I got a call from Tim Etchells of Forced Entertainment. The company had been touring a show called ‘Marathon Lexicon’ for which pieces of writing had been commissioned from a variety of writers and academics. The pieces had simple titles and were assembled into an alphabetised collection. The show would run for several hours, during which some but not all of the lexicon would be presented. The audience could come and go throughout the presentation if the prospect of sitting still for twelve hours unsettled them.

Tim asked if I would write a piece on jokes. As I’m rather keen on jokes I was pleased to take the commission.

I knew I had a couple of unused joke-related bits somewhere on my hard disk so I dug them out. The text for the anecdote about Bobby Sands was adapted from the outline to an as yet unwritten autobiography, as was some of the material on humour and risk assessment. The rest of it was fresh.

I haven’t seen the show yet – I’ll have to wait until it comes to London again.


Note: the ‘autobiography’ stalled at about 140 pages. I tried calling it a ‘memoir’ in order to make it feel less burdensome. It didn’t make a lot of difference. (2019)

Note: I have finished it. (2023)

Red Devils (2006)