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.


Blog 51

I'm looking into the practicality and legality of doing some audio downloads and will get back to you later.

That warm up man I guess was Bobby Crush and he did play his part in the creation of Bobby Chariot but also Felix thingy who used to be in Hi De Hi and of course Stan Boardman.

I am working on volume two of my memoirs though I am also writing some new short stories which may be published first.


Now here's the photo of me and my racing bike that you've all been waiting for, though I think its a bit blurry. I do in fact wear a helmet when I'm riding this since I get up to some high speeds though I don't when I'm on my day to day street bike.  It was wonderful when I was in the Hague to see that nobody wore a helmet which is the way it should be. 

Columbus alloy frame, ITM extension with straight bars (I did have drops but for ten years I only rode straight bars with trigger shifts on my hybrid and got so used to that, now I have Shimano Deore levers and shifts although the brakes are Ultegra) Fizik saddle, BRC carbon forks, Mavic Pro wheels and Shimano Utegra rear mech and triple chainring at the front (even though up until this bike I rode Campagnolo since I was twelve years old) and Look Keo pedals.  The Wilf is optional.



A guy emailed asking me about a routine I used to do about a guy on a motorbike "drop down a cog, give it a handful, I was laughin my mate was laughin".  I think   the routine is called Romford Bypass  but I can't remember where it can be found, is it on one of the  series of Stuff?  Does anybody know?




Not to crow or anything but...

Actually if he came to me I'd be able and willing to tell him how to get at least some of his mojo back.   Though I do think I need to be issued a formal apology from everybody in the public, press and showbiz who under-appreciated me from the late 80s to the mid 90s.



Hi Ben, I don't see why your ex-wife took her anger out on my album but I did notice a nice Irish journalist has downloaded the Cak album on a site called dumbriffs


Blog 50

Thank you for all your bike related and other comments and I’ll try and take some photos of me and my bike and post them-its not a pretty sight..  I don’t think I’ve ever thought myself in Bastogne Liege Bastogne but I was having lunch with a friend down Wapping High Street the other day which is heavily cobbled and travelling down there on my bike I did briefly imagine myself in the famous “Hell of the North”  The Paris Roubaix.  professional cyclists, consume 8,000 calories a day and I did manage that part of the experience.

I was reading yesterday in the Sunday Times a piece by Robert Penn author of the best selling book, “Its All About the Bike.” He was writing about giving his new bike, made of components he’s sourced from all over the world a name. In the end he decided on  “Ffynnon” which means spring or fountain in Welsh.  I’ve never named a bike but years ago I did own a 1970 Rover P5B Coupe, which does briefly appear in some of my TV sketches and the Comic Strip Film Supergrass.  Anyway after a while, wanting something more modern I sold the car to a rugby playing priest from Bolton.  On the phone I said to this man, “Oh by the way the car’s name is Roger”  He replied that he planned to re-name the P5B “Bishop Beaufort.”  Well I didn’t say anything but in my mind there was no way that car was a Catholic, and certainly not   Cardinal Bishop of Winchester and Papal Legate for Germany, Hungary, and Bohemia.   If we’d been talking about a Ferrari or even a Citroen DS OK but there was something very Church of England about Rovers of that period, they couldn’t possibly be any other denomination.


Blog 50a

Yes people often quote bits of my routines to me that I can't remember, in fact I can't really remember Mr Gibson, what was it about? There will have to come a point where I sit down and watch all my old shows then it will all come flooding back but for some reason I'm reluctant.  And on the topic of old shows I think there was a facebook group trying to get the BBC to release The All New Alexei Sayle Show and Merrygoround on DVD and I did look into it but I think there was some problem with ownership of the material or something.  Again I can't remember but maybe I'll enquire again.

Yes the tanks at Kursk would have been T 34s and KV 1s.  Though the soviets did use the year of origin for firearms they didn't follow that practice for tanks or planes.