❉ Author and comedy historian JEM ROBERTS invites you into his magnificent octopus’ garden…
After ten years of quietly building up a head of steam, my sixth book, Fab Fools is now very close to completion and open for pre-orders with fan favourite publisher Candy Jar Books (The Lethbridge Stewart and Lucy Wilson mysteries), and we’re hoping that any true Beatles lover and comedy aficionado will already have snapped up their copy.
Beatles and Comedy – that’s really how you sum up my life’s obsessions in the fewest words. Of course, you could then throw in British folklore and ancient history, the vast array of pot noodle flavours, children’s literature and crappy old horror films, but the three words really capture the essentials – Beatles, and Comedy. British Comedy is my abiding life-long obsession (I’ve authored the official books for I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue, Blackadder, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Fry & Laurie) and The Beatles are my favourite band – having all-but discovered them for myself as a teenager in the mid-1990s Britpop boom, with only the vaguest notion of their import throughout the particularly un-Fab 1980s. My second favourite group? The Bonzo Dog Band, of course. It’s fair to say that Neil Innes is the musician I have seen more than any other, with numerous different tickets bought, for The Rutles live, for The Bonzos reunions, and in his own write. To have Neil supporting Fab Fools is a dream realised.
I’m far from alone in this dual adoration, of course (or at least I certainly bloody hope not), Beatle fans are surely far more known for an appreciation of quality humour than any other musical outfit in history – it’s not exactly ‘a thing’ for, say, Joy Division obsessives to display notable crossover with comedy fandom, but it’s written all the way through the Beatles story from day one. Before the sixties, it was a given that Liverpool was famous for only two things: footballers, and comedians.
The story I’ve spent this decade crafting explores every single facet of the exhaustive connections between history’s greatest rock and roll band and humour, from George Formby to Bojack Horseman, and now we just need your help to make it a celebration and investigation worthy of the highfalutin subject matter. This is a new kind of publishing in a way – not crowd-funding, as the book is contracted for release no matter what, but giving readers the chance to make the different right now which guarantees the best book we can put on shelves early next year. It’s a campaign everyone who loves The Beatles can get involved with, and be a part of – and all will be credited.
I won’t short-change We Are Cult readers with an article which recycles points made elsewhere, so you can find lots more on Fab Fools on my site here, view my very silly author trailer and pre-order directly here – there are extra added incentives for kindly pledges, the most exciting of which is a launch at the Fox & Hounds near Reading – the site of the only ever Lennon/McCartney performance as a duo, The Nerk Twins – which will mark the exact 60th anniversary of the two wee scousers hitching down to perform.
But we hope everyone reading this can join in the campaign, because if anything our ‘soft launch’ was back at the WAC Bristol event in the spring, where, having had the honour of interviewing Andrew Marshall and Rob Grant on stage, I blabbered all about what I was spending my year doing, to hopefully garner the support of some of the luminaries on hand, knowing that the likelihood of those present not being notably into my subject matter was very slim – it was particularly cheering to pique the interest of Joel Morris and Jason Hazeley, who are currently putting a word in with Peter Serafinowicz, one of my most key desired interviewees (Kevin Eldon is already on board).
So hopefully for next year’s We Are Cult gathering, I’ll be able to share more about the creation of what I honestly see as the last remaining untold Beatles story worth telling.
❉ Visit Jem’s official site: JEMROBERTS.COM