Author Topic: Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker - Four Lions Satellite Q&A  (Read 11714 times)

I've found out as much as possible about what's on the Four Lions DVD/blu-ray, and I've also found out as much as possible about what isn't on it.  So, I'm now happy to start sharing the Four Lions Q&A boots that have been very kindly supplied, and if anyone involved at Warp Film etc has a problem with that, please do let me know at or @cookdandbombd.  Looking forward to not hearing from you!  Here's the first Q&A, very kindly supplied by @bengubbins - this is the one that was broadcast by satellite across over 20 Picturehouse cinemas.  Charlie Brooker hosted the event, and the Q&A panel consisted of Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar, Jessie Armstrong, and of course Morris himself.

Four Lions Satellite Q&A - Picturehouse Cinemas - 22nd May 2010
Chris Morris - Intro
Chris Morris & Charlie Brooker - Main Q&A

Hope that sounds ok, the source was pretty good, but I've been spending a lot of time trying to learn audio restoration - the levels in these bootlegs can be understandably awful, and this kind of sonic fiddling is particularly necessary with some of the old radio shows, where you have to deal with tape stretch, as well as things like static etc.  If there are any more tapes out there, please do give me a shout, as they're not going to last forever - the No Known Cure shows I'm working on have managed to gain an extra 20 or 30 minutes over the years, and the resultant drop in pitch makes Morris sound like he's been on the Mogadon.  The main things I'm after are the extraordinarily elusive 1990 Radio 1 show, and anything from GLR, Radio Bristol, Radio Cambridgeshire.  Or anything else - even if I have it, different sources can be used to patch up tape flips and the like.  Actually, I'm after another copy of the "Blue Jam Exclusives" CD at the minute so I can upgrade the existing captures - is Mark Reed or any of the other Blue Jam CD competition winners still out there? 

I'll finally get round to getting badges and other bits and pieces made up as thanks for these kinds of submissions.  Oh, on that note, drop me an email if you've ever submitted anything to the site in the past, and let me know what it was, so I can get a full and up-to-date credits list (re)compiled.  I'm aiming at rebuilding the entire site again - a lot of it needs rewritten and redesigned.  I'm sort of rediscovering Morris as well, of late, and going back through all the old material again, seeing how I feel about it now, and working out what I missed first time round.  My analysis of My Wrongs, for instance, was laughably shallow and point-missing, plus I was still caught up in that idiotic mode of thinking where you judge a comedy solely by the amount of laughter it generates.  These days, it's the amount of thinking provoked that I prioritise, or the richness of the ideas, or the subjects being commented upon.  Someone like Lee Evans might be a fun, engaging night out, but there's nothing to be learnt there, nothing to be gleaned about the human condition, no real insight beyond the thinness of carrier bags...these days.   When you go to the works of really interesting, original thinkers like Lenny Bruce and Chris Morris, that's where comedy gets really worthwhile, and to judge them solely by how much you happened to laugh at the moment you experienced them is beyond pointless.

There's also a weird thing that happens to fans, actually, where you get what I call Jaded Fan Syndrome which can colour your perception of the material.  You've heard or seen everything they've done, and then you kind of start comparing things back, rather than being willing to take them on their own merits, and see them as individual pieces of work.  It's strongly related to this desire people have to list things, I think.  It pisses me off to have succumbed to such a superficial weariness, when I always strive for analysis that's unswayed by any kind of external factors.  That kind of dogmatic silliness just sneaks right in if you're not challenging your thinking enough, though.  You build up these certain expectations of what comedy 'should' be, which is sort of fine, as long as you're then entirely willing to chuck them all away.  I mean, I remember I once asked Charlie Brooker if Nathan Barley was going to have 'a proper title sequence', and if Morris had 'stopped titting about with Adobe Premiere filters', as if such details actually really matter in the grand scheme of things.  Don't get me wrong, I love details, but they can obscure the full picture.  Does this mean I now like Nathan Barley?  No, it's dogshit.  Conceptually fascinating dogshit, though!  Perhaps I'll enjoy it more this time round, but it just seems so stiff, unsubtle and spoon-feedy.

Chris Morris is still travelling hither and thither to promote Four Lions, and @LaurenceBoyce mentioned on the forums that Four Lions recently won the Independent Camera award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic.  It's a joy to see such an intelligent, challenging piece of work picking up plaudits on its own merits, with the judges presumably not being even remotely swayed by the reputation Morris has.  Four Lions seems to have been a great success financially, too.  People are still weirdly continuing to insist that it caused outrage, though, when the reality is that it neatly side-stepped everything bar a minor kerfuffle, by having the British general release strategically placed right behind the Election[1].  So please update your dull, cut and pasted 'Chris Morris never does interviews' narrative.

Morris has really managed to break through to a far more diverse audience in 2010, while still refusing to compromise the quality of his work.  It's so gratifying to see the likes of Morris and Stewart Lee still showing utter respect for comedy, and art in general, while once-great talents like Vic and Bob continue to slide deeper into doddering complacency.  A new generation of Morris fans are discovering Morris, not as the man fronting The Day Today, but as the man behind Four Lions.  It's their Brass Eye, and it's just as excitingly subversive and challenging as the 90's output was to us at the time.  The focus on developing and applying character-based narrative to the humour of Chris Morris has produced some of his most thoughtful and fascinating work.  I mentioned My Wrongs above...I recently looked back again at Morris' first foray into film-making, after slowly beginning to unravel it around 2005.  An adaption of a Blue Jam monlogue, My Wrongs was released as a short film, and received a BAFTA nomination before it was even released.  Here's a threadwhere I started a reappraisal of it, I'd love to hear your own thoughts.  (Or perhaps you'd like to chat about the old radio work?)  I'm editing together a podcast about the short, which goes into an appropriately mind-boggling amount of detail.

Time to wrap up this update, so I can start work on the next one - here's a bunch of stuff to keep you busy in the interim:  The Four Lions posters finally arrived, so I'm going to go through all the competition submissions now, and get those posted off.  The forums are now iPhone compatible, and should be a lot easier to use on mobile phones in general.  Stewart Lee's new book is out, and looks excellent.  Chortle ran a slightly sensationalist article about 'Chris Morris helping to train spies', which seems aimed at trying to get them mentioned in The Sun or some such scum-rag.  The Q&A was at Latitude, and @McKuw was there, with mic in pocket.  You can download that now, but I'm going to EQ it again, so you might want to wait for a better-sounding version.  This is how it sounds at the minute.  Finally, if you want to know the truth about the helium story, start reading here, and benthalo will put the whole matter to rest for you.  Don't click it! 
 1. Over-simplification.  CM getting out and promoting/contextualising things also seems to have really helped, as did the years of careful research.  It's almost impossible to find fault with the way the subject is treated, after all, but journo's will always go for the lazy 'should we be joking about this kind of thing?' angle, and will also try to find people they can deliberately upset so they then have a story.  The general election did just seem to blow the story out of the water, though.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 11:57:41 PM by Neil »


  • Tonight, Mr. Kite is watching The Bill
Re: Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker - Four Lions Satellite Q&A
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2010, 07:21:25 PM »
Ah, ta for the Brooker Q&A, have waited a while to hear this and will go and listen away now.