Anyhoo, lovely day and everything went pretty much to plan, which was an extra bit of lovely - dad and I left just after two, I had a nap (I nearly always go to sleep if a car journey's long enough), my hip made a bloody great clunk-click as I sat up... got to Portland Place at about half-five, having waved at the area of Regents Park where I crashed my bike into a tree, then eventually set off to Oxford Circus station to meet up with the chaps I was dragging along to the Beeb. tr1st3ss3du3r4 and I found each other ok, but there was a bit of a flaily moment when my phone decided it wasn't going to have any signal, even above ground, so I was almost climbing on the railings of Exit 1, trying to see serriadh , who eventually phoned me from about ten feet away. Being short + London crowds = slight hysterics + glomping. Hee.
Flock was gathered, however madcap it was, so we went back up to the Beeb, found dad in the queue and did things like talking about horse manure and doing Miller and Armstrong impressions; I love my friends. The security's really tight, though - we had to go through a metal scanner and I forgot I was wearing badges, which was clever. Cafe-type place/holding pen was warm and had tea and audience participation sheets ("What's the worst excuse you've ever made or heard?" - paraphrased, sorry); I wrote something deeply unfunny on mine about vampires. Anyhoo, we eventually got to go down shiny corridors (we did not squeak "Uncle Stephen!" at a photo of Stephen Fry) and there were BBC things made of rainbows, which were also shiny. Trivial point, but the seats in the theatre are red and velvety and terribly nice to sit on after standing around for an hour. Another bit of really useless trivia - Jon Holmes's mic was in the centre and, all joking aside, really quite shorter than the others.
Ed, the producer, came on and told us about fire exits - to be honest, I think we might've perished if there had been a fire, because a very long stick kept poking out from behind/through the curtain and waving at him and we couldn't stop laughing. Poor Ed. After all that, Hugh and Steve came out and did some warm-up stuff - Hugh did the raptor, ski-jump and old man/Jimmy Saville running the London marathon and Steve... had a navy jacket on. We also did a Mexican laugh - tr1st3ss3du3r4 's suggestion of a Sid James laugh was used, so the theatre was temporarily full of dirty old men (which was brilliant), but it kind of petered out (Hugh: "That was a bit shit to be honest."), so we also did a pirate laugh (Hugh said something about Captain Paedophile), which apparently was all the audience mic testing needed, so the rest of the cast was introduced.
Hugh: "Laura wants to move out of London to somewhere pretty with a river that's quite warm. Any suggestions?" Audience member: "Lisbon!" Jon Holmes came on holding a blue folder over his face and made a joke about it being the current fashion in Austria (the first of many Josef Fritzl references), a chap called Paul Sinha came on (never heard of him, I'm ashamed to say) and finally Mitch Benn, without the beard (woe!).
The recording started with some stuff about the credit crunch - Steve made a comparison to how banks' reassurance seems to be at the lager ad stage and there was a spoof on the Carling ads, Hugh kept growling things about DOOM and Mitch... damnit, I wish I'd made better notes, but he did an impression of Bob Geldof as - I think a bank manager? - and it was hilarious, as was the Sarah Palin reference. Then Steve and Hugh started arguing, South Park style, about which president was better, Obama or Bush - "Yeah, well, your President..." - until Mitch was brought in as Cartman and shut them both up. Nobody killed Kenny, though. Bastards.
There was something about torturing the Royal Bank of Scotland - "they're going to make us sit in economy!" but, annoyingly, my notes on this are scribble. ANYHOO, Mitch did a song about Twitter and how he hoped that he'd persuade the one-and-a-half million listeners to the show to follow him on there - #I-I-I-I will have more followers than Stephen Fry/When I become the King of Twitter/I-I-I-I will make all the celebrities cry/When I become the King of Twitter# - and then Hugh introduced Jon Holmes by mentioning the US and saying that he'd flown in on an Airfix 737.
Jon was, as always, great - he started off with how the Daily Mail had given away a free CD of Foreigner songs, then went on to discuss the chap who threw a shoe at George W. Bush and then talked about how prisoners (ie murderers, thieves, all the sort of people that Rorschach would hurt) like to listen to Radio Four (Audience members: "YAY!" Jon: "Some of them are here."). He suggested other unlikely pairings, like Stanley and Sweep, one for Hugh which I didn't note down because I was laughing at the next one, Sooty and Carol Thatcher (I hope that goes out, because the laughter lasted a long time on that one), Punt and Dennis Nilsen and, um, scribble and longer scribble (sorry). "Hello, prisoners, if you're listening! Charles Bronson - aa-aah, can't get me!"
However, there was also the possibility that Radio Four could also be used as a torture device - the opening bars of Quote Unquote's theme tune were played - and Steve and Hugh did an interrogator/prisoner skit in which the first question was "where is Osama?" and the second was about tomatoes, which wouldn't have been out of place on Gardeners' Question Time. Another QUQ reference, then, "THE MANDELSON CUSTARD PROBE."
Radio Four could also be used as riot control - "it's nine o'clock!" and as an escape route - there was stuff about digging three tunnels named after, I think, presenters of the Today programme, accompanied by the theme tune from The Great Escape, but then Hugh did "let me come with you" and made a joke about Peter White, which was brilliant (I hasten to add that Peter himself said that same line last week, so nothing unpleasant could be taken from that).
He then talked about the list of banned words - apparently 'Horne and Corden' should also be in there - which was all great stuff, but the funniest bit was when he told us about one council who had removed all Latin phrases for fear of confusion, then made us all fall about laughing with the idea that some could confuse 'eg' with the word 'egg'. There was also a dig at Lily Allen (how she basically rhymes rubbish words with each other) and then Mitch Benn as a baby saying his first word, which I didn't quite catch, but it was brilliant just to hear him gurgling away.
After all that, Jon went back
Stuff about alcohol prices, then, while I'm not sure of the context, "this is a primary school, not Guantanamo Bay!" and jokes about the maths teachers waterboarding the pupils if they got an answer wrong; somehow, I don't think that bit'll go out. Misery Memoirs - sob stories from Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll ("forced to have tea with a care-in-the-community milliner"), then Paul Sinha came on. He was ok, if you're into football. The best thing he said was about how he would tell us some offensive football chants, except listeners would write in to complain about the grammar.
Another Mitch Benn song, this one about how the Seaworld Aquarium in Fife have bred a species of poisonous frog. He answered his own question, why were the Scots breeding lethal frogs, in the song - basically, to keep the English away, with a chorus of 'Ribbit!'
Audience participation answers! "She said she liked it in the cellar"; "My religion forbids trampolining in PE"; chap didn't come into work because he was allergic to his shoes; "anything South East Railways tells me"; not being able to do the washing up due to dyslexia; refusing to go backwards along a country lane because the car didn't have reverse gear; missing a lecture due to mistaking Night Nurse for creme de menthe; the Doppler Effect being responsible for going through a red traffic light; "your mother and I are just changing [parts]"; Mexican bandits; tr1st3ss3du3r4 's excuse for not trampolining being that she had no legs; the coffee guy in The Now Show 'holding pen' not serving lattes because the person wasn't a BBC employee; the answer sheet with large hole torn in it; "the dog ate my USB stick" and, finally (methinks this person is a regular), a drawing from the interweb.
All that took an hour and five minutes. Some retakes were needed (Hugh: "No! No! No!" - and after only the first half of a joke was done, "Could do with a punchline.") and we got to do some chanting - unfortunately my writing's too scribbly, but hopefully that'll be in the show; apparently we were a bit too good with the Marxism-related one and Mitch started talking about marching on Parliament.
Ed: "Page thirteen."
Hugh: "That's a lovely page, isn't it?" (Also, repeated: "That's approximately... four lines" and "let me come with you"; alsoalso: "that was the most confusing retake ever")
Mitch, bless him, took the spongey bit off his mic and, after making honking noises, held it under his nose and said, "Evil for money!"
Hugh, as is good and proper, made a height joke: -
Jon Holmes: "No, no, fuck you."
Hugh: "Not if I run away fast enough."
Then they did a retake of a line from Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (think it was for Jon's bit on the word list) and Hugh and Steve had some banter about how to say the line, which went into "Lidl," "Aldi," "Waitrose," "Tesco!" I squeed. Then Mitch was told he'd done a dull delivery of one of his Nirvana song-introduction lines, so after a bit of wibbling from him we all went 'awww' - Hugh: "He forced that one out of you, didn't he?" Hugh also said that his sperm count had been declining for the last twenty-nine years - there were only five left and three of them could only swim widths. There was also some confusion between 'squizz' and 'squeeze', then a pretty sick joke from Mitch - I'll pop it at the end of this post so you don't have to read it if you don't want to - and finally saying that someone - I think it was Ed - had a Gonk hairstyle.
Anyhoo, that was all the retakes and we were chucked out onto the rather cold streets of London; said our goodbyes (serriadh , my cake is not shit because I is making extra-special brownies) and then dad and I went home, after a stop at Sainsburys for a sandwich; we got back at about half midnight.
Good day, methinks. If anyone managed to read all that... wow. I salute you. And bugger me, I almost forgot the LJ-cut. Hope everyone's had a good day.
Mitch Benn's joke
Vienna police department.
Vienna police department who?
Only kidding, daddy again.