Monday, 10 June 2013

Michael's Taste: Behind The Candelabra.

Hey, everyone. It's time for another Michael's Taste blog. Let's have a night at the movies and see what I thought of outrageous Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra.

I should say right now that this really should have been a review of The Stone Roses documentary, Made Of Stone, but I was in Sheffield on Saturday and the only cinema it was being shown in was on the other side of town and I'd been warned that walking around Sheffield that day might not be wise as the English Defence League are marching in town as part of Cunt Pride.

Luckily, the cinema was quite close by the hotel I was staying in so I could easily avoid the town centre where literally thousands of EDL members had come together to show their respects to a murdered soldier by silently standing at the War Memorial, bowing their heads and taking time to reflect. By that I mean there was maybe 200 of them shouting and Nazi saluting by a statue erected to commemorate those brave enough to fight fascism. That's right, the EDL want to keep England English. Just like dear old Uncle Adolf wanted.

But when I woke up, I was hungry and decided that I'm just going to have to be brave and go into the centre of town for food. Basically, I feel I can face fascism but not the price of a hotel breakfast. Also, it was 10am so I just assumed the EDL would all still be in their cots getting much needed ugly sleep. I wandered around town and saw nothing. Good old Sheffield. It's my favourite city in England and it's always a treat to walk around. I went to the brilliant vegetarian Blue Moon Cafe and ordered the full Mexican breakfast. Breakfast, afterall, is the most important anti-fascist statement meal of the day. Then on my way back to the hotel, I turned the wrong corner.

Basically, I walked down the street before the street by my hotel. It had a pub at the bottom of it and I could see some people enjoying the good weather by drinking beer outside. At 11am.

As I got closer it was clear there was around 30 men standing outside the pub and they must have cringed horribly when they met up there as they were all wearing the same outfit. Em-barra-siiiiiiiiiing!! They even all the same hair-do. Even their arms had the same drawings on them (angry puppy with flag, the sign of the Red Cross global volunteer network, uncomfortable affection towards own mother). There weren't many other people in this street and something told me that I should turn back and go the other way. I ignored something.

Don't worry, I didn't get hurt. All they did was shout. It wasn't even all of them. Only about four of them shouted and pointed at me. Then three of them stopped doing backing vocals and let the short, angry lead vocalist do it all himself. He shouted and pointed and pointed and shouted. "You white bastard! You white bastard!"

Now, this has got very confusing.

I want to be judged on who I am, not what I am. So the "bastard" thing is fine. No argument there. But since when do white supremicists get to condemn me because of the colour of my skin? The tiny thugette was soon ignored by his friends while he walked towards me still shouting "You white bastard!" but at least he took the time to explain himself. "Get used to it, mate", he said. "Get used to it. We're all fucking white bastards in this country, mate. We're all white bastards, mate. You're a white bastard. I'm a white bastard. Mate, get used to it, mate. Mate. Mate?"

As I walked away, I thought about how that all could have happened. I mean, there is something positive and uplifting about a member of the EDL suddenly realising he's a bastard but how did it happen in the first place? At what point in his life did he think it was better to hate? At what part of his life did he come to the conclusion that his country owed him something? At what part of someone's life do they accept fascism as a righteous cause? I've often been told by friends that when they first hold their new-born baby in their arms that they can't help but cry. I understand that. But I still think it's important to choke back the tears long enough to look into the eyes of this new and important little person and whisper, "Please, please don't be a cunt".

Of course, I'm well aware that people are complex and life isn't easy. But there isn't a person in the world who thinks that shouting angrily, oppression and violence is a good thing. Just because they do it doesn't mean they think it's right. And that's what I find so confusing. So I started thinking about Liberace. "It's so easy to laugh, it's so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind", he once sang. And he was right. Hiding from the real world behind tattoos and even bigger tattooed friends is really easy. Anyone could do it. It's the cowards way. But there were properly thousands of people outside the Sheffield City Hall showing their condemnation of the EDL and all other hate groups in the country. While thugs came to shout and Nazi salute their way onto telly, good people with no violent intentions came out to say "No, thanks". They came out to defend England.

Going to see a film about Liberace isn't just about entertainment. It's about freedom. Go, don't go. It's completely up to you and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

My blog is available on Facebook, Blogger and Tumblr. It's daily Monday to Friday. Some blogs will be long, some very short. If you're too lazy to read my blog it's also available as a podcast at or you can subscribe to it on iTunes. All formats are free. That means if I'm doing a gig near you, please come and support it. I give you free stuff. That's fair, right?

This blog is also available on Kindle. It costs 99p a month and I do not recommend it at all. It looks nice though.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Keep Yourself Alive.

Thank you for reading this blog, I very much appreciate it. Even if you've given up reading it after that first line I just want you to know that I'm very grateful that you gave it a go. There's no need for you to go out of your way and look here so, you know, thanks. By that I mean I'm not famous, I'm not on TV and there's still no word on me being the next Doctor (correct at time of posting blog). Sometimes I wish I was famous. It must be quite fun, being recognised wherever you go. Signing an autograph, having a catchphrase shouted at you, being asked if you'd quite like to have a spot of sex (politely).

I have a few famous friends and being famous seems to suit them. People come over to them and compliment them and ask to get their photo with them. I imagine it's slightly inconvenient at times but what a small price to pay for being told how great you are all the time. But I wonder if fame, as seductive and powerful as it looks, would ever suit me? 

Oh, I've had fame. Shitty fame. Loads of it. And I can't tell you which is worse: being recognised and them getting it right or being recognised because they think I'm someone else. Standing in the cold rain and feeling miserable during last year's Edinburgh Fringe, a complete stranger came up to me with a big smile and asked for my autograph. Well, they wanted Dave Gorman's autograph but it cheered me up for a second. I smiled and I signed their bit of paper and I hated them. I got stuck for an hour in a bar once being overly complimented on a TV series I'd never seen, nevermind the fact that I've never been in it. AN HOUR. I think it was the 20th or maybe 21st time that I told him that it's not me that he started informing me that I shouldn't get so arsey with fans. He put me where I am today, apparently, and he could put me back tomorrow. I've kept that in mind ever since. I got banned from the Guildfest Comedy Tent because of the large amount of paedophile material I perform on stage. I would accept that if I had ANY paedophile material. But all that is the price we ordinary people have to pay if we want to avoid being famous.

Of course, not only am I recognised as being someone else, I'm also often not recognised by people who have actually seen me. During an interval of a show I was doing a few years ago, a punter came up to me and asked "Do you work here?". I said I did tonight and he said "Will you tell that comedian that if he mentions the IRA one more time I'll kick his fucking head in?" I said that I'd let him know but I didn't say a word to him because he was me. Just a few weeks ago in Bristol I got off stage and walked straight to the bar for my comedian's free drink. The woman behind the bar said "You're one of the comedians? Well, I hope you're better than that first guy. He was shit". Seconds had past since I'd left the stage and that woman had completely forgotten what I looked like but, my God, the memory of my fecal turn will stay with her forever. If you think that's embarrassing, I was at a friend's house and he introduced me to his friend. I told her I recognised her. She said it's unlikely as she doesn't get to London much. I said "Leamington Spa. You've been to the comedy club there. You sit in the front row. I've seen you there. Twice". She said "Yeah, I've been a couple of times but I don't think you were on". That's me. I recognise my audience but they haven't a fucking clue who I am.

And then there are people who know me and know what I look like. This is the rarest group of all. Saturday night was one of those nights.

I sat on the last train back to Ladywell, next to a lady who was playing a game on her phone. She looked at me and from the corner of my eye I could feel her staring. I had my earphones in but wasn't playing any music, they were there simply to tell the whole world to fuck off. But this woman just kept staring and staring and staring. I didn't actually look at her but I could feel the stare. I then put music on to somehow drown out the noise of her eyes. Not loud music, of course. I don't do that. But after a while, I turned my music up bit by bit because I could hear her mumbling. Staring and mumbling. "Murgghhuurrrggghh... fucking arsehole... marrghermurrr... you're shit.... murrr... dickhead". 

So it's uncomfortable now and I think I'm justified in turning my music up just a little bit. That's when she turns her music on. No earphones, just loud music. She then puts her phone up to my face and with the loud music directed right at me she starts shouting "This is what you like. Fucking cunt. Look, loud music on a train. What are you going to fucking do about it? You like this. That's your thing. You're not fucking funny. Is loud music funny? You're not fucking funny".

Jesus, I thought. What "loud music on a train" routine has Dave Gorman done that's upset this woman so much? "Give me your fucking shoe", she shouted. OK, fair enough. It's definitely me she hates. She despises me. I mean you wouldn't play a loud song by Cast in the face of someone you liked. I try to explain to her that if she has a complaint about my comedy then she should write to ITV and tell them but all she does is shout and play more loud, horrible music. That's when people start shouting at her. No one likes Cast, it turns out. 

She tries to explain everything by pointing at me and shouting "HE'S NOT FUNNY. HE'S MICHAEL LEGGE AND HE THINKS HE'S FUNNY". My station is so close, hurry up train. "Just turn the music off, OK?", a man reasons. "NO. IT'S FUCKING MICHAEL LEGGE. HE'S NOT FUNNY". Come on train. "Just switch the music off". "HE'S SHIT". Nearly there. "Just turn that fucking music off". "NO! HE'S MICHAEL LEGGE". And I get off the train. "Just switch that off. I don't give a fuck who he is".

And that's the last thing I heard from that train journey. My defender saying "I don't give a fuck who he is".

If you're reading this and you're about to do your first ever stand up comedy gig soon....I'm sorry, but someone had to tell you. This, my friend, is showbusiness. 

My blog is available on Facebook, Blogger and Tumblr. It's daily Monday to Friday. Some blogs will be long, some very short. If you're too lazy to read my blog it's also available as a podcast at or you can subscribe to it on iTunes. All formats are free. That means if I'm doing a gig near you, please come and support it. I give you free stuff. That's fair, right?

This blog is also available on Kindle. It costs 99p a month and I do not recommend it at all. It looks nice though. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Who? Her?

And there he goes. The very best actor to play the role of The Doctor is leaving Doctor Who at Christmas. He wasn't my favourite but he was the best. From his very first episode, Matt Smith was perfect as The Doctor. A young man with old, wise eyes. It was like we'd found a bunch of lost Troughton episodes and they were all perfect because he was in them. Like every Doctor to date, he'd frequently be let down by the writing but he never was less than brilliant at every chance. I shall miss him but I fully understand why he's going. Doctor Who is my favourite TV show but, let's face it, it's very, very predjudiced.

That's right. Doctor Who hates equality. 

For those of you who don't know, Doctor Who is a family science-fiction TV show that was brought to the screen for the very first time in 1963 by it's female producer and Indian director. This blatantly sexist programme also gave great roles to women in the characters of Barbara and Susan, not supporting roles - they were the main cast. Even the theme tune was recorded brilliantly (the original is still the best, creepiest version) by a woman. But these utterly trivial jobs of being a producer, actor and iconic theme tune provider were clearly just crumbs tossed from the table because the role of The Doctor was played by....A MAN!

It sickens me, too. Why didn't that part go to a woman? It's blatant sexism of the very worst kind. Then when that man decided to stop being The Doctor he was replaced by another man and another man and another man. FOR 50 YEARS! It doesn't matter that Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, Rose, Ace, Amy, Barbara, Liz, Romana, Romana II, Nyssa, Tegan and maybe even Clara if we give her time are utterly fantastic characters that are well played along with hundereds of other female roles in the series. That's not the point. A woman SHOULD play The Doctor. If you don't believe me, look at Twitter. Every third tweet is "A woman SHOULD play The Doctor". It's rarely anyone says that they'd like to see a woman play The Doctor or they can think of a woman who would be great at playing The Doctor, but so many know that a woman SHOULD play The Doctor. Because that's very important. Doctor Who HATES equality.

Anyway, the show was cancelled in 1989 by a white, middle-class man and was brought back years later by a gay guy and his woman co-producer. 

Twitter is always right though. Doctor Who doesn't give enough writing work to female writers and that's because it hates equality and isn't simply guilty of the equally embarrassing trait of handing out jobs for it's mates. I don't know how many women have been considered for the role of The Doctor but I imagine it's NONE because Doctor Who hates equality. I have absolutely no proof at all that it was NONE but it sounds like something that equality-hating TV show would do. And I stand by the Twitter clan who call for this incredibly important stand for equality because it has to stop NOW. Yes, yes, yes. I know that women are still being undervalued in the workplace and being stoned to death in the Middle East and being human-trafficked into lives of unimaginable horror but first things first: some ladies want to write for Primeval! 

And before you equality-bashers start yapping, no we don't think an Asian or a fat person or someone with disabilities or a transgender person should play The Doctor. Those people hardly suffer from predjudice, do they? Not like the women I know in my life in middle-class London and on Twitter. Do you know that I don't know a single woman who isn't successful in their job? I know female writers, comedians, coffee shop owners, civil servants, animal rights activists, peace activists, musicians, TV producers...all of whom have done well because they're good at what they do. It's got nothing to do with what they are. But FUCK THAT. The Doctor SHOULD be a woman or else you're a sexist.

You're living in a dream world if you think there will ever be a female Doctor. Or a black Doctor or a bald Doctor or a Doctor over 50 again or a gay Doctor or a short Doctor or an Asian lesbian Swedish Doctor with a stutter. I mean, that WILL happen because the role is a never ending changing character but it won't happen NOW. I mean, I have no idea if it will or won't happen now but I bet it won't because Doctor Who HATES equailty. Although, come to think of it, I suppose saying Doctor Who is sexist is about as insulting to how women are treated globally as you can get and maybe we should get our priorities straight. Maybe it's just not that important. Maybe it's just a TV show. Maybe the reason you haven't got a writing job on Doctor Who or any other TV programme has nothing to do with your gender or ethnicity. Maybe you're shit. I'm a white middle-class man and, so far, Stephen Moffat hasn't rang and offered a thing.

Anyway, as I was saying, Matt was great. And I look forward to the next Doctor immensely. They've been great 11 times in a row so I think we can safely hold out hope for a 12th no matter who she or he is.

My blog is available on Facebook, Blogger and Tumblr. It's daily Monday to Friday. Some blogs will be long, some very short. If you're too lazy to read my blog it's also available as a podcast at or you can subscribe to it on iTunes. All formats are free. That means if I'm doing a gig near you, please come and support it. I give you free stuff. That's fair, right?

This blog is also available on Kindle. It costs 99p a month and I do not recommend it at all. It looks nice though.