Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Quite Humbled, Quite Knackered, Quite Interesting

At the invite of Quite Interesting Ltd, I went along to the London Studios last night to watch the recording of episode 2 of the F Series of QI.

The evening started with me travelling on the Underground from Marylebone to Embankment. I was feeling a bit ... well, frumpy I guess. As regular visitors to this blog will know, I managed to shed around 4 stones in weight last year but, recently, about a stone (and a bit) has crept back on due to snatching meals at silly times, bad diet, being sat on my fat arse for too long in front of a laptop and a general lapse of will power. Consequently, a few of my clothes are now feeling snugger (?) than I'd like them to be but I'm damned if I'm going to buy any bigger ones. So I was sat there on the roastingly hot tube train feeling chunky and unfabulous and all-too-aware of my belt cutting into me, when a smart young business type stepped into the carriage; tailored suit, quality shirt, great tie and greater shoes, mass of hair stacked and waxed a la David Tennant. Bastard. He immediately grabbed the attention of all the young ladies in the carriage and made me feel even more like a manatee in a polo shirt. Ah, but then, in one small movement, he destroyed the entire effect by inserting a (probably) well-manicured nail into his (undoubtedly) neatly-trimmed nostril and extracting a bogie the size and colour of a petit pois, which he then transferred to his mouth. And chewed. It must have been a big one if it needed chewing. Mr Perfect was suddenly perfect no more.

I then endured a brief journey on one of London's notorious bendy buses. I hate the things. They may work on well laid-out grid-patterned streets like those found in many America cities, but their roads were designed for cars and buses. London's ancient thoroughfares were designed for pedestrians and horses. My particular bendy bus (if you haven't seen one, it's like two buses joined together by a curious hinge and bellows assembly) had difficulty in negotiating a couple of tight corners and there were audible tuts and a palpable sense of annoyance among the passengers and the White Van Men behind us who parped and cursed. Mayor Boris says he's going to do away with these monstrosities and bring back the old 'jump on the back' Routemasters. Well, good for him if he does. Sounds like the kind of thing that even he can't cock up. Meanwhile, I wonder whether we could get the concertina-like bellows to make a sound like an accordian as the buses turn corners? It would add some joy to the journeys.

Anyway. London Studios. QI.

The show was, as always, very funny with Stephen Fry as the ever genial and affable quiz master and a good mix of guests: Sean Lock, Ben Miller, Rob Bryden and, of course, Alan Davies. The theme for the show was 'The Future' but beyond that I'll say very little for fear of spoiling your televisual fun when the show is aired. All I will say is that Ben Miller is extraordinarily well-informed about physics, Sean Lock has some interesting things to say about the origin of his pants and Rob Bryden does something you never thought you'd ever see him do.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to chat to most of the guests and production staff in the Green Room (and also got a sneak preview of some of this year's new QI Annual). As I walked in I was greeted by Justin Pollard who asked me why I wasn't behind the bar (in reference to The Idler/QI Hog Roast last week). I pointed out that barkeep was not my usual role but that I was more than happy to take over if the barman got tired. Which he later did, and left. So I did end up pouring a few in the end. But I didn't mind. Everyone loves the barman.

It's always a pleasure to chat to Stephen Fry and he was his usual mountain of courtesy and loveliness. His recently broken arm, you'll be pleased to know, is now functioning very well and no longer gives him gyp. He was also sporting a good tan - probably as he was in Hawaii just a few days ago filming for his new BBC series about America. I also chatted to QI question wrangler Justin Gayner, John Mitchinson of course, and the legendary John Lloyd who was exceptionally kind about my writing and even claimed to have read my forthcoming book all in one sitting. He told me about some excellent guests he has lined up for the next series of his Radio 4 show, The Museum of Curiosity. I won't say who at this juncture as details are not yet finalised, but the show will, I'm sure, one day be the kind of show that guests fight to appear on. Just like QI, in fact. Mr Lloyd does seem to have the Midas touch.

I ended a splendid evening by missing the last train home, hanging around in central London for an hour or so and then snoring my arse off on the 'milk train' in a carriage I had all to myself. But what's a tiny bit of discomfort and a few hours of sleep when measured against quality entertainment and meeting splendid people?

Snugger. What a great word.

(And yes, the photo of myself and Mr Fry is from last year ... but I can't keep bothering him for ligging photos, can I?)


The Factory said...

Now YOU are the lucky bastard. Consider the hat doffed.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Oh tish and pish ...