« Desert Island Discs

Alexei Sayle, comedian

2021-05-23 | 🔗
Alexei Sayle is a comedian and writer, who began his career just over 40 years ago at the small Comedy Store venue in London, which proved a launch-pad for a new generation of comic stars. Alexei was born in Liverpool, where his parents were loyal members of the Communist Party: their politics informed almost every aspect of the family’s life, including holidays by train to eastern European countries that were then part of the Soviet bloc. He won a place at Chelsea School of Art but didn’t thrive as a painter. He began performing with a theatre troupe and - after answering an advertisement - became the compere on the opening night of the Comedy Store. He soon found himself at the centre of a new wave of British comedy. With his tight suits and often abrasive stage presence, he enjoyed successful stand-up tours, appearances on numerous TV shows including The Young Ones, and even a novelty pop hit. He attempted to launch a career in America, but was fired from a TV series on his 40th birthday. He stepped back from stand-up and devoted himself to writing novels and short stories. More recently, he has returned to live performance, and has also created a number of comedy series for Radio 4. He lives in London with his wife Linda: they have been married for almost 50 years. DISC ONE: Volver by Carlos Gardel DISC TWO: Joe Hill by Joan Baez DISC THREE: Aviator’s March by Yevgeny Kibkalo (baritone), conducted by Alexei Kovalev DISC FOUR: Seeräuber Jenny (Pirate Jenny) by Lotte Lenya DISC FIVE: Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin DISC SIX: Shipbuilding by Robert Wyatt DISC SEVEN: It Was a Good Day by Ice Cube DISC EIGHT: Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal BOOK CHOICE: The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh LUXURY ITEM: A Chinese Broadsword CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music, radio, podcast, tallow, unlearned event, and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island and for rights reasons, the music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening my passed away this week is the comedian and writer alexey sale of finding food of alternative comedy he first broke through m c of the fabled comedy store club in so who, with an act that by turns confrontational political answer regal. He says it didn't feel like
and act at all, perhaps because ass, the child of communist parents growing up in working class liverpool life itself was confrontational political answer, real family. Today's involved into reeling round these en bloc and cinema trips, in choosing sergei eisenstein alexander nevsky over bambi like so many The committee still regulars. He would go on to become a household name, but he hung up his might for a literary career. He adored in his words like him liegemen going all gooey over a second wife lately- lay he's back on stage after sixteen years away. He says as I get in front of an audience. The old money Kennedy possesses me, and I realise that I am still full of hate. I just don't call you the un's names anymore, maxie sale, welcome to desert island discs, craig you, although I have lived in london for the majority view life. Of course you are liver, put land, air and another you ve written about the city. A child in liverpool grows up understanding, comedy in the same way that a young mongolian noma those his way around a horse,
central. Is your regional perspective to your accommodating laporte people chosen to be funny you now and you know like in normal schools, they're going to class next time. This wasn't monty python, yellow great resign you're in love for the goal here. What I felt that the second act sagged and somebody catches. You no other elements, a basis which I found you know technically very towards the dad at a rather poor people, always been much more analytical. I think about comedy. So what's it like playing at home cause, it's not always easy to play to whom crowd other cliches about regional variations in sense of unitary. I've never
really found, I think, with my origins emanating from the early days, really, because in a sense to people who came to see my comedy were kind of the same year at the same references and it didn't matter what part of the country they lived in ready. So am I mean the palazzo up always been obviously been amazing for me that it's been. Does a college telepathy? I think we can talk about some few money advances to go. I'm gonna have to To talk about your experience has a recording artists to much of the damned, but you did not allow the ilo John got a new motor atop turn hidden, nineteen, eighty four. So what criteria have you used to? Let your discs first today. This is something I've been thinking about for thirty years and not the first person broadly through said that being constantly
I was in my list poaching in additions drop in things, obviously stuff. That makes me look good forgotten, so, whether I like it or not, roscoe star accomplice, member one mother weakening its collis gardelle, while their college gotta was the algorithm tango. He was the king of tango music in by this house, in the thirties, and of our best friend is our continuing inside it tell me about collars got out, but my other thing is that I and it's a failing in may, but I've never really quite understood, live music that I don't understand what its full ready that for me, music is either to listen to all, to dance to thought, while just colors gotta, because these the king tango untangle was also was developed in the brussels of of when his eyes, and it will be
and they would dance with other men, but not to have to make myself a kind of like in castaways. Now, if I have not for this, but if I could have a basketball wilson written on and then I'll make myself a woman or a man, and I will end my desert island, I will dunstan tango to college. we need one founded upon me, my yellow, but funding. Oh peter lobby, On monday, the kindest goddamn volvo
so alexey sale. You were born in liverpool, nine, fifty two only child of mali and joe- and I know that you say their sense of humour was very different to yours, but I think that your dad had a manner about him that people really warmed to. How would you describe and prepare lived without ready observer? yeah genial man. I think people with its always unlawfully man. I love that on the other hand, was there a nightmare radiant, various iterations. I mean that extraordinary force and nature do the thing that I should say about molly across and which was also a an unusual thing about us was that members have grown up in a very orthodox jewish family. Nobody spoke yiddish, they didn't speak english, and so she grown up in real hothouse hyper religious atmosphere really in turn a merry and out of the jewish religionist, of which it also meant that she was a strange for man, her family. You start that proposal.
Our family life with a railway. The union and the communist policy, both the apparent remembers how fundamental with our values, to the childhood that you hunt wherethrough. Beware very on the mountain. Really I mean the communist party always said. That particular view is just a few of you that you have to be a good worker, the man not to say that if you were spout in this revolutionary kind of story for you trying to get it to go on strike or whatever do you have to show that you were there, also the best they went sky there you're an honourable decent pass. Not I think, I'm some of that stayed with me. I mean I'd like five years doing terrible jobs that was piety didn't really live up to that bring us pretty bad skype. But since I've been comedy, I think by large it I've tried to be. You know, not somebody. You kind of men
is around europe, and somebody is always reliable and so on and so forth. Nothing, I think I've got down from me. Tat, ready and life when you were young was very much dictated by the police excited party area. It was like a bearded, any kind of culture in a way that you also not only was that the means in our lab. But if you want you diploma, then you get a party plumber and envy you wanted that mean on a day to day as you must have done a lot of things that your peers didn't and not done a lot of things that they did, devotedly, sergei eisenstein. I'm full is really the apotheosis of me mother. They want me to go, see ban because she thought I'd be upset by an such did. This put us compensation. They took me to see segue eyes and stands alexander nevsky, which reaches the scene of of teutonic nights, drown in on a frozen lake in graphic design,
and several scenes of ritual child sacrifices, but it sounds like you had your own way of seeing the world. Is your parents, so it from quite a young age to yeah? They never quite fitted in a mean, particularly molly re, because she was such a big character that they never fitted into the drab bureaucratic whereby either of the union, so that communist party, so they were always slightly outside as even within caught ready- and I just I think, from a very early age I just on one- level, I accepted it, but on another level I thought this is nuts and we need it doesn't make any kind. Then tell me about your next dusk establishment.
Where this is Joe hill by joan buyers. Among other reasons, the chairs this was, it was actually those a guy called toil luca. This was played at my mother's funeral and he sang it and you know it's there. It's a kind of anthem of you have done a revolutionary politics and he actually try to change the word. So he said I he put molly sale where Joe hill,
Well said I dreamed, I saw molly said last night: a live issue, janine, never never to him by june bias so alexey dont Joe, was guardsmen on the railways and a trade union official, and I know that you brought a bunch of flowers whom fear mom Molly every friday which This is a bit of an unexpected quality and a revolution. Beware both the amazing people in their home. I really did Joe was besotted with Molly. Really you had
incredible. Adventures is a family, because if you dad's job, you had free railway travel, but these one. ordinary holidays, to scare nassau devon, and when you must have been the best travelled kid at your school year, because we could travel right up to the borders The soviet union, as it was then called for not, and we went all over eastern europe the end we knew you know like the back of our minds. If we ever got into trouble, my dad would just go looking for communists who taught what he's fine, genoa, and so you know if we did never hotel room or some. No. We want to the male just go looking for communists, and then we find ourselves in like a work, is kantian at the at the volkswagen factory or something you know sumptuous meals, you're the first time we went suit czechoslovakia, think because we made our own way there. We were dumped on this campsites out to season and it was audible until Joe went looking for communists and he found a building which
the evasion of the tac and he went in there and it turned out that everybody, in their being, like obama, pilot in bed Joanna were so there's all these checks had been in there ass, a tell them that we will have a very nice time in that they set out. There were sorry and then on the monday of the people of IRAN, the campsite had been audible to which suddenly really panicky, because with this fleet of checks, tobacco is really a lot of really interested in kind of engineer, get really boring cause now about that. These amazing limousines called attaches six out three, which are like a glass from with three headlights in it and then other vs engine, but in the back with a big kind of s group like these s, groups at the site is really futuristic. Unusually for fleets of like party limousines turned up, it meant nothing. Good was gonna happen to you. So the people, and the campsite were really worried, but it turned out that the com for us we're bundled into these out you're these limousines driven to prague and then from their normal.
He rose. You know we were treated like kings, really, alexey it's time for you next piece of music. This number three tell me about this. One well does the thinking behind this is that I am If I'm alone on this desert island, then it will of essence be a socialist republic. Is I'm a socialist, and so we will need an anthem, and so I have chosen for the and some of the tropical socialist republic of alexey sale. I have chosen the battle him of the soviet air force
I can't sing this. If you want, I do know the words in england, I saw you was edgeware engines, row crushed pole
regions and acc is ok. Both lines of peace are laid fly. Higher and higher and how? blood, the soviets da now, the sea creatures are aiming for a treat either Even though, why I know that the patent human facilities, air force, technical, the aviators march so by give gagne keep hollow and conducted by alexey cobble jove, alexey sale, lotta coming talk about how they with a class clown at school, and your command of an audience is notorious and fascinating. Your relationship to them did you have that as a kid Think so I mean a lot of comics talk about how they use a comedy to avoid being picked up, but that wasn't the case. What made that I was both a troublemaker, but I was also.
Oh funny, with their so junior teenagers, was that evidence that would have been obvious to other people. Are you going, a performer. I know that you were an autistic kid you would drawing more than I was never academic. Really, I always drew ready and I would draw your I had my own country called, say latvia that I drew. If I was gonna get further or higher education, it was never gonna be through person, exams cause. I was never any good at that. Really. I think I was gonna be my way out really incense. after school. You got a place, it chelsea college of art and design why london, and why that college, in particular, first of all day through me, out of school after offered to the six for medical, partly because I too fighting in the truck shop q with it
each who, incidentally, was also in the communist party, so I went to southport college about halfway through sexual. That was that was wonderful ready when I was looking to articles remember going to see David talking to give a chore, Chelsea and it just seemed very exciting and stuff. You know now accepted me for whatever reason than that, but then moving down to london was a terrible shock. Really I mean a thing about being to visit friends. the majority of the time at being down cylinder was on. Demonstrations are used to say the anywhere find my way. Randal under MR starts to speak his corner, and then you want to talk to the american embassy and started to pause and kind of wandered down the middle of the street shouting about vietnam. I also for the first time a came up, gains the upper classes here where I was and is to lecture and my first or second week in name a chelsea, the artist you let your pull up a slide of frank off
and again in my class such issues in. Oh, yes, I know that painted the originals in the hall flat in rome is not even living room, send a whole get away a highly coats make some time for the music. This is best before things about my pants, was. It was a highly illiterates. How so then it was also a household in which the theatre, particularly political tears, had it was very important rainy and my parents had actually matter. I think it place called unity theater I just after the war, which was then and still going today in the report was a place where working class people will go poor on plays. Brecht was very important and not ass, ready, and I are just look back for a very early age on particular light simply opera. I also address think pirate jenny Also because if this idea of a woman who is a waitress in a hotel, but she dreamed that she's really a pirate and that the ship will come one day and the bay
I love that bit wherein in the german version she said you down there, the crap all the townspeople, you know been horrible, that copper mines and they drag them to me. Say which one shall we kill and I'll say all of them. So that's how I felt when I worked in the civil service, I felt a bit like that. Binding decisions immediately set up fashion, Methodist spent thirty eight. He gave me an impending, madam commissioner. As you say, my dear little is known: vigo, typhoons events give me. The aims on sea basin We dreams I miss thompson, anguish and eyes, and a half months ass, his mask anguish on monday, Aligning gleeson month, leslie data by dying. She made
want me- the arab league and I'm hired jenny from the threatening our press potential. And could file summoned by a lotta linnea so relax resale having got to out school and finding out you're pretty different from most of your classmates. You almost got kicked out yet. Why? Because others show color confused and and kind of depressed, really that I wasn't doing much work and they taken very enthusiastically to the kind of ideas yeah advanced in paris and sixty eight to teach in was pointless. She couldn't teach anything so they they taken today So you just kind of thrown into a studio star three years net occasioning. It was a way to subsidize practice analysis that they be given like a day's teach in the month, and so you just about money too
scrabble together some paint in and then the others guide come along in a leather jacket and say now where's thing I've ever seen and then I'll see you two months time and such a d ready, demotivated, I mean it was sink or swim and in the end I did swim. Pre really so once he graduated from high school. How did you make ends meet when you were waiting for your break? I had this sequence of jobs. I was clark and services of just rotten I was parttime illustrated for awhile knows a dinner lady in a private school I was its assistance to a school care taken, clean children's toilets and they had them. You stop outside towards that's not a nice job If you go south from green power on the jubilee line, I took the first four feet as you go south leaving green power station before they find me, I was a terrible employee. I was offering me completely contradictory, but
said before me in a good employee. I wish you also performing in threepenny theoretically chose like what a load of balkans tell me more about the kind of performances that you're putting on the boy was at school copy is what we call cliff call whose parents were also comes. Parties also want to introduce me to hinder any controversy. Slavic fiscal been impairs. Recovery has come back and he wanted to do this fringe show about better break called about poor baby and because we ve been in the school play together. He asked me if I wanted to be in it just write about nine seventy six, so we did this show, which was songs and poems of of better back there's. Quite a large company of kind of your nobody's getting paid ready, but it was real.
bans is my first taste of the theatre and I loved it really out. Those thoughts. Just went ass to an obvious that this idea that there was an audience out there for comedy that was small and kind of other kind of cabaret by boat was like about politics and troops and lifestyle, and so I just wrote it. Whenever we just did well alexey well, we'll find out where that turkey, next after this piece of music, it's disk number five. What have you got in waiting to the island. Vicious lenders, favorite singer, which is jealous joplin alike, wendy's on the road. Yet we have a long drive, so we have a sing song ready. I know this is one of the songs that I sing
my wife and my man. Then it is time we sang songs. not me. Unpopularity jumps joplin, not one for your wife, linda alexey anna. It was she who spot the add for the job of m c. For the very first night, the comedy stall, the add on seventy nine rush, you'd get private, I think by its work, and she just saw this agitated and as soon as I saw tat, I knew that that was it really. It said looking for you now aspiring comics do worker club in so already
this new kind of comedy club any need that you are going to get a new phase of all the dishes. What I've been looking for, because the thing was that when we ve been doing through, we didn't know body. We would just in a vacuum ready- and I know that you have for movements take off it needs to be. A group of people needs to be a stout really at the castle, with some couldna being picasso without the support of all the other cuba's I knew that what I needed was a place where I find the light money people, so I turned or put the audition and their annette. Everybody else was just you couldn't see. What do attempt in the loves me to opening night and you gotta get yeah so opening night was it wasn't a strip club called the weather, goggle club and it was toppled, barn and gas or put their tops
midnight- and it was this amazing club and the show star- is at midnight the opening night everybody was, but wine drawn, clive anderson host of loose ends, was there in the opening night and there was a few kind of artists and that's the thing that was needed most with somebody was funny but so somebody you carried this physical threat and that's what I did that It's not really mabel. When I'm on stage, you know it's. The kind of I just have this You will argue with me: I'm just so fail us, I'm frightened and another control that night, I wasn't trying to ingratiate myself with the audience I want. The victory for me was, if they dislike me, but they still, they laughed it's time for some music alexey sailed this number six. What is it all overshooting? The idea of the protests sung near the political scene,
as you know very central to my understanding, and this is shipbuilding by robert wide it. I think the greatest protest sung walter. It gets into talking about the falcons war via metaphor, which is about shipbuilding. You know and then just beautiful beautiful lines you know and robert. Why also came when will it be says he was the first famous personally cancer, but also its written by others. Castello course am by clive longer who also produced my hit, allow junk email a new winter,
and the boys just spread around the world, Robert wade and shipbuilding. So alexey sale, alternative comedy, really took off in the eighties, and you were in some of the biggest comedy shows in the decade, the young ones, comic strip presence and your own award winning series stuff too. How ambitious were you men to stamp bishops. In that I wanted to be big. They are wanted to be ready bit. What did that looked like today, beyond the tally? Ready a color came to realize that there is a limit ultimately cause like I was on. This live comedy show an icy vain, nice and easy to call out. You take the ears, my chance of
the timeframe, but at the same time, my close to my actress sing a song about albania, which was then in a marxist, this dictatorship- and I think the song ended with a reference to Joseph stalin- so? I was like. I want to be big, but I just wanted to do this mats stuff. You never gonna, be like family friendly entertainer. Really doing that to tell me about going to allay because he went to the valley in the late eighty to break america. Where were you think I don't want it soon like you too, you goodnight, I had this american aging called joan scots it right now is. Do you thought I was great? She really populations Yet I went to allay and then went beyond the left, the golden girls I cast as hair replacement, counting, but out most of the sea we should. It was called golden palace and I was away
He used european chef near the three women at some armies to scrape together the money to buy a hotel yeah. I wish your back east european chef in now tell unconsciously, I I didn't want to be then I thought you know, and I would that very odd and might performances were very patchy and pondered things I did rice is ready for it. Is that like what? Because second big dance appear, if I tap dance uk people got that's amazing. There were flatter me, but I tried to tap dance in front of the golden gives. Now these with three women who'd been on broadway gino. we call porridge written, sounds words that I cannot tell you how unpleasant those three women were about my tap dance it, which it sets up a cut of poor, brilliant underground. Equally, it is light years there were so unpleasant annie.
so yeah I was in earlier. I got fired, fired me on my forty at birth, When I was in LA I tended to allay alexey. We dislike kind of really nice guy, warlike pastoral collar, polar shirts and Oh, I don't know who the hell he was. I believe I was gonna break the states. I should have done stand up really. I should have guns beer, but I can't be bothered, while not now, I think we'd better, have some music to tap dancing feeder lines, alexey cell. What's next, it's my fault,
keep up shown, which god it was a good day by ice, cube just wake up in the morning gotta, but today sees no from the smaller the breakfast gamma. What did they gotta but later, as I don't think, I'm another gotta go because I got me at times when it was a good day ice cube. four allay alexey, I'm guessing yeah Ella election. He was cool. You very big region and cheaper need be like here doc. By the early ninetys alexey sale. You fall in love with standard. Why was that, where to save a finger,
the end of the road with that guy in the child. She really because he was a kind of comic character, and so he couldn't really talk about my life that more treaty in the broadest sense, because he wasn't maybe so that kind of not sure- and I didn't realize that time, but I I just knew that plane. The crowds were the same, an overlap, but I just knew that I wasn't. It was working for me, anemone really in europe becoming too different from him. Maybe one of the Jews which is the EU reaches an answer? Tiny, you know in its hard you either reach a point where it you do shorten and it really were so then it stops work in, and so then you have that choice about whether you keep on still doing now thing and you just keep on doing it. You don't update you, so you go down a few steps like a football ago from the premiership too,
championship. You go to a smaller clubs, but you you still working kind of thing. You know you'll keep on doing the same old thing or whether you you're gonna blow it up. You stop and find some now and having been at the birth of alternative comedy. Why do you see it's dna for decades later to europe through year goes the giant the street that is stand of company. Now the arena acts the michael marking, ties and jack. Why chosen? Yes said americans and so on that day all spring from what we did in that strip cloven. So how do you know? now comes the dna that little club, and so I wish that one resource that side or the other resources in its that's partly just look. That's just a question
time to be there then, and to be instrumental in the birth of an entire art form or sub saharan are forming an entire industry. Preserve a privilege granted to very very few people. Are I'm just a grateful to have been nay, you know, I'm too either fraser go. You have grown backstage, comedy stone or the mix it after pretend to be delighted that there is a bit like Jesus turn, iniquitous connectivity, players, agents now refer, it was a bit. Somebody else would have done it. If not, maybe someone actually the time, is nearly upon us. You alone, custom, on the desert island away from your wife, Linda, you ve been with forty seven years now: nothing How will you be with just itself for company but try to imagine a big right? Really, I'm not that resilience, my main hobbes thinking, so you, the kind of person who could consider
the mind palace to live in until rescuer? I am. I don't know from that. Good ass. It ready to be all right for a bit before you go then one more chain. What's he gonna be this? Is it does he rascal bunkers? This time, make me
seem like come vaguely in the twenty percent, far away economy and our continent that allowed by some kind of gotten rid of no longer. Does the rascal bunkers up like great minds in the egg and freaky tension in may, for yet as item festival, gimme the complete works. If shakespeare in the bible to read, you have the books to take with you and you can have another book of your own choices. While what would you like, you're my parents, they
given that really listen to the voices that confirm that world few really in. I want you to listen to the voices that challenged my way ready, and so my favorite author has always been evelyn more ready. I think that Egypt, alcoholic hated the way class brand new the hand. I always think there's a tremendous humanity. I think in his works from what would you think, there's any book that I really read is some sort of honor trilogy, which is also, I think, probably the best book about. Certainly Britain, during the second the war is thank. You will also to eat a luxury item, of course lucky I do chinese martial arts, but I also do weapons inside your staff and I do broadsword never. First of all, I could have me staff and then maybe I could use that to fish
with and stop now. That would, if I have a broad sword, if I've like a chinese brought, so I can use that as a machete. I can call myself a staff from a tree, so I can have the staff and the broad so mostly our practice me patents. Honestly, our practice miss one young patents and that's what I want to hear that creating company for practical nine out it would give me I mean that's what I'll do I'll die. Our practice me, metallic jamie, confirm me patterns tat, look at me through, but so it will come in handy fur, splittin, cocoanuts and stuff, and finally, he had to say just one of these: Sue waves, the waves that to be made Bobby Magee alexey sale. Thank you very much for sharing new discs us. Thank you. hello. I really hope even joy, tat interview with writer on comic alexey sail with customs
any comedians way over the years, many of whom have performed the comedy still include two friends jennifer. Soon this answer Lenny Henry you can hear them programmes. If you search through BBC sings joy next time when my guest will be charity worker a causing the question. charlie I've been so excited to speak to you how I manner. How do you know I'm Joe wigs and I'm back for the second series of my pod cos I thought about sharing ways to help. You live a happier and healthier life didn't research, the papuans sancho inversion. Frankly, you hang upside down. We ask about what exactly? Are you
with every day. You know it all just sort of kids. You had a low but yeah. I get to speak some hairs of mine from the legend certain giants from next obsessed with one of our most successful uk athletes. So far you have be smart, uncontrolled the raising in the way that you want latest settles me organised. My brain meditation, I think, is the co of a space within you too. If you don't turn to it, lol again? Why subscribed now baby? sounds you never missed an episode, and you can also check out every single episode in video format on babies. Your plan, the Joe export cos abc radio for.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.