A peek inside the mind of the artist at work

There is nothing like writing a memoir to make you long to go back in time

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I spent the end of last year writing my new book. I could do something like this at home but I get too easily distracted by the dogs, the pig, the cat, the telly… pretty much anything. So, I’d drive down into Cheltenham and settle down at a table in my favourite bar/restaurant (131 the Prom) beneath a rather creepy photo of a clown. I’d order a big bottle of water, a coffee, read the papers… and realise that I was getting distracted again. Very little has changed in my life from those school reports telling my parents that they were spending a lot of money so that I could sit and stare out of windows.

I eventually got going. Fear of the blank page is the writer’s biggest problem. Once you kick off then things get easier. My new book is not a travel book but one that takes the reader through my rather curious showbiz career. It’s part therapy, part guide, part car-crash and it’s pretty funny (even if I do say so myself).

Whenever I read “memoirs”, even if they're Keith Richards’, I’m just not interested in the “early years”. Just get to the moment when you meet Mick Jagger and start there. So, my book starts on a train when THAT mobile ring-tone goes off and three people shouted “Hello, I’m on a train…” and I knew that my life had changed.

For two months, people walking past my table would hear me groan loudly as I’d remember yet another career faux pas. There is nothing like writing a memoir to make you long to go back in time. And yet, the lesson I think I learned from writing the thing is that I don’t really have any regrets. OK… I probably wouldn’t have done Splash! Or agreed to have the contents of my house emptied for a TV show but … apart from that and about 50 other incidents, I’ve had a pretty crazy 15 years. I’ve been to 70 countries, met most of my heroes, been in some extraordinary situations and never thought, “I don’t want to go to work today.”

But now I’d finished the book – what to call it? Publishers would want something naff like – “HELLO I’VE WRITTEN A BOOK, IT’S RUBBISH!” That wasn’t going to happen. I toyed with “Ruined It For Everyone” but decided to keep that for my headstone. Another early favourite was “What Are You Up To Now?” which is both the most common and feared question a resting celeb can be asked.

Then I struck gold, “Pranks For The Memories”. I was chuffed with this and knew that the powers that be would love it. I didn’t however, it was too cheesy. “Lost in Showbiz” would have worked but there is a rather good newspaper column of the same name. I nearly opted for “Don’t Believe The Truth” but decided that it was a bit smart-arsey… I was starting to despair when I felt someone staring at me. It was the creepy wall clown. I had it. The name was settled and it was off to the printer’s and into the shops for your delectation. I hope you enjoy it. 

'Here Comes the Clown' is published on Thursday, by Simon & Schuster