Mr. Coops’ Eyebrow extraction

I know, 2009, but I found that and thought it was funny. So last night we had a lovely evening. The last week of shows have been terrific – Simon, our tour manager, is back with us in robust health, and his replacement for the week, Chris, was just lovely. Plymouth was delightful, and we headed to the beautiful Barbican area to take Chris out for a farewell lunch. The shows were great fun, as have been the last few nights in Northampton. Bank Holiday Monday brought us a lively, refreshed audience; last night, after the first day back at work, the auditorium was noticeably more tired. It’s fascinating how such things translate into reliable shifts in audience energy. 

After the show last night we went over the road and were looked after royally by Victor at Cagney’s restaurant, just over the road from stage door. It’s always massively appreciated when a restaurant opens late for us, and it was a hugely welcoming place  in which to to plonk ourselves down, tired and hungry. The steaks, Northamptoners, are rumoured to be the best in town, and I have to say that ours were sensational. Thank you Victor, and nameless lady chef for looking after us so well. Here’s Victor:


and you can see Jennie and Iain inside waving like the fools they are. Please be sure to say hello to Victor if you’re passing, and aside from the steaks, the garlic prawns are definitely worth the journey from wherever you are.  

After our meal, we headed back to the hotel, where a momentous event occurred. For some time, Coops has flaunted an eyebrow hair which has grown to massive proportions. The rest of us have tried any number of ruses to pluck it from his head, including rugby-tackles, hypnosis and pornography, but he has been quick to protect it and rendered all attempts useless. Last night, however, a little softened by Victor’s beers and fine Italian food, he agreed to allow Jennie to pluck it from him. I filmed the event and am posting it here for posterity. Best to ignore the background dialogue, which is a confused late-night stream of show-related in-jokes that will make no sense to you. Also, enjoy how Coops looks when he’s drunk. 

There you all are. I’m going to have to toss a coin on the race/cake issue. Thank you for your thoughts. 


Kindness competition entries

Thank you all for sending us your entries for the rubbish souvenirs from Alton Towers. Aside from those people who completely misunderstood the basic premise, were several who had done some lovely things. A thank you to the lady who has set up the site allowing people to donate to the Parrot Zoo, that’s very good of you.

I have two personal favourites:

i decided to run the race for life this year after finding out my aunty has cancer.since i dont have the cure, i thought this would be the most kindest warmest thing i could do for her and others alike.hopefully completing this will be a small help.i would like you to give me the keyring now and some mind-benders to help me get over running 3 miles.i wouldnt normally run for anything – and I wasn’t going to do this anyway. i really did enter this in order to try and win.




“I made this cake for my grandmother” – it wasn’t her birthday and she wasn’t ill.

Do I win?


One worthy cause, one simple touching gesture (the cake entry had no proof of baking date, which technically could disqualify it – though I’m happy to let it pass because it looks amazing). But I can’t decide between the two. Let me know your thoughts, and then I might toss a coin if I can’t decide.

Meanwhile, I have just taken a genuine spirit photograph. I know I’ve always been sceptical of such things, claiming that we’re just finding patterns in randomness etc, but I just picked up my drink of Diet Pepsi in the bar of this Northampton hotel, which I had no idea was haunted, to find the face of a ghost appearing in the moisture that had formed beneath the glass. I shall show the picture to the staff, as it may be the face of someone who perhaps worked and was murdered here in a previous century. Alternatively, some of you may think that it is the face of Christ himself, and that I have stumbled across something of enormous religious significance. If this is the case, Northampton should brace itself for annual pilgrimages to mark the day of this miracle. Either way, I’d like to hear those closed-minded Western atheist sciencey-types explain this one:


Right, on with the book. I’m paying fifteen pounds to use wi-fi here! Fifteen! This upsets me.

Please continue.


Derren Brown Interview Archive

Every week we will be pulling an old interview from the archive and posting it on the blog.

This week a Nowt 2 Do interview from 2002

A truly remarkable man, very charming, very British, and very interesting, welcome to the world of Derren Brown. Derren is easily Britain’s most unique magical performer and ,hot on the heels of his Channel 4 Specials and making a new series of “Mind Control,” performs a one off run at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory. Nowt2Do.Com were lucky enough to secure an interview with Derren in his Clifton home to find out about Bristol, The show and all things magical!

They say a home can tell you a lot about a person, well Derren’s home can tell you almost everything about him. An extremely well lived in flat situated right slap bang in the heart of Clifton was where I met Derren and Figaro his parrot. His flat is stunning, walls plastered with books (Kafka, psychology, magic), stuffed animals, an assortment of magical memorabilia, and his astounding portraits. Anthony Hopkins, Franz Kafka, Uri Geller, himself, Teller (of Penn and Teller fame!) are amongst the most notable, all strikingly realistic yet marked with Derren’s unique style. “It’s how I like to relax, put some music on and just paint, it’s the opposite of performing I absolutely love it. They are not caricatures as such, just seem to turn out similar to their style! I have a great memory for faces, and its basically how I see people. I hope to organise them into an exhibition after the tour and series.” Read More

Some musical listening-items for you.

Last night we had ourselves a little party after the show, courtesy of the M&S Party Food aisle here in Reading. (We didn’t actually hold the party in the aisle – is that ambiguous? I just bought the num-nums there). Stephen Long, our brilliant, erstwhile crew-member-turned-singer-songwriter was at the party, all grins and compliments on the show, as was the delightful Joe Sparks, who you may or may not know as an equally talented performer. Those of you with volumes to turn up, enjoy the musical brilliances of our good friends. Stephen has just released an EP, and Joe has been signed by Oli Claw records with an album called Black 26 that launches in July. Please listen and enjoy. 

Joe Sparks

Stephen Long

At the Parrot Zoo


While playing in Grimsby we spent an afternoon in the sensational National Parrot Zoo, in Lincolnshire, of which you’ll already know that your dedicated Blogger is Patron Saint. The Zoo is the largest of its kind in Europe, set to expand even more, and is uniquely dedicated to the welfare and rehabilitation of sick parrots. Alongside that, Steve Nicholls, the Zoo’s profoundly committed owner, is undeniably the country’s most knowlegeable expert on these animals, carrying out extensive research into the much misunderstood beauties. The place is a moving testament to his understanding and knowledge. 

Jen and Iain had never been before, and were bowled over. Steve showed me where he’s planted 10,000 willow trees for the new extension across into adjoining fields. It really is a wonderful place and well worth a visit.

They are the most sensational creatures. Steve was telling me that quite a few of them had owners during the war, and have lived through the Blitz, the sounds of which they have stored away for decades. Occasionally, the right sort of noise will trigger one off, and a whole host of sounds will emerge: milkman, morning chatter, then the sound of a bomb dropping. The whistling arc of the descending bomb would then re-awaken the other older birds to their own recorded memories, and soon a whole aviary would be presenting the sounds of the 1940-41 arial attack. Astonishing, and oddly moving, to think of all that history locked away in those little feathered heads. 

Here’s one bird who spent a little too long listening to the muffled sound of its owner on the phone in the next room:

And this is just wonderful. Steve was out amongst the aviaries at night and came across a group of Amazons huddled together, all asleep apart from one, who was singing ‘Go To Sleep My Baby’. Presumably this used to be sung to it by his owner. By the time Steve returned with a camera, the bird had moved onto a different song, which we’re having a hard time distinguishing. We’re guessing it’s nothing in particular, if you know it, please tell us, and we’ll send you a little prize as a thank you:

Make sure you visit the zoo and say Hello from me. 

The last couple of days began with a lovely welcome by the terrific crew at Sheffield City Hall. It’s a tricky venue, for technical reasons, in which to set up the show, but the excellent and super-friendly staff more than make up for it,  and both nights went well. Andy Nyman, who has been filming Black Death in Germany, managed to make it over for the first night to see the show up and running for the first time since previews. And to show us his handsome new filming-beard. 

Sheffield did not, however, bring with it any useable wi-fi in the hotel (I’m NOT paying for it, that’s just plain wrong), hence you not hearing from me for a few days.

I meant to post a thank you for all the gifts I’ve been getting – thank you so much, it’s very kind indeed. And for the six of you at Sheffield last night standing at stage door in the driving rain for over half an hour when I’d been told no-one was bothering… apologies and thank you. Hope none of you caught colds. 

Tonight we’re in Reading, with our grinning friend and handsome songsmith Stephen Long in the audience. And our very own Phillis will be there too, hiding at the back… see if you can spot her. 

Much love,