Some of you have asked if I have a Ko-Fi account. I didn't... but I do now!
If you want to buy me a coffee or three (though let's face it, the money will probably go on barbed wire, animal skulls and spiked shoulder pads), you can do so here: BUY MR BIFFO A KO-FI THAT HE CAN SPEND ON BULK-BUYING TOILET PAPER.
You might've noticed I've been upping my creative output a bit over the past week on Twitter and our Instagram page (generally run by Sanja). We've an new IGTV series on there which we're calling Mr Biffo's Found Footage, which isolates the cutaways from the Digitiser Deluxe eps. There might even be some extra little bits that don't fit onto YouTube.
Please follow and share them if you can. And likewise, please share the stuff from the YouTube channel to anyone who might need a chuckle in this era of isolation. We've plenty more coming your way in the weeks and months to come.
Stay safe out there, stay indoors as much as you can, and don't go mental in the supermarket.
We'll try to keep up with regular Friday Letters Pages for the duration of this nonsense, so keep sending your emails to this place here: firstname.lastname@example.org
You might get a bit of a kick out of it... or think it's a total piece of toss! Either way here it is!
Thank you for all the laughs and cheering me up whilst depression tries to sausage ram me from behind.
I very very much enjoyed the death quiz. Are there plans for more Digi Deluxe filming seshes in future? Are there plans to have Chris JC back on in future? Both are very lovely things :)
Hope you've had a lovely week!
But...! Yeah, of course - we're definitely going to do more Digi Deluxes as soon as we're able. Even though we get loads of moans about the lighting, and I had some sound issues. It was an experiment really, but we ended up filming more than we'd expected, so it became its own little series.
In the short term, we'll hopefully be back in front of The Blue Wall soon, but the types of videos we'll be doing will be influenced by what we learned doing the Deluxe eps. I like them having more structure, because it lets me dick around with it in the edit - hence all the Found Footage-y reveal-o-inserts that are appearing in them. Plus, as some people will have noticed, a few classic Digi-era characters are now popping up (Doctor Derek Doctors this week... another old favourite next week).
Also, Sanja and I will, beginning hopefully today or over the weekend, sit down and record some rough-and-ready isolation vlogs for you. Oddly, Marillion put out a message to their fans yesterday, and I found it strangely comforting. So, hoping to kind of be there for the Digi massive through all this,
Also, also: thanks for liking the Death Quiz. That's been the least popular of the Digi Deluxe eps, even though it took aaaages to do that animated bit. And I'm sure Chris JC will be back, because we all love him.
I'm currently assembling the retro gamers developers panel for Chunky Fringe. At the moment, my possible guest list is all guys. Not that it really matters, but I'd hate to exclude anyone from the Digi community who would love to share their experience or relive their trauma.
So, would all such persons kindly get in touch soon, via the email address on the Chunky Fringe page. We did consider asking Brenda Romero, but then we would have to explain the whole turts/scalping incident from Block Party 2016.
But wait - there's another letter from David a bit further down!
Having been involved in comedy writing for many years, have you ever written or performed a joke that went out that you subsequently regretted, either that you'd gone too far, been unjustifiably offensive or felt uneasy afterwards? If so, how did this inform your writing as you progressed in your career. No need to detail the specific example, it's the process I find most interesting.
In your time as a writer, what is the best idea for a TV programme/film, that you saw, that wasn't picked up? Is it something that you feel you could have worked with?
I've got a pretty well-attuned radar for stuff these days, though, because I am a #GoodBoy. Back in Digi's Teletext era, I know there were things we wrote that I'd be uncomfortable putting my name to now. Fortunately, we generally erred on the side of weird, rather than edgy.
I actually got quite embarrassed by something I blurted out when we were filming the Death Quiz episode of Digi Deluxe. It was a combination of two words that very much could've been construed as homophobic - wasn't intended that way at all, and I immediately screeched "NO!", and obviously edited it out of the ep - but I was still embarrassed.
Oh, and I gave a disastrous best man's speech years ago, which turned into a nightmare. I'd put together a Powerpoint presentation of photos of my mate in seemingly compromising positions.
Unfortunately, he'd bigged up my speech to land me in it, and as I got up to deliver it, I leant on my laptop and it started shutting down. It took what felt like a week to reboot, during which time I said something that went down like a lead balloon, and the reaction made me realise that I'd misjudged the entirety of the rest of the speech. I had to hurry through it, editing it on the fly. I woke up at about 2am that night having anxiety-induced flashbacks. It was horrible.
"Our show isn't happening until the end of July, so for now we're working on the basis that it's going ahead. I know many of you have booked hotels, train, and - in some cases - plane tickets, so we won't reschedule unless we absolutely have to. We all obviously have to remain flexible as the situation evolves, and follow any government guidelines as and when they might arise."
That's all fine. We respect your decisions, as a God of Gaming, and kowtow to your demands.
Will there be free sandwiches at the event/rearranged event? I feel it should involve sandwiches and/or digestive biscuits in some manner. If not that, then just have a bucket of gin at the entrance we can all scoop our hands into. I used to work at Wetherspoons (in 2008) and know all about health, hygiene, and drunken individuals pelting champagne bottles at me. So this is a sound event strategy.
How about having Paul do the voice of Fat Sow but he does an impression of Eli?
So with Doom, Doom 2, Final Doom, Doom 64, Doom 3, Doom (2016) and now Doom Eternal available my question is this, what are your favourite biscuits?
A few years back I got all the Steam Achievements on Half Life 2 (about 10 years after it came out) and do you think humanity is shutting down now because basically everything's been done?
It's a thought.
In these uncertain times we could simply scream in despair or perhaps hoard food that will go off in three days, while sitting huddled close to a loving family member in your makeshift bomb shelter.
I personally prefer to think positively by reminding myself that I'm not Noel Edmonds.
These are troubling times. I had a dream Orinocho from the Wombles was eating a grapefruit and Emu was eating a kiwi whilst Rod Hull looked on bored.
I used to have dreams about the Krankies as well when I was younger, usually being chased by Ian, little Jimmy looking on.
I never understood people who thought Dooby Duck was scary. I'd really like to watch some episodes of that right now.
I'm worried about the next few days and weeks and I know it is OK to worry. this is something new and new is scary. People should also know that support is out there and I know its tough to access it especially for the first time. But people want to help, talk and connect and I want more people to dream about Emu eating a kiwi fruit.
Let's have hope and rely on that one thing. A hatred of Amiga owners.
Love and strength,
Steph is real tired of this x
But anyhow... yeah, it's okay to be worried. You can't just switch off your feelings, and if ever there was a time to be anxious... this is kind of it. It's usually best to feel them, acknowledge them, but try to also see them as a kind of outside observer. That's my technique anyway.
I don't know.
I wrote a huge long piece all about the magical teddy picker that allocates which souls are to enter newborn babies. Then how a cat, who had finally reached self awareness at age 21, and shortly afterwards died of a broken heart as it realised it couldn't enact anything due to being unable to effectively communicate, lodged a complaint to run the teddy picker since God was species-ist.
There was a tribunal where God argued he didn't have to answer to anybody as he had the keys to the teddy picker and wasn't going to change the rules to suit the situation. Since nobody could judge him, life carried on as normal with all its flaws and foibles.
It essentially ended up with a simple message from the wide-eyed cat. Live life with love, and don't sh*t in flower beds!
There then followed a 1980s He-man-esque hands on hips laughing session, before an arrogant human leans forward and with 3 frames of repeated mouth animation suggests: "You mean leave the planet a better place than when you found it..."
The cat shrugged and huffs "My words were better!"
BTW, HM government should provide a kitchen door sized lockdown calendar. Like an advent calendar, but each door is made of enough T-paper to achieve a clean sheen. Behind each door is something like hand gel, valium, prophylactic, next month's rent...
These are strange times, but stick to good humanity. Help others, be strong, and when we emerge out of the other side, we'll hopefully be in a better place as a species, having had a stark reminder of our biology and our good and bad nature.
Hard times forge strong people and all that.
Take care Paul and all.
Anyway. Yeah, thanks, Dave. We'll get through this. Though I'm not sure how reassured I feel about it coming from somebody with the name "Dave Graves"...
Dear Mr Biffophant,
If you could choose six characters from the Digi / Found Footage universe to make in to classic 3.75 inch action figures which would you choose and what accessories would they come with?
Love and socially distanced kissy kissy,
Just wanted to write regarding Digitiser Live. I know it’s a frightening time, however for some of us the light at the end of the tunnel will be this show. I know health and safety will always come first, however we are still over 4 months away from it. Please do not cancel it prematurely unless you absolutely have to :(
PS I love the Digitiser Deluxe format!
However, I'm considering doing some sort of epic live stream on the date Digi Live was meant to happen - maybe a live episode of Digitiser Deluxe, like a telethon. That might be fun. Watch this space.
Well, that was an unexpected turn of events. We are still looking for retro game developers to join the Chunky Fringe panel, though with the caveat that the date and location are now subject to Digitiser Live being rescheduled. On which topic, the physical gathering for Block Party is almost certainly going to be postponed, but the art contest, to be announced shortly, will proceed.
Keep doing the vids and things. I'm hoping for Biffovision Live, three hours streamed from your house with no particular plans, but will settle for a series of loo roll alternatives being put to the test (use both sides of the paper if necessary).
Also, once again thank you for putting on Chunky Fringe for people. I think we're all going to need a party after this...
Hello, I hope that you are well. The video you posted on Twitter about panic buying was entertaining. It also made me think that people will be (understandably) be worried about the situation not improving.
Obviously you didn't ask, and it's not my business, but just in case any of you or your family were genuinely worried about this, try not to be. My youngest brother works for a major supermarket, and I have spoken to him about this quite a lot. He says that barring truly apocalyptic scenes (we're apparently not even close) there will be no issues feeding the country.
He says that barring a few specific items demand is no higher than at Xmas, it's just unexpected. In fact he promised me that in around just over two weeks, all but items with really long supply chains will be in plentiful supply. The nation will have toilet roll!
I hope you'll forgive my presumptuousness in sending you this - I'm not, of course, suggesting that any of you were panicking or even close, but I found it reassuring and in these times, I thought it might help.
Best wishes to you all. If I might be cheeky, a review of Doom Eternal would be good :-D
I'm also getting wound up by how many people still don't seem to be taking all this seriously, and aren't engaging with the whole social distancing thing. I see us all being forced into isolation in the not-too-distant, because of them. I've read that it's only really Generation X that's engaging with it en masse, and in my experience that is the case - younger and older generations seem to either think it's a lot of fuss about nothing, or have a "What will be will be" attitude.
But anyhow. Thank you. And yes: expect a review of Doom Eternal.
I'm currently having a standoff with a friend about which edition of the London Evening Standard was the last to be printed on a given day. I say it was the 'Late Prices Extra', while he says it was 'West End Final'.
Can you help?
Have a look at these delightful old birds:
The salient game related point here is that the chickens aren’t viewed as individual birds, but rather a collective that over time loses and gains members, a bit like that Pokemon-Exeggcute (the one that’s a bunch of eggs), except these birds are already hatched and actually lay delcious mini exeggcutes.
For some reason, we all got it into our heads that my daughter loved hens, presumably because SHE ALWAYS MENTIONED HOW MUCH SHE LOVED THE HENS ON THE FARM, and so every birthday and Christmas she for years she's been getting hen-themed gifts.
Anyway, one thing we learned up at the farm is that it turns out she is, at best, ambivalent about hens.
If the person's profile/follower count was irrelevant, who are the three people that you'd most like to have as a guest on Digitiser?
I'm probably overthinking this. Hmm. I don't want people that will try and take over, who feel the spotlight should be on them. So let's say...
Bob Mortimer. He's not only really funny, but seems like a lovely man.
Mike Stoklasa from RedLetterMedia, purely on a hunch that we'd all get along.
There's an American comic called Meg Stalter, who is really, really funny.
Heck, I can't stop at three. There are those who I'd love to get on, because it'd be fun to expose them to the weirdness. Big YouTuber Tom Scott does really interesting and informative videos, and I know he was a Mr Biffo's Found Footage Fan.
On a similar note, Peter Sciretta who runs Slash Film, but also does excellent Disney vlogs. Again, just seems like a nice man, and he also really liked The Rise of Skywalker. Like me!
I'd love to get the Aunty Donna boys on in some capacity, even if it's for a sketch or a cutaway. Heck, you can chuck Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim into that too, if we're talking really big.
Then there are lesser know comics, like Stuart Laws and Sam Campbell who feel like they might be a good match. I dunno. It's hard. Because I also kind of want to bring in unexpected people - somebody like Dave Benson Phillips.
I dunno. We'll try anyone once. Get in touch, semi-well-known people!
Apologies in advance for my mawkish letter. A few years ago I wrote to Digitiser and had meant to follow up your reply to my letter but in the meantime I started a family and never had time.
Now I have time because I'm in locked down Italy - terrifyingly housebound - but the thing I wanted to write about now seems frivolous in light of the situation. In fact, very much of what I spent my free time on up till now seems frivolous.
For instance, nostalgia for 80s computer games, or at least not for the games themselves, but the feeling I had of enjoying everything to do with them in a secure family home. It makes me sad to think my daughters won't necessarily enjoy the ease of living I enjoyed myself back then, given what's unfolding around us. Their world will be harsher, it pains me to say.
But then I thought, I'm glad something like Digitiser is there because it's a link to the past. Whether you're writing about old video games or not, it's still you and that continuity is comforting, which doesn't seem so frivolous after all.
Once on here you wrote something about nostalgia like, "You can't go back. You can't". While that was meant light-heartedly, it really hit me hard. Shook me up a little, even, which may sound daft, because it's such an obvious statement, but wallowing in the past and nostalgia was becoming a bit of an morbid obsession. It helped me to keep it in mind while learning how to let go of the past.
So, I'm glad Digitiser is still around, but it's the fact Mr. Biffo is still writing that makes me happy rather than the retro gaming content. OK, I should stop rambling now.
So what did I want to write about? Well, I told you years ago that Mr. Hairs featured in an English text book I used to teach with, with a broad Scottish accent in the accompanying audio. In your reply you didn't seem convinced I was telling the truth, so I thought I would send the page he was on as proof. Is it really him?
Please don't use my real name this time (my fault, I don't know why I thought you wouldn't). Any pseudonym will do.
Stay safe everyone.
Doktor Bum Face
Mostly I wanted to check in with everyone and say Hi. It sunk in this week that my plans for this year are canceled. I admire your optimism on rescheduling Digi Live. That doesn't sound right. It gives me hope! That you see an end to this.
I had already started working on something for Chunky Fringe. There will be more time to make something happen. Shall we look at it like that.
It has all knocked the wind out of me. This is version 3 of this letter. a much shorter one. Letters page is good, Don't want it to have the letter that's in me right now! I am very concerned. Let's leave it at that. I want every thing to be better for everyone. So I'm just saying hello, Hang in there.
Just remember, you're living through history. This is a global crisis, but the world has been through worse.