Random 8

Simon Munnery

Simon Munnery

One random comedian, eight random questions; it's the ultimate test of funny person and fate. This Tuesday it's Munnery, Simon Munnery, still making remarkable shows over three decades in. He'll be bringing the latest one to the Bath Comedy Festival this weekend, at the Rondo Theatre; not his first rodeo, in these parts.

"Last year while I was touring, going to Bath then Southampton, so away for three days, and my wife was working nights, I needed my middle daughter to step up to the plate and look after the dogs", he recalls. "Walks, food, water. I explained this to her and she asked why. I said 'I'm going to Bath'. And she said 'What? All day?'"

And you know what a Bath show needs? A plug. So here goes: that show is Jerusalem, based on the William Blake poem and the quasi cover of it by legendary Mancunian post-punk band The Fall. Was the Fall guy a kindred spirit?

"I interviewed Mark E Smith for my Radio One show Alan Parker Urban Warrior's 59 Minutes Of Truth", Munnery remembers. "It was the worst interview ever recorded. It still went out though. Every question I asked he just said 'No'. But during recording breaks in a Manchester pub we had a lovely chat, got on really well, talked about all sorts - Shopenhauer, Nietzche and some other philosopher he was an expert on that I can't remember the name of.

"He gave me his phone number and I put it in my Psion organiser. When that broke I lost it, also my diary, address book, everything I'd written for two years and a large part of my mind. Oh well."

Simon Munnery. Copyright: Ed Moore

Psion-ara, then. But before we sign off, any other Bath memories?

"Ian Cognito RIP had a canal boat near Bath and I stayed with him one time; lots of beer, lots of laughs", muses Munnery.

"Last time I was there I stayed on the outskirts and was walking to the station in the spring morning when I saw coming towards me a girl in a beautiful dress fluttering in the breeze", Munnery remembers. "The dress that is, not her. She was on her phone of course, and it dawned on me that the primacy of the male gaze is over, and also that I'm getting old."

But did those feet, in ancient time, walk upon England's mountains green? Or not. Simon Munnery, your Random 8 await.

Who was your childhood hero (real or imaginary)?

Batman. Kerpoww!

What's your favourite building?

In my garden there are four sheds - or 'monstrosities' as my wife calls them - three of which I built. I'm a serial shed builder. My favourite was once a hexagonal gazebo, but it was a pain in the arse to erect and ended up being used as bike shelter.

Then came 70 mph winds and it went up a tree, despite being roped down. I fixed it, but it was never going to be a gazebo again, so I put plastic tubes round the uprights and concreted them. Then I found five doors in a skip, and after creating a sixth built a sturdy roof. The walls are pallets and bits of old wood and bark.

I'd like it to be invisible. As would my wife.

Is there a book, or album, that changed your life?

Book: The Village Labourer by J.L & Barbara Hammond. It tells in detail how the common land was stolen during The Enclosures.

Album: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. There is no need for humanity to achieve anything more.

Who's the most interesting person you've ever met?

Dr Eric Griffiths RIP. Gay, Catholic, wise, vicious, kind, and sharp as a tack. He said to me once in Prague "One of the hardest things to come to terms with in life is how little you can do to help other people". Which bears thinking about.

Simon Munnery

What should be Britain's new national anthem (and why)?

World Turned Upside Down by Leon Rosselson, because the story must be told.

Which film would you love to have been in, and which part?

The Italian Job, Michael Caine.

Your most regrettable purchase?

The most recent. 100 litres of emergency heating oil in 25 litre containers. Too heavy to lift with accuracy, have to decant it into a jug to get it into the tank. Shouldn't have run out in the first place. Now the boiler won't fire up. Plumber's coming, but I don't trust them. Or anyone for that matter.
Which town or city should be abolished?

Bath. Too many tourists.

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