You NEED Crayons. What if you get stranded on a desert island?
So I was six when I went off to boarding school. There was a four-year-old kid there I felt sorry for: he was still wetting the bed. I think that my child-like character that appears in my stand-up now was locked off at six. But my brother and I were both there, which was better than just one of us. It was down in Porthcawl, a place called St John's School. It's like a desert island. There's beaches down there: it's very duney. I actually went back there and played a street performing gig as part of a Labour Party get-together outdoor something or other. Porthcawl had this funfair and a whole lot of stuff I didn't even know about. There's a Butlinsy feel to it which I found quite surprising because I didn't remember that when I was there.
I was a hustler. I would sell crayons in the school yard. 'You need crayons. What if you get stranded on a desert island?' How are you going to write a message? Crayons.' I'm actually quite fascinated in a very sad way by retail. I wanted to run a shop. You used to be able to get a little shop with those Hornby train sets and in the window it had all these things like Kellogg's cornflakes and tins of soup and stuff. You could look through the door and there was stuff happening inside...I wanted to sit in that shop. I like supermarkets. I just like hanging around the aisles, and new things going up - 'What would I like today? Ooh one of those...' It's a bit like Spinal Tap - 'Shoe shop... I could run one of those.'
We had a radio at school in Wales. I remember hearing Tom Jones' Delilah on it and Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkins, and it was a bit like hearing it from Mars. It was an old radio of my dad's from Aden I'd borrowed, so you'd tune in and you'd hear sounds from outside. At school you would sometimes get to go to this church on a Sunday, and when you're six it seemed like going miles, even though it's just down the road. And there was this village playground with a door with a grating in it, which had scary steps going down to a well, where the devil lived, we all thought. You looked down into it and thought, where the fuck does that go? And there were these dunes and a caravan park which we'd walk through which would take us down to the sea, which was kind of cold and chilly, and there were lots of these yellow plants growing on the dunes which had caterpillars on them.
We never saw anyone in the caravan site, because we were never there in the holiday season. There was a locked-up centre at the caravan site, with arcade games in it. And there was a Dalek in there that you were supposed to get into and move around in. We had these horrible sandwiches and what they called lemonade which wasn't lemonade, it was some cheap stuff, and you'd have to bury your sandwiches in the sand because they were disgusting.
The food was awful, and I had a real food problem, a real basic palate. My brother was eating Indian food and I could only eat potatoes. That's why I wanted to be in the army because they were always peeling potatoes and I thought, well, I like potatoes, so...And this school served macaroni with warm milk, I mean, what the fuck was that? I've never seen that since.
And the best meal they had - they would take you down to the swimming baths on a Thursday and you'd come back and have sausage and chips, and that was fantastic. There were some meals that you just looked forward to...they had compulsory tea drinking and I hated tea. But sausage and chips was the one meal I could eat.
We went on these school outings when I was at school in Eastbourne. I remember seeing On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I really rate the Australian Bond, George Lazenby. I love the film he's in; I am alone in that. But I challenge anyone to look back at it and say what is so bad about it. The fight sequences are great - they put amazing sounds in, like they're fighting with planks of wood. These really heightened noises. Diana Rigg is fantastic, I like the skiing, I like Telly Savalas, I like the music... I knew 'We've Got All The Time In The World' could be number one. We used to get points, a school merit system, and they had sections. Everyone was in different groups and whichever group won the most points got an outing, and we'd win it year after year, and every year I didn't know what was going on. It was nothing to do with me, but every year I was just going on these outings, thinking, cool...but I haven't really helped with this. On Her Majesty's Secret Service was the film on one of these trips.
When I was seven I entered the sack race on sports day. My dad said, 'Put your feet in the corners and just run.' So I did and went steaming down the track. There's this picture of me going through the tape going, 'Yeahhh,' fucking leagues ahead of the next guy...The next guy had just changed from his leaping style to a running style, because the sacks were too big and you could get a full stride in. I won a blue football. So that was me and my dad working together.