Friday, 25 November 2016

Radio Review: 25 November

There’s plenty of bite at Alexei Sayle’s sandwich bar

Written by Louis Barfe
While many of his alternative comedy contemporaries have become the establishment, Alexei Sayle has somehow managed to retain his radicalism. In performance, he’s Louis-Barfe-colour-176become less aggressive over the years, but this is merely a matter of presentation. The shouty Sayle of old was a character, developed to deal with drunks and hecklers in comedy clubs. Nowadays, his delivery is more like his natural tone of voice, but he remains viciously hilarious when he needs to be.

Such as on the subject of Simon Cowell. His choice of language to describe Cowell in the first Alexei Sayle’s Imaginary Sandwich Bar (R4, Tuesdays, 11pm) is presumably one of the reasons why this series is going out at 11pm not 6.30pm. This is a shame, because Sayle would give that time slot a welcome kick up the backside.

Sayle says that the bar of the title combines his love of pretending and sandwiches, but it’s really just a slender pretext for him to deliver superbly absurd monologues detailing his thoughts on racist salads, the fussy eaters at his school (‘one wouldn’t eat peas. Another would only eat metal. Another wouldn’t eat at all unless the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church was present.’) and ‘cheese that tasted like Michael Gove’.

The preamble to the first show, in which sayle outlined the lengths he once went to in order to get rid of some house guests who were outstaying their welcome, was quite something. Inventing a fictitious lodger who needed the spare room wasn’t enough. The room had to look occupied whenever the evictees visited. Perfume on the bedclothes, charity shop clothes strewn on the floor, forged love letters in the bedside drawer. I haven’t laughed as long and hard at a piece of radio comedy for ages.

Listen to Alexei Sayle's sandwich bar here: http://bbc.in/2fU6iTc

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net 


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