About ten years ago I had an idea with which I would bore people in social situations. It was that someone really ought to do a musical based on Dirty Dancing. Every one of the many people I told about this thought that such a thing would be a great success, to which I replied, ‘I know! Look, I’m not that bothered about all the money or whatever, I just think someone should make it’ (I’m not sure why I said this; I fucking hate all musicals except for South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Why I should feel the urge to improve the lives of hen nighters and homosexualists is beyond me. Maybe I’m just all heart). At some point I thought I might be lucky enough to bend the ear of someone who could actually do something about it.
Anyway, as you might have noticed, in between having that idea and writing this post, someone went and made Dirty Dancing: The Musical. I have no idea how big a hit it is, but it seems to be fairly popular. This success doesn’t bother me in the slightest, after all, the gap between having that idea and making it real is enormous, and I never came anywhere near bridging it.
Then, a few years later, I had an idea to make a toaster with see-through sides so you could know when your toast was done. With the assistance of a couple of colleagues I got a bit further down this path, eventually getting quite far with a proper designer who seemed to be able to make it happen.
Then I talked to a friend of Jamie Oliver who put me in touch with his product guy and he told me that having the idea is maybe 10% of the process, which then requires manufacturing (you tend to get this done in China where people happily sell all new ideas to other manufacturers), distribution, retail positioning, marketing, advertising etc. up against very strong competition. They guy said that it was pretty hard for Jamie, so it would be much harder for us.
At that point I kind of lost interest – it was starting to sound like a giant headache – and that ended up being the right thing to do because John Lewis began selling a proper see-through toaster and we would never have got ours out in time to compete. And then I was listening to one of Ricky Gervais’s podcasts about a year ago (it was quite an old one) and about halfway through it, Karl Pilkington mentioned the idea of a see-through toaster. That podcast was probably heard by about five million people, so thank god we didn’t put anything more into it.
I also had an idea for Top Gun the musical. That was easier. After Dirty Dancing, thinking of an eighties movie that hen nighters and homosexualists would like to have remade as a camp stage show with additional songs was pretty easy. Top Gun would be a massive hit, but then so would, I dunno, The Breakfast Club or The Lost Boys. Anyway, I was a little further beyond giving a shit by that stage so, y’know, whatevs.
But all this leads me to my latest ‘bore everyone’ idea: a programme that makes your computer keyboard sound like a real typewriter, including the all-important shhhjjjjjjjjjj-ding! return key. Again, I’m not bothered about the cash; I just want someone to make it then send me a copy. So come on, somebody must be able to do it, and you know it’d sell millions at a fiver a time.
Come on. I’ve done all the hard work (smiley face made out of punctuation).