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Sunday
Jun252017

Blog 98

A while ago I wrote about how I used to think there was some force in the universe which meant that anybody who crossed me would suffer.  I mentioned the woman who was rude to me on BBC1s Pebble Mill At One and how the last I’d heard of her she’d just had her show cancelled on Radio Devon.    I also said the only place that seemed immune to the force in the universe that avenged me was a sandwich bar in Southwark London that had been converted to a cafe from a toilet and I mused that the people who own this ex-toilet cafe are in touch with more powerful darker forces that me.

Then during the last murderous Israeli assault on Gaza I fell out badly with a pro Israeli woman on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2  who threatened to sue me for libel because she was losing the argument and how her career rather than foundering seemed to be on the up and up.    That woman, I can now reveal, was the now notorious Emma Barnett (from her aggressive Jeremy Corbyn Woman’s Hour interview.)    After looking into it I think I’ve figured out how Emma Barnett came to be in touch with such powerful dark forces.  One of the strongest impulses I have to fight against when I am on holiday abroad is the urge to seek out the “authentic” the “real” the “true”.  These days I accept that I am just a tourist, I do touristy things and go to touristy places but I can’t remember how many lunchtimes I’ve ruined in the past, forcing Linda to walk down increasingly seedy backstreets in Marseilles or Amman under the hot midday sun searching for the “genuine fishermen’s restaurant where the sardine trawlermen eat” or “that really authentic roadside falafel shack where the camel herders have their lunch.”  The best place I usually find is “the bar where the drunks with the terrible weeping head wounds go to start a fight.”

But the search for the authentic, the truthful can lead to even greater danger than just a dodgy lunch.  A friend of mine, an author was once attending a conference for Commonwealth writers held on a Carribean island.  On the last day of her stay she went down to the harbour side market looking for souvenirs to take back to the UK and on one stall she noticed “voodoo” dolls for sale.   On this particular island the practice of magic, of spells and malign curses developed among African slaves was known not as “Voodoo” but “Obeah”.  My friend was of mixed race and her father had actually been born on a nearby island so something told her that these particular dolls while gaudy and colourful and seemingly folklore-ique were not true Obeah.  She said to the native woman attending the stall. “ I’d really like to buy something but I’m not interested in these dolls here that you sell to the cruise ship tourists.  I want you to show me the proper ones.”

“These are the proper ones.”  The woman replied testily.

Switching to Patois my friend said.  “Look I know these are not the authentic Obeah dolls.  Show me the proper ones.”

“Darlin’ you don’t want to see the proper ones.”  The woman answered in a serious tone.

“”Yes I do.”  My friend stubbornly replied.

Reluctantly reaching beneath the counter the woman brought out a figure, a monochromatic doll in vaguely human shape, quite large and made from twigs, string, cloth and other more indeterminate, possibly fleshy scraps of matter.  This figurine gave off such a smokey aura of pure malevolence and evil that my friend immediately screamed and ran away from the market.

Unfortunately by demanding to see the Obeah doll a contract had been entered into and when she returned to London my friend discovered to her horror that the evil figure had somehow found its way into her luggage.  Luckily for her the doll wasn’t interested in my friend and instead it jumped up and ran off to make it’s own way in the world.  The name of that doll is Emma Barnett. That’s the only explanation I can think of for her success.

Blog 98a

I noticed Emma Barnett was presenting Newsnight, I think it was last week.  Funny how the MSM didn't point out that the presenter of this show was a doll made of rags, twigs and animal parts.  Sad!

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Reader Comments (15)

I listened to the last in the current series of your fine imaginary sandwich shop and, as with the others episodes, laughed so hard I forgot to cook dinner. Excellent stuff, at times I was back at Leeds City Varieties sometime in the 70s

June 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob Bentinck

The imaginary sandwich shop is great best comedy on the BBC in ages! I've laughed so much at them all and can't wait for it to return.

June 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBetty

Brilliant stuff about Alistair Campbell Alexei , i hate the bastard.
I must dust off my Cak Long player.

June 28, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterles

The Saga of Emma Barnett.
It's whetting my appetite for a new collection of short stories.

July 5, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Jones

Hello , Last night I dreamt I met you at Waterloo bridge train station.
You were wearing a Bright yellow cardigan.

CHEERS. JASON FROM KREUZBERG BERLIN. VIA NEWTON HEATH

July 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJASON TYNAN

Dear Alexei,

Just read you comments on Strictly Come Dancing, and it reminded me that about 20 years ago you did an excellent series of shorts about Latin dance (IIRC). At the time I simply found these highly entertaining, but now I find myself in desperate need of dance tips. Are these shorts available anywhere?

Best regards,
(A would-be snake hips).

July 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJason Black

There is a white european Ioa Maman Brigitte - the wife of Baron Samedi God of death an chaos. It is said that the Ioas were "created" by enslaved Fon and Ewe in Haiti and Louisiana syncretizing with the Roman Catholic Saints. Maybe they ran out of those at some point and had to fall back on Emma Barnett. Syncretization allows the Ioas to be several people/identities at the same time. This is how we have in Live and Let Die Baron Samedi being a person playing the Ioa and also the Ioa himself so he's resurrected at the end of the film. Of course Live and Let Die was Fleming's satire on the regime of Papa Doc Duvalier who himself used to dress up as Baron Samedi. There's this whole thing in Vodou that if you emulate the Ioas you become an extension of them I think. An idea that probably goes back to Christianity - 1 Corinthians 4:16 "Therefore, I urge you, imitate me." So it may be that Emma Barnett is trying to be Maman Brigitte and by this method the Ioa has syncretized with her.

I may have over simplified this but I hope it makes things a tiny bit clearer

July 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Miller

I'm listening to Edgar Wright on The Nerdist podcast. (Episode 880).
When he mentions Alexei, Chris Hardwick, the presenter and CEO of Nerdist Industries, is thrilled.
I take from this that Alexei should definitely go and break America. Again.

Edgar also relays some advice Alexei once gave the young director ("Edgar, we have to get you some adult clothes.")

July 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Jones

The sandwich shop/bar was hilarious matey,,, really enjoyed it fella

Regards

Kevin

July 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKevin worrell

Listened to all the sandwich shop episodes driving down to France. Cried with laughter.
I've missed the soho theatre show, gutted. Are you coming back to London?!

July 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSanjeev

A little bird tells me that Alexei is opening his Sandwich Bar again next month.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/alexei_sayle_sept_oct17

July 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlexei's little helper

So glad you are back on radio 4. Admit that much of the 'comedy' I've heard recently on the radio wasn't that funny. Your fab, surreal comedy is great! I love your crazy, false logic which is brilliant. Thanks for giving me a great laugh over and over again whilst listening to Sandwich Bar.

Sandwich Bar led me to your website - great blog about Emma Barnett! Had no idea you wrote books - look forward to reading. Thanks Alexei.

July 29, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

Do you know about this questionable account that is using a pic of you as its profile pic?

https://twitter.com/ABSeparatist

July 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOz Malenfant

Happy Birthday Alexei!

Nice to see you mentioned in The Daily Mirror Birthdays section today:

"Actress Charlize Theron is 42. Her first language is Afrikaans.
Actor David Duchovny is 57. He got his break starring in a beer advert.
Comedian Alexei Sayle is 65. His parents were communists...".

August 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVegetable Man

Dear Alexei

Every time I see a tipper lorry (or a grabber lorry) on a motorway I think of Overtaken. And I often think about the Frank Skinner gig in the book. And I speculate as to why you chose Frank Skinner.

And today I have just remembered a joke but I can't remember if it belongs to you or to Frank Skinner.
(It concerns the man employed by a dictator who's job is to remind him that "one day [he] will die.")

My question is: How's about that Frank Skinner then eh. Do you like him or not or what?

Respectfully
RJ.

PS. What can we expect from the Sandwich Bar book?

September 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Jones

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