Why is it such an 'out of the blue' experience for everyone that Robin Williams killed himself? Is it because we think if someone's funny they must spend their lives, head thrown back, wheezing away? I know very few comedians who in their real lives have their heads thrown back, it's not funny being funny; it's a killer.
Last month I highlighted the seven big titles that are set to fill cinemas for the remainder of the year. They were huge films, each of which is likely to be thrust into the public consciousness via the sizeable marketing budgets of the respective distributors. As an alternative, here are seven titles that aren't quite of the same scale but are set to be as notable in their own right.
Six months of house-hunting in London and I still haven't sealed the deal. But I have met estate agents. Dozens of them. And it is almost unsettling; they have not been the rude, arrogant, cretinous benders-of-the-truth that the generalisation might suggest. They are different. Or, more accurately: indifferent... I wanted to interview one of these guys to see what the market looks like from their end...
There has for some years now been a great deal of interest in Sweden here in the UK. I think this stems largely from the fact that Swedes seem like a happier, more successful version of us... What is their secret? It could be summed up in one word: 'lagom'. Lagom is a uniquely Swedish word with no direct translation into English. It means 'not too much, not to little'.
You may have failed miserably at scoring tickets for last year's Edinburgh Comedy Award winner - FYI, Bridget Christie's A Bic for Her rightfully scooped the Best Show prize -but there are plenty of other female comic talents making waves at the Fringe in 2014, actively disproving the myth that women aren't funny...
After Robin Williams' (probable yet unconfirmed at the time of writing) suicide at the age of just 63, the question is once more in the air - are comedians more prone to depression than, say, plumbers, gamekeepers or human resources managers? Does the iconic 'tears of a clown' cultural trope have any basis in fact? My instinct is to say no, it doesn't - but it is just that, instinct, for I have no data. It is a difficult case to prove, for the evidence to the contrary seems so overwhelming. When a comedian like Robin Williams or Tony Hancock takes their own life, with all the consequent publicity engendered by those tragedies, it is definitely tempting to conclude 'there goes another one.'
How could this be happening? ... I'd lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years and am now a size 14 (the slimmest I've been since I was 14). But that's obviously not good enough if I look pregnant. And not just a bit pregnant - enough to make two sober and presumably rational adults assume that I am pregnant enough to need to sit down on public transport. That's, what, like, seven months?
Immediately I began to draw a fair amount of attention, I could see people sniggering, actually sniggering at me. I tried to act normal whilst flexing biceps and breathing in. People looked up from books and stared, a group of young girls looked at me then hid their mouths behind conspiring palms... "What the hell is wrong with these people? ... What's so damn funny?"
His machine-gun riffing, his ability to put on a thousand voices and tell circular jokes poking fun at the human condition were all proof of comedic genius, seemingly channelled from another source for which he was merely a willing conduit. No wonder performing greats like Bob Hope were reluctant to follow him on stage.