You will have surely noticed that tickets went on sale for Digitiser Live 2.0 - which is surely to be the best event you'll go to this year based upon a 27 year-old teletext games magazine. Tickets are now almost two-thirds sold out, which is lovely, but we're still about 30 ticket sales away from the point at which I feel I can relax a bit, and stop with so much of the hard-sell.
As Patrons will be aware, we're hoping to have an astonishing line-up of guests, while the plans we're formulating for the actual content will - if we manage to make it all work - drop your drawers. I mean... jaws. And your drawers (knickers).
So, if you're wavering... stop wavering. You'll have a night you never forget. Promise. Click the link above. They're only £20. They should've been £20.50 to account for the booking fee, but I forgot to add that in, so they're actually £19.50. Bloody hell.
Look, just read the 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
Do you think you could get Paul to embrace his Scouse heritage, by wearing a curly wig and tash for a show?
Apparently, those claiming to be true Liverpudlians refer to those from The Wirral as "plastic scousers", or "plazzy scouser", because many of them falsely play up their connections to Liverpool's heritage, presumably while bobbing up and down in front of their houses, going "Calm down, calm down - it's only The Beatles, la'".
Admittedly, I have never seen Gannon behave like this, so I think it's more accurate to use a term for him that is more typically applied to residents of The Wirral - "woollyback".
I didn't know all that already. I just looked it up.
Nonetheless, to call him Scouse would be like somebody calling me a Cockney, despite the fact I barely live in London at all, and have never dressed up as a Pearly King, nor have I ever had a "knees-up" or a fight.
Here's something I didn't know though: "The word ‘scouse’ derives from the popular Norwegian dish ‘Lobscouse’ which is a stew made up of beef or lamb, potato, carrots and onions, typically topped off with pickled cabbage and some crusty bread. In the 18th century, this dish was frequently enjoyed by sailors on the seaports of Liverpool and the people of Liverpool adopted this dish as their own."
So, that's interesting.
Dear Mr Biffo,
I am writing to you after watching your cheese tasting video with your lovely wife, Sanja.
I was utterly horrified that you preferred most cheeses melted - 'good with the Worcester'. And yet looking at the bottle you used it didn't appear to be Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce?! What abomination were you splashing on your cheese which dared to call itself "Worcestershire Sauce"?
I live about a 15 minute walk away from the factory in Worcester which has made the original, and best, Worcestershire Sauce since 1837. I also used to work in an office not far from the factory and during the hot months in the summer we'd often have the office windows open and you could smell the glorious aroma of it all day long.
PS. It did warm my heart that you both said Worcester correctly instead of the usual "War-chest-er" or "War-sess-ter".
However, I've just looked it up, and apparently Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce IS gluten-free, and she has been selling me false information for years, and that's why we've been forced to eat that watered-down alternative. Also, why even IS there a gluten free version when the original apparently doesn't have gluten in it anyway?!
Frankly, this now makes me wonder what else she's been lying about. Maybe she doesn't even have a gluten intolerance at all. Maybe that wasn't even gluten-free toast we were eating...
I'm sick of the mind games.
I'd just like to let everybody know that. My pee strip confirmed that I am finally in ketosis.
That is all. Get back to your Friday.
Actually no. That isn't all. Oh lord, another rambling essay about the good of Digi Minis, from an aging qualified Geologist... that ought to be insightful.
It's comfort isn't it? People who are comfortable in their own skin, doing what they want to do, without needing to ham it up or be somebody they're not...
That's just engaging.
All the public speakers, and comedians I've ever seen... even the ones who are 'awkward' like Emo Phillips or Lee Evans... they're acting, and we know it. At any point they could step out of the character and say "Look, this is an act... you muppet... I'm happy here and I feel like I belong!"
But yes, they're comfortable with their existence... or at the least 'extremely good' at concealing their discomfort; tears of the clown and all that. This warmth envelops the audience and we feel "mmmmm, pass that over here mate... *stupid giggle*, *inhale* urrrr yeah yeah yeah... *exhales*"
Well that is how Digi is now. It's so obvious to see that you're comfortable with the person you are, and you don't have to hide it. It's just easy to vicariously be in your company. Hence, keep on doing it. The audience will grow and you know that. We'll find you. It'll take time. Authenticity and eccentricity. Love it.
The strongest chemistry between the Digi regulars occurs when you're happy to arse about which is now nigh on 100%. One of the classic moments of Digi poetry, was the clearly tired and over heating Octav1us responding to your really, really near the knuckle jokes. Cue black and white, zoom, tragic music. Discomfort into humour = warmth. The joys of the edit.
Can I term it Supply teacher syndrome, and make millions preaching this obvious and recognised stuff to bored business audiences? Probably. Years ago, I was one... not a prick no... a supply teacher. It was some of the easiest money I ever made. I used to bowl in like I belonged there. A barrage of comedy, and a sense of "Don't muck me about, seen it all, done it all, let me tell you a few near the knuckle anecdotes to get you eating out of the palm of my hands, and then we'll do something I enjoy so you can thrive off of my total ease and comfort with my subject matter...
"Here I'm going to write this on the board, and it you correctly punctuate it, it tells a story.... Jimmy where John had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval!"
Now, I'll take the register (deliberately mispronounce the names for comic effect or riff on them "Magnus! The Viking Warlord... do you spend your Friday's Blood Eagling the kids from the school down the road. That's a quality name Magnus. Magnus the Barbarian. Zey call me Magnus *whilst flexing*"). Turn any awkwardness into a controlled situation.
Hence teachers who are routinely pulled to bits just radiate discomfort and ill at ease with the fire pit they've been lowered into. I didn't care, and got great results. When people tried to 'make me care.' I would suffer. Ill at ease with the inflexible expectations of the role you're supposed to fill in life. Just be you. If I could bottle it an sell it, I would... but it's illegal.
One of my favourite entertainers is somebody you've worked with, the lovely Iain Lee. That poor chap is visibly torturing himself on his content, and I know he cannot help it at the moment, but he is trying very hard to clamber out and afford himself some worth and self esteem.
His content, alas, comes across as 'needy,' and I know it's part of the condition he has (been there, done it, got the t-shirt. You can probably see aspects of it in this post). He has such a loyal following. Sure, it's not as much as the rest of the 11 O'clock Show Illuminati, but... he just needs to stop judging himself harshly alongside the perceived ideal that is his life. He is a talented man. He needs a bit of loving.
He just, sadly, radiates discomfort, and that is what keeps him in his box. Self fulfilling ultimately. All power to him. Don't care too much.
Go on Mr. B. Get him involved in the Digiverse again in some capacity. Think he needs your counselling experience.
Now where's my award for stating the bleedin' obvious as some sort of coffee addled post that professes profundity?
I can't comment on anything else, because I only listen to him intermittently, due to going to bed ridiculously early every night. And I had, until the other day, stopped following him on Twitter, because he seemed to be hurting, and it was starting to feel a bit voyeuristic.
But he is, as you say, an incredibly talented broadcaster. His new series where he rewatches The 11 O'Clock Show, and gives commentary on it, is excellent. Eyewateringly honest. And I love it when he's trolling people, like the time he claimed to have been attacked by an owl. Genius.
I do think he's being his authentic self, though. I think that's what his very loyal audience responds to.
Though thank you for thinking that Digi is a safe enough environment that it might actually benefit somebody to be involved.
What I can say is that it was really, really important to me when I first started appearing on camera to be natural. It's so much harder than I ever would've thought to just be yourself, with a load of cameras pointing at you. I get why people hide behind a persona, though, because it affords a degree of protection. Theoretically, any criticism is aimed at the mask, not at the person within.
At least, that's the theory - in reality it doesn't really work that way. If you're so vulnerable you're going to wear a mask then you're going to get hurt regardless.
I know with me I'm fortunate, in that I met someone years ago who accepted me warts and all. It was incredibly healing, and consequently I don't need to be loved by everyone anymore, and if anybody doesn't like me... I don't see it as anything other than bad chemistry. Nobody can be for everyone universally.
That said, when we're on camera we are still being heightened versions of ourselves - sort of dialling up all the worst aspects, for comic effect (I'm not quite that much of a ridiculous man child) - but it's a version of us, rather than being a character. And that's vital, because people can smell inauthenticity a mile off, even if it's just a subconscious alarm bell ringing somewhere in their heads.
For me, that sort of quest for on-camera authenticity comes from watching Morecambe and Wise as a kid. I lived for those moments where they dropped the act, and you saw them smirk at one another, and stifle a laugh. It kind of made the rest of their act, where they were performing, so much more tolerable, because it was like we were all brought into the conceit that it wasn't really them - that they were playing, and we were all a part of it. It made them real to me. Even when they were playing characters they did it with a nod and a wink to camera. It felt like a game.
I've always cringed at those comedians who think they have to do a performance when they're being interviewed - the Jim Careys of this world, gurning and doing voices. Never dropping the mask. I find it utterly unwatchable. Just calm down and answer the bloody question.
I'm horribly attuned to inauthenticity. It makes me feel uncomfortable if I sense somebody isn't being completely honest, or is hiding who they are. Even if I don't like what somebody has to say, I'd always rather it was coming from a place of truth. At leas then I know what I'm dealing with.
With all the talk about dinosaur mini golf courses being the hot topic at the moment.... What is the best golfing video game?
I was fan of Everybody's Golf on the Playstation back in the day, for its easy game play and bright, cartoonish, characters. If you could make a theme park with a mini course on it based things from the Digi Universe, what rides would you have in there and would there be a Ghostbusters Ghost Train at all?
A sort of Jurassic Park for the gaming generations, meaning are you John Hammond?
Whether it happens, I'm sure that there would rays of sunshine with a chance of golden showers with rainbow kisses.
The outlook for the weekend, moist at times before turning out brighter later.. And that's the forecast.
Bill Gales Giles Peter Snow Jack Inspector Frost John Ketley is a Weatherman and so is Michael Fish
I sort of deliberated sending this email, and wrote and deleted it a few times before now, thinking it a bit pointless or self indulgent, but then I thought you might want to know what an impact Digi made on me.
My parents divorced when I was quite young, and growing up I didn't have the easiest time at home, but one thing that I can still remember now as genuinely being excited about was reading Digi in the morning before school (page 470 if I remember rightly (probably not)). It was honestly a huge part of my morning ritual, and something I can still remember enjoying so vividly. So from 7 year old me, I wanted to say "thank you".
Really glad I've found you again, and thanks for keeping it going.
I mean, no idea where they all are now - it'd be nice if a few more of them watched our YouTube videos, eh - but to have been able to give people something positive in an otherwise unhappy time... it means everything to me. It's a privilege, Elliot, and you're very welcome.
My main PC has got a knackered water cooler. As such, I'm stuck with my laptops and an iMac until I get sent a new cooler. This isn't really much to moan about as one of my laptops is incredibly powerful (but bloody noisy)... I just don't want to have to fuss around with wires and stuff though to use it with my big monitor. Life is such a chore at times.
On the plus side though, whilst messing around with my super laptop (which I never really use) I moved it from my bedroom desk to the desk I'm writing this on, and found 40 quid underneath it. It's the sort of joy you get when you put on a suit for special occasions and find wads of notes in the pockets that you completely didn't know about because of drunken shenanigans.
My new water cooler arrives on Monday. Still, it didn't cost me anything because of warranty stuff.
I am unwell as always but still strong,
Had to write an emither to say how chuffed, nay even thrilled I am that there's going to be another Digitiser Live this year. I of course bought my ticket the second they were released to Patrons and I can't wait to drag my carcass half way across the country to once again be a part of whatever group hallucination you've got planned for us this time.
I don't know how you'd be fixed to do some screenings as part of Chunky Fringe - I really enjoyed the panel who talked about Found Footage, and felt it would have worked really well with a screening, although of course this brings its own challenges and you've got enough on your plate with the main event.
Hopefully there will be a 100% less 'being accosted by oddness' after the show - like most people I just wanted to say Hello and Thanks and shake your hand, but there were other... elements at play that evening.
As a small tangent, one of my favourite Digi videos is you playing Ultrawings on the Quest. Yes, it's a variation on the 'old man tries new thing' but I was howling the whole time. I don't know how you feel about VR horror games but part of me wants to see you scared out of your skin with Gannon arsing around in the background.
Good luck with all the planning stages. Let's hope the intro video plays properly this time!
That's an excellent idea about screenings at Chunky Fringe - and I've plenty of things I could share - but it's entirely up to the organisers of it, David Walford and Chris Bell. I know they're putting together a packed schedule (including a Digitiser-themed quiz), and everything will be starting earlier this year, so that people who have to leave to get home aren't checking their watches.
I don't want to impose on their turf, barring being part of one of the panels, so maybe Chris or David could respond in the comments?
Sorry for more of a wordy letter than is usual from me, but I've seen a few people very anxious about going to Digi Live, and I wanted to give some reassurances. This seemed like a good platform to do that on!
Digi Live 1.0 was one of the best nights of my life. The show itself was brilliant, of course, but the people and community made it special. I'm autistic. I have anxiety. I don't do well with social situations. People at Digi Live were exceptionally kind, welcoming, thoughtful. On a more practical level, there are lots of places to escape to if you need a break - the venue has lots of corridors to disappear down if you need a quiet moment, and there are lots of hideyholes outside too. If things get overwhelming, you can escape.
That said, if you're likely to need a breather during the show itself, I'd recommend sitting on the end of a row, near the door. The seats are quite tightly packed in and it'd be unnecessarily stressful to escape from the middle of a row mid-show.
I was very afraid for Digi Live 1.0. I'm EXTREMELY excited for Digi Live 2.0. I can't encourage you strongly enough to come, even if you're scared or don't do social situations well. Both the venue and the people make this very accessible and friendly.
I'll get off my soapbox now! Sorry about that, Biffo. I just know some of the venue practicalities were big anxieties for me last time, so I thought one or two people might be interested.
So, if you're tempted to come, but worried it'll be overwhelming... I'm confident you're going to have a great time.
Also, as I said in yesterday's FAQ, we don't pick on individual audience members. We know how that can be. I've had it happen to me at comedy shows, and I hate it. Why make somebody feel uncomfortable, when they're there to be entertained? We did last year start with a sort of ice-breaker, designed to make the whole audience feel like they were part of the show. And it worked! But that's the extent of the audience interaction that might happen.
Have you heard about the GeForce Now game streaming service? If not, it's certainly got the potential to be a Stadia-killer if you ask me.
The two main points are:
1. There's a free option that let's you play games for an hour at a time, but there's nothing stopping you reconnecting after that hour is up. Currently it's £4.99 a month for the first 12 months (first 3 months are free) if you want unrestricted access.
2. You aren't limited by purchasing games through the service (like Stadia) as it accesses games you already own/purchase in the future on Steam, uPlay, the Epic Games Store and battle.net. With the regular sales on the likes of Steam that'll mean you can get games a lot cheaper than if you were paying full-price for them on Stadia.
Not all games are supported but there are already lots more than Stadia currently provides. Here are the games supported at the moment:
Here's the article I read about it if you want to look into it futher:
Hi Mr. Biffo,
As you may recall I did a lovely sketch of Beanus that one time. I've seemingly followed it up with a short filum and i've uploaded it to youtube for your perusal with a magic unlisted link.
It probably makes little sense but there is a thinly veiled plot in there, and hopefully it doesn't fall foul of any copyright/IP infringements either.
Dear Mr Biffo,
I found your latest video surprisingly enjoyable, despite the unpromising subject matter. If I saw there was a half-hour TV show in which a husband and wife tasted different cheeses, I would avoid it like the plague, but you guys made it a delight to watch.
I was particularly struck by your devil-may-care attitude towards handling a knife, and it oddly got me thinking of a videogame-related video you could try.
I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 lately, and the Five-Finger Fillet minigame would be ideal for recreating in real-life – stabbing a razor-sharp knife between your fingers as fast as you can without drawing blood, what could be more exciting?
Now I realise that may not sound particularly safe, but you could a) get Gannon to do it, or b) just use a felt-tip pen or something, with the downside that it would make for a much less exciting video. Still, food for thought eh?
Boys are awful idiots. Also, my hand-eye coordination is unreliable at best. As you say, if we did it with a pen or a sausage, it lacks the element of danger needed. So I might give this one a miss.
Regarding your review of Shadow of the Tomb Raider here…
Someone pointed me to this review recently and I just wanted to clarify a detail you get wrong: Jill Murray was not the lead writer of Assassin’s Creed 4 : Black Flag.
I was, Darby McDevitt. Jill did a fantastic job on AC4, but I was responsible for the entire main story, Past and Present. Jill wrote the “Templar Hunts”, the Aveline DLC, and some of the modern day lore, all of which turned out great.
The time is long past where this probably matters, but I wanted to clarify it, as it may account for some of your confusion or disappointment. I don’t know. I suppose I hate just having a little uncorrected fact like that lingering out there in the wild.