Digitiser Live 2021: All Hail to the Surreal Event of Excellence

Digitiser Live

Right! Digitiser is a cult funny thing that’s been around since 1993. We’ve kind of been there for the whole journey from the Teletext days to now.

It’s supposed to be about video games, but rarely is. It’s more about surreal humour and weird stuff from the brain of Mr. Biffo (Paul Rose).

And, after much pandemic-based delay, we finally got to see the show in action at the Harrow Arts Centre in London. Huzzah!

In Review: Digitiser 2.0 Live 2021

As this was our first trip outside of Manchester since February 2020, the event was super special in more ways than one.

And it was happening RIGHT NOW on this day a week ago. Yeah! We stayed in a bare bones Travelodge in Harrow and got there for 7pm. And then it all kicked off.

If you follow the Digitiser YouTube channel (where most of the content is launched these days), you’ll get a general gist of things.

The full show is eventually launching on DVD (and probably YouTube), but you can get a sense of the silliness and madness from the below amateur footage.

This wasn’t us filming, by the way. We were sitting further over on the right.

It wasn’t like Digitiser the Show (NB: Another series of that is on the way) and more a berserk collection of stream of consciousness.

Digitiser is famous for its surreal humour and unusual cast of characters, such as Beanus, the Man’s Daddy (who tells godawful jokes), and primitive but endearing animations based off Teletext.

In fact, it was Teletext’s unusual basic approach that ensured Mr. Biffo could create unfathomable monstrosities and turn the video game segment into something far more appealing between 1993 and 2003.

Although, for the second live show, the video games were pretty much gone entirely in favour of… whatever it was supposed to be. No one was complaining. The surreal humour is what makes Digitiser so special.

So the show sort of went like this:

  • An opening inspired by Blade Runner, with some impressive special effects.
  • An extended opening involving a singsong about excrement (poo, if you will).
  • Terrible magical tricks performed by Biffo and Paul Gannon of The Cheap Show.
  • The arrival of a Tea Prancer dressed as a smurf (we think) shrieking “TEA!” and throwing tea at audience members.
  • Utterly bizarre, but hilarious, Digi animations in the old Teletext style. Some of which had most amusing sexual connotations, just held back by primitive Teletext artistic stylings (to ensure the modesty remained).
  • Taste tests of worms and grubs.
  • Fat Sow (a belligerent pig head) hurling abuse at everyone.
  • The arrival of Beanus (who behaves like Bruce Forsyth on baked beans).
  • Barely anything to do with video games (of course).
  • A 20 minute interval.

Along with Mr. Biffo and his wife Sanja, regulars to the show cropped up. Such as Gannon and the epic Sooz Kempner.

Also there was the ever epic Trista Bytes, who runs a very clever and witty Twitch channel that’s worth a gander.

As Mr. Biffo noted, the production values were a lot higher than the 2019 show (not that we were there for that one). Frankly, there was some mighty impressive stuff going on. As you can see here.

The pointless madness of the show was certainly highly enjoyable. With a partisan crowd in attendance, too, things were going pretty ballistic.

But it was also just fantabulous to spend an evening watching some very good, creative people do something profoundly silly and ridiculous.

Beanus is an ongoing highlight, of course, Biffo’s disturbing and bean obsessed caricature on Bruce Forsyth. Beanus likes beans.

And as people who see the funny side of baked beans, this was all rather magnificent to behold. A grown man in a garish orange get up ranting about beans whilst hosting a games show.

We think Mr. Biffo is about 50. We’re 36. This is how we want to be when we get older.

Digitiser Live 2021, then. Digi 2.0. The whole thing? Utterly pointless and ridiculous from start to finish. And all the more welcome for it. We’ll be back for Digi 3.0, whenever it should take place.

In the meantime, you can support Mr. Biffo and his efforts over on YouTube (see below). So give his channel a follow.

Along with surreal humour, there’s also occasional video game talk, plus a focus on mental health and looking after everyone. Glorious!

Addendum: Official Digi Live Footage

Okay, we’re adding this a few weeks after the event as Mr. Biffo has uploaded some official footage from Digi Live 2.0. Above is Beanus. He’s lovely.

And our crush on Sooz Kempner continues unabated. As she’s Cool Kempner, are we right!? She also chats on Queenpod about excellent things.

And again… the thing with Beanus is he (or it) manages this marvellous balancing act of being quite highly disturbing, whilst remaining compelling to watch.

Which sums up Digitiser quite brilliantly in many ways.

Very good people doing very good things and we all benefit as a result. As such, we implore you to follow the YouTube channel.

And if you don’t, we’ll come round to your home and hobble you Misery style. Hurray!

Dispense with some gibberish!

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