Ade And Rik House

This is a lovely write up about Girls On Top, which is well worth your time to read. It mentions a few shows we’ve explored on here before, and one or two I’ve not encountered before.

I’d like to see some clips or episodes of the Ruby Wax written spoof chat show For 4 Tonight, but there’s nothing to be found online.

And while the first full episode of Hardwicke House is now up in places to watch, it’s this clip that intrigued me the most.

And thanks to Graeme Wood on Twitter, we have these magazine caps.


Empty Inside

Dan used to be a happy chap. He always had a nice thing to say about someone, always had a smile, or a joke. And it was genuine. It was never a front. He wasn’t hiding his real feelings, or masking the depths of his emotions.

But lately, he just felt empty inside.

The verve for life was gone.

At first, he put it down to middle age. Maybe his vigour had waned as the reality of the world chipped away at him, day in, day out, knocking off little chunks at a time, without him realising until he could no longer look at a sunset and smile.

The more he thought about it though, the more he realised he could pinpoint it to an exact moment.

Four years ago, he’d gone to sleep happy, and awoken the next morning with a deep void within.

The thought gnawed at him for days. Every time he considered it, he realised something else. He hadn’t cut himself in four years. He hadn’t needed a haircut for four years. His nails had stopped growing.

He hadn’t eaten.

For four whole years.

This realisation was too much, and as mad as it sounded, he had to voice it to other people. And everyone he told reacted in the same way. They sat back, thought for a moment, and said ‘huh’. Then they admitted that they too hadn’t eaten for four years.

They’d all sat down at meal times, having prepared something to eat, and each and every one of them had thrown the full plates away ten minutes later. They’d been to restaurants, ordered, and left without eating.

But that was it.

A ‘huh’, and they all carried on as normal. Sans food. Not really thinking about it.

Not Dan though.

Dan couldn’t let it go, and people got sick and tired of hearing about it.

Then one day, it was all too much for Dan anymore. The truth of it was too much to bear. And for some reason, Dan found himself in the basement with a sharp saw, cutting into his own torso, without so much as a twinge or a drop of blood.

His legs and hips fell away to the floor, leaving his upper body on the chair.

He reached down and lifted his lower half up, seeing down into the emptiness of his two hollow legs. He felt around under his upper half, feeling the same void. That feeling of emptiness, it was real, and literal.

He was hollow inside.

An empty shell of his former self.

And he never found out why.

Empty Inside


Bottled Anger

I never understood the phrase ‘don’t bottle it up’.

But the day I took it literally was the day that changed my life.

It was also the day that changed the world.

Anger is an odd thing, I realised, and noticed that when I was angry, I got hot, bothered, fidgety, my mind raced. Basically, there was a lot of energy there. So, what if, I surmised, I actually found a way to bottle that.

And I did.

I made a machine that bottled up my anger. Literally. After a few months, I was more content, and I had two cupboards full of bottled anger. I half feared that those jars of anger would explode, but they never did. So the cupboards kept getting more and more full, and it got to the point where I was running out of space, and something had to be done.

I took a few jars out to the drain in the street. When I opened one up, I stopped myself pouring it away. Another thought occurred to me. I emptied the jar into the tank of my car.

It started.

And ran for twice as long as it did on a tank of petrol.

I bought and installed a generator in my house, and powered it with my own bottled up anger. Soon the supplies in the cupboards started to dwindle. I couldn’t supply my own demand. And artificial rage had no potency whatsoever.

I built an adaptor.

And I plugged my anger harvesting machine into the internet.

Within days, I was powering my whole street. Within a week, I was powering the whole town. By month’s end, the online rage was powering the country. And it seemed to be never ending. An infinite supply of anger, supplying everything we needed.

But like my own cupboards, the more anger we harvested, the less there was.

Luckily, we seemed to hit a sweet spot.

There was just enough of it in the world, at any one moment, to power the grid.

Rage kept the lights on.


We all got just content enough.

There was no festering spite. Only then did we realise the power of that spite. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it. Doing something out of spite, fuelled by anger to produce something better, something brilliant.

Art stopped.

We all just sat there, smiling softly. Until we remembered something someone had said, and the lights stayed lit for another night.

But no one used that anger to create.

It’s all very boring now.

Bottled Anger

Up A Tree D-Y-I-N-G

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

For some reason, the zombie horde couldn’t climb trees. But now they were circling the base of the trunk, moaning and stretching out their arms at the last remaining brain container on the planet.

Deborah looked down at them, then let her eyes wander, examining the crowd of undead, so many of them, disappearing in all directions over the surrounding horizon. There were millions of them, and she could see the whites of their eyes.

Well, their whole eyes were white.

And that groaning. It was annoying enough when a dozen of them were doing it, but when several million of them were doing it, it was deafening, and dizzying, and it made her want to throw up.

Deb didn’t know where this was going, or how it was going to end.

Either she was going to die, alone, up a tree, or she was going to become one of them.

Neither option was appealing, but she couldn’t think of a third.

It was a mystery how it had come to this. Deborah had seen the comet burning up in the atmosphere. The whole planet had. It didn’t survive, and never crashed, but something that burned had got into the air, and well, now she was up a tree surrounded by a billion or more dead people, hell bent on snacking on her hypothalamus.

And they stank.

Maybe it was the smell of rotting flesh, and bad dental hygiene that was making her bilious, and not that cacophony of moaning.

They’d long since shaken all the leaves from the tree.

At least they hadn’t thought to throw rocks up at her. Unlikely they ever would either. For people who fed solely on brains, they were distinctly lacking in thought. Turns out, you aren’t what you eat after all.

And now the bark was chafing at her bottom.

Truth be told, it had been chafing at her bottom for a few days now, keeping her wide awake, even through the waking dreams (none of which were more disturbing than the billions of zombies wanting to eat her and tear her limb from limb). It’s just that she’d managed to ignore the chafing until now.

A thought occurred to her.

She snapped out her arms and pointed, bellowing at the top of her voice.

“Look. Over there.”

None of them looked.

If anything, it just seemed to make them more hungry. It was like they could smell cerebral activity or something.

Deborah gave up, and let herself fall from the tree and into their outstretched arms. It was such sweet relief. What had she been running from? Their warm (well, cold) embrace? They hugged her, passing her from one to the other.

Then ate her.

Up A Tree, D-Y-I-N-G

Good Day Penn & Teller

In early 1991, Penn & Teller were doing their Refrigerator Tour, and whilst spending a few weeks at The Colonial Theatre in Boston, they visited the set of Good Day!, and met with Eileen Prose.

They opened their spot with a nice conceit.

Interesting to see at the first break, that even back then, they were using big red Ps and Ts on their merch … take a look at Teller’s t-shirt.

Good Day! aired on the local ABC affiliate WCVB-TV. in the Boston area, and was probably the template for the show Good Morning America. Some time after this appearance, the show was cancelled, though the two things are not related.

Eileen cracks a good gag about talking Latin to Teller, who began his working life as a Latin teacher.

Here’s a contemporary write up of their live show, from The Tech, the MIT paper.

By the way: Don’t be surprised if you see Penn and Teller wandering around the MIT campus during their three-week stay in Boston. Rumor has it that they enjoy hanging out at the Media Laboratory, playing with the computers that are there.

Some of the tricks performed on this tour have names that make me wish I could find them on YouTube. The gorilla one especially. But, thanks to Just Four Laughs, at least we can see this one.

Nice to see Ben Elton at the start there. I have a feeling that this clip is the first time I saw P&T on British TV, or maybe I saw them do the same trick on their Channel 4 series The Unpleasant World Of Penn & Teller.

Good Day Penn & Teller