We're going 'BANG BANG' and they're going 'bang bang bang'...
In fact, I'd bought a set of colonel's pips. So I used to walk around with colonel's pips on and a handgun I'd bought in France - it was like a starting pistol. We went on exercise on the Downs and they said, 'There's going to be an ambush today, you're going to be ambushed' - which is great, so we went out with .303 Enfield rifles, waiting to be ambushed. And before we went, I was doing all this action with the rifle, loading it and unloading it and stuff, until I broke it.
I had broken my gun, so I had a large rifle that didn't work, and this pistol, and my colonel's pips. So I got there and we were all just wandering around, waiting for an ambush - and then, 'Ambush!' And so everyone gets down on the ground and we're shooting away, they're ambushing us and we're ambushing them. We've all got things that go bang, basically. We're going 'Bang bang'. And they're going 'Bang bang bang', and we're going 'Bang bang bang bang'.
After a while, we start thinking, we're not getting hit doing this, so we start standing up and going 'Bang bang bang', Obviously this would make us die in real life - but we realised we weren't actually killing anyone, so we started shooting at anyone. I just went around with my pistol, shooting at my own people. Bang bang bang - a crazy afternoon.
They said, 'All right, you've done very well in that, except you're all dead and you all cheated. Now you've got to get back into Eastbourne without getting caught by, I don't know. Nazi storm troopers or something. So do it by the cunningest, method you know.' Everyone was going around the Downs, so me and this guy called Paul Wedge went down to a bus stop and got on a bus, when the schools were emptying out at about four o'clock. So we took a bus into town with a load of school kids as our way of getting back. Which I thought was the initiative thing; the SAS thing. We were sitting there with rifles and uniforms, surrounded by kids all staring at us. We made our way back and got in early.
It was a weird time. I was driving parallel ideas. There was no way you could be a comedy performer in the army. The ENSA thing didn't really happen. I was talking to Billy Bragg about it. Billy Bragg's the only person who's been on Top of the Pops who can drive a tank.
The SAS was advanced running, jumping and standing still. Blue berets and very secretive. They were all self-sufficient so if one member of a platoon got killed, then the others knew what to do. It wasn't like, 'Oh, he was the explosives guy. We're going to have to do explosives without him.' 'I don't know about explosives. They go bang, don't they?'
But it wasn't making any sense to me because I just wanted to do comedy. There was just an idea that performing comedy was crazy, but as I got closer and closer to sixteen, I just thought, this is possible. I wasn't running around anymore, so I wasn't fit, and I didn't get promoted so I thought, bugger that.
And after the course, I obviously thought, if merit isn't rewarded then, fuck it, I'll go and be a transvestite.