Monday, April 11

Election Comedy Proposal

Gosh ... just looked back at how many posts there have been in the past few days - I'm posting faster than an anti-philanthropist at Christmas!

Anyway, I have been wondering about having a go at some comedy sketch writing, and I thought I would air the following idea for the general enjoyment of people. Also, if a BBC Producer happened to be passing by and decided to snap up my services with immediate effect, that would be nice ... Although highly unlikely ...

'Election Day' is actually an idea for a sketch involving the Little Britain characters Lou and Andy. (So if Matt Lucas & David Walliams happened to be passing and liked it, then please do get in touch!) For everyone else, if you know the show, please just imagine Lou and Andy's voices as you read the lines ... If you've never seen "Little Britain" before, or don't find it at all funny, then this will probably be completely lost on you!

Little Britain "Election Day" sketch (proposal)

*PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY APPARENT CORRELATION BETWEEN THE POLITICAL PARTIES MENTIONED IN THIS SKETCH AND REAL POLITICAL PARTIES ARE PURELY COINCIDENTAL AND PEOPLE SHOULD NOT INFER NOR BE ENCOURAGED TO CHANGE THEIR VOTE AS A RESULT. THE SKETCH IS DEVISED PURELY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ENTERTAINMENT.*

(Scene opens in a Polling station. Lou & Andy are in the polling booth)

Lou: Well, here we are Andy ... What a kafuffle getting you down here - all thanks to the nice man from the Save the Squirrels party. Time to exercise your democratic right. So who are you going to vote for?

Andy: (whilst not looking, points to a name on the Ballot paper) That one!

Lou: That one?

Andy: Yeah!

Lou: But that's the Independent Britain Party

Andy: Yeah I know

Lou: But I don't think they have any real chance of winning any seats, I think that would be a silly waste of your vote, won't it?

Andy: Yeah I know

Lou: So who's it to be then? What about the Red party, you always liked the Red party ...

Andy: (Again points without looking) That one

Lou: But you don't like the Independent Britain Party. You always said that they represent the lighter shade of respectable middle-class xenophobia.

Andy: Yeah I know

Lou: What about the Yellow party?

Andy: (pointing) That one!

Lou: The blue party?

Andy: (firmly pointing but without looking) I want that one!

Lou: (shaking head in despair) Well it's your vote, Andy. Are you sure?

Andy: (nodding head) Yeah

Lou: 'Cos you know you can't change it once you 've voted?

Andy: Yeah, I want that one! (pointing again)

(They emerge from the booth and Andy places his ballot in the box. They leave the polling station)

Andy: I wanted to vote Monster Raving Loony party!

THE END

(C) Copyright Joe Byrne 2005 (11th April 2005 AD)

And now my brief foray into the world of comedy sketch writing comes to a swift and dramatic close. (I thought it best to end on a high) All that remains to be said is that whilst the characters Lou and Andy remain the intellectual property of those fine gentlemen Mr Matt Lucas and Mr David Walliams, this sketch is my own work, hence the (C)Copyright Joe Byrne 2005 ... and all that!

A very productive day in all, a good meeting at church this morning, a nice lunch, a superb afternoon of Monopoly (in which I scored a rare and stunning victory!) and watching the final episode of "The West Wing" Series 6 - An absolutely stunning piece of television drama filled with gripping suspense, intrigue and some great characterisation and empathy. Brilliant ... but more on that later.

I'm just going to sit by my phone and wait for the BBC to phone begging me to come work for them ... That is, until I realise that my phone mumber is not posted here and go to bed dejected and despondent.

Sunday, April 3

God on God ... and other things!

Well, it's been quite a week! From Easter Monday to Friday I was attending the Church Student Ministries "God on God" conference in Herefordshire. Student groups from evangelical churches in Manchester, London, Birmingham, Exeter, Hull and a few other places came together for 5 days of quality fellowship and Bible teaching.

The past few years I've been to Spring Harvest at this time of year and apart from UCCF's "Word Alive" programme running for one of the weeks I've been pretty disappointed with the quality of the teaching. Much more presentation and entertainment over Bible content it seems. Anyway, I would highly recommend the "God on God" conference for any church student group. Each year we take a Bible doctrine and spend 5 days really getting our teeth into it. This year we were thinking about God's Sovereignty. It was pretty hardcore and intense, but well worth it.

Most of the teaching was done in seminar groups rather than up-front teaching, making for a more interactive & involved learning process as we looked at what pretty much the whole Bible said about God's sovereignty and we were challenged to live in the light of this teaching. We also had Review groups to think a bit more about what we'd learned that day and a small "Scripture-Under-Scrutiny" group that met after breakfast. In the evenings we'd have an "All together time" with singing, testimonies, open prayers and a Bible talk helping us to apply what we'd learned a bit more.

In all there were about 100 of us and it was really encouraging that there was a real sense of fellowship that prevailed between a lot of very different people - it just showed the unity possible in Jesus and his gospel. The food was absolutely fantastic - all proper home-cooked style nosh in vast quantities (including some of the best home-made pizza I've ever had!) A brilliant 5 days and one that allowed the group of us who went from The Plant to get to know each other a bit better!

So, if you go to a church that has a number of students there and want to encourage them to get some good Bible doctrine teaching, send them off to the CSM "God on God" Conference 2006 ... the topic in question will be "The Trinity & Relationships"

Anyways, I'm going to have a few more days off work before term starts next week and The Plant resumes normal term-time meetings! Hopefully I can get some more done towards my songs and the "Open Song Music" project with Crossring (Open Song - A free resource for the church of brand new Biblical hymns and songs of praise!)

Until next time ...

Sunday, March 27

Easter, the Tories and Hospitals

HAPPY EASTER!

May you know the promise of new life in Jesus Christ that comes from his glorious resurrection from the dead.

Changing tack completely, I've been thinking recently about one of the Tories campaign posters I've seen around which sports the slogan

"I mean, how hard is it to keep a hospital clean?"

Something troubled me about this slogan but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until a couple of days ago. I realised it's reminiscent of Hague/Duncan-Smith's (I forget which is which) "Common Sense Revolution" - A campaign of soundbites and policies that seemed like they made sense ... until you actually switched your brain on for 30 seconds.

How hard is it to keep a hospital clean? Well, actually it's very hard! Hospitals are big places full of lots of ill people with lots of germs. Large numbers of Staff and visitors will come in each day bringing in their own germs and dirt. This makes for an extremely daunting task for hospital cleaners - a job that can't be the most pleasant in the world and thus motivation must be hard to come by. This seems to be a classic case of employment snobbishness - the tendency to look down on certain manual (and menial) jobs and minimise them. Ok, so perhaps cleaning is not the most skilled labour of all, but it's hard work nonetheless and the tone of this advert seems to indicate that the Tories don't think much of the people who do these jobs - a very unpleasant job for very little financial reward and little job satisfaction.

However, this is not to let New Labour off the hook in any way, shape or form. The constant drive to meet targets leads to corners being cut and it seems hospital cleanliness - a massively important aspect of healthcare - has been forgotten ... with fatal consequences! The Tory poster is an attack on New Labour undoubtedly, but it appears that Hospital cleaning staff are being caught in the crossfire ... If I was a hospital cleaner, I would be highly offended by such a poster. Perhaps a better slogan would be something like "Dirty Hospitals - Labour cut another corner" and lay the blame firmly at the feet of the Government.

Anyway, enough politics for Easter Day. Maybe they should contract the guys who cleaned up after Jesus. Clean, tidy, and the linen all neatly folded up in the corner ...

Please excuse my flippancy!

Sunday, March 20

A little foretaste of heaven ...

Six days of holiday, a video projector, a Playstation 2 (which is also capable of playing DVDs) and me ... As a certain person once said "I'm going to go and play video games for several hours."

Oh boy, is this going to be good or what?

Just don't expect any substantial Blog posts for a while ... Mwahahahahahahahahaha!!!

Monday, March 14

At last ...

Finally ... after months of persistent hair-tearing, my all new website is online and accessible around the whole wide world. Check it out in all it's majesty here. Try not to get too excited, but I hope you find it fun and informative ...

Nothing can stop me now ... apart from a huge earthquake ... or a thunderbolt from heaven ... in fact, I guess there are quite a few things that could stop me, but I'm quite chuffed at the moment.

Tuesday, March 8

An Idea for Channel 4

Apologies for not posting much recently and, at risk of sounding a bit like Simon, I've been very busy recently, what with a Talk to prepare for church, 2 weekends away to organise and attending a conference of Evangelicals in the North West ...

Anyway, I've noticed the significant proliferation of "Top 100 ... " programmes on Channel 4 recently; Top 100 Soap Moments, Top 100 Cartoons, Top 100 Tearjerkers, Top 100 Banned TV adverts, Top 100 Fluffy bunnies in a non-speaking role in an Oscar nominated Film. Eventually they will have done virtually every kind of Countdown (Top 100 Episodes of TV Word quiz Countdown) and when they reach that point and before Jimmy Carr becomes completely out of work, they can have the final, the cherry on the top of the icing ...

"THE TOP 100 TV TOP 100 COUNTDOWNS"

The programme would feature the best of "Top 100" Countdown programmes, celebrating a remarkable institution, something that is quickly becoming the answer to Saturday and Sunday evening scheduling nightmares ... They last for 4 hours, and fulfil the obsessive needs to fill our screens with celebrities spouting opinions that we could care less about.

Hallelujah!

By the way, those of you who don't believe in the providence of God then chew on this ... The West Wing Complete Series 5 comes out on DVD the day before my birthday. All together now ... Oh happy day! Oh happy day ...

Monday, February 14

St. Shmalentines Day

Could this possibly be the most depressing day of the year for single people? I think so. I would be tempted to hide away under my bed until it all goes away ... except it's a solid bed with no room for me. Oh, yes ... and I need to work!

Talking of annoying and overrated things, Gordon Brown was extolling the "virtue" of voting New Labour at the next election, repeating time and time again the phrase "The stakes are too high to stay at home." Now, I don't especially want a Conservative government and certainly not one lead by Michael Howard, but this new line of campaigning from Labour just doesn't wash with me! "Please vote for us, cos at least we're not the Tories!" I'm sorry guys, if you want my vote you'll have to tell me what you're going to do, not hope to scare me into voting for you cos you're not the other lot! Maybe they're finally realising that there's no good reason to vote for them ... so they play the "least worst" card.

In elections, the onus is often on the opposition (Mmm ... alliteration) to make their case and say what they would do if in power ... and the Tories are doing this. New Labour have just got into the terrible habit of re-announcing the same "bold new initiatives", the same money, the same figures and pretending this is a record to be proud of. We seem a very long way off from the modern, efficient and "free at point of use" services in education and health, they have failed to come up with a workable and compassionate approach to immigration and the ridiculous obsession with targets brings more comparison with the Soviet regime than with a party committed to Social democracy. Sadly I don't know what the solution is; I don't believe the Conservatives will be good custodians of Britain's public services and I have no faith in the Liberal Democrats whatsoever.

I think the next election is going to be one about the individual candidates in my constituency. I won't be voting on the basis of party as I have significant problems with all of them, however I believe it is a civic responsibility to vote. Maybe I will end up voting for the least worst one, but considering ours is a safe Labour seat, I can't see my vote making a big difference.

So, as St. V's day 2005 draws to a close (and my card count, as usual, is a depressing fat zero), I feel this has been a futile exercise. Neither the political parties nor the women seem at all interested in me ... Maybe that will change in time but for now, I console myself with my democratic ability to be able to give the polticians a slight kick in the teeth when I come to the Ballot Box. Roll on May/June/whenever it is that King Tony determines ...