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Tuesday 18th July 2006

I was walking down to the posh cafe on Hammersmith Grove where I like to sit and do an hour's work in the sunshine, just as I did on Friday, when I was bursting with ideas. Passing the same spot that I had been thinking of an idea that had later completely escaped me, it suddenly returned to me. Funny how that can happen: that a place becomes a marker for a memory and will hold a thought for you even when you've forgotten this. I think the Aborigines in Australia work along these lines to some extent, but it's definitely a memory technique, to take a journey in your mind and associate a landmark with something you need to remember.
Anyway it had really worked, even though I had known I had a protracted idea at about this point last week, all the struggles I had made to recall it had come to nothing. But now as I passed the ex-garage that is now a cafe and car washing place I was suddenly whisked back in time and all became clear.
As it turned out it hadn't been as exciting an idea as I had thought (which is possibly why my sub-conscious had attempted to bury it, to avoid me putting it in my act and looking a bit hackneyed). I had been thinking about the TV advert for the new film "Over The Fence" (yeah all right, it's hedge. My name is better) and how at one point a tiny warning comes up on the screen, saying, "Mild Slapstick".
Now these new film warnings are, I am sure, great fodder for the jobbing comedian. They are a bit specific and quite often quite lame and I think I might even have written a Warming Up about one before.
But "Mild Slapstick" is surely the strangest and lamest warning of them all. I can't even really tell what they're trying to warn us about here. Is there really any child in the world who will be scared or upset by the gentle buffetting of a cartoon animal? Will there be a single parent thinking, "Thank God I saw that warning, I won't take little Morris to that film - he'll be scared out of his wits by the mild slapstick"?
Or is it more of a notification of taste. You might not like this film. It's the kind of film with slapstick in it. Even if you like slapstick, you might find it a bit mild for your appetites. And so on.
So yeah, you see, not that good an idea, even though some part of my brain had been straining to get me to revisit it. I think I agree with the majority of my brain who decided it wasn't worth the effort and yet if the majority hadn't smothered the notion to make me forget it, I am sure I would have come to this conclusion on my own (without my brain). By censoring it my brain gave the bit the status of a mysterious and wonderful lost masterpiece. My stupid brain. Just let me remember stuff. I am clever enough to work out what will be good for the act and what won't without you interfering.
I love the way that I used the landscape to recall it, though. The vagueries of the human psyche are fascinating. Now that little bit of Shepherd's Bush will always make me think of inaffective cartoon animals hitting each other over the head with well padded novelty foam batons.

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