Happy Birthday To That Fat Bastard.

If you’re of a certain age you remember the show The Young Ones either on the BBC or, bizarrely, on MTV. Back in the late ’80’s when MTV was still mostly a music channel it featured some British comedy, starting with Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but that’s another story. If you remember The Young Ones you remember Alexei Sayle whose roles on the show varied. His roles in life have varied too: comedian, author, philosopher, commentator, Mussolini impersonator, and runner-up in the 1993 Miss Universe Pageant. His first collection of short stories, Barcelona Plates, had me hooked from the first line: “Barnaby’s girlfriend thought the funniest thing in the world was people being killed while they were on holiday.” His second collection The Dogcatcher offered up even more stories that were darkly funny, or just plain dark. And I loved his memoir Stalin Ate My Homework, which provided insight into how a boy raised by ardent communists in London in the sixties grew up to be one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time.

‘Ullo Alexei. Got a new motor for your birthday?

 

6 Comments

  1. Chuck Baudelaire

    Wait, his first two books were both called Barcelona Plates? Wacky. I loved “The Young Ones” and was terribly upset when Ric Mayall passed away. If you want some interesting insight into the early days of this talented group of Brits, read Jennifer Saunders’ memoir “Bonkers” (she being married to Adrian Edmonson, of course.)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I owe you two thank-yous–first for catching the book mistake. I’ve fixed that now. Sayle’s second collection was The Dogcatcher. And now I’m off to track down a copy of Bonkers.
      Mayall’s death was a huge shock. I saw him and Edmonson in a production of “Waiting For Godot”. They were so good together.

      Reply
  2. Gina W.

    Honestly, I had never heard of this man before. I did periodically watch “The Young Ones” but it’s been so long I can barely remember anything about that show. I clicked on the synopsis of his autobiography and it looks like something I would like. I’m going to add it to my queue at the library.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      When “The Young Ones” was on MTV all my friends thought it was too weird, so naturally they said, “Chris, this is the perfect show for you.” Oh, thanks guys. Even among the shows bizarre characters Alexei Sayle really stood out, so I think that’s why I gravitated toward him. Anyway I hope you enjoy his autobiography. The funniest part for me was his reaction to the Cuban missile crisis.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    I guess I’m not young enough to remember “The Young Ones,” Chris. Why do I always feel younger after I read your posts?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’ve always assumed we were close to the same age. After all my godson–the son of a friend who’s a year younger than me–just turned fifteen earlier this week.
      I think the reason you’re not familiar with “The Young Ones” may be that you spent your youth doing better things than watching MTV.

      Reply

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