Equally... yes, yes. Very funny is the idea that Beanus has a brother who likes peas - but again, I've now heard the joke on average five times per day since the autumn. Also... the whole joke is already that "Beanus" obviously sounds a bit like "penis", so... y'know. It's like telling Kenny Everett - there's a contemporary reference for you - that it'd be funny if his character Cupid Stunt changed the first letters of her name around. Yes. You see... THAT'S THE JOKE.
Please. Please... no more. Every day. Every. Single. Day. Please. I'm begging you. PLEASE.
Anyway. Let's have some letters!
If you want to appear here, or you've something you'd like me to give some attention to in our occasional Plug Zone, please send your filthy emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
My first exposure to minicomputers like the ZX Spectrum or the Commodore 64 was Ashens on Youtube. That time Red Dwarf made a joke about a ZX81 doesn't count, since I didn't know what they were talking about.
Ever since, I've watched more channels (like yourself and Octav1us) and I find myself thinking of them as quintessentially British. We must have had them here in the states in some capacity, but growing up in the 80s, I hadn't heard of them at all. My first computer was a Tandy, which was much more of what you'd call a typical American office computer.
You and I aren't as far apart in age as myself and my friends in the UK, so I turn to you: Did this feeling happen in reverse with anything? Was there a gaming console that came off as an "American thing" when it came out, even if you were technically able to buy it in England?
So yeah, while I would never have swapped my Spectrum for anything, it was nonetheless the usual sense of the grass being greener.
I would like to say that the Fat Sow character should be on more as he seems to have a very sexy voice.
On another note, Mr Biffo, are you aware of the rise of remakes and what are your thoughts?
Boris the alpha
As for remakes... yeah, there are a few I'm looking forward to. System Shock is a game that deserves another bite of the cherry. My fantasy remakes would be Half-Life and Half-Life 2. As one game.
Hello Mr B.
Apologies if this brings back childhood trauma but I couldn't help myself:
Mr Biffo did a poo.
Mr Biffo did a poo in an army van,
Did it in a shop,
Did it in a van,
Mr Biffo did a poo in an army van.
Not too long ago, I decided it would be a pretty cool idea to stay up really, really stupidly late and watch the 1990 director's cut of Aliens.
Is there a better 1980s science fiction action/horror movie? I don't think it ever gets old. That bit where Ripley and Newt are trapped in the medical bay with the loose facehuggers always makes my stomach go a bit squirty!
Anyways - I gather you're a bit of an Aliens fan yourself. So... which version do you like best? The '86 theatrical one or the extended edition?
So, on balance... I probably prefer the theatrical cut. But man... what a film. What a brilliant, perfect, film.
I am writing to put my credentials on the table, having been a gamer all my life from the C16 Plus 4 right through to Mini Consoles of today. But in terms of what is possible now with technology, will there become a point where there will be a limitation of what games can do for us?
Having seen what is meant to be the predicted future through films, television and books. Does it mean that gaming has gone back to a more simpler form with graphics and game play becoming more plain, and with the rise of more home programmers with technology matching those of software houses.
Just like other forms of media, video games is going through a phase of wanting to encourage more people to make games for what they want, just like the early pioneers.
Do you think this will have an effect on the gaming market over the next ten years with individuals forming the vast part of the market distributing games electronically to share with players, just like programmes in their bedrooms did or will the bigger software house corner the market still?
Take it from somebody who decided to become a YouTuber slightly too late in life; the biggest challenge for a creator is getting your stuff to the right audience, and for audience the challenge is finding that content which chimes with them.
It’s been great to see the Digi juggernaut lurch into life once again post-Christmas - and with some pretty spectacular videos, too.
You’re about a year into doing the Minis now, and what really strikes me about them is how much more comfortable you seem to be as a performer. Given your reluctance to get in front of the camera for The Show, it’s amazing how at ease you seem to be with it now. Is that because of the environment? The personnel? The familiarity? Whatever the case, it’s nice to see you enjoying doing your ridiculous thing now.
Sad news about Terry Jones this week, eh? He was always one of my favourite Pythons.
I’ve said before how both they and Digi were largely responsible for my sense of humour turning out the way it has - indeed, I watched Holy Grail for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1992, as if it were an omen for the arrival of Digi the next day.
I have fond memories of sitting with my dad watching Flying Circus together when I was about 11 or 12, too - and feeling like a secret door to another world of laughter had been opened. So the news struck me in ways celebrity deaths rarely do.
Now of course, you actually got to work with Terry on Knife & Wife - I was incredibly impressed at the time, and looking back now it feels like an even bigger deal.
What was it like working with him? You said yourself about how much of an impression Monty Python made on you too, so it must have been a special moment - even if you’re not entirely happy with how the end product turned out.
K&W has its flaws of course, but I always loved the character of Knife - I still have a beaten-up Bubblegun-era t-shirt of him somewhere - so seeing Terry Jones playing him was a singular treat. You may not be 100% satisfied with what you made, but you gave us that much for gawd’s sake, and that’s worth something.
Any fun anecdotes about working on the episode with him that you can share with us? You really did put together a brilliant cast for it.
I'm still more used to writing, where it's more methodical, and you can rewrite and perfect without anybody seeing your missteps. With performing you have to just nail the funnies there and then, and be aware of those around you, so you can kind of build on what everyone else is doing and saying.
But... I've realised that the key to it - at least for me - is to just let go of any feeling of embarrassment. You've got to not be afraid to humiliate yourself in the moment. That, at least, is something I've picked up from writing; when you're in a meeting, batting around story ideas, you've got to have the courage to pitch ideas or jokes which might not land. I've heard the most shocking things said in writer's rooms, but it's part of the process of getting to the good stuff.
Both myself and Gannon sometimes have second-thoughts after we've filmed, and I'll lop out a bit that fell flat, or he'll message and ask me to take something out that he wasn't happy with.
One of the hurdles we kind of tripped upon doing Digitiser The Show was that Gannon and I were kind of coming at it from that free-wheeling sort of place. Whereas not everyone on the panel were used to it, and I think it might've felt very chaotic and overwhelming for them. So certainly I reigned it in slightly after the first day, but that ended up feeling a bit stifling and artificial for me.
Everyone looked to me as kind of the anchor, but in the first couple of days I felt so out of my depth being on camera. In some respects I had the least experience of anyone. While I was also trying to hold the show together behind-the-scenes, keep morale up, head off any drama - stuff that you'll never get to know about.
The thing I've learned most in the past year is to work in a way, and in an environment, that's going to enable the best results. You need to be fearless. Even then, it's still a work-in-progress.
That said, there's no right or wrong; for me, it's about chemistry. Different combinations produce different results - sometimes the chemistry is baaaaad - but I try to feature people on Digi now that I know we'll have a complimentary chemistry with. Like, I love the videos I've done with Sanja, my wife, recently - the cheese-tasting that's coming out in a couple of weeks is one of my favourites ever - but they're also very different to the ones I do with Gannon.
Given that I still feel I'm learning and improving, it helps to have someone with his experience, who isn't looking to me to do the heavy-lifting.
Yes, I was genuinely sad about Terry Jones. Even though I spent very little time with him, the sheer fact he was kind enough to work on the show - despite his agent having told us he wasn't taking on any work at the time ("But I'll show him the script and see what he says") - was, and still is, mind-blowing. Despite being an absolute comedy legend, he was incredibly humble. He was very much a writer and director at his heart, and he treated me with so much respect and kindness, almost as a peer. I've never forgotten it.
It was only an afternoon, but the cast and I went to the pub with him after we recorded the voices. I think all of us were kind of a bit overawed - not least when he got a round in.
Digi was always sort of accused of being in thrall to Vic and Bob, but I've never cited them as an influence. There can be crossover sometimes, but it's because it all comes from the same source. Python, simply, is the seed from which so much comedy grew. Not just the shows and the films, but the books too, which I adored. Digi's fake ads, the weird characters, the stupid wordplay - all of it owes a debt to Python. I love how audaciously stupid it can be.
I bought the scripts years back, and though I hadn't even seen the sketch at the time, there was this one stage direction from Confuse-A-Cat which made me laugh so hard:
Drum roll and cymbals. The curtains draw back and an amazing show takes place, using various tricks: locked camera, fast motion, jerky motion, jump cuts, some pixilated motion etc. Long John Silver walks to front of stage.
Long John Silver: My lords, ladies and Gedderbong.
Long John Silver disappears. A pause. Two boxers appear. they circle each other. On one's head a bowler hat appears, vanishes. On the other's a stove-pipe hat appears. On the first's head is a fez. The stove-pipe hat becomes a stetson. The fez becomes a cardinal's hat. The stetson becomes a wimple. Then the cardinal's hat and the wimple vanish. One of the boxers becomes Napoleon and the other boxer is astonished. Napoleon punches the boxer with the hand inside his jacket. The boxer falls, stunned. Horizontally he shoots off stage.
Shot of cat, watching unimpressed.
Napoleon does one-legged pixilated dance across stage and off, immediately reappearinng on other side of stage doing same dance in same direction. He reaches the other side, but is halted by a traffic policeman. The policeman beckons onto the stage a man in a penguin skin on a pogostick. The penguin gets halfway across and then turns into adustbin. Napoleon hops off stage. Policeman goes to dustbin, opens it and Napoleon gets out. Shot of cat, still unmoved. A nude man with a towel round his waist gets out of the dustbin. Napoleon points at ground. A chair appears where he points. The nude man gets on to the chair, jumps in the air and vanishes. Then Napoleon points to ground by him and a small cannon appears. Napoleon fires cannon and the policeman disappears. The man with the towel round his waist gets out of the dustbin and is chased off stage by the penguin on the pogostick. A sedan chair is carried on stage by two chefs.
The man with the towel gets out and the penguin appears from the dustbin and chases him off. Napoleon points to sedan chair and it changes into dustbin. Man in towel runs back on to stage and jumps in dustbin. He looks out and the penguin appears from the other dustbin and hits him on the head with a raw chicken. Shot of cat still unimpressed. Napoleon, the man with the towel round his waist, the policeman, a boxer, and a chef suddenly appear standing in a line, and take a bow. They immediately change positions and take another bow. The penguin appears at the end of the line with a puffof smoke. Each one in turn jumps in the air and vanishes.
Shot of passive cat.
The Chunky Fringe 2019 panel videos have finally been uploaded. Special thanks to James O'Malley and Peter Kwan for hosting, and apologies for the terrible sound quality, which is nothing to do with them. Links are on the page below: https://www.arbitraryfiles.com/events/cf19/index.html
Will there be a Chunky Fringe 2020? I hope so, and Chris "Super Guy 58" Bell is already on board, which is a good start. However, detailed plans await confirmation of the Digitiser Live date and venue.
In the meantime, fans of the technical side of Chunky Fringe may be interested in Block Party 2020, an April gathering in Cheltenham for low-resolution lovers everywhere. Further details below:
Enid Blyton wrote books with the titles:
The Queer Adventure
Noddy and the Naughty Toys
Enid Blyton's Gay Story Book
Noddy and the Witch's Wand
I enjoyed these, I hope you do too. They remind me of your 'here are silly video game cover' posts. 'Here are mildly dodgy sounding book titles'.
Dear Mr Biffo,
Did Richard Harris ever find out who left that sodding cake out there? He seemed fairly upset and made quite the song and dance about it.
Perhaps the cake was the treasure, and The Reflex never made it to the park on time.
I somehow managed to avoid slicing my thumb off today while trying to cut up bits of future boat wall, I intended to make some kind of wordplay with the phrase ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ by changing the ‘sore’ for ‘saw’ but then noticed it didn’t really work.
Fortunately the wound was pretty minor and just scuffed it a bit, but I made sure to make the appropriate amount of fuss which Mr. J (the wife) found quite irritating. I repaired it with Savlon and a plaster showing off my excellent first aid skills so hopefully it won’t fall off now.
But I did flick my bloodstained hand at a wall that’s going to have a panel over it soon, leaving a lovely splatter of blood that perhaps someone may find in the future. Maybe they will use it to clone me, but by Assassins Creed rules it’d only have my memories up until that point, so wouldn’t know about this letter.
All the best!
Oh piss it's nearly 10pm already, is it too late to send a letter?
Whilst my YouTube channel is dying on its arse I seem to be gaining a bit of traction recently with recordings I've made of me calling up random places and talking gibberish. Whilst most of the time I talk gibberish anyway I find it oddly surprising that no-one on the other end of the line has hung up on me yet.
At first I thought it was all to do with good customer services practice but it has recently dawned on me that, in all the videos I've made in the 'telephone call series', they're actually still pretty persistent in trying to get money off me.
I'm unwell but strong and that is all,
Greetings from China! Roger Ebert once gave a 4-star rating to the film 'The Fall,' directed by Tarsem Singh. In the review, Mr Ebert pointed out that while the film had several flaws, the visual style was so outstanding that there might not be another film like it and thus as many people should see it as possible.
While the analogy is not perfect and I have written about this before, by the same logic, I suggest everyone plays El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron at least once - the game is not great but looks like nothing else I have ever seen.
Also, Happy Lunar New Year to everyone.