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...