Alexei Sayle’s Comic Roots

A little gem this. From the series Comic Roots, which aired on BBC1 from 1982 to 1983. This one features Alexei Sayle, and seems to provide the template for his later shows, including Stuff, through to Merry-Go-Round.

Other episodes in the series featured Les Dawson, Roy Hudd, Irene Handl, Paul Shane, Michael Palin, Bill Dainty, and Kenneth Williams.

Alexei Sayle's Comic Roots

What’s The Opposite Of A Pot Noodle?

It’s time for another brand new episode of setisoppO, the podcast where we work out the opposite of things that don’t have a natural opposite. This week, we work out the opposite of a kerfuffle, of a Pot Noddle, and of an island.

(Download)

I make a reference to this series of adverts, featuring Peter Baynham, which I believe were directed by Armando Iannucci.

There’s a weird connection between the British comedy world and Pot Noodle. It’s a punchline.

I think there must be quite a few more examples.

What's The Opposite Of A Pot Noodle?

 

The Causality Switch

Commander Pike clambered from her bunk. Weary and blurry eyed, she felt the cold metal grate against her naked feet. As she stood up, she could already feel that the artificial gravity was on the blink again. At least ten percent weaker than it should be.

She reached for the water hose and took a long sup from it, feeling the dryness of her sleep being washed away with each deep glug. It was only when she rubbed her eyes that she felt the coarse, crisp build up in her lashes.

A quick shower, then some coffee.

Neither thing happened.

The shower refused to start, and the coffee pot was clogged up again.

Pike slumped into the command chair and let out a long sigh. Her jumpsuit was itching already, and she knew she was going to be in a foul mood all morning. So she punched up the camera feeds on the view screen, and had a look out at the empty vacuum of space.

It would be two more years before she saw anything.

Even just a glimpse of a distant star.

She tried not to look at it.

Instead, she just stared at the blank dark of nothingness that enveloped the ship. It wasn’t that there was nothing to see out there, it’s that the resolution of the cameras was too low to see anything. If she got really bored, she could slip into a spacesuit and go for a walk. Then she might catch a view or two. But putting on the suit just to see a single pixel of light in a canvas of void seemed too much effort.

Inevitably, her gaze wandered, and the turn of her head made the chair swivel round with it, leaving her facing it full on.

A giant red button.

Everything else was touchscreens, but this was a massive mushroom shaped button, with a sign above it that shouted in bright letters ‘do not press’.

And no-one, not once, not ever, had explained the button to her.

Months of training, months of simulations in orbit, and not a single mention of the giant red button that said do not press.

She was terrified that she’d been distracted when it had been explained to her, and that it was so obvious that to ask for a second explanation would cost her the mission.

And why on Earth would there even be a need for a button on the console that forcefully told you not to use it?

It was stupid.

She was angry.

She held her breath, hovering her hand above the button, palm flat out.

“Fuck it,” she said.

And pressed the button.

Commander Pike clambered from her bunk. Weary and blurry eyed, she felt the cold metal grate against her naked feet. As she stood up, she could already feel that the artificial gravity was on the blink again. At least ten percent weaker than it should be.

She reached for the water hose and took a long sup from it, feeling the dryness of her sleep being washed away with each deep glug. It was only when she rubbed her eyes that she felt the coarse, crisp build up in her lashes.

A quick shower, then some coffee.

Neither thing happened.

The shower refused to start, and the coffee pot was clogged up again.

Pike slumped into the command chair and let out a long sigh. Her jumpsuit was itching already, and she knew she was going to be in a foul mood all morning. So she punched up the camera feeds on the view screen, and had a look out at the empty vacuum of space.

It would be two more years before she saw anything.

Even just a glimpse of a distant star.

She tried not to look at it.

Instead, she just stared at the blank dark of nothingness that enveloped the ship. It wasn’t that there was nothing to see out there, it’s that the resolution of the cameras was too low to see anything. If she got really bored, she could slip into a spacesuit and go for a walk. Then she might catch a view or two. But putting on the suit just to see a single pixel of light in a canvas of void seemed too much effort.

Inevitably, her gaze wandered, and the turn of her head made the chair swivel round with it, leaving her facing it full on.

A giant red button.

Everything else was touchscreens, but this was a massive mushroom shaped button, with a sign above it that shouted in bright letters ‘do not press’.

And no-one, not once, not ever, had explained the button to her.

Months of training, months of simulations in orbit, and not a single mention of the giant red button that said do not press.

She was terrified that she’d been distracted when it had been explained to her, and that it was so obvious that to ask for a second explanation would cost her the mission.

And why on Earth would there even be a need for a button on the console that forcefully told you not to use it?

It was stupid.

She was angry.

She held her breath, hovering her hand above the button, palm flat out.

“Fuck it,” she said.

And pressed the button.

The Causality Switch

It’s Not Brain Surgery

Harry finally made his mind up. The heat was too much, and there wasn’t a single waft of a draught coming through the wide open window. And all he’d done for the past two hours was toss and turn and tell his brain to shut up.

It was heckling him with imaginary arguments with friends, with perceived slights he’d let go, and simply reminding him how much of an idiot and a waste of space he really was.

Harry’s brain hated him.

It had hated him for years, and it hadn’t been afraid to let him know this.

Constantly.

Over and over again.

Day in, day out.

All through the night, causing sleeplessness.

And so Harry had resolved to do something about it.

Next morning, he set to work.

Complex machinery began to take shape in the basement. Odd packages arrived. Drilling and hammering were heard late into the night. Strange lights oozed under the gap at the bottom of the door. Smoke wafted gently from the window.

Days later, Harry strapped himself to the chair, and kicked out at the button on the floor.

A cacophony of noise accompanied a ballet of robotic limbs, all moving in precise, well-timed unison. Harry didn’t feel a thing, even as a spinning bone saw made delicate in roads to his skull. Even as a well-engineered hand peeled back his scalp. Even as the slurping noise let him know part of his head had been lifted away.

He sat there, with a smile on his face, ignoring the heckling of his mind, as his contraption did its job, and swung around to present him with his own brain.

The motors and cooling fans powered down, the noise replaced by a still silence that made him smile more broadly.

The restraints snapped open, right on cue, and he stood up from the chair and circled his own brain. The sheer science involved should have blown his mind, as it sat there, being studied, but it didn’t.

It was time.

Harry raised his fists and started to punch the stupid thing, over and over again.

And it felt amazing.

It's Not Brain Surgery