Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So where the Hell have you been, Colgan?

Hello all. So the great nonsense is finally over and we can all sit back and loathe an entirely new set of self-serving parliamentary weasels. Ooh, get me. I'm sorry. I have little time for politics or politicians. It seems to me that an election is rather like someone presenting you with a box of turds and asking you to pick your favourite. It is perhaps telling that when Michael Foot MP died recently the media had a gush-fest about him being one of the last , great, true parliamentarians who put the needs and desires of the nation above his own. Sadly, his generation seems to have been the last. I do seem to remember someone once saying that 'Anyone who wants to be a politician should be served an automatic life ban from politics'. That said, of course there are many MPs who genuinely want to make things better for all of us whatever our income, social status, faith, sexuality or ableness. But these are the MPs who will ruffle feathers and challenge wrongness and therefore, by definition, will not be the 'Yes Men/Women' that make it into shiny David's cabinet. Sigh. At least I learned of the Tory ascendancy in possibly the nicest and fluffiest way imaginable as I was told by Mr Stephen Fry. I was at a recording for the new series of QI last night and the announcement that Gordon Brown had stepped down and 'invited David Cameron to form a government' came while we were all in the studio waiting for the show to begin. Needless to say, Stephen's take on the prospect of four years of Conservative government - albeit in coalition with the LibDems - was far from sunny and hopeful. Having lived through the 1980s as an adult - and an adult policeman to boot - I found myself listening to his words with a growing sense of gloom and despondency. As experts will tell you, the happiest nations on this planet are those where the gap between rich and poor is smallest. I don't see us becoming an inordinately happy nation in the next four years, do you?

But enough of politics. What else is happening? Well, my visit to QI - and others I shall be making over the next few weeks - were prompted by my being asked to do some artwork for the series. I can't say what I've done (it would spoil the fun) but it will be a real thrill - for me at least - to see my pics up on the screen behind the panelists in the autumn. I'm doing some stuff for the QI Annual again this year and that's always a hoot. I'm also illustrating a children's book written by Terry Bergin which is being published by Daisy Gili as a fine art imprint. Daisy is the granddaughter of the late great Reynolds Stone (see here) who, if the name is unfamiliar, was an astonishingly talented engraver who designed, among other things, the masthead for The Times newspaper and the coat of arms on the front cover of all UK passports. It's a real honour to be doing some work for his imprint.

I've been to some interesting events too including all of the recordings of QI's sister radio show The Museum of Curiosity where I have been lucky enough to meet such people as Sir Terry Pratchett, Marcus Chown, Shappi Khorsandi, Suggs, Jon Ronson, Prof Richard Wiseman, Daniel Tammet, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Michael Welland, Leigh Francis and others. I also attended a workshop at the BBC hosted by Dave Gorman to explore some interesting tweaks for the second TV series of Genius. That was really good fun and a fascinating inside look at how TV shows are put together.

Other than that, it's been writing, writing, writing. I'm just starting to get a proper feel for the new book - it's taken a while to find the right 'voice' so that it doesn't end up feeling like a training manual. I am endeavouring to teach a skill in the book but, hopefully, through an entertaining read rather than by turning it into a set of instructions.

More soon. Promise I won't leave it so long next time. x

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