This is the only official live World Book Day event for teens. We’ve sent letters to all local secondary schools, but you can also buy tickets as individuals. Tickets £3 from Stratford Picturehouse, online or telephone 0871 902 5740. More details.
“Hello — I’m Emily. I like bikes. A lot.”
Emily Chappell never meant to be a cycle courier. She planned to earn her living using her mind rather than her legs. She thought it’d be a useful stopgap while searching for a ‘real’ job. Today, six years on, she’s still pedalling. “It’s my most enduring love affair; the career that’s shaped my life, made me what I am, and entirely derailed any hope of a normal existence.”
The Gentle Author, who writes the daily Spitalfields Life blog will talk about his latest publication, the first full-colour history of the Cries of London. This ambitious book sets out to reclaim an entire cultural tradition which the Gentle Author believes is an essential part of the identity of London as a city founded upon its markets. In the capital, those who had no means of income could always sell wares in the street and, by turning their presence into performance through song, they won the hearts of generations and came to embody the spirit of London itself.
“What I brought to comedy was an authentic working class voice plus a threat of genuine violence — nobody in Monty Python looked like a hard case who’d kick your head in.”
In 1971 comedians on the working men’s club circuit imagined that they would be free to go on telling their tired, racist, misogynistic gags forever but their nemesis, a 19-year-old Marxist art student with a bizarre concern for the health of British manufacturing was slowly coming to meet them.
Through the next decade Alexei Sayle would be a student at Chelsea Art School, a clerk in a DHSS office (where nobody did any work), one of London’s bottom ten freelance illustrators, a school dinner lady and a college lecturer (who kidnapped his students), before he became the original MC of London’s first modern comedy club, the Comedy Store, and the landscape of British comedy was altered forever.
Thatcher Stole My Trousers chronicles a time when comedy and politics came together in electrifying ways. Recounting the opening season of the Comedy Store, Alexei’s experiences with Alternative Cabaret, the Comic Strip and the Young Ones, and his friendships with the comedians who, like him would soon become household names, this is a unique and beguiling blend of social history and memoir. Fascinating, funny, angry and entertaining, it is a story of class and comedy, politics and love, fast cars and why it’s difficult to foul a dwarf in a game of football.