Saturday, March 24, 2007

March this weekend, run next weekend

I've never seen Brendon Burns live other than brief clips on Edinburgh festival television reviews, but he endeared himself to me this week in an interview in Metro that I picked up on the bus:

You’ve toured all around the world. Where are the worst audiences?
Liverpool. All comedians hate working Liverpool because Liverpudlians think yelling out ‘eff off’ makes them funnier than you. They’re unfunny people who think they’re funny. They’re so obvious and banal. Even Scouse comics think that Liverpudlian audiences are parochial and rubbish. Ricky Tomlinson goes on stage at the Liverpool comedy festival, says ‘What’s the point of having a comedy festival in Liverpool? Everyone’s a comedian’ and the place goes nuts. No one else feels that way about them. No one else thinks they’re funny.

I always found Liverpudlians en masse very cynical and punishing towards anyone venturing above the parapet, so I have a lot of sympathy for Burns' observation. It's a sweeping generalisation, or course. Some Liverpudlians are lovely. Like me.

In other news, I shall be running my second half marathon next weekend. I think I'm better prepared this time, although I'm really going to have to resist the temptation to hare off at the start because I'm doing better at endurance than speed this year. My biggest fear, genuinely, is that I'll have inappropriate and annoying music repeating in my head as I run, like Joe Simpson's viral infestation of Boney M's Brown Girl In The Ring towards the conclusion of the events of Touching The Void.

The next couple of months are looking very busy. The project I'm working on has a financial cut-off at the end of May so we have to deliver lots of wins by then, which will mean weekend working. Doctor Who returns to BBC1 next Saturday, which means that if I'm going to maintain any kind of discipline at all, my reviews of each episode for Doctor Who Magazine will have to be complete by the following Monday morning. And the other writing engagement I put out for at last year's North-East England Doctor Who convention is going to happen, so I have a short story to deliver by the end of May.

I am reminded of this sublime observation by Fry and Laurie, in their "Spies" characters. I'm probably paraphrasing (or, to paraphrase that, "lazily misquoting").

MERCHISON: It never rains, but it pours.
CONTROL: Sometimes it rains and it pours!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

What happened to February? Eh?

Father, its has been six weeks since my last confession.

For the last three weeks, I've been back on site at our client in the centre of Edinburgh. I'm engaged on a long server software upgrade programme which involves lots of small projects, and I'm finding the change to shorter-term, closely-scrutinised work very stimulating. After the alternating lethargy and panic of being solely charged with inventing something, this is a great improvement, and my morale is on the rise.

I'm now focussing on the Edinburgh Forthside Half Marathon five weeks from now. After the pain of last year's Glasgow event, I'm making sure I'm well-prepared, and for the last couple of Saturdays, I've managed to run outdoors for two hours continuously. This is more or less the length of a live concert by one of my favourite prog rock bands, so I can listen to a lovingly remastered live recording as I thud along the canal path, and the combined experience is about as much fun as you can have by yourself. I love having the Union Canal towpath just at the end the road, and being able to progressively push how far along it I can run each time. I think I made it to the outskirts of Ratho yesterday:

That makes it about seven miles each way, so I should be good for the race.

I made a modest return to Doctor Who Magazine this month, as the latest TV critic. I'm pleased to be part of the magazine again now that the series is on air, and to be covering the TV series itself. I'm still following my path through the original TV series, and the weekend's ironing will find me in 1971, but I shall have to suspend this personal archaeology while I watch and rewatch the new series and try and produce some insights.

I am developing a cold. It's in beta-test at the moment, and should be ready for public launch any day now. I actually want to go to work tomorrow, but fear I may manage a gallant appearance at a morning meeting before vacating my desk for the comfort of a hot bath and an afternoon of menthol inhalation. So no running for me this weekend. Arse.