Tag Archives: Millennium

A phone call on Christmas Day from the dead UK comedian Malcolm Hardee…

Malcolm Hardee on the Thames (photo by Steve Taylor)

Malcolm Hardee on the Thames (photo by Steve Taylor)

It was Christmas Day 1999, just six days before the big Millennium celebrations due to be held at The Dome in Greenwich, London… The telephone rang.

At that time, comedian Malcolm Hardee was married to his long-suffering wife Jane. Malcolm drowned in 2005. So it goes.

This is an extract from my diary on Christmas Day 1999…

* * *

Malcolm Hardee phoned at midday. His opening words were:

“There’s a thin dividing line… between criminality and non-criminality… But it’s OK, I’m back now.”

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“I opened the Christmas presents,” he replied.

“And whose house were they in?” I asked, because I know Malcolm.

“Somebody else’s.”

“Whose?”

“Oh, the neighbours’,” he mumbled. “Well, all the doors look the same round here and it was early in the morning.”

“What about the lock?” I asked.

“Well, it was on the latch,” he replied a little too quickly. “I knew it was the wrong house when I realised Jane wouldn’t have bought me a power drill. The fireplace was in the same place as my house and everything.”

“And where is Mrs Hardee?”

“Devon.”

“Devon?”

“At her mother’s.”

“That’s a bit dodgy isn’t it? Leaving you on your own in London.”

“Mmmm…….I’ve had to cancel our New Year’s Eve show.”

“Why?”

“Greenwich Council has declared an exclusion zone. It’s like Nazi Germany round here. I won’t even be able to walk from my house to the club unless I have a plastic arm band on.”

“You mean they’re banning parking?”

“No, they’re banning everything. They say they’re frightened of a second Hillsborough.” (The football disaster in which people were crushed to death)

“You mean you can only get into central Greenwich if you buy a ticket to the Dome?”

“I can’t get one. I had one and they withdrew it.”

“I’m not surprised: you might have nicked their tent.”

“Mmmmm.”

I realised afterwards that I should have asked where the power drill is now.

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Comedian Nick Wilty, a failed armed robbery & Malcolm Hardee’s power drill

Comedian Nick Wilty’s wedding on 28th September, 2008

Last night I went to Nick Wilty’s Whitstable Comedy Club aka the OyOyster Comedy Club. It is called OyOyster Comedy because Whitstable is known for its oysters and Nick’s late friend, comedian Malcolm Hardee, was known for saying, “Oy! Oy!”

A great comedy night – Adam BloomGeorge Egg and Sean McLoughlin.

Nick is himself extraordinary – a former British Army soldier who became a very very good stand-up comedian with itchy feet which meant he was forever travelling the world. At one time, he told me he was thinking of settling in the Far East but instead he got married in 2008 and moved to Whitstable. And, having been at the leopardskin-themed wedding (I can’t remember what I wore) and seeing him with his wife, I think he made the right decision.

I don’t think I have actually seen him since for any length of time, though we might have bumped into each other at the Edinburgh Fringe. But I do remember a meal we had at Kettner’s in London’s Soho on Thursday 21st November 2002.

Alright. I kept a diary, now transferred to my Apple Mac, and I did a ’search’. The diary entry for Thursday 21st November 2002 reads:

Lunch with comedian Nick Wilty at Kettner’s in Soho. In the 20 minutes before Nick arrived (I was early), I sat in the almost empty bar. The only other people there were former Kray Brothers associate Freddie Foreman and three men apparently talking about an armed robbery which had gone wrong and whether or not The South African had double-crossed them.

Nick told me he had left the army after the Falklands War because it had become boring – doing the same thing day in and day out. He served c1978-1982 but avoided Northern Ireland by (truthfully) saying he had lots of Irish mates and his sympathies tended towards Republicanism.

Nick told me that going onstage was like the first time he parachuted or bunji-jumped – fear in the pit of your stomach then a sudden change to exhileration when you were actually doing it.

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