CAUGHT BETWIXT BOOSH, SHORTLISTED FOR THE 1999 PERRIER AWARD, CHRIS MAUME IS LOST FOR WORDS - The Independent Dec 12 1999
One of them’s the devil, the other’s a dreamer. Imagine Reeves and
Mortimer - but funnier - infused with the soul of Eddie Izzard. Or
Morecambe and Wise reinvented by Lewis Carroll. That, very roughly
speaking, is the Boosh.
comes across as the spiky, dangerous one, Noel Fielding as the
sensitive pre-Raphaelite refugee from a late-Sixties beat combo. And the
surrealist fantasies they weave can be seen from tomorrow in their
Perrier-shortlisted show, Arctic Boosh.
The manner of
the Boosh’s coming together suggests that it’s good to stalk. “He used
to come to my gigs,” Barratt begins - “dressed as a lady,” Fielding
interjects. “I used to say, ‘come and get me’.”
In fact Barratt, born in Leeds in 1968, was doing stand-up at the Hell
Fire Club in High Wycombe when Fielding first saw him. Having dropped
out of his American Studies course at Reading University, he had been a
wildly eclectic musician before switching to comedy.
Fielding, five years younger and born in London, had been to art school
before spotting Barratt. He saw him again a few times, did some stand-
up himself and reached the final of the Open Mic award in 1996, a year
after Barratt won it. Eventually they were on the bill together at the
Enterprise pub in Chalk Farm, London, and got talking. “I thought I
could turn him into something halfway decent,” Barratt says.
The first thing they did together was to write a sitcom, Boy’s in the
Wood, in which the two main characters live deep in a forest. Replete
with mad, budget -busting ideas, such as being shot out of a cannon into
a different world each episode, it would have cost millions. They are
now developing it as a radio series for GLR.
going to bypass television and go straight to film,” says Barratt.
“It’s hard to convince TV people,” Fielding complains, and Barratt
continues: “They look at us strangely then move away.” Fielding replies
gently, “They weren’t TV people, Julian.”
first gig together was at Edinburgh Festival two years ago, while last
year The Mighty Boosh - in which they played zookeepers in the jungle -
won them the Perrier Best Newcomers award. This year they were
shortlisted for the award proper with Arctic Boosh, which involves two
postal workers, Vince Noir and Howard Moon, and their journey to the
tundra, where they meet, among other creatures, Alan The Bingo Moose,
who shoots numbers from his hoof.
Though most of
their material is prewritten, there is lots of giddy improvisation, and
much of the humour is non-verbal. “We’ve built up a language of little
gestures,” says Fielding. There are killer one-liners, but against a
subtle backdrop. “We try to be different but popular,” Fielding
continues. “We punch and kiss, caress and kick.”
true comedic style, both fancy themselves as straight thespians. “I can
act,” says Barratt, whom TV ad-watchers will have seen flogging an
alcopop with the words “It’s what we scientists call a judder.” Fielding
is, he reckons, “getting better 'cause I’m nicking all his best stuff,”
and indeed his experience went to good use lately in a swashbuckling
cameo in Plunkett and Macleane.
Fielding might also
have pursued a sporting career, playing semi-professional football for
Kingstonians and Sutton United and describing himself as a left -winger
in the Pat Nevin mould. “Then your muscles withered,” Barratt tells him,
adding, “Sport doesn’t do anything for me. And I don’t do anything for
True to form, Barratt did participate in a
cricket match for British comedians against their Australian
counterparts when they took Arctic Boosh on tour in October, but spent
his time in the field reading Nabokov. As you might imagine, the Aussies
had the upper hand. “They roasted us,” says Fielding.
Apart from the Arctic Boosh run, Barratt will also be on television on
Millennium night, on Apocalypse Tube. “I might wash my hair,” says
Fielding. “I might go to a graveyard and do some painting.” Barratt
admonishes him: “Everyone’s going to be going to graveyards and
While Barratt infuses their act with
music, Fielding contributes strange visuals. “I use a lot of Polo
mints,” he says. “For the eyes. And catfish tentacles. I paint on
binbags - the ultimate disposable art.” Barratt’s heroes are the likes
of Bartk, Scott Walker and Frank Zappa, while Mick Jagger and Keith
Richards are Fielding’s desert island icons, though he does admit to a
penchant for Frank Spencer. “I am a man who dreams of culture,” asserts
Barratt. “He is a man who dreams of crisps.”
world of the Boosh is a strange one. “We have a need to make people
laugh at things they’d never thought about,” says Barratt, “make them
laugh at things that aren’t logical. Have the audience experience
something like the psychedelic thing, but not like the 1960s.” Which is
perhaps as good a definition of their comedy as you’ll get.
'Arctic Boosh’: Lyric Studio, Hammersmith, W6 (0181 741 2311), tomorrow to 8 January
Jenna and Noel are responsible for Charlotte’s death, and now they are finding her vengeful sibling…before he finds them.
This theory sort of came from nowhere. I had my suspicions that Jenna was the killer, and I had a whole lot of confusion about what Noel was up to… and then this idea clicked. Jenna and Noel killed Charlotte, and Noel is making sure AD doesn’t find out.
For anyone with any doubts about Ali, I have composed this little analysis from the episode (and a little bit from 5x02).
The episode starts off with the girls in the choir-room while Tanner interviewed Alison.
Right from the start, we see Alison’s fear about slipping up to Tanner. During this scene, she is very fidgety and has her arms folded. These are signs that she is uncomfortable (and lying). Notice that she’s also wearing a black blazer, which can symbolise fear, mystery and the unknown. Ali doesn’t know what is going to happen; she’s scared that Tanner will find a hole in her story. By the end of the episode, she reveals that the intruder in the house was Noel Kahn (who she asked to scare Ashley Marin). Personally, I was surprised that Ali had Ashley “attacked”. Ashley was so kind and nurturing-which I guess makes it an even larger betrayal.
This begs the question: Is this why Ali asked Hanna if she could stay over? I think as soon as the interview was over, Ali already knew that she had to do something. She had to get the Police to believe in her story. At the time, I didn’t understand why Ali would ask to stay over at Hanna’s instead of the other girls (especially over Emily) when she knew that Hanna had a problem with her. I think Ali knew that Ashley was (i say this with nothing but love) naive and would be the most sympathetic towards her. Ashley really believed her story (in comparison to Pam Fields who kind of just went along with what Ali was saying in 5x07).
There is an ongoing argument amongst PLL fans about whether Ali has changed and whether she can be trusted. I believe she has changed!
Here, Ali is telling Ashley about her kidnapping - saying that thinking of her family and her house is what got her through it. By talking about her story, she is able to become more familiar with it (prevents her from getting little facts wrong) and helps to convince people that her story is true. I have to be honest, I rolled my eyes at this scene. Alison is still manipulating people but she has changed.
During this scene, Ali told Ashley “I heard someone last night, outside the window trying to get in.” Again, I thought this was another attempt at manipulation. But when Ashley left, Ali was still scared. If this was the old Ali, she would have smiled or dropped the act (if she was just lying for the sake of manipulation). There was no point in keeping up the act if no one was there to see it.
Therefore, Ali’s fear is genuine. She probably did hear someone trying to get in. Even if that story was fake and was just a ploy to get Ashley aware and worried (to prepare her for Noel Kahn’s “break-in”), this part of the scene STILL proves that there was at least some truth to what she was saying. She is scared that someone is out to get her (and we KNOW that she is in danger). Asking Noel Kahn to act as an intruder was her safety net. It was a way for her to show the Police that her story was real and was also a way to keep -A happy. I read a theory that Ali had to change her story because of the -A text (5x02) “The truth will bury you in a New York minute”.
In 5x02, Ali goes to the police station and is ready to tell the truth about what had happened. She tried to introduce herself and Holbrook interrupted with “I know who you are. I’m glad that you’re with your friends, welcome home. I’m guessing you have a lot to tell me. Maybe we can begin with the night you disappeared,” while Ali goes through her bag.
Then she suddenly zips up her bag and says that she “didn’t disappear” and that she “was kidnapped”. I believe that she saw the text as she was looking through her bag, and realised that she had to quickly change her story (to protect her and the girls- specifically Aria). During the interview, Alison was getting facts all jumbled up (saying that they were in a shed in rosewood, when she had previously said that they were in Philadelphia). This clearly shows that Alison was not prepared. She did not plan on lying about her disappearance.
If she hadn’t lied, then the Police would have known that -A was still terrorizing the girls and was the reason for Ali’s disappearance. By making sure that Tanner believed in her story, she was keeping -A from giving any evidence to the Police showing Aria as the culprit for Shana’s murder.
So in summary:
Alison is still a manipulator, but, her intentions are not selfish. Unlike the Pre-Disappearance Alison, her manipulations are not a game. She is trying to protect herself and the girls. She needs to lie in order to keep them safe.
She is being honest about her fear. Her experiences from running away from -A really has changed her and she is scared of what -A will do.
Alison will do anything to protect herself and the girls. Even though Ashley Marin was like a mother figure to her, she did what she had to do in order for Tanner to believe in her story.