Monday, June 09, 2008

Mark Lawson Interviews Alexei Sayle

Something Alexei Sayle said in interview with Mark Lawson. Something along the lines of "You can't be a real writer and host game shows at the same time."

I've never read a novel by Stephen Fry so I'm not really qualified to agree or disagree with Sayle. But I did accidently turn QI on for a couple of minutes at the weekend and wasn't really surprised by the level of sixth form debating society smugness on show.

I confuse Mark Lawson with that journalist who told the Scientologist "YOU WERE NOT THERE!" I kept expecting him to interrupt Sayle with those words. But Sayle was talking about his life and he was there.

He said Ben Elton decided he was going to be famous early on and everything he does is in the pursuit of fame. Ben will never be satisfied. I regularly see young women on the train reading Ben Elton novels. It never seems to be the same one. I'm sure that would satisfy most ugly middle aged men.

I have never attempted to read a Ben Elton novel, or an Alexei Sayle one. I did once try a Rob Newman one but couldn't get into it. I have never read a David Baddiel novel or a Frank Skinner novel or a Dawn French novel or a Jennifer Saunders novel or an Adrian Edmondson novel or a Lenny Henry novel either.

I wonder if any of you have ever read a novel written by one of the New Wave Of Alternative Comedians? Jo Brand? Arthur Smith? You know, one of those.


  1. I haven't read any of the authors listed here.

    I spent last night watching old episodes of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie".

  2. I thought he did "Sayle of the Century" live from Norwich ?

  3. I did love Alexei Sayle's "Stuff" and have read Ben Elton's Stark which was quite entertaining.

    I'll get me coat ...

  4. I read Adrian Edmondson's novel, which was an entertaining quick read, if not overly laugh-out-loud funny. (I do remember laughing out loud twice...)

  5. I discovered recently that her out of Sleeper wrote a novel. Mid-1990s indie novelist crowd, anyone?

    I'm holding out for the novel by him off of Gene.

  6. MJ - A bit of Fry & Laurie, about 20 seconds worth, was enough for me.

    Murph - I enjoyed Stuff, too. Stark? Raving bonkers!

    Cynthia - I presume he's a better novelist than he is a scriptwriter. He couldn't be any worse.

  7. Billy - The mid 90s indie crowd have to write novels. Can you imagine how boring their autobiographies would be?

  8. Anonymous9:28 PM

    I've read a couple of Stephen Frys that I found on my mum's shelf after she died. Nothing memorable. In fact, I just pulled them off my shelf to leave in the staff room at work tomorrow (kind of a book crossing thing, leaving books in the staff room for people to take for summer reading).

    I don't like things that are supposed to be funny. I prefer to laugh at people in an uncaring and cruel way.

  9. Stephen Fry seems a very nice, very intelligent man.

    He just doesn't entertain me.

  10. I read a Stephen fry ages ago. Not very good or remotely memorable.

    I read a Ben Elton (Gridlock) and i remember laughing out loud once.

    Much more recently I read Northern Sky by Mark Radcliffe. Fuck. Ing Hell. It is rubbish. More yawning plot holes than you can imagine.

    I cannot even begin to imagine how bad Louise Wener's writing is but if it keeps Sleeper from reforming, keep it up love.

  11. Whenever I've started to write a novel I've never been satisfied with the first paragraph let alone carrying on to a second page. Writing fiction is an extremely lonely, extremely difficult pastime. But I suppose these celebs are naturals, aren't they?

  12. I've dabbled with Ben Elton's Stark and it's been gathering dust in my work's pigeon hole ever since. He's only gotten away with writing the script for that Queen musical 'cos people want to hear the songs and Queen fans will put up with anything.

  13. Queen fans aren't very complex, are they?

  14. Fry's novels are overrated, I feel, except Making History, which is great alt. hist. But his non-fiction, especially his autobiography (Moab Is My Washpot) is v good.

    Hugh Laurie's novel was a fun thriller, as I vaguely recall. Newman and Baddiel had their moments, esp. Newman's first one. Stark was OK, but things went downhill soon after.

    Best of the bunch are the thrillers Charlie Higson wrote before The Fast Show. Especially Getting Rid of Mister Kitchen, which is like Carl Hiaasen in a bad mood in South London.

    I'd love to read an Arthur Smith novel.

  15. I saw the Arthur Smith play about Gary Lineker.

    He lives in Balham, you know.

  16. Surely he must have 'got a new M'otah' by now?

    Have a great vaca!

  17. Thanks, Donn. God, I hate that song.

  18. Anonymous5:19 PM

    I read The Secret Purposes by David Baddiel a few years ago, and seem to remember thinking it was very good. Depressing, but good. I have DEFINITELY read worse.

    I love Stephen Fry as a telly 'personality' but could never quite get into his books. Now I ain't thick, innit, but even I find his stuff a bit like wading through latin-flavoured custard.

    Although...having said that, I do love custard.

    (To be honest, I think I love Stephen Fry because he's one of those brilliant people that you feel need looking after, and I'm the sort of sucker that finds that really lovely. Also, he knows EVERYTHING.)

    Guys, I'm just going out to get some custard. Can I get you anything?