Page 13 - Marlborough Living May June 2019
P. 13

  Editor Katie Thomson caught up with South West comedy legend Bill Bailey ahead of his performance at the Royal Bath and West Show
How do you like performing to a home crowd?
It’s always fun. There’s quite a lot in
the show about growing up in the West Country, so it definitely has a greater meaning when I’m actually there. I also get the chance to catch up with some
old friends and family as well. Increasing I like spending time back in the West country. I’ve been doing charity walks the last few years which end up at Avebury Stone Circle, and every time I walk to the stones I think this is home. I feel a deep longing in the bones!
I’ve read that you are a keen walker. Do you find that this is quite helpful for writing material? Where do you find the well of inspiration for new material?
All around me really! But particularly with this show, I have mined a lot more of my own personal experiences, probably a
lot more so than in the past. That’s been really down to the show prior to this one, Limboland, where, out of character for me, I talked about a family holiday that went wrong. It was a fond story to tell anyway, but it also became part of the show, so I thought actually this is a good idea, this is a part of comedy based on my own life that I hadn’t actually explored. My current show, Larks in Transit, has been around Britain, Asia, Australia, has toured in some extraordinary places,
but each time they add a little bit to the experience. What’s really interesting me is that there’s a lot of history to the show. There’s a lot of connections to now and the past. That’s something that I realise now is increasingly fascinating to me, and I think I would like to explore more of that in this show. It’s great fun to perform and it incorporates stories, but it also links to the past. That’s one of the things that I love about walking. You walk an old trail like the Ridgeway - it’s five thousand years old and yet you are walking the
same path that people have walked for thousands of years. It’s magical.
I do understand. I was lucky enough to live in Venice as part of my undergraduate degree. There are so few cities in the world where you can walk down a street and feel like you are in any time period. I think it can be such a humbling and moving thing.
Exactly. And I get that from the natural world as well, such as observing birds and just being out in the countryside. You definitely get that.
You have been practicing mindfulness long before it became trendy then!
Yes [laughs], that’s it! I didn’t realise that’s what it was! I’m like an influencer.
The political climate it ripe for
commentary, will Larks in Transit cover any of the political domain?
Yes, oh definitely! I don’t want it to dominate the show though, but I do use it as a sort of introduction, to ease into the show before it goes off into different directions. But certainly from my point
of view, if I went to see a show I would almost expect it. It’s the elephant in the room. If you don’t talk about it, there becomes an inherent tension! ‘When are we going to talk about what’s going on?’. So you have to address that tension and expectation, and almost puncture that moment and say to each other ‘we know what’s going on, so let move on and have some fun’. That’s as far as it goes, politically.
It’s interesting though, I realise the current political climate, certainly in Britain and the way that we are perceived when touring, there’s an extraordinary interest in Britain, a fascination with it 13
 Images © Andy Hollingworth

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