Friday, September 29, 2006

Sofa, So Good

When people first meet me and find out that I am a writer, they always ask the same question: “Where do you get your ideas from?”

The answer is always that I do not know. If I did know I would go there more often. Haha. I do, however, do a lot of research, whatever I am writing about. This can help generate ideas, satisfies my innate desire for accuracy (in a sketch where I needed a man to refer to a train, I checked the GNER timetable and used a train that actually existed – it made no difference to the sketch, but made me infinitely happier that there was an underlying truth to the comedy), and is very enjoyable as I love finding out trivial facts and impressing my girlfriend when she comes home from her proper job.

In the past month I have genuinely had to research:

– Xylophones. (Wooden bars only – anything metal and it’s a glockenspiel. Don’t believe me? Well, xylophone is from the Greek for “wooden sound”. So there.)

– How long it would take to fall off Beachy Head. (Just under 6 seconds, assuming no air resistance. Ample time to say the required punchline.)

– Pornography featuring women over the age of 40. (Very pleasant – there were no such things as “MILF”s when I was a lad. And we had to look in hedges instead of on the internet.)

This week, however, I had to write a children’s story about a sofa. I decided that the best form of research was to sit on one. Mine. With a cup of tea. And, when the muse still didn’t strike, to lie back a bit. So, there I was, a man, lying on his sofa, alone in the flat, girlfriend not due back for hours, a bit bored. Inevitably, one thing led to another...

I didn’t hear my girlfriend’s key in the door.

I didn’t hear her colleague’s voice.

The first I knew of their presence was when they were standing over me, their faces a mixture of shock and amusement. Finally, her colleague broke the silence.

“Have you built a den out of the sofa cushions?”

I laughed nervously. “Er, no. I just took them off to vacuum underneath.”

We all looked slowly around the room. No one mentioned that the vacuum cleaner was nowhere to be seen.

Still, the den was a great idea for the story.