4 October 2016

Your Starter For Ben OUT NOW!

I've got a new book available to buy, so....

The previous Punk Rock Pub Quiz book has been completely overhauled and given a remix, polish on the bottom, had its waffle removed and sent back into the world as a pocket-sized quiz compendium of hundreds of questions for all the family. 

But why should I buy this book? 

* Over 80 individual quizzes exclusive to this book! 

* Easier to find answers!  

* A lot of daftness and healthy sense of humour!

* An exclusive stocking filler present perfect for all the family that isn't available on the high street!

* Something threatening about ISIS!

* Its right good!

So please do a buy! Thanks! 

Yeah, I hoped it was going to be a proper update too...

There's a barcode missing there. I'm not just lazy, honest.

18 May 2016

The Comedy Cash-In Book Book Is Back!

I've always been mildly obsessed with the spin-off book as a thing. Here was a way to spend more time inside the minds and personalities of the characters I liked off that thing I liked, especially when said series wasn't presently being repeated and I didn't have my own video recorder to watch tapes of it. Its no different from your parents getting the latest Delia Smith or “Clarkson Says What We're All Thinking (Assuming We're All Thinking The French Are All Stinks IDST)”.

Sadly whilst cookbooks and hate speech dressed up as charming banter will always have a place on a Christmas list, the comedy cash-in book has not had the best of times this past few years. No longer do you need to eke out a bit of hot Porkpie action by reading the Desmonds Fun Annual 1993. Nowadays if you want to hang out with your jolly telly pals, the entire series plus extras, commentaries, deleted scenes, webisodes, behind the scenes documentaries, underpant drawer photos and detailed maps to each of the main cast members houses are all easily found at our fingertips on multiple devices. 

So the time was clearly right for a revival of the lost genre. I might not have the BBC2 sketch show I always secretly wished for, but I realised I could celebrate the spin-offs of the past whilst making my own comedy cash-in to boot. I call it......

But what IS this book exactly? Here's how I described it originally on Lulu...

"Before the days of catch up TV, boxsets and the unsettling buzz of endless Twitter updates about the colour of Idris Elba's underpants, the only way to spend more time in the world of your favourite TV programme was to buy the spin-off books. British comedy programmes in particular seemed to relish reworking their six weeks a year's content into print format with everyone from Monty Python, The Young Ones, Morecambe and Wise, Harry Hill, The Goodies, Saturday Night Live, Kenny Everett, Reeves and Mortimer, The Fast Show, Lenny Henry, Steve Coogan, Father Ted, Mr Bean, Lee and Herring, The League of Gentlemen and French and Saunders getting in on the action. I call them comedy cash-in books. This is a book about those books. Its a comedy cash-in book book. And you're going to love it."

The print version is now effectively deleted but this new e-book version is expanded and reworked with better quality images, more content and without the guest pieces from before (which were great but I felt like I should stand on my own two feet this time round). Plus a free preview of my follow up book if you've not bought that already.

And here's a slightly out of date old video about it just because, really...

Thank you for your continued support. Ben. x

17 April 2016

Pomagne Supernova

The recorded audio of this appears in From The Sublime's 1996 special which you can download here. To see the tie-in Punk Rock Pub Quiz theme week, click here.

In retrospect it all came to a head on Good Friday 1996.

I was fifteen, halfway through an appreciated but inevitably boring half term break, too young for a vomit-inducing number of chocolate eggs but not old or worldly enough yet to do anything exciting like touching a woman on the vagina or drinking in pubs. The fact that I actually lived in a pub at this time of my life didn’t make things any better. It was what most people commonly refer to as an "old man's pub" -  simple, traditional, steady stream of the same faces. Occasionally one of those faces would stop appearing at the bar and you'd just assume the worst.

There was only one musical act that appeared when we took over the pub and that was “Norman and his Organ”, an ageing stereotype of oldies mumbling awfulness that made Raw Sex seem like GWAR. My Dad quickly sacked him off. But he wasn’t replaced by anything representing the exciting new golden age I was convinced we were in with the after effects of comedy being the new rock n roll still lingering and a new wave of guitar indie music that suddenly started making a name for itself. That that name was the now massively scorned 'Britpop' was irrelevant.

When I first saw TFI Friday with its bar full of beautiful people and famous folk, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Not this old man's pub. Take me to where all the men had Ben Sherman shirts and ludicrously flat gelled hair and neon green seemed like an acceptable colour to wear.

By the start of its third month on air, TFI had already made its mark with various broadcast breaches such as Shaun Ryder saying “bum”, Ewan McGregor saying “piss bum” and then Shaun Ryder coming back and saying “piss bum stinks”. The live element was removed by the eighth episode and the shock value was lessening slightly with every show. But Evans had one big trick up his sleeve.

In a move that reminded you that this was the bloke who came up with Don't Forget Your Toothbrush, Evans decided to replace a planned Good Friday repeat show with a live broadcast from his own house. And with two of my then absolute heroes Noel Gallagher and Bob Mortimer as guests to boot. Both of whom were on good form with Mortimer as ever taking the situation very lightly and repeatedly complaining that his beer I had been taken off him because it was accidentally advertising. Elsewhere a still bearable Noel teased some of the song titles for the next album whilst Evans threw money at him for an exclusive that never arrived.

I have never wanted to be anywhere more in my life. Except maybe three weeks forward in time when I was going to that man's band at Maine Road for my first real big gig which no amount of Beady Eyes or boring Gallagher dismissals of anything after 1995 that isnt Paul Weller farting on a Rickenbacker will spoil. I still have the ticket in a frame behind me. £17.50 with the Manics (hooray!) and Ocean Colour Scene (no-ray!). Somewhere Ian Ticketmaster is weeping.

That TFI was the first real time in my life I felt I was missing out on something, although with the summer of Euro 96 directly ahead, plus increasing amounts of live gigs I was slightly too far away to go to on my own, far from the last. Britpop was effectively over just as the TV was getting to grips with it and critics now happily point at this cooling off period in wincing fashion almost, indeed looking back its easy to see how ghastly many of the drugs and egos of the time must have been, and nowhere more so than Chris Evans' flat on Good Friday 1996.

But I still smile fondly for that pre-internet time of awful cheap cider, Honeycrack singles, waiting desperately for the Paramount Text Mailbox to update and hoping the Scottish one took her bra off on This Life, because that’s just what I had, and for better or worse, contributed to the person I am today.

You had to not have been there, man. You had to not have been there.

17 March 2016

Crazy St Patrick's Bonkers One Day Deals!

Hello, St Patrick here! Now when I'm not running out the snakes for being snakey bastards, I like nothing better than a shite and a read through a comic, informative and interesting quiz book. And quite by chance I've just got my hands on "Punk Rock Pub Quiz" by Ben Baker which features over 100 of the buggers! Plus his guide on how to create the perfect pub quiz and humourous sideways looks at the pros and cons of running a trivia night, a bit like one of the lads off that Satder Night Armistice. To be sure. Was I Irish? I assume so.

Anyway, for ONE DAY ONLY there's an amazing deal on where you add the code STPAT27 in the checkout when buying a book on Lulu Press and get 27% off the price! And you can buy that very same "Punk Rock Pub Quiz" book there! Along with Ben's other available book "Talk About The Passion" and his co-writer on that Tim Worthington's excellent stuff too, including "Fun At One", the story of comedy on Britain's best loved pop station (after the other one) and "Higher Than The Sun", a look at Creation Records and four of the most important records of the 90s. Begorrah.

Still confused? Look at this helpful image! All sales help support this website and its sole author, Ben Baker. All shares of the links on social media very much appreciated. Ecumenical matter. Etc. Thank you.

11 March 2016

Its Not A Pub. Its A Website.

In order to promote both my EXCELLENT RECENTLY RELEASED QUIZ BOOK and the monthly live events that we run locally under the same name, I've set up a new website, which is somewhat unsurprisingly called...

Go over there for ALL NEW weekday lunchtime quizzes, clips from our live shows, outtakes, special offers and details on upcoming events.

Thanks to everyone who has so far bought the book or helped promote it on social media. I've absolutely no budget to pay for advertising and putting it together was a real labour of love. Everything was done by me from the artwork to index. If you haven't bought one and you're interested in 250 pages of trivia contests and my personal guide on how to set up the greatest pub quiz in the world, you can buy the book at the following link...

Thank you,


12 February 2016

Adult Babies (Or New Heart Riot)

As the singer Sting (real name: Sting Singer) once sang "If you love somebody, let them out of the toilet", well Ben Baker and Phil Catterall are shimmying down the drainpipe as we speak and heading straight into your ears for a very special VALENTINE'S episode of New Chart Riot. Ben wants to celebrate finally kissing a lass aged 35 and Phil just wants to be left alone to nurse his broken heart. He's not sad or anything, his heart is just knackered and he's on pills. 

Topics in today's programme include John Selwyn Gummer's ideal love match, the practicalities of installing a really good dirtchamber, what not to do on an electricity pylon, Kilroy's missing research team, "marbles up bum" and the hottest sexual roleplay positions of the week, the lesser Shrek films, how babies are made, 70s racism with the most romantic sitcom of all time and lots more desperately erotic material.

Bring a towel, the first six rows are going home sodden.