Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thatcher Stole my Trousers by Alexei Sayle

If I had to name my favourite comedian it would be Alexei Sayle. Not only - as this, his second volume of memoirs, goes a long way to prove - did he invent politically engaged alternative comedy, he can do whimsy and the absurd too.

Sayle is also a proper writer - not only memoirs but fiction. Every Oxbridge comedian has one novel in him before he gets the call from American television, but Sayle is a master of the unfashionable form of short stories.

Douglas Adams called Sayle's story 'The Last Woman to Die in the War' a masterpiece. He was right.

Thatcher Stole My Trousers is a good-natured romp through Sayle's rise to fame. It also tells us a lot about an important moment in British comedy:

verdict on the other comedians he met at this height of his fame is surely right:
I came to the conclusion that mainstream comedians were nasty men pretending to be nice whereas alternative comedians were nice men pretending to be nasty. (Apart from Keith Allen.)
Allen has a role as antihero of this book, exceeded only by Sayle's mother Molly. The heroine is his wife Linda.

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