Author(s): Alexei Sayle
'What I brought to comedy was an authentic working-class voice plus a threat of genuine violence - nobody in Monty Python looked like a hard case who'd kick your head in.'
In 1971 comedians on the working men's club circuit imagined that they would be free to go on telling their tired, racist, misogynistic gags forever but their nemesis, a 19 year old Marxist art student with a bizarre concern for the health of British manufacturing was slowly coming to meet them.
Through the next decade Alexei Sayle would be a student at Chelsea Art School, a clerk in a DHSS office (where nobody did any work), one of London's bottom ten freelance illustrators, a school dinner lady and a college lecturer (who kidnapped his students), before he became the original MC of London's first modern comedy club, the Comedy Store, and the landscape of British comedy was altered forever.
Thatcher Stole My Trousers chronicles a time when comedy and politics came together in electrifying ways. Recounting the opening season of the Comedy Store, Alexei's experiences with Alternative Cabaret, the Comic Strip and the Young Ones, and his friendships with the comedians who, like him would soon become household names, this is a unique and beguiling blend of social history and memoir. Fascinating, funny, angry and entertaining, it is a story of class and comedy, politics and love, fast cars and why it's difficult to foul a dwarf in a game of football.
Thatcher Stole My Trousers begins with Alexei Sayle attending art school as a working-class Liverpudlian Communist, and ends at the completion of the second season of seminal sitcom The Young Ones. This means that as a memoir it gives a first-hand account of British culture during a tumultuous and revolutionary period, from the man who lit the blue touch paper for alternative comedy.
This second Sayle autobiography documents his rise to fame, going from various dead-end jobs to establishing The Comedy Store, which heralded the introduction of underground stand-up to a mainstream audience. As well as being hilarious, his take on this era is one of being largely unfazed by the prospect of stardom (for instance, Sayle admits to regularly popping around to Sting’s house unannounced just for a chat, not taking into account the gruelling schedule of a mega rock star). And much like his stand-up material, it’s as likely to take aim at his contemporaries and the liberal left that largely made up his audience as the old guard they were reacting against. Thomas, Book Grocer Northcote
Born in Liverpool, the only child of Communist parents, Alexei moved to London in 1971 to attend Chelsea Art School. He became the first MC of the Comedy Store and later the Comic Strip. After years of stand-up, television, sitcoms, films and even a hit single, he published his first highly acclaimed collection of short stories. Barcelona Plates was followed by The Dog Catcher, two novels: Overtaken and The Weeping Women Hotel and a novella, Mister Roberts. The first volume of Alexei's memoirs was Stalin Ate My Homework.