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The Bailey Show
Bewhiskered comedian and self-confessed uber-nerd BILL BAILEY shares his thoughts on September 11, the curse of celebrity culture and tells us why he named his child after a space-going slug. Or didn’t, as the case may be...
Olaf Tyaransen, 01 Nov 2010
Unlike most of his fellow professionals, stand-up comedian Bill Bailey is obviously an early riser. The hirsute and troll-like (his own description) 46-year-old has scheduled this Hot Press interview for 9am on the morning of Saturday, September 11. Unfortunately he’s calling me, and by 9.30am, the phone still hasn’t rung.
So while we sit, yawn and wait, a little background...
Although he’s been successfully performing stand-up for many years now, the Bath-born comedian, and classically trained musician, is probably best known to Irish audiences from his regular appearances on comedy quiz shows such as Q1, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You? Bailey’s most memorable TV turn, though, was undoubtedly as the hapless Manny, Dylan Moran’s long-suffering assistant in cult sitcom Black Books.
Having stormed the Dublin O2 last year with the widely acclaimed Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, he’ll be returning to the same venue with a brand new show called Dandelion Mind on September 30 and October 1 (both shows will be filmed for his live DVD). Featuring his trademark musical interludes, observations and stories of the road, Dandelion Mind is, according to the press release, “based loosely on the theme of doubt (or is it?), as we follow Bill from his real-life saga of being trapped by the ash cloud, to his barely contained rants about celebrity, TV, creationism and Michael Winner.”
The phone eventually rings at 9.45am. “How are you, Bill?” “Very good, thanks,” comes the reply in that instantly recognisable voice. “Actually, not very good. I’ve got a bit of a cold and I managed to slip a disc in my back, but other than that…”
OLAF TYARANSEN: Your new show is called Dandelion Mind. What’s the meaning of the title?
BILL BAILEY: Basically I think I was inspired by an Escher painting where birds sort of turn into flowers or something. It was one of those extraordinary sort of visuals – almost like a trick – and I just thought, ‘Actually yeah, that’s what my thoughts feel like’. You know, spores floating off from the back of my head. And so I just thought, ‘Yeah, that kind of sums up the way you can’t switch off your thoughts’. They’re always constantly floating off. And also, I’m so easily distracted. You know, I’ll be reading one book, then I’ll read another one, and another one, and another one, and another one. So there’s constantly things happening all the time.