I was born in Shepherds Bush, London W12. After attending the most exclusive comprehensive I happened to live close to, I worked variously as a chamber maid, an agency cleaner and finally as a park-keeper at Bishop’s Gate Park in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (or Let’s Be Happy Folks, as we said in the hut).
Around this time I bought a motorbike and began late night DJ-ing for a pirate radio station called London Weekend Radio alongside Tim Westwood (the prototype for Ali G) and was auditioned by Capital Radio, who made me introduce Paul McCartney’s Rupert and the Frog Song six times, before turning me down saying I ‘lacked warmth’. Bastards.
I decided to try my hand at writing and placed an ad for a co-writer in Time Out: ‘Wanted, Michael Palin O.N.O.’. Palin didn’t answer but one respondee asked me to help manage (and later run) a cabaret club in W12 called Bush Fires, which operated out of the same pub as the Bush Theatre, but downstairs in the back bar.
Running Bush Fires and writing for sketch shows, (Rory Bremner, Spitting Image, Alas Smith and Jones et al) kept me going while I finished the book for Radio Times, a musical, based around the songs of Noel Gay.
Starring the lovely Tony Slattery the show ran for two months at Birmingham Rep and six at the Queen’s Theatre London, collecting an Olivier nomination on the way, before falling victim to the West End blight that followed the IRA’s last mainland bombing spree.