History of a Joke

Cliché, Episode 2
(TX: 23rd March 1981, Radio 4)

Out of tune bleeps and bloops, like Wendy Carlos on an off-day.

PRESENTER: The final cadences of the last symphony of the Spanish composer Don Dimitri, who died early this morning at the age of 86. Cliché now pays its own special tribute to Don Dimitri – one of the true musical innovators of this century. Don Dimitri’s life was characterised by his refusal to accept the conventions and mores of the society in which he lived. In 1926, he went to the Sorbonne to study music. Rapidly, it became apparent he could not reconcile his own ideas with those of the establishment, and after three hours at the university, he left to set up his own school of musical thought. Professor Blakehust takes up the story.

BLAKEHURST: Don Dimitri’s biggest contribution to musical theory was the decative. Instead of the conventional eight note scale the octave, he initiated the ten note scale – the decative. He invented two new notes: H and J. Instead of ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, ti, doh’, the decative would run ‘doh, ray, me, fah, soh, woh, boh, lah, ti, doh’. And in reverse: ‘doh, ti, lah, boh, woh, soh, fah, me, ray, doh’.

PRESENTER: And he wrote all his symphonies using this scale?

BLAKEHURST: Indeed. And the instruments in his orchestra had to be adapted accordingly. Pianos were fitted with extra black keys; flutes now came in four sections instead of three; and accordions were scrapped, as the decative made them far too long for human beings to play. Trombones ceased to be a musical instrument, and now became a lethal weapon. And the lengthening of bassoons and saxophones extended the mouthpiece into the region of the lower intestine. Incidentally, in Don Dimitri’s orchestra, women were banned from playing the cello.

PRESENTER: What other significant changes were inspired by the decative?

BLAKEHURST: Time signatures were changed. Instead of 3/4 time it was now 0.75 time. 7/8 time became 0.875 time, and common time – or 4/4 time – was now simply… 1. Don Dimitri’s quartets comprised of five players, and his triangles had two sides – neither of them connected.

PRESENTER: And now, the last note of the last chord of the last cadence is written. At the grand old age of 86, Don Dimitri passed away this morning. Never one to do things in a conventional way, he died in a manner he would probably have appreciated – trying to suck a kazoo instead of blowing it. He inhaled the kazoo, it became lodged in his throat, and he died to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy. We leave you now with the strains of what is universally acknowledged as his masterwork: quintet for seven instruments in H minor. The only work he ever wrote in 0.333 recurring time, a time signature which never actually allows you to reach the end of the first bar. Hence it’s popular title: Dom Dimiti’s Unfinished Symph. Goodnight.

A warped version of I Do Like To be Beside the Seaside plays, with accompanying bleeps and bloops.

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The $64,000 Question

CGVapR6WcAEODEO “When I kiss a girl she knows she’s been kissed, you know. I leave a note.”

Currently running on Gold, Wednesdays at 9pm is Bob Monkhouse: Million Joke Man – a series looking at Bob Monkhouse’s life and career. It’s a lovely programme, though for a show which celebrates Bob’s incredible archive, zooming and cropping that archive to 16:9 so the picture quality goes to absolute shit is a bizarre way of showing respect for it. And whilst the second half of the first episode settled down somewhat, the first half was full of entirely pointless talking heads. Just what is Ricky Grover actually doing there? And get your greasy mitts off Bob’s joke books.

As part of promotion for the series, Mail Online ran this article, which I’m linking to out of a sense of obligation, but please feel free not to give them any more hits. And here’s where we get to the relevance of G&T to all this – Tom Worsley pointed us towards a very interesting image from that article from one of those famed joke books. Here’s a transcript:

There are many things men are hard put to explain: “How were the pyramids built?”…”What is that panty girdle doing on the back seat of your car?” “The Bermuda Triangle… why is it that so many writers have mysteriously made so much money from this small stretch of ocean? Was God an astronaut – and if so, did he have a crewcut? (SON OF CLICHÉ)

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@RedDwarfHQ (Updated: 22/05/15)

Two weeks ago, Doug Naylor stood on stage at Dimension Jump and announced two new series of Red Dwarf.

This caused a certain amount of excitement.

Two weeks on, the official Red Dwarf Twitter account – verified and everything – has yet to update with the news. In fact its last update was back in November 2012, shortly after Red Dwarf X finished.

This does not warrant a huge article. I merely want to point out something which is rapidly becoming one of the stupidest things I have ever seen on social media. I mean, maybe not quite as bad as this yet, but they’re getting there.

Go ahead, @RedDwarfHQ. Continue making the franchise look absolutely fucking ridiculous. You fucking dick.

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Because the ident computer says they do

I recently discovered a very interesting blog called VHiStory. This chap, Jim Lynn, has got an archive of around 3000 video tapes in his garage, and he’s currently in the process of digitising and cataloguing each one, blogging his discoveries in precise detail as he goes. I quickly lost the best part of two days reading every single post, but that’s not important right now. In amongst the archives, I spotted that Jim had taped the original broadcasts of Red Dwarf series one, around 26 years ago. I immediately got in touch to point out that if he happened to have captured the original idents and continuity announcements, he may have inadvertently struck nerd gold.

Skip ahead a day or so, and Jim has only gone and put the buggers on Youtube.

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The English Programme: The Writing of Spitting Image

Whilst G&T is waiting for news on the Dwarf front, here’s something rather interesting I was pointed towards on Twitter. The English Programme was a Thames schools programme examining, well, English – and in one edition which some kind soul has uploaded to YouTube, they take a look at The Writing of Spitting Image. (It was first broadcast on the 8th January 1986, but was repeated later, outside of schools programming.)

The reason it’s so interesting to us, of course, is that this is exactly the time Rob and Doug were head writers of the show. But not only do we get lots of shots of the two sitting in grey offices being slightly awkward, rather endearing, and very fascinating – but the end credits reveal that this entire episode of The English Programme was written by Rob and Doug themselves!

Let’s have a gander, shall we?

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James at Last!

Well, this is quite the nice curio for your Friday morning. Somewhere among the fan-fic, Rimmer/Lister gifs and weirdly out of date pictures of the Trojan premiere that make up the Red Dwarf Tumblr tag, a chap called Kyle (grayk85) has posted a clip of the ‘Copacabana’ scene from Terrorform. What makes this especially interesting, however, is that the clip comes from the original 1992 airing and so features the oft discussed James Last version of the piece, which had to be replaced for all future repeats and home releases because reasons.

Kyle’s post features a version where he’s pasted the audio over the DVD footage, but since this is G&T and we’re horrible, pedantic TWATS, we’re going to embed the original, low quality, rip below the jump. ENJOY THIS MOMENTOUS DISCOVERY.

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Introducing the G&T Silver Survey

It will have hardly escaped anyone’s attention that 2013 is Red Dwarf’s 25th Anniversary year. In order to do the occasion justice we thought we’d gather everyone together and have a bit of an old survey. In the spirit of the Fan Club’s BTL surveys of old, we’re inviting as many Red Dwarf fans as possible to rank all 61 episodes in order of their preference in an attempt to gather a comprehensive snap-shot of fan opinion from across the web. Everyone is welcome, so we hope that not only will you contribute your list but you will enlist as many friends as possible, even if they consider Krytie TV to be the height of brilliance. All we ask is that everyone taking part has seen all the episodes and that their ordering is honest.

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