meaning of life, that sort of thing.’ Everyday bar talk in other words. For

What you dld the bar-room is indeed

foraliVing' the natural place then say to for poetry and

u r philosophising and you! That s the Pub Landlord has

a God-given right to step up on his soapbox and make observations on every subject under the sun.

'In a pub you can talk about anything you like,’ agrees Murray. 'A landlord would ask you what you did for a living, then say to you, "That’s not a real fucking job". Whereas a deep sea diver might not. The character is from the ironic tradition, the guy who stands up and says the exact opposite of what he means, and everyone gets the chance to say, "those points of view are ridiculous". It's the utterances of an idiot done idiotically. Maybe it’s lancing a boil or something, but I am trying to be funny rather than make a point. I do fight shy of the idea that

it’s satire, because the next step would be

being Rory Bremner in a wig doing a


Murray admits that the Landlord routine is, for him, closer to stand-up than acting out a role. He's also keen to emphasise the

difference between himself and the character, right down to explaining his writing method. ‘I never sit down with the tie and the jacket on and think the way he thinks to get material,’ he explains. 'The advantage of writing a character is that the margins are much more clearly defined. If it was me, Al Murray, ~ ~ ,4 doing stand-up, I i wouldn’t know where to


But maybe there's a danger of Murray and the Landlord creeping closer together? ‘He definitely voted for Tony Blair - because Tony Blair’s posh, and the Landlord likes to be told what to do by a posh bloke. And I voted New Labour, just like the Landlord. But I don't feel

particularly English until, say, I come to

Scotland. The rest of the time I just feel

like a human being . . . but then the

football comes on, and something happens to you.’

'A landlord would ask you

not a real

job". Whereas a deep sea diver might "Gt: AI Murray

And A Glass Of White Wine For The

Lady (Fringe) Al Murray, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 24) 9.25pm, £8.50/£8 (£7.50/£7); George Square Theatre (Venue 37) 662 8740, 13-14, 20—21, 27-29 Aug, 11.15pm, £9l£8.50 (EB/£7.50).

In It’s Not The End Of The World, a man flees Nostradamus's doom and gloom predictions by heading to an exotic island. Strangely enough, writer and comedian RICHARD HERRING spent July hiding out in Fiji with one eye on the apocalypse. The star of TV's This Morning With Richard Not Judy shares his fears in an exclusive diary for The List. Words: Richard Herring

To the ends of the Earth

3 July

I became obsessed with Nostradamus in I984 when I bought a book called Nom'udumus Countdown To The Apocalypse from W.H. Smiths in Weston-Super-Mare. I remember being terrified about his prediction that the Lord of Terror would come from the skies in July I999 and resolved I would go away somewhere remote for that entire month to escape whatever the crazy. obscure mystic was on about. Of course. in I999 I am older.

wiser and rational. But even so. I find myself

boarding a plane to Fiji with the convenient excuse of researching a play about some idiot

who‘s trying to escape the consequences of

Nostradamus‘s prediction. Like that could ever happen in real life. I am wearing a suit.

ho in0 I might Uet an u grade for the 25-hour

flight. But all I get is lots of looks from people who are obviously thinking 'look at the wanker in the suit'.

4 July

“g m ‘: rat” 1 f

. in (d

'QLICCK‘S'U‘ “'-

Because we cross the International Date Line during this flight. I never actually experience this day at all. Which might prove to be lucky as Channel 4 are saying that this was the day the world would end. Thus I will travel forward in time and miss the disaster that is about to befall the rest of you.

5 July

I arrive at Nadi airport at 5.35am. My suit is sweaty. creased and covered in suspicious stains. IfI wear it on the way home. I will be downgraded to tramp class.

6 July

I start work. I‘d written about 20 pages before I came out. I need to do another 5() before I'm finished. That’s only five pages a day. No problem! Bring on the Pina Coladas. I type away all day. but when I'm finished. the script is nineteen pages long. How did that happen‘.’ I wonder if Shakespeare ever had to write a play in ten days. while suffering from jet lag. Probably. It would explain why his comedies are so crap.

7 July

I spend all day sitting on a golden beach. drinking beer in front of the clearest blue sea that I have ever seen. This is all very important research. I have to find out how my characters would actually feel in this situation. I discover that they would/eel

drunk and hot. 8 July

The actors arrive. The plan had been to bring out the actual cast. but unfortunately we've only managed to cast one of the other parts. so a couple of friends are helping out. I am fretting about my lack of productivity. I decide the best course of action is to get drunk. Surprisingly that doesn‘t help.

(Ontxnuec' over page

We start rehearsals in nine days. We still only have half a cast. My

only hope is that the world will actually end.