Archive for August, 2011

The Mystery Of The £500,000 Book…

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

So I was browsing on Amazon, looking for Roger Ebert books, as you do, and I found this. Words cannot describe the speechlessness I’m feeling right now.

First of all, I don’t understand why it’s £500,000. It’s from 25 years ago and is almost new. Being almost new should be enough to knock its value down by a few grand. To say nothing of the fact that it’s by Roger Ebert (who I like, don’t think I’m knocking him), rather than one of the conventional masters of the literary form. I’m sure there are original copies of Arthur Conan Doyle books that go for less than this. I’m pretty sure there are Gutenberg Bibles and Shakespeare First Folio pages that go for less than this.

Another thing I don’t understand is why, after shelling out half a mill for a 25 year old book, you then have to pay £2.80 delivery fees. For £500,000 I expect the seller to come to me and throw something else into the deal. I mean, once he gets the money into his bank account, he would be a millionaire as the book is coming from America. He would have to get down on his knees and present me the book like it’s a relic of the saints, while I give him the nondescript briefcase (as opposed to the sack with a dollar sign on it) containing the money. In fact, if I was buying a book for 500 grand, I’d want him to buy me a house that I could live in and a separate house to store the book when I’m not reading it. I want a criss-cross laser grid guarding the book from secret agents at all times. Call me crazy but nobody’s going to insure it for as much as the buyer shells out for it (I expect them to assume it’s a prank call and record it for training purposes) so you’d need some protection for it.

I love books, but I think the idea of paying £500,000 for anything other than the most desirable collector’s item is ludicrous and preposterous.



Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Continuing on from the last blog post I did about Epic Win, Kane and I headed to Television Centre to attend another recording of the new show with Alexander Armstrong. This time, we were there for a reason. Last week Kane got asked to breathe on a guy’s face, as the guy’s ability was to be able to smell what flavour of crisps you’d eaten by smelling your breath. This meant we were promptly separated as he was taken off to some darkened room somewhere. Initial suspicions that he would be taken round back and shot for agreeing to such a challenge were unfounded.

As we were all seated, the comedian started his warm-up routine. I should’ve been worried when I noticed it was the same guy as last time doing the warm-up. What followed were many of the same jokes still delivered by a Dale Winton lookalike. It is fair enough, I suppose – they don’t expect people to be attending twice so they just get the warm-up guy in, and not much of the actual process changes in between shows so they give the same tips to the audience. You know the kind of thing – “fire exits are there, lighting rigs may fall down but the chances of that happening twice in one week are minimal, have a Kit-Kat”, that kind of thing. Then Alexander Armstrong comes out and does the same jokes that he did last week to warm the audience up. Remember the one where he implied I gave death threats? He did that again but to a different person this time.

The actual show wasn’t really that good this time around. The first act was pretty impressive, the jetski guy was pretty cool and both the smurf guy and the crisp-breath smelling guy were just weird. None of them were particularly stand-out acts. Impressive, don’t get me wrong, but nothing that made you marvel at human achievement. Fortunately, nobody concussed themselves this week. Bizarrely, although the top of the door was padded, it actually lowered the ceiling of the door so the contestants going through it had to bend down further.

I had a couple of gripes with the actual recording process. For one thing, if any particularly tall people happen to go, be prepared to lop a foot off your height. I spent the evening with my legs drawn up to my chest (exaggerated for comedic effect). Another gripe is that one of the guys operating the camera for audience reaction shots looked very pissed off at the audience for making him do it. Every time he had to get a different shot, he looked like he resented having to move in any way. I imagine that he used to be a director but then got busted down to camera operator. Makes it seem like a cop show. (Incidentally, there’s a guy whose job it is to run behind this guy supplying cable. It’s like if you paid somebody to follow you with a hoover so the cord doesn’t get taut.)*

Lest we forget, the main reason that Kane and I were there was to see him breathe on someone’s face. And this happened towards the end of the evening. I am informed that they were taken to brush their teeth and were supplied with their own toothbrushes and toothpaste, which the lucky people got to take home with them. The guy was stood on the stage, blindfolded (so he couldn’t see who was holding what pack of crisps) and the volunteers (15 in all) were lined up off camera with two nutter-looking people at the very front (who I am informed were hired extras). Kane was fourth in line and I was surprised when he really went at that guy’s face. I’m surprised there wasn’t a cloud of flame-grilled steak crisp breath around his face afterwards. The crisp smelling dude (Anthony) got through about 7 of them before his minute ran out, and he’d only gotten four of them (out of eight needed) right. This meant he failed the challenge and had to leave through the Fail door (making sure to duck). Between scenes, he did identify four more but he’d already failed at that point so couldn’t go through.

Lastly came the pick-ups. This was made hilarious by the general confusion of the audience, as they had to do pick-up shots for last week’s show, at which point Stephen K. Amos asked if he’d fallen asleep earlier.

The good thing about my Epic Win saga is that if I’m lucky and if you’re lucky too, in a few weeks you will be seeing my highly attractive and chiselled good looks in a brief audience reaction shot on your screens. Kane will definitely be on it, unless they are real dicks and cut his appearance. Although I can’t speak for him in terms of chiselled good looks.

*In fact, now I think about it he’s probably, you know, a RUNNER.

Incidentally, the last entry in the saga will be a post-airing review of the episodes I was there for.