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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Who Can I be Now?...

A recurring theme in my work has been the mutability and transient nature of identity in the postmodern world. I took my lead in this from the French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard - I came across him whilst trying to google a supplier for a natty little all-in-one number for the dance routines on the Dirigible Spider tour in 1987. Funny how fate works, isn't it? (Especially as the interweb hadn't even been invented then). Basically, the kernel of my approach to writing is based on the old R.D. Laing maxim: if you can't even remember who you are yourself, what chance has a jury got, my old son?

Consequently, even from the very early days I've found it as easy to swap personalities as I have changing underwear - in fact, given the rather complex nature of some of my smalls, it's actually been considerably simpler to completely transform my personality in some instances. The clown costume was no picnic either, I can tell you - especially those long flappy shoes. You try staying in tune during 'Up the Hill Backwards' in a pair of those whilst trying to pour a litre of water down your too-wide-at-the-waist-too-short-at-the-bottom comedy trousers and still keep a safe distance from the lion tamer. I had to take three years off before I could even *dream* of doing Let's Dance after that one.

Probably the most famous example of this chameleon-like tendency was the year I spent being Anthony Newley. I had a great time, I must say and I was quite disappointed when I was rumbled by Equity and had to give back all the royalty cheques I'd got for his appearance in the The Strange World of Gurney Slade. After that I tried being Marty Feldman for about six months but that was a bit of a wet weekend - couldn't get the eyes right.

Three months as Marianne Faithful was equally dispiriting. Started off okay - I was an immediate hit with the other girls in the convent and I was *swimming* in Capston non-filters for most of 1968 - plus I had all the floral print smocks a boy could wish for. But then I had a spot of bother with Mick Jagger; how on earth anyone could even *think* of storing their confectionary like that - nevermind *eating* it, I do not know. Put me off chocolate drops for life, it has. And then I hit upon the idea of a Jewish tailor from outer space coming down from the skies to save a doomed planet earth and Mongy Spatula and his Vapours from Jupiter were born. The rest, as they say, is history.

It's nice to have settled down and allowed my mercurial persona to stabilise a little as I've got older. I pretty much left all the characters behind during the Thin White Duke period when I found I'd overidentified with my first big acting role, Thomas Jerome K. Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth - well, it was either that or I'd been overdoing it on the old U-HU. Either way, I tend to just be plain old me nowadays - although, between you and me, I have been moonlighting as Ricky Gervais on and off for the last 5 years. I just wish someone would tell him that...

L.U.V. on ya,

er.....oh yes - Bob...


  1. You are a most confusing chap... chappess?

  2. Well Scarlet, you know what they say - nonsense is better than no sense at all...


    L.U.V. on ya,


    p.s. I'm *all* man.

    (I think....)

  3. I've never met someone with so many different identities! XD Multiple personality disorder must be fun, no? hehe I enjoy what you have to say, no matter who you are! <3


  4. Well, yes as Bob was just saying there, he's *definitely* *all* man!

    (And I should know - I've been helping him into his corsets for the last 5 YEARS!

    'Berta Swipe (Mrs)

    (His wife...)

  5. I recognise none of these names. Are they involved in popular culture?

  6. Multiple Personalities? They were that new wave group, I'm sure of it.

    I loved Bobcast 60, specially the bit where you forgot to mention BaggieBird, at least I think you did...I don't really bother with the links anymore, I just fast forward to the music ;-?

    Top inclusion of Jewish Princess, most people wouldn't touch that one with a barge pole for all the wrong excuses. I don't know what the problem is - perhaps lyrics such as "4 on the floor" and "sandblasted zits" isn't that
    highbrow nowadays.

    As regards to The MSet, here's a link to a post I did a few months ago that may be of interest to you:

    Off to do a pod of my own, you inspirational szchitzoid drag queen type thing.

    'Orrible Ister.

  7. I thought you were very good in those Gainsborough Films light dramas, though I thought you'd over-egged it a bit by calling yourself Googie Withers.

  8. Marianne Faithful and the Spiders From Mars?

  9. Dave - we're going to have to get you the Rough Guide to Being With it for your birthday, aren't we?

    "Orrible" Ister - good moaning sir - lovely to hear from you again. And, no, it wasn't an oversight not mentioning Baggiebird - we haven't been on speaking terms since their most recent thrashing at the hands of the mighty Gooners. Temperamental as f**c, some people, aren't they? She'll be closing her blinking blog down next...

    Thanks also for the link - will peruse over le weekend before watching us exit dismally from the cup at Stoke. Good luck with the podster - and let me know when it's up. I have a 500 gig hard drive to fill up. Plenty of long guitar solos please...

    Kevin - thank you! (I might be old, but I've certainly never been painted by Gainsborough and they *definitely* didn't have film back in those days. There's a nice gouache and urine study of me by Basquiat though - lovely lass, when she wasn't daubing my roller with ridiculous subway art, obviously...

    Geoffster - well, she had the legs for it, didn't she? (To be the spider, obviously...) What do you make of the new owners at the Boleyn?

    L.U.V. on y'all,


  10. Oh I do love you so Bobster. Do you remember the day we got arrested by the tie rail in the British Heart Foundation charity shop - you for impersonating Mary Whitehouse I believe and me mainlining 'Buie Breezer with me tights round me ankles while playing the bassoon? Oh heady days. You couldn't make it up could you? Cuh! Luv on ya big boy x

  11. Yes Ro-ster with the Mo-ster in her Toa-ster - how could I forget? And, reader: yes....they *were* my tights, in case you hadn't already guessed...

    They've honoured the occasion by putting a plague (or a plaque, even) where she fell: "This tie rack has been brought to you by Air Asia, in association with Scottish & Allied Breweries" - it reads. And I should know, I scrawled it in biro meself...

    (Note to other readers: I think a few more protestations of love and devotion along the lines of the above would not go, Mr Photon....)


    L.U.V. (in abundance) on ya Mo-ster,