Why "Laugh or be Shot?" I owe you an explanation. Click on "About Me" in the tabs bar above.

About Me

I Owe you an Explanation (already)

I thought it would be wise to kick off this blog with the story of how it came to have the unlikely title "Laugh or be Shot." I think I owe you an explanation and I don't want you to get the idea that if my writings don't make you chuckle, I'll come round there and shoot you.

I can assure you categorically that I probably won't do that.

In my life, I'm proud to say I've won two awards. The most recent I'll tell you about in a later post but the first dates back to the nineteen eighties and the Soviet Union, which was still at that time under Communist rule.

I was reminded of it the other day when I was writing for the Fan Blog of rock and blues legend, Dave Press. I mentioned in an article that Dave found success in the 60s with the Trotsky Tsars of Minsk, whose hit “Ubil Moego Gnu Kil’ku” (“Pilchards Killed My Gnu”) won the popular "Poĭte ili rasstrel” (“Sing or be Shot”), the Iron Curtain equivalent of the Eurovision Song Contest.

By a bizarre coincidence I myself won the sister competition of the Poĭte ili rasstrel, the "Smeh ili rasstrel" (Laugh or be Shot) in 1985. The competition was held every year in Stalingrad at a glitzy gala dinner in the famous Hotel Gulag, replete with curtains, electricity and a five course meal involving beetroot. The bash was broadcast live to all forty five TV sets across the Soviet Union, such was its popularity and was the Iron Curtain comedy writer's equivalent of the Oscars, or the Ivans as they were known over there.

The Russian people at that time valued anybody who could make them laugh or even smirk a bit very highly, mainly because they were in such short supply and I was duly lionised and feted, lavished with carrots, driven around Stalingrad in an armoured Lada and promised the keys to Lubianka once I'd completed my five year stretch.

My winning the covetted Ivan (Heavy Sarcasm category) remains one of the highlights of my career I'm sorry to say and I remember it still with great affection, although by "affection" I do of course mean disenchantment. It was no mean feat though because that year I was up against such comedy greats as Vladimir Shovel and Leonid the Pathetic Reactionary.

Anyway, that's the reason I call this blog Laugh or be Shot, in memory of my adventure behind the Iron Curtain.

In case you were wondering how I wound up in Stalingrad, the truth of the matter is that I got on the wrong plane at Gatwick. I thought I was taking an internal flight to Newcastle. I was in Stalingrad for three days before I realised my mistake.


More articles:
Is Plagiarism  Dead?  I. Cutandpaste looks at the art of plagiarism and finds that it is alive and well and living in cyberspace. 

Plagiarism - Is it Dead? Steve Cook looks at plagiarism and finds the art living in Cyberspace and quite well.