Blog 66

I am getting quite slow at writing these things and I must do it more frequently.   I think its because I’ve been trying to write new standup for the mini tour and also do my Telegraph column and I also reviewed Howard Jacobson’s new novel for the Telegraph so that’s worn me out more or less.  I am 60 now you know.   Had a very nice birthday and some of my friends clubbed together and bought me a very nice Terry Frost print. Terry is the father of Steve who was in The Oblivion Boys and The Wow show so I think from now on I’ll only buy works of art from the fathers, mothers, daughters or sons of comedians.  

I also did a film for the One Show last week.  Its 50 years since the Ford Cortina was launched and a number of Cortinas were driving from Dagenham to Cortina in Italy to celebrate and we went along to film their departure and to talk about the car.  One disconcerting thing several people asked me was if it was true that the Cortina was named after the Cortina Snack bar in High Holborn.  This is actually a lie that I made up for the 1982 Arena Documentary I took part in about the car.  Its is one of several that I have made up concerning cars over the years that seem to have become accepted fact.  Another is about the Mitsubishi Pajero which I once wrote means wanker in Spanish, this is also untrue but I have seen it repeated several times in print.   


Blog 66a.

Hi Jay.  Its funny but a lot of those who post on the Telegraph are full of vitriol because I’m polluting their paper with my left-wingedness.  I’ve never much seen the point in trying to be pure about who you write for, all newspapers are compromised in one way or another so why fret about it.

Which is not say I’m not bourgeois or a hypocrite or whatever it is they accuse me of being but it’s not because I write a motoring column for the Telegraph.


Blog 66b

Hi Richard.  Sorry I'm not coming near Bournemouth but this is just a tour we put together fairly quickly, so I can see whether I can do a longer show and it meant we had to take what venues were available.  If that works well then there'll be ten nights at the Soho Theatre in Jan 2013 and also I'll then do a more planned national tour next year (though it will still be small venues) which I'm sure will come to your area.


Blog 66c

Don't worry Worried Geoff on Blog 65 I am coming to Colchester Arts on the 21st of Oct. it just got left off the schedule for some reason.


Blog 65

Yes I have put in some live dates for the Autumn in small venues.  This will be a try-out to see if I can do a longer set of the type of material I did at the Soho Theatre earlier in the year.  I'll put the tours details on the site when they're finalised, it'll basically run through October and November about twenty dates I think.  I've got a few book readings coming up as well.  Newbury Corn Exchange this Saturday and Windsor arts centre on the 21st.  Also Welwyn Garden City on the 17th of August and Cardiff on the 25th of September.

At the moment if you go to the Telegraph website there's a very funny video of me being terrified in a Ferrari 458 at the festival of speed the weekend before last and I think there's a video of me driving a Aerial Atom as well, though I haven't looked at that yet. 

I must say after a few months I really like writing for the Telegraph and they seem to like having me writing for them since they always put me on the cover of the motoring supplement.  I particularly like the photo of me this Saturday with the Atom looking heroic.  Plus I clearly drive a section of their readers absolutely bats with hatred judging by some of the things they post, which is also good.


Blog 65a

Hi everybody here's the tour dates

DATE City/Venue Box Office Website


Thur 4 Oxford, Glee Club 0871 4720400 glee.co.uk

Fri 5 Edmonton, Millfield Theatre 020 8807 6680 millfieldartscentre.co.uk

Tue 9 Newcastle, The Stand 0844 693 3336 thestand.co.uk

Sat 13 Swansea, Grand Theatre Studio    01792 475715 swanseagrand.co.uk

Wed 17 West Bromwich, The Public 0121 533 7161 thepublic.com

Fri 19 Brighton, The Old Market 01273 201801 theoldmarket.com

Sat 20 Camberley Theatre Studio 01276 707600 camberleytheatre.biz

Wed 24 Wolverhampton, Wulfren Hall 01902 552122 wolvescivic.co.uk

Thur 25 Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre 01539 725133 breweryarts.co.uk

Mon 29 Glasgow, The Stand 0844 335 8879 thestand.co.uk

Tue 30 Edinburg, The Stand 0131 558 7272 thestand.co.uk



Wed 7 Reading, South Street Arts 0118 960 6060 readingarts.com

Sat 10 Hovingham, The Shed 01653 600048 theshed.co.uk

Sun 11 Birmingham, Glee Club 0871 4720400 glee.co.uk

Mon 12 Epsom, Playhouse Studio 01372 742555 epsomplayhouse.co.uk

Tue 13 Cheltenham, Town Hall Pillar Room 0844 576 2210 cheltenhamtownhall.org.uk

Sat 17 Tunbridge Wells, Trinity Theatre 01892 678 678 trinitytheatre.net

Wed 21 Nottingham, Glee Club 0871 4720400 glee.co.uk

Thur 22 Cardiff, Glee Club 0871 4720400 glee.co.uk

Booking fees may apply



Blog 65b.

Hello Dawn glad you enjoyed the book reading and its interesting to hear that you would have liked to hear more of the actual reading.  Sometimes I find it hard to judge if an audience is enraptured by my words or just bored so I sometimes bail out of the reading portion a bit too soon but I'll bear your words in mind next time I feel like doing that.  Still tickets for Windsor this Saturday.


Yes hopefully there will be dates in London next year, probably ten days in late Jan at the Soho Theatre.  The point of this little tour is partly just to do it but also to try and see whether I can put together a 50+ minute show for that venue.


Blog 64

Hello everybody, sorry I've been away for a while but things have been a bit hectic lately.  Me, Linda and Wilf just moved house, we've gone next door to a flat identical  to the one we moved out of except that this one is much more pristine since its not had us living in it for 23 years.   That seemed a much easier solution than a spring clean, just moving.

Also I guess I've been quite busy working.  I'm really enjoying being back on a paper writing for The Saturday Telegraph and they seem like a really nice bunch.  I was also up in Manchester working on an interesting film for a charity called Dying Matters all about how terminally ill people can use humour and laughter as a way of coping with their conditions.   I think it will be on their website from the 14th of May.

This Tuesday at 4.30 on Radio 4 they are broadcasting an Edition of Great Lives that I recorded recently, my choice was the Palestinian Intellectual Edward Said, it will be fascinating to find out how that is received.

Now Jay about a Young Ones re-union, I don't think there's any plans at the moment as far as I can remember.  Actually now I think about it there may be somebody who's trying to put together an edition of the Radio 4 programme "The Re-union" which would be about the Young Ones.   Though sometimes because I was sort of on the edge of the group I don't always get included. However because having been the biggest pain in the arse at the time I am now very sentimental about the early days I'd definitely be happy to do it.

The wedding of the first of the children of our gang to get married is happening in June so I imagine everybody will be there and I'll ask around then and if I've been left out I'll sulk and ruin the bride and groom's special day.


Blog 64a.

Well the response to the couple of things I've done over the last few weeks was interesting.  The R4 Edward Said piece got some nice previews though I didn't see any reviews.  I realise afterwards that I was half hoping to have the website bombarded with Zionist nutters, that's how hungry for attention you get when you start this blogging lark.

The Dying Matters film illustrated another point, there was a piece on Monday BBC Breakfast which I didn't see and I did an interview down the line with R5 but there was a lot less interest than I expected.  In fact there were a couple of other press and TV things that were pulled and I think given that the film was about how uncomfortable people in the modern world are with the whole idea of death this relative lack of interest sort of illustrated that.

Also on another topic does anybody know what your chart position on Amazonactually means?  Like if your book goes from number 65,397 to number 11,642 does that mean you've sold one book or what?  The only two sites I check regularly are this one and Amazon to see how "Stalin..." is doing so I'd like to know.


Blog 63

I think for me I've actually been quite busy recently.  I had an article in Fridays Guardian about Polish cinema and today Saturday I begin a new motoring column in the Telegraph. Right after the four nights at the Soho theatre I did a few days on the TV series New Tricks.  It  was fun working in TV again and that is a production that runs like clockwork so I was generally home by lunchtime.  Funnily enough in the week that I was filming New Tricks (though the two events are not connected) somebody tried the gold ring con on me twice.  What happens in the gold ring con is somebody walking along in front of you suddenly bends down and seems to pick up a gold ring that they've found on the floor, they then turn to you and ask if you think its genuine, then they spin some story about how they have to leave the country but do you want to buy it?  You thenbuy what you think is a valuable gold ring only to discover that it is worthless.   Now normally nobody comes near me in the street, chuggers look the other way and people never ask me for directions bu these people (one was a man one a woman) took me for a mug.  It must be that in whatever Balkan country they come from I look like a wealthy but highly gullible or possibly greedy gent who can easily be conned.  I'd like to take a trip to their country to see loads of mees swanning around buying lucky heather and thinking Nick Clegg's a nice guy.  Kaboom!  Satire!


Blog 63a

I'm glad everybody liked Question Time.  As late as Monday I wasn't going to do it but then I thought I might as well give it a try.  It's actually quite a challenge because you want to be funny but you don't want to be flippant about what are sometimes serious issues.  I think in terms of panel members it was an easy ride, I wonder what it would be like if the other non politician was one of those right wing nutcases like Melanie Philips or David Starkey.  If I do it again maybe we'll find out.


Blog 62

I feel like I have been neglecting you on this site but for the last few weeks, all my time (and all Linda's time) has been taken up with trying to make these comedy nights at the Soho Theatre really work.   Just after Christmas it dawned on me how idiotic it was, my idea that a return to standup after sixteen years would be a fun, easy, breezy thing do (Linda had known this all along.)   So since the New Year we have had to work really hard to shape the material we had to a new format and as it turned out a great deal of the material we had wasn't useable at all so I actually had to think about writing some new stuff which wasn't in the plan at all!

On the first night on Tuesday I had also expected the audience to be hysterical and for me be be able to surf on their energy but in fact when I went out they were quite quiet and my first bit really didn't do that well.  Luckily Josh Howie did a great job of loosening them up and when I went back on I think I'd got a better idea of what was needed, the second section went very well indeed and interestingly a lot of it, given what we were talking about on the last blog, is about my complicated relationship with Ben.  After that Pippa Evans as Loretta Main and Tony Law were marvellous and the evening was a huge sucess but now I feel like I've got a huge amount of work to do before I'll be certain this all works and indeed whether I want to carry on with it afterwards.


BLOG 62a

Alice. Thank you for that.  As a performer you often have less idea of what's going on than other people in the audience and as a comic you do tend to fixate on laughs without realising that people can be enjoying the show without necessarily being very voluble about it.  As I said since I haven' done it since 1996 I'm also a bit out of practice, really I should be doing little try-outs at comedy clubs but I can't face that so it puts a lot of pressure on these Soho shows.