LON­DON COL­LEC­TIONS: MEN

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Magazine - - Contents -

Men’s Fash­ion Week hits the cap­i­tal in style

Right now I am in Ten­nessee at a mu­sic festival. It is so hot here and I am look­ing for­ward to get­ting to Lon­don. I love Lon­don when it’s not hot. Stak­ing out a one me­tre squared pitch of grass at Clapham Com­mon with all the other Ki­wis des­per­ately pre­tend­ing that bar­be­cu­ing on a Tesco throw­away tin is ac­cept­able. It’s not. I dis­cov­ered early on that swim­ming in the Ser­pen­tine is a bad idea, too. While it may ap­pear to be wa­ter, it is more nee­dle-filled gloop.

Ac­tu­ally what I will do now on a hot summer’s day in Lon­don is visit my new favourite place in Shep­herd’s Bush, West­field. I love shop­ping cen­tres, es­pe­cially as they keep a con­stant tem­per­a­ture at a balmy 18C. And when the wife tires of the elec­tric strip light­ing, we are a mere hop, skip and bus ride from my favourite West Lon­don haunts: Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens – or the pi­rate ship play­ground, as it is re­ferred to in our house­hold – or River­side Stu­dios for a cheeky pint or two.

I’m cur­rently feel­ing pretty smug. I have added an­other string to my bow this year and I’m very proud of this lat­est one. And no, I am not join­ing the New Zealand na­tional pas­time as a Hob­bit; I am a Writer, with a cap­i­tal ‘ W’. I have been writ­ing for years, but stand-up com­edy is very dif­fer­ent from sit- down- and- read- it- on- a- bus com­edy. Can the reader be trusted to read the story as I would? I, like all stand-up comics who write, di­rect and per­form them­selves, am a to­tal con­trol freak. Based on this, I thought it pru­dent to do a live ver­sion of my new book called This Way to Space­ship.

I took the show to Welling­ton and my dad came to see it. Af­ter the show I squeezed my way through the crowd to find him and give him a hug. ‘Can you sign my copy of your book, please? I’m a pretty big fan,’ he said, be­fore in­form­ing me of his lat­est ven­ture, build­ing chicken coops. ‘ To order?’ I asked. ‘ No, for my­self. But I’m think­ing I might start sell­ing them. I’ve got more coops than I have chick­ens now.’ Ev­ery time I see my dad I’m re­minded of where I came from. I’m def­i­nitely a chip off that old block.

The fi­nal show in Welling­ton was a real block­buster; Billy Con­nolly and Martin Free­man came along. They were in town film­ing The Hob­bit and af­ter the show I had a drink with them in the ad­ja­cent bar. (That’s not the name of the bar, it’s just a bar ad­ja­cent to the the­atre.) What a thrill it was to be in such fine com­pany. We shared sto­ries and promised to keep in touch. I haven’t heard from them since. The weather got a bit colder in New Zealand so I de­cided to start my pil­grim­age to the UK via LA. I was hang­ing by the pool at the ho­tel, drink­ing cock­tails with um­brel­las in them and rub­bing shoul­ders with the rich and fa­mous. They don’t like that, me touch­ing them like that. Ap­par­ently I shouldn’t take the ‘shoul­der rub­bing’ so lit­er­ally, es­pe­cially with One Direc­tion, who were stay­ing in the same ho­tel as me. Nice boys, but I’m not sure that chil­dren so young should have six-pack abs. Is that nor­mal?

I started to en­ter­tain my­self with thoughts of re­turn­ing to the UK. Most peo­ple en­ter­tain them­selves with movies or games; I find thoughts are a lot cheaper and less stren­u­ous. This will be my first big UK tour. I look for­ward to re­turn­ing to all the towns I had pre­vi­ously only been to as part of a club line-up act back in the hazy years of 2001-2007. I look for­ward to div­ing into the his­tory of each town. I’ll go to mu­se­ums with my sons Finn [six] and Theo [two] and drink pints in pub gar­dens. I look for­ward to catch­ing up with my old friends Martin and Billy. But most of all I look for­ward to Ed­in­burgh, the city that started it all for me. The Ed­in­burgh Fringe Festival is where I was caught hook, line and sinker by the fish­er­man of funny. The gods opened up through the clouds back in 2004 and plucked me out... ‘Go forth my son!’ ‘ What, to the Forth Bridge?’ ‘ No... go with the forth.’ So I did. I went with the fourth most pop­u­lar New Zealand folk band Flight of the Con­chords. And that lit­tle de­ci­sion was a good one. Now I re­turn as my­self eight years later. Rhys Darby in This Way to Space­ship, com­plete with space hel­met... and book. For de­tails of Rhys Darby’s up­com­ing UK tour, in­clud­ing Shep­herd’s Bush Em­pire, visit boun­dandgagged­com­edy.com

‘One Direc­tion: nice boys, but I’m not sure that chil­dren

so young should have

six-packs’

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