The kids’ winter bugs are proving unshiftable, or at least as soon as one is gone, another is along to take its place. I was up at 5.30 to deal with my cold, coughing son (and to turn the heating back on) and though I used my parental magic to calm him down and get him back to sleep, I did not get back to sleep myself. Thoughout the night I’d been having the trippy thoughts that come with sleep deprivation and mild fever and come up with a string of emergency questions about having sex with a Frankingstein. When the kids woke up I managed to dress them both whilst my wife slept, which feels like an incredible achievement, partly because I keep forgetting which drawers which item of clothing is in and what exactly children are supposed to wear. Phoebe wanted to dress up in her Spiderman costume, but World Book Day has gone and it’s time she lived in the real world.
I had limited time to prepare for the podcasts, not only because of such fatherly duties and having to walk my useless daughter to nursery (sure you can go to the potty on your own, so why can’t you walk along the main road to your school?). I was also heading into town to do two long interviews where I was the guest rather than the man with the emergency questions. First Geoff Lloyd was going to talk to me about growing up in Cheddar, whilst showing me the Street View images of my town (it turns out there are a lot of oddly dressed people just standing around in Cheddar seemingly looking at nothing). I mainly told him about where I had failed to get off with girls, but we did go by the guest house where I had first had sex with a girl in my home town (when I was 21 - I am not even joking, though I had at least had sex elsewhere by that stage). I forgot to give the pertinent detail that the lucky young lady involved had insisted on playing Enya’s Sail Away during the act of passion, which had really confused me. It was bad and confusing enough having music playing when trying to concentrate on the largely mysterious process of coitus, but there isn’t even any kind of rhythm in that song to help you with the ins and outs required (I wonder if the hokey cokey might be the perfect lovemaking song as a result - you could say “That’s what it’s all about” as you or your partner reaches climax, but hopefully not on the first chorus).
Anyway lots of surprising revelations that come about with being presented with images of places that you haven’t necessarily thought about for a while or at least in terms of coming up with stories.
He attempted to fit in my whole career, but we didn’t get much beyond the 90s, as I mused about what would have happened had I followed the half of my brain that considered dumping Stewart Lee and Avalon and writing for the Day Today.
I think I made the right choice, and it was highly unlikely I would have thrown all that I had away, but it’d be interesting to see how things might have gone if I’d jumped.
And perhaps one of my RHLSTP guests gives a hint of what might have been if I had. Peter Baynham took over that writing role and has ended up in Hollywood writing films and bagging an Oscar nomination. Might that have been my destiny? Perhaps, though I don’t think I have the raw talent of this incredible little Welshman. I was crying with laughter within the first few minutes of our chat. Though by that time I had been talking for about four hours today, so I might have been giddy. It was lovely to see him again and to reminisce about our flat sharing days and the difficult tour dates we did that on one occasion saw him running off stage and not coming back.
It’s not a coincidence that he has worked with the greatest and most successful names in comedy over the last 20 years.
He was also a great performer in his own right (too gorgeous), but he is happier, it seems, being a writer. I am not sure I would have been so happy without some outlet to work out my problems in front of strangers. Who knows where I’d have ended up if I’d done the Day Today? My feeling is that I’d be somewhere not as good. I love everything and everyone I have. Maybe I’d love the things and people I’d have been with and created if I’d taken that different path. But if I was in my own sitcom and got the chance to swap destinies, I wouldn’t. Not without getting to see what the other one was like anyway. I’m not an idiot.
I have had an extraordinary life. I hope I survive my homicidal house, because I’d like to see what else is coming up.
And it was another double-headed winner for RHLSTP tonight. After my slightly below performance last week, I felt back on track and properly in the zone and my other guest Katherine Ryan was just as frank and funny as Peter. She has her head screwed on and has a wisdom and philosophy that took me another decade at least to get anywhere near. For some reason my guests seem as delighted to do this show as I am to have them. This has been, I think, a cracking series.
And we haven’t even got to Brian Blessed yet.
And joining Maria Bamford on the 19th March will be Sophie Willan. Lots of tickets at the moment, but I think this will sell well once the news gets out to the norms. So be quick.