Lockdown: Week 9

’m sure you won’t need reminding but, it is the half term holiday and there are no expectations on anyone to be completing work. You all need that break. Take some time away from the work. Turn off your computer. Don’t check emails. Give yourself some brain space.

It’s fitting that I can say this today towards the end of Mental Health Awareness week, with its strapline kindness matters. During the last few months we have all had to adapt to different and challenging ways of working. You may well have been juggling home-schooling. We’ve all had to adapt to new technologies and platforms. If that is you, I salute you!

I don’t think anyone is yet clear as to what impact this present crisis will have on our individual and collective mental health. However, it seems clear that many of us are going to come out of this crisis in a different position to our state of mind when we went in. I hope that you do feel that we’ve done all that we can to support you during this difficult time and I hope that you have taken all the necessary measures, which you know that you need to take, to ensure that you have good, strong mental health.

I’d also like to take the opportunity with this message this week message to wish Eid Mubarak to our Muslim friends and family. After a long and difficult holy month of Ramadan they can all celebrate Eid-ul – Fitr from tomorrow. I know that for many people it will be a very different Eid to the usual traditions; usually it is an opportunity to spend time with close family and friends; embracing, eating together and sharing intimate moments. That might not take place this year but I’m sure you’ll all find your way of making this Eid as special as every other year. Once again, Eid Mubarak.

‘Let our religions unite us for human kindness rather than dividing us on what we believe. Eid Mubarak’ Hockson Floin

Please feel free to press delete now. If not here is another comedy connection

Last week I shared with you the wonderful Beyond our Ken. Those of you from the north will understand that that has very much a double meaning. I won’t explain it to you. Beyond our Ken and Round the Horne very much transitioned British sketch comedy from very ordinary and limited 1940s music hall based sketch and stand up to the more cerebral comedy of the late 1960s, 1970s and beyond.

I have identified an episode of I’m sorry I’ll read that again. I’m sorry I’ll read that again was made at around the same time as Beyond our Ken, but it had a very different feel to it. Leading lights and writers included Bill Oddie, Graham Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor (sadly lost to us due to the coronavirus), David Hatch, John Cleese and Jo Kendall.

I’m sorry I’ll read that again comes directly out of the Footlights. It was performed after the famous Beyond the Fringe and didn’t quite have the same impact in Britain and across the water in the States, however it did shape British comedy for a decade and a half to come – as you’ll find out in the coming weeks.

You will notice a different tone to I’m sorry I’ll read that again. Although it does not feel particularly radical these days, in the early 1960s it brought us a slightly more surreal, possibly European, and certainly more cerebral and middle-class comedy to the British masses. Unlike many other sketch shows of the era this was before its time. This long running sketch show was written and performed by the cast. Much warm humour is to be found, it is riddled with less misogyny and homophobia (both sadly the heart of many lowbrow and low-key British comedies at the time) and it takes liberties with the concept of the sketch show; sketches don’t quite finish in the right way, don’t always start in the manner you might expect, don’t have the necessary punchline. All strategies used in later sketches shows.

For this bank holiday weekend enjoy this episode from 1966