Feb 21, 2007

Theatre Of Pictures: Volume One

And so the Theatre Of Noise crew stumble into a studio to record a podcast, as explained in this previous post. This is the first of a series of three picture diaries of that podcast, featuring pictures taken by Fil*, otherwise known to millions as the number (4) in the next paragraph.

We are (1) me, (2) Lee, (3) Dan The Weatherman, (4) Fil The Destroyer and (5) Stef The Hip Hop Bruce Lee. It looks like I have just made up these nicknames. You may be right.


We arrive at the studio armed with literally tens of ideas. It's written on a schedule which is then pinned to a board and left teetering on a chair so we can all see it.

Before we air, you could cut the tension with a pair of Superdrug nail scissors. How would we use the time? Would we produce a successful programme without all the bitching and in-fighting that usually takes place? Already, Dan The Weather Man (pictured left) and my co-host Lee aren't talking:

Podcast Jan 07: Dan and Lee


Just before the above picture was taken, Lee slapped Dan The Weather Man across the face. You can see Dan The Weather Man is still reeling, his thoughts of cumulonimbus and nimbostratus clouded over by feelings of hurt and anger. Clouded over. Do you see what I did there? That's why I'm a writer.

There was only one cataclysmic disaster: we forgot to get the balloons for our Balloons And Darts game.


Stefan The Hip Hop Bruce Lee is a black belt in b-boy stancing, and can drop the mic like a very unruly person indeed. His infectious giggling was one of the highlights of the podcast for me. Here he is taking a photo of a caterpillar hiding inside a matchbox.

Podcast Jan 07: Stef

He will keep this photo on his phone for several days until he is attacked by a wall, when he breaks his knee and mashes his ribs. That bit is true, about the breaking and mashing, not about the photo, the caterpillar or the matchbox. Get well soon, Stef.


Just before we go on air, we take part in a corporate man-hug. This is similar to the kind of side hug you get in churches from people that would rather flagelate themselves than be physically close to you. In this case, we formed a large circle and leaned in at the waist, ensuring the most basic of hug while safely keeping our genitalia at maximum possible distance:

Podcast Jan 07: feet

Pictured mid-hug clockwise from top left is Lee, some wires, Fil The Destroyer and Dan The Weather Man. More about Fil The Destroyer in the next of this riveting picture diary series.


Okay, I lied about the man-hug too. Much of this post has been spurious, and I apologise. All you need to know about the podcast is some boys had control of a room with mics in and we could swear if we wanted to.

Looks like Stef The Hip Hop Bruce Lee is better already. Here he is doing squats as recommended by non-doctor Gillian McKeith:

Podcast Jan 07: Stef's arse

Gah! Another lie.


In the next Fat Roland picture diary extravaganza, expect to see George our studio man with your very own eyes, and be thrilled at the amazing technology that surrounded us; it was like living in the future, only the cars had wheels and the Dutch weren't ruling the world.

*I probably should have asked Fil's permission to use these pics...

Feb 18, 2007

Voluptuous John Prescott

Before I wade into the picture diary posts as promised a couple of days ago, are the answers to the quiz I posted last week.

>Answer one

The last time a monarch lived in the palace of Westminster was in the 16th century. Win the crown jewels if you're right.

>Answer two

The names of the comedians featured in Apple Mac’s new adverts are Mitchell and Webb. No, this does not make them cool; it makes them corporate whores who pull the legs of orphan spiders before fashioning the legs into the shape of v-sign just to literally add insult to injury.

>Answer three

The primary characteristic of dopiaza is onions, while rogan josh is tomato.

>Answer four

The waiter on the cruise Anthony Eden took after resigning over Suez was the gorgeous, voluptuous John Prescott.

>Answer five

Here are the Pink Floyd albums in order of release: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, The Dark Side Of The Moon, The Wall, The Division Bell. If you got this wrong, you probably thought Division Bell was earlier than it was.

>Answer six

Exploding Snap is from Harry Potter. Cripple Mr Onion is from Discworld. Long Distance Clara was from Pigeon Street. (There was nothing about Long Distance Clara in the question; I just thought it was something you ought to know.)

>Answer seven

If you mix Lala and Po, you get orange. Lala is yellow and Po is red.

>Answer eight

12. Is anyone still reading this?

>Answer nine

You had to name two of the three biggest cities in the EU. Hopefully you chose from London, Berlin or Madrid. Meanwhile, the most burgled country in the EU is dear old Blighty.

>Answer ten

Scooby Doo acquired his name from Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night. In the last verse, the blue-eyed crooner dooby-dooed all over the song. He had to wipe it up afterwards.


I provided these questions for a pub quiz in Wythenshawe last week, and they've just told me it's too hard. I replied that me punching them in the face would be harder and why don't they just shut up.

They punched me in the face.

You live and learn. More quiz nonsense on Lee's blog.

Feb 15, 2007

Lie down and lift up your T-shirt

Myspace Page

In April, the month of yellow and rain and chocolate, I will be setting the Fat Roland sail towards the choppy waters of Refresh FM.

Refresh is a community radio station in Manchester (Englandland) who have been insane enough to let Lee and me take over the 9pm weekday evening slots.

One of the shows we'll be presenting is the Theatre Of Noise. Unlike most other radio shows dedicated to Christian music, the Theatre Of Noise is all about destruction, loud guitars and (I hope) annoying Christians who deserve to be annoyed.

>Foot spa

We're having to prepare, of course. Lee is walking round with cucumbers on his eyes, and every day I drown myself head first in a foot spa. Perhaps a more constructive element of our preparation was our time in a real life Gmmaz recording studio to 'lay down' a podcast. I'm yet to load it onto i-Tunes, but in the meantime the podcast is available as an mp3 download on our Myspace page.

While you're listening to that (it's shambolic, slightly rude and full of nonsense; this was quite deliberate), let me bestow upon you my plans for this here blog.


Over the next two weeks, I will blog a picture diary of our time in the studio. I will introduce you to the characters that took part in the podcast, show you the technical side of our stupidity, and give you a fascinating visual insight into the games and props that make the Theatre Of Noise what it is. And there'll be a bit of video at the end of it all.

Why? Because I love you and want to phrrrrrpt your belly.

Imagine it as a kind of photographic version of Planet Earth. Without David Attenborough. Or the high definition visuals. Or, indeed, any of the content.

Consider yourself phrrrrrpted; watch this blogspace.

Feb 12, 2007

No please diary, don't make me hurt 'em

Last Wednesday, my diary told me it was pub quiz time. Apart from the fact my diary was talking to me, this filled me with thrillation and excitingness because it was finally my time to come up with a general knowledge round.

The audience responded well, with the usual comments of "ooh that's a good question", "where do you get these questions from?" and "clear off, Fat Roland, this is a hick town* and we know what you get up to on Sundays".

So here are the questions for you to ponder over your lunch hour. I will post the answers in one week's time. And remember, if you Google / Wikipedia any of them, I will shove nuts up your nostrils and feed you to squirrels I have just angered by telling them bushy tails are, like, SOOO 1974.

>Question one

When’s the last time a monarch lived in the palace of Westminster? (A century will do.)

>Question two

The names of the comedians featured in Apple Mac’s new adverts are David and Robert. By what name are they more commonly known?

>Question three

What are the primary characteristics (ingredient) of the following types of curries? (a) dopiaza; (b) rogan josh.

>Question four

Anthony Eden took a cruise after his resignation over Suez. Name his cruise ship waiter who later became a political heavyweight in his own right.

>Question five

Put these Pink Floyd albums in order of release: The Dark Side of the Moon; The Division Bell; The Piper at the Gates of Dawn; The Wall.

>Question six

In which fantasy novel series would you find the following card games? (a) Exploding Snap; (b) Cripple Mr Onion.

>Question seven

What colour do you get when you mix Lala and Po?

>Question eight

I have a right angled triangle. If one side is 5 centimetres long and the hypoteneuse is 13 centimetres long, how long is the remaining side?

>Question nine

Can you name two of the three biggest cities in the EU (by population in the city boundary)? And for a bonus point, which is the most burgled country in the EU?

>Question ten

From which song did the cartoon dog Scooby Doo acquire his name? (a) Ella Fitzgerald’s Diga Diga Doo; (b)Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night; or (c) Jungle Book’s Bear Necessities.

For the other rounds in the quiz, you could do worse than to start here.

*I nicked this idea from Sunday's Top Gear

Feb 9, 2007

Keep the balloons on the dead body (just in case)

So that's where I put my blog. I thought I had it in the place I had left it, but instead I had put it in a safe place, which was the last time I had it but I didn't think to look in the place that was the last time I had my blog.

>Get on with it

I was thinking about Psapp (pictured) and how their playful sound reminds of how I used to love 'found sound' - people who made music from field recordings or things in their kitchen. I didn't realise, but Psapp (pronounced 'sap') are an example of toytronica, where they make electronic music from children's toys and toy instruments. And then I remembered that chap at a previous Futuresonic festival who made distorted white noise from a rewired Playstation.

I want to do this.

>Wooden car

But I know how it would go. My friend Dan The Weather Man once gave me a build-it-yourself wooden car, where you stuck wheels onto a wooden frame, added some wires and stuff, then created the electrical loop to make the battery work and the wheels go round. It still sits in its original box, mostly built but lacking the right wiring to power the machine. I don't know about making things work, especially when it comes to electrical things.

So I'd buy my Build-Your-Own-Toytronica-Instrument from Ikea and lay all the parts before me. Nuts, bolts, a drill, a saw, two screwdrivers, then all the constituent parts that will eventually make up the instrument: a plastic trumpet, a music box, a Sega Dreamstation, an Operation board game, a Barbie doll, a chicken called Brunhilda (actually used by Psapp in real life) and, naturally, some mechano.

>African dialect

My main obstacle is the instructions. They're often written in cod English, translated from an obscure African dialect only know by six people and a parrot. I have little time for bad English, so I'd need to hire a translator. Actually pay out of my own pocket for a translator, who would then read out the instructions in clear, gramatically perfect Queens' Best.

Of course, hiring a translator would be ridiculous. No, not just ridiculous: totally ridiculous. No. I'd build one. I'd have a separate area of the living room floor with all the nuts, bolts, drills and chickens I needed to build me a translating robot. But then I'd need the instructions to build--- oh dear. You see how I'm no good at making things?


And then there are the electrical shocks. If I try anything clever with electricity, such as building a mecha-lazer beam to split the sun into two, I always get a shock. Static shocks are the worst. The most annoying thing about dying of electrical shocks is it takes ages to get the balloons off the corpse afterwards. At least they provide adequate padding in the coffin should your beloved remaining on this earth hire a particular clumsy-handed firm of undertakers.

I've also just learnt that Psapp throw cats at their audience. I've also got a growing suspicion Psapp are the ones who invented the phrase 'toytronica' in the first place, so I'm not even writing about a real genre.

Ah well, at least I found my blog, and that's more than I can say about my dignity / pants / brain / virginity [delete according to taste in humour].