I’m very good at disappearing inside my own head. I can easily go inside this alternative reality (call it Boo-town, if you like) for days at a stretch, only emerging for food and toilet stops. I’d like to say I pioneered the technique to circumvent the tiresome reality of being a teenager, but I think I’ve always been a bit like this.
I don’t know many other people who visit another realm in their bonce (some friends have the erotic version, they call them ‘tories’), but then again it’s not the sort of thing you casually drop into conversation, like Peak Oil or male harp players.
You could look at it a number of ways: it could be an avoidance technique for when people/situations are becoming a bit much. It could be an important part of the creative process and coming up with shithot ideas. It could be some sort of psychosis. Whatever it is, I’ve always thought it was a bit insanitary. I’m sure that by living in an imaginary land for days one could overlook certain aspects of reality that could be quite useful to one.
I’m working on it though. I’m fixating upon other people’s fantasy worlds in a way that would be very healthy, if I were 15 years old. I know it is a myopic denial of the pathetic dribble of freelance work coming through, and avoidance of newspapers and any mention of the recession (small ‘r’), and the Housemate that Time Forgot, and losing weight yet sporting guts that hang like sleeve of wizard, but I’ve been having fun and discovering some cool stuff.
In addition, my sister has charged me with the heinous crime of not keeping her in touch with the zeitgeist*, so this post will hopefully address some of those issues. At last! No-one procrastinates like I. We have come to the topic of the post.
There is a fellow you should know about, and his name is Matt Berry.
He is a true gentleman. The picture (top) has finally replaced my breathtaking screensaver of André Rieu, and should probably tell you all you need to know about the man, but I’m going to tell you more.
I didn’t like him very much in The Mighty Boosh as Zooniverse owner Dixon Bainbridge. Who was that blustering fellow in the porno moustache and yellow skivvy? Such overarching overacting! But he then got together with Rich Fulcher (an acquired taste, but he has grown upon me) to make Snuff Box in 2006, a truly dark and strange sketch comedy you should hunt down on YouTube. It only ran for six episodes – the hallmark of a fine British comedy. It’s based roughly around two gents who hang out at a gentlemen’s club for hangmen, but has some time travel, skits, musical numbers and all other aspects of weird goodness.
One of the best aspects of Snuff Box is the music, which is written and performed by the lovely and étrange Mr Berry. The title track gets reworked differently at the end of each episode, here is a link to one of them (not suitable for work). So not only is he amusing and easy on the eye, he is musically exceptional. He has this to say about scoring Snuff Box:
I also realise that due to the nature of the show (certainly not to everyone’s taste) I may never get the chance to score or produce my own TV series again, so I approached the music as I would a film score. Why not?
Ho for the Internet! It turns out Mr Berry started out in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace an ‘80s spoof show, and sang a little songette called ‘One-Track Lover’ that may have you in stitches. He was absurd as Douglas Reynholm in The IT Crowd, has appeared on Steve Coogan’s Saxondale and wrote the entire score for, and starred in (with the d-lish Richard Ayoade, Julian Barratt etc) AD/BC, a mock rock opera.
Why is there so much crap on Aussie telly? We get none of this.
Mr Berry one of those people who starts singing to general confusion, as his voice bears no resemblance to any of his speaking voices: his voice is really extraordinary. I’ve been hanging out for his latest album Witchazel, after scrounging for downloads from Opium, released in 2005. The former is apparently about the ‘horrors of the country’, and the latter the ‘horrors of the city’. His music has undertones of Tommy, Cat Stevens, the Wicker Man and all other good things made when recorders and glockenspiels were still groovy. For something different, listen to Cream Pie, a song he uploaded to Bearded Magazine.
I even sat through an entire episode of the Sarah Silverman show just to get a glimpse of him. He played the sort of part that was cast by an American producer saying: “Get me an Englishman! Any one will do!” I don’t get Sarah Silverman, but she has good taste in Britishers.
Mr Berry dedicated Witchazel to “to anyone who creates something for no reason,” a good a reason as any. It is full of golden songs about badgers, ghosts, pheasants and sad tunes about lost love and yearning, always a hit with us ladies. If you need any more proof Matt Berry is a prince among men, Witchazel is available FREE at this link for a limited time. Get thee hence!
*A comment brought on after her recent plane journey on Air New Zealand, when she slept NEXT TO Jemaine Clement in business class, and the flight attendant telling her excitedly ‘that’s that guy from Flight of the Conchords!’ to which said family member replied ‘Who??’