* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

The Sissons Situation

16 May 2002
Dan hears some interesting stories

The Mystery Machine started revving about '98. I was working as a film editor for the BBC. Nothing terribly exalted, just snipping the ends of footage, making the riots going on behind and to the right of the newsreader's head run for just long enough that he can tell you what you need to know about them. It's omnipotence of a sort, but the sort is limited to a cutout in the corner of a TV screen, so I wouldn't get too envious.

Anyway, money was pretty tight at the time, so I did a fair amount of freelancing - just popping into the edit suite at night to work up the odd actor's showreel or snip the ends off a corporate motivational video that had gone over time at the studio they hired. I had a fair few friends in the industry, and I was pretty cheap, so the work was steady and kept me in Embassy No.1 and Kronenbourg. Nobody really minded - the edit suites were generally seen as a compensation for the shitty pay and never actually getting to meet the celebrities we were theoretically working for.

On any given night, when I was crouched over "James Navison - Motivational Speaker" ("He crossed the Atlantic. Now he's coming to YOUR presentation or corporate/sales meeting with the secrets of SUCCESS"), half a dozen other editroglodytes were mooching about, jemmying the coffee machine for free liquid shit. There was a definite trick to that particular make of coffee machine, which meant anyone in shitty jobs in the "entertainment" industry, or at least the bits of it associated with torn green felt walls, never had to pay for a cup of steaming brown nasty from 1989 onwards.

Even among the stained corduroy crowd, I was a bit of a pariah. No obvious nastiness, of course - this lot had curvature of the spine so intense that they would struggle to have beaten themselves up. Just a certain froideur, on account of my venality. The rest were all working on their films, each and every one of which was going to revitalise the British film industry. Things got quite competitive when two of the squirrelly little wankers happened to bump into each other in the corridor.

Hello, Brian. How's Filthdick?

It's going really well, thanks. Another few months and I reckon we'll be ready to start looking for a distributor.

Huh. Of course, distribution is where the pressure to sell out becomes really intense...

Like geek sharks circling, trying to make the other one admit that they were less "for real". Given their morbid fear of selling out, I'm happy to report that none of them even got a theatrical release, much less a sold-out house. Keepin' it real...

Oh, yeah. So this night I was doing a promo piece for one of the lesser-known newsreaders - you know, why not have the trusted voice of x at your trade launch, kind of thing. Just splicing together a greatest hits, basically.

So far so mundane, and so mundane I was popping pills just to stay awake (bad habit - makes you jumpcutty), but then I saw something during some sub-BAFTAs awards ceremony for cement contractors or something like that. Who can keep them straight? What can't you get an award for these days?

At one of the tables, watching my subject presenting the awards, being all solidarity and hail-fellow-well-met, radiating concern about the future of the cement contracting or whatever the fuck industry, is Peter Sissons. Fair enough. You probably don't get invited to many decent parties if you're Peter Sissons. I certainly don't imagine he was having to choose between this and the Sissons Sex Sluts annual shindig.

I got quite fascinated by the occasional shots of Sissons; he was such a pro, you could tell what the speaker was talking about with the sound off, just from the reaction shots.

Hard times for the cement contracting industry - concerned nod-along. Light at the end of the tunnel - beatific half-smile, visible relaxation of shoulders. Contracting fees up by ten per cent this year - smile still in place, but with serious crinkle of the eyes, as if absorbing this information to use later on chicks. Little joke about some of the crazy characters in cement contracting who just happen to be here tonight - senatorial smile, shared with those seated to his left and right.

It was art, I tell you. Which is probably why, out of curiosity to see what happens when the cameras were off him, I kept watching into the rushes and the offcut. I expected a bit of tie-loosening, maybe the odd unguarded comment about Michael Buerk.

What I wasn't expecting to see was a handover from one Sissons to another. If you hadn't been studying him closely, you'd never have noticed, except they screwed up the timing ever so slightly, so Sissons the Second was visible through the door when Sissons the first opened it, ostensibly on his way to the toilets.

You see? There are two Peter Sissons. Sissonses. You know what I mean. Or at least, there were. I think there are more now. And I don't know why.

No, I didn't really do anything about it. To be honest, I was a bit busy for the year or so after that, saving the world from Chaos with the help of my glamorous lesbian aunt. To tell the truth, I'm kind of surprised you didn't ask me about that. Most people do.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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