Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Into the Nexus

There has been a lot going on. And oddly, it all goes back to my university days.

I say "oddly" because I am not someone who has a particular nostalgia for my time at university. Don't get me wrong, it was perfectly fine and nice, but I didn't find it to be the profound or formative experience that others do. Although it was very important to my life in that without it I would never have come to Norwich, and would never have ended up working for the BBC. So it had a significance I could never have guessed at the time.

I attended the University of East Anglia from 2002 until 2005, and while I was there I was a member of the student TV station, Nexus. I was even president of it in my final year, a disastrous turn of events which proved to me that I should never be in charge of anything, ever. Still, at least that was a lesson in itself, I suppose...

Anyway, the station was sadly in its dying days at the time. But it was clear that it had a long and interesting history, which I was fascinated by. We had all sorts of relics in the form of old photos and reels of tape hanging around in the studio / office; reminders of more glorious days past.

I explored this a bit at the time, but only really out of a casual personal interest. However, a couple of years ago, I wondered whether it might be possible to make a radio documentary about Nexus for the station. Telling its story. In fact, I even pondered the idea "aloud", as it were, in a comment on a YouTube upload of a 1970s Nexus programme...

In April this year I decided to finally try and do something about it, and asked one of my bosses if I could give it a go. He said yes, so I set about trying to get permission to use clips from Nexus archive material - there'd be no point in doing it if I couldn't do that. This done, I then spent most of the summer putting the programme together, tracking down interviewees, recording chats with them and sorting through bits of archive. The resulting programme went out on Bank Holiday Monday, the 30th of August, as Nexus: Norfolk's Forgotten TV Station, and seemed to go down very well. I was able to speak to all sorts of interesting people, and I think I managed to do a decent job of making the Nexus story accessible and interesting to people who had no connection at all to the station or the UEA.

But that's really only half the story...

The weekend before it went out, the Eastern Daily Press once again kindly published a piece I wrote about the station to preview the programme. They again made it the cover feature on their Weekend supplement, with a four-page feature inside which you can read online here.



That was a general overview of the station, but I also knew that there was one particular aspect to the story which might make a good 'hook' to help promote the documentary with, which I gave to my colleagues at BBC News Online for a separate piece which they put up on the Friday before the documentary aired.

I remember when I first joined Nexus in the autumn of 2002, one of the people running it at the time telling me very proudly about their "famous Morecambe and Wise interview", but they never actually tried to do anything with it. It just sat there on an ancient, unplayable old Sony reel-to-reel tape, onto which it had been copied from the 1973 original sometime in the mid-seventies.


When I was more involved in running Nexus in 2004, I arranged with Paul Vanezis at BBC Birmingham to send it there to see if he could get anything off it. He told me at the time that he'd tried it on two different machines, but couldn't get anything off it on either of them, so it seemed to sadly be junk.

Later that year, however, I was sorting through the Nexus VHS archive, and I came across a compilation tape which someone had put together in 1983 of some of the best bits from the old reel-to-reel tapes, when they still had the ability to play them. It was a sort of "best of" of the past decade of Nexus... and it opened with a two-minute clip from the 1973 Morecambe and Wise interview.

I remember this snapped on rewind at the time, and I had to open up the case to repair the tape - in fact, I think I remember having to completely unspool the whole thing and spool it back into a new case! Once it was playable again I took a duplicate copy which I kept, purely out of interest in the station's history.

Fast-forward 17 years, and this summer I managed to digitise my copy of the tape, and there were Eric and Ernie still present and correct at the start of it. Sharing their thoughts on Monty Python's Flying Circus...

For the programme, I was able to both get hold of the original interviewer, Colin Webb, and put in a ludicrously optimistic bid to get Sir Michael Palin's reaction to the video... who said yes! I knew of course this made it a great chance to promote the documentary, but I never imagined it would end up going as big as it did.

The online article, which I helped my colleague Zoe Applegate put together, went up on the Friday morning...

It gained over a million views that day, at one point reaching No. 2 in the "most read" charts on the site...


It got Monty Python trending on Twitter in the UK...

And it got picked up by almost all the newspapers the following day. The Times even interviewed me about it for their feature! It was madness!

Perhaps the most pleasing of all for me personally, however, was that I'd also made a national version of the radio piece and sent it to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4... Who liked it, and ran it on the Saturday morning. It's difficult to explain quite how proud this made me. I love working at Radio Norfolk, of course, but Radio 4 is... Well, it's the original BBC. It's the descendant of 2LO, through the Regional Programme and the Home Service. An unbroken line of nearly a century, and on that day, just for five minutes, it was made by me.


I was all over the bloody place! I did an interview for my colleagues at BBC Three Counties Radio after they'd spoken to Eric Morecambe's son Gary, who lives on their patch. My colleagues at CNS, the part of the BBC who provide national and shared material to BBC Local Radio, sent out a version of the piece on the Monday morning which about twenty-odd stations ran... 

It's so strange how what was the documentary I've so far made with perhaps the most niche subject matter ended up getting by far the most publicity of any programme I've ever made. I'm certainly glad I made and held onto that VHS tape all those years ago, anyway!

Life's rather good at the moment, writing-wise. I've also just been commissioned to do a paid article, which I'm working on this week, and there may soon be something even bigger to tell you all about... Sometimes, when I am writing to potential interviewees for an article or the like, I'll introduce myself as "a writer and broadcaster". Which sounds ridiculously grand, but at the moment, just for a while, I feel as if I'm actually living up to that billing.

Oh, and that 1970s open-reel tape which had the entire Morecambe and Wise interview on? It turns out that all the publicity around the surviving clip ended up revealing that the reel actually still exists, so an attempt may yet be made to try and get the full recording off it.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Donald Wilson Said...

 

The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine is out today, and for the first time in a while I've been fortunate enough to be able to write a piece for them. It's actually a piece I wrote an original, far-too-long version of a few years ago, but it's finally been able to find a home in the pages of the magazine, for which I'm very grateful.

It's all about a man named Donald Wilson, who has fascinated me for... I don't know, probably getting on for a quarter of a century now. He was the co-creator of Doctor Who, he may have even actually named the series, and yet he hardly ever seems to get his fair share of the credit. Which is particularly sad as he's also the one who seems to have most strongly believed in it, and who had the greatest foresight about its success, as most notably demonstrated in a memo he wrote to the editor of the Radio Times shortly before the first episode was broadcast:

Unlike Sydney Newman, not being widely credited as a creator of the show never really seems to have bothered Wilson, but it bothered me. I wanted to at least attempt to remind people of the important part he played.

During the course of researching the piece I was able to find a great deal of information about Wilson's life from speaking to his family, former colleagues, and through the BBC Written Archives Centre, the British Film Institute and various newspaper archives. There wasn't the time or space - haha - for much of this in the DWM piece, but perhaps I'll be able to use some of it elsewhere someday. I hope so - Donald certainly deserves his due.

You can read more about the vital part he played in creating Doctor Who in my piece in DWM issue 566, on sale now at WH Smith's, various other newsagents, and via DoctorWhoMagazine.com.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

At Last, The 1948 Article

A new professional article published today, for the BBC, and for a change not the part of the BBC for which I usually work! You can read it here.

A few weeks ago, the British Broadcasting Century happened to mention a certain Barrie Edgar, when talking about the BBC career of his father Percy. This rang a bell with me, as I wondered where I'd heard the name before. I was pretty sure it was as part of my Jimmy Jewell research back in 2019, and sure enough there it was - in the 1948 Olympic files. He was the co-commentator alongside Jewell on the football matches shown on TV during the games.


This then got me thinking that there were certain parallels between the 1948 Olympic football tournament and this summer's European Championships, which as I write this begin tomorrow. The 1948 event was also the first time an international football tournament was ever shown on television, and all-in-all I thought there might be an interesting article in it.

So I put something together and submitted it to BBC Archives for the blog associated with their Genome project, and very kindly they agreed to publish it. 

I've also had some good news this week about some other non-fiction irons in the fire, so all-in-all not a bad week on the writing front!

Monday, 28 September 2020

Cardboard Shoes

 

Last night - or, more accurately, in the very early hours of this morning - we said an on-air fond farewell to someone I've been working with throughout my entire professional career at the BBC. Keith Skues, "Cardboard Shoes", who retired after 61 years in broadcasting with us, Independent Local Radio, BBC Radio 1, Radio Caroline, the British Forces Network and more besides.

Yesterday was Keith's final regular programme, and I was fortunate enough not only to be working on it to help say goodbye to him, but also to have been able to pay tribute with another feature in the Weekend supplement of the Eastern Daily Press on Saturday. They've also put it online, where you can read it here.


My first ever paid shift at the BBC - after a few months as a volunteer phone answerer on the old Action Desk - was working on Keith's Sunday night show in February 2007. I was his regular broadcast assistant for the next two-and-a-half years or so, and have often deputised ever since, as well as working with him from time-to-time on assorted special broadcasts and documentaries. One of my own personal favourite memories in radio will always be getting the chance to produce a show from Broadcasting House, when we did his Radio 1 50th anniversary special from there in October 2017.

So I owe a lot to Keith, a unique character who inspires a great deal of fond affection in many who have worked with and listened to him down the decades. Thanks to him, and thanks to the EDP for allowing me to put some of that on the record.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Anniversary Antics


For the past three months or so solidly, and off-and-on since the beginning of the year, one major project on which I have been working has been the 40th anniversary celebrations of the radio station where I work, BBC Radio Norfolk. The big day was last Friday, the 11th of September.

It's been a lot of work but good fun, and entirely self-imposed. There was no need for anybody to do this, but as anyone who's read much of this blog down the years will know it's the kind of thing I very much enjoy doing. A three-part documentary series, one mini-documentary, eleven packages, two cue & qs with clips for lives, assorted news clips cut and cued and various photo galleries and archive clips for online. 

Plus - 1200 words for the EDP, who very kindly ran a feature of mine again in their Weekend supplement. With that amazing cover you can see above, too - I really liked that. I might get it framed, one day!

You can read the feature on the EDP website, here. And the 40th anniversary section of the BBC Radio Norfolk website, which you can find here, is likely to stay online for the foreseeable future.


Now - onto the next thing! Which is getting back to a non-fiction Doctor Who project on which I have also been working this year, but had to put aside to concentrate on the documentaries over the summer.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Lockdown Listening

A few weeks ago, near the start of the lockdown, I decided to upload most of the documentaries and a few other feature programmes I've made down the years onto Dropbox, to make them available for anyone who was looking for something of that sort to listen to.

It's not, I hope, that I'm so big-headed as to think that anyone was crying out for a "Paul Hayes Greatest Hits" collection. But as I just had them all there doing nothing, I wanted to do something

I messed up one or two of the links when I shared them on Twitter, so to put them out again - and just so I have the list somewhere all in one place for my own greater convenience! - here are all the links again. Most are to Dropbox, but a couple are to podcast versions of programmes still available on the BBC website. Either way, they're all freely available as MP3s for you to download and - hopefully! - enjoy.

It's a collection I am rather proud of, and also reminds me how very lucky I have been to have had the opportunity to make some programmes for the BBC about some of my greatest interests. Hopefully they will please anyone who shares any of those interests, too. Although I am also proud of the ones where I did a very good job as a producer with subjects I had no special interest in or connection to, even if I do say so myself!

The links are in the titles, so first of all back we go to the end of 2010...


I made this with Keith Skues in 2011, and it was originally broadcast on BBC Radio Norfolk on Boxing Day that year, although a few of the other BBC East stations also took it, and he later repeated it in his own show across the region. The story of some of the British rock and roll stars who emerged in the wake of Elvis's popularity in the late 1950s, Keith provided his own original interviews with Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Marty Wilde and Vince Eager. I edited them together into a narrative, wrote the script, put it all together and recorded the narration from Keith to create my second ever documentary. Quite a good one too, I think!

Pirates on Parade - Part One and Part Two
My old boss David Clayton had and has an enormous passion for the pirate radio of the 1960s, and was forever trying to put on as many programmes as possible related to it. In 2011 he recorded three of our local pirate presenters from those days in conversation - Keith Skues, Andy Archer and Tom Edwards. He then didn't know what to do with it, so I cut it all up, wove it into a narrative of some sort and edited it together with relevant music from the 1964 to 1967 period, which we and Radio Lincolnshire broadcast over Easter 2012. One of those tracks would be unusable now, but fortunately I later edited part two for a possible repeat version on Radio Lincolnshire in 2014. That never in the event happened, but it does mean I have a version I can now share here.

The first part of which I rather tongue-in-cheekily like to refer to as my "BBC East Trilogy", telling the story of the old regional radio services from All Saints Green in Norwich in the years before BBC Radio Norfolk arrived in 1980. I've long had a great passion for broadcasting history - Doctor Who fandom often tends to act as a "gateway drug" into it for many people - and especially the little bits that fall through the cracks and aren't really chronicled elsewhere. I knew there'd been a programme called Roundabout East Anglia which had been broadcast from Norwich in the 1970s, and this is its story. Finding the relevant people to speak to and especially any archive was a fun challenge, and I think it came together really well. Originally broadcast on the August Bank Holiday in 2012, and one where I had several nice comments afterwards from people who work or have worked in the industry, which was nice. Here's the original blog entry I wrote about this one at the time.

Norfolk's Diamond Summer - Part One and Part Two
A mammoth two-parter I put together for Christmas 2012, looking back at Norfolk across some of the events of that memorable summer - the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic torch relay, the Games themselves, and the Tour of Britain cycle race coming to the county. Narrated by Nicky Price and Chris Goreham, but all written and produced by me.

In October 2012, it was decreed that all BBC Local Radio stations should put together a strand called "My Beatles Story", to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the group's first single release. I was put in charge of the Radio Norfolk effort, recording various interviews with local people who had seen, met or worked with The Beatles and had a story to tell about it. There was also one archive interview, which David Clayton had recorded with Tony Sheridan back in 1997. The resulting pieces were then broadcast across a special day of programmes on Friday the 5th of October 2012. This compilation is one I put together for that Christmas, narrated by my colleague Matthew Gudgin.

Another one from 2012! I was a busy boy that year, although I think I can reveal from the safety of eight years' distance that David did give me a very generous bonus from a special pot of money which existed back then put probably doesn't know. (Not a literal pot, you understand. He didn't hand me a bunch of fifties!) This was another recording David had made which he didn't know quite what to do with - talking with Helen McDermott, Katie Glass and Tom Edwards about their regional TV continuity days. Once again I chopped it up, put it together and I think made a nice little programme for anyone with an interest in the history of television presentation and the days of in-vision announcers.

Undoubtedly one of the best things I have ever made, and one of the programmes of which I remain the most proud. My first really "authored" documentary, going out and about recording links and interviews at relevant locations. Telling the story of the connections between the county of Norfolk and the character of Sherlock Holmes, with some great readings by Look East's Kim Riley of excerpts from the original stories - Kim being someone I would go on to use more than once when I wanted a dignified voice with a bit of gravitas! Here's my blog entry on Far From the Fogs from back in 2013.

Something else of which I am very proud, although more of the individual elements than this after-the-fact compilation. For the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who in 2013, we were encouraged to do something similar to the "My Beatles Story" project of the previous year, this time with "My Doctor Who story" - tales of Norfolk people who had either some special love of or a particular connection to the show. There were features every day in breakfast leading up to the anniversary, and several through the day on the Friday. I was very proud of how I was able to combine my passion for and knowledge of the show and its history with my abilities as a producer to create a series of features which were - I think - open, accessible, enjoyable and accurate. I was very proud to be able to consider myself a tiny part of the BBC's own anniversary celebrations for the show, too. This compilation was originally put out on the Sunday of the anniversary weekend, and then repeated at Christmas. Here's another blog entry from the time, covering this and my other anniversary thoughts.

Another project initiated by David Clayton - although my colleague Edd Smith had also gone to him with the idea. David asked me to tell the story of the racing driver Ayrton Senna's early days in Norfolk, for a programme to mark the 20th anniversary of his 1994 death. I hugely enjoyed researching this and putting it together, and particularly going down to Broadcasting House to record the narration with ex-Radio Norfolk man Rob Bonnet. It was also a hugely exciting project personally, as it is - to date - the only one of my programmes to have been broadcast on a national network, with BBC Radio 5 Live taking a 25-minute edit which I made for them. Here's my original blog entry from 2014 about this one.

This was an interesting one, as it was a subject I didn't really know anything about or have any link to - the story of a late 1960s Norwich band called Eyes of Blond. Another David Clayton idea given to me to make, I enjoyed recording it and putting it all together and trying to give some flavour of not just one group but the Norwich music scene of the time. I think, or hope at least, that I managed to create something suitably evocative. "Craft" wise, as it were, I was pleased with myself for making what I thought was a coherent radio documentary without any narration - it's just the four of them talking, Beatles Anthology-style.

I'd seen the odd reference here and there down the years to Norfolk having been briefly considered as the launch base for the British space programme back in the 1960s, and I decided it was a subject worth having a go at. I can't pretend I was in any way the first to tell the story - Dean Arnett had done so for TV a few years before, for a start - but I do think I did it well. Trips to the Science Museum and the Isle of Wight were very enjoyable, and will always stay with me for having been on the day of the Brexit referendum result in 2016. I even ended up, because of travelling to make this, passing Downing Street at the moment David Cameron was making his resignation speech that morning - as covered here in my blog entry from back then.

When Sir John Hurt died in January 2017, I realised that we had done various interviews with him down the years while he was living near Cromer. I managed to put a few of them together, along with interviews with some of those connected to the various causes, events and institutions about which he'd been speaking to us. That included my own interview with him, a very enjoyable experience where he'd gently taken me to task over the idea that he always played characters with miserable or unhappy lives! I was also pleased to be able to clear the rights of him reading some poetry at an event at the Theatre Royal - getting involved in such rights clearances made me feel very grown-up! His widow, Lady Anwen, later asked for a copy to be sent to her on CD, which was quite an honour.

Not a documentary, but a feature interview I recorded for a May Bank Holiday show in 2017. Justin is the lead singer, songwriter and bassist with one of my favourites bands, Del Amitri, and he agreed to go into the BBC in Glasgow to record a down-the-line interview with me, ostensibly to promote his forthcoming solo gigs, a couple of which were to be in East Anglia. We did a wide-ranging interview about all sorts of aspects of his career, which I then broadcast in the first hour of my Bank Holiday show. On the basis that as it was a Bank Holiday I could do pretty much whatever I wanted, and it was nicer for the audience to hear an interesting, thoughtful interview with a man they could soon go and see in concert locally than just me chatting and playing records.

Part two of my "BBC East Trilogy", taking the story further back - to the establishment of the very first East Anglian radio service from Norwich in the 1950s. It also told the story of the BBC Local Radio pilots of the early 1960s, and was another huge challenge to find relevant archive and interviewees for. I adored doing it, however - the challenge of the research, dealing with finding and obtaining the archive, and having a reason to visit the BBC Written Archives Centre at Caversham, near Reading. The BBC still had the country house there as well then, where I went for lunch on one of the days I was there - a splendid bit of "old BBC" now gone. The programme itself is another one of which I am very proud, and a cut-down version concentrating just on the local radio pilots was almost broadcast by 5 Live - it was billed in the Radio Times and everything, but alas! Knocked off for live sport, as it happened. Here's a blog entry about some of what was going on with me that summer, including making this.

On election night in 2017 I presented the first part of our coverage, when I hadn't expected there to be a great deal to talk about. To help fill the space, I prepared some long archive packages on elections past in Norfolk, from the 1920s to the 2010s. In the event, after the dramatic exit poll there was a great deal to say, so most of them never got used. Not wanting to waste them, I came up with the idea of putting them together in their own programme, married with some new interviews I recorded about the experience of general election nights with three of our then local MPs - Chloe Smith, Norman Lamb and Henry Bellingham. The result is a bit cut-and-shut, but as a filler programme for the Christmas period that year I think it was perfectly acceptable and not too bad at all.

Marking ten years of the Treasure Quest show on Sunday mornings - I loved the chance to make the sort of programme I enjoy about a programme I myself had been involved in. The very first radio documentary I ever made had been about Treasure Quest, made as a test and an editing exercise really back in 2010. The challenge here was to try and make something sufficiently different, updating the story but still telling all of it, in an accessible fashion. With perfect access to interviewees and archive, it had no excuse to not be good, and I was pleased with the result - I had some very nice comments about it, too. Here are some further thoughts from 2018 about the tenth anniversary of Treasure Quest.

Another one for any fellow Del Amitri fans! I'd spent a great week-and-a-half following the band around the country on their tour in the summer of 2018, and when I got talking to someone in the queue for one of the gigs in Glasgow it turned out he knew that Ash, the drummer, also lived in Norfolk. I later emailed Ash for his website and asked if he'd like to be one of our Tuesday Guests, which he said yes to. As it turned out, I ended up standing in as producer that night, too - rather messing up my timings as I had so much to chat to Ash about, but this edited version for the Sunday "Gudgin's Guest" repeat ("Hayes Hosts" that week, obviously!) is tidied-up a bit! Ash also very kindly gave me a pair of drumsticks he'd used on the tour when he came in.

Up there with Far From the Fogs for the title of my favourite documentary I have made, I think. I knew we'd be marking the 60th anniversary of Norwich City's 1959 FA Cup run somehow, and I knew I wanted to use the extensive archive of the East Anglian broadcasts from the time which existed, and which the Norfolk Sound Archive had kindly transferred for me for The Network That Never Was back in 2017. I also knew it had to be sufficiently different to Gudge's 40th anniversary documentary from 1999, so I decided to make the broadcasting aspect the main thread - still telling the full story of the cup run, but hanging it on the framework of how the BBC covered it at the time. As with any good documentary it's the archive and the interviewees which really make it, all I did was bring together all the fantastic material that gave me. More than one person told me it made them cry - which must be a good thing! Also counts as the third and final part of my "BBC East Trilogy", and here's a blog entry from last year with more on how and why this one was made.

I hadn't expected to make another Norwich City-related documentary, especially not in the same year as Canaries in the Air. But by chance I became fascinated by the story of Arthur James "Jimmy" Jewell - a man who'd been an FA Cup final referee, Norwich City manager, the BBC's first ever regular TV football commentator and also, perhaps, the England manager too. Another one that it was great fun to go hither and thither across the country recording interviews and researching for, although I was chasing so much so close to the line that editing it became a real challenge. Two days before broadcast, it was about 50 minutes too long. I'm still disappointed about how much I had to cut, but it's one of those things where if you didn't know the material is missing, you don't notice. I even managed to do an even shorter version, which 5 Live took as a stand-by programme - you never know, maybe it will go out there someday! Here's my blog entry from last summer with more detail about the programme.

When Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis came to the east coast to make their Beatles-related film Yesterday in the summer of 2018, I did my best to try and get some behind-the-scenes access to make a "making of" documentary which could go out when it was released the following year. I had absolutely no joy with this, but fortunately our Great Yarmouth district reporter Andrew Turner - a much more forceful character! - managed to do a lot of behind-the-scenes reporting on the film. I decided to take all of his material, with a few other bits and pieces, and make it into a documentary which we broadcast when the film came out. Narrated by Andrew, who came over to Norwich to read the voiceover script I'd written for him.


And that's it... for now! I do have another project currently in the works, however, which by good fortune turns out to be one of the few documentaries it would have been practical for me to make this year in the end. You will hopefully hear it in September - when BBC Radio Norfolk turns 40.

As for what else I have been doing aside from my shifts at work - I have written a nine-and-a-half-thousand word short story, and have resurrected a non-fiction project I originally started work on five years ago, which may now actually end up in a publishable state - fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Christmas Carolling

As I write, Christmas Day is drifting to a close.

It has been rather a nice Christmas. I have been deep into one of my favourite stories - if not my very favourite story - A Christmas Carol. I have another blog comparing and reviewing different adaptations of it for from film and television down the years, and this year I decided to revive it and have a proper go at it.

I wanted to try and have a new review up every single day from the start of December until today, and I actually managed it - by the skin of my teeth at times, but I did manage it. I'll have another go next year, if I can find enough other versions to do it with!

But I've also written my own adaptation of the Carol this year. Just a fun, jokey one for the radio station where I work. The script could have done with one more draft, but for what it is it was just about good enough, and seems to have amused a few people. It was another collaboration between myself and my colleague Emma, eight years on from when we made The BBC Radio Norfolk Nativity together.

Just a fun little thing for Christmas. But these fun little things will always be the bits you remember above the day-to-day work.

Anyway, you can hear the whole thing here if you're interested. The Eastern Daily Press also published another feature of mine to promote it, which was kind of them.

I even came up with an idea for a sort-of sequel to the Carol this month, too. But obviously only a complete lunatic would ever contemplate such a thing, so that's probably best left alone.