Stand-up comedy from the Hammersmith Apollo. The sometimes controversial Frankie Boyle introduces sets from Simon Evans and Aisling Bea.
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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for tonight,
Hello and welcome to Live At The Apollo.
I'm quite surprised that they've let me on as well,
if that's any comfort.
I've got a lovely theatre,
I've got two fantastic comedians to introduce to you tonight,
I've got a lovely audience to talk to...
I looked right into your eyes when I said that, mate. How you doing?
You have made an effort there, haven't you, man?
You have made an effort with the Peaky Blinders hairstyle there.
And it's like putting 26-inch rims
on a wheelie bin.
We've got some famous celebrities to talk to tonight.
And some not-so famous.
Some of the celebrities here tonight,
when I was researching the show, I had to start their Wikipedia page.
There are celebrities in here who don't get asked
to turn on the Christmas lights
in their own house.
You're talking about people who are 18 months away
from being quite a tricky tie-breaker in a pub quiz.
I'm only kidding. We're got some, er, famous faces in.
Who have we got? We've got Jameela Jamil.
How you doing, Jameela? You all right?
It's exciting for me, cos you present the Radio One Chart Show.
You get to tell the nation what is number one every week.
And the only way that could be more exciting, I think,
would be if it was 20 years ago,
when anybody gave a shit.
Who else have we got? We've got people from Holby, haven't we?
We've got Hugh Quarshie. Where's Hugh? Hugh, how you doing?
You're a fantastic actor. You've been in the RSC and everything.
You've been in Holby for a long time, right, so I have a theory
that if someone had a heart attack over here, we could whisk you over
and just suck all of the drama out of the situation.
We had the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year,
a great choice of venue.
A place where people think that hepatitis B
is a vitamin.
I don't really trust these big sporting occasions, you know?
The Olympics - a lot of that stuff is just for rich people.
I don't remember that at school.
-Yachting tomorrow class so remember, bring in your boats.
A lot of people find the Paralympics inspiring.
I just found it depressing.
I can't throw a discus
and I've got arms.
Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius, to me,
sounds like a spell that Harry Potter would say
to make your legs drop off.
When he gets out of jail,
his next girlfriend is going to get ready in a hurry.
"I thought you were running a bath?"
"No, I just threw some dungarees on. Let's go!"
I hope a jail bully steals his legs,
walks about being nine foot six.
I don't like the Commonwealth
cos the Commonwealth is the old British Empire.
It's called the Commonwealth because Britain
stole all those countries' wealth and then went, "Come on!"
The whole Empire was founded on cocaine.
Everybody was on cocaine. The remedies had cocaine in them.
Queen Victoria was on cocaine.
And not the shit you take!
You've never done a line and gone,
"Let's invade India!"
We had the referendum up in Scotland.
It was won by the No Campaign and Alistair Darling.
I thought it'd be good if when he won,
Alistair Darling's eyebrows had finally turned into butterflies.
And he wasn't even able to look surprised about it.
David Beckham sent the people of Scotland an open letter.
An open letter because he couldn't work out
how to get it into the envelope.
People said that during the campaign that I was anti-English.
I couldn't be more pro-English.
I thought the best thing for independence would have been
if England had won the World Cup.
Cos you would have been so unbearable
that we would have to leave.
Whatever happens next, I think
it's important that Scotland does something
that puts England on the back foot, something that England won't expect.
And the last thing that you're expecting
is for us to form an Islamic Caliphate.
IS - Independent Scotland. We can do this.
OK, we'll have to learn how to treat women slightly better,
but we can change.
I think people don't understand enough
about international politics, do they?
In Scotland, people think that Nato
is just a nickname you give to a guy who lost a foot to diabetes.
Ed Miliband came up for the referendum.
Now I'm going to go out on a limb here
and say I don't think Ed Miliband will win the election.
Because if he can't persuade his own face to do what he tells it to...
Ed Miliband said he wanted to militarise the Scottish border.
Can you imagine being a Scottish border guard,
having to do cavity searches
just to keep your hands warm.
Holding back the English refugees at Newcastle.
Newcastle being the first city in history
that turned into a refugee camp,
and got less mental.
-IN NEWCASTLE ACCENT:
-Well, things are actually a lot more civilised
now that we're ruled over by a horse militia.
Do you know what people in Scotland want?
What they really want in my experience is they want
transport to run normally in the winter through three feet of snow.
That's all they ever moan about -
"Why isn't this train moving through the snow?"
But what you really want is for the pilot to come over the intercom
and go, "Well, I've been told that it's not safe to take off,
"but I thought, let's give it a go."
We live in a kind of porn culture now. Don't we?
You see that thing on porn search engines, where it goes,
"Make this your home page."
Who does that?
Who wakes up in the morning, switches their computer on,
is confronted with hardcore pornography and thinks,
Animals don't watch porn, do they?
Unless you include my cat.
I think what it's led to...
It's led to men not really understanding
what sex is like for women any more.
I often think it must be more intense
to let someone inside your body.
I feel awkward just letting the gas man into the hallway.
I feel awkward just talking about sex cos I'm so old
and disgusting I have a body like a dropped lasagne.
I'm 42 and I now ejaculate with all the force
of Mary Berry's icing piper.
I honestly think I'm so old
that I couldn't even be viewed sexually any more.
I think if I walked down the street
with my hand down the front of my trousers,
people would just assume that I was rummaging for a dropped toffee.
If you get offended by any jokes tonight, by the way,
feel free to tweet your outrage
on a mobile phone made by a ten-year-old in China.
Cos that's what Santa Claus does the other 364 days q year.
He travels round the world
apologising to all the children who actually make the presents.
"Sorry about that, Wo Ling Ho.
"Still, tea break's over. Back to work, son."
People say that Steve Jobs died too soon.
But I think it was a fitting metaphor
for his company's attitude
to battery life.
I hope that they buried him in a coffin
with a great big crack in the lid.
Twitter's good, though, isn't it? I enjoy Twitter.
Before Twitter came along, if I wanted to be called
a wanker by a stranger, I had to go out for a walk.
Do you know what gets me on Twitter?
Those wee biogs people have where they put the most banal,
depressing summations of themselves.
"Tea drinker, that's me in a nutshell.
"I like to drink a cup of tea." "Foodie, I eat food."
I want a burst of honesty in one of those boxes.
"I was brought up in an atmosphere of such violence that
"I could never truly love anyone.
"The only person who loved me I rejected, and during my ensuing
"mental breakdown, I got a nutcase pregnant.
"I also drink tea."
I'd never even understood that Twitter was a bird metaphor,
even though it's got a bird as the icon and they're called tweets.
I think the reason I'd never worked that out is I've never
gone to the park and had a little robin redbreast turn round
in its nest and tell me that it hopes that my kids die
because I made a joke about Michael Schumacher.
It was actually a very gentle joke about Michael Schumacher.
I mean, thank God he's better and everything,
but at the time I tweeted,
"The only hope for Michael Schumacher is
"if his brain is repaired overnight by elves."
So it was actually a very light-hearted Elves And The Shoemaker joke.
You can't please all of the people all of the time, can you?
Some people just get offended by a word!
They don't want a word in a joke.
"No, ban that word." I can train a dog to get angry at a word.
"Rover, Jehovah's witnesses."
People should be more sophisticated.
Different words mean different things to different people.
You say Snapchat, I say speed wank.
Then there's the thing called phenomenology.
Phenomenology means that the joke can't take place in my mouth,
if you think about it, it has to take place in your head,
so it's often better in your head because you add to it.
I had this a couple of weeks ago.
I helped an old guy across the road in Glasgow.
He went to me, "Help me across the road, son,
"I've got aids in both ears."
Read a thing that said a woman died after drinking 18 litres of Coke.
She ate a packet of Mentos
and they found her head three miles away.
Piers Morgan says that women send him knickers through the post.
Presumably with the message,
"From one twat to another."
I don't really understand TV, to be honest.
I don't understand why Ant and Dec go to the jungle every year
when it's the only place that's hot enough for Ant's head to hatch.
I don't understand why Alan Sugar looks like
he's been cleaned out of someone's belly button.
I'd love to see how big Alan Sugar was if you ironed him.
There's a thing that happens to you, I think, in your forties
as a man where you suddenly realise that you're a dad.
And not in a good way. You realise that you're a 42-year-old
father-of-two who says lame dad stuff.
And you will never be cool again.
And this happened to me last week. I was in Covent Garden
and I was trying to cross the road at the traffic lights.
There was a guy beside me, a beautiful male model.
A Californian guy. A beautiful man.
And because he was American, he was looking the wrong way into traffic.
And he stepped out in front of a moving car.
And I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back
onto the pavement and he had no idea how close he'd come to dying.
And he said, "What was that car's problem?"
And I went,
"Look both ways, Zoolander!"
Do you know what my kids got me for Fathers' Day?
They got me that shower gel, mint tea tree gel.
No-one had warned me about that.
I thought my arsehole was going to burst into song!
They always say, don't they, when you're telling your kids off,
Don't be too negative. And I agree with that.
But sometimes you're standing there thinking,
"I don't see anything positive about this.
"You have shat on my rug...
"and I am struggling to find an upside."
You can't hit your kids, obviously, but there's nothing that says
that you can't tamper with the brakes on their heelies.
My son's six now so it's actually quite difficult to punish him.
What I do is I tuck his bedclothes in really, really tight
and hope that he has a nightmare
where he's trapped in a giant's pocket.
I think it's sad when people medicate their children
for behavioural problems, when it's so much easier
to just drug yourself.
You know the saddest thing?
You spend the first year teaching them to say Dad.
"Say Dad, Daddy, Dada."
And now they're like, "DAAAAD!"
And I'm like, "Shut up, will you?
"I'm on Tinder trying to find us a new mum."
We're bombing Iraq now. We're calling it humanitarian bombing.
There's no such thing as humanitarian bombing, is there?
It's always about oil or power. Not humanitarianism.
That's why you never get stopped by someone in the streets saying,
"Hi, I'm from Oxfam and for just £12 a month,
"we could really blow the shit out of something."
And who are we blowing up? IS?
Remember last year they said, "Oh, we need to bomb Syria.
"Help the rebels. They're the good guys."
Who were the rebels? IS.
The same people. They've gone from being loved
to hated and despised in a year
and they haven't even had to win the X Factor to make that happen.
Britain as a culture runs on hypocrisy.
David Cameron went to Sri Lanka.
He told the Sri Lankans off for human rights abuses
that they committed with weapons that Britain sold to them.
Like Ronald McDonald calling you a fat bastard.
We sent Prince Harry to Afghanistan,
because when you want to teach people about democracy,
you send them a prince!
You teach them about peace and democracy
by having a prince shoot at them from a helicopter!
-You ready for your first act, ladies and gentlemen?
Please, give it up and show a lot of love
to Aisling Bea!
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
Hello, The Apollo, are you well?
Oh, I'm delighted. I'm delighted to be here, really.
Because I actually haven't been well recently.
-Oh, no, stop it.
Honestly, I don't want to talk about it... Er, but if you insist...
I really haven't, though, so that's why I'm delighted to get here today.
I was rushed to A & E recently with terrible abdominal problems.
Just hideous pains all up and down my tummy and around my sides.
And I was rushed to A & E and for about three hours I thought,
erm, and anyone here who ever read a magazine as a teenager
will know what I mean, especially the girls,
I thought that I was about to have a surprise baby.
You know the way there's always stories in the magazines going,
"Well, everything was normal. Nothing was different.
"Everything was regular but then I went to the toilet
"and I looked in the toilet
"and there was a baby in the toilet.
"I'd had a surprise baby."
There was always that sort of... And that's what I thought it was.
But, erm, you'll be happy to know that actually it was, er...
I'm bringing sexy back,
a gut infection.
A gut infection.
But the worst part of, of the whole situation was
that the doctor in A & E was really, really handsome.
And I just... I think
doctors who are handsome should be struck off, I really do.
Er, I want someone with a sort of mashed potato head
that I could feel at one with.
But instead, this man was really handsome. He said to me,
"Oh, er, what seems to be the problem?"
And I was like, "Oh... Well, doctor, my problem is that...
"I'm too cute!
"Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Chase me! Chase me!"
How could I tell him that I thought I was having a surprise baby
or else I was waiting for a poo? I mean, I couldn't, you know.
"And once we find out which one it is,
"do you want to go for a drink?"
It's really quite terrible.
By the way, you might notice that I talk quite fast
and if I'm honest, it's not really going to slow down too much
so you'll have to sort of jump on the Vengabus of enthusiasm
and beep the horn with this one.
I think that the reason I talk quite fast is
because I was brought up in the countryside, in the deepest,
darkest countryside where there was no-one for miles and miles around.
Just this giant expanse of land with no-one to talk to
and it was very, very lonely.
You'd have no-one to speak to during the day.
A very backwards existence, lads.
Like, our clothes are made of mud...
..our hats were made of leaves,
we had no access to things like Pot Noodles,
we just had to sort of pour boiling water on top of birds' nests
if we didn't feel like cooking one evening.
A really backwards existence. And crows everywhere, crows...
In the city, there's pigeons everywhere
but in the countryside, there's crows everywhere
and it makes everything you do seem really ominous.
You'd open the window and it'd be like, "Bwak! Bwak! Bwak!"
"Oh, that seems a bit ominous."
You know, you'd be standing innocently over
a dead body in a field...
"Bwak! Bwak! Bwak!" "Oh, God, this seems a bit ominous."
But the reason that I think I talk quite fast is
because I'd have no-one to talk to during the day
and so some days the only person you'd have to talk to
would be a passing car flying along the road.
So you had to learn to talk fast if you wanted to talk to anyone. You'd be like...
-"Hi, how's it going?" "Come back and talk to me."
"Do you like my new dress?" "Stay and be my friend."
Some days, you'd be waiting for a tractor to come along,
cos you get more time out of a tractor, you see.
You get to talk to them for longer. You'd be like, "Hi, how's it going?
"Do you like Sesame Street? I like it. You do like Sesame Street?
"Sometimes I think Big Bird might not be a big bird, but he might be a man in a suit.
I know it sounds bad but I have my suspicions. Goodbye! Come back."
Also, I talk quite a lot and I don't really notice myself doing it.
The words come out and I don't see them happening.
It's a symptom I like to call Secret Talkers,
which I base on the Channel 4 show Secret Eaters.
I'm not sure if you've ever seen that programme.
For those of you who haven't, it's basically, well, someone
comes along and goes, "Oh, I don't know why I can't lose any weight.
"All I do all day is eat lettuce,"
and they put a camera on them then for a week and then
they go to them afterwards, they go, "Do you know what it is, now?
"Do you know every time you have lettuce, you have a gateau."
"Oh, that's probably..." "Yeah, that's probably what it is, yeah."
But the doctor did get quite worried about me.
He was like, "Aisling, you're going to have to get out of the house
"during the day."
And I was like, "Doc, I'd love to,
"but my naps are not going to take themselves. Soz."
Erm, but my, er, my mother was equally worried, she was like,
"Aisling, try and get out of the house and maybe do some exercise.
"Build up your strength and your muscle. Do a bit of exercise."
But I actually find it highly offensive
that my mother would suggest that I do exercise,
because she knows that I actually suffer from a terrible disability
which prevents me from doing any exercise
which is where I can't, erm...
I can't, er...
I can't be arsed. I really just can't be arsed.
I just kinda can't be.
And I would love to be arsed.
I would love to be one of those people who's naturally arsed
to do things but I just sort of can't be.
And, I mean, my disability affects me in so many ways.
Erm, my ability to clean the bottom of the dustbin.
Er, ring my aunties back at Christmas.
I would love to, but I just sort of can't be arsed to, unfortunately.
I mean, I just don't like moving too much.
I would sort of rather sit on the couch and waste away...than move.
I don't really like moving too much. I don't even listen to sad music
in case I'll be moved.
LAUGHTER DROWNS SPEECH
And I think the reason that I don't like exercise
is because the school I went to didn't have much money,
so the sports facilities weren't great.
And so a lot of the sort of sport and exercise we used to do,
used to leave us really, er...
pregnant. Really pregnant.
So the habit's just not there.
It really isn't, and I would love to be...
I would love to be into exercising and stuff but I just can't be arsed.
I'll be honest.
Erm, and you know, people... I did get, er, tricked
into going to a Pilates class,
because I thought it was pronounced Pilots.
I was there for about 15 minutes going,
"I wonder when they're going to let us fly the planes?"
Er, my friend, Brona, suggested that I do something social
like ping pong, table tennis.
Ping pong ta... I mean, I just... The ball moves too fast.
I can never see it. To me, ping pong just looks like two perverts
spanking a ghost.
Just don't understand it.
My flatmate Steph is American.
She's American and she's always doing this thing called running.
Running, has anyone here ever heard of running?
For those of you who don't know what running is,
it's something that you would naturally do only
when you're being chased and I don't understand it.
Steph is always just going for a run.
She's always just going for a run.
Unless I'm being chased by something terrible,
there's no natural panic in my legs that makes me want to go any faster
than this, a sort of whimsical saunter, that's kind of grand by me.
But Steph's always just heading out the door, going for a run.
-"Hey, I'm just going to go for a run, go for a run,
"I'm just going to go for a run." Steph gets such a buzz
out of going for a run that two days later,
she'll do it again.
I'd love to have, like, American-style confidence.
You know, like... Are there any Americans in?
-Do you see what I mean?
"Wah! I'm on my own but I don't care." Look at that, I love that.
"Whoo-hoo!" Americans just have this confidence from the absolute
gut of their culture. They just back themselves.
Americans took men and they sent them as far away as the moon.
In Ireland, we're like,
"Jesus, lads, it's a long, long way to Tipperary.
"That's a long, long way to go.
"I mean, I don't think we could make it there.
"I don't think we could make it anywhere."
Oh, by the way, I'm Irish.
The family's in, they must have found somewhere to park the van.
But, yes, I was going to use it as a surprise reveal at the end
but no, I'll tell you now, I am actually Irish.
But, yes, the most confident American I ever did see was
the rapper Kanye West.
Not to be confused with the Nobel Laureate, Kanye West.
He did a gig a couple of weeks ago where he was
so confident that in the middle of his gig,
he stopped the song and said, "Everybody stand up.
"Everybody stand up."
He said it in his own accent, not in an Irish accent, believe it or not.
Kanye West of Ireland.
But he's like, "Everybody stand up," and he refused to do the song
until everybody stood up, including two people in wheelchairs.
You can watch the clip online.
Apparently, he was so confident that even
the two people in wheelchairs were looking at each other going,
"I mean, maybe we should just give it a go."
"Maybe what's been holding us back
"all this time has been a lack of confidence."
Do you know what I get a buzz out of?
I love sitting down.
I do, I love sitting down, I even tried to do this gig sitting down
but they said they couldn't legally classify it as stand-up.
Erm, but, yes, I really do love sitting down.
You know the way you always hear those stories
in the tabloids about those men who are found
sat down in a chair, dead and alone, and they hadn't been found for days
and they were sat there, covered in their own wee. Oh, no!
What those stories never mention,
is the smile on that man's face.
But my mother, er... My mother said to me, she was like,
"Aisling, if you don't start doing exercise
"then you could end up becoming fat-thin."
And I said, "Jesus, Mary and Joseph and all of his carpenter friends,
"what is fat-thin?"
"Oh, Aisling, I read about it in a woman's magazine."
A women's magazine. The only targets in women's magazines
are other women.
"Fat-thin, is where you're thin
"but you're secretly fat cos you don't do any exercise.
"You can also be thin-fat, fat-fat,
thin-thin, too fat, too thin,
"thin in the wrong place, thin in the right place,
"fat in the wrong place, fat in the right place,
"but no matter what you do no, matter what you try,
"you are definitely wrong!"
And I said, "Mother, as if I don't have enough problems
"in my life trying to walk down the street at night and not get raped,
"trying to live in a society where 25-year-old women
"are sticking plastic and poison in their faces
"so by the time they get to their forties and fifties,
"they've nothing left to do to themselves
"but pull out their eyeballs and stick babies' eyeballs in instead.
"We live in a world where it's a tragedy to die young
"so we're all pumped full of stuff to make us live longer
"but no-one wants to do anything as unnatural as look older.
"'Oh, no, wouldn't that be mad to look older and be older?'
"So we're all pumped full of stuff to make us live longer
"but we look younger so by the time we die aged 100 in a box
"we look like we've died tragically young.
"We live in a world where they have developed telephones,
"without plugs that can send a picture of a cat
"from one side of the world to the other side of the world
"in under a second
"and they are still trying to come up with faster telephones,
"yet still after 200,000 years of humanity,
"we have not come up with a better way to have a baby child
"than to push something the size of a bowling ball
"out my tiny hole!
"And now I have to worry about being fat-thin?!"
I said, "Go shove it up your floop, Mother!"
I didn't actually tell my mother
to go and shove it up her floop.
I agreed to go to a Zumba class.
Ladies and gentlemen, you've been absolutely lovely,
I've been Aisling Bea. Have a fantastic evening!
Give it up for Aisling!
Now I know what you're thinking, English people.
You're thinking, "I'd like an English voice to come on
"so I could stop translating your Scottish accent in my head
"before I got the jokes."
Er, you're in for a treat, ladies and gentlemen,
please welcome a very funny and very dry English comedian,
Mr Simon Evans!
Thank you very much. Good evening. How are you, you well?
Delighted to be here, I really am.
I should explain one thing before I go any further,
I am not a very mobile comedian.
I'm aware I've got a large stage and a very large auditorium
and yet I will not be addressing the extremities of the front row
to any degree whatsoever. I do apologise, it's nothing personal.
I actually have a medical condition which warrants this immobility.
I went to see a doctor about it quite recently. Indian chap.
Well, they called it Indian chap, it's just nappy rash, really,
I'll tell you a little bit about myself.
I'm 49 years of age. I live on the south coast with my wife
of 14 years - that's the period in which we've been married, obviously.
Best to make that absolutely clear in the current climate.
I met my wife about 14 years ago.
We got married quite quickly,
unfortunately we left it too late to have children.
But we went ahead and had them anyway,
which was a mistake in my view, but there we are.
Couple of children. We've had... We've had an interesting trajectory,
through the British Isles. I met my wife...
I'd just bought my first flat - it was just north of King's Cross,
rather disreputable area in north London.
Famous red-light district. And it was true, we had prostitutes
right outside our own front door which is...
handy, some of you are thinking.
But, believe me, you don't want to shit on your own doorstep.
Which is a service they offer, incidentally, and, er...
I was shocked, to be honest, by how brazen they were.
I suppose you have to be in that line of work,
but I came out of my door one day, a woman came up to me and said,
"You looking for business, love?"
I was quite clearly dressed for tennis.
It was embarrassing, but then she's plucked up the courage to make
the first move and I'm a gentleman, so it's a difficult situation.
They were a distraction to tradesmen as well. I remember very clearly...
I ordered plasterers in to do the place up
when we were trying to sell it.
Well, I looked in the Yellow Pages for plasterers, I think
I may have ordered piss-takers by mistake.
They would be next to each other alphabetically, I assume, and...
400 quid a day for what is essentially
glorified cake decoration.
Spent most of that time sitting on the front wall chatting up
prostitutes and talking about somebody called Rigsby,
as if I'm supposed not to guess who they're talking about.
Few of you remember that.
I've been told throughout most of my life I resemble Leonard Rossiter
when I speak. I don't know if it's true, I have one or two...
I get it a lot, you do when you're a stand-up comedian.
I've heard one or two more flattering ones, one woman told her I reminded
her of Ralph Fiennes, another that I reminded her of Sting,
who is a twat, but a handsome twat, so I'll take it.
Within a week, somebody else had told me I reminded them of Sandi Toksvig.
Shortly after that, I began to experiment with the beard,
It's interesting. I mean, I quite like gritty, urban areas,
to be honest. It makes your own life seem quite desirable by comparison.
King's Cross certainly fitted that bill.
A lot of homeless people on the streets,
or possibly just outdoor lager enthusiasts. But they seemed to be...
very committed to it if they did have a home to go to.
As a rule, I don't want to tar them all with the same brush,
although if you sleep on the road
that will happen sooner or later but...
I do think it's a bit ironic the favourite drink of the homeless
should be a beer called Tennent's.
That must rankle, mustn't it?
The trick is, as it is with all commerce, of course,
is to make people think they're buying into a lifestyle
they can't really afford and we all fall for it at every station in life.
I myself, I recently bought myself a divers' watch.
Ridiculous affectation. I have no need for it.
It's covered in dials, good for up to 100 metres of water pressure.
It's got a shark-resistant strap.
I think to be honest, if all he wants is your watch,
it's probably best to let him have it, really.
I'm no expert but they're fairly ferocious negotiators, aren't they,
the old sharks?
I think only a fool would allow an argument to escalate over a watch.
"Can't seem to bite through this. I know, I'll try the arm."
I don't know. Never faced a shark. The only diving I ever do,
it's considered very bad manners to check your watch.
Must admit, the luminous dial has come in handy but that's...
That's more coincidence than planning.
If I'm 100 metres deep, I'm getting out of there, which of course...
..is unlikely to happen cos I'm a happily married man,
so let's be clear that that's an entirely hypothetical scenario.
I am happily married and I made a good choice of wife.
She actually moved in as a lodger initially.
I remember it was about 13, 14 years ago.
My wife moved in as a lodger.
And one week the rent fell a bit short and one thing led to another
There we were, in a dance as old as time.
That's what you had to do in the days before internet dating, you see,
set a bit of a honey trap.
"Cash point at this time of night around here?
"I shouldn't think so, no..."
But it was wonderful, to be honest,
it was a lovely time. It was a golden age.
You don't always know you're living through them
but looking back I remembered she was very accommodating.
My job isn't the easiest for somebody to accommodate.
I'd get home late at night,
but she'd be waiting with a bottle of wine, that was nice.
Sunday mornings she'd let me have a lie-in.
We might share a pot of coffee over the Sunday papers
then walk hand in hand through a craft market, something like that.
Looking back, it sounds a bit shit, I realise, but...
..at the time, filtered through the haze of romantic infatuation,
it seemed very agreeable, so I proposed and she accepted.
We got married. She said, "Let's start a family."
I said, "Of course, darling." Because I didn't think it through.
Next thing you know, you're running a small, badly-funded
correctional facility together, aren't you?
That's all it is.
However much various commercial organisations dress it up.
Imagine you started a small business with somebody.
It goes well. You move into profit. You open a second branch.
Everything is going swimmingly.
Suddenly one day, they turn to you and say, "This is good.
"What do you say we get a troupe of baboons in to run the post room?
"That's the equivalent. Let's see how that goes."
I'm sorry, I can't pretend otherwise.
I resent their presence in my life. I do. They are...
They are nice enough kids,
but why do they have to live with me? It makes no sense at all.
And I refuse to feel guilty about these observations.
For most of recorded history, my views have held sway.
You look at the Victorian era
when most of the important parts of London were built,
when we used to double our GDP every three years
and held dominion over dozens of other nations to which
we had no legitimate claim whatsoever through sheer force of will and guns.
Partly because it was understood across all sections of society,
children are a nuisance until they are a resource.
This was the primary governing
philosophy of parenting, if you like.
If you had money, you sent them away to be educated far away.
They were sent to a boarding school or whatever it was.
Most of the year, they'd come home for about
three days at Christmas time, be looked after by a governess.
You weren't formally introduced to your son
until he was at least 12 years of age,
could carry on a decent conversation about foreign
policy at the dinner table instead of endlessly informing you as to
whether or not he likes effing peas on this occasion.
No, these are not the ways we parent now.
Having children has a massive impact on your life.
We're through the worst of it now, but I remember very clearly...
The worst of it...
I remember when Matilda was about three and Edward was nothing.
Edward was nothing, as indeed Matilda was for an entire year
and I never shied away from saying as much, either.
It's three months, two days and four hours - ridiculous.
It's a logical fact.
He's yet to be one, therefore he's nothing.
He's not a fraction, is he, for God's sake?
People get offended by that.
We were living in Brixton at the time, I remember
social services were informed on one occasion.
We lived in Brixton, so they didn't come, but they...
..they sent us a leaflet.
Two, actually, one on parenting and one on numeracy, but...
Just in case.
But when they were young, life was intolerable.
There was a TV show on at the time, it was a few years ago now,
Calum Best, well-known playboy and bon viveur.
Self-diagnosed sex addict, Calum Best.
They often are self-diagnosed, you find.
But he was taken seriously by MTV, at any rate.
He was challenged by MTV to see
if he could go without sex for 36 days, I think it was, and the cameras
would track him as he attempted this superhuman feat of self-deprivation.
36 days he would wander, Jesus-like, in the sexual wilderness.
No doubt many of his fans were anxious.
All I could think was, "If going without sex for 36 days is worth
"his own TV show, my sex life is
"worth its own effing channel right now."
I go 36 days between wanks. Even those...
are rarely completed on the first attempt before somebody is
hammering at the bathroom door, wants a nappy changed or some nonsense.
I'm getting a shed, nice little garden potting shed.
My grandfather had one, I never saw the appeal, but I get it now.
The convenient masking aroma of the compost...
..handy little pots...
spiders' webs for target practice. And I've got one now as well.
I have, I have secured my shed.
It's important to keep the kids out of it, obviously,
but the trick to doing that is not to forbid them from going in there,
it's to actually threaten them WITH the shed.
That works much more successfully, I've discovered.
I actually call it the ghost shed and at birthdays and so on,
I lock a child in there and it starts to get dark after
a couple of hours and they get really quite spooked out. It's marvellous.
I've also told them about the Fox, who I've told them
has made his home in the shed.
It's a fairly obvious fiction, there is no Fox.
It's not the most inventive name I could have come up with
for an escaped psychopath and child catcher,
but it works and if they do get in there, that will at least explain
the old pile of whisky bottles and pornography that they find, so...
But I try and be young.
I try and be young for the children. I allowed a dog into our house.
About a year ago, not just for the day, I mean we bought a dog.
I'm not that harsh. It was against my inclinations, I have to say,
to be honest, but, er, 12 months on and I wish we'd done it years ago.
Because then it might be dead by now.
It has been without doubt the most catastrophic decision,
but this is my wife's doing again. My wife is very pro-active.
She likes to see things happen.
She is adventurous and she likes to take on projects.
She went to Trail Finders, I think,
and came back with a brochure entitled The Parks.
A huge thing, about an inch thick.
Detailing all the amusement parks you can visit in Florida
if you're so minded. You've seen the advertisements on the television.
I was watching one with my wife.
Two children, about the same age as ours,
little tears of joy and wonder springing in their eyes
as they gazed up at the fireworks exploding over the princess castle.
My wife turned to me and said, not as you might expect,
"Christ, will you look at that shit? Can you believe it?"
Unaccountably, she said, "You know, our kids would love that,
"but they're getting to the age where it would be perfect.
"Soon it will be too late. Matilda will be a teenager.
"There will be sarcasm and eye rolling.
"If you want to give them that experience, it's now or never."
And I thought, "Great, so never is an option, right?"
But it turns out, no. In fact, that was a rhetorical device.
The correct answer is now.
I thought, "Well, this doesn't look like my cup of tea
"but the kids will love it, I suppose.
"How bad can it be, really?
"It'll be no worse than visiting a fairground
"on an uncomfortably hot day
"and chucking four grand in a bin on the way out." That's roughly...
That's roughly what I was braced for.
In reality, it is actually far worse than that.
More like eight grand, by the time we were finished.
But also the heat, the humidity, the confusion, the jet lag,
which I hadn't factored in, my general state,
my mood was not a good one.
I remember it was on about the fourth day in some un-nameable park
and I was really about to lose my rag with some furry-faced idiot
who I didn't even recognise from any movie I've ever seen,
who'd allowed me to stand in the wrong queue for half an hour,
when I felt a little tug at my sleeve and I looked down
and there was my son, Edward, four years of age as he was at that time,
and he looked up at me and he had tears sparkling in his eyes,
just like in the advert.
And he looked up at me and he said, "Daddy...
"..this is bollocks."
It makes my heart swell even telling you the story now.
I'm not sure it wasn't worth eight grand just to have it confirmed.
It's a DNA test with a bit of polish on it, that was.
That's all from me, folks. You've been a wonderful audience.
Thanks very much indeed. Take care. Thank you, good night!
Mr Simon Evans there, ladies and gentlemen!
Thank you. You've been a fantastic crowd.
Let's hear it for the two acts we saw, for Aisling and for Simon!
You all take care of yourselves, Britain.