Yesterday, at Soho Theatre, I accidentally bumped into Malcolm Hardee Award winning comedy duo Gareth Ellis and Rich Rose, who perform as Ellis & Rose.
Rich told me they had once been billed by a hard-of-hearing comedy promoter as ‘Alison Rose’.
Gareth told me he had just realised that, when I have no material for my blog, I simply paste-in sections from my old diaries.
In fact, he is only half right. I also do it when I have no time to transcribe (let us say) three long interviews.
So here are some Guy Fawkes Day extracts from my old e-diaries.
In the evening, I went with a French girl to a Guy Fawkes night party at an ex-Radio 1 DJ’s home. We arrived a little late and the French girl asked someone: “Have you already burnt the gay?”
“Well, I don’t know if they are or they aren’t,” the ex-Radio 1 DJ told me, “But I’ve been told by one who’s been there that he’s got the most enormous knob.”
PR Max Clifford told this ex-DJ a few years ago, when she was at Radio 1, that, if she gave him £50,000, he could make her massively famous by fabricating an affair.
I met three taxi drivers and someone who ran a facility house in Soho.
An Asian taxi driver told me he had taken a computer studies course at Reading University but hated computers and so was now driving. He said he had played second team for one of the County Cricket clubs, but could have played for Pakistan.
“Are your parents Pakistani?” I asked.
“No,” he replied, “But I know influential people.”
A Nigerian taxi driver told me he spent three months of every year driving cabs in New York. He lamented the fact the British government had no control of the country. “People are allowed to demonstrate and cause chaos,” he told me. “Britain needs stronger leadership.”
A white cab driver took me to Soho for my daily video edit. He told me he lived in the East End near Canary Wharf. He was a disillusioned racist who, of course, started: “I’m not racist, but…”
He said he was going to leave London where he had been born and bred because “it’s no longer my city. Me and my kids are foreigners in it”. His local mayor (in Tower Hamlets) was an Asian and, whereas his kids’ school had no religious assembly in the morning because that would be unfair on non-Christians, they had to observe Ramadan (he claimed).
“All I want is a level playing field,” he said. “The council’s building 4-bedroom flats now. That’s not for the likes of me. They’re building them for their own kind because they breed. And round my way, the Bengalis run the heroin trade and, if you get in their way, they just kill you.”
Ironically, he was talking of emigrating to Grenada in the Caribbean.
At the editing facility in Soho, the audio suite was run by 32 year-old woman with an English accent, but who had been born in Edinburgh.
Aged 6, she had gone with her family to Zambia for four years. While she was there, she and her classmates were held hostage by Zairean guerrilla rebels for a period. She did not know how long. The teachers told the children the men outside were just stopping by on their way somewhere else and, when she was told they were guerrillas, she was very impressed because she thought they must be very educated gorillas.
Her father piloted the local Flying Doctor plane and, returning to the UK, flew executive jets chartered by celebrities and businessmen. He was friendly with Edinburgh-based pop group The Bay City Rollers at the height of their fame. She remembered travelling with them in cars – they were lying on the floor or bent down covered with coats to avoid being seen by their fans. Knowing them gave her prestige at school and fans offered her money for the bathwater the boys had used.
Later, in her teens, she went through a Goth phase with bleached blonde hair and now, aged 32, her boyfriend is a 25 year-old freelance gardener who was adopted. He has no interest in finding out about his real parents, but knows his father was olive-skinned and his mother was a lifeguard.