Monks, nudity and 1991

Hey Hey We're The Monks

I was very chuffed to be invited to BBCtv Centre in White City yesterday evening to see the studio recording of a comedy pilot show called Hey Hey We’re The Monks, written by Dan Tetsell and Danny Robbins. It was great for several reasons – the show is very funny and well written, and the cast were superb. I hope it gets commissioned for a series. Also I haven’t seen Dan and Danny for ages – I went to sixth form college with Dan Tetsell and we went to Edinburgh together in 1991 to act in an Arthur Miller play called The Creation of the World and Other Business – the play was interesting but the rehearsals were draining, fraught and emotionally charged. I had to wear a flesh-coloured catsuit with velcroed-on genitalia that I made myself (in generous proportions) out of foam rubber. One night the play, which had some laughs but was not in any sense a full-on comedy, was getting a tremendous reaction from the audience, who were falling about with laughter. It was only later that I discovered my velcroed penis had become detached from its normal perch and stuck to my back.

I am whisked back to that strange period anytime I smell goat’s milk or Olbas Oil, but I couldn’t tell you why.

A friend of mine who was at the same college told me the other day that he’d seen a picture of Dan and I, naked together, at the Media Studies Centre. I was confused, shocked even… but then remembered that Dan and I had been coerced, in a moment of right-on bravado, into being photographed for a mock-up of somebody’s Aids Poster, naked from the waist up, with our arms around each other and gazing sullenly into the middle-distance. The pictures are still hanging around somewhere. I would pay good money to own one copy and have all the others destroyed.

Dan was wondering aloud if anybody these days would get jokes about Enigma, the 1991 New Age album involving Gregorian chant. I remembered first hearing that album at a party at Dan’s house when we were teenagers. He corrected me – it wasn’t Enigma. It was an actual album of Gregorian chant he’d put on because he wanted everyone to go home.


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