On Tour

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The Independent Culture
I've just returned from Amsterdam. There's no tradition of stand-up comedy in Holland, so I was concerned not only that the audience might be unable to understand me but also that they'd be wondering why I was actually talking to them at all. On the first night, I was assured by the promoter that 'Der vill be many English come to the show'. Thankfully, they were outnumbered by the Dutch who spoke excellent English and laughed at my jokes. Amsterdam was plastered with posters advertising 'Britain's Best Comedians at the Theatre Niewe de la Mar'. Initially I was unsure of the objective accuracy of the 'Britain's Best' tag - which soon turned into conspiratorial glee. Why not 'Britain's greatest ever'?

Our hotel (Carena Hotel, Rembrandtsplein) was overheated and airless. I often took refuge in Zilvers Restaurant and Bojo's Vietnamese Restaurant. At Bojo's the waiter called me brother. I felt at home. At last I wasn't a black man getting wary stares in yet another European city. I left the restaurant in love with mankind.

The stress of touring can often force you into the famous coffee houses. One of my favourites was Palm d'Or. I wandered around lonely as a cloud searching for tulips - but ended up in the red light district where women are displayed in glass cages.

I didn't feel sad at the Anne Frank Museum, I felt mortified. Years of torture seemed to seep from the walls in every room. It's a scary and touching place.

Felix Dexter, the comedian, was in Amsterdam in February. He performs at the King's Head, Islington, London N1 (071-226 1916) on 15 Apr and Jongleurs, Camden Lock, NW1 (071- 924 2766) on 22 and 23 Apr

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