Gaz Facts #1 – Cheese is actually made of nightmares.

nightmarecheese2

It’s a little known fact* that the myth ‘cheese gives you nightmares’ is actually a mistranslation of the very origins of cheese itself: cheese is made of nightmares! Or rather, the concept of cheese originated from a nightmare.

Think about it. At some point in the ancient past, in the ‘pre-cheese’ dark ages, someone, somewhere, must have looked at a quantity of rotting milk and thought to themselves ‘hmm, those lumpy bits look nice’.

Who else but an individual plagued by nightmarish visions and motivations would have succumb to such an urge? I imagine a primitive dairy farmer, tossing in his straw bed, beads of sweat running down his furrowed brow as images of naked, toasted bread, danced behind his tired eyes, mocking him and shrieking for a delicious topping of some sort.

But where would he find such a thing? It literally didn’t yet exist. Perhaps he experimented with other mouldy produce before hitting on the all important milk-factor. How different our favourite snack would be now if that farmer had instead reached into a vat of rotting fish carcasses. But no! Thankfully he was prompted by the nocturnal whisperings of demonic muses to try and eat a mass of congealing cow’s lactic fluid.

And thank God he did! It’s delicious.

 

*This is not a fact. From a whole two minutes researching this on the internet, no one really knows how cheese was discovered, but was likely cured naturally from bacteria on cows teats and has been dated back over 7500 in Europe from remnants of rudimentary cheese straining equipment.

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The book marketing diaries Part 2.5 – A series?

Alluding back to part 2 of this diary (here: The Book Marketing Diaries Part 2 – What’s in a name?) what I came to realise from feedback and seeing those names laid out in front of me was that maybe I was looking at more than one title here.

I have a general idea of the plot of a second book, which I have left open as a possibility in the upcoming novel, and thematically, it would follow on nicely to have the following two titles confirmed, with any third part being left for another time (say, when I was anywhere close to writing it).

So my current thinking is this:

BOOK 1 (Autumn 2016):

coollogo_com-12571161

Book 2 (2018 – I have an unrelated title in progress at the moment slated for 2017):

coollogo_com-84781913

Book 3: (Who knows? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but if I get a modicum of success from the first two, I would look at a trilogy).

Of course, as a free individual, I reserve all rights to not write another at all! But I do have enough confidence to think a second part would be of interest to my readers at least.

So, that’s my current thinking… But I am always open to having my mind changed (and have in fact, spent many years actively trying to do so), so PLEASE do comment in any way you can if you have an opinion and/or advice about this!

Thanks to everyone who has helped me out so far. even the littlest comment can make a big difference when you are doing something like writing, which despite everything else in life, can feel like a lonely endeavour sometimes.

 

 

Tapped in the Head.

By Garry Abbott

antique-water-tap-xdl1203

 

I doodled in profile,

Heads with taps leaking into pools

with stick men leaping, bathing and

waving from the mind stuff waters.

 

In margins and backs

of books for learning,

and later for working,

taking notes of notes of minutes of nothing.

I needed something to do.

 

Always taps and wheels,

from necks with no torso,

free to roam, but carbon static.

Stuck behind the lines of the page.

 

Perhaps it was the pressure

that needed letting?

Between skin and skull, swelling,

scalp and mind.

Under eyelids welling.

 

I doodled in profile.

Taps in the back of heads.

Leaking out mind stuff.

Floating still on the page.

 

And then I closed the book,

and just got on with it.

Blog Update and Rethink

Hello people who read this (I hope).

This is just a very short(ish) message to say that after the last six weeks of ‘Newsjack’ updates (a BBC Radio 4 Extra comedy show that I submit material for), I am now going to spend a little time deciding what is the best way  to continue this blog.

Having a run of six weeks with a set topic made my life a lot easier! I’ve posted over a hundred entries on this site from philosophy to comedy, spanning the last 18 months or so.

Some week’s it is easy, and some weeks I find myself scrabbling around for something to say.

This is one of those weeks, as you might be able to tell.

So, apart from Admin Cat, which I will continue to post every week (as long as I can still find new ideas for him… there have been nearly 60 cartoons already!) I am going to try and decide if there is a direction I want to take this page in that will make it a little more consistent for me to deal with and my audience (are you there?) to understand.

I will still post blogs if something specific occurs to me, but am going to relax the ‘new posts weekly’ (apart from Admin Cat) until I decide what’s the crack…

In the meantime I am currently happily writing my second book, and I hope to find a fun and interesting way to tell you more about that soon.

So thanks for sticking with me so far, and if you have any ideas or suggestions or feedback, please tell me either here, directly, or by email at gazamatazabbott@yahoo.co.uk.

Thanks everyone.

Not Good Enough For The BBC! Newsjack Series 11 – PART 6!

newsjack

So that’s it for another series of Newsjack. I’m happy to report that all in all I got my second ever sketch credit and I think my 10th one liner in this time. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in the last four series (my first attempts and credits came in series 8). Where does the time go? Nowhere. Because it is an abstract concept. (Or is it? I actually don’t know. Ask Brian Cox if you’re so interested).

What now? Well, I am writing my second fiction book, but that’s another matter. As far as comedy goes, especially radio comedy, I am going to start drafting a long festering sit-com idea and work it up into a treatment. I have done this in the past with a previous idea (I wrote a pilot episode) and was told by David Tyler of Pozzitive productions that it was ‘better than most’, but not quite there yet. So I did what any writer should do… nothing. Actually, I got distracted by other projects and never returned to writing a comedy script (apart from Newsjack submissions). But I’m going to have another go with a new concept and see what happens.

I guess it is good advice to work on something in your spare time, no matter if there is an open submission programme waiting for it or not. Being a writer simply means writing something down, so all of us can achieve that – being a successful writer is objective, and really depends on who you are and what you want out of life. Start with step 1 – write something, and go from there.

I think that this series of Newsjack has improved on the last (not that there was anything wrong with the last, but things can always get better). It seems like the new production team and host have settled in and got a good idea of the direction and personality of the show. I have no idea if they will be moving on for the next series, but if they do, I think they have all done themselves proud. It must be a hell of a challenge just to get anything out in such a short time scale, let alone something that more often than not makes you laugh. There have been some very good sketches this series, and it makes me feel a little better (and more determined) when my material is passed over for such clever little laughter nuggets.

I might do one more blog next week on some of my unused sketches, but for now, here are my final, unused, one liner submissions for episode six of Newsjack. Well done to everyone involved, even those who submitted with no luck. Having the confidence and discipline to send that email in is an achievement in itself I reckon.

Thanks for sticking with me throughout this blog. I blog every week, on a variety of subjects, so why not click the subscribe button and see what I get up to between series of Newsjack? Or even better, buy my book advertised in the top right corner of the screen? (Just a thought). Bye!

 

ONELINERS EP 6

BREAKING NEWS:

  1. Tree of the year competition accused of blatant exploitation as finalists appear naked in Autumn photo shoot. (I thought this was my best chance this week! I always order my  one liners in what I think is the best shot… but am usually proved wrong every time they actually use on).
  2. The UK’s chief scientist is surveying sea life after fears that man made emissions are turning the oceans to acid. “Don’t ask me, I’m a space unicorn” says fish. (Acid water? Get it? I did. No one ever uses my drug-reference jokes…)
  3. Google boss Alan Eustace sets new world record by going 25 miles above the Earth to file his tax returns. (okay, so you need to know the story about how he set the new skydive record for this one to work – and make the link between that and  tax havens… Maybe this needed more!)
  4. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is said to have healing powers, leading to fears that new James Blunt album could be the next Ebola. (Why not? I knew this story would be popular, and I think they did a joke in the end based around the Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics, which was, admittedly, better than this.)
  5. First ever transplant using a dead heart is completed. Patient regrets not going private. (I like the idea of the NHS sticking crap organs in people to get us all to go private… This might have been the seed of a sketch, but I didn’t think of that at the time.)
  6. Afghanistan complains about the mess left behind now the UK has pulled out at the last minute.  (My girlfriend complains that I always put at least one sex based joke in my submissions, but they always seem to come up. Ha. ‘Come up’. Anyway…)

 

TV/RADIO LISTINGS:

  1. Is it a spoon? Is it a fork? Sue Barker investigates this Friday at 8pm in ‘A question of Spork’. (I had it in mind that we could do a series of Question of Sport based jokes. I already tried ‘A question of Spores’ and there was another one used in one of the episodes by a different writer. It was a blind hope.)
  2. Mystery abounds as several victims are found choked to death on blue cheese in the Roquefort files, this Monday at 3pm. (As I said before, I struggle with these a little! The TV listings are a quickly exhausted supply of source material. After six weeks of going through them you realise everything is just repeated every day pretty much).
  3. Every evening at 7.30 on ITV, watch more hilarious home video footage of people accidentally setting fire to themselves in ‘You’ve been flamed’. (You see what I mean?!)

Good Enough / Not Good Enough For The BBC! Newsjack Series 11 – PART 5!

newsjack

Success! I got my second credit this series in episode 5 of Newsjack last week, hence the slight alteration in the title of this week’s blog instalment in this running feature, an introduction to which you can find here: https://garryabbott.com/2014/10/01/not-good-enough-for-the-bbc-newsjack-series-11/

I managed to land a one liner this time, which is nice, seeing as putting them together can take me almost as long as writing the three sketches I also submit each week (that’s two ‘full’ sketches and a 30 second advert, if you are wondering – check out the submission guidelines if that sounds weird to you, it’s a new feature they added this series).

But, as always, to get the two credits this series so far, I have submitted ten sketches, five 30 second adverts, thirty ‘breaking news’ one liners, and fifteen ‘TV listing’ jokes. That’s the full compliment allowed so far, with one episode left to go (which I have also submitted for and not included in the count above for some reason). So it is a lot of work, and not always as fun as you would think writing a load of jokes and sketches should be… For one thing I have sometimes had to resort to reading the Daily Mail website for ideas, which would be okay if it wasn’t for having to bathe my eyeballs in acid afterwards to wash away the residual filth.

Below then is last week’s submissions (one liners) that weren’t included, AND the one that was… with notes and thoughts. See if you can spot the joke that got broadcast. I’ll give you a clue, it’s the one where I’ve clearly stated that it got broadcast.

Good luck to everyone who submits for the final episode this week! I will post my final instalment in this series next week, and then a feature about the series in general and sketches in  the weeks following I think, but don’t hold me to that, because that would be weird and I do this for free.  Cheers!

ONELINERS EP 5

BREAKING NEWS:

  1. A sculpture of a sex toy in Paris has caused angry demonstrators to stage a sit down, stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down… protest. (There was a similar joke used in the episode, but not this one. Some news stories are just begging for it.)
  2. A fan dressed up as a cleaner to get close to Miley Cyrus backstage at a concert. All the security guards at the venue ignored him as they thought he was just another person who Twerked there. (Hoorah! Who would have thought it? A Miley Cyrus joke landed me this week’s success. It seems Twerking still has life in it yet, to the shame of the human race.)
  3. Internet trolls are to be banned from Twitter and face longer sentences as apparently 140 characters isn’t enough to tell someone they are fat and ugly. (thought there was a better way to word this but ran out of time to find it. The news headline itself was almost a one liner “Twitter trolls to face longer sentences”, almost said it all anyway. Silly BBC news.)
  4. Chinese state media has warned its citizens moving to England not to take on western names that could see them mocked, such as Dumbledore, Satan or Boris. (Bit of a stretch this one if you didn’t know the original news story. The first two names are genuine examples of names the Chinese media has warned its citizens against using, the third one is (meant to be) my funny addition.)  
  5. Radio 1 has been found to have breached licensing laws when children listening to a Lilly Allen concert broadcast in the early afternoon definitely heard a lot of shit. (Don’t really care for Lilly Allen’s music personally, and thought her antics swearing her way through a Radio 1 road show aimed at younger audiences was a bit sad and worth a jest. How I laughed, to myself, as no one else heard it anyway.)  
  6. Tony Blair says that all schools around the world should teach religious respect, apart from the ones with all them Muslim terrorists in them, which we should definitely bomb. (I think this would have worked better built into a sketch with someone doing a Blair impression. The very thought that the mass murdering war criminal wants to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, is joke enough I suppose.)

 

TV/RADIO LISTINGS:

  1. Every day at 12.45, it’s Fifteen to One.  (I suddenly worried after submitting this joke that it had already been used previously? These things can happen when we are all using the same source material to try and think up jokes. I hope it was used before because I think it’s a really neat little one liner and would have gone down well. If someone knows if this joke has been used before, let me know and put my mind to rest!)
  2. Tonight at nine, Anne Robinson looks at a Labrador in Watchdog. (Certain amount of barrel scraping going on with the TV listing jokes by now…)
  3. This afternoon on BBC2 Nigel Farage and David Cameron debate their plans for the NHS in Flog It! (and again… as I’ve said before, my personal approach is to get something in, even if you aren’t convinced it’s the best thing ever. You never know if the producers/cast will see something in it that you haven’t, and we’re working against the clock without immediate feedback, so there’s not always time to find the very best jokes.)

 

And that’s it! Once again, if you enjoyed this blog, and reading in general, then why not take a look at my ridiculously cheap eBook ‘The Dimension Scales and Other Stories’ that is available now for just 77p ($0.99) through the link at the top right of this page?

Thanks for reading. See you next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Good Enough For The BBC! Newsjack Series 11 – PART 4!

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Here we go again! My weekly digest of the jokes I wrote that didn’t get used on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Newsjack’, the topical comedy, open-door writing policy show! (That’s a mouthful)

If you haven’t seen this before, perhaps reading the intro to part 1 will help: https://garryabbott.com/2014/10/01/not-good-enough-for-the-bbc-newsjack-series-11/

Unfortunately, still no more hits since episode 1, but an opportunity is an opportunity, is an opportunity, is an opportunity? Right? The word ‘opportunity’ doesn’t imply guaranteed, or indeed, any success, just the possibility. So, undeterred, I continue, as you should too if you are reading this and are feeling down heartened by it all.

Here are the failed one liner attempts from last week (Episode 4) with added notes  as per usual, and no sketches, I will do something with them at the end of the season I think.

 

BREAKING NEWS:

  1. Police have said that an attempt to steal a statue of comedy legend Eric Morecambe wasn’t wise.  (I thought this had a chance as it is neat and brief, and, dare I say it, a little clever? They ended up using a joke about it being taken apart piece by piece but not necessarily in the right order… which was a good take on it anyway)
  2. The Salvation Army reports that nearly 500 people are being trafficked a year for labour. “We need all the help we can get” says Ed Miliband. (just pounced on the double meaning of ‘Labour’ there…)
  3. After nude photographs of former Dr Who Matt Smith are leaked online, fans are disappointed to find that he is smaller on the outside. (wasn’t entirely sure that this made any sense! They used a joke about fans being disappointed that his nude photo turned into Peter Capaldi in the end… just goes to show that some of these stories are having lots of variations submitted, so it is hard to be the one that gets the take on it that they go for.)
  4. Nigel Farrage has been invited to join Cameron, Clegg and Miliband for a mass debate. Afterwards they may even talk about politics too.  (okay, okay, this was just childish filth. Sometimes I just think, let’s give it a go, who knows? Well I know now. Now I know. I know now. Do I? Yes. I know. Now. I do.)
  5. Microsoft Boss Satya Nadella has apologised for his choice of words when he said women should have faith in the system and not ask for pay rises, commenting that what he meant to say was that they shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about it. (like I mentioned last week, another attempt to make a bad comment sound even worse for comedy affect. Maybe it’s just me who thinks this is some kind of device!)
  6. Scientists have discovered that consuming capsules containing frozen faeces could help prevent potentially fatal gut problems, or in layman’s terms, we should all eat shit and live. (I felt there was a better way to word this, but couldn’t find it. Literally the news story is about eating shit. Eating shit. How could I not have a go at it?)

 

TV/RADIO LISTINGS:

  1. Join Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell as they struggle to answer questions about the reproductive cycle of fungi in ‘A Question of Spores’ tonight at nine. (Why not?)
  2. The walking dead are back! In this weekend’s double episode of Dad’s Army. (Trying to tap into the return of ‘The Walking Dead’, but I guess it’s not actually officially out yet in England. Not that I watch it by some other method over the internet or anything.)
  3. A new documentary follows the chancellor George Osborne as he trains to run the 400 meters in ‘Ready, Steady, Cock’ coming soon. (it just feels nice to call George Osbourne a cock. It would be a dream come true if I could do it officially on broadcast media. It would make my year. So it may not be the best joke, but at least I tried. He is a cock, by the way. But I’m sure you know that already.)

 And that’s it! As usual I will leave you with a plea to consider buying my book as advertised in the top right corner of this screen! Only 77p (or $0.99) – it is a ‘quirky’ collection of 14 speculative fiction short stories in the vein of Philip K. Dick / Isaac Asimov and even a bit of the dark and twisted as inspired by Roald Dahl’s AMAZING short stories for adults.

Good luck to everyone who is trying again this week for episode 5, and I guess, see you next week! Thanks for reading.