About 10 minutes down the A45 last night, Phil Nichol pointed out that whilst sitting in the back of the car, his head was really very cold. There was a small moment of realisation, combining many clues – people in the car park beeping us as we left, the fact I could see very clearly out the exceptionally dirty back window, the small light saying the boot was open – that made us realise the boot was open. I’m not going to point the finger of blame at anyone, but basically Phil had opened it and not closed it again. So I did what any sensible person would do and pulled over so that Nick Doody could jump out and close it. As he did this a police car pulled up behind us and one of the cops got out to talk to us. Nick had decided against telling them that we were experimenting with trying to fly and instead told them we’d just noticed the boot too. The policeman then asked me if there ‘was any booze involved’, which is an odd way to ask if I’d been drinking. Technically, booze does not have to be consumed for it to ‘be involved’. At the Belgrade Theatre there was definitely booze ‘involved’ but luckily for my criminal record I had not had any of it. I left it to get involved with other people. I explained that we had just done a show and were racing home and unbelievably the cop just said he’d leave us to it and left. He didn’t breathalyse me or anything. I could’ve been drunk off my tits. I can’t help but feel it was a missed opportunity.
Previous occasions where I’ve been stopped by the police have not been that easy. Particular notable occasions include the time where I stupidly, due to tiredness, went to turn down a one-way street off Euston Road at about 2 in the morning. The policemen were very nice but asked what I did and insisted on asking questions about comedy. They proceeded to ask if we were still doing jokes such as ‘Lesbians against Bush’ (it was while Bush was in power, they weren’t that out of date) and then when I told them that I had gigged with Chris Lynam who ended the show by sticking a firework up his arse, they told me it sounded just like a day at the station. Had I encountered such oh so hilarious people in a comedy club there would be some brutal mocking, but standing in the cold on Euston Road and being the one who was getting interrogated I had to do my polite fake laugh. As they didn’t know me, they weren’t suspicious of this incredibly fake forced chuckle that is far too obvious at any other time. Then again I suspect its the only type of laugh they ever hear.
There was also the time I got stopped for having my back lights out and the officer spent 20 minutes telling me how terrible being in the police is nowadays. Loads of his colleagues had gone to Canada where there was less ‘paper work’ and he just wouldn’t stop sighing and feeling miserable about it all. I ended up being some sort of councillor by telling him he was doing a good job and aren’t the government bastards etc. I couldn’t help but wonder if he stops people every night just so he can have a chat. Before he finally let me go he told me that he’d stopped Jim Davidson for drink driving at least 6 times and that he should now be locked up but the world isn’t fair. I tried to explain that Jim Davidson existing isn’t fair, but it became obvious I was insulting the cops favourite style of humour. A cop? Liking racist jokes? Who would have thought?
My least nice experience was outside Bristol where I was stopped in a petrol station by two bored angry cops who checked every detail of my insurance and licence insisting firstly that I had stolen the vehicle, then that my credentials were wrong. My diabetic blood sugars were going low and it was all rather distressing. They wanted me to slip up so they could get angry and said things like ‘I bet you think the Bristol accents pretty funny don’t you? I bet you take the piss out of that don’t you?’ I replied by telling them about funny Bristolian comics such as Mark Olver and Russell Howard and they just got increasingly more irritated. All a bit scary when cops are bored. I wanted to suggest they keep themselves entertained by catching criminals but thought it wasn’t appropriate.
I have learnt that there are several do’s and don’ts when stopped by the cops. Here is my definitive list:
– DO speak in a very posh voice. They respond well to this as think you may be related to someone who could get them sacked. Unless they are very cockney, in which case, adopt your most cockney voice and pretend they are your ‘mates’ even though you would never have mates like them.
– DONT wear your ‘All cops are dicks’ t-shirt.
– DONT get out of your car until they tell you to. Otherwise you look too eager and they might think you are a serial breathalist who likes breathing into small tubes for pleasure.
– DO call them ‘officer’.
– DONT call them ‘unuh unuh stupid head’.
– DO say ‘I won’t do it again officer.’
– DONT say ‘I’ll do it again I tell you! Again and again! Until the whole world is mine! Mwahahahahahah!’
The show last night was much fun, despite being in a theatre and in Coventry. Audience were lovely. Staff less so, as they decided not to offer us any drinks, even water, or let us know when we had to go onstage. Its those little things that really make the difference. That’s the difference between the audience sitting in the dark for 5 minutes or not. No gig tonight so I’m going to avoid all things humorous till tomorrow. If I or Layla so much as smirk at anything there’ll be trouble.