Saturday, 30 April 2016


If you work hard enough, sooner or later you'll receive the recognition you deserve. My first drama teacher, Lydia Grant, used to say to me every week: "You've got big dreams. You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying: in sweat". Every time she said that, I would sweat instantly and profusely. That's how much I wanted fame and how unhealthy I was. Sadly, after 6 years of studying and sweating at the New York City High School for the Performing Arts, I left and, like all my fellow pupils there, I didn't really do anything afterwards.

Well, nothing recognisable. Miss Grant had promised me fame and it never arrived. But I never gave up. Maybe recognition isn't important. Maybe the work is reward enough, I often tell myself. And, to be fair, I get a lot out of doing what I do. I'm very satisfied with the skill I have perfected over the years. And I have experienced tiny flashes of fame before and I hated it.

At a recent music festival, a man came up to me and said he listened to Vitriola (he didn't say he liked it, just that he listened to it). Then he asked if he could have an autograph. Not my autograph. Robin Ince's. A couple of years ago at a party, a BBC producer said they were really happy to see me as they had an idea for a Radio 4 series for me. It was very exciting and he certainly gave it an interesting pitch. Well, the first few minutes of the pitch were great but tailed off once the penny dropped that I wasn't Dave Gorman. Turns out beards really can fool people. And, of course, I have signed countless Angela's Ashes DVD's as well as numerous photographs of the successful actor Michael Legge. Photographs of a man who looks nothing like me. It still makes me smile to think that there's a huge fan out there with a pristine shooting script of the film Angela's Ashes signed by Frank McCourt, Robert Carlyle and me, rendering it worthless. 

I was on my way to Scotland the other day and, at King's Cross station, a pigeon did a huge almighty massive shit all over my little suitcase. I mean, it was only a pigeon yet it managed to absolutely cover my little suitcase in shit. Covered it. I soon found myself in a dark corner of the station, alone and on my knees scrubbing away to remove the mess and the stench. And that is exactly how I've always been recognised.

Until yesterday.

If you persevere, people will notice. I know that now. How long have I been doing what I do? Years. So very, very long. I remember starting out and being so nervous. Terrified. But I soon got confident. Sure, yes, I made many mistakes on the way. It's gone disastrously wrong a lot of times but I'm definitely way better than I used to be. I'm confident. And when people see that confidence, they respect it. And you. And if you persevere, people will notice. You got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is were you start paying...

On the metropolitan line going to Amersham yesterday, I asked a man to turn his loud music off that was blasting from his phone and he stared at me. For two seconds. A long time. Then he smiled and switched off his music and said "You again?"

Yes. That's right. That's how famous I am now. I'm the man who tells people to be quiet on public transport. So famous am I at that one thing that people have started to recognise me for it. Apparently, I "had a go" at him on a tube train a couple of years ago. Brilliant. I sat next to him and we talked. Because that's what I do. That's what I'm known for. I ask you once to switch your music off and I have a go at you. If I have to ask you twice, you're getting the lecture.

And this is my life now, I suppose. Fame. That's what I have now. I promise I won't let it change me. Really. I'm still going to be that normal, everyday, down to earth bloke that foams at the mouth if you so much as sniff on a train or make a fucking FaceTime call to a baby while sitting next to me in a quiet pub (WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE DO THAT???). No. I'll still be the regular Joe that I always was.

I'd like to thank Miss Grant for believing in me all those years ago. And thanks to @BrianFerry for dinner too. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Arsehole Formally Known as David.

On Thursday, like so many of us, I put on my black armband and walked to the local florist. When the young woman who worked there asked if she could help, I wiped tears from my eyes and my throat cracked a lost yes. I wanted flowers. Purple flowers. They had to be purple. I wanted beautiful purple flowers. Roses. Morning Glory. Lavender. And I wanted them arranged lovingly into the shape of a name. The name of someone I've admired for so long, more than I could ever admire or love anyone. I wanted those flowers arranged into the name "Michael Legge". When the young florist asked why I wanted flowers in the shape of my own name, I asked her to sit down because I had some terrible news. Prince is dead. She understood immediately. One of the world's greatest songwriters, musicians and showmen had died. And what else could I do but make it all about me?

When I looked on the BBC website and read the news that Michael Legge's Prince had died, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and exploit him. I looked through my entire collection of Prince albums (Hits 1 & 2, The Best of Prince and The Very Best of Prince) and tweeted about my favourite songs, like a normal person would do: Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret and Purple Rain, to name just three. As well as rarer cuts such as When Doves Cry. But it just felt pointless. A great man is dead and no one knows that I met him and we have a strong connection, even though I haven't and we don't.

We all mourn in different ways and my way is to take the focus away from the deceased and put it directly on me. Through tears I tweeted Tim Burton saying how sorry I was that he had lost the composer of the Batman soundtrack, making sure I put a full stop in front of his Twitter handle so everyone could see what I wrote and maybe think that I might know Tim Burton. I don't know Tim Burton. I don't even like him. But that's hardly the point. I am the point. Then I tweeted that, like Prince, I too don't eat meat, thereby letting the world know that a torch had been passed from the dead rock star directly to me and, as I was alive, I would carry on his great work of eating vegetables. Then I did the only thing that I could do when someone famous dies and you're a manipulative piece of shit: I wrote to Prince's estate asking if I could attend the funeral, read out a memorial to me in front of the grieving, take some selfies of me beside dead Prince and then defecate into his open mouth. They respectfully wrote back saying they understood exactly how I felt. Michael Legge's Prince meant so much to so many people and it was only natural to want to read a thing about yourself at his funeral, take some fun pics of you and the corpse and then to defecate into his mouth. It's completely normal. But sadly, so many people had already insisted that they attend and shit in his mouth that they just couldn't make room for anymore. Elton John, Kim Kardashian, Kate Smurthwaite. So many people wanting to show their disrespects and vulture the remains of the dead for money, fame and Instagram. I am grateful to Prince's estate for their understanding and their promise of one of Prince's feet if anything is left of him after the funeral. I'll Snapchat the foot as soon as it arrives so please link to me, yeah?

Lots of people tweeted about Prince with respect, saying they love his music and what a great loss his passing is. And lots tweeted about themselves, just like I wanted to. But none of them came close to the same desperation and neediness that I felt since his death and all the opportunities it presented. I hoped to find a kindred spirit. Someone who loved exploiting the dead as much as I did. Thankfully, I met that kindred spirit. What helps us through the grieving process more than connecting with someone who feels as you do? I am so grateful then to David Walliams and his deeply moving, thoughtful and manipulative tweet: "Thank you so much @bryanferry for inviting me to have dinner with #Prince a few years ago. One of the most unforgettable nights of my life".

That really happened. In actual real life. And I thank him for it. I thank him for letting me know that he met Prince. I thank him for letting me know he is friends with Bryan Ferry. And I thank him for sharing with us all that it was one of the most unforgettable nights of his life, despite him forgetting to say what made it so incredibly special. One can only dream of what could have happened that lovely, unforgettable evening at Bryan Ferry's fox-free mansion with Prince dining with those two Cameron-supporting cunts. Delicious food served on the finest platters while Bryan says "Prince, do you like me?" and David says "Prince, what is Sheena Easton really like?" and Bryan says "Prince, seriously, do you like me?" and David says "Prince, can you play the guitar in real life?" and Bryan says "Prince, please like me" and David says "Prince, computer says no" and Prince says "I've told you 18 times, I'm Lenny Kravitz. You're both being racist". Unforgettable.

I am humbled at David's complete lack of humility. He wasn't alone in being the online corpse fucker the second news broke of the tragic and untimely death of Michael Legge's Prince but his words are the ones that have stayed with me the longest. I will look at his tweet every single day for the rest of my life because it said everything that I wanted to, but mainly because it's hilarious that Bryan Ferry has still not acknowledged it. My friend said it is the single worst thing that anyone has ever posted on the Internet, an achievement in itself. But she is clearly jealous, petty and correct. David, just like I tried so hard to do, saw his opportunity and exploited it. And as any Prince fan knows: if Prince stood for anything, it was exploitation.