A half-time summary of my game of life

Share
Related Topics

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.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have an urgent requirement fo...

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are looking to recruit two ...

Primary supply teachers required in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron and Ed Miliband attend the Queen's Speech on 4 June 2014  

Scottish referendum: It's hard for us Labour supporters to admit, but Cameron did good here

Rob Marchant
NO ballots are stacked on a table during the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh  

Scottish referendum: Some divorces are meant to happen – this one wasn’t

Dotti Irving
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week