Alexei Sayle starting the show and waiting for…
…Andy de la Tour to join him in conversation.
“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.
Interested in learning more about Newham Bookshop and some of the people connected with it? We have four lessons for classroom or family use developed from On the Record’s oral history project centered around Newham Bookshop, Writing and Reading Newham. Click here for full details.
We are proud that Newham Bookshop is LoveReading’s Bookshop of the Month. The article features a Q&A with Vivian Archer, which you can read here.