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Cultural Life: Bill Bailey, Comedian


I read a lot of books because they inspire my material. The Reluctant Mr Darwin by David Quammen is an extremely well-researched account of Darwin's life after he came back from his South American trip on the Beagle. He lived in Kent with his wife, a devout Christian, which made him question his own thoughts on evolution. I read The God Delusion. Parts of it were brilliant but Richard Dawkins loses it a bit. He says that people who are religious are not as intelligent as people who aren't. This zeal about evolution is just as evangelical as the zealots that he's trying to belittle. Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel by Gordon Burn guides you through events of 2007 but cleverly worked into a novel.


I hardly watch television. I have a child, Dax, four, who requires a lot of entertaining. I watched the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. What made me laugh was just the fact that how on earth are we going to compete with that?


People always talk about the latest films. I think, "Well, give me six months and I will be able to join in on this conversation." I saw Control [about Joy Division] because I'm a bit of an old punk. It brilliantly conjured up that era. I watched Cloverfield with the big monsters in Manhattan. I saw Beowulf starring Ray Winstone. I don't know if it was meant to be funny, but I found it hilarious.


I like electronic music – Aphex Twin, Hot Chip, Justice. I finally got around to listening to In Rainbows, the new Radiohead album. I like the lo-fi nature of it. We went to the First Night of the Proms. Messiaen's organ works was overwhelming, crashing out this wall of sound at the Royal Albert Hall. There was an amazing piece of piano music by an American called Elliott Carter. He wanted to write a piece with no chords – just one continuous flow of notes.

'Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra', Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (020-7589 8212), 15 & 16 October