Arts and Entertainment The dark side: Bill Bailey

Cultural Life: The comedian on his favourite music, film, tv and theatre picks

Beyond the Fringe

The 50th Edinburgh Festival wasn't exactly a vintage year. By Adrian Turpin

And the winner is...

This year's shortlist for the Perrier Award for Comedy was stuffed with high-calibre acts (four stand-ups, one sketch show and a character comedian), but in the end it came down to a straight shoot-out between two stand-ups, Bill Bailey and Dylan Moran.

fringe round-up; Bill Bailey

Weird Beard Bailey, the hairiest comedian on the fringe, exudes good humour. Last year the Cockney rebel of classical music, this year ready to wreak his tuneful brand of hippie subversion on TV themes, adverts and urgent news credits. On guitar and keyboard Bailey has a fine ear for hackneyed chords and idiot transposition: Tom Waits plays "Three Blind Mice", Dr Who meets Jack Brown. Between songs he meanders around Wittgenstein, Chaucer and the sad lot of the session xylophone player. Bailey's conversational style is so laid back that you're lulled into thinking he's some dirty- socked prog-rock philosopher you've just met down the pub. It's a disarming, professional performance. This down-to-earth blokeishness also makes Bailey one of the few comedians who can tell a joke about a pixie pub where you buy beer with fluff without making the audience gag on whimsy.

A silent handbagging

The Importance of Being Earnest - Birmingham Rep

Daily Bread: What the comedian ate one day at the Edinburgh Festival: Alan Davies

I WAS meeting someone for lunch so I set my alarm and then met them at 12.30pm in the City Cafe. I am vegetarian and ordered the vegetarian sausage roll, which I had with chips. I wanted beans or peas but they had neither, so I asked for any old veg - and that's what I got: bits of broccoli, some runner beans that looked like they had been running a long way, and carrots. I also had a pint of orange juice as I was feeling a bit dehydrated. In the afternoon I went to see a show called Beat the Panel which had my chums Jo Brand, Annabel Giles and Tony Hawks in it. We all then went to Henderson's where we skulked through to a smoky corner, but nobody noticed us anyway. So at the 'Celeb table' I had a piece of cherry pie with single cream. I also had a white coffee, no sugar, and a glass of some of our finest British mineral water. I then came over all giddy and vampirish and went back to the flat for a sleep before my show at about 5-ish. I always have about an hour's sleep before the show up here. After this I got up and went to the gig, I had a cup of white coffee just before the show and then a glass of water while on stage - I always have a drink on stage. After the show, which was a triumph, I went to the bar in the Gilded Balloon and had a whisky and coke, and two vodka and tonics. We then went to The Pleasance where I drank two Becks and a Rolling Rock. Then we went back to the Gilded Balloon and I had another Rolling Rock - and then, I think, about five vodka and tonics, one gin and tonic, a packet of McCoy cheese flavour crisps, a KitKat that my friend had stolen and an orange-flavoured Strepsil for my sore throat. We then left in a 'celebrity taxi ride' to Bill Bailey's flat. It was about 4 in the morning by this stage, and I had a straight whisky. I then went to clean up the kitchen, which was in a bit of a mess, by eating all the leftover food. I had two nice bits of apple pie and made a sandwich of a crust of Mighty White bread with a bit of Flora, mature Scottish cheddar, a bit of tomato and Branston pickle. I also finished some leftover bread and butter which I used to mop up the Italian salad dressing and lettuce that was left in the salad bowl. By this stage it was about 6.30am and I was getting tired, so I finished off with a camomile tea before going home to bed at 8am.

Rugby League: Saints' stunning recovery: Three tries in seven minutes turn game

Halifax. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

William Donaldson's Week: Bailed out by Frank - again

WHEN Simon Carr and I were in Ibiza in 1983 - supposedly writing our painfully honest novels but, in fact, collaborating on The Complete Naff Guide - our lives were made a misery by a Rottweiler that lived in a villa between Carr's and mine.

Rugby Union: Cooke leaves glorious monument behind him: Mark Bailey, an England player in the early years of Geoff Cooke's rule, analyses the manager's strengths

THE EPIGRAPH on the house that Geoff Cooke built for English rugby could comprise just three words: 'organisation and stability'. For with these core materials he has constructed a glorious monument from a dilapidated edifice.

Some answers would not go amiss, he said beseechingly

Ten questions with which to start an argument

Classic Thoughts / All we need to know: Amanda Craig on the satire and humanity of Great Expectations (1861)

I FIRST knew it as a film, and, shamingly, preferred Oliver] Later, Dickens patrolled the high seas of Eng. Lit., all bombast, burlesque and sentiment. Then, quite by chance, I read Great Expectations just after university. It made the hair in my scalp stand up and dance, for until then I had had no model for the kind of novel I most liked, and hoped to write.

Medical bill is out of joint: Hospital quotes are not always accurate, writes Christine Stopp

BILL BAILEY, a retired squash coach from Virginia Water, Surrey, was told last October by his consultant at the Woking Nuffield Hospital that he would need a hip replacement operation.

THEATRE / A good seeing-to: Entertaining Mr Sloane - Greenwich Theatre

IN Jeremy Sams' revival of Entertaining Mr Sloane at Greenwich, the pattern of wallpaper bedecking Kath's 'bijou lounge' seems to cater for people with far graver visual handicaps than her shortsighted Dadda. Even Milton, you feel, would have had his work cut out missing the massive roses gaudily emblazoned over it.

Rugby League: Hanley in hurry to harry Halifax

Leeds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
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