Right, so last night …
Imagine a room about half the size of a tube carriage only without the seats and less windows.
Imagine filling it with around 150 people who all seem to know at least two or three other people in the room, whilst you yourself know absolutely no one.
Now imagine maybe half a dozen of these people are the BBC producers. Only you don’t know who they are or what they look like.
Let’s complicate this further by imagining you’re the type of person who a) hates being in people’s way and b) doesn’t like to disturb people when they’re busy.
Oh and the room is hot, sweaty and slightly too noisy for you to fully understand what the people around you are saying.
So some of these things are my fault – I’m not the most gregarious of chaps. I like talking to people on a one to one basis but splitting up a group of people who are merrily chatting away just to introduce myself is a bit beyond my social abilities. These people don’t know who I am and most of them won’t care. A couple might possibly have worked on The Wrong Door – but I don’t know which ones and have no way of finding out. And even if I could work it out, I know nothing about the show except the sketches I wrote … and even then I don’t know which ones have made it into the show.
Add to that my dodgy hearing, which I permanently fucked by going to six clubs a week for the best part of 1996, and you might get an idea of how awkward I was feeling.
So I stood in the corner.
I made a valiant effort to edge nearer to a group in the vain hope of maybe joining in their obviously riveting conversation only to overhear something which sounded like:
“Yah, I’m like a writer/performer, yah? I like to experiment with the urban passivity of cultural icons in the context of light sensitive interconnectivity.”
Which is the kind of sentence which makes me want to punch people.
Luckily these three guys came and stood right in front of me. Three guys who thought being loud was a substitute for being funny and proceeded to shout at each other, effectively drowning out a lot of the nearby pretension.
For about an hour and a half.
I shall refer to them from now on as ‘the pricks’.
This is ridiculous, I thought. I need to go and talk to someone.
Well, there’s a guy over there who might be the guy who’s running the College of Comedy thing. You know, the guy whose name I can’t remember?
Then again, maybe it’s not him since I can’t actually remember what he looks like.
He’s surrounded by people who are talking at him, he looks stressed and harrassed … but that might just be the heat haze which hovers over the room.
Oh, and now he seems to have done a runner.
Okay, so I have met Jack Cheshire – the producer of The Wrong Door – he might be here somewhere.
Except, I only met him once; detailed here if anyone wants to refresh their memory. In a nutshell, I asked if I could steal one of his TVs, stared out of the window a lot and may or may not have fallen asleep.
All of which was six months ago – I can only vaguely remember what he looks like and from here there are three people who could potentially be him.
Right, I’ve been standing here in everyone’s way, listening to the pricks shout at each other for far too long. I’m hot, I’m slightly ashamed of myself and I’m going home.
Except now someone’s talking to me – she’s someone from the BBC but I’ve managed to miss her name and her job title. When I mention my name it rings a slight bell, but she doesn’t really know who I am. When I mention which sketches I wrote for The Wrong Door she gets very excited and animated and seems generally a lovely person. She’s very enthusiastic about this particular series of sketches and gives me a few details about the cast and how the shooting went before disappearing back into the crowd.
Then Jack Cheshire gets up and makes a speech and it turns out not only is he was one of my three possible candidates, but he also seems to be in charge of this New Comedy Unit. (Which, incidentally, I still don’t know if it’s the New-Comedy Unit or the New Comedy-Unit.)
Jack’s speech includes details of what the unit are looking for and maybe even how to go about pitching stuff to them.
At least I think that’s what it’s about.
Luckily, the pricks talked loudly and continuously through it and I didn’t hear a word.
Then they showed some clips from some shows (they being the BBC, not the pricks) – one of which might possibly have been The Wrong Door; but there were approximately 149 people between me and the screen.
Including the pricks … who took the opportunity to call Jack names.
Nice guys, really.
By this point I’d had enough and decided to leave. On the way out I realised there had been some free food, but it had all been eaten. I cornered Jack briefly just to say hello.
Said hello and realised I really didn’t have anything useful to say.
Stood there for a bit longer until he looked like he really wanted to get away.
And then I left.
To go and stand on the tube for a bit … which was a lovely, cool, refreshing and spacious change.
I’m sure people found it a useful and informative evening; but for me, it was a complete waste of time. I know I should have made more effort to speak to people, but since the nearest ones were pricks or people who use words like ‘interconnectivity’ – then I think I was fully justified in not bothering.
It might have been helpful if there had been some kind of handout which described, or possibly even had a photo of the producers for the benefit of people like me who don’t get out much … but there wasn’t.
Erm, so … yeah, that’s it.
I went, I stood in a corner, I left.