Depression Over Warsaw
07 November 2008
I used to do school shows when I was a teenager. The latent thespian gene. Played Peter Duncan in a Blue Peter sketch once. My friend and I wrote it, and thought it was pretty good, but I remember the teachers in charge more or less rewriting every line, while still telling us it was true to the original and that we’d done really good work. It featured great gags like sneezing into flour and cracking eggs on my forehead. How everybody laughed...
My mate had a weatherman sketch, where he would say something like, 'in Aberdeen it’ll be raining,' and then a bucket of water got poured over his head etc. We didn’t write this one, it was all the work of the teaching staff. One of the lines was, ‘And later there will be a depression over the Isle of Man,’ at which point a depressed-looking teenager would walk on with abject misery, and stand that way for several seconds.
I was head-hunted for that part. I don’t think I’ve actually been head-hunted for anything since.
Whenever a fancy dress party comes round I always go as A Depression Over The Isle of Man. No one gets the joke apart from TPCKAM, not that she was lucky enough to witness the original performance. That first theatrical tour de force, which the Rutherglen Reformer described as “taking the art of comedic depression to outstanding heights, the likes of which Tony Hancock could only dream...,” featured a long rain coat, which I would open like a seedy old flasher, revealing a bolt of lightning underneath, at the inevitable line, “There’ll be flashes of lightning...”
These days, I don’t wear the raincoat. I’m a depression without the thunderbolts.
Where is all this going? This week has been a bit of a Depression Over the Isle of Man. It happens. A week when it seems stupid to keep writing books, when I can’t get enthused about the cd we’re recording next year, when the thought of trying to produce a movie, which I can get excited about sometimes, seems impossibly insane. A week to look at job adverts on-line, and get further depressed because no one wants “experience of writing Barney Thomson novels” or “must have been a Meadowbank Thistle supporter” or “Depression over the Isle of Man urgently required. Can name own salary.”
It usually passes.
The Amazon page for the new edition of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson is coming together at last, although they still don’t have the image up. They have, however, attached a list of tags. These include: Mamma Mia, Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. It’s a fair cop. When you put The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson and Mama Mia side by side, it’s impossible to see the join. Strangely, however, when you look at the Mama Mia page, it doesn't have tags for Barney Thomson, mass slaughter or freezer packed with meat...