Author Topic: Chris Morris... RESTAURANT CRITIC? Win some Four Lions posters, as well.  (Read 25195 times)

See also twitpic.com/zrhtj courtesy of @SquidyUK
The second part of my interview with Charlie Higson is online - final edit of the concluding part in the next week or two.  Still no word on Bellamy's People being recommissioned - how can this be?

The Four Lions press juggernaut is gearing up for the official launch next week.  May 7th at a cinema near you...hopefully.  Have a look at the list of venues courtesy of the latest Warp mail-out.  No Belfast screenings till late April, and it needs to be seen more than twice - for me at least - so I hope you have better luck getting to see it during the launch weekend.  Travel if you have to, it's worth it, and there is much to unpack - I'm still cursing myself for not bringing a notepad to the second 'Premiere' screening.

Sparkly new updated poster too, eh?  The nice PR people offered me a signed one to give away to you lot.  They've also agreed to give me one for myself, and another five unsigned ones.  I'm giving one of the unsigned ones away to the twitters today, but as for how to get your mitts on the rest...oh, I dunno.  Let me think about it for a few paragraphs.

I've just about finished reading Disgusting Bliss now, and have found it particularly engaging - this, the excellence of Four Lions, and my attempt at moving this site up a few gears, have all got me really re-engaged with the work of one Christopher Morris.  He's really bloody good, actually, isn't he?  The story that weaves through Disgusting Bliss helps reinforce the sheer passion and raw, unfettered energy that goes into Morris' creative output.  Of particular interest to me, were the bits where we find him working his balls off to master new techniques or technology. The material that deals with him learning to DO radio, culminating in Robert Katz seeing him with dried blood on his fingers, after a night spent editing with a razor blade old-skool style, was like the nerdy equivalent of a Rocky montage.  I've paused this book somewhere towards the very end, as I now need to revisit the Geefe columns, for the first time in years, before I read about them.  There's another reason I want to reacquaint myself with Morris' written output...

Every now and again, I get emails from people claiming to have stumbled across some lost Morris script fragment.  It'll be so swathed in over-written Morrisisms, and so reliant on having Ted Maul firing out compound swear-words like 'arse-clackers', or such-like, that I quickly bin it, say thanks, and move on.  Some of this stuff is clearly written by the people who send it, and they want to catch me and others out, and that's fine.  Two weeks ago, though, I got told about such a piece, and I keep coming back to it.  I must thank Evan for tipping me off to this piece...the first time I read it, I thought, 'ooh, big words!  I like those... they sound nice, and I feel clever and self-satisfied when I vaguely recognise one of them.'  Then, I was continually drawn back to it over the last two weeks, and well, yes, it could definitely be the work of Chris Morris.  The more you read it, the more you realise what an excellent piece of writing it really is.  I'm still trying to unpack it - it's quite a brilliant character piece.  Come inside this update with me, and I'll post it up in full...we can all have a nice chat about it...

Now, posters.  Tell me why I should give you one.  Be creative, use whichever means you wish.  You can respond to this update, you can email me directly at waynecarr@gmail.com or you can even leave me voicemail at 028 9581 1976 (or leave it directly on my skype account, neilbombd, if you don't wish to phone.)  I'll put the best stuff up here, and on CaB Radio (unless you object to either), and the best entrants will get a signed, or unsigned poster, for their troubles.  So, that's 4 more unsigned Four Lions posters up for grabs, and 1 that has been signed by Chris Morris himself.  Do something fun and creative, and they're yours - fire me mp3's, videos, voicemails, whatever you can think of.  More fun than a dozy old quiz, innit?  Get cracking.  You have...at least a fortnight, let's say.

Four Lions pic submitted by @whiteanklesocks in Tokyo
Still so much more to catch up on, I'll do another update in a day or two, and will keep up with all the Four Lions news as it occurs.  The twitter is actually proving absolutely invaluable for this - @cookdandbombd for Morris news, @CaB_Radio for the CaB open access internet radio station, @VerbWhores to keep abreast of new forum threads (there's a facebook version of that too).  I also squirt out archive nuggets on the cookdandbombd twitter every Friday, so have a browse even if you don't do twitters - you will find a ton of stuff there, and a nice collection of Four Lions news and info.

Finally, for the last three Saturdays, I've been playing out the Chris Morris 1993 GLR shows, encoded from tapes very kindly supplied by Matt Savage a few years back.  These are my favourite Morris, and there are still three left - you can hear them on CaB Radio on Saturday mornings, from 10am (although I start from 9am to get the stream going).  They're being 'broadcast' as live, 17 years to the day - come and hear them with an audience, we discuss them in the chatroom too.  Next up, we'll be replaying Blue Jam, and I hope to follow those up with some round table discussions on Skype.  You're all more than welcome to get involved with CaB Radio, by the way - it's open access, and the most fun I've ever had on the internet.  I always wanted to be a gobby talk radio jock.  I know, you're right, it is hard to believe.  8pm on Sundays, is when I do my own comedy analysis talk show.

This Saturday I will follow up the 1993 GLR show with a full Radio Bristol one!  1989, Chris Morris, No Known Cure...hear it with an audience on Saturday morning, and then download it after.  Be there.  (Tape very kindly supplied by Rob Baker - and there are more to come.  If you have any rare Morris, particularly the 1990 Radio 1 show, or GLR tapes, or BSB gear, then drop me a line.  I'm finally able to get badges and t-shirts pressed up, and will reward people who contribute to the archive.  You can never have enough GLR.)

Click on, for part two, and discover Chris Morris...RESTAURANT CRITIC?

After all that, don't miss Chris Morris testing the star power of Axl Rose.  See also this footage of the Four Lions premiere at Bradford.  Finally, the official Four Lions site has launched, and has some excellent, barely-hidden production footage on it.  Check it out, I think they might be changing it for new stuff soon.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 11:55:44 AM by Neil »

Right, as was pointed out by Evan in the email, Morris himself lives in Brixton.  Here is the review, reposted for you, with the encoding problems caused by the closing quotes fixed:


Aman I.

Appeals to snobs
16 Jul 08, 03:31  Well below expectations

My lovely lady and myself recently dined at the "Right Up My Back Stairs" eaterie in Brixton. Gritty ghetto-chic? Tres bon. What an incongruous delight it is, sandwiched between such proletarian banalities as a "laundromat" (whatever that is) and a Pakistani purveyor of news. Who uses these quaint little mercantiles I've no conception. You certainly feel special, and we are special aren't we, as you are ushered in through the discreet side door, unsignposted as it is, cleverly deterring passing trade, local coloureds, ne'er-do-wells and the London poor.

"I'm surprised they bothered really", I confided to my partner, "putting a restaurant for our class of people here", as we entered the bijou Victorian attic, a room artfully accessorised to look like a salon of the French Renaissance (or something, we don't really know but we love feeling like we're in an exclusive clique where only people like us know to what we refer. Apparently it used to be a cupboard).

I surmised the intended ambience is ultimately that of what some might call Fin de Siecle Neoclassique, but... "does it pass the acid test of our refined sensibilities" my English Rose was want to enquire. Well, we shall see.

Ensconced at a window table we were able to observe omnibuses and passing ethnics in the street below, certainly a diverting pre-prandial human zoo I mused, while quaffing my somewhat recidivist champagne. Our waitress was an apotheosis of sneered disdain as she took our order. Her indulgence of our guilt a titilating frisson. The menu? Extensive, if a little derelict – a nod to the inner city locale mayhap?

We alighted on an eighteen course repast – a snip at £3095 (excluding fawning, which customers are required by the owners to do themselves). Our starters were a liver and lager consommé (a tad aggressive) and a pate of lemur heart (authentically Madasgascan but rather perfunctory, Mrs Posh was quite upset). For main, I had guinea-pig tongue in a rhubarb hollandaise sauce (exotic, erotic, sumptuous), and my partner in culinary and topographical posturing optioned for the warm mousseline of mallard imprisoned in a marzipan sarcophagus and drizzled in sputum, pavement-matured in the environs. (They don't tell everyone about this for fear of overwhelming demand, it is organically harvested). She says it didn't deliver in the flavour department. "How was it in the haberdashery department darling", I quipped. I am so funny and erudite.

To follow; a simple peasant sausage each (an homage to the native population), garnished with a bounteous arabesque of crème fraîche and Pickled Onion Monster Munch. Impressive, especially when one is distracted by attempting to appear familiar with the vacuous etiquette of the aspirant classes, isn't one. The other sixteen dishes, suffice to say they were insouciant, adequate, perchance to dream, even a little insolent. Cheeky chappies all – rather like the adorable piccaninies begging for scraps outside. Mrs Posh says that something else she had was also "very nice thanks" which adds much to this review I feel. What a cherubic little poppet she is. I do love her so.

Our fellow diners were a teasing compote of hee-hawing nonentity, racism and wasted education. "This is absolutely what Brixton needs" we chirruped (for we never disagree), now stuffed like gluttonous dictators in our eerie perched high above Chav Street. Somehow it was all so deliciously reminiscent of the sacking of the Jewish ghettos during the 1939 45 war, I ruminate retrospectively as I pen this now, at this moment, myself, here.

"Right Up My Back Stairs" must be the best kept cliché, er, secret, in south London. A soupçon of the Third Reich on our doorstep! We are such lucky, lucky people. "Chacun a son gout" I conclude. Whatever the fuck that means.

By Hubert Vibrant-Hubb

Now then, repeated reading reveals this to be a cut above the normal YouTube-commenter sort of shite.  It's the rhythm that made me wonder, first of all - look at the paragraph where the critic is talking about how much the meal costs.  That tumbles and pops just like Morris dialogue, it displays the same knowledge of flow and rhythm that you get with comedians who understand music, and sound (e.g. Iannucci, Victoria Wood, and of course Morris.)

I keep trying to unpack it, for a while I thought 'this is a full character piece, wrapped around a ferocious review.'  Now, as I continue to read it, I see that the review is probably not even that important.  It seems to be a product of deep irritation, certainly, but it also seems concerned with parodying restaurant critics in general, and with drawing a character.  As I mostly dine out at Subway, I'm only really familiar with the Victor Lewis-Smith columns from a few years back.  I recall those having a sort of (unironic?) pomposity, which I presume to be true of the genre in general.  Is that fair?  Does this strike anyone as a direct parody of a particular critic?

The critic seems patronising and condescending to his wife, I think, yet there's that one moment where, at her most banal, his endorsement seems genuine and heartfelt. 

Think of Michael Alexander St John when you read the penultimate paragraph.

OK, more to say on this, but really want to know what you lot think before I go any further into it.  I'm now convinced this certainly could be by Chris Morris.  It's a brilliant piece of writing, and it hits a lot of his tropes, without dwelling on them. 

I had the notion of getting my pal Doug Sklenki to record this, mostly for fun, but it's nice to listen to it and hear the language.  My brain works best with audio.  So he recorded it today, and I edited together a few takes, and put the whole thing over some music.  Check out Doug Sklenki's vids, and his Facebook page.

http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/mp3/Doug Sklenki - Appeals To Snobs.mp3
« Last Edit: May 01, 2010, 03:46:21 PM by Neil »

An tSaoi

  • The Prodigal Cunt
Gee that twitter competition didn't last long. I completely missed it, and it looks like it was the easiest one as well. Bah!

What do you mean by "Tell me why I should give you one"? Oo-er missus. Is it a sort of 'I think I should get a FL poster because...' (like in Father Ted when they're deciding who gets a parachute)? How long roughly, and what form should it take? I don't fully understand the premise (displaying staggering lack of necessary initiative or creativity here).

That piece is very Morris like, but I suppose it's only speculative. It's a nice read even if it isn't him, although I reckon it could well be. Were there any other compelling bits you've received over the years? Even the obviously forged ones might be interesting to look at.

Edit: And I just found out those other poster compos you linked to on Twitter are UK only. Bosh! Flimshaw!

Edit 2: When's the deadline?
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 03:47:05 AM by An tSaoi »

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Are we human? Or are we toilet
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
That review reminds me of a couple of Lookalike Mark Chapman things.

1. His spoof restaurant review for last years Wimblemong. (quite a bit)
2. His Restaurant Menu idea on Friday Fun. (a hell of a lot. a real, real hell of a lot)

Go to H.S Art and you will see what I'm talking about.

Quote
Our waitress was an apotheosis of sneered disdain as she took our order

Heh, this read as quite Morrisian (funny).

Whether that could be Morris or not, I'm skeptical. I was fairly positive it was but by the end I couldn't help but doubt.

Hmm. Well maybe my expectations were elevated, but I'm not convinced it's Morris-level. In fact I think most people on here could write something as good or better. "A snip at £3095" was particularly disappointing. What it most reminded me of is those Paul Ross canvas print reviews on Amazon.

Quote
Does this strike anyone as a direct parody of a particular critic?
None I've read, they don't tend to be so personal (apart from Michael Winner, and it's certainly nowt like him). It struck me as a parody of a privileged old buffer being given a box to comment in, and, consciously or otherwise, revealing their more unappealing views.

I'm with LMC here but thanks for posting it up, Neil. I think that even as a character piece, it's a little overdone (pun absolutely 100% intended) and amidst the florid flow, there isn't one particular phrase which prompted either a laugh or a 'wish I'd thought of that', as CM almost always does.

It's definitely post-Morrisian, though. I'll give you that.

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
I reckon Chris Morris can spell 'wont'.

Ah, but would the character...?

I reckon Chris Morris can spell 'wont'.

His selling on scripts I've seen is atrocious, actually.  I did notice that mistake, and also "eyrie" being wrong.

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
Disgusting. And we venerate this cack-minded letter-muddler? CLOSE THE SITE!

Heh.  When I spotted those, it was another thing that made me think 'ah, it could be him', although I refrained from mentioning it in case I was just giving people a lesson in how to get one over on me.  I'm certainly no authority, but I think it's a great piece of writing, and I'm not sure I've seen much (if anything) on here that is up to the quality of the whole "mallard imprisoned in a marzipan sarcophagus" line. 

The spelling errors made me realise that I never got round to including the My Wrongs shooting script, when I switched forum software.  So I've converted that, and rewritten and expanded the My Wrongs page.

eluc55

  • Member
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  • bleep
I don't think its Morris, either, I'm afraid. Its trying way to hard, the pretentious language reads like a sledgehammer parody, rather than a convincing character in his own right, and the social commentary - specifically about racism - is far too heavy handed. If it is Morris, it's a noticable step back since his work on Blue Jam, and the Geefe Columns. 

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Are we human? Or are we toilet
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Check out the spoof items on the menu though.

Then read this:

http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,20219.330.html

Quote
Concrete souffle, accompanied by a rocket and nothingness medley
Quote
Fifteen crisp £50 notes served with a side bowl of polished £1 and £2 coins
Quote
Organic red ants sautéed in cheekiness and gathered in a Tuesday of salsa
Quote
Sputum Brulée

^wasn't the word sputum used in the article to the same effect?

Quote
A portcullis of rice and a legion of peas

..and so forth.

Evan mentioned the similarity of some lines to Life Is Sweet:

7 Life is Sweet - The most nausea-inspiring meal never cooked. Tim Spall's Aubrey is opening The Regret Rien, where diners can choose from liver in lager, saveloys on a bed of lychees, prune quiche and boiled tongue in rhubarb hollandaise sauce.

This opens the whole piece up for me - I mean, let's get into the analysis.  One possibility is that Morris (or whoever) had a bad meal, thought 'this is just like that shit-hole Timothy Spall ran in that mawkish Mike Leigh movie', and banged out a review on an obscure internet site.  The film also concerns itself, if I recall, with 'gritty depictions of working class life', and the nouveau riche.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 04:07:32 PM by Neil »

Check out the spoof items on the menu though.

Thanks, some of those look pretty good, I'll read through 'em.  Although, a couple of the ones you've quoted do sound like an attempt to imitate Morris.

Quote
Sputum Brulée

^wasn't the word sputum used in the article to the same effect?

"For main, I had guinea-pig tongue in a rhubarb hollandaise sauce (exotic, erotic, sumptuous), and my partner in culinary and topographical posturing optioned for the warm mousseline of mallard imprisoned in a marzipan sarcophagus and drizzled in sputum, pavement-matured in the environs."

That rolls - listen to the alliteration and rhythm.  It's a cut above "sputum brulee", regardless of potential authorship. This is an incredibly disgusting meal, made to sound almost delicious through the sheer self-congratulatory pomposity of the critic, and his love of his own text.  You can just hear Sophie Dahl or Nigella Lawson almost fingering themselves while delivering such a sentence.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 04:26:12 PM by Neil »

Jonny P

  • Guest
That is definitely not Morris - trust me.  It's just not very clever or funny.  Think Neil Morrisey.

A Man In A Park

  • Guest
You are joking, right?

This is seriously bad prose.

Garbage verbs like "surmised", "esconced", "alighted" and "quaffing".

Vapid phrases like "gritty ghetto-chic", "proletarian banalities", "Pakistani purveyor of news" and "apotheosis of sneered disdain".

And this coup de (dis)grace: "the bijou Victorian attic, a room artfully accessorised to look like a salon of the French Renaissance".

This = the outpourings of a retardant creative writing student with not a single friend.

If this is/was Morris, I want my money back.  ALL of it.

That is definitely not Morris - trust me.

No.  Why should I?  What sort of argument is that.

Jonny P

  • Guest
"It's just not very clever or funny."  Sorry - that was kind of buried in the original post.

This is seriously bad prose.

Garbage verbs like "surmised", "esconced", "alighted" and "quaffing".

It's a character piece.  It works; it draws a very evocative scene in an economical manner, which Morris does a lot.  You get a full picture of this guy and his wife, of the restaurant, and of the "environs."

A Man In A Park

  • Guest
Ah - right.  Genius then...

A Man In A Park

  • Guest
FFS - are you serious?  If you are then no worries - I'll leave you to it...

FFS - are you serious?  If you are then no worries - I'll leave you to it...

Serious about the piece being really well written and clever?  Yes.

Serious about the possibility of it being Morris?  Yes.  I'm willing to roll with ideas, once you stop doing that, you stop learning.  I don't know everything, but I know enough to realise that you seem to think that you do.



Some nice entries for the competition so far;  I wish I'd chosen a different question though.  I hope that doesn't come across as inciting people to beg for a poster, just use the question 'why should I give you a Four Lions poster?' as some kind of tangential spring-board.

A Man In A Park

  • Guest
"I'm willing to roll with ideas, once you stop doing that, you stop learning"

Thanks Stephen Hawking

leelo

  • Golden Member
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  • McGuire stepped inside...
That is definitely not Morris - trust me.  It's just not very clever or funny.  Think Neil Morrisey.

Think Nathan Barley

Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Are we human? Or are we toilet
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
Think Les Reed.

It would be quite a good character piece if the character wasn't very good at writing. Riddim ain't shit when it's constantly undercut by clumsy misuse of big words (indefinite article for apotheosis? How does that work then?). Much of it reads like that bit in Friends where Joey misuses a thesaurus to make himself sound clever (They're humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps). 'My partner in culinary and topographical posturing'? It doesn't smack of mastery. Or, often, of basic competence.

Although I should say that it doesn't really matter if it's by him. If you get the same sort of enjoyment from it you get from Morris' writing then it might as well be his work.

Quote
we don't really know but we love feeling like we're in an exclusive clique where only people like us know to what we refer 



Quote
I am so funny and erudite

Quote
To follow; a simple peasant sausage each (an homage to the native population), garnished with a bounteous arabesque of crème fraîche and Pickled Onion Monster Munch. Impressive, especially when one is distracted by attempting to appear familiar with the vacuous etiquette of the aspirant classes, isn't one. The other sixteen dishes, suffice to say they were insouciant, adequate, perchance to dream, even a little insolent. Cheeky chappies all – rather like the adorable piccaninies begging for scraps outside. Mrs Posh says that something else she had was also "very nice thanks" which adds much to this review I feel. What a cherubic little poppet she is. I do love her so.

Our fellow diners were a teasing compote of hee-hawing nonentity, racism and wasted education. "This is absolutely what Brixton needs" we chirruped (for we never disagree), now stuffed like gluttonous dictators in our eerie perched high above Chav Street. Somehow it was all so deliciously reminiscent of the sacking of the Jewish ghettos during the 1939 45 war, I ruminate retrospectively as I pen this now, at this moment, myself, here.


"Right Up My Back Stairs" must be the best kept cliché, er, secret, in south London. A soupçon of the Third Reich on our doorstep! We are such lucky, lucky people. "Chacun a son gout" I conclude. Whatever the fuck that means.

It's  enjoyable to read but I would be disappointed if it was written by Chris Morris. The first two quotes show too much self-awareness.  The reader doesn’t need it pointed out if the characterisation is done well.

The first sentence I highlighted because it doesn’t make sense and the rest are highlighted because, again, it’s over done and a little out of character.

So, good but not Morris. Maybe Charlie Brooker though.











Shoulders?-Stomach!

  • Are we human? Or are we toilet
    • http://jackanderton.jamendo.net/
I'd say somewhere in between. I can see why you'd drop the name though. 'Chav Street', indeed.

The reader doesn’t need it pointed out if the characterisation is done well.

It's not intended for a reader, though, it seems like something banged out by someone who wanted to vent.  A stream-of-conciousness rant, but a particularly well-written one.  Regards those first two bits you quoted, constant, noisy self-affirmation is a running joke in the piece, look also at "and we are special, aren't we" and "we are such lucky, lucky people."  It belies a sense of insecurity, covered up by pomposity.

Quote
The first sentence I highlighted because it doesn’t make sense and the rest are highlighted because, again, it’s over done and a little out of character.
 

The "me, myself, here" line is my favourite part, and brings to mind old Michael Alexander St John bits, where he'd suddenly have an existential crisis. 


I'd say somewhere in between. I can see why you'd drop the name though. 'Chav Street', indeed.

If you don't think Morris would ever say something like that in character, then I'd have to point you to hours and hours of Wayne Carr bits.


It would be quite a good character piece if the character wasn't very good at writing. Riddim ain't shit when it's constantly undercut by clumsy misuse of big words (indefinite article for apotheosis? How does that work then?). Much of it reads like that bit in Friends where Joey misuses a thesaurus to make himself sound clever (They're humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps). 'My partner in culinary and topographical posturing'? It doesn't smack of mastery. Or, often, of basic competence.

Again, that all seems to be part of the character.  He uses French at the start, then admits at the end that he doesn't have a clue what the language means, which sends the whole thing spiralling up its own arse in a very Morris way.  He clumsily drops Shakespeare into the middle of a sentence, and is nowhere near as clever as his pomposity leads him to believe.

Quote
Although I should say that it doesn't really matter if it's by him. If you get the same sort of enjoyment from it you get from Morris' writing then it might as well be his work.

Quite right, I'm amazed people aren't finding it that engaging.