Crash! Clatter! Phil and Matt collapse off their
chairs in a fit of hysterics. It's lucky Kenz
was there with a camera ... CLICK!
The tape recorder was also used whenever a bunch of us got together, whether it was at my house during the school lunch hour, on weekends or whenever ... I started to build up quite a collection of bizarre material. Tapes would usually contain a load of rubbish and one or two classic moments. Examples of these are people falling over, amusing outbursts, people fighting, taking the p*ss out of each other (and everthing else in world) and the one thing which is found funny by a large portion of the world population (apparently) - FARTS! If someone let rip a huge one on the tape recorder microphone you can guarantee much hilarity.
EBOING! Here's Lee Collett (aged about 4) at Kenz's
house one school dinner time gurning at the camera!
Another source of amusing audio material came from linking a computer (normally a C64) to a video recorder, plugging in some microphones and then playing games with us shouting, swearing and generally having a laugh. Thanks to some cool stereo gear at Matts house, Matt also managed to do some nifty mixing allowing us to have a CD soundtrack playing in the background along with the C64's sounds and us making a lot of noise into the microphones.
Luke's foot, Matt's head and Phil's tongue!
So there I was with various tapes filled with the sounds of me and my mates messing around. I then had the idea of going through the tapes, finding all the funny bits and then editing them onto a new tape. I also interspersed our audio japes with music from CD's, computer games and some snippets from films. I was probably a bit of a wannabe DJ at the time and so I 'hosted' the tapes and presented each section in a suitably zany way. Thanks to an old Hitachi stereo system I used to have in my room with an AMAZING mechanical pause button I was able to do rep-rep-rep-repetion with the gags. Of course, a fart on its own is funny. Repeated 10 times in quick succession is even MORE funny. So the basic concept of the "Funny Tape" was born.
One of the only pictures I could find of my old Hitachi
stereo with the AMAZING mechanical pause button
(and a Rancor monster in the background!)
The first "Xmas Chortles" tape wasn't all that good. It was made before I had really got into the swing of editing and a lot of the material was from poor recordings done on old and knackered tape decks. This tape WAS done around Christmas time (hence the name) and had me shouting "Merry Christmas!" an awful lot. Listening to the tape now that I am a crusty 30 year old I have found it contains a LOT of uneccessary swearing and far too much rep-rep-rep-repetion of me and my mates making funny noises (I must say I did used to act like a bit of a tit back then - nothing much has changed folks - hehe!) The editing is also pretty dire with LOADS of tape clunks. It's not really varied enough either - there's too much of just us lot messing around with not much in the way of incidental music (and no film bits!) Ah, but better things were to come from the F.abulous A.udio R.ecording T.eam Studios.
The next few releases were a quantum leap ahead of the first "Xmas Chortles" tape. The bizarrely named "A tribute to Ninjas" and "A tribute to Movies" were both compressed onto just one tape by me and the end result was quite an amusing 45 mins of stuff. Other tapes of note were "More Gags" and "Gags - Extended Mix!". Some of my chums had a go at doing their own funny tapes with a good one was put together by Matts brother Phil - "Phils First Chortle Tape" (which was edited and streamlimed by me), and a series of really bizarre tapes from Dave Mez. With names like "Cool as Mez", "Cosmic", "An Evening of Freaky Mania" and "Richard Clayderman - The Unusual Years Tape" I think you get the idea. Much oddness indeed!
And now thanks to the AWESOME POWER of the Internet you can download a 4 minute burst of the "Cool as Mez" tape! This has been specially edited and remixed at the F.A.R.T studios especially for the Xmas Chortles Internet Experience! Now is your chance to take a one way trip into the mind of Mez and enjoy delights such as Mez admitting he wears Vicars clothing, how to make Plaits (by Carl Bayliss) and tons of musical bursts and other assorted zany japery.
Click HERE to download a 1.35mb Mp3 file which
features extracts from the "Cool as Mez" tape!
"Here it is... The all new Cool as Mez. Literally minits of riotous larfter all the way etc.
Warning: this tape contains totally pointless gumf of a sorry minded nature
not to be played in the presence of relatively sane folk. Ta!"
It was the release of "A tribute to Funny Tapes" that things really start to get interesting. It was my finest production so far and featured better quality material, improved editing and much more variety. I had obtained some better equipment by then and was able to record film moments clearly. Also, the material from "The Lads" was recorded using decent microphones the end result was really quite spinky. This tape was followed up with the classic "Xmas Chortles 2" (another festive batch of fun and frolics) and then my final funny audio tape to be released - the seminal "Xmas Chortles 3". This runs for a full 45 minutes and is a bit of a hoot. I still listen to it now from time to time and can't help laughing out loud at various moments on it.
By this time I was well into the C64 scene and had many great contacts all over the country. I would usually end up mentioning the tapes and people would request copies. Their reaction? Much amusement! As the "Chortle" tapes got spread to more people I started to hear a similar reaction from people - "They're funny, but what the hell is going on?!" You see, if you weren't THERE to observe the amusing moments, it all sounds a bit confusing on tape. This gave me my next idea - "Xmas Chortles - The Movie!"
Rather than leave a tape recorder lying around this was replaced with the VIDEO CAMERA (which we usually borrowed from someone as none of us could afford such a device still being quite young and either still at school in the 6th form or at college etc). Once again material was amassed, this time on video and I still had all the video's we had made which were filled with us playing C64 games whilst shouting at microphones. I decided to make the film in the same style as an "Xmas Chortles" tape and have lots of US messing about, clips from films and the games being played. As the video recorder I was using was decent quality and could join scenes together pretty well (An Akai VS-A650 for techno-buffs who are listening) I was also able to cobble together some 'music videos'. I'd basically record all the music video footage onto a tape, carefully joining scenes together and then I'd play that back onto my master tape with a CD soundtrack on the top.
I received a really great response to my first 'movie' ... Of course, all my friends enjoyed it (as a lot of them appeared in it!) and my contacts *really* enjoyed it. (For a lot of them it was the first time they had actually SEEN me!) Although I was generally pleased with how the movie turned out I saw there was room for improvement, there were some bits I knew I could have done better and I was having new ideas all the time. That led to the release of "Xmas Chortles The Movie - Special Edition!" This was produced on my then new Akai VS-F1000 video recorder which was much more of a recording and editing system (it came with, joy of joys, a JOG SHUTTLE!) I actually re-made the whole of the Chortles film on that VCR, tidied up the editing, added some new scenes and improved others. I also added a stunning music video which has a custom produced "Xmas Chortles" soundtrack by my buddy Paul "FeekZoid" Hannay. The quality of the editing for that music vid still amazes me to this day with everything in the video being synchronised to the music. Considering all I had to do the editing was two video recorders (no fancy editing equipment or vision mixers etc.) I still can't believe I put that one together. Needless to say I bunged the video of the "Special Edition" to all my friends and contacts and they loved it.
That was seven years ago ... And now ... We're BACK!
Prod this to return to main section type fing