Thanks to Ms Nonch for her harrassment skills, unrelenting abuse of the 'Send' button on her email and her amazing powers of persuasion and flattery, I looked in my Conchords archive a bit more this evening. I've been doing this on and off for a while and have dug a few things up and thought it would be good to share.
This stuff can be found if you dig deep enough (and know it exists) but I don't recall ever seeing it posted here on the forum (or anywhere else other than the blog itself?). Oddly the writer pulled it for a while around the time I posted about it in a news update on the main site.
So, here are the entries from the blog.
These date from June 2005 when the Conchords were in London recording their BBC radio show.
A private tour of the BBC building - June 7, 2005
Today I went grocery shopping at ASDA, since it’s important to visit the supermarket wherever you travel. I picked up several packets of Hob Nobs, bottles of water, and chocolate. There I was accosted by a boorish fellow trying to speak Japanese to me (this is a global menace, really). When I didn’t respond, he then switched to Chinese. I finally just held up my hand and said, “STOP.” He did, and I walked away.
It has been a gorgeous day—70s, bright and sunny but with a cool breeze—a prelude to the English summer. Confident in my newly-acquired bus skills (I got off at the wrong stop last night and found myself in a dodgy neighborhood), I headed back to central London and rummaged through some records at Rough Trade (a hassle to find—it’s in a basement of a skater shop off some sidestreet). Then I wandered north of Oxford Circus to meet up with the photographer.
Jemaine had pushed back our shoot to 5 PM. I was concerned he would be rather uptight, given his phone presence thus far. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the interview. Louise spotted them first—she says you can spot Kiwis from a mile away. They looked like veritable rock stars strolling down the street with their entourage and instruments. Jemaine introduced himself first. Then I introduced myself to Bret, who has gotten shaggier than ever (this is a guy who played one of the elves in LoTR). We exchanged pleasantries, and then asked if we could shoot on top of the Broadcasting Building’s roof. It seems it’s a very famous building, and everyone in the city knew about it except us. The building was used during WWII for radio broadcasts.
Anyway, enough of that. The BBC fellow signed us in and we got a tour of the place. First through the tea room. Then through more nooks and crannies. Up a spiral staircase. Through a strange doorway, and finally to the roof, where we set up. I chatted with Bret about Los Angeles, London, and New York. He told me about the show they’re writing and the meetings they’ll have in LA. Then the guys hammed it up for the camera. They needed no prodding. We’re meeting for curry on Brick Lane tomorrow for lunch (curry! with two of the funniest people on the planet!), and I’ll probably go to their show before heading to Brixton for TBLLT’s gig.
Still no word on So-FY-ah. Just as well, the make-up artist I wanted to use had all $5,000 worth of her makeup stolen on Sunday. I’m bummed that the Jack the Ripper evening walking tour is booked up. Oh well, I am going to go eat something good for dinner now. I just haven’t decided what, yet.
Curry with the Conchords - June 8, 2005
1:57 AM this morning, London time: I am rudely awakened by the annoying ringer on my mobile as a result of a call informing me that the Sophia shoot is a GO! That just about ruined the rest of my sleep. All I had been looking forward to was a casual lunch with the Conchords followed by some book-reading in Hyde Park and a stroll through Notting Hill. I admit I had hoped the shoot wouldn’t work, so I wouldn’t have to interview this actress whilst playing stylist (I barely know how to dress myself—how am I supposed to dress her?). But now here I sit in a Tottenham Internet cafe waiting to hear back from agents out in bloody Los Angeles.
Last night I finally found my chip shop in Covent Garden and washed it all down with a beer. Part of the tube wasn’t running properly, so I had to do some creative thinking to get back home. I haven’t seen my hosts in days now, because I wake up after they leave, and I get home after they’ve gone to bed.
Today is another gorgeous day: breezy and cool in the 70s, but bright and sunny. Bret declared it to be “the most gorgeous London day of the year” and I believe it. I met up with him on the corner of Bethnal Green Rd and Brick Lane at 1:15. Jemaine arrived a half an hour late as promised. We found a curry house and they proceeded to order enough food for five people. Jemaine’s all-meat diet proved challenging for my own, but we worked it out. They ended up taking back boxes of pakoras to the BBC building. After the very long lunch, during which I heard about a “split roast” (nasty details, and hilarious), what “roommates” means in Britain, and life in New Zealand, we strolled out to the street. We walked past a record store, and I told the guys I wanted to check it out and would catch them later on at the media/BBC recording show tonight.
After browing through the store for about ten minutes, I headed back out and took some back alleys through the East End. Suddenly, I heard my name shouted from the back. It was like reacting to my mobile ringer: “Who on earth is that? Surely that’s some other Robin. I don’t know anyone in London.” It was them. They had been shopping for a panda for one of their upcoming skits. So we joined up again and decided to hop on the bus. We snapped photos on the second story of the bus and talked about Wellington until we reached Oxford Circus. So I’m heading over to the show tonight and the guys said we could possibly hang out afterwards. I told them I want to introduce them to the Boy Least Likely To in Brixton. I think they would all get along great!
All right, now I must get on with this research business in order to have some semblance of professionalism.
"This is real London, love!" - June 9, 2005
Last night I barely made it in time for the Conchords’ show at the Albany, a comedy bar/club near the Great Portland tube stop. I had been dilly-dallying near Tottenham, munching on an “authentic” Belgian waffle (it wasn’t). The Conchords put on a phenomenal show. At one point, Bret forgot his line and people in the audience shouted it out for him.
The radio programme recorded most of the show for part of the Conchords’ mockumentary that will air in September/October. Much of this involved Dan, the panda (which is why they were shopping for a panda earlier in the day), who is another British comedian on the scene.
After the show, I stuck around and Bret eventually came over and we chatted about the show. He was thoroughly embarrassed for having forgotten his lines, but took it all in stride. Then some rude groupie girl interrupted and I started playing “Battleship” (it’s called “Naval Fleet” or something like that out there) on my mobile. Will, the spastic BBC producer, then approached me and exclaimed, “Nobody leaves this place without recording something for the Vox Box!”
The Vox Box are sound clips they play on BBC radio of regular folks about anything, really. For this recording, Will wanted me to say something very disparaging about the performance. I protested and told him my American accent wouldn’t work well, and he said, “That’s why we want you on!” So I ended up giving them two lines: “I had tickets to see ‘Queen: the Musical’ but that didn’t work out, so I ended up here and couldn’t get out.” and “I’m from New York, and this performance was all right, I suppose, for here. It would never fly back at home, though” (spoken with utter disdain, which comes so naturally). Bret was nearby at that point and loved it. I was just going to say goodbye when he said they were going to get a bite to eat and did I want to come?
So Bret, Jemaine, Dan (the panda) and I all piled into a black cab—instruments and all—to Dean Street. Dan, a crazed, bearded, black-nerd-glasses wearing man yelled, “I’m going to show you REAL LONDON!” after we argued about the merits of London v. NYC. When we got out, I grabbed Bret’s guitar (he carried his Casio guitar), and we all looked like a proper band walking down the street, except Dan was stuck holding the baby Fisherprice-like glockenspiel. We stopped by another comedy club and picked up John, another comedian who has a political comedy show on the BBC; he had been performing that night as well. People stepped aside for “the band” and I even had a groupie follow me for a bit—he grabbed my arm and I told him to sodd off (okay, I didn’t say that exactly). We had a late night in Chinatown, chatting about a charity auction on the London Eye (people who win will spend their 30-min ride on the Eye with big music acts. And others will end up with the Flight of the Conchords, as Bret explained to me).
After some fantastic conversation (I haven’t laughed so much in one day) and witnessing “real London!” John and Dan escorted me home. Bret & Jemaine told me they hoped to see me in New York. I promised to show all four of them “REAL New York” (I’ll arrange for them to witness a stabbing or something).