Interview for Hitchhiker's Guide Travel Mag
What's your earliest memory of travelling?
We used to go to Isle of Arran every year when I was little. It was exciting being on a ferry and once my dad took us out in a rowing boat when the sea was a bit rough and I remember my mum shrieking with fear. My early memories of actually travelling were driving up from Cheddar to Middlesbrough to see my grandparents. The six hour journey seemed to take forever, but we'd stop off in Ashby de la Zouche which was about halfway where they had a castle, which I really liked. There was an underground tunnel that I enjoyed running down.
What is your most memorable trip?
My first holiday with my girlfriend in Sicily was very special. We went up Mount Etna and saw smoke coming out of the crater and drove around in a hire car, risking our lives amongst the aggressive local drivers, saw an amazing Roman villa with brilliant mosaics and stayed in Syracuse which was full of amazing buildings and very narrow roads which I kept nearly getting stuck in when we were driving.
If you could revisit one place, where would it be & why?
I really love ancient Pompeii and even though I have been twice I would love to go again. I am into history and archaeology in a big way, so to be able to work around an actual Roman town and get a good idea of how it looked 2000 years ago is awesome. I enjoyed the last visit when there was hardly anyone around and I sat in one of the smaller theatre spaces, imagining the comedians who may have worked there all those years ago and feeling a connection with them. Plus there are some astonishing works of art and buildings to look at and if you travel to Naples you can look at loads of the rude art works involving penises in a special room in the museum.
Is there anything you always take with you when you're travelling?
Nothing really. Though I always like to catch up with my reading so have a few books with me. And I always keep up my blog even on holiday, so I usually have my laptop too.
What is the silliest souvenir you've ever bought?
I used to buy Stewart Lee a crucifix as an ironic gift every time I went away. I got one in Barbados made of barbed wire and a really old looking one in Prague. I really wanted to get a full sized one that had clearly been taken from a church but suspected that that would be illegal and also it wouldn't fit in my suitcase.
Where are you off to next?
I am off to Edinburgh for the Fringe as I have been most years since 1987. It doesn't really count as a holiday, but I love the town. And if there is time this September we might go to Egypt, which is somewhere I have always wanted to go.