Blog 56

Well I’ve been all over the place me.  I did Latitiude last Sunday which was fine but muddy and I had to keep yelling at the next stage to turn the bloody music down.  The next day we gave this really interesting guy and his son a lift back to London.  They’d foolishly come down on the Sunday by public transport and had had to take five different trains to get there!  His name was Saul Williams an American poet and actor and musician who’d been appearing on the poetry stage.  We were having such a good conversation that I missed the turning from the A14 to the A12 and we were nearly in Ipswich before I noticed but since it is near our house I was able to take him right to St Pancras to catch the Eurostar to Paris where he lives.  The way I described Suffolk to Saul was that its such a media part of the countryside (the most common name in Southwold is either Freud or Murdoch) that you meet the same people as you meet in London but in Suffolk they’re on horses.

Then on Tuesday we caught the train to Liverpool for the opening party of the Musuem Of Liverpool  which made me resolve from now on to only visit museums I’m an exhibit in.  Then on Thursday we had a signing for the paperback of Stalin Ate My Homework at News From Nowhere, Liverpool’s radical bookshop.  

I also took my mother to the Tatton Park Flower Show which was nice but a bit disappointing, I thought there’d be more flowers and less stalls selling wierd carved wooden owls but perhaps I missed some bits.

Also I’m doing an article for a newspaper on my hobby of going to all you can eat buffets and I wondered if any of you had any stories about them, I think I said I’d file copy by the 29th of July so before then would be handy if you do.


Blog 55

Yes Bobby Chariot.  I loved Bobby and he’s the one part of my standup career that I do miss.  Also I think there was probably more life left in him when I dropped him.  Its actually an interesting story how I invented him.   In that C4 film “Itch” where I lived on the roundabout, one of the cast was a very young Johnny Lee Miller, I guess he was maybe 8 or 10 at the time and to amuse him, I’d tell him stories in one of which I invented this comedian character called Bobby Chipperbottom who was an early version of Bobby Chariot.   So there you are Angelina Jolie’s (1st, 2nd?) husband inspired Bobby.  Though he was my invention I do think a lot of his best stuff was written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, I love the bit where Bobby asks the audience if any of them have been tortured and one man says yes and starts crying.   To answer your question Ewan I do sometimes think of reviving him, his hair and teeth are still in a cupboard in my office, but if I’m honest I think it’ll probably never happen, partly because I think I’ve moved on too far to know what to write for him now and partly because to play him I’d have to shave off my beard and I’m frightened to find out what’s under there after all this time.

Without retracting any of it I do sometimes feel a little guilty about Nic and Tob, (Vic’s still funny with me if we meet but Bob’s fine) and its true they had done very little to deserve it at the time but then that was sort of the point.  After all its easy to attack those that deserve attacking but to pick on somebody who’s blameless, popular and talented takes things to a whole different level.

At Last the 1981 Show Report.  Well it was a very odd night, I felt very relaxed and I thought all the new material I did went really well and I definitely got the biggest cheer of the night so all that was good, it was gratifying to find out how much love there is for me out there as a comedian (though quite what I do with it is another matter).  However for reasons unrelated to the show it was also a very sad night because after I’d been on I got a phone call from Peter Rchardson to tell me that the lovely Simon Brint (one half of Raw Sex and the original keyboard player in the Comic Strip house band who also did the music for all my TV shows ) had died.   So it was really wierd to be with some of the people from that time, Nigel, Arnold and Pauline and to find out that the first of our gang had gone.


Blog 54

Well interestingly enough, this thing I’m doing on Sunday at the Festival Hall, “At Last The 1981 Show.”  Also features Pauline Melville who played Pauline Sneak in “Didn’t you Kill...” and of course is now a highly respected author.

I think my part in The Strike is certainly one of my favourites because for once I’m underplaying while everybody else is giving big performances along with that BBC 2 Film Night Voice, also Selling Hitler also I’m very proud of Sorry About Last Night (the radio version of which I think they’re repeating/have repeated on Radio 4 Extra.)  

I was debating with my friend Muriel Gray what is my worst performance, I thought a very odd film I did in Spain called Siesta but she said its actually quite good, (I don’t know if anybody’s seen it).  She said Carry On Columbus was definitely my worst film by miles.


Blog 53

I recorded a piece for the Guardian online the other day about cycling, we were planning to do three routes that I regularly take but in the end we could only find time for one, which is from my house up to Tufnell Park and theTurkish restaurant me and my friend Oscar go to every week.  It should be on their site soon.

Since you seemed to like the physics question about the falling bullets here’s another one.  When I’m cycling around the park, there’s a bit that’s slightly downhill and if I’m racing with somebody it seems to me on that stretch I gain on them because I inevitably weigh more than they do.  Is this right, does gravity help me on the downhill?  Or is it all in my mind?

I continue to watch the uprisings in the Arab world and to hope that things turn out well.  I have actually spent some time in Syria and have indeed tangled with that country’s many security services and here’s my only insight.  The town of Deraa where a great deal of the trouble and the killing of demonstrators has gone on is the same town where Lawrence of Arabia was interfered with by the Ottoman officer.


Blog 53a

I forgot to mention that I'm doing a reading at the Hexam Festival on Tuesday 10th May, and then the following day at The Lowry in Manchester.


Blog 53b

That's an interesting question Le Amateur.  I had always been a Capagnolo/Reynolds 531 then 753 then 853 double-butted tubing guy for nearly thirty years.  With my latest bike which was built nearly ten years ago I decided to switch to Columbus alloy and once you change one thing suddenly you think that you can change everything so I  got Shimano Ultegra groupset and of course became a lib dem councillor in Bournemouth as well as opening another branch of my imaginary sandwich bar in West London.  It was fortunate I did because I found I'd lost my nerve a bit with drop bars so for a long time I didn't cycle seriously until two years ago when I switched to straight bars with trigger shifts and of course Campag don't do trigger shifts.

The bike I have in Spain is 853/Campag Record and next time I'm out there I'm going to get it out and see how I get on with that.  I think I prefer the Campag change (is it down or up?) with the thumb shift rather than pivoting the brake lever as you do with Shimano.


Blog 53c

Here's the cycling thing I did for the Guardian, there's a very nice shot of Wilf.


Blog 52

So anyway...Do you think I should be on twitter?  I can sometimes think of little enough to say here but my publisher’s are having a workshop for their authors on how to use it and its supposed to be a great tool for promotion so I don’t know.  My publisher’s recently held a lunch for book bloggers and authors at a posh club, there were nine authors (people like me, Chris Cleave, Andrew Miller and so on) and nine bloggers, except five of the bloggers didn’t bother to turn up. One particular woman had written vile reviews of nearly everybody there and another had to go to hospital or something but still it’s definitely a different landscape out there but at least there were more sandwiches for me. The world is obviously changing and I think you do have to decide whether to get on board or not and I think in the end I do want to be part of things so my next book will be produced by Tinie Tempah.  (Does that joke work or does it just make me seem pathetic?  I don’t really know who Tinie Tempah is).

The other night I went to the press night of a play about middle class drug addiction and during the play four members of the audience had to be carried out in a faint.  Somebody said it might have been needle phobia or the play was really powerful but I think maybe some of the audience had recently been in rehab and the play was a bit too much for them.

I also recently went to the Index on Censorship awards.  A few days before, the lady upstairs, a leading human rights lawyer had borrowed Wilf because they’ve got mice but all he did was claw her in the eye when he was playing and she had to go to hospital.  Also her niece was one of the organisers of the awards so all the talk at the Index on Censorship awards wasn’t concerning Egypt or Belarus but Wilf.

 Also...I am of course very much in support of the Libyan rebels in their fight against the appalling dictatorship of Ghaddaffi but they do drive me nuts.  I find myself constantly shouting at the TV. “Stop shooting in the air!  If one of you’re problems is that you’re low on ammunition then stop firing it at seagulls!”  I think indeed that it may turn out that there are no pro-Ghaddaffi forces at all and all the rebels are being killed by their own ammunition falling out of the sky.

On this point does anybody know, would the Libyans be using the old Soviet 7.62x39mm rounds or the more modern 5.54x39.5mm of the AK 74?  

And what is its lethality if it falls on you?


BLOG 52a

Yes he did pluck at my chest hair, he should have just made it disappear with magic.

The play was Knot of the Heart at the Almeida.