Last week I turned 45. That means that, best-case scenario, I'm halfway through life. That's a weird thought. My life so far has been a rather varied and extraordinary affair. I was born in Beirut and spent a charmed childhood in the hills above the Lebanese capital, making the occasional jaunt into the Syrian desert. Then came the civil war and everything changed.
I left the school I'd attended with Osama bin Laden and was sent to boarding school in Oxford. I spent the next five years mingling with future members of Radiohead and the Tory cabinet during term time, returning to Lebanon to huddle in a basement being shelled in rota by armies from neighbouring countries. Then it was off to a public school originally set up to train people to run India, an objective somewhat stymied by the subsequent Indian declaration of independence.
Leaving school, I spent a year in Paris pretending to work at the International Herald Tribune before moving back to the UK, where I read Politics at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, and wandered around the capital as a confused Goth. After university it was off to Prague to intern at the Delegation of the European Commission. I witnessed the arrival of McDonald's and the break-up of Czechoslovakia, and attended a Velvet Underground gig with Václav Havel.
Back in the UK, I worked in Parliament for various research organisations before becoming a producer for ITN, and watching John Major screw up in a big way. From there, it was a sideways jump into comedy via a stint as a researcher on the Mark Thomas Comedy Product. On my first day we ploughed tanks through McDonalds' Drive-Thrus and I knew that this was for me.
This was followed by my own show on Channel 4 – Trigger Happy TV. The global success of that allowed me to do all manner of things: I started travel writing and visited so many fascinating places, from North Korea and Chernobyl, to Everest Base Camp and deepest, darkest Congo.
I sold my flat in Notting Hill to Salman Rushdie but chickened out of retiling the roof terrace to read Salman Rushdie Lives Here for Google Earth's cameras to capture next time they swept over. I moved to the Cotswolds with my wife and two kids, annoying everyone in the area as I continued to make bizarre TV shows, including possibly the best blag in TV history whereby I went round the world getting drunk ("investigating cultural attitudes to alcohol", as Sky's lawyers insisted I describe it).
I've been marooned in the Australian jungle with Britt Ekland and Shaun Ryder, danced live on TV MC Hammer-style, been attacked by Pierce Brosnan while attempting to be a paparazzo and spent three weeks as Tintin. I reach the halfway point in my life back on prime time with my new show, Fool Britannia, and with zero idea as to how this all happened. I haven't got a clue what is coming next either, but I'll count myself a lucky man if the future is even half as exciting as the last first 45 years have been.Reuse content