On a hill, next to a meadow, is a crooked cottage with gingham curtains. There, adventurers weary from hiking through the apple orchard and the bracken and hay can rest in the glow of the woodburner, drifting off to sleep to the hoot of a neighbouring owl. Such a picturesque scene might sound like it is has been lifted from the pages of an Enid Blyton book, but it is a description of a stay at Swallowtail Hill, a sustainability minded camping site in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Beauty in East Sussex – an area so idyllic it could be rebranded “English Pastoral: the theme park”. … [Read more...] about Idyllic English pastoral: an off-grid cottage holiday in East Sussex
As a result, black comedy on TV is severely rationed. "It's one in, one out," says Amos. "Richard Blackwood had his own show, then Jocelyn Jee Esien had hers [Little Miss Jocelyn]. But I can't remember when two black comics were ever on TV at the same time." BBC3's hidden camera show 3 Non-Blondes, featuring Esien, got two series in 2003 and 2004, as well as rave reviews; but its performers decided against a third series when they became too well known (the comedy depended on disguise). In his standup set, Amos jokes that he'll only ever get a TV show when Lenny Henry dies. ("We all have a version of that joke," says Crawford, ruefully.) Because there are so few black comics on TV, each performer shoulders the fortunes of the whole scene. So when 2004 series The Crouches flopped, "the BBC pulled back and said, 'We can't do black sitcom'," says Le Mar. "That's too much pressure. Why do we always have to be fantastic, or die?" … [Read more...] about Heard the one about the black standups?
On to this turbid ocean of tears comes the launch of Outsiders, a pilot sitcom I helped make as part of Comedy Blaps, Channel 4’s scheme for new comedy talent. The show was originally conceived as an improvised flatshare comedy, cast with up-and-coming stand-up comedians rather than actors, all from foreign shores: last year’s Edinburgh best newcomer winner Sofie Hagen from Denmark, Mae Martin from Canada, Pierre Novellie from South Africa by way of the Isle of Man, Yasmine Akram from Ireland and Jamali Maddix from, er, Dagenham. (You can catch them doing their stand-up thing this month at the Edinburgh fringe.) … [Read more...] about Depressed about Brexit? Outsiders is the comedy that makes you want to stay in
For all the fun and games of early morning drinks and hamfisted onion chopping, there is little to be gained from mastering the burger. The threat of being pointed at, heckled and assaulted remains. So they go from fast-food poetry to Crackerjack cookery and on to great tirades of confrontational fury, pleading for a society in which marginalised people don’t have to go on stage to let their voices be heard and where passersby do not simply pass by when someone’s human dignity is denied. … [Read more...] about Burgerz review – chop chop, get wise to transphobic violence
Much faster approvals, 300,000 new homes a year and reforms to ensure fairer competition with big developers could prove a goldmine for Sun-reading self-employed builders too. … [Read more...] about We must mask-up, return to work, reopen schools — in order to kick-start economy like our competitors