IF you knew comedy back in the 1980s you’ll remember Alexei Sayle – big on the alternative comedy scene at the time, he was renowned for his cynicism and political awareness, his too-tight shiny suits, and of course his chart-topping comedy song Ullo John! Gotta New Motor?
Well, he’s back, but this time the confrontational stand-up of old has turned confessional elder statesman.
These days he’s 60 and with his short stories garnering critical acclaim you’re more likely to spot Sayle at the Edinburgh Book Festival than the Fringe.
He’s still a political animal, though, and his latest memoir, Stalin Ate My Homework, from which he’ll be reading at the Hawthorne Studio in Welwyn Garden City next Friday, traces his life up to the age of 17 and incorporates his parents’ radical politics.
It’s also very funny. Describing his dad Joe, a railway worker, and his mum, a flame-haired Lithuanian Jew called Molly, Sayle presents a remarkable story of infant limousine tours round Czechoslovakia, watching Alexander Nevsky at the Unity Theatre while his classmates queued to see Bambi, and arguments over breakfast about bureaucratic capitalism.
He’s described the work as sense memories rather than a wholly accurate portrayal but whatever the justification it’s obvious that Alexei, pictured above, still knows how to tell a story and work an audience.
With a no holds barred question and answer session after the reading this is a rare chance to catch a very intelligent and funny man in an intimate setting.
Alexei Sayle: Stalin Ate My Homework is at the Hawthorne Studio on Friday, August 17 at 7.30pm.
Go online at www.hawthornetheatre.co.uk to book tickets.