Thursday, 14 May 2009

The Old Romantics

Next week I mark 5 years as one of the Old Romantics, which is a newspaper column written by myself and comedian Stu Wilde for the Lincolnshire Echo.
We get to talk about the nostaligia of the 1980s. Frankly I'm amazed we have lasted so long. It was a bold move by the newspaper to publish us in the first place, because for some reason there is not much humour in local newspapers, in my opinion, and the readership tends to have a demographic of 50+.
Even so, the paper stuck with us through thin and thinner, the readers have loved or hated our brand of weekly nonsense in equal measure, and now we are five. When we started out I hated the whole idea of it and found it hugely frustrating that we could only talk about the 1980s. The style of the column is a conversation ( )and reads like I script, which I also hated. Now we are still doing it after more than 250 columns I think the idea is quite innovative!

I was six when the 80s started and 16 when they ended so half the time I didn't know what Stu, who is a couple of years older than me, was on about. I just wanted to talk about Oasis and Blur but readers soon corrected me if I/we did step into the wrong decade. Come to think of it readers have corrected me/us on a lot of things, including my knowledge of Star Wars, the release date of certain records and the standards of our humour.

We both got the gig writing the Old Romantics because we were both stand-up comics working in journalism. I gave up doing live stand-up soon after the column started, Stu still gigs three or four times a week. Our humour his quite different. When we started out I was always obsessed with Seinfeld and Larry David and just wanted to create clever storylines for our conversations. Eventually I/we realised there are enough stupid things going on in our lives in any given week to have to make stuff up, although we do exaggerate a fair bit...

Stu has a more scattergun approach to humour and if its funny he will just say it. He is a real gagmeister. Do not get stuck in a lift with him, or a car for that matter. He is very funny and never shuts up.
Last year we recorded our favourite columns to broadcast via podcasts ( on the Lincolnshire Echo's website. They sounded and went down far better than I imagined. We booked a studio at the University of Lincoln to create the sound files. Of course Stu sounded like a polished luvvie who had rehearsed his lines over and over and I sounded like a bloke reading from the back of a fag packet in a pub. In fact I sounded a bit nasal, like Melvyn Bragg. Anyway it was a great experience and hopefully we can do some more soon.

I guess I'm writing this because I am pleased that we have come this far. At the start I wished they would scrap the whole thing and let us do something else, now I am hugely proud of what Stu and I have achieved. Here's to another five years!

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