If ever we needed a way to describe a whirlwind of Scouse humour with a violent delivery and Communist influenced left-wing tongue, we have it in Alexei Sayle. The guy’s a one off!
From his early days in the classic British sitcom, The Young Ones, to prancing around on Top of the Pops asking some bloke called John if he had a new motor vehicle, one always sensed he would end up becoming a highly successful writer and find himself treading the famous wooden boards of the Edinburgh Book Festival.
His latest literary work is his long-awaited memoir, Stalin Ate my Homework, in which he recalls the very different upbringing he was provided by his parents, Molly (a Jewish woman who has perhaps had more influence on British comedy than any of us ever realised) and Joe (a railway guard with Communist leanings).
Sayle hilariously recalled the deftness in which his father was able “to hop on and off trains like it was his favourite hobby” and how his mother could crush him with a perfectly timed line, the likes of which takes most stand-up comedians a lifetime to perfect.
“Family holidays,” Sayles recalled, “were the most bizarre trips ever” due to his father’s job on the railway and the perk of free tickets. They would end up in all kinds of places like Poland or Czechoslovakia “while other kids were down at the beach.”
One of the oddest things about Sayle’s upbringing was the Communist influence that led to the family being experts at talking in code down the telephone, but perhaps the saddest thing was his admission that he had never seen Bambi, not because he didn’t want to, but because he wasn’t allowed.