So finally I’m dragging myself into the late 90’s by getting my very own website, actually written by me. I've been driven to do this by my increasingly large presence on the web - none of which I have anything to do with. I’m using .me because Alexei Sayle.com has been taken by a man who hates me, he also wrote a lot of my Wikepedia entry judging
by the glowing references to him contained within it compared with the lukewarm refences to me.
The next choice .co.uk does belong to me but the agency that's looking after it has collapsed and the woman who's in charge of it is never in the office
There’s also something called "The Alexei Sayle Website" which is run by some woman I don't know, who doesn't seem to know much about me either. Plus I’ve just found out I have a myspace music page that I don’t know anything about. Maybe I have blackouts where I go around opening things about myself on the internet.
It feels a bit odd, doing this, a bit like writing a column without getting paid. I suppose at least since it's free you don’t have to maintain the usual lembels of profossionalizm. And of course the least you can do is buy some of my product. Most importantly my new novel Mister Roberts is out on November 11th and I was very excited to see that in the
trade paper “The Bookseller” out of six booksellers they asked, two recomended my book as their pick for November.
One said “Humourous in tone but full of hidden depths....this very funny tale warns against the misuse of power” while the other said “A funny, warm and weird novel” If you can’t wait for that there are my other books, DVDs and range of snowshoes. It’s all on the other page.
I’ll also try and keep you up to date with my erratic public appearances and most importantly I’ll try and update my blog with a Lily Allenesque frequency, I think there’s nothing more dispiriting than to look at somebody’s website and their last blog entry says they’re just getting ready to attend the coronation of King George the 7th.
Writing the previous bit just got me thinking; of course I’ve known Lily’s dad Keith since the early days of alternative comedy and I know Lily’s mum Alison even better and like her more, so it’s one of the great regrets of my life that over the years I paid absolutely no attention to their children. If I had then I’d have some great stories to tell you about the time I babysat Lilly and she was sick or the time I took Alfie to a football match and he got sick but I didn’t so I haven’t.
Nevertheless I’m glad I've done this page: I’ve never been one of those "I'm happy to be old-fashioned and I wrote this blog with a quill pen and ink made out of crushed tortoises" kind of person, in truth I've been ashamed of my inability to get with the modern world by not having a website. I don't go along with any of that "Grumpy Old Men/Women" nostalgia and its assumption that modern life is awful. First, it's lazy comedy, but also, it's clearly not true - for most of us in the West, modern life is fantastic.
To me, that kind of longing for a golden age and its inherent presumption that the ill-defined and hazy past contained some ideal epoch that has been sullied by the impact of social progress, foreign influences and restrictive laws on unrestrained behaviour, is clearly reactionary. Indeed, this longing for a prelapsarian utopia is essentially fascistic. The religious fanatics of al-Qa'ida wish to return to an entirely fictional ideal of a "pure" Islam that existed before being contaminated by progressive European ideas such as sexual equality and religious freedom, and before Hitler changed the title of his book Mein Kampf from "Is Everything Around Here Controlled by a Cabal of Blood Sucking Jews or is it Just Me?"
We truly live in an era of marvels, the greatest of which after the internet is undoubtedly the defining phenomenon of the modern era: All You Can Eat Buffets. Those of you who've forgotten the pre-All You Can Eat Buffet epoch won't know how, in restaurants up until the Eighties, there was such a penny-pinching attitude that you were charged extra for how many knives, forks and spoons you used, so diners would try to eat the whole meal with one tiny teaspoon. With their inherent qualities of egalitarianism and value for money these places embody all that is good about the Enlightenment. The philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau would certainly have approved of All You Can Eat Buffets and would probably have been a regular at Spice Mania when he was in Leeds and that Indian veggie place in Islington's Chapel Market that's an amazing £2.95 for all the curried sprouts you can cram down your neck. (I wrote about this place in a newspaper a while ago and the next time I visited they’d built a little shrine to me and I got my meal for free, saving myself £2.95. But then the next time I visited the shrine was gone). If there’s a demand I might add Alexei Sayle shrines to the things you can buy.
Also from time to time I’ll post some of my old columns if I still find them funny.
See you soon.