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All Work And No Play In Soho

22 Feb

© Joseph Lynn

Joseph Lynn’s reportage photography of Noel Fielding‘s recent UK and Ireland tour kept his dedicated fanbase connected with what was happening – both on and off the stage. And now a selection of the images that Joe has taken will be on show at an exhibition in London’s West End.

All Work No Play is a collection of around 20 photos which cover a time period of nearly two years, whilst Joe worked with Noel on various projects as he developed, prepared and performed his show, An Evening With Noel Fielding. As an integral part of the team, Joe was given unprecedented to access to Noel, Tom Meeten and Mike Fielding, allowing him to capture intimate off duty moments alongside photographs of the live shows. The images he took paint a rich and candid picture of the hard work and camaraderie of the tour.

© Joseph Lynn

The exhibition will be taking place at Gallery Maison Bertaux on Greek Street (which has previously hosted Noel’s two solo art shows) towards the end of March/early April – exact date tbc.

We caught up with Joe over a coffee at Maison Bertaux, and he told us how excited he was about the forthcoming exhibition of his photographs: “Even if it ends up costing me more money than it makes it’s such a nice thing to have done. I come here every week – it’s the best coffee in London, so to have my stuff on the wall here is amazing.”

© Joseph Lynn

He and a friend have been busy editing down his vast collection of images and printing them out. “I had a couple of tasters printed and they look great!” He beams, managing to look both proud and humbled at the same time. But does the ease of sharing images on social media remove the need for a physical gallery space? Joe regrets being as generous as he was on Instagram during the tour – although the exhibition will feature a few images you won’t have seen anywhere before.

We discuss how some photographs take on a new lease of life when viewed in the flesh versus being seen on a computer screen; and how the ‘home made’ aesthetic of Noel’s creative output lends itself perfectly to the printed format.

Indeed, Dave Brown‘s Behind The Boosh photography exhibition last year featured a number of familiar Mighty Boosh photographs, but seeing them in real life was something else entirely; it seems that some images are meant to be seen for real to be fully appreciated – and Joe hopes his photography falls into that camp.

As soon as the dates for All Work No Play have been confirmed, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, Joe has set up a website where people can register their email address to receive updates about the forthcoming show and the prints that will be available to buy. Visit allworknoplayart.com to register. And if you like what you’ve seen so far, check out Joe’s  Instagram for more of his photographs.

Don’t forget that Noel also has his own exhibition taking place in March – at the Royal Albert Hall. He Wore Dreams Around Unkind Faces, a new collection of stunning water colours by Noel, runs from 7th to 17th March; for further details of when you can view the paintings see our previous post about the show.

Onion Talking: James Cook’s Adventures in Ausland Part 1

18 Feb
© James Cook / Media Curve

© James Cook / Media Curve

If you’re a die hard fan of The Mighty Boosh or a lover of alternative music crafted with care for the details, chances are you’ve heard of James Cook. If you haven’t, then perhaps you haven’t been reading TVO properly these last five years.

With his new album out now, Cook has returned to the London music scene in recent months, and sat down to talk to TVO’s editor-in-chief Paul Holmes, about his past, present and future in a revealing two-part interview, ahead of the next round of his club night, Outsiders, on February 26th. The initial results are below…

The story of any cultural movement that shaped the course of an entire industry is always fascinating to hear.  Some stories, however, have yet to be told in any real detail, such as the birth and subsequent explosion of the new wave of alternative comedy and music that existed in tandem at the turn of the millennium, focused primarily in the heart of North London.

One major player in all of this was James Cook – former frontman of cult favourites NEMO, collaborator of Chris Corner and regular guest star with The Mighty Boosh.  For the last six years, Berlin has been Cook’s base, and thanks to large amount of travel, he knows his ‘way around’ LA, Montevideo and Prague, too. But London will always be his real home. 

© James Cook / Media Curve

© James Cook / Media Curve

“This year has definitely felt like some sort of homecoming,” he tells TVO as he strolls the cold streets of a capital knee-deep into Winter. “It feels like home, really. I was born and grew up in Luton and Dunstable, but London was somehow embedded in my subconscious. It was the teenage dream for a musician and songwriter, to head into the Big Smoke!”

Now following a period of several years spent living abroad, Cook has returned to London to make it his permanent home once more, and has already begun finding his feet again with a new regular live night in the works.

Indeed, as TVO caught up with Cook, he was filled with enthusiasm for the opening night of Outsiders – his alternative pop cabaret at Aces & 8’s in Tufnell Park. “The room was completely full,” James exclaims, full of joy. “The audience was great and the night was fun and exciting – for the band as well as the crowd. It was a lovely way to begin the live side of things again.”

Outsiders features Cook hosting a night of, in his terms: “music and nonsense, with a bit of classic pop dj-ing from yours truly”. It’s also an opportunity to see his ever expanding live band, plus special guests every month. Fifteen years after NEMO began their career as part of legendary club night, The System, there’s a sense that his journey has come full circle.

© James Cook

© James Cook

A whole decade has passed since those heady days, when NEMO ran The System as an electro/indie club night of their own.  “It was unheard of back then,” James states.  “The scene blossomed. Robots in Disguise, Chris Corner and Sneaker Pimps… who later became IAMX, The Mighty Boosh, Imogen Heap, Graham Coxon… they were all regulars.”

“We all used to hang out together as friends,” he continues.  “We’d go to each others events, get drunk together, perform, collaborate, and guest in each other’s shows. I remember once performing a song onstage at the Hen & Chickens with The Mighty Boosh, and Julian Barratt pretending to ‘fancy’ me after seeing me perform. He tried to snog me!” He bursts out laughing, and adds: “Much to Noel’s annoyance!”

Cook subsequently shared a flat in Angel with Barratt and violinist Anne Marie Kirby, with whom he still works to this day. “That was between 2003 and 2007,” explains James.  “So it coincided with my touring with IAMX, NEMO’s rise to infamy, and the writing and filming of all three series of The Mighty Boosh.  They kept calling me in for some weird and wonderful cameo…” He adopts an impression: “James Nemo? Are you available to come to shooting 8am tomorrow morning with the Boosh? Today you will be a blue alien nomad. Can you play this Oud?”

Indeed, Cook’s cameos on the show are numerous. He was one of the Ape of Death’s bodyguard mandrills, a Mod Wolf, a mutant postman, magical shaman, dying hipster, a blue tennis player (The Blue McEnroe, no less), and perhaps most delightfully, Kevin Rowland, searching for the New Sound.  His biggest role in the show, came as a blue-faced nomadic minstrel, slave to Rich Fulcher’s Blue King Alan, who is composes a song about Vince Noir being ‘The Chosen One’.

© Baby Cow Productions

© Baby Cow Productions

“We seriously wrote that song together five minutes before we shot that scene,” James reveals.  “Shooting the Boosh was a bit like that. There was always room for people to put themselves into the role, add lines and improvise. That was the reason for so much laughter and hilarity on set. They were truly magical times.”

It is perhaps hard to believe that it’s now over seven years since the third series aired, and almost eight since the Boosh team were making new episodes – a fact that Cook is all too acutely aware of.  “It still feels very recent,” he tells TVO, “but everyone involved has been so creative and busy that it also feels like forever.  So much amazing material has gone out into the world from that little scene of comedians and musicians.”

“I was so glad when TVO came along,” he adds passionately, “to help join the dots for people. In the early days I felt like I was the one constantly talking about the collective hive mind we had. That family feel. We used to go on holiday together, make short films…” He trails off as a near-forgotten memory rises to the surface.  “We made a legendary silent horror film which we shot in France.  It was called ‘La Rose D’Envie’, and featured Julian Barratt, Chris Corner, Sue Denim and myself. Never even released!”

© Baby Cow Productions

© Baby Cow Productions

The creative family has widened, remoulded and become increasingly fluid in recent years, yet at its core will always be two inter-connected groups – that of Ealing Live (a comedy troupe featuring Alice Lowe, Richard Glover, Oram & Meeten, Katy Brand, Simon Farnaby and many, many others), and the Boosh/IAMX collective across the city.

“When you started to write about it in TVO,” James enthuses, “I was relieved that someone else had noticed the connections and references. It means it has been initially documented and recognised, but the full story can and should be fleshed out properly one day.”

“There was so much creative overlap,” he continues, “between the comedy shows, music nights, albums and tv programmes. The energy was bursting out of North London at the time. A lot of it is captured within the art, but there are so many little notes and stories…” He pauses for a moment, then adds with determination: “I would love to write some sort of memoir about it one day!”

James Cook returns with Outsiders on 26th February. His new album, Adventures in Ausland is available now via Bandcamp. Part Two of this interview will follow next week.

Thanks For The Memories

5 Feb

Celebrating our 5th birthday this week has caused us to get a wee bit nostalgic. So we thought we’d collate some of those “Do you remember when?…” reminiscences into a Best of the first 5 years of TVO. It’s not a comprehensive overview of everything we’ve done, more a subjective account of a few of those ad hoc moments that made us feel warm, fuzzy and just a bit excited.

The favourite moments are different for all of us; sometimes it’s the memory of the event behind the article; sometimes it’s because we nailed an exclusive or wrote something that generated a huge amount of traffic for the website (one post last year generated over 13,000 unique visits in one day, fact fans!), and often it’s the buzz of being able to share something new, exciting and special with you, our readers. So here are a few of the happenings which have brought a smile to our faces over the past 5 years: 

Paul

© Paul Holmes

© Paul Holmes

There are so many glorious memories to treasure. There’s one particular Forgery Club that will forever be in my mind, presented by Hot Brew, and featuring a rare performance by Brown Jenkin (Colin Hoult & Stephen Evans), an appearance by The Mighty Thor and loads more. We were sat talking to Steve Oram before the show, and he noted that he’d never made it big because he liked to do things that broadcasters don’t know what to do with… then went on to give the audience an epic, ten minute long version of “Mary“. To this day, I can’t get a cab in London without thinking: “I will not go South of de river.”

I was particularly proud of the Mongrels takeover in November 2011, as various people being very busy meant I did that one pretty much solo, but was riddled with a genuine (and full blown) flu after arranging interviews with the whole cast and creator Adam Miller! I managed to salvage the interviews, strike up positive relationships with every single one of the team I spoke to which continue to this day, and fix up a wodge of behind the scenes stuff AND a competition to win DVDs of Series One, despite being unable to stand up or focus on a screen for more than a few minutes at a time. If you click here and scroll down, you can see everything.

Another good one to mention is Zimbani, which came to my attention early on in the life of TVO, when Dave McNeill & Colin Hoult emailed me to enthuse about their new show featuring Julian Barratt. It was the first time anyone had come to me direct outside of casual chatter, and really began expanding our world for the first time. Colin later made my partner, and occasional TVO designer, Lauren, get down on all fours and pretend to be a pig in front of Simon Amstell. Now that was a strange moment.

Then again, there’s many of those. Getting accidentally lost for a moment in a strange building behind the London Palladium with Isy Suttie at a screening of Alice Lowe‘s People Place. Similarly, getting trapped in a lift with Mike Fielding and an old lady who refused to let anyone else press the buttons to get us out of this chaos. And then there’s that strange bar James Wren led a motley post-Spank crew along to that felt like something out of a Bond film, somehow managing to stay glamorous at 3am. It’s been a funny old time.  But above all else, it’s just been nice to be welcomed into the fold of this wonderful group of friends and collaborators, and be trusted to give them everything I can to help their work reach a wider crowd. Let’s keep doing it, eh?

Mog

Having been involved in TVO since the very early days makes picking a favourite moment is a real challenge – but this one was pretty special: In 2011 Dave Brown was putting together Noel Fielding‘s art book Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton. They needed one last thing to finish it off before it was sent to the printers, and they contacted us to provide it. We were able to offer our readers the opportunity to have a photograph of their faces painted over by Noel and included in the book. A double page spread of your lovely faces appeared in the book when it was published, alongside the caption ‘MY TINY CHILDREN’. A wonderful show of their appreciation for the fans, and something which we were delighted to facilitate on their behalf.

© Noel Fielding/Dave Brown

Our Sightseers take-over was pretty special too (click here and scroll down). We had no idea it would become such a cult hit at the time, and it was great to be able to support so many of ‘our lot’ (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Richard Glover Tom Meeten) with a week of exclusives.

© Big Face Productions

On a personal level, getting to know a few of the people who we write about – and discovering that they’re damned nice people as well as being unbelievably talented – has been a privilege.

A particular high point has been getting to know Hoppo. Introduced to me at Club Fantastico as “the only man to have survived Old Gregg”, John Hopkins turned out to have a TVO pedigree as long as his (long) arms, being part of the original Ealing Live gang and having worked with half of the people that we cover. He’s also lovely. If you don’t know who he is, we urge you to read our interview/profile about him and check out his stuff.

Helen

There are lots of brilliant moments I could mention, but as a fan of Hayden Black, it’s been a pleasure getting the chance to spread the word about him. I guess I’ve become our resident expert on Hayden’s creative and comedic output; take a look at this to find out more.

Paulyne

The moment that stands out in my mind is Fulchfest (Rich Fulcher‘s legendary comedy night in Kentish Town). I’d say that was the most fun I could have. This Pete Heat video that we filmed summarises it perfectly:

I’ve also had some brilliantly fun nights at Dan Clark gigs – often with Mog. Here’s a review of one of them.

© Mog

Aggie

I think my favourite moment is the Zappa Plays Zappa gig at the Camden Roundhouse, with The Mighty Boosh Band as support. Being surrounded by odd men with moustaches while weird music was playing… and then rushing across town to a Rich Fulcher gig – where all the familiar faces already were. It was a perfect blend of what started it all and the new direction TVO had pushed us all in.

Rosanna

Seeing the Boosh warm-up gigs in 2013 was great, and it was lovely going to Soho Theatre as part of the TVO team. It was brilliant to see them on stage together again, in a lovely small venue, with the magic between them there as if they’d never gone away. The review was great too!

I loved going to see the Inside No. 9 preview at the BFI. It’s now one of my favourite pieces of TV and seeing it in the cinema was really special.

Michael

Being involved in filming TVO Live was one the most fun shoots I’ve done, but also the toughest because it was so difficult holding the camera still due to my laughter! We couldn’t have wished for a better line up. Fingers crossed for a TVO Live 2!

Trixie

My favorite TVO memory is of when I interviewed Rich Fulcher in LA. I hadn’t done anything like it before, and he was so funny and generous! I admire Rich so much, and it was wonderful that he was everything he seems to be and more. A truly funny man.

Becca

The Luxury Comedy coffee competition was great, because it encouraged people to create something artistic. And I loved the series of Noel Fielding interviews to celebrate his birthday, which featured questions from our readers:

So there you have it – a sprinkling of very happy memories from a few of us. A big TVO thank you to the artists who we write about, who have provided us with these highs and who make it all possible. And thanks too to you, for being interested enough in what we do to come with us on our journey to the outer reaches of the comedy universe. It’s been quite a ride so far…

So Hot Right Now #16

2 Feb

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

THE VELVET ONION IS FIVE

This week marks our fifth anniversary, and to celebrate, a number of our regulars sent us video messages wishing us a very happy birthday. Kind of. The video below features, in order of appearance: Rachel StubbingsColin HoultDave BrownJames CookBob PipeDave McNeillKaty BrandNeil ColePhil WhelansJames WrenSpencer MillmanWaen ShepherdJacqueline WrightHolly Jane ShearsRufus JonesStephen Evans and Tony Way.

Our huge thanks to all involved – and we’ve got a few more messages coming through to give you Part Two very soon, so stay peeled!

THE WEEK IN TV & RADIO

A couple of regular shows wrapped up last week, but we’ve still got a number of great things on telly to savour across the week. Each one is as important as the other to us, as has always been The Velvet Onion way, so for ease of understanding, we’ll tackle them in chronological order.

MONDAY: DRUNK HISTORY

© Comedy Central UK

© Comedy Central UK

Airing at 9:30pm on Monday 26th over on Comedy Central UK, the fourth episode of Drunk History UK once more sees famous British comedians get absolutely plastered in the name of reciting tales from the past – which are then re-enacted by a top notch cast.

With the likes of Tony Way, Seb CardinalDustin Demri-Burns, Tom Rosenthal, Mat Horne, Marek Larwood, Tom Stourton, Alex Owen, Ben Bailey Smith and Rebecca Front on re-enactment duties across the series, tonight’s edition also features Ben Ashenden, Russell Kane and Joy Lycett getting hammered. Enjoy.

MONDAY: CATASTROPHE

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

© Ed Miller / Channel 4

Monday 2nd February at 10pm brings us Episode Three of Catastrophe - the brand new comedy from Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney, in which an American man and an Irish woman fall in love in London whilst navigating the choppy waters of their increasingly complicated lives.

In this week’s edition, Sharon’s hormones plague her with waves of different emotions, and she has a chance meeting with an old flame (Phil Nichol), which leads to dinner. Meanwhile, Rob struggles to generate advertising business, since he has very few contacts in London, and begins a clandestine friendship with Chris, who is married to a woman Sharon can’t stand.

After wowing critics and audiences alike, Catastrophe will be returning for a second series, so it’s naturally a treat to watch the story unfold a little more this week.  If you missed the first two episodes, you can catch up with the series now via 4oD, whilst iPlayer houses Sharon and Rob’s last minute guest appearance on The Graham Norton Show last Friday.

TUESDAY: COCKROACHES

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

© Colin Hutton / Big Talk Productions / ITV 2

Tuesday 3rd February at 10pm sees Episode Four of Cockroaches air on ITV2. The post-apocalyptic comedy stars Daniel Lawrence Taylor (How Not to Life Your Life), Esher Smith, Jack Whitehall and Tom Davis, alongside a string of big name guest stars such as Dan Skinner, Alexander Armstrong, Caroline Quentin, Robert Bathurst and Nigel Planer.

In this week’s episode the survivors race to find an antidote after the camp’s children turn green – believing they may have nuclear radiation sickness or have become vampires – and the Doctor has gone power mad. If they do not find a cure, Tom may be forced to go through with a grisly deed.

As to be expected, you can catch up with past episodes via ITV Player, and the series will also be released on dvd on February 23rd.

TUESDAY (and Wednesday): COUNT ARTHUR STRONG

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

© BBC / Freemantle Productions

Also on Tuesday 3rd February comes Episode Five of the second series of Count Arthur Strong airing on BBC One at FOUR different times, depending on your location.

Viewers in England can see it at the slightly later than usual time of 10:45pm, whilst those watching in Northern Ireland have to wait until 11:40pm. However, if you’re in Wales, there’s an even sillier timeslot, as it airs at 12:15am – and viewers in Scotland can see the episode on Wednesday at 10:40pm!

Episode Five, once more from the pens of star Steve Delaney and Graham Linehan (best known for The IT Crowd and Father Ted), sees a documentary team arrive to film a profile of Michael, but Arthur threatens to steal the show with his new career. Fun stuff, as ever.

WEDNESDAY: LOVE IN RECOVERY

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

© Karla Gowlett / Lucky Giant

Wednesday 4th February brings us Episode Five of Love in Recovery on Radio 4. Written by Pete Jackson, the series follows the lives of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting group, made up of characters portrayed by Sue Johnston, John Hannah, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Front and Paul Kaye, whilst Julia Deakin plays village hall cleaner Marion.

This week’s episode focuses on Kaye’s character, Danno, as he deals with the death of his father after returning from his memorial service – in the pub down the road.  If you missed previous installements, you can catch all previous episodes on iPlayer now, but be quick – as Episode One will vanish in four days time…

THURSDAY: CRIMS

©  Hal Shinnie / BBC

© Hal Shinnie / BBC

Thursday 5th February brings Episode Five of Crims - the new BBC Three sitcom from the pens of Mongrels writer Adam Kay and Grandma’s House writer Dan Swimer – at 10pm. And gawd, have we been waiting to rave about this one.

As ever, starring Elis James and Kadiff Kirwan, alongside Cariad Lloyd, Ricky Champ and Theo Barklem Biggs, with a guest appearance once again by Toast of London‘s Tracy Ann Oberman, this week’s episode draws on Adam Kay’s musical comedy background in the best possible way, as plans for the Young Offenders Institute to put on its own theatre production, are hijacked by Marcel, and turned into a musical interpretation of Twilight, which poor ol’ Luke has to write in 24 hours.

Typically bonkers, with charming tunes and possibly the best Elton John joke ever, this is possibly our favourite episode of the run, and the cast and crew seem to agree. If you only see one episode, make sure it’s this one, but if you have missed previous episodes, you can catch up on iPlayer now.

SATURDAY: HORRIBLE HISTORY’S SPECIAL

©  Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

© Phil Miller / Laura Rawlinson / LionTV / BBC

On Saturday 6th February, Horrible Histories returns for a one-off special focusing on the story of King John and the Magna Carta.  As you can see from the image above, comic actor Ben Miller leads the cast as King John, by sheer coincidence, just a few months after he appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Doctor Who!

Whilst the original HH team moved on to create Yonderland for Sky One, and the forthcoming movie Bill, regulars Jim Howick and Simon Farnaby return for this special, with Farnaby’s famous character Death now hosting his own chat show.

As fun as ever, this transitional episode prior to the next series (with a mostly new leading cast), airs on Saturday evening at 5:15pm on BBC Two.  The team have also made a series of new videos promoting internet safety for children – you can see Farnaby’s contribution (alongside Matt Baynton) below.

AND THE REST…

As always, here’s some of the news you may have missed during the last week, via our Twitter feed. We’ll see you again next Monday, and throughout the week for more news, reviews and interviews. Keep on peeling!

Happy Birthday to us, Happy Birthday to us!

30 Jan

This weekend marks TVO’s fifth anniversary, so what better way to celebrate than to grab as many video messages from the good folk we feature on these pages as physically possible, and put them all together for your enjoyment?

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed a message, as well as to all of those who really wanted to but have various deadlines and personal matters to take care of that have kept them out of this compilation. If you’re one of our regulars, and you haven’t been featured in this video – we’re still up for hearing from you, so do get in touch asap!

So Hot Right Now #10

15 Dec

Welcome to The Velvet Onion – the central hub for an interconnected range of alternative comedy and more.  Click through for the LATEST NEWS, and see what’s so hot right now below.

TVO ON TELLY

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

© BBC / Rory Lindsay

This week sees a drop in the number of TVO related shows on our screens, as both Toast of London finished its latest runs last week.  However, with Psychobitches (Sky Arts, Tuesdays, 9pm) and Trollied (Sky One, Mondays, 8:30pm) still going strong, there’s life in the Onion yet.

Most excitingly, we’ve still got the mighty Brian Pern: A Life in Rock to savour – with Episode Two (airing on Tuesday 16th) featuring the titular prog-rock legend (played by Simon Day) trying to bring his long-mooted adaptation of The Day of the Triffids to life on stage.

© BBC / Neil Barnes

© BBC / Neil Barnes

Once again featuring co-creator Rhys Thomas alongside Michael Kitchen, Paul Whitehouse, Nigel Havers, Lucy MontgomeryTony Way and Steve Burge, this episode also features a truly hilarious cameo from Sir Roger Moore, and is one you’d be mad to miss.

Last week, TVO spoke not only to Brian Pern via an exclusive email catch-up, but also to Simon Day and Rhys Thomas. You can catch up on our interview with those fine gentlemen over yonder.

Those of you who set your DVRs way in advance should take note – Episode Three next week airs on Monday, right after Never Mind the Buzzcocks, rather than the usual Tuesday slot. You have been forewarned.

Speaking of Buzzcocks, this week’s edition features Irish actress Yasmine Akram, American musician and producer Steve Aoki, Canadian stand-up comedian Bobby Mair and singer-songwriter Rumer – and for those uncertain of who any of those people are: this is the one with the lads covered in cake, as seen on all those pictures doing the rounds with the Tumblr crowds. Enjoy.

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

© Talkback / Brian Ritchie

CATCH UP WITH COL

Last week saw the launch of Colin Hoult‘s new YouTube channel, featuring a brand new in-character vlog five days a week.  Anna Mann, Andy Parker, Eddie Cartezian and Thwor bring us weekly updates Monday through Thursday, with a special treat each Friday.

If you missed any of last week’s editions, you can catch up now over yonder, and we’ve included this week’s first video, in which Anna Mann discusses credit card debt, below.

PADDINGTON STILL TOPS

Paul King‘s delightful Paddington is still sat atop the UK box office, having taken £10.33m in just ten days. Figures for last weekend have yet to be revealed, but we’re sure the film, which features a bevvy of TVO cameos alongside its big name cast, will still be firing on all cylinders – and rightly so!

©  Studio Canal

© Studio Canal

Elsewhere, Chris O’Dowd can be seen in St Vincent and Michael Smiley pops up in Black Sea - both of which opened fairly modestly last week, so do get out to see them if you haven’t already!

TWEETS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

So Hot Right Now #3

27 Oct
Hello, dear Peelers, and welcome to The Velvet Onion! For your regular news updates you used to find on our home page, click here. But below, here’s what Dolly would say is sooo hot right now this week in Onion Land.

HOUSE OF FOOLS SERIES 2 STARTS FILMING!

© Giggle Beats

The beginning of our week coincided with the start of filming of the new series of House of Fools, from Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Series 2 will see Matt Berry reprise his role of Beef and Dan Skinner is back as Bosh; the first filmed episode also included Reece Shearsmith in the cast! For a short report of the first day of filming at the Manchester studios take a look at this review from Giggle Beats.

SPARRING ON CHANNEL 4

There was a fair degree of a social media hoo-ha last Tuesday when Richard Ayoade was interviewed by Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Or perhaps he wasn’t – at least, the universal rules of interviews weren’t strictly adhered to. There can’t be that many of you who haven’t see it yet, but if you haven’t, we urge you to take a look below. It’s worth it for Richard’s final comment alone!

A NEW SITCOM WITH CONNECTIONS

BBC Three announced the commission of a new sitcom called Crims from the pens of two chaps with TVO connections: Dan Swimer, whose past credits include Grandma’s House, How TV Ruined Your Life, Big Fat Quiz of the Year and Never Mind The Buzzcocks; and Adam Kay, writer on Mongrels and Anna and Katy.

Crims is due to air in January 2015.

GETTING POLITICAL

Last week was also the week that friends of TVO, Jonny & The Baptists, encouraged us to show political bigots where they can stick it by getting their anti-UKIP ‘Farage’ EP into the charts. Why not show your support? What’s more, if you visit iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play Music and download the EP now, 25p of every sale goes to Hope Not Hate.

ANOTHER AWESOME TVO COMPETITION!

We’re pretty excited about our latest competition! We’re offering a pair of tickets to see the play ‘Neville’s Island’ at Duke Of York’s Theatre, which features comedy A-listers Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Neil Morrissey and Robert Webb.

To find out more click here – and donut forget to get your entry in before midnight on Sunday of you want to be in with a chance of winning!

MONKEY MAN IN SWEDEN

This week Dave Brown brought his awesome photos to Stockholm, with an exhibition at Berns Hotel. Featuring images from ‘Behind the Boosh’, ‘Tough Crowd’ and a selection of his stunning pictures from Africa, this is well worth a visit if you find yourself in the far northern hemisphere.

To find out more about the exhibition take a look at this.

© Dave Brown

ALL THIS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

There’s so much going on, we’re using Twitter to keep you posted on things even faster that we could before. So here’s a selection of other news from this week you may have missed…

For more news, stay glued to our News Page and Twitter feed throughout the week. Keep on peeling!

– Team TVO

Birdy & The Boffin

28 Sep

© Noel Fielding & Dave Brown

Science is great! It gives your brain a work-out and explains how everything in the world works.  It’s a shame about the boring bits though. Imagine, however, if you could remove all the dull bits and dial up the volume on the really interesting, weird parts of science? Well, imagine no more – because it’s exactly what Geek Chic Weird Science is all about!

Geek Chic Weird Science is a series of podcasts which aims to aged light on the strange, cool stuff which you never learned about at school. Stuff like the science of lesbian orgasms, Vulcan telepathy or squid-inspired invisibility cloaks.

So if you’ve ever wondered whether you can you wipe your memory of a heartbreak, teleport yourself on holiday, or save a life with a crisp packet – these are for you.

And the reason we’re writing about Geek Chic Weird Science here (beyond the desire to feed your minds with interesting things)? A fair few TVO connections is why: The podcasts are a labour of love (something dear to our hearts!) from Lliana Bird, xfm DJ and occasional Luxury Comedy/Mighty Boosh actress. And the series logo, which you can see here, has been created by none other than Noel Fielding and Dave Brown.

The series, featuring Birdy and neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis, are available to listen to on iTunes podcasts. There are 5 episodes so far to download for FREE here. And there are more to come, so it’s worth subscribing. What’s more, iTunes has just featured ‪them in their ‘New & Noteworthy’ section – how cool is that? “Honoured and chuffed beyond belief,” said Birdy about the accolade, before adding, “It’s not cool to show off about this kind of stuff is it?”

So don your lab coats, grab your bunsen burners and head over to iTunes to gorge your mind on clever weirdness.

Gold After Dark

7 Sep
© gold.uktv.co.uk

© gold.uktv.co.uk

UKTV Gold are running a new late night strand at the weekends. Starting on Friday (5th), they are “celebrating the very best in dark humour and cult comedy classics every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11pm”.

There are a lot of TVO related people and shows, starting with the reason most of you are here: The Mighty Boosh will be shown on Friday nights at 11:40pm. It’s been a while since the show has been on TV, and I’m sure, like us, even though you have worn out your DVD’s, you’ll be tuning in!

Of course there’s nothing dark about our favourite show, but that can’t be said for the next TVO related offering – Nighty Night starts it’s run at 11:40pm tonight. The show, written by and starring Julia Davis, is described as “a West Country Fatal Attraction”, and also stars Kevin Eldon, Mark Gatiss, Ruth Jones, Angus Deaton and Rebecca Front among others. If you like watching your comedy from behind the sofa then this one is for you. It’s not for those of a nervous disposition, but is very funny once you get over how nasty Jill is.

Gold are also showing another Julia Davis dark comedy. Human Remains is written by and stars Julia and Rob Bryden as six different dysfunctional couples. The first episode follows Nighty Night at 12:35 tonight.

Today at 11pm sees the first episode of The League of Gentlemen (maybe the picture gave you a clue!). As you probably already know, this was the work of writer/performers Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, and writer Jeremy Dyson. This one is definitely in the ‘dark’ category, but also very funny.

Saturday at 11.40pm is The Thick of It, starring Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison, Justin Edwards, Jo Scanlan, James Smith, Roger Allam and Alex McQueen. This is a dark political satire, with some laugh out loud moments.

Also on Saturdays at 1am is  The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Best just watch it and see what happens.

Also scheduled is 15 Storeys High, a flat-share comedy written by and starring Sean Lock and Benedict Wong (The IT Crowd), straight after The Mighty Boosh on Fridays.

To see the full schedule and more information about the programmes, see the Gold Website.

Luxury Gallery, Ooh-Yeah!

1 Aug

Suck my beans! Luxury Comedy officially launched last night, and with Episode Two now on 4oD, there’s still lots we have to share with you as the series progresses.

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

© Dave Brown / Channel 4

For starters, there’s our making of featurette: a rough-n-ready rumble-tumble through the madness of filming Luxury Comedy.  TVO hung around for four very different days on set and highlights from the organised chaos will be seen very soon.

There’s also a competition coming later today, and a few more surprises to come – including our own behind the scenes photo galleries.  But it’s only right and proper that we begin such proceedings with the official photography, lovingly crafted by the incredible Dave Brown and the genius that is Nigel Coan. Enjoy, and keep coming back for more!

Obviously, we’re aware that, given TVO is read in 161 different countries at last count, that a large number of you have no access to Channel 4.  In that case, we heartily recommend you order Series 1 and Series 2 on dvd from The Velvet Onion Amazon Store now!

An Early Look At Luxury 2

24 Jul

© Channel 4

Last week we were lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at the new series of Luxury Comedy. So without giving away any spoilers, what can we expect when it finally hits our screens on 31st July?

In interviews about the new series, Noel Fielding has been pretty open about his decision to move away from the sketch show format of series 1, towards a more narrative programme structure with a beginning, middle and an end to each episode. He says it’s because he’s a story-teller at heart, and it’s what he does best. This change of structure is certainly one of the most noticeable differences between the two series. So does it work?

Luxury Comedy is Noel’s stand up in visual form. That’s not to do it down; the fact that anyone has managed to capture the fantastical mayhem that goes on inside Fielding’s mind is impressive enough. Noel’s stand up material is at its best when allowed to slowly weave its shapes, layer upon layer, over a period of time. Stories unfold, characters evolve and concepts crystallise through repetition. By contrast, on the occasions I’ve seen him perform short slots on crowded comedy bills, his ideas don’t always have time to develop. This is not a man for the rat-tat-tat of machine-gun punchlines.

In the same way, expanding his TV ideas into 30-minute stories gives them proper form, allowing the viewer to step inside, appreciate their complexities and get carried along with the narrative. These are ideas rich enough for full episodes; and to reduce each of them to a sketch of a few minutes would underplay them. For me, then, the new format isn’t just about telling stories – it’s about telling strange stories much better.

© Channel 4

The different characters whom we encounter across the series are now part of each week’s story, which gives them purpose and makes the interaction between them feel genuine. The relationships between the characters are one of the aspects of the new series that gives the show its heart. This is no longer a disjointed collection of strange misfits; they’re friends, neighbours, and occasional enemies – as the story requires.

The friendship between the main four – Noel, Dolly, Andy and Smooth, allows for a solid dynamic at the centre of the action. The series 2 versions of the core team feel more ‘human’ and rounded, and as a result more sympathetic than before. Noel, in particular, presents a very different on-screen persona to anything we’ve seen from him previously: awkward, eager to please and uncool, he’s the Howard to Dolly’s preening Vince. Devoid of Howard Moon’s pomposity, however, this Noel is a character with whom we empathise, not just the one we laugh at.

Noel has said that he and Nigel spent longer writing the second series, and this comes across. I loved the first series, but there are more funnier moments in series 2 (based on the two episodes we saw). The writing’s sharp, the physical comedy is hilarious, and the characters are beautifully honed and gloriously wonky at the same time. Look out for star turns throughout from a whole host of TVO faces, including Richard Ayoade, Steve Oram, Dave Brown, Rich Fulcher, Arnab Chanda, Tania Wade, Barunka O’Shaughnessy, Stuart Silver, Simon Farnaby and others.

© Channel 4

This series is arguably the most self-aware output that we’ve ever seen from Fielding, with a number of knowing references to the public reaction that series 1 generated. He’s said that it’s a natural reaction to criticism – you try to get in there first before anyone else does. And it works well in this context, tethering the strange Luxury world to our own experience from time to time (thereby making it more relateable), and imbuing the series with a large helping of humility which, one hopes, the cynics out there will respond positively to.

Added to all of that, Luxury Comedy is still a fabulous feast for the eyes: the distinctive day-glo sets, wardrobe, make-up and animation all combine to create a uniquely visual world. Huge credit to Nigel Coan and his production team for putting it all together; you can see that it’s a labour of love in every single scene.

So will the rest of the world like it? I hope so. If people enjoyed the Boosh and the naysayers can get over their disproportionately extreme reaction to series 1, they would like this. Genuinely funny, beautifully magical and full of heart – what’s not to love?

Don’t forget to tune in: Luxury Comedy series 2 airs at 10pm on E4 on 31st July. For the less patient amongst you, episode 1 is available to view from TODAY –  a whole week early, on 4oD here.

Donate & Win – Noel Tickets & Signed Prints!

11 Jul
© Dave Brown

© Dave Brown

Would you like to win a signed Mighty Boosh print and/or tickets to see Noel Fielding live? Of course you would – well all you have to do is donate £5 to Oriel Colwyn via this link.

Dave Brown has generously donated 4 prints to Oriel Colwyn – the dedicated photographic gallery space where he showed his Behind The Boosh exhibition in 2012.

There are four prizes up for grabs:

1st Prize

Noel Fielding – Oversized A3 print signed by Dave. This is an original image from his personal collection.

+ A pair of tickets to ‘An evening with Noel Fielding’ at Venue Cymru, Llandudno

2nd Prize

Boosh Busts – A2 sized print signed by Dave.

Image originally from ‘Behind the Boosh’ exhibition – Proud Galleries, Camden, London

3rd Prize

Moon Noir – A2 sized print signed by Dave.

Image originally from ‘Behind the Boosh’ exhibition at Oriel Colwyn, Flint Norwich and Proud Galleries, Camden.

4th Prize

Stance in Pants – A3 sized print signed by Dave.

Image originally from ‘Behind the Boosh’ exhibition at Oriel Colwyn and Flint Norwich.

There is no limit to the number of times you can enter, so if you have £10 to spare you can enter 2 times etc. The date for the last entries/donations 8:00pm on Sunday 12th October so there is plenty of time to save up for more than one entry – why not give it a go? You will be donating to a great cause and might be a lucky winner of one of these unique prints, or tickets to see Noel. The winners will be announced on Monday 13th October.

Click here for more details of the prizes and terms and conditions.

Stand And Deliver!

19 May
© Stand & Deliver

© Stand & Deliver

Any keen comedy fan will know it has been some time since a regular print-based publication on the comedic landscape  graced the shelves of newsagents and book stores across the land. The 1990s saw a few short lived publications, but beyond that, only Harry Deansway’s sorely missed, self funded mag The Fix made any lasting impact directly from venues and the man himself.

Hopefully, come this Summer, things will change – because a new comedy magazine is on the way. Stand & Deliver is currently being funded via Kickstarter, with the intention of stocking issues in selected independent book stores up and down the country. Spearhead by editors Ian Wylie and Chris Stokel-Walker, as well as graphic designer Danielle Gilbert, the project is currently gearing up for an August launch via some big name contributors.

The free taster promos currently available feature an interview with none other than Dave Brown as well as an A2 fold-out poster of Dave, and Issue 1 is set to feature Mr Tony Law, no less. What’s more, you can pledge to get the magazine off the ground and receive signed goodies into the bargain if you join the pledge by Friday, June 13th. Do so over yonder now!

Help Dave Live Below The Line

27 Apr

© Contact Music

If you follow Dave Brown on twitter you may have noticed his recent obsession with the price of food. If you don’t follow Dave (why ever not?) or you’re not entirely sure what it’s all about, please allow us to enlighten you:

Dave is participating in a charity initiative called ‘Live Below the Line’, which starts tomorrow, Monday 28th April and runs until 2nd May. During this time Dave will be limiting his food and drink budget to just £1 per day. £1 is the UK equivalent of the extreme poverty line. Eating and drinking on so little provides a glimpse into the challenges faced by the 1.2 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line everyday for everything, including food, medical care, transport and education.

Dave’s shopping list © Dave Brown

Since the movement began in 2010, over 25,000 people have taken the challenge, raising over $9 million for the world’s leading anti-poverty organisations.

Dave will be participating on behalf of the charity he regularly supports, Afrikids. So far he’s raised an astonishing £940, but every little helps – so if you’d like to donate please visit Dave’s sponsorship page here. And don’t forget to keep an eye on Dave’s progress this week via his twitter feed. He already sounds pretty traumatised and so far he’s only done his weekly shop!

To find out more about the £1 a day challenge, or to sign up to take part yourself, visit the Below The Line’s website.

 

Dave Brown & The Porcelain Panther

14 Mar

© Newten’s Porcelain Panther

Dave Brown has appeared on Episode 9 of Newten’s Porcelain Panther podcast.

Newten’s Porcelain Panther is a series of podcasts Hosted by Jim Stoten and Ben Newman, in conversation with a bevy of creative people.

Eagle-eyed trivia fans may have spotted that Jim Stoten is the illustrator who created the colourful background of bonkers on Noel Fielding’s 2014 tour poster.

They talk about what they do and their passion for music, with each guest selecting three of their favourite songs. A “relaxed, alcohol induced environment”(according to the presenters)  is created to facilitate the flow of interesting conversation.

Dave’s podcast was recorded back in January and you can hear all 48 minutes of it by clicking here.

If you scroll down the page a wee bit you can also here the TVO-connected illustrator, all round good chap (and mate of Dave), Mr Bingo on podcast 6 from 2013.

Ape-ril Tee For The Boys

10 Mar
© SOS

© SOS

Dave Brown and Mr Bingo have designed this limited edition t-shirt for the Sumatran Orangutan Society to publicise their  Ape-ril campaign.

The campaign is to sponsor men to grow beards and ‘release your inner ape’  during April in solidarity with our red-haired cousins, to raise money for the work – helping to protect critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans and their rainforest homes.

The fundraising pack can be found here – featuring Bill Bailey, who is a patron of the charity.

Get your Ape-ril T-shirt now for the special price of £24 from their online shop, where you can find other t-shirts, books, cute toy Orangutans and DVD’s, or if you raise over £150, they will send you one free as a thank you, so why not ditch the razor in April and make a difference to our orange friends?

And who knows… maybe TVO will go a little bit Ape to celebrate the campaign next month. Stay peeled for more info.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

3 Feb

© Universal Pictures

The Velvet Onion would like to extend its sympathies to the family and friends of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who passed away this weekend aged 46.

An acting powerhouse whose glittering career has led to so many different ‘Top Ten Performances’ lists, Hoffman’s sole connection to TVO came with his central role as The Count in Richard Cutis’ 2009 comedy The Boat That Rocked alongside our very own Chris O’DowdKatherine Parkinson, and in a deleted sequence, Rich Fulcher.

Yet his legacy left a resounding impact on our regulars, and the team here, with masterful performances in productions as diverse as The SavagesSynecdoche New York, Boogie Nights, Mary And Max, A Late Quartet, The Hunger Games and The Big Lebowski.

In 2010, he also directed the feature film Jack Goes Boating, in which he also starred, and frequently directed theatre productions even in the later years of his life.  He had almost completed shooting on the final Hunger Games movie at the time of his death, has two other movies in the can for release this year and was about to start work on a new television comedy Happyish following a pilot episode filmed last year with Hedwig & The Angry Inch director John Cameron Mitchell.

Naturally, his work has inspired generations of performers and will continue to do so for decades to come.  This includes a number of TVO regulars who publicly expressed their shock and grief at his untimely passing.

Steve Coogan led public tributes at the London Critics’ Circle Awards last night, stating: “There are actors and there are movie stars and sometimes they’re both but he was an actor first and a movie star second. He did some tremendous work. People have different opinions about actors but you wouldn’t find anybody who would have a bad word to say about any of his performances – they were all incredibly nuanced.”

In the Twittersphere, more TVO regulars shared their views, which we have collated below.

Rest in peace, Mr Hoffman. You will be missed.

Reverse Angle Approaches

22 Jan

A new exhibition of the work of Andy Hollingworth will be on display in Chester next month.

© The Andy Hollingworth Archive

© The Andy Hollingworth Archive

Here at The Velvet Onion, we have a great love for the work of the photographer. And indeed, for Andy himself – one of the nicest men in the business.

We’re not alone, either – as his work and general personage have been embraced by the comedy fraternity up and down the country.  The Chester based artist has been responsible for some of the most memorable shots of comedic greats over the last decade or so, including a number of our regulars – from The Mighty Boosh to Gary Le Strange and back again.

Now there’s a chance to see some of his finest work in one place.  Reverse Angle:  Andy Hollingworth Portraits 2005-2014 will be on display at The Grosvenor Museum, Chester from 1st February through to 11th May 2014, and features just about everyone who is anyone from Eric Idle to Noel Fielding.

For more info, keep an eye on Andy’s website over yonder, and you can see him in conversation with Justin Moorhouse below.

Eyeball Lazers

22 Jan
© Power Lunches

© Power Lunches

Londoners will get a chance to experience the magic of a Dave Brown DJ set next week.

JimmyLazers himself will be on disc duties at the Power Lunches Chinese New Year party, alongside Ben Newman & Miles Donovan, whilst live music from Owen & The Eyeballs and Verner will also be on offer.

The freak out takes place on Friday, 31st January from 8pm till 2am at the Kingsland Road venue in Hackney, and entrance is only £3, so get on down there and dance like crazy people.

For more info, visit the Power Lunches website.

The Bleedin-Great-White Polar-Bear In The Room

5 Jan

No, we don’t do elephants. Too cliché.  We’re here to talk about The Mighty Boosh, and we’re sure most of you know why.

© Baby Cow Productions

© Baby Cow Productions

It all started on Sunday morning, when at the bottom of a pile of showbiz drivel on their website, The Daily Mail ran a short piece, that didn’t even warrant a photograph: too busy touting shots of pop-stars no-one cares about.

It read, and we quote:  “Fans of cult TV series The Mighty Boosh will be thrilled to hear that its stars are at last putting together a script for a big screen version.  Almost two years after Noel Fielding, 40, who plays Vince Noir in the quirky comedy, announced plans to turn the show into a film, he and co-star Julian Barratt are finally putting pen to paper.  ‘We’re going on tour early in the New Year and we’ll be working on material that hopefully could make a movie,’ says Julian, 45.  ‘We want to make something great for the fans.’”

Now, quite understandly, this vexed us something chronic.  Was this, perhaps, Julian Barratt being assailed on the red carpet at the première of The Harry Hill Movie last month, chronically misunderstood?  Or was there more to it?

Naturally, we went digging.  And whilst other comedy sites picked up on the story – both Chortle and British Comedy Guide (merely doing their job of course) publishing pieces based on this seemingly random quote – we spoke directly to Boosh management, who very kindly confirmed this was a no-go story.

And then, as if by magic, the boys themselves got in on the act.

First off the block, came Dave Brown, and Bollo himself had some heartwarming words of wisdom for us all…

Then before we could say a word, in waded Noel Fielding himself, who was by now being named as the person who spoke to the Mail by other publications, with a succinct denial…

So that’s that, then.

As much as we ourselves look forward to whatever the Boosh have got planned in da foocha, we nevertheless must confirm that, at present, any talk of future plans is just that: talk.

The Boosh will be loose, and a little bit raw at some point in our future.  The movie is always an ongoing concern, the album is in the can and waiting for the right moment to be released, and the success of their live dates in September and October proved there’s life in the Sunshine Kid and Captain Corduroy yet.

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© Paul Holmes / The Velvet Onion

But for now, we must be patient.  Series two of Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy nears completion, and though a challenging first series polarised opinions, we’re confident the show is bigger, bolder and above all else, better than before – and we can’t wait for you to see the results.

Indeed, we visited the set last summer for another of our stonking video exclusives, which we’ll be bringing you in due course, along with a whole host of other Luxury related goodies as soon as we can.  The moment is being prepared for, and when the time comes, we’ll do the same for the Boosh return too.

When it happens, you’ll be ready… and that’s because we’ll still be here, keeping you abreast of everything else the boys, and the numerous fine and wonderful comics who encircle them are up to on stage, television, film, radio, online and in print.

There’s so much to savour, it’s hard to believe there’s been so little Boosh activity since TVO started four years ago.  We think all these other projects keep things ticking over rather well, don’t you?

But here’s the thing…

As of today, there are no confirmed live dates.  There’s no confirmed movie details.  There’s no plans for the television series to return.  The album release remains in limbo.  
The only reason we’re posting this now is to make that absolutely clear, so no more fans get caught up in the false excitement that the original article, and subsequent recycling online has created.
The Mighty Boosh are back on hiatus, but this could change at any time.   And as Dave suggests up above, with any luck we’ll be amongst the very first to know.  
And therefore… so will you.
Stay peeled.
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