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The Ramblings of Matt Morgan, #20

Posted on March 13, 2017

Originally published: February 28th 2007
Related show(s): Episode 48, Episode 11, Episode 21, Episode 31
Title: Watch The Skies

I am aware that my recollections of an ‘educational farm holiday’ in the last show painted a picture of me as a weird child with ‘embryonic serial-killer’ written all over his grubby little face. However, I am a fully-grown man now and I still haven’t committed a single ‘moider’, let alone worn a suit made from my victims’ skin. So there! Also, the things I did were, in a way, scientific. I wanted to see how living chicks would react to seeing the little dried-out corpses of their unfortunate brethren and also I pondered who would win in a fight between a chicken and a pig, answer: pig.

Okay, I admit these weren’t the actions of someone who would flourish into a noble, Albert Einstein-type of scientist, more the feeble sort of hunch-backed assistant who is more than happy to do the sadistic bidding of evil doctors, hidden behind a clipboard, an ‘orders is orders’ shrug and the flicker of a grin. Oh, how things could have been different for me if that morbidly fascinated little twerp had continued his ‘experiments’.

But then I got to thinking, what had made me like this. Suddenly the memories came flooding out, most of them about death and more oddly, ALL involving birds. Here’s the top three (yes there are others!)…

1. The Monster in the Wall.

I was about 3 years old when I became convinced that there was a monster in my wall. The air-vent in the chimney breast would flick open and claws would emerge and a hellish, strangled sound would invade the darkness of my Superman-wallpapered bedroom. I cried, I shook, I knew the world was a bad place. My Mum was sympathetic the first couple of times I screamed for her but this soon evaporated. After two or three nights of this living nightmare, the creature finally emerged when my mother was actually in the room, turning her anger to lovely, lovely guilt. A trapped crow was dying in the chimney and a little boy felt the warm swell of vindication; vindication and permanent mental scarring.

2. The Margarine Tub.

I was about 4 and my sister and I found a dead blackbird in the garden. It looked beautiful. Muted pearlescent colours haunted its jet black feathers like the rainbow sheen on oil. Its orange beak was like a traffic cone on a brand new, black road. We prodded it with a stick, operating its not-yet-stiff wings and then eventually went and got our Mum. The corpse was put in a margarine tub and chucked into the big dustbin without ceremony and we carried on with our little lives. A few days later we suddenly remembered the blackbird and excitedly decided to open the margarine tub and see our funny old friend, oh what joy! I don’t know what we were expecting, a skeleton? No change? An empty tub? Who knows? Certainly what we weren’t expecting was the sight of a soggy, stinking, black swamp, alive with maggots. The horror left us shaking and burbling, and the worst thing was- we couldn’t tell anyone because we’d been forbidden to touch the margarine tub after it had gone in the bin. We hung on to that shared trauma like a couple of titchy Vietnam Vets.

3. Monkey Business.

This is perhaps the most disturbing of all these memories, prepare yourself. There was a pub a few miles from our house, in a village called Bean, in Kent. This pub was very ‘family-friendly’, it had a huge garden and wait for it… real live monkeys! Yep, in a huge cage in the garden, two cheeky little monkeys getting up to all sorts of capers for the amusement of children on sunny, English summer days of ‘coke and crisps’ in pub gardens whilst the grown-ups laugh too loud and don’t pay as much attention to you as normal. In fact on this occasion we children were plonked in front of the monkey cage and left to enjoy the antics of these chattering scamps like they were a living Punch and Judy show. So far so good; there was no danger- the cage had two layers of chicken-wire a Foot apart so no kid could get their curious digits into the cage, to collect God knows what exotic diseases these little clowns might be carrying.

What could go wrong? Well, I’ll tell you: a little sparrow got itself trapped somehow between the two layers of chicken-wire. It all happened so quickly, the bird was suddenly in there panicking. The monkeys went insane with excitement, I mean we were kids and we thought we knew how to get ourselves into a ‘hyper’ state, but this was something else. With their teeth bared, their eyes almost popping and their desperate hands grabbing for the bundle of squawking feathers currently crashing around like a pinball in a terrible game….To cut a long story short, they got that bird into their cage and they killed it, I’ll spare the details. Anyway, the weird thing is we all sat there and obediently watched this spectacle that would have made bloodthirsty Roman Emperors run out of their Amphitheatres and be sick into a bin. Well, when we eventually rejoined our Mums and Dads the report ‘the monkeys killed a bird’ just didn’t convey the horror of the bald and bloody sparrow’s demise.

It’s amazing that I didn’t develop a phobia of birds (or ‘Ornithophobia’ to give it its proper name, that I just googled) instead of a quizzical interest in chicken mortality . So there you have it, 3 reasons why I was a bit of a weird kid. Don’t have nightmares. (I’ve just realised that my sister shared two of the above horrors, I’d better give her a call. Don’t want her to repress all these memories only to have her, perhaps, freak out at an Owl Sanctuary one day and have to be Tazered. Nope, it’s best to remind her of all this stuff right away).


The Ramblings of Matt Morgan, #19

Posted on March 12, 2017

Originally published: February 20th 2007
Related show(s): NA
Title: Being handed a helmet and leathers by The Crazy Frog

OK, I had my hair cut. I think it must have gone well because no one seems able to detect any change. The split ends are no more and it’s a lot less tangled though, so victory is mine. I didn’t embarrass myself either and apart from getting fooled into buying two primary-coloured dispensers of delicious-smelling gunk, no financial errors were made. Thanks for all your kind words, my social ineptitude is gradually eroding and I am become a part of your Earth society.

Right, the other day I was told to come to the offices of John Noel Management, of whom I am a client (as are Russell and Trevor) because there was a surprise there for me. I was a bit apprehensive as I thought this could be a trick, such things have happened in the past. ‘It’s in here’ said Nik, opening a door. For some reason I was expecting to see a new desk, a transparent attempt to get me to work in the office instead of at home, like buying a glittering potty to get a toddler to ditch their nappies. But no, instead of a desk there were… 10 brand new motorbikes. ‘One of them’s yours mate’ Nik beamed proudly. John Noel had holidayed around India on one of these Enfield Bullets and liked it so much he shipped a load of them over to dish out, what a generous fellow!

They’re brand new bikes but built to a 60 year old design so they look very cool, all matt black and chrome. They arrived in bits and they had to be put together,. Now, any fears I had about their construction being safe were allayed by the knowledge that they were bolted together by television’s Matthew Wright, from the Wright Stuff... Hang on, what? I wondered if I’d fallen through some wormhole into a waking dream, like I was about to be handed a helmet and leathers by The Crazy Frog and shoved off to ride over a rainbow straight into mental health care. No, this wasn’t the beginning of mania. Matthew Wright is also a client of John Noel and for some reason he got involved with the preparation of this fleet of iron horses, fair enough. So I wasn’t going mad but I was still a bit scared. I’ve only ever been a passenger on motorbikes, but now I realised, I’d have to learn to ride one.

The office bristled with macho danger- the stench of petrol and leather was dizzying. Now, faced with such a challenge you can go one of two ways: You can leap into the breach and take the bull by both handlebars or you can melt into a little wisp and just offer to be in charge of polishing the shiny bits and making the picnics, so I suppose I’ll have to step up to face the challenge. Now what’s surprising about all this is that when Russell found out there were shiny new motorbikes being doled out, he instinctively demanded one. He’d only been excluded because he doesn’t have a driving license and also HE IS RUSSELL. The idea of him on a motorbike is preposterous.

The only time I’ve seen him near one is perched camply on one for a photo-shoot for one of the glossies, and he probably counts that as one of the most dangerous stunts he’s ever done. Actually he did occasionally get on ‘taxi-bikes’ where you ride pillion to get delivered somewhere in a hurry, but he stopped taking these because of what the helmet did to his hair, not exactly a Hell’s Angel is he? I now mainly want to learn to ride just for the spectacle of Mr Brand in an Eval Knieval cape teetering round some cones’ and then storming off crying. It’s cycling proficiency all over again, I’ll keep you posted.

The Ramblings of Matt Morgan, #18

Posted on March 11, 2017

Originally published: February 16th 2007
Related show(s): NA
Title: The Haircut

I am going to get my hair cut. Sorry to sound girly but: my split-ends are terrible, apparently. This is on the authority of women who know about things like this. When they asked me how long ago I got my hair cut and I said ‘August’ they were horrified. But I thought that was the whole reason behind having long hair, you don’t need to go the hairdressers. Apparently not, but it’s made me realise that I have been avoiding the barbers because I have a mild phobia of the places. I think its because of all the embarrassing things that have happened to me in these awkward hellholes.

Once I went to a decent salon-type place and made a booking. The lady asked me who normally cut my hair, I replied ‘my Mum’s friend Mandy’. She actually wanted to know which of their stylists I usually had. It was pretty embarrassing; she went red with suppressed laughter.

Another time I went to Mr Topper’s where every haircut is £5. ‘Can’t go wrong’ I thought. But when the girl cutting my hair asked me what I did for a job I got embarrassed. I worked at MTV and I kind of became aware that I didn’t want to sound flash, so I mumbled that I worked at MTV and then immediately turned the tables on her. ‘What do you do?’ I enquired.
‘I’m a hairdresser’ she replied.
‘Oh yeah’. Damn, what an idiot.

And the final mortifying thing that happened to me at the hairdressers…. Once I was getting my hair cut, everything was going well. It was to cost £40 because when the girl at the front said ‘we only have our head-stylist available, do you want him to cut your hair?’ I thought:
‘Yes of course, head-stylist? That’s good isn’t it? Wow, the head-stylist doing my hair, oh the joy’ obviously what I didn’t realise was that it costs loads more money for this haircut-magician to get involved with your barnet. I found this out in the conversation with him, I was a bit gutted but I thought well I’m here now so I resigned myself to the fact. Anyway, after a bit he told me I would look really good with a bit of colour in my hair. ‘Really?’ I swooned. Well, he was the ‘head-stylist’ I’d trust him to know what’ll suit me. Ah, but I wasn’t gonna fall for the old money trick again. ‘How much will it be to have colour?’
‘Not much- £50’ he assured me.
Now for some reason at this point I thought ‘£50? Well that’s only £10 more- why not?’ What a fool I was. Obviously he meant ‘an additional £50’. £90 for a haircut? Not in my name mate. So as he was doing some weird stuff with foil and foul smelling stuff which took ages, I sat there awkwardly until I risked the question ‘ You do mean £50 in total don’t you?’. He looked at me with pure hate as if I was mocking his very livelihood. The foil and chemicals went in the bin. I had upset the ‘head-stylist’. I felt so ashamed.

I think the worst thing about these cringe-worthy incidents is that unlike anywhere else that you embarrass yourself, in the hairdressers you have to sit and look at your stupid reflection. You are forced to look yourself in the eye and think ‘Look at you, you idiot, what were you thinking?’ So off I go to get me split-ends seen to, there’ll probably be a bishop-stylist visiting from the Vatican of hairdressing and I’ll get him and it’ll cost me £900 and I’ll accidentally eat some hair-fudge or something. Bye.

The Ramblings of Matt Morgan, #17

Posted on March 10, 2017

Originally published: February 13th 2007
Related show(s): NA
Title: We are live in 5, 4, 3, 2…

Well, it’s the Brit awards tomorrow (Wednesday) which, of course, Russell is presenting and it’s totally live. I dunno how he does it. Live TV freaks me out, I remember when I had to play ‘General Zod’s nephew Andrew Zod’ on the E4 show ‘Russell Brand’s Got Issues’. A pretty pointless character he was, well in fact he did have a point- a great big arrow which he carried about and pointed at a chart depending on how he thought the debate was going. A premise that was, at best, flimsy.

So there I was dressed up as the baddie from Superman’s nephew with my stupid arrow, the first show was about ‘Beauty’ so I had to suffer the indignity of wearing full, ladies’ make-up as I was apparently ‘the most beautiful man in the universe’. This slap was then deemed by Russell to be an integral part of the Zod character and so each week I had to have lipstick and eye-shadow applied to my sulking face. So, there I stood waiting to hear the dreaded ‘we are live in 5, 4, 3, 2…’ and I’d feel like I was gonna be blasted out of a cannon, straight into people’s homes. All I could think was ‘This is LIVE! If I move my hand now, thousands of people will see my hand move in their houses’ then ‘Stop thinking about it, don’t worry, just be Zod’. It was hell; Russell is insane to enjoy that.

Anyway, I tried everything to get out of this charade every week, but the more I complained in my Zod costume and lipstick, the more hilarious everyone thought Zod was. Russell loves it when I have to do things I don’t want to do. I was the writer on that show, a back-room position, but when Russell decided he’d feel more relaxed with me stood behind him dressed not as Superman’s enemy but Superman’s Enemy’s nephew (!) in full glamour mode I suddenly had to take one for the team and step out into the white noise terror of live TV. I did relax into it eventually, but by that time the character had finally been dropped and I was then required to dress as Marc Bolan’s ghost. God, my acting CV would be a baffling document.

So my point is this: live TV is scary. I dunno how Russell controls his inner voice, mine would rise up and ‘Tourette’s’ itself all over people’s living rooms and I’d be hounded out of Britain. It does make me respect the man Brand for a fleeting moment until… and I’ve just remembered this...

Once on the next show we did, I had the choice of dressing up as Darth Vader or a stupid dog. I have always wanted to dress up as Darth Vader. Not Darth Vader’s niece ‘Leanne Vader’ but Lord Darth Vader himself. They had the costume there and everything but no, I was a bloody dog, with rubbish whiskers drawn on my face with eyeliner. Russell laughed and laughed and laughed. I should have gone to the RSPCA.

So I’ll be backstage at the Brits, I hope. If you see a reluctant man dressed up as a wizard in a bra or something for the purposes of an ill-thought out joke, do spare a thought for me. Break a leg Russ.

The Ramblings of Matt Morgan, #16

Posted on March 09, 2017

Originally published: February 9th 2007
Related show(s): NA
Title: An American Tale

Speaking of America, and we were. I shall recount to you a tale of when I myself was over the pond (I don’t like that expression, with its twee miniaturisation of the Atlantic. Also the word ‘pond’ makes me think of those pond-skater insects, I think they’re called ‘water boatmen’. What a misleading name, you expect to see a little man in a boat but what you actually see is a snidey mosquito-type character who struts about on water, and not in an impressive ‘Jesus’ way, oh no. This guy’s legs are just so pathetically thin they can’t even penetrate water, what a little jerk. ‘Boat’ is a lie and ‘men’ is a lie, only ‘water’ has any truth in it; who named these things? The same person who named ‘Sea-monkeys’? which are effectively just germs floating about in a glass which bear no resemblance to monkeys at all and don’t even live in seawater. More lies.)

Right so anyway, when I was over in New York last winter I was at this club and I met this girl and we were standing next to the dance floor holding our coats and she said to me in her broad Brooklyn accent ‘Hey, you wanna go over there and throw our shit down?’
Like an idiot I thought this was New Yorker parlance for ‘hey, you wanna go over there and dance?’ So I replied:
‘No, I’m not drunk enough to dance yet’.
She looked at me like I was mad because she just meant ‘Hey, you wanna go over there and put our coats down?’

It was embarrassing but I still managed to end the night back at her place, which kind of looked like a cave made out of jumble-sales. She clearly had a policy of just throwing her shit down willy-nilly. I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, I blame those bloody ‘Water Boatmen’ they’ve made me start rambling. You know, I’d have some respect for them if one or more of them walked all the way across the sea to America. That I’d like to see, in fact I think there’s a Pixar movie in that idea. I’ll call Russell in L.A., get him to pitch it to some big-wigs.

The Ramblings of Matt Morgan, #15

Posted on March 08, 2017

Originally published: February 6th 2007
Related show(s): Episode 46
Title: Randy Rusty Brandstein

So Russell has gone to Hollywood has he? I thought he was just going there for a holiday and a snoop about, but now I look at the evidence I fear he is going to try and assimilate into their culture and become a star over there.

I notice in recent months he has changed from saying ‘ball-bags’ to ‘dick-sacks’. Is this a misguided attempt at americanising his vernacular? I fear so. It somewhat reminds me of Wurzel Gummidge putting on an American head and tottering off to make his mark Stateside but getting all the words a bit wrong and saying things like ‘hot-doggies’ and ‘have a nice daisy’.

The gym-ball thing is starting to make sense now too. He has been working towards attaining some sort of movie-hero physique. The poor man, I could weep for him. God knows what he’s dressed himself up as; they won’t go for his ‘normal’ Child-Catcher chic over in L.A. I can only imagine he’s wearing ‘Stars and Stripes’ leggings, a gold ‘Dynasty’-style power jacket with padded shoulders and all his hair hidden beneath an over-sized baseball cap with a drink-cup and a straw on it… also I’m seeing a cigar.

Well I wish him luck over there, old Worzel Brand; although he’ll probably be calling himself ‘Randy Rusty Brandstein’ or something by now. Will we ever see him again?

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