which claims to be the remains of a crashed spaceship. I was disappointed when we got there, it just looked like one of the many vast warehouse like buildings that populate the city. Inside however there were many computer screens with strange 'data' scrolling up and down on them, I think they had started to make it look like a space ship but got bored halfway through, as the

rest is a rundown arts centre forever bathed in a cloud of pot smoke.
We (the missus and I) got there on Friday night, and Can You Keep It Up With This That And That And The Other For A Week? was due on at 21.10. There were problems, however. When I finally asked someone how it was all going, he revealed to me that none of the films had turned up. He simply didn't know where they
were. I could see the whole night ending in tears. It was not so bad though, as I had drunk quite a few bottles of 'Berliner Kindl' beer by then. Suddenly it was announced that the films had turned up, so it was all on again. The place had filled up and there was about 30 or 40 mostly German people in the audience. I think they enjoyed the film, there were a few laughs

but I don't know how much of it they understood. Afterwards I was invited to the front of the cinema, and an Austrian called Juan Carlos interviewed me. I was greeted with polite applause. I cannot remember what I said or what was asked, but it was taped so I will watch back one day and tell you all about it. Then there was more applause and I returned to my seat. Sadly the planned showing of 'Double D Avenger ' was cancelled.
And so to Sunday, we got there for about 17.00, to see some Troma films that were supposed to be introduced by the 'President' of Troma films, one of my all time movie making heroes, Lloyd Kaufman. There were about 5 people in the audience, an old couple wandered in, probably to get out of the cold. I could see no sign of Kaufman. Suddenly a female voice exclaimed ' Hey it's Jan Manthey!' It was a girl named Thea, who apparently was the organiser of this whole event, and she was there with Kaufman. There he was, a small Mel Brooks lookalike in a crumpled raincoat. We were introduced! We had a bit of
a chat and he said he would like to see my film, and Thea said she was going to show it to him later that night. We then watched the Troma film called Terror Firmer, which was hilarious, especially if you like seeing fat bearded men being humiliated for cheap laughs. Kaufman sat slumped on his own watching his masterpiece. Afterwards we seized the opportunity to get photo with him, and photos were taken with us posing with a Toxic Avenger mask. He gave me his card and said I should call him if I was in New York. Tromananle festival was shambolic and chaotic but hugely enjoyable and the film was well recieved.
So to all those who showed their cleavage, ran around in underpants and got chased by Gorillas, I say thanks, your fame will spread throughout the German speaking world.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Here Comes The Eggman - A tale of Britain's Got Talent


It’s that time of the year again for the cringe fest that is Britain’s Got Talent, only this year I have an extra reason to watch it (or not watch it you may think) as I auditioned for a place this year. Madness you may think and you would be right. Somehow I managed to get through to the filmed heats with AntDec and all the so called ‘judges’. How did this happen? Read on, my friend…


It was shortly after the end of the last series and I was egged on by the Boy to fill out the online application form. But what was my talent? There had been vague talk in the past of the band I have been in for the last 20 years or so (The Dylan Rabbit) to enter one of their novelty music numbers, so after an equally vague agreement with my musical partner in crime – who shall be known as Roger Kaputnik (although his real name is [name deleted following legal advice]) for the purposes of this article – I duly filled out the form. It was decided to put down that we would perform a number called ‘The Egg Song’ as a duo – this entails the wearing of enormous papier-mâché egg shaped heads and various silly bits of business. So, the form was completed and forgotten about.


And lo, months passed and out of the blue in November a message from noreply@thamestv appeared in my inbox:


Dear Fred Karno (act leader - ACT NAME: The Dylan Rabbit Singing Orchestral Circus),

CONGRATULATIONS! You have been chosen to attend an audition for BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT! Please note that due to the large numbers of people we need to see we are unable to predict how long the audition sessions will last, therefore please allow for the possibility of being at the venue for a considerable amount of time (this may include queuing and filming outside of the venue, please make sure you wrap up warm). We advise you to allow plenty of time to get to your audition. Feel free to bring along family and friends for support, the more the merrier!
Oh my giddy aunt! This was most unexpected. They wanted us to attend an audition at the Emirates stadium on 18 November. Now, this wasn’t the audition that you see on the telly this was a kind of pre audition audition. It turns out that contrary to how it is portrayed on the box there is a considerable amount of sorting the wheat from the chaff before they let you near the cameras. So, first things first, on the blower to Kaputnik, the other half of the duo. After thinking about it overnight Kaputnik declined to take part – he didn’t want to be part of the Simon Cowell media manipulation machine. This was fair enough as none of us believed that it would actually get to this stage but there was later a bit of trouble when Kaputnik was worried that the manipulation machine would steal The Egg Song and use it conquer the charts. Luckily common sense prevailed and Kaputnik granted permissions for the song to be used. Now I was a bit stuffed – a duo with only one person. I asked two other members of the band, who I shall call Wakeman and Oldfield, but they too declined to be involved. So I decided I would go alone, as a solo duo....


So about the ‘audition’. I got there at about 12.30, egg head in a black sack. There was a long queue of people being ‘processed’. I was surrounded by hundreds of hopeful candidates – including some real weird inbred families.
It was hard to work out what a lot of these people would be doing. I suppose the same could be said of me with my mysterious egg shaped black sack... Some acts were more obvious, like the roller skating medieval mandolin playing buxom wench in front of me. And the seemingly endless supply of Michael Jackson lookalikes... Eventually I was ‘processed’, had my number stuck on me and was led into the holding chamber.  I felt a little depressed as I was surrounded dancing groups and serious young ‘singer songwriters’. There seemed to be a large proportion of middle aged women, bored housewives types, one I spoke too was just treating it as a day out away from the kids and old man. I couldn’t see many novelty acts. There was a bumbling Sikh gentleman bashing people with his tabla drums. A drunken northern ‘poet’ briefly chatted to me and I met a dog that made breakfast, but there was not much else of interest. I had yet to remove the egg costume from its bag.  I was seriously thinking of leaving when we all got herded outside to do some faked shots of us ‘arriving’ at the audition. These are the ones that they will show on the telly to make look as if we are arriving at the audition and going straight onto the stage in front of the judges. It was out here in the cold November air that I first donned the egghead, I had an epiphany moment. I realised that I could and should do this ridiculous act and from then on I felt much better about things. The Eggman was revealed, much to the bemusement of the other acts out there. We had to troop up the stairs past the camera acting as if we had just arrived at the venue. We had, of course, been sat there for 2 hours plus with nothing to do. It pleased me greatly that just in front of me was a pretentious young, long haired singer-songwriter type. It did not please him that if they use the footage of him he will have the Eggman lumbering up behind him…


So at about 4pm I finally got called to the audition. I hurriedly got the egg costume back on and followed the young chap who called my name. I had no nerves about this really as I had done this kind of thing on stage many times before. The auditions were in a series of rooms and we had to wait on chairs outside until we were called.

In front of me for my room were 2 teenage girl singers and a jolly fat lady who looked a bit like Susan Boyle. This was the third time she had auditioned for BGT and she informed me she might sing Right Said Fred (the Bernard Cribbins classic). After me was a girl with her dad. So they went in one by one and you could hear them singing through the door. They were all very good – but they all came out saying they had been told no. In the room next door an oldish man, in a bowler hat and bright waistcoat, with a puppet went in to audition. I thought this might be a good omen. So in I went, egg costume on. Before me were two child junior producers – they seemed incredibly young. What could they have thought of this middle aged man in a sinister egg costume? After a bit of banter I began. I did a two minute version of the song – Egg intro, chorus, verse, chorus and then one more verse in which I did an ‘egg’ dance.

I rather enjoyed it, I had rehearsed for two hours the day before and again for about half an hour in the morning. Thank god the CD played… I had seen them writing notes on bits of paper. They then informed me that they wanted me to go to stage 2 as they liked it so much – this I thought was quite exciting. So it turns out that this was yet another filtering process. I had to go and be filmed in front of a proper producer chap (older BBC type in a suit. 20 years ago he would have smoked a pipe). There was also endless form filling which I rushed as I wanted to go home, to be honest. So I had to do it all again – they film these stage 2 auditions so they can review them to decide if you should go to be humiliated in front of the judges. The producer chap asked me some stupid questions (“Why do like dressing up as an egg?”). I kind of struggled with the answer – I didn’t really know why I did these things. I then repeated the act as I was filmed and the producer chap stared, expressionless. I was told as I left that I would hear in February if they wanted me for the proper scary AntDecCowell filmed show. I think I did alright getting to the stage 2 audition, as I said many people got thrown out at stage 1. It’s a good song and I think I performed it well so I was hopeful for news in February.

You will be pleased to know that old bowler hatted puppet man also got through to stage 2…


So about a month later the following email arrives from a gentleman by the name of Alan Riches, a researcher or something like that:

"I am happy to inform you that you have made it onto the shortlist to take part in the next round of the programme. Congratulations, however this is not a confirmed audition and we do reserve the right to withdraw an audition at any point of the audition process. The next round is televised and is in front of the celebrity panel and a theatre filled with people. The audition will take place between the 18th January and the 14th February 2014. The city you audition in may not necessarily be the city you originally auditioned in, I will talk to you about this and give you the exact details of your auditions but please keep yourself available for this period of time."

Egad! This seemed to confirm that they wanted the Eggman to appear on the show! After a few emails and filling out of the SAME form that I had filled out twice already and a lengthy phone call covering the SAME information from the form it looked likely that I was to appear. They repeat the caveat endlessly that it is not confirmed bit. I guess they do this in case you turn out to be a serious nutter and it makes it easier to get rid of you. It took ages for them to confirm the actual date they wanted me – did they really think that I could keep a whole month free waiting for them to give me date? I am a very busy man you know...

Finally about a week before the date of 12 February was confirmed. Showtime...


Forgive me whilst I digress from the narrative briefly to muse on the nature of appearing on these shows. This show is staged and carefully edited to show the acts they want to progress in the best light. For example they film a load of shots of the audience in a ‘standing ovation’ or booing so they can insert them at any point thus creating their own narratives that are different to what actually happened. If you are going into this you need to realise that lots of stuff is decided beforehand and it is not as spontaneous as it looks on the telly. A lot of the acts are professionals with agents who get them into shows like this. The silly acts like myself have limited chances to progress – they will let a couple through to the next round but mainly they will make you look ridiculous and humiliate you. I understood this and was fine with this prospect – sadly though I suspect many do not realise this. Having said that I believed my act could entertain for a couple of minutes so I had a bit of hope. I had a hope that David Walliams would like it as it was in his realm of the ridiculous. In fact it is believed that in the 1990’s he was present at a Dylan Rabbit (the band I am in that performs this nonsense at increasingly irregular intervals) gig in central London. How wrong I was...

Green with ham

I turned up to Hammersmith Town Hall at 8.30am on Wednesday 12 February as instructed. The Missus and the Boy and the Girl were with me to enjoy the day. There was barely anyone around and so began the first of many hours of ‘waiting around’. First we filmed some shots of us ‘arriving’ at the venue, in full costume of course. It was extremely unlikely that I would have really arrived wearing an enormous papier-mâché egg head... In the holding room some more contestants were arriving. The self styled ‘King of Karaoke’ was treated like he was a hot favourite. He was from Greece and they filmed us having a long conversation, acting as if we were old friends. The producers told us what to say. Thus began a day of whizzing around doing a ton of film bits. An interview with the director, some stuff with the camp showbiz guy from ‘Daybreak’ and a spot with Stephen Mulhearne who does the ITV 2 show that follows the main one. He did of course joke around at my expense – but how could he not faced with this monstrous egg creation before him? This is what he does and, like I mentioned previously, you need to realise this is what you are signing up for. If they mark you out as joke act or talentless then they can be merciless in their treatment of you. But I was ok with it; I have done far more ridiculous stuff on stage before.

Back in the holding room it was hard to work out if some people were acts or ‘friends and family’. Or perhaps they were just weirdo’s who had just wandered in. It seemed to be mainly singers and dance groups – the odd nervous looking magician. Nobody seemed to stand out as much as The Eggman, who aroused a great deal of interest. I was called to the Hammersmith Apollo at 12.30 – not for the audition but to do some more filming backstage. It was there that I saw the enormity of the place and felt a little daunted. It was empty and the red crosses that the judges light up were huge. They filmed me again talking to some boy band for some reason and then they rigged me up in camera device I dubbed ‘the eggcam’ – this showed me at the venue as if from the point of view of The Eggman. I then got ferried back to the town hall only to be ferried back to the Apollo about half an hour later for the show. I was to be on just after 3 pm – the second act on... Yikes!

Foo yung

So there I was, backstage with half an hour to go. The family had been installed in special seats with cameras trained on them. I could hear the dreadful warm up man and the judges being introduced. Strangely enough I felt no nerves – I had been there so long that, to be frank, I just wanted to get it over with. I hoped that my silly little ditty might win over the audience…

There was one more briefing from one of the endless supply of assistant producers. I had been wearing the egg head for some time now and it was starting to feel uncomfortable. Some other acts were gathering for their moment in the spotlight. There was an Asian guy on first who had been carrying around a load of paper and an ancient computer in a battered bag. Apparently he was to do some dancing. There was a girl band, a man on crutches and a boy pianist in a white frock coat. The Asian guy went on stage. From behind the curtains I could hear some banter, then some kind of kerfuffle and he was off. No buzzers or anything. Apparently his backing tape had failed so he had to leave the stage. This meant that essentially I was to be the first act they would see proper…

I ambled over to AntDec to film the pre stage banter. I couldn’t hear too well encased in the egg head, nor could I see too good as I had taken my glasses off. AntDec seemed to be an amiable pair. They sent me onto the stage…

The sheer enormity of the crowd struck me and I could just make out Mrs Egg and the Eglets in the audience. The four judges looked a bit fuzzy. Amanda asked the initial questions, I have no idea what they were or what I answered. Walliams looked bored, slumped in his seat. Simon piped up and was as you would expect, a bit of an ********. He asked if I was serious. There I was dressed as an egg standing in front of a crowd of thousands and he asked if I was serious. Of course I was!

And so my backing music started and I began the Here Comes The Eggman. The crowd seemed to be clapping along at first but quite quickly a buzzer sounded. The noise was immense and rumbling – you really don’t get a sense of how loud it is on the telly. Suddenly the crowd seemed to be chanting “Off, off, off!” Another buzzer followed quickly by another. Only Amanda was holding out. Simon leaned over and made her press the dreaded buzzer and that was it. I was out. It lasted anything between 30 seconds and a minute. They hated it. The Eglets were in tears. I stood on stage waiting for someone to say something. None of them said anything. They just stared at me. Simon made some sort of gesture with his hand to indicate for me to get off stage. So off I went deflated and defeated.

AntDec concurred with me that the judges had been a bit harsh and in a strange mood. I think it was a quick sending off even by BGT’s usual standards. I was ushered to another holding cell as they wanted me to film some more stuff for the BGT 2 show. After a while the King of Karaoke turned up, he too had been a failure but he had let it get to him in a big way. Some kind of laddish band turned up and they were furious saying they had been made to “...look like mugs…” Like I said before you really need to go into this realising that they can be ruthless in their portrayal of you. So, anyway, it was off to Stephen Mulhearne for some more banter/humiliation and then off home I hoped. I was tired and really wanted to get away but they wanted some more filming – this time dancing in front of the BGT logo. It was a bit like torture, I felt like I couldn’t leave until they had drained me of every last drop of energy.

I was tired, hungry, deflated and the costume I wore made me come out in a rash. Finally I got to leave…


So, there we have it. It was over – now to wait and see how they make me come across on the telly –  like some kind of retarded idiot I expect (if they show it at all). I sometimes think instead of going to the bother of trying to sing an original song I might as well have run around wailing like a loon and shat on the stage. It probably would have got a standing ovation.

Would I do it again? Most certainly not – it was everything I suspected it would be and more. I feel sorry for the folk who don’t realise how they will be manipulated by the Cowell Media Machine…


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Davy Jones' Locker

With the sad news last week that Davy Jones of the Monkees has died, I thought it was time for world to see this forgotten tribute act.
Sometime in the 1990's (the exact year evades my ageing addled mind) members of the Dylan Rabbit pop group formed Davy Jones' Locker (what else could it be called?) performing only those tracks from the Monkees sung by the great man himself. We played one gig at festival in Sutton, South London. My memory seems to recall that we played some or all of the gig to an empty tent, but looking back at the video there seems to be applause coming from somewhere so perhaps it wasn't as bad as I remembered.
The songs performed were not necessarily the most well known songs that he sung on, no Daydream Believer here, but 'I Wanna Be Free', 'Changes', 'The Party' and the spoken word obscurity ' Theme for a New Love'. The grand finale is the incredibly complex 'Someday Man'. I don't think this song was ever meant to be sung live...
As you will see and hearwhat we lack in musical clarity we more than make up for in verve and enthusiasm for the subject matter....
Sadly Mr Jones never saw our only performance or, as far as I know, ever heard of us. I am sure he would have enjoyed it. Probably. Surely he would have chuckled at the Davy Jones cardboard puppet?
So for the first time since that gig (1990 something, exact year unknown) I present Davy Jones Locker..... Please excuse the quality, it was filmed on an ancient now obselete videographic recording device.
(Also available on You Tube)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Welcome to Hounslow!

Just thirty minutes away from London's west end you will find the idyllic tourist town of Hounslow. Enjoy the sites, sounds and smells that are Hounslow in this recently discovered travelogue...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Sex Ray

One of the more obscure genres of film, one that gets little talked about by the heavyweight or lightweight critics, is the Sex Ray genre. That is too say movies that feature a device that somehow gets women too be absurdly attracted to weedy/geeky men.
Some years ago I made a film called, "Can You Keep It Up With This That And The Other For Week?", whose plot featured just such a device that caused all sorts of saucy related mayhem Professor Gaylord used the machine on the hapless protagonist, Robin Evans.
I was therefore intrigued when soon after I had written the film that I came across on ebay a strange American video tape that had the title 'The Sex Ray'. I immediately put in the required bid of 99 cents (approximately 60 British pence). I won the bid, and sent off my remittance. Some considerable time later, after I had forgotten all about it, a battered package arrived. It contained a rather large cardboard box, which had upon it some rather spectacularly bad cover art that managed to not give much away about the film.
Get Beamed! it screams, but does not give much away. Perhaps the back cover does. Aha! Some cast names, Barry Andrews and Sally Faulkner, a running time and some plot notes. Shy librarians ripping off their clothes... stuffy secretaries losing their inhibitions. It's all starting to sound good. I did some research and realised that this was a 70's British sexcom called 'I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight'. This was a Joe McGrath directed/David McGillivray scripted effort that I was actually quite looking forward to watching. Alas, fate conspired against me. Alarm bells first started ringing when I noticed that the tape inside was only a 60 minute one. This did not bode well for a film that was supposedly 84 minutes long. I tried to watch the tape. The beginning had a bit of fuzz on it, which very rapidly got worse. All I could see were vague shapes and sporadic bursts of dialogue. I watched a few more minutes, but it was the same all the way through. I fast forwarded it the rest of the way and discovered that the film was only about 50 minutes long. Not only could I not see it, but what I could not see was a truncated 50 minute version! Nevertheless, I held on to this useless piece of ephemera and am still the proud owner of it all these years later. With these types of film increasing in popularity, I now own a copy on DVD and am alarmed at some of the plot similarites between this film and my own. I guess that there are only limited ways you can go in the story with a Sex Ray device...
I would be intrigued to know of any more examples of this genre, including the rumoured lost classic from Japanese master Ozu - Sumo Wrestling Kamikaze Nuns Meet The Sex Ray Of Death.

So I leave you with another chance to see the classic 'Can You Keep It Up With This That And The Other For Week?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Mr & Mrs Karno meet Lloyd Kaufman!

Tromanale, Berlin, some time ago.