Alexei Sayle: Stalin Ate My Homework
He used to be the left-wing comedian of choice, but five novels, two short story collections and one graphic novel later, Alexei Sayle comes to the Guildhall for the first time to perform excerpts from his new book, Stalin Ate My Homework, an hilarious memoir of his confusing life as the son of Communist parents, his childhood in Eastern Europe and his years as a teenage Maoist.
Born in Liverpool in 1952, Sayle spent a lot of time inventing complex explanations for the bizarre behaviour of grown-ups. He considered becoming a great athlete, or maybe a famous artist, but slowly it dawned on him that telling stories was a good way of making sense of his perplexing world. He moved to London in 1971 to attend Chelsea Art School, going on to become the first MC of the Comedy Store and later the Comic Strip. After years of stand-up, television, sitcoms and films, being voted 18th on a list of the 100 Greatest Stand Ups in a poll for Channel 4 and even appearing in an episode of Doctor Who along the way, he produced his first highly-acclaimed collection of short stories, Barcelona Plates, in 2000, with his first solo novel, Overtaken, being published in 2003.
Stalin Ate My Homework, a memoir, is a funny and perceptive portrait of a small family, remarkable not so much for their beliefs as their individuality and their adventurous spirit, a city, a country and a continent going through enormous changes. Hailed by some as the funniest thing Sayle has written to date, full of “listen to this bit” moments, it is a great memoir of a strange childhood, and with its poignant and elegiac feel it comfortably equals other great memoirs of strange childhoods, such as Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son and William Fiennes’ The Music Room.
Nowadays Alexei Sayle enjoys a much lower profile, through choice, one suspects, rather than the cold shoulder of the TV hierarchy, but with one of his main pursuits being writing he rarely gets to see his audience. Fans of the comedian therefore shouldn’t miss this golden opportunity to ask Sayle all those burning questions they’ve been dying to find the answer to.
Tuesday 5th October // Tickets £7 // Doors 7.30pm // Over 14’s unless accompanied by an adult
For tickets visit Gloucester Guildhall’s Box Office, call 01452 503050 or book online at http://www.gloucesterguildhall.co.uk